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Islam: The Ideological Super Power

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Muslims number more than one billion today. If you go round the world to study the minds of Muslims inhabiting various regions you will probably come to the conclusion that Muslims all over the world share the feeling that the history of Islam had reached an impasse. Despite enormous sacrifices no way out is in sight.


It is our firm belief that Islam offers guidance at all times and in all situations. Therefore it must certainly be able to offer us a clear guidance as regards the present state of affairs. I must say that it does exist in a very clear form. The history of Islam provides us two very clear examples of bringing into play the da‘wah power of Islam.


   1. The first guiding example recorded in the early period of Islamic history is that of Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya. As we all know, the Prophet of Islam was compelled to migrate from Mecca to Medina. The majority of Muslims followed him Consequently Medina became a center of Muslims. However, afterwards the event took a more serious turn. The opponent of Islam now started armed onslaughts against the Muslims. Yet after several full scale wars and so many minor armed conflicts the balance failed to tip on any side. Apparently the history of Islam reached an impasse.


      At this critical juncture, according to the Qur’an, the Prophet of Islam was shown the straight path in this matter (48:3-4). This straight path was to create a conducive atmosphere for peaceful da‘wah work by ceasing armed conflicts altogether. Accordingly the Prophet in the 19th year of his prophethood entered into a peace treaty with his Arab opponents. This step put an end to the state of war. This event is referred to in the history of Islam as Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya. This peace treaty diverted the field of encounter between Islam and its rivals from the battlefield to Da‘wah field.


      This peaceful activism brought incredibly revolutionary results.


      The power of peace proved itself far superior to the power of war. This treaty rendered a widespread interaction between Muslims and the opposing group possible in normal atmosphere. In this way the peace treaty cleared the path for the direct propagation of Islam to take place. The opponents came to accept Islam in great numbers, ultimately the numerical power alone sufficed for the victory of Islam.


      According to Imam al-Zuhari, Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya was the greatest victory in the history of Islam. Prior to this whenever Muslims and their rivals encountered one another fighting ensued. But after the reconciliation the state of war ended and peace prevailed. Now they began meeting one another in normal, tension-free atmosphere. This interaction naturally led to an exchange of ideas. When someone heard anything of Islam and found it appealing, he would go in, without fail, to enter into the fold of Islam. That is why after a mere two years of Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya such large number of people entered the fold of Islam as had never happened before (Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah Vol. 4, p. 170).


      This great increase in term of numbers resulted in making Islam a religion of majority in Arabia, this greatly facilitated its dominance throughout the land.

   2. The second well known example of the caravan of Islam having reaching an impasse concerns the first half of the thirteenth century with the emergence of the brute force of the Tartars. They were able to destroy the Muslim power almost completely. It seemed as though the journey of Islam has once again reached an impasse, finding no way out for its further advancement.


      At exactly that point in time the ideological power of Islam made its appearance. Muslims being in no position to take up arms to encounter them, diverted their field of action by silently engaging themselves in peaceful da‘wah work among the victorious Tartars. This act of da‘wah verified the dictum of the Qur’an that through da‘wah the opponents of Islam will become its supporters and friends (41:34).


      The historians have acknowledged this event in quite clear terms. Philip K. Hitti, for instance, remarks, in his famous book The History of the Arabs:


      "The religion of the Muslims had conquered where their arms had failed" (p. 488)

   3. Now in the twentieth century the history of Islam has once again apparently reached an impasse. Our enormous amount of sacrifices have yet to succeed in taking the caravan of Islam forward.


        According to al-Imam Malik the state of affairs of Muslim Ummah will be reformed by following the same course of action as were followed by the Muslims of the first phase to rectify their matters. In the light of this remark it can be safely said that we must once again opt for this tested method of the past. We must take such steps as put an end to the hostile situation prevailing between Muslims and non-Muslims. This would result in peaceful interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims in a normal situation. Hudaybiyya symbolizes the greatness of the power of peace as against the power of war. Today once again we need to follow this course of action.


        As soon as this happens, the ideological power of Islam will appear to its full force-- which is undoubtedly eternally invincible. Afterwards the virtues of Islam will begin reaching people automatically through exchange and interaction. Then it will also be possible to perform da‘wah work properly. Under the influence of their own nature people will start joining the ranks of Islam. And there is no doubt about it that the greatest strength for any group consists in its manpower.


Muslims can be weakened and subjugated at any point in time. But Islam is an ideological superpower forever. It has the capacity to conquer the greatest power on earth through da‘wah. It is the need of the hour to produce conducive conditions, on a universal scale. It is necessary to bring into play the ideological power of Islam in order that da‘wah work could be set in motion in the full sense of the word. And then certainly Islam will emerge as the dominant and conquering force, and Muslims of the world too will receive their place of honor and glory along with Islam.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

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