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Muslims and modern challenges
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Muslims have been faced with problems on diverse fronts for more than a hundred years and have been struggling to meet the challenges since the second half of the 19th century. The Muslim leaders of those times were of the view that the actual cause of all their problems was the political domination of the western nations, and that only bringing to an end that political domination could solve their problems. This goal was fully achieved after the Second World War, when all Muslim countries became free from foreign rule. However, their problems, far from being solved have persisted till today with undiminished intensity.

What is the reason for this? The reason is traceable to the fact that western dominance was, in fact, the result of modern industrial civilization. Since the western nations continued to grow as industrial powers, even after losing their political power, their domination continued, the only difference being that where their domination had earlier been a direct one, it now became indirect.

Given the negative results of their struggles, certain Muslim intellectuals have attributed their failure to solve their problems to the industrial backwardness. They hold that only by the acquisition of industrial power similar to that of the developed nations can their destiny be changed.

This, however, is not the solution to our problems. Time does not stand still. New developments are constantly taking place. This means that, even if, by a supreme effort, we managed to enter the industrial age, by the time we did so, the western nations, in the words of Elvin Toffler, would have entered the 'super industrial age.' In this way we would continue to lag behind, and our actual problems would continue to remain unsolved.

The kind of problems and challenges Muslims are faced with today, at political, economic and cultural levels, is in no way a new state of affairs never before encountered.

In their long history the Muslims have repeatedly experienced such situations in various forms. History shows, moreover, that the Muslim Ummah has always emerged far more powerful and consolidated after passing through the dangers and challenges of the various phases of their history.

Now, what we must grasp is how Ummah formerly faced such problems and the challenges. The sole answer offered by history is that on each occasion of adversity success was achieved through the da'wah power of Islam.

The Mongols, barbarous and bloody in their methods of warfare, succeeded in inflicting extraordinary harm on Muslims in the middle of the thirteenth century. They appeared invincible. But then, miraculously, the da'wah power of Islam emerged and the Mongols were conquered. Referring to this event, an orientalist observes: 'The religion of the Muslims had conquered where their arms had failed.'

Muslims must rise today with the help of this da'wah power of Islam. If they were to perform their da'wah work properly, their condition would certainly change for the better. They would themselves benefit as has been expressed in the Qur'an in these words: "Good and evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with good, and he, between whom and you is enmity, will become your dearest friend." (4:34)

The opportunities to revive this da'wah process of Islam have increased to an extraordinary degree. The scientific study of religions has proved that all other religions besides Islam have lost their credibility. No other religion is historically credible. Whereas Islam has been proved to be authentic in every scientific analysis. In this way Islam is in a position to gain an unopposed victory.

So far as human 'isms' are concerned, they have all been failures, the most obvious example being the collapse of the communist empire. While it was still in existence, the world was under the misapprehension that it possessed an ideology. But this false conviction gave way when the communist empire fell apart in 1991. Now, all over the world there is an ideological vacuum. And it is the kind of vacuum that can be filled only by Islam. Now the time has finally come for Muslims to rise with the power of Islamic da'wah to build a new history for Islam through an ideological conquest of the nations.

What we have to do now is to repeat that experience of our history, which has unfailingly proved its success at all times. That is, we must avail of the da'wah power of Islam in order to counter the challenges and problems we are faced with. In their long history Muslims have always gained success through da'wah power and today, too, by putting it to good use, they can certainly emerge victorious.

The secret of da'wah power conquering all in its path lies in its emphasis on profitability. God's law for this world is that what is useful for people gains stability and acceptability among the people.

Islam, of all religions, is the most beneficial. It provides the answer to man's search for truth. It furnishes man with a true ideology of life. It gives man mental peace. It is exactly in accordance with human nature. It helps man discover the thoroughfare by which he can safely complete his journey from this world to the hereafter. Undoubtedly there is nothing more profitable to man, and that is what makes Islam the most acceptable of all religions. The partial success of da'wah work can be seen even today, even when it is not being performed in an organized way at the community level.

Over the last hundred years countless political sacrifices have been made, without there having been any real gain, whereas during the same period tens of thousands of people, impressed by the teachings of Islam, have entered the fold of Islam.

Islam is a religion of nature. It has the only un-interpolated scriptures. It is such factors as these, which have made Islam into an effective, force on its own. That is why people continue to embrace Islam in every country and in every region of the world. You may not be able to carry out elaborate research on the subject, but if you just read through the weekly Al da'wah, published in Riyadh you will find such instances in almost every one of its issues.

The importance of da'wah has been established in both theory and practice. The need of the hour is, therefore, the adoption of da'wah work as our most important program, and the diversion of all our strength and resources towards this end.

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