Special Reports

International Conference on “Intellectual Crisis of the Muslims” held at AMU

Aligarh: Prof. Muhammad Alghazali, Judge of the Shariah Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan said that Muslims cannot regain their lost status in the world so long as they remain hostage to the terms of engagement with humanity defined by others. This state of mind has pushed the Muslims into a barren, thankless cycle of mutual phobia, hostility and skepticism towards the rest of humanity. He was delivering the keynote address at a two-day international conference here on the "Intellectual Crisis of the Muslim Ummah: Revisiting the Past Patterns of Thought." It was organised by Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India (CEPECAMI) at the Aligarh Muslim University.

Some participants of International Conference on Intellectual Crisis in Muslims.

Dr. Al-Ghazali said that the present intellectual crisis and confusion is a consequence of the moral failure of those who have been placed at the position of leadership in the Muslim community. He said that the post-colonial leaders of the Muslim world have not recognized the Ummah as their reference point. They do profess faith in Islam but do not define their role from the perspective of the Ummah.

Dr. Ghazali said that the most grievous shortcoming of the Muslim Ummah was the acute inferiority complex which "is a result of complex historical reasons". He stressed that this situation called for a critical understanding of the current modes of thought and behavior and developing a common lexicon for communicating with humanity at large. He urged the Muslim intellectuals, spiritual and political leaders to "make a sincere come back to the Qur’an, recognize its irreplaceable central place in our life and redefine their mission and role in the light of its luminous and vivifying message".

In his presidential address, the Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Zameer Uddin Shah, said that every crisis is an opportunity. For the last two decades, Muslim countries have been rocked by war, internecine squabbles and social and potential unrest. Shah said that the weakening of Islam has created an ideological vacuum. Most of the 20th century was wasted in simply maintaining the bipolar imbalance. Today one percent of the world population has taken control of 99% of the world resources, leaving the rest of the humanity to poverty. This is a very unjust situation, he added.

Shah said that the 21st century began with American declaration of war on terror, was it a camouflage to control energy reservoirs in the Muslim world. The entire Middle East and North Africa is up in flames, primarily because Islam has become a divided house today. The AMU Vice Chancellor pointed out that "we must not allow the gap of knowledge with the West to widen any more. The answer is quest for knowledge, or education, especially of women. We cannot leave 50% of our population, unproductive.

Earlier, welcoming the guests, Director of the CEPECAMI, Prof. Rashid Shaz said that it was for the first time in the history of AMU that Muslim scholars and intellectuals from all over the world have gathered to discuss and deliberate the century-long modern history of Muslim intellectualism. He said that the conference is aimed at highlighting issues and problems that have created an intellectual crisis in Muslims, as a result of which Muslims have become an enemy to their own interests.

Kamal El-Helbawy, former International Spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, noted Shia scholar, Swami Lakshmishankaracharya, Founder Chairman of the Hindu Muslim Jan Ekta Manch, Prof. Israr Ahmad of the International Islamic University of Malaysia were among those who spoke at the conference.

The conference was held to forge an interfaith partnership with other communities and focusing on the issues concerning the Islamic world. The two-day event reflected upon the pertinent issues surrounding the Muslim Ummah. The conference was held at the Kennedy Auditorium in which teachers and students from different streams participated in large numbers.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2015 on page no. 13

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