Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

SHAWWAL 1424 H
December 2003
Volume 16-12 No : 204
Camps \ Workshops

News Community Roundup Countdown for Hajj Editorial Features Response Features Readers Comments Insights Trends & Traditions guidelines Muslim Perspectives Living Islam Journey To Islam Children's Corner Our Dialogue Quran Speaks to You Hadith Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

Now you can pay your subscriptions online

Editorial


Recipe for our ills

Translating Piety into Social Morality

We, the Muslims world over, need to build bridges between individual piety and social morality. Individual piety, as we believe and practise, ensures the success in the life hereafter while social morality is essentially needed to organise a society and establish the rule of the law. A common experience in the Muslim societies is that they are rich in individual piety, but totally deficient in social morality, the very basis for ensuring the rule of the law. Mosques are full of namazis, Ramazan is observed with more and more fervour every year, pilgrims throng Makkah in their millions during the last 10 days of Ramazan and around Hajj, billions of dollars are poured into the Islamic charities by way of zakath and sadaqah annually, rosary beads, prayer mats, qiblah index, and prayer books are sold in the millions all around the world. Beards are growing and hemlines of Islamic trousers are being drawn over the anklets in ever increasing numbers. So is the case with hijab which is more in evidence from share markets of the South East to the souks of Saudi Arabia to the malls of the West. But contrast these manifestations of Islamic piety with the state of the ummah. Fewer Islamic countries have governments that are accountable to the people. Dictators, monarchs, army heads outnumber the elected representatives in the summits of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, the most representative of the Islamic groupings. Fewer former heads of Islamic states stay back in their own soil. Most demit the office only by death, exile, execution, coup or imprisonment. Press is under shackles invariably everywhere in the Islamic world. No Muslim country figures among the first hundred (from most free to the least free) in the latest ranking released by the 'Reporters without Borders'. Even the richest Muslim countries are caught in the debt trap. Known assets of several Muslim rulers stashed outside the country surpass the foreign debt their nation owes to international agencies. (Moroccan King has assets worth $40 billion in Europe while his country owes $ 7 billion to the IMF and the World Bank). Besides, Swiss banks mainly operate on the strength of the hidden wealth parked by the Muslim rulers. Academic atmosphere is suffocating. Most Muslim scientists take the first flight out of the country to seek mooring in the West to pursue their quest in a freer environment. As many as 2,500,000 Muslim scientists, technocrats, economists, quench their intellectual quest outside their native shores. This state of the Muslim ummah inevitably leads us to the conclusion that the individual Islamic piety finds no way of translating into social morality and thereby into states that are known for pursuing peace, distributive justice, social accountability and responsible governance. Howsoever we might detest an individual in the West for his or her self-centred life, hedonism, relentless pursuit of materialism, there is no gainsaying that the Western society functions far more smoothly than most of ours. They routinely elect their new heads of states, tolerate criticism, are more meticulous in establishing guilt of their errant rulers and punishing them by the rule of the book, and conducting smooth change -over of power wielders. They allow their ex-rulers to stay within like ordinary citizens and gain by their experience and knowledge. They encourage free flow of thought, fuel creativity and innovation, allow media to scrutinize the policies and doings of the rulers as well as legislators, take care that no shilling due to the State would be withheld, no resources genuinely belonging to the state would be usurped, no citizen would earn illegally, consume without giving the state its due, and park funds beyond shores illegitimately. This however should not make us ignore the West's double-standards in matters of international equity and justice; its tendency to hinder rather than help democratic forces in the Islamic world; its aggressive designs and exploitative scheming against third world resources; all because of its advantage in early modernization and tapping the benefits of science and technology and parallel development of social and economic order. This must set us thinking. We need to develop a new paradigm of piety and social organisation whereby the emphasis is shared between ritual purity and social accountability alike, where every deviant rulers has to account for his sins, where motorists do not jump the red signals even at the dead of the night, where every bounced cheque brings punishment, where every financial deal is made in black and white, where even the last farthing due to the state cannot remain unpaid, where public good is not sacrificed at the altar of individual or group interest, where rulers are also leaders and servants of people, and where service to people is considered on par with worship. Alas! The Islamic world is sorely deficient of these qualities.

Top


News Community Roundup Countdown for Hajj Editorial Features Response Features Readers Comments Insights Trends & Traditions guidelines Muslim Perspectives Living Islam Journey To Islam Children's Corner Our Dialogue Quran Speaks to You Hadith Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

Al-Nasr Exports