We are to defend!
The story is old and is still continuing. When the electricity was invented and lit up the houses and streets, West proudly presented it as a triumph of their modern education and research. Excluding the silent minority, our narrow-minded scholars termed it a tool of evil to distract the believers of the true path and to snatch their faith. Later on, it was found that it had nothing to do with any religion and faith and thus accepted as an essential tool of daily life and adopted by all.
It was followed by motor car which was resisted in the beginning and after seeing its effectiveness in the field of transportation, it was also accepted. Once again, the inventors were the West and we, the Muslims, resisted and accepted it.
Another amazing invention of west came in the form of radio which surprised the whole of the world. People were amazed to see that they were able to listen to the sounds of people coming out of the box. In the beginning, it was mostly used for news and entertainment like music. Once again, it was called the ‘Evil Box’ as it promoted music and Muslims were strictly forbidden from buying or using it but of course, there were a lot many people who loved the music being transmitted from the radio channels and thus it slowly and gradually won the acceptance of public and the warnings in this regard were all dismissed.
The intensity of hue and cry against the radio had not decreased that another great explosion shocked the world in the form of television. This was very amusing as people could both listen and see the picture of people in a box. This was again very much fascinating to the public who had never witnessed such a wonderful mean of entertainment.
Once again, television was greatly admonished and Muslims were asked to keep away from it to save faith and religion. This appeal was honored to some extent in the beginning but with the passage of time, it reached to more and more of our houses and now there is present hardly any house where a television set should not be present. Only those who cannot afford to buy one are free of this evil box.
After this, there is a long list of inventions that had a great appeal to the human desires. The telephone, the VCR, the dish satellites, video games, cable televisions, mobile phones, computers, and the epidemic of present time, internet and in this more lethal are social websites of Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter and many more.
In all the above things, it is a common trend that these were and are invented by the West (Including America) and are forcefully resisted by the Muslim world.
Television was and is a great source of entertainment, mobile phones made possible both communication and entertainment together, internet has appeared to be the mother of all and has great appeal to all who are looking for news, information, entertainment and social connectivity. But all these inventions share a common trend; they have a great appeal and attraction to the human desires and feelings and thus quickly got the general public acceptance and no society was able to resist them for long.
Our scholars resisted them with sheer sincerity. First, they were afraid that these might harm the spiritual and moral harmony of an individual (and they were right to some extent as well) and secondly, they were not much aware of its different features and usages.
Unfortunately, when they did not have enough information about it, they were not able to give an alternate solution either. When they oppose mobile phone, for instance, they fail to suggest any alternate that should replace mobile phones and should not be against our set of beliefs as well.
However, there were some enlightened scholars who suggested a middle path. They permitted usage of these electronic devices with some conditions so that they might not harm our spiritual world. Similarly, they suggested that these media of communication can also be used for propagation of morality and religion as well and thus we see Islamic channels or websites which are rapidly growing in their public popularity.
The base of this problem is lack of education and research in the Islamic world. When the Muslims were in their golden era and Europe was considered to be in its dark age governed by Church and superstitions, Muslim scientists conducted research, developed theories and invented objects. The theories developed or things invented by Muslims were in total conformity with the Islamic teachings and thus it was Europe’s headache to resist or nullify them.
Then the things went in reverse when the west woke up with the light of modern knowledge and Islamic dictators and strong hold of religion ceased all the educational activities and decline of Muslims started.
Since then, we have failed to bring any new research or idea of our own. On the other hand, the West worked hard on education and research and thus we are left with no other option except to oppose the European theories or reject their inventions.
When Darwin presented his theory of human evolution, religious world (including Muslims) yelled against it as it was strongly against our set of beliefs but we could not do anything except to present theories to prove it wrong. Thanks to Darwin, we at least did some research in order to prove his theory wrong.
Very recent example is the research which is being conducted in Switzerland. In this mega project, scientist from almost all the countries of the world are working to prove the famous ‘Big Bang Theory’ which is regarding the origin of the universe and claims that the universe came into being as a result of a mass explosion. It again has faced different sorts of opposition from the Muslim world without much analysis and scientific reasoning.
This will not end until and unless Muslim countries take serious steps and do heavy investment to improve their education and conduct research. It is very sad to discover that there is not present a university of any Islamic country in the Top 100 Universities of the world which are considered the hubs of research on science and technology. As far as the giant companies of the world are concerned that spend billions of dollars on Research and Development (R & D) every year, none of them belong to any Islamic country.
We will have to give serious attention to promote Higher education and research; otherwise we would be always defending the latest theories and inventions of the West.
At present, I am and almost all the Muslim parents are thinking as how to tackle with the pernicious effects of Facebook and Youtube that have attacked our youth like a viral disease. Once again, we are defending and trying to tackle something but not presenting something of our own!