.:Are we Regressive?:.

There is no doubting the fact that Arabs and Muslims are sadly the most regressive people in the world, according to the Human Development Reports supervised by renowned Muslim and Arab scholars, and released by the UN and other similar reports. In other words, the term 'Muslim' has been linked, in the minds of the people of the world, with violence, terrorism, anarchy, chaos, disturbances, famine, poverty and backwardness. There are of course certain exceptions to this rule, but not many.

Even Pakistan , a nuclear power, is at risk of becoming a failed state, due to poverty, corruption, internal fighting and political mismanagement. And when it comes to Turkey , seen as an exception in the Muslim world, the secularists there consider themselves closer to the West than to the Muslim world. They also ascribe the progress achieved by their country in many fields to a secular approach, rather than the influence of Islam. I have heard top Turkish scholars, thinkers and politicians say that they prefer to be at the rearguard of the Western world than at the vanguard of the Muslim world.

It goes without saying that some Arab countries exist in a less developed state politically, let alone scientifically or technologically.

Why are those who are supposed to be 'the best of all peoples', as revealed in the Quran, lagging behind? Why are the supposedly infidel people of the world making great progress in various fields, while the 'faithful' are lagging behind everybody else?

Ironically enough, a huge percentage of the Chinese people, whose number is approaching 1.5 billion, are atheists. But these non-believers have achieved the highest development rate the world over - it reached 13 per cent at one stage. Add to this the fact that these atheists have 'invaded' almost every house in the world with their products. A high-ranking Chinese official once bragged that, "It is China and not the United States of America that is invading the world". He challenged the Americans to get their products into a quarter of the houses entered by Chinese products. The official also bragged that the Chinese have 'invaded' the US itself. "Aren't the American flags fluttering over the White House made in China ?" he asked.

Experts predict that, in the near future, half of the products that will be sold in the world will be made by the Chinese. Even the Ramadan lambs that are slaughtered by Muslims in Cairo and other Muslim and Arab countries are raised in China . The prayer mats used by faithful Muslims the world over are made by Chinese non-believers, who only believe in doing their jobs in a very sincere and faithful manner. It goes without saying that all the little presents, such as rosaries and Islamic handicrafts, that the pilgrims take home with them after the pilgrimage season are made in China .
It is true that a Muslim country such as Malaysia has made great progress technologically, but some argue that were it not for the Chinese minority in that country, the Malaysians would not have been able to achieve what they have.

And if we consider the second-most progressive country in the world, India , we find that the majority of the people there revere cows. But that has not prevented them from competing with America in the computer industry, to the extent that the famous American writer Thomas Friedman fears that Silicon Valley will one day relocate to India.

In other words, the most progressive people in the world are non-believers by Islamic standards whereas we, Muslims, ironically waste most of our time classifying the peoples of the world into believers and non-believers, and fighting among ourselves over who is more 'faithful'.

I wish we spent more time learning from the non-believers, who produce most of the products we buy. If we had, we would probably be less regressive.

This is by no means a call for atheism - God forbid - but a suggestion that we better ourselves, as our great religion instructs us to do. The great Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) called upon us to seek knowledge - even in China.

p/s: This article was written by Dr Faisal Al Qasim who is a Syrian journalist based in Doha .

Sebarkan Salam..


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