By Quayyum Raja
Islam is growing fast, but with the grace of Allah, not by the behavior of Muslims in general. According to a heavily funded American Research Center PEW, 1.8 billion Muslims are 24 per cent of global population. PEW claims that if the current trend continues, the number of Muslims is expected to exceed the number of Christisnity by the end of this century. 20 per cent of the Muslims are in the Middle East and North Africa, where religion originated in the seventh century. 62 per cent live in Asia Pacific. The largest population is in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. India will exceed the current population of Indonesia by 2050. America houses 3.45 million Muslims at present, which is 1.1 per cent of the total American population and the number is likely to increase to 2.1 per cent by the year 2050.
However, should we be content with our increasing numbers or be concerned about our deteriorating collective values and decreasing political influence in the world? History shows that it is not the quantity but a quality that matters in a practical life and the competitive world. If it was the quantity and the number of resources, the Muslims should have been politically and economically a dominant force and also among the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with a say in the matter of the globe. Rather, we are being constantly victimized and exploited. We have just become a protesting community whose protests don’t make any difference. At the time of the foundation of the United Nations, Palestine and Jammu Kashmir were our two main issues. Now, we have Afghanistan, the whole of Middle East and North Africa on fire and Iran is suffering from economic sanctions for the past 42 years, where Iran was not allowed to get even medications during the ongoing covid 19. All thanks to the UN, but let us not blame others for our misery and misfortune. The Muslim leaders are not just partly but mainly responsible for all that has been happening to the Muslim world. We haven’t played our own role properly for ourselves. We are not preparing ourselves to compete with the world but within ourselves. The Islamic Revolution of Iran revived a hope for the Islamic Movements, but the hope was shattered by Iran-Iraq 7 years long bloody war and the regional clash between Iran and Saudi Arabia goes on. Everyone knows who was and still is behind all this and who benefits and suffers from this regional and international clash.
It is not good enough to moan and blame others. Psychology tells us that those always blaming others or looking for external reasons for their problems, can’t solve their internal problems since change first happens within ourselves. We have to change our attitudes and political policies. We need to rebuild trust among ourselves. We have to stop a sectarian war and revive the true Islamic values such as tolerance and social and political justice. We have to revive the scientific Islamic thoughts that led to the great scientific research and knowledge. It requires the reintroduction of our own curriculum. Iran and Turkey have made a significant progress towards national curriculum but Pakistan and many other Muslim countries are importing unislamic curriculum which is not understood due to a foreign language but just memorised. Therefore, most Muslims fail to invent anything and have to import more than they can export. Any country that relies heavily on importation and have not got much to export, is unlikely to improve economically.
In order to create understanding between Muslims, the Muslim states should relax visa conditions for each other. This requires first to stabilize political relations and set up joint Islamic Research Centers. As the Prophet (PBUH) once said to a companion on a question of Sadaqa and charity, the least one can do is let people have a peace and safety. This is for the people in general, but it requires more when it is a matter of Islamic Faith and Unity necessary for the peace and stability of the Muslim Community.