Must Lessons of History Be Disregarded?

Published January 1, 1990

By Ekramul Haque

With this issue we enter a new decade, both Christian and Islamic, and prepare for a final hop into the 21st century.

1410 years of Muslim history has taught us something about the rise and fall of the Ummah, and nations. The irony is that for several centuries we have ignored the wisdom that history offers, and remained under varying forms of colonization. The days of physical control of Muslims by European powers are long over, but our minds and thoughts are still manipulated by neo-colonialists.

An estimated 1 billion plus Muslims are second only to Christians in the numbers game, but they are dependent on the West for political thoughts, finances, education and technological developments. Why?

The answer perhaps is simple. We have repudiated, even denigrated, our own past and looked for progressive solutions in the West. We have tried to copy the West in all aspects of life and in the process have gotten ridiculed and frustrated. We have been ashamed of saying that Islam is the panacea for our problems and the world’s.

While stagnant Muslim societies have generally leaned towards the West, in the last 70 years some have also tried to copy the Soviet Union, a country founded on the negation of God. Muslim flirtation with Moscow can be described as but total insanity. Communism was doomed to failure from the very beginning, the recent upheaval in the Soviet block only makes it formal. The fall of capitalism is not far off. Those of us who live in capitalist societies are already seeing manifestations of that failure everyday.

The centuries of subjugation has also demoralized many Islamic scholars, thinkers and intellectuals, who haven’t even tried to articulate a system that roots in the Qur’an and Sunnah and is practical for our times. The onus on them great, only if they realize.

As the 20th century draws to a close, let’s pledge ourselves to undoing the mistakes of the past, to rediscovering Islam and our potentials, and to reversing our recent history!

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