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Opinion

Islam's response to contemporary world problems (12)

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We continue with the next section, Social Peace

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَاۡمُرُ بِالۡعَدۡلِ وَالۡاِحۡسَانِ وَاِیۡتَآیِٔ ذِی الۡقُرۡبٰی وَیَنۡہٰی عَنِ الۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَالۡمُنۡکَرِ وَالۡبَغۡیِ ۚ یَعِظُکُمۡ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ 

"Verily, Allah enjoins justice and doing good to others as if they were kinsmen, and forbids obscenity, manifest wickedness and transgression. He exhorts you to realise this. (Q. 16: Al-Nahl: 91)

اِعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّمَا الۡحَیٰوۃُ الدُّنۡیَا لَعِبٌ وَّلَہۡوٌ وَّزِیۡنَۃٌ وَّتَفَاخُرٌۢ بَیۡنَکُمۡ وَتَکَاثُرٌ فِی الۡاَمۡوَالِ وَالۡاَوۡلَادِ ؕ کَمَثَلِ غَیۡثٍ اَعۡجَبَ الۡکُفَّارَ نَبَاتُہٗ ثُمَّ یَہِیۡجُ فَتَرٰٮہُ مُصۡفَرًّا ثُمَّ یَکُوۡنُ حُطَامًا ؕ وَفِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ عَذَابٌ شَدِیۡدٌ ۙ وَّمَغۡفِرَۃٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَرِضۡوَانٌ ؕ وَمَا الۡحَیٰوۃُ الدُّنۡیَاۤ اِلَّا مَتَاعُ الۡغُرُوۡرِ  

"Know that the life of this world is but a play and pastime, an ornament, a source of boasting among yourselves and of rivalry in the multiplication of wealth and children. This life is like the rain: the vegetation it produces rejoices the husbandmen. But then it dries up and you see it turn yellow. Then it becomes broken pieces of straw. But in the Hereafter there is severe punishment and also Al'lah's forgiveness and His pleasure. For the life of this world is but a deceitful enjoyment of deceitful things." (Q. 57: Al-Hadid: 21)

The contemporary social order

Unfortunately, the influence of religion on the moral behaviour of society is rapidly being lost. The situation is aggravated by the rise, everywhere in the contemporary world, of the desire for liberation from all religious obligations. However, at the same time as ethical and religious codes are being rejected, there is, in parallel, a growing panic born of the increasing lack of security and disorder in social behaviour. Belief in a Living God, who has not only shaped the destiny of human beings, but also has the right to determine their conduct in daily life, is rapidly eroding.

The Holy Qur'an summarises this condition:

ظَہَرَ الۡفَسَادُ فِی الۡبَرِّ وَالۡبَحۡرِ  

"The Disorder has flooded the earth and the sea". (Ch. 30: Al-Rum: 42)

Christianity, being the predominant religion of the West, maintained until the beginning of the present century a powerful and effective influence on the moral behaviour of its adherents. This is clearly no longer the case today.

In its place has arisen a civilisation that is the result and mixture of scientific socialism, rapid technological development and material progress, which has forced Christianity to withdraw step by step and assume a smaller and smaller role in shaping social behaviour.

Moral behaviour in today's West, therefore, has as much or as little of a Christian character as moral behaviour in most Muslim countries has of an Islamic character. The same, unfortunately, is true of social and moral conduct anywhere in the world.

There are so many Buddhists, Confucianists and Hindus in the world today, and yet so little of Buddhism, Confucianism or Hinduism to be observed.

"Water, water, everywhere; but not a drop to drink".

If a society's religious or traditional ethical codes are deficient, morality loses its importance and meaning for a generation that does not at all blindly accept its traditional heritage as valid and trustworthy. Such a generation will necessarily go through a critical period of transition, of transition, of total emptiness. This, in turn, will give rise to an imperative search movement. The search process may or may not lead to the discovery of a better and more satisfactory code of conduct. It could, on the contrary, end in total chaos or in a state of moral anarchy. Unfortunately, as we see things, it seems that the latter option is the choice of modern society.

A current of change is sweeping through the societies of the world, both Eastern and Western; religious and secular. It is a damaging gale that is polluting the atmosphere of the entire planet.

The modern world seems to be much more attentive and aware of the increasing level of pollution of the material atmosphere than of the increasing level of pollution of our social atmosphere.

The Holy Qur'an, obviously speaking of this age, states:
 

وَالۡعَصۡرِ ۙ﴿۲﴾ اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِیۡ خُسۡرٍ ۙ﴿۳﴾ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ۬ۙ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ 

 

"We bring as a witness to the time when man as a whole will be in a state of perdition, except those few who believe and practice good, who will exhort others with the truth to accept the truth and admonish them with patience to be persevering." (Q. 103: Al-Asr: 2-4)

Exploitation, duplicity, hypocrisy, selfishness, oppression, greed, insane pursuit of pleasure, indiscipline, corruption, theft, robbery, violation of human rights, fraud, treachery, lack of accountability and absence of mutual respect and trust have become the hallmarks of modern societies. The thin veneer of civilisation can no longer hide the ugliness that is becoming increasingly apparent. However, it would be wrong to claim that these menacing signs of human failure did not exist in past ages. In fact, many ancient civilisations also suffered from the same diseases, before their respective chapters in the book of human history were finally closed. It would be wrong to pick a particular region of the world as the centre of these moral ills.

Societies are beginning to crumble equally everywhere. Unlike in countries ruled by totalitarian philosophies, the growing awareness of individual freedom in the so-called free world is itself becoming an unbalanced trend, which is largely responsible for the increase in social misconduct.

In the growing trend towards individualism in the so-called "free" society inhabiting today's world, one is allowed to do practically anything, justifying it by means of individual freedom. The echo of this distorted concept of individual freedom, which frees everyone from the discipline of moral life, can already be heard everywhere.

Crime of all kinds continues to grow in number and strength. Their audacity in defending their behaviour by simply asking their admonishers why not, has become the threatening challenge of contemporary society.

(lpbD) - Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

(To be continued)