(Editorial, Crescent International, 1-15 November, 1980)
This issue of Crescent International straddles the last few days of the fourteenth hijra century and the first few days of the fifteenth century. The turn of the Islamic century is not an Eid; it is an occasion for quiet reflection. The last hundred years have seen the Muslim fortunes sink to an all-time low. The colonial powers managed to increase their stranglehold over the Ummah while appearing to withdraw and grant ‘independence’. The western civilization may have developed its own ‘inner contradictions’, signs of old age, and even decline but the absolute and rapid decline of the Islamic civilization has also continued at the hands of the Muslims themselves.
True, a new generation of Muslim governments has emerged; true also that a few new Muslim States have emerged; true, too, that material resources unknown and un-imagined before have become available to the Muslims. But the undeniable fact remains that none of these apparent advances has brought the Ummah as a whole out of a tailspin of decline. The Islamic civilization and its former dynamism remain buried deep under the sand-dunes of history. Muslim behaviour at the political, economic, and social levels has become a mirror image of the behaviour of the colonial powers. Some argue, with justification, that the post-colonial period is in fact a continuation of the colonial period; that government by local westernized elites is colonialism from within. Be that as it may, the fact remains that none of the Muslim States has solved any of the social, economic, and political problems bequeathed by colonialism. Every problem has been made worse and more intractable. Not one Muslim State with the exception of Iran has succeeded in producing a legitimate government. The degree of illegitimacy of Muslim governments is on the increase. Rulers of such unfortunate States as Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh are as alienated from their Islamic roots and Muslim masses as the rulers of such rich lands as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya. The rich, as always, are corrupt and opposed to Islam.
The Muslim world during the fourteenth century of the Islamic era entered into a new jahiliyya, a new ignorance. This jahiliyya has all the hallmarks of the jahiliyya that prevailed in Arabia at the time of the advent of Islam. The original jahiliyya waged a relentless war against Islam in Makkah and later against the Islamic State in Medina. Thc neo-jahiliyya of the present will have to be defeated as was the jahiliyya of the Arabian peninsula only 1400 years ago.
The Arabian scene today is dominated by Arab nationalism, the modern counterpart of the original Arab tribalism. This Arab nationalism is at this very moment fighting a war against Islam and against the Islamic State in Iran. Following close behind in this war of the modern jahiliyya against Islam are all other Muslim nation-States from Pakistan to Indonesia. And the Muslim nation-States’ grand alliance against Islam, as we have pointed out before, is supported by Zionism, capitalism, communism, socialism and their organised power bases in the US and Israel, the Soviet Union, China and India.
Thus the present war is precisely the right kind of war against Islam. True, there are Muslims fighting on both sides and much innocent Muslim blood is being spilled. But the Iraqi political system is non-Muslim and is trying to destroy the emergent Islamic State. This distinction must never be lost sight of.
Perhaps the war will also lead to the education of the Iraqi masses, and Arab and Muslim masses throughout the world. Just as the Islamic Revolution in Iran cost lives, it made a breakthrough in the otherwise stagnant Muslim history. This war too will show the way ahead into the fifteenth century.
The minions and bureaucrats of the Muslim nation-States, assembled in the Islamic Secretariat in Jeddah, have successfully blocked and aborted the proposed Hijra Centenary Programme. But Allah ta’ala has provided the Islamic movement a new victory to mark the new hijra century.
The fifteenth century is beginning in much the same way as did the first.
(Editorial, Crescent International, 1-15 November, 1980. Also published in Issues in the Islamic movement Vol 1 1980-1981 / 1400-1401 (1982), pp.81-82.)