Problems of the Ummah: Role of Ulama & Intellectuals - MUST Read!!!!!


Senator (1k+ posts)
Problems of the Ummah: Role of Ulama & Intellectuals

The world of Islam today is passing through a critical period of its history. We are confronted with many problems and find ourselves in a limbo, between aspirations and despair. We, therefore, need to locate the key problems the Muslim nation(Muslim Ummah) faces today and identify our duties.

If we are really sincere and determined to overcome the problems facing Muslims worldwide, we need cooperation between the different sectors of Muslim societies. What is particularly needed is teamwork and dialogue between the thinkers (Mufakkirs) and traditional religious scholars (Alims in Arabic pl. Ulama) of Islam. While the Ulama are better versed in the permissibility or forbidden nature of a certain act, the Mufakkirs are advanced in the field of ideas even if they are not fully conversant with Islamic Laws (Shariah) and regulations concerning the various forms of worship. The Mufakkirs deeply contemplate the problems the Muslim Ummah faces today. Hence the Alims need the opinion of the thinkers. The thinkers, on the other hand, require the opinion of the Alims.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, for instance, is not considered to be an Alim but a Mufakkir of Islam. He was a pioneering thinker of Islam. In a similar vein, Dr. Ali Shariati of Iran was a far greater thinker than many contemporary Alims. Syed Qutb, too, was a remarkable thinker of Islam. He is considered a Mufakkir rather than an Alim. Likewise, Dr. Khurshid Ahmed of Pakistan, Dr. Hasan Zaman, and Dr. Syed Sajjad Husain of Bangladesh are Mufakkirs or thinkers. What we need is an interaction between such thinkers (Mufakkirs) with the traditional
religious experts (Alims). The Alims will identify the limits of Islam that cannot be crossed in matters of permissibility and prohibition (halal and haram). The Mufakkirs, on the other hand, will try to find solutions within these prescribed limits. At the same time, the Alims must realize that the Mufakkirs have thoroughly studied the outstanding problems plaguing the world today, in their various depths and dimensions. If a synthesis between the expertise of the scholars (Alims) and the ideas of the thinkers (Mufakkirs) can be attained, only then is it possible to arrive at a pragmatic and realistic solution to these problems. We, therefore, need close cooperation and collaboration between these two different and yet interdependent groups of people.

If we really want to serve the cause of Islam in a meaningful way in todays world, and respond effectively to the ills of our times, we must be aware of contemporary problems. The philosophical problems the earlier Muslim generations faced, notably the conflict between the Mutazilites and the Asharites, which continued for more than two centuries, are no longer relevant today. During the last century, we confronted the ideologies of socialism, capitalism, secularism, and the ideas of Darwin and Freud and these continue to be significant issues until today. Our seminaries (Madrasas), however, continue to teach the philosophy of the Mutazilites and Asharites and other ancient philosophical issues. They do not teach philosophical issues of current significance. The old issues no longer pertain to the world we inhabit today. The literature on such topics can remain in the Madrasa libraries as reference books. Such topics should not be part of the contents of present-day Mardasa text books, which should engage contemporary issues, those
burning philosophical questions and difficulties of the day mentioned above.

Today, a great deal of change has become apparent in the realm of politics. Parliamentary system has been introduced. The ballots are now being cast in secret. Issues such as those concerning the decentralization of power, federal structure of the government which shares powers with the autonomous units, the delegation of power to regional government, etc. have come to the forefront. These issues and concepts are completely new and therefore not
discussed in the old books of Fiqh (books on law). The earlier Fiqh books do not contain any discussion, for instance, on election or the separation of power among the three organs of the government as these are also new concepts. Previously the elite used to dominate politics and the public did not play an important role. The situation is quite different today. Today, with the strengthening of civil society, the people play a central role embodied in the elections even
though the elite continue to play a significant role as well.

Likewise, a good deal of change has taken place in the economic arena. Earlier, concepts like Central Bank, Monetary Policy, Inflation, etc. were absent. If we are not adequately familiar
with developments in this field, we shall not be able to arrive at the most judicious decisions. Against this backdrop, it is essential to attain knowledge of modern Economics and modern
Political Science.

by Shah Abdul Hannan


MPA (400+ posts)
Problems of Ummat:







Mai (Divine Love/Truth), Saqi (Spiritual Guide/Leader). Pilana/Drinking (Seeking of truth)