How Islam Failed Muslims
Why is it that the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) and some idolater nations have overtaken the Muslim world?
President Perves Musharaf of Pakistan recently said that Muslims are the most illiterate, unhealthy, poorest of peoples in the world today. He is right and I might add, very few Muslim countries are democracies including his own.
Muslims at one time were the most powerful, richest and advanced people of the world. From them arose four great empires – the Ummayad Empire, the Abassid Empire the Mogul Empire and the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
Their decline can be traced to about 1700 when the west caught up with the Ottoman Empire, the last great Muslim empire.
A number of reasons were advanced for this decline and more recent failures by the Muslims themselves, including the invasion of the Mongols, the crusades, western imperialism and Israel, the perpetual whipping boy. An idea gaining ground in the Muslim world is that their low estate is due to Muslims turning away from God. The remedy is therefore to become more Islamic.
In my opinion, the most important reason for Muslim failure is Islam itself.
Islam is a complete way of life as Muslims are fond of saying. Islam tells you how to punish criminals, how many wives you can have and even which hand is assigned for toilet duty. No other religion is so detailed as to what you can or cannot do.
But the rules governing this complete way of life were developed for a 7th century medieval desert society. Some of these rules are no longer applicable for the 21st century.
Let me give you four reasons why Islam impedes progress. But first, let me say that I am not interested in making a value judgement on what is right or wrong. I believe that religious ideas can have an impact on economic growth and am only concerned in assessing the impact of Islam on the economy and society.
Imbedded in the Koran is the shariah law. This makes it difficult to separate mosque from state. A good Muslim desires to follow Mohammed’s teachings to the full and this means that he must desire to live in an Islamic state where the shariah law is enforced.