Efforts are being made everywhere in the world to promote peace and harmony, but people, generally, are neither enjoying peace nor harmony. There are sufferings all over the world, mainly because of the evil wave of terrorism that has invaded almost every part of the world. Terrorists are growing by leaps and bounds, and are from various faiths, but most of them are so-called Muslims, who in reality are neither Muslims nor in the category of human beings – they are ‘humanimals’. They have maligned the peaceful religion of Islam; no wonder the term ‘Islamophobia” has been coined. The result of their acts of terrorism not only affect non-Muslims but play havoc with right-minded Muslims, who faithfully follow the dictates of Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. The terrorists (ISIS, AL-Quada and some other groups) indulge in mass killings and destructions in many countries and cause untold sufferings. Are these the doings of Muslims, or those whose minds have been washed by the insane ideology of a sect of extremists who have become fanatics? Peace loving Muslims are now generally looked down upon by the peoples of other faiths and hated and assaulted whenever a terrorist organization strikes. Is this the fate of followers of Islam?
If we look at Islamic history, we will find that after the conquest of Mecca in 630 AD, the force of Islam began to loom all over Arabia and the true spirit of Islam prevailed in the hearts of fast-growing followers. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) preached peace and harmony, and emphasized that peoples of the book (Muslims, Christians, Jews and all others who believed in one God) were believers and as such should remain at peace with one another, tied in brotherhood and love. Besides, religion, he taught the Muslims basic human values, such as piety, compassion, kindness, sacrifice, unity and the pursuit of education and knowledge. He urged them to imbibe in their character all that was noble. He pointed out that the true jihad (jihad-e-Akbar) is the war against one’s evil intentions and desires, and the other jihad (jihad-e-Asgher) is a war against those who attack Islam and Muslim territories. Thus in all the wars that were fought in his time, the motive was to defend Islam.
After the death of the Prophet in 632AD, the first four caliphs and the true followers of the Faith in the later years kept the spirit of the religion alive. But then gradually baser elements began to surface. Political intrigues, corruptions, wars among Muslims, bloodshed and greed for power all raised their ugly heads.
The Decline Begins
The later caliphs and governors, with the exception of few like Omar II, were more interested in expanding their empire than following Islamic values. They were great fighters and conquerors and so Islamic Empire began to swell. Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Persia and Central Asia – a major portion of the globe – came under their control. But the piety, sense of justice and universal love were being replaced by a love of luxury, greed for power, corruption and voluptuous living. And so, some of the great values of Islam were lost.
The Empire, which had risen to the peak of power, and cultural splendor, which was the center of enormous wealth, learning, commerce, medical, architectural and scientific achievements, unfortunately began to harbor vice, crime and corruption. The rulers donned the garb of kings and emperors, living in palatial mansions with harems full of women, treating common people like slaves, overlooking the benefits of general education and sharpening their swords. People were fast relapsing into the evils of pre-Islamic age of ignorance. Naturally, the Empire slowly began to crumple.
Rise of the West
The people and leaders of the West, on the other hand, started waking up from their deep slumber which they were enjoying at the time of Muslim conquest and progress. The lamp of learning which Muslim philosophers, scientists and writer had lit could not illuminate its own people, but sparked the western mind. Taking rapid strides, western forces began to defeat Muslims and occupy their territories. They progressed in all fields of science, technology and general learning, leaving Muslims far behind.
Muslims in the Mist of Confusion
Shocked by the downfall, Muslims got enshrouded in the mist of confusion and despair. They desperately needed guidance and a strategy to rise again. They failed to interpret the true message contained in Quran and hadith (saying of the prophet) and faltered from the correct path. They divided into many sects with beliefs and ideology of their own and fell apart. The West took advantage of this disunity and further subdued the Muslims. Colonization began.