Monday, January 12, 2009

Islam, a threat to the world

Islam, a threat to the world
By Farzad Roohi

[..] Is Islam a threat to the world? To answer this question, one should first answer the question whether or not Islam is a threat to the region by itself. In a greater attempt, one should answer the question what the role of organized religions have been in human civilizations.

Islam as a powerful social force ascended the pre-Islamic primitive Arab tribes into an egotistical civilization by late 600s and early 700s AD. The emergence of Islam as an empire from the so-called lizard-eaters of the Arabian Desert was indeed a miracle. No wonder no one could believe that only a man like Muhammad could do it on his own except having an unmitigated divine force behind him. This phenomenon sounds logical when a group of unprofessional army can defeat the super powers of the time, the Sassanids and Bezantines. Perhaps, Osama Bin Laden with his al Qaeda followers truly believed that they could do the same thing with today’s superpower, the almighty U.S.A., as Muhammad did to Sassanids and Bezantines 1,400 years ago.

Nonetheless, the Islamic social reform in the heart of Arabia followed by many other nations in the region brought equality and prosperity for the majority of the believers who were the slaves of the former empirical systems. A sociological approach would help one to answer the question why Islam as an ideology gave rise to a worldwide belief and a dominant dogma for the region.

Marxist interpretation of social evolution can be applied to what happened in Arabia in mid 600s. Islamic social reform was one gigantic step towards social harmony and justice. It was Islam, which made people understand humanity as a source of change for a better life. This could be accepted by the uncivilized mass of the time if Muhammad could dress up his social reform with a divine outfit. The social equation of formulating the end of human history under an ideology is not something new that was invented by Karl Marx. The great religions have already predicted the end of the history of mankind but in a divine utopian manner in which humanity can rest in heaven for an eternal life. This phenomenon has been reflected in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Islam was announced as the final religion, which God revealed himself to humanity as the last offer for an eternal salvation of mankind. This religious ideology gives a static nature to Islam and to most religions in general.

God as the absolute truth and Islam as the only factual ideology leave no room for any further changes and reforms. This is what is called social stasis, the true character of an organized religion. There is no doubt that Islam did contribute to the good of humanity 1400 years ago. It is clear enough that Islam was beneficial to humanity in Arabia when women were personal properties with no human rights. It is easy to understand how Islam brought light to the dark ages of Arabia where the baby girls were buried alive. And no doubt that Islam transformed Arabia from a place of desert dwellers into the center of a new civilization expanded from Spain to China. However, this was centuries ago when the corruption of the civilized powers of the time and social orders had left no other options except a new social reform.

The majority of the people in the Middle East welcomed Islam 14 centuries ago simply to escape the social repression and the corrupted systems of the time. It would be a big mistake if one believes that what Islam did centuries ago can save humanity now in the 21st Century. As a fact, the inevitable dynamic nature of human societies goes against any social or ideological stasis. A good example is the dark ages of Europe where it was believed that the Trinity was the cure for all plagues. We should not forget that the birth of science, which brought space exploration, information age, and human welfare, could not happen if the Renaissance had not occurred.

Having a mass nostalgia for the great past is not unique to Islam and the Middle East. Human history is full of it. The annual pilgrimage of Mongolians around the Genghis Khan’s tomb signifies the nostalgia of a nation for their great past. But, is another Genghis Khan a solution to the poverty and misery of Mongolians in 21st century? Will an Islamic theocracy bring economic prosperity and peace to the Middle East? Did Iranian theocracy deliver economic achievement and social freedom after 24 years of Islamic rule? Is this life only a bridge to eternal life where one has to scarify everything to please God to be granted with an eternal life? And if this is the case, then why bother with exploring the space and universe when prayer is the only solution to gain an everlasting life in heaven. Why bother with inventing new medicines for a better health and a longer life when this life is merely a bridge to heaven? Why bother with extending the bridge when the bridge is full of misery? Why bother to live longer when one can shortcut to heaven by becoming martyr? These are the facts, which Islam seeks as an ideology. One can conclude, easily, that Islam as an obstinate religion with no flexibility in its 1400-year old doctrine is indeed a threat to our modern civilization and humanity in general.

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