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A Moroccan Islamic theologian, Mohamed Ben Sheikh Abderrahman Al Maghraoui, has caused a great stir by stating “A nine-year-old girl has the same sexual capacities as a woman of 20 and over”
He issued a fatwa (Islamic edict) where he “legalizes” the union between a child and an adult male. “We found that girls of that age give better benefits than adult women,” he says. “Consequently they are so trained to marry as young of 20 years.”
In the Islamic world, especially in the Arabian Peninsula, marriage between girls and adult males is relatively common, but Muslim theologians have not gone so far in justifying the practice.
Al Maghraoui, a well-known Salafist sheikh, and the author of half a dozen books of theology, posted the fatwa on the website of his association Preaching in the Koran and Sunna. His critics argue that he probably has done it to defend, from a religious point of view, the marriage contracted in secret by one of his friends.
His pronouncement has caused a major scandal in Morocco, but so far there has been no reaction from the authorities. The radical theologian bases his edict in the example of the prophet Muhammad. “Aicha, recalls, had only six years when she became her fiancée but was not married until she turned nine”.
There are “vicious theologians who are capable of putting religion in the service of paedophilia” writes the socialist daily Al Ittihad al Ichtiraki. “The era of our Prophet is completely different from ours. These days a marriage of the kind would be a true injustice towards the girl. A true aberration” says Naji Adib, who heads the association No ones touch my Children, who campaigns in Morocco against this scourge.
“This type of people look at Islam from the point of view which is convenient for them. It is a restrictive vision of Islam. And it is bad. Fatwas like these show the lack of reasoning from those who issue them. I cannot understand via what intellectual road or for what mental construction they come to such aberrations” she added.
Faced with the passivity of the authorities, a lawyer from Rabat, Mourad Bakouri, has taken the initiative to denounce Al Maghraoui for “violation of the Family Code and violation of children’s rights.” The new Moroccan law, which came into force in 2005, stipulates that the minimum age for marriage is 18 years.
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The Prophet said “If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease.” Volume 4, Book 54, Number 537, Narrated Abu Huraira.
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In Islam, pure illiteracy is divine. The uneducated prophet of Islam called himself “a guardian of the illiterates sent by Allah” (Bukhari, 3:34:335). Another hadith (Sunaan Ibn Majah V:4290) reveals that Allah loves illiterate people and hates educated people and he had promised the first entry to Paradise to the illiterate Muslims and the last entry to the educated Muslims. The reason was simple. Muhammad wanted to keep his followers away from education because he knew that his newly established religion could not survive if criticism is allowed. As Toland (cited Gunny, 1996; p. 95) wrote, “… because he [Muhammad] clearly saw that the spirit of inquiry would not favour him. This is how Islam maintained itself”. Qur’an (5:101, 5:102) very strictly prohibits criticism. Diderot (1975, p. 230) expressed the same reason of Muhammad’s concern to keep his followers in darkness of ignorance, because reason is the greatest enemy of Islam. He wrote “since he [Muhammad] could not read or write, and so this had encouraged Muslims to hate and have contempt for knowledge, which in turn secured the survival of Islam”.
Allah not only loves illiteracy but poverty also. As Imam Ghazali, one of the greatest Muslim scholars of all time, had pointed out; prayer, a big family and poverty will ensure Paradise. To promote further admiration of poverty among the Muslims, Ghazali wrote that Allah and His Prophet praised one who remains satisfied with poverty. He even goes to the extent to exhort Muslims to condemn wealth but praise poverty because it is better than wealth (cited Kasem, 2006).
This is how illiteracy and poverty are glorified in Islam as Allah’s will. Illiteracy and poverty often go hand-in-hand and followed by backwardness. This is how Muslims achieve all three together. Non-Muslims will never be able to catch up the Muslims in this field. But Muhammad never wanted to remain in poverty. He was so greedy that in spite of his flourishing slave trade and plunder, he wanted to grasp the property of other Muslims also. As per Sunaan Abu Dawud, 18:2895, Muhammad was the inheritor of those who had no heir.
Destruction of Alexandria’s famous library is one example where Muslims had shown their disgust for education and knowledge. This royal library was one of the greatest of all the libraries during those days and comprised perhaps as many as six hundred thousand manuscripts, as most of the historians estimate – the whole corpus of knowledge accumulated by ancient scientists, philosophers, historians and poets including unique works of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, Hippocrates and Euclid – just a few of the geniuses to mention amongst several others. The library was open to any scholar from anywhere in the world. During the early months of A. D. 642, Amrou, the general leading the armies of Umar surrounded Alexandria, the capital of Egypt. On the orders of Caliph Umar, the entire collection of books stored at the library was removed and used as fuel to heat water for the city’s four thousand public baths. The loss of the library was a particularly grievous blow because the works of so many Roman scholars, literary geniuses, and historians were destroyed. Umar justified his heinous action by saying, “If these writing of the Greeks agree with the Koran, they are useless and need not be preserved. If they disagree, they are pernicious and ought to be destroyed” (Trifkovic, 2002, p. 196). Historians recorded that it took about six months to burn down all the manuscripts.
Many present day Muslims delight in debunking this library burning incident as an anti-Islamic slander. How many of these Muslims know that Umar’s twelfth century successors (Trifkovic, 2002, p. 196) often took great pride to refer this incident?
There was a similar incident in India as well. One of the oldest Universities of the world was Nalanda Mahavidyalaya (University / learning centre). It is not an exaggeration at all that, during those days, Nalanda was the equivalent of today’s Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Berkeley and Stanford, all rolled into one. At its peak, Nalanda used to house over ten thousand students and two thousand teachers. Students from as far as Arabia, China, Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Persia, Turkey and Sri Lanka used to enroll at Nalanda (Oak, 1996, p. 101). All Buddhist subjects and also all ‘Darshanas’ (Hindu systems of Philosophy), phoentics, grammar, nyaya/ rhetoric, languages, medicine, astronomy, chemistry and fine arts apart from various other subjects were covered in Nalanda. But it’s all gone now by the hands of Islamic invaders in A.D 1193 (97?). Bhaktiyar Khilji, the Turkish Muslim invader, took care to inquire whether there was a Qu’ran in the library before he burnt it and sacked the university complex (did his ideological descendents worried about their Qu’ran before flying planes into WTC ?). The brutal act killing all students and teachers engaged in academic studies is claimed to bring great glory to Islam. Islam destroyed in months, what Hindus and Buddhists built for several centuries. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas is just a small minor event in the history in comparison to Nalanda massacre.
As usual, the present day Muslims often deny the destruction of Nalanda in Muslim hands, but how many of them know that Persian historian Minhaz had recorded the Nalanda burning incident in his book, Tabaquat-i-Nasiri, by gathering information from several eye-witnesses. Minhaz recorded (cited Oak, 1996, p. 102),
“Most of the inhabitants of the place were ‘Brahmanas’ (Hindu priests) with shaven heads. They were put to death. Large numbers of books were found there, and when the Mahammadans saw them, they called for some person to explain the contents. But all of the men were killed. It was discovered that the whole fort and city was a place for study, in the Hindi language the word Bihar (i.e. Vihara) means a college.”
In the destruction of Nalanda, the same historian, Minhaz (cited Dutt, 1988) recorded that several thousands of monks were burned alive and yet more thousands beheaded, and the burning of the library continued for several months. Many were forcibly converted to Islam. For Buddhism, in India, this incident marked the beginning of end (Kashyap, 1996). Several historians (cited Dutta et al., 1996. p. 29-30) concluded that Muslim rule was solely responsible for the present poverty of India and for destroying a flourishing a Hindu economy. Medieval India, until the Islamic invasion was a very rich culture, one of the six or seven most advanced civilizations of all times (Trifkovic, 2002, p. 110).
Muslims often take childlike pride on the golden age of Islam, which was actually a myth. As Spencer (2005, p. 91) reported, there is no historical proof to support the idea that Islam inspired a culture which outstripped others. Tisdall (1984, p. 201) wrote, “No great civilization, no scientist of note, no renowned school of philosophy, has ever arisen on purely Mohammedan ground”. He believed that even several Muslim scholars had accepted this fact. Islam never encouraged scientific knowledge. The only knowledge it accepts is Qur’anic knowledge. Diderot stated (cited Gunny, 1996, p. 168) that during Caliph Al-Mamun, people were heard shouting for his death because he had fostered science at the expense of the `holy ignorance’ of the faithful believers. Akbar, the Mughal emperor of India was an illiterate and surprisingly, it was not a shame for him but a pride. This stupid Muslim emperor, in his own eyes, had one qualification to be a prophet. “The prophets were all illiterates”, he used to point out frequently and sincerely believed that, in order to honor their prophet, it is the essential duty for every faithful Muslim to keep one of their sons illiterate. (Eraly, 1997, p. 909). With so much glorification of illiteracy and dislike for science, there is little doubt that, Islam’s golden age is far from reality. It is infidel’s education, science, technology and endurance, based on which the Human civilization had spread everywhere including Islamic world itself; on which the Muslim community has no contribution. Trifkovic (2002, p. 196) wrote, “Whatever flourished, it was not by reason of Islam, it was in spite of Islam.” There is no doubt about it.
Even today, the situation is not much changed. Mindless glorification of illiteracy and stupidity is continued shamelessly as true Islamic traditions. One of the burning examples is Madrassah education, for study of pure Islamic ethics, which in today’s world is ‘pure ignorance’. In many orthodox Madrassahs, it is still taught that earth is flat (Das, 2006a). This is the height of Qur’anic stupidity. Earth is flat, because, Qur’an says so.
Legacy of Islamic stupidity reached its peak when Ibn Baz, a noted Islamic scholar from Saudi Arabia wrote a book (published by Islamic University of Medina, Saudi Arabia) on 1974, claiming that, earth is motionless and sun revolves around the earth. He confidently challenged the age-old belief of earth’s rotation and quoted, “If the earth is rotating as they [Infidels]claim, the countries, the mountains, the trees, the rivers, and the oceans will have no bottom and the people will see the eastern countries move to the west and the western countries move to the east.” During 1993, the same Islamic intellectual again gave another verdict that “earth is flat”. The stupidity did not end there. Ibn Baz threatened to his fellow Muslims, “Anyone of the round persuasion does not believe in God and should be punished” (Das, 2006b). This scholar never read any book except of Islamic faith and since Qur’an confirms that earth is flat, therefore Ibn Baz was sure that earth is flat.
Islamic stupidity reached its zenith once again when a scholar, Dr. Izzat Attya who is the head of the department of Hadith in Al-Azhar, (world’s most prestigious Islamic University), issued a fatwa (religious opinion), which declared that, it is legitimate for a working Muslim woman to breast-feed her male colleague to avoid the sin of ‘khulwa’ (staying with a stranger in one room). Similar fatwas had been issued in the past by many Sheikhs in many Middle-Eastern countries, but this is the first time it came from a high level academic of Al-Azhar (Salih, 2007).
Al-Azhar, which is supposed to be the world’s most prestigious Islamic University, has no shortage of Qur’anic talents and their research topics often fascinate others. We all know that Muslims who entered paradise would enjoy eternal erections and the company of virgins and ‘pearl-like’ young boys. But the Al-Azhar faculty had objected on the issue of ‘eternal erection of male sexual organ’ and after much debate / research etc, came to the conclusion that, men in paradise would have erections, but merely protracted, not perpetual (Miller, 1997. p. 26-27). Some of them also doubted the possibility of pederasty (anal intercourse between man and a boy) in paradise, while many agreed.
So, this is the faculty level of the Al-Azhar and University of Medina. If this is not stupidity then what is stupidity? Are ‘flat earth’, ‘motionless earth’ and ‘sun revolves around earth’ theories have got any meaning when modern scientific discoveries are fascinating the common citizen and the scholar alike in the present era ? Are ‘eternal erection’ and ‘breast feeding a man’ the only concerns, which trouble the Muslims at this scientific era when the civilized world is busy with the conquest of space, genetic engineering and wonders of the computer? How much stupidity is enough?
It is the duty and responsibility of the universities to introduce new knowledge of values. A university stands for Humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for progress, for the adventure of ideas and for the search of the truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race towards even higher objectives. If the temple of learning itself becomes a home of mindless stupidity, how then the Muslim society will prosper and every individual Muslim grow in stature?
Education is directly related to the economy of any society; higher the education, better the economic growth. But since, anything except Qur’anic knowledge is superfluous; common Muslims live in poverty. It is not surprising at all that a prominent person like Ayatollah Khomeini once wisely said (cited Fara et. al, 1996, p. 69) “Economics is a preoccupation of donkeys”. Bisset (cited Trifkovic, 2002. p. 5) argues that there is something wrong in Muslim world and raised his doubt, “With all their oil wealth, why are there no Muslim countries among the top thirty of the world’s richest nations? Why is it that, two-thirds of the world’s poorest people live in Muslim countries? ” As Sina (2001) said, “The greatest gift of Islam to its followers is poverty.” The GDP in all Arab countries combined stood at $ 531.2 billion in 1999 which is less than that of a single European country (Spain – $595.5 billion). According to the World Bank, in 2000 the average annual income in the Muslim countries from Morocco to Bangladesh was only half the world average (Lewis, 2003, p. 99, 100). But the irony is that common Muslims do not blame themselves for their pitiable condition. All they do is to put the charge on the civilized nations. “Afghans suffer poverty because of America’s disproportionate wealth” – this is what Madrassah teachers say in Afghanistan (Elder, n.d) and low academic level of the Palestinians is due to Israeli aggression (Al-Samman, 2001).
Dr. Kenneth David, a well-known economist, presented World Bank Survey of 1980, on the educational and economic status of religious societies of the world in his book named “The Cultural Environment of International Business”. UNDP in 1996 also presented an exhaustive status report of UN Member countries. These important documents are highly revealing since they compare living conditions of all the religious societies i.e. Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, tribal religions and Muslims as well as non-religious communist society. Few disturbing facts (cited Farooqi, 2005) are as follows,
- Christian society is the most advanced society of the world with regard to education, health and economic wealth whereas Muslim society is the most backward on these counts.
- Literacy of Christian world in 1980 was on an average 90% and about 15 countries had a literacy of 100%. Whereas, average literacy in the Muslim countries was less than 40% and none had 100% literacy. More or less the same situation continued afterwards and in 2001 UNDP reported an average of 60 % literacy in Islamic countries and between 95 to 100% in the Western nations of Christians.
- Among the literates of the Christian world, hardly 2% of the population did not complete school education whereas 50% of the Muslims never attended modern schools. In the Christian society literacy implies education of at least primary level whereas in Muslim society a person who could read and write is considered to be literate. If the criterion of the Christian world is taken into account then hardly 10% population of the Muslim countries can claim to be literate.
- The importance of education in the Christian countries can be judged by the fact that around 40% get higher education including specialization in various disciplines of science. This is less than 2% in Muslim countries. Even the standard of higher education of this 2% is lower in Muslim countries when compared with the Christian world. Hence, many educated Muslims get specialized knowledge of science, engineering and medicine in the Christian West.
- Scientific achievement of the Muslim society cannot be considered to be of any consequence. Out of the total of 2,60,000 articles published every year on scientific research, hardly 2500 i.e. about 1% are published in Muslim countries.
- Total number of Science Ph.D.’s produced by about 450 Universities of Muslim Countries every year is less than 500, whereas in UK alone this number is 3000.
- Total strength of Engineers and Scientist in Muslim world (1.30 billion) is less than the scientists and engineers working in France alone (population 60 million).
- Hardly 16% of Muslim population is involved in industrial production, whereas for Christians this figure is 60%.
As per another statistics (cited Mahmood, 2006),
- Amongst every one million citizens, the number of scientists is 4000 in USA, 5000 in Japan and only 230 in Muslim world. The number of research assistants in western world is 1000 for every one million people and in Muslim world this number is only 50.
- Total number of universities in USA is 5758 and in India 8407, whereas it is only miserly 500 altogether for all 57 Muslim nations of the world. Out of all the topmost universities of the glove, not a single one is from any of the Muslim nation.
- In Western world 98% people complete their primary education and 40% goes to universities, whereas in Muslim world only 50% people completes primary education and 2% goes to universities.
- In UK, 2000 books are published for every one million people, whereas in Egypt, the number is only 20.
- Number of Doctorates in India alone is more than the total number of Doctorates in entire Muslim world.
Educational level of the common Arabs is too low. As of 1982, Arab world produced 40 books per million habitants which is far below the world average 162 titles per million (Eickelman & Piscatori, 1997, p. 40). Another report (cited Lewis, 2003, p. 99) reveals; the Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one-fifth of the number that Greeks translates. As per United Nations’ Arab Human Development Report (cited Gattuso, 2005), half of Arab women are illiterate. In total, 60% of Arab Muslims are illiterate. Almost half of the universities concentrate on teaching Islamic education and Islamic science. Fifteen percent of the Arab workforce is unemployed. Only 1% of the Arab population has a personal computer, and only 0.5 % use the Internet.
The Census of India, 2001 (cited Goswami & Malik, 2006. p. 34-40) gave a detailed educational data across religious groups of India. The report reveals a fearful gap between the educational levels of the Muslims and non-Muslims. The original report is too large to produce here. Few salient points are as follows,
Muslim population is far less educationally accomplished than their non-Muslim counterparts in every state of India and in all levels of education. Urban Muslim women are far worse off educationally than their male counterparts.
- All India literacy levels of Muslim man (55%), non-Muslim Man (64.5%); Muslim woman (40.6%) and non-Muslim woman (45.9%).
- All India literacy levels of urban Muslim man (64.2%), urban non-Muslim man (77.3%), urban Muslim woman (52.8%), and urban non-Muslim women (65.5%)
- 44% fewer Muslim students complete senior school compared to non-Muslim.
- Only one in 101 Muslim women is a graduate versus one out of 37 non-Muslim women.
- 31 million more Muslims to be educated by 2011 to match today’s literacy level of the non-Muslims.
- Many more Muslims drop out of high schools than all other religious communities.
- The average income of Muslim families is much lower than that of the non-Muslims. Over 60% of Muslims live in slums and poorer areas.
- There are hardly any social workers, NGOs and activists from Muslim background compared to non-Muslims.
Throughout nineteenth century, attempts were made to analyze the causes of Muslim backwardness in India. One of the reasons is that a vast number of Muslims were apathetic to any education except Qu’ran. Also, their complete lack of interest in English education is another factor. When the Hindus and Christians recognized the advantages of learning English under British rule; the Muslims sat apart wrapped into the memory of their traditions and held back by the conservatism of Islam (Ahmed, 1981. p. 133). Rev. Long (1868, p. 62) argued that Muslim community did not have the same aptitude as the Hindus for acquiring a knowledge in English. Even today, as Census of India, 2001 had pointed out, too many Muslim households still believe that religious education at Madrassah is a substitute for high school and college learning. Still many Indian Muslims prefer learning Arabic, Persian and Urdu more than English and western education. Rural Indian Muslims often send their children to village Madrassahs, where average students, after years of study, fail to write a letter or keep accounts correctly (Ahmed, 1981. p. 139). Therefore many Muslims prefer to send their children to Hindu learning centers though they do not like it. Often Madrassah students after wastage of several years, join a Hindu or Christian school to learn something ‘useful’. The Indian Muslim’s work ethics is also utter disappointing, as Terry (cited Eraly, 1977, p 692) wrote, “… for the Mahometans…. There are many of them idle, and know better to eat than work”.
The Indian Government’s special effort aimed at removing the educational disparity between the Muslims and the Hindus initiated in 1870-71 and lasted through several decades. Amongst measures of first category was to introduce science in the Islamic schools and to bring those schools under Department of Education of India. But Government was strongly opposed by the Mullahs and Maulvis, who were dead against Western education. They interpreted education in terms of ‘Din-i-Ilm’, ie, religious education and considered any education other than instruction in the literature and principles of Islam is irrelevant and heretical. One Author went so far as to suggest that when people forsake ‘Din-i-Ilm’ for worldly education it should be regarded as a sure sign of ‘Kiamat’, ie, the Day of Judgment (Sattar, 1877, p. 26). Many Mullahs advice the parents not to send their children to the educational institutions because ‘English education was sure to interfere with their religion’. The Mullahs and Madrassah teachers had their own reasons to oppose any innovations in educations that might cost him his position in society as well as his sources of income (Ahmad, 1981, p. 141). In this situation, as Ahmad (1981, p. 140) lamented, it is for sure that Muslim masses have very little hope of balancing the educational statistics at par with the Hindus in the near future.
Presently about 36% of Indian Muslims live in cities, but their economic condition is so poor that most of them are slum-dwellers. Even a famous Muslim minister, Dr. Rafic Zakaria said, “Indian Muslims had remained alienated from the Hindus, whose goodwill was essential for their economic uplift and educational advancement”. Zakaria further lamented that Indian Muslims are misguided by their religious leaders and they are in pathetic condition because they had alienated themselves from Hindu society and Hindu culture. (Brahmachari, 2000, p. 190).
Dr. M. I. H. Farooqi , Gen. Secretary, Urdu Scientific Society,(Scientist and Deputy Director, National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, India) lamented,
“Learning and inquiry was no more the motto of the Muslims with the result that today they occupy the lowest position in the ladder of the world. They are educationally backward, scientifically marginal, politically insignificant and economically poor. This is the present status of the entire Ummah amongst the comity of nations”. (Farooqi, 2005)
The situation is so alarming that, well known Islamic fundamentalist of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, once said while addressing Muslims at a Seminar (cited Farooqi, 2005), “For God’s sake, get up now and see how much the sun has risen and how far your co-travelers (non-Muslims) have gone ahead of you”.
Muslims often take childlike pleasure saying that Jews are descendents of monkeys and pigs. However, reality is something else. A statistical comparison (summarized from Nelson & Chowdhury, 1997 and Britannica book of the year 1998) between Israel and several other Muslim nations on different aspects is as follows.
- Female literacy rate: Israel (83%), Bangladesh (21.8%), Sudan (4%), Egypt (29 %), Turkey (43%), Morocco (22%), Pakistan (24.4%), Afghanistan (15%).
- Male literacy rate: Israel (93%), Bangladesh (36.1%), Sudan (25%), Egypt (57%), Turkey (77%), Morocco (49%), Pakistan (50%), Afghanistan (47.2%).
- Birth rate per one thousand population: Israel (23), Bangladesh (32), Sudan (45), Egypt (36); Turkey (28), Morocco (31), Pakistan (36.4), Afghanistan (43), Algeria (28.5), Libya (40), Iran (33.7), Iraq (34.1), Syria (40).
- Maternal mortality rate (per one hundred thousand live births): Israel (5), Bangladesh (600), Sudan (660), Egypt (80), Turkey (210), Morocco (300).
- Infant mortality rate (per one thousand live births): Israel (14), Bangladesh (114), Sudan (107), Egypt (88), Turkey (74), Morocco (58), Pakistan (75), Afghanistan (146.7), Algeria (48.7), Libya (56), Iran (52.7), Iraq (91.9), Syria (29.6).
- Mortality rate for children under five (per one thousand live births): Israel (16), Bangladesh (180), Sudan (181), Egypt (131); Turkey (93), Morocco (76).
- Life expectancy (female /male): Israel (77 / 73.6), Bangladesh (55.4 / 56.4), Sudan (51/ 48.6), Egypt (59.5 / 56.8), Turkey (65.2 / 62.5), Morocco (62.5 / 59.1), Pakistan (65 / 63), Afghanistan (45.2 / 46.4), Algeria (69.5 / 67.2), Libya (67.5 / 63.9), Iran, (68.7 / 66.1), Iraq (60.4/ 57.3), Syria (71.3/ 68.4) .
- Gross national product per capita (in US$): Israel (10300), Bangladesh (180), Sudan (300), Egypt (610), Turkey (1080), Morocco (960).
- Average household size: Israel (3.6), Bangladesh (5.3), Sudan (5.1), Egypt (5.2), Turkey (4.7), Morocco (4.2).
Undoubtedly, the mighty nation Israel is far ahead of the neighboring Islamic countries. Jews community is small, but they are highly educated, productive, rich and peaceful. Muslims will do much better if they sit at the feet of Jews Masters and Maestros and learn from them instead of taking instruction from Qur’an. Muslim-Jews educational differences are more prominent if we compare the number of Noble-Laureates amongst them. From a pool of 1.4 billion Muslims which are 20% of the world’s population (2 out of every 10 people) there are only six winners (Including Nobel “Peace Prize” to Yasser Arafat, who was a ‘terrorist). And from a pool of 12 million Jews which are 0.2% of the World’s Population (2 out of every 1,000 people) there are 165 Jews listed (Jewish Magazine, 2006).
Even those Muslims who live and work in the west also lag behind their non-Muslim neighbors. Let’s take the example of United Kingdom. As per the United Kingdom census of 2001 (cited Gattuso, 2005), Muslims make up 2.8%, Hindus 1%, Sikhs 0.6 %, Buddhists and Jews both make up 0.5% of the UK population, but sadly,
- 31% of Muslims of working age have no qualifications, the highest of any religious group.
- 82% of Sikhs followed by 78% of Jews own their own home in the UK. Only 52% of Muslims own their own home, the lowest of any religious group.
- 14% of Muslims are unemployed the highest of any religious group, compared to 8% of Sikhs and 6% of Hindus.
The above statistics are horrifying and certainly a bitter taste for Muslims because they are scared to face the truth. Almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty, backardness and tyranny. Today Muslims should remove the religious blindness from their eyes while there is still time and must realize that Man, society and values cannot be understood in separately. Poverty, backwardness and illiteracy are all interrelated. Education, ideals and practices are rooted in society, which reflects the central tendencies, features and forms of that society.
Societies need such educational system, which should teach the higher values of life as well as skill needed for employment. As Unnithan (cited Loomb & Madan, 1987, p. 88) said, “The task is to provide competent men and women, trained in several arts, science and professions who will also be cultivated individuals imbued with a sense of social purpose.” Higher education is deeply involved in technological advance. Today education becomes a way of investing in human capital across many levels or skills. It is the ‘brain workers’ that are the economic need of societies in advanced industrialization, governmental as well as industrial leaders.
After WW-II, a rapid expansion of education services occurred throughout the world, including the developing countries, which is the actual way out of social and individual poverty (World Bank, 1974 & 1980; Linn, 1983, p. 195). As a result, today for a number of developing countries, education absorbed more than a quarter of all public expenditures. World Bank (1974; p. 28) understands that, many low-income countries are, “approaching the limits of their financial capability without having achieved even a minimum education for the majority of their populations.” Finally it also became clear that, although some sections of populations made considerable progress in educational achievements, large segments were little affected by the educational efforts.
World Bank (1974, 1980) strongly suggests that education should be placed in the overall context of development objectives, and strategies, as one of many policy instruments, is in the increasing realization that the education system itself needs to be restructured to attain the goals of improved efficiency and equity in development. It is high time, Muslims should listen what World Bank is saying instead of what Qur’an is saying. An Islamic society cannot see educational and economic growth as long as it is guided by the Sha’ria Law. Today Muslims must realize that their own existence and destiny are inalienably related to the existence and destiny of other human beings around them. When Muslims are endowed with this awareness, responsibility and vision; then the future that will loom large before them is the future of his country or perhaps humanity. With this the Islamic society will see an economic growth. With a strong national economy, poverty of the masses can be eradicated. What is required is a mass awakening.
There is a silver lining in every cloud. Muslims are slowly waking up with the fact that Islam is the cause of the decadence of the Muslim world. Probably this is the reason so many Muslims are leaving Islam everywhere. More and more Muslims are coming up with the facts and openly criticizing Islam. Slowly media is also gaining courage to call a spade a spade. In South Africa, the divine downfall is already noticeable (author’s first-hand experience). Ex-Muslim movement had started and gathering momentum in almost all the western nations. Doubts are raised by the young population from the native land of Islam, Saudi Arabia. If the maxim “morning shows the day” is correct, then the end of the darkness is not far away.
And yes, on that day of enlightenment, this article will lose all its importance and become irrelevant.
Books, Journals, Official documents
Ahmed, Rafiuddin (1981); The Bengal Muslims 1871 – 1906: A quest for identity. Oxford University Press. Delhi. India
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Dutt, Sukumar (1988) Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India, Part V, Chapter 3. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, India.
Dutta, Madhusree; Agnes, Flavia; Adarkar, Neera (1996); The nation, the state and Indian identity. Samya publications. Calcutta. India.
Eickelman, Dale F. and Piscatori, James (1997); Muslim politics. Oxford India Press. Delhi, India.
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Eraly, Abraham (1997); The last spring – the lives and times of the great Mughals. Viking Penguin India.
Fara, Patricia; Gathercole, Peter; Laskey, Ronald (1996); The changing world. Press Syndicate of university of Cambridge. Australia.
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Linn, Johannes (1983); Cities in the developing world – policies for their equitable and effective growth. A World Bank publication. OUP. USA.
Long, Rev. J (1868); The social condition of the Mohammedans of Bengal and the remedies. Published in Bengal Social Science review. Calcutta. India.
Loomba, R. M; Madan, G. R (1987); Society and culture. Allied Publishers. ND. India.
Miller, Judith (1997); God Has Ninety-Nine Names. Simon & Schuster.
Nelson, Barbara & Chowdhury, Najma (1997); Women and politics worldwide. OUP.
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Sattar, Abdul (1877); Dafi al-Sharur. Calcutta. India (presently out of print).
Spencer, Robert (2005); The politically incorrect guide to Islam (and the crusades). Regnery Publishing. Washington DC.
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Elder, Larry (n.d); Arab World Poverty–Whose Fault? (Last accessed 27th June / 2008)
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