Uploaded on March 13, 2024

The world is witnessing conflicts and wars on multiple continents besides being afflicted with economic inequality, environmental degradation, moral depravity and political chicanery. In such troubled times, Islam can guide us to the straight path, observes DR. MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM.

I have often underlined the urgency of strengthening the human rights frameworks and applying them without any bias or prejudice, upholding the rule of law, and resolving conflicts peacefully. I have also stressed upon addressing the issues of economic inequality, environmental degradation and moral depravity.

In one of my recent articles I warned about the rise of illiberal democracies, which have a tendency to hide their antidemocratic practices behind democratic institutions and procedures. I urged citizens of democracies to watch out for such a trend, and make concerted effort to strengthen democracy, human rights and rule of law so that everybody lives a life of dignity, equality, piety and brotherhood.

When we study the Qur’an we see that Allah SWT has bestowed every human being with dignity. Allah SWT says: “We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of Our Creation” (Al-Qur’an, Surah 17, verse 70).

Islam teaches us equality and fraternity. There is no scope for discrimination and prejudice against a people on the basis of region, religion, caste and creed. 

All of us are equal in the sight of Our Creator; however, the noblest of us in the sight of Allah SWT is one who is the most righteous. Allah SWT says: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)” (Al- Qur’an, Surah 59, verse 13).

I have also spoken about transactional diplomacy in the light of Human Rights Watch’s annual report of 2024. The Economist in its Feb. 17th 2024 issue has put the spotlight on national conservatism and urged liberals to find a way to stop it. The British magazine says national conservatism is different from the conservatism built by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher around markets and freedom in the 1980s. Some of the western politicians have demolished that orthodoxy, constructing in its place a conservatism that is against wokeness and globalism. “Rather than being sceptical of big government, national conservatives think ordinary people are beset by impersonal global forces and that the state is their saviour. Unlike Reagan and Thatcher, they hate pooling sovereignty in multilateral organisations, they suspect free markets of being rigged by the elites and they are hostile to migration. They despise pluralism, especially the multicultural sort.”

The magazine rightly observes that national conservatives deserve to be taken seriously because of their electoral prospects. “Mr. Trump is leading the polls in America. The far right is expected to do well in European parliamentary elections in June. In Germany in December the hard-right Alternative for Germany hit a record high of 23% in polls. Anticipating a lost election for Rishi Sunak, stridently pro-Brexit and anti-migration Tories are plotting to take over the party. In 2027 Ms. Le Pen could well become France’s president.”

I can understand liberals’ concern about the rise of national conservatism. However, what I am unable to understand is why liberals don’t acknowledge what is happening in Gaza is genocide. Is it so complicated? Are the western nations indulging in transactional diplomacy here or are they simply complicit in Palestinian genocide (over 30,000 people have been killed)?

In such troubled times when I reflect upon the problems afflicting the world and what could be the solution, I come to the conclusion that if people pay heed to Islamic teachings all the problems would go away.

Islam emphasises equality of all human beings. The Qur’an unambiguously asserts that all humans are equal as they are from Adam and Adam was from clay. Hence, everyone is equal to everyone else in dignity.

The Prophet (PBUH), in his historic address during his last Hajj, laid down a clear guide map for living on earth to be followed by all Muslims to come till the Final Day. Among his words were, “No white man has a superiority over a black man; no black man has a superiority over a white man; no Arab has a superiority over a non-Arab; no non-Arab has a superiority over an Arab, except in piety” (Musnad Imam Ahmad). In the eyes of Islam, everyone is equal in dignity.

If the world pays heed to the teachings of Islam, the world could become a better place to live in. We’ll be in a better position to grapple with the challenges of racism, income and wealth inequality, injustice, corruption and over-exploitation of the environment.

We believe that Islam can help create a more prosperous and peaceful world. Let’s resolve to study Islamic teachings in the Holy Month of Ramadan that is around the corner.


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