Civil-War in Islam:Time for Muslims to Recover the Spirit of Islam


A spate of  deadly attacks attributed to and carried out apparently by the ISIS  struck a diverse set of places in the past week-one in Istanbul, in Dhaka, Baghdad and in Saudi Arabia. At one level of analysis, these attacks suggest the expanded and deep reach of the militant outfit; at another, these appear to reflect the territorial losses that the IS has suffered in Iraq. Essentially in the nature of a proto-state , the IS given the hits and losses it has suffered, appears to be in “lashing out “ mode and is gradually morphing into  more or less a pure militant outfit. That is to say, loss of territory will transform its proto state character and it will increasingly take recourse to spectacular attacks. While this will not make the world any safer and it may increase its strike capability elsewhere but the IS may not be an offensive and or even defensive force in military terms. This, however, in the larger scheme of things, is mere corollary. The larger point is that the Muslim world is in the throes of a “civil war”.

What are broad reasons for this civil war within the Muslim world?
No easy or facile lend themselves as answers to this question. Multiple reasons account for the regressive civil war in Islam; diverse and different strands meld together to account for it. Unresolved conflict- the Shia, Sunni conflict which is the major fault line and thus the main  axis of conflict within the Muslim world- imperial and colonial marauding which , in combination with the eclipse of Muslim Imperium, the loss of power and prestige and then the post colonial morass that the Muslim word found itself in , all account for and led to what may be called political decay. Overlaying all these or the last nail in the coffin, so to speak, was the Second Gulf war, initiated by the United States in the name of democracy in the Middle East.
This brief overview of the morass and regression in the Muslim world is not meant as a defensive apologia for the conditions that obtain in the Muslim world but merely to illustrate the context in which the civil war in the Muslim world emerged and incubated. The question is: will this regression become more acute or is there some silver lining that Muslims can grasp and craft a more salubrious future? And, what would it take to restore peace, amity and allay or ameliorate the Muslim condition?
First and foremost, extricating ourselves from the morass warrants a sober introspection within the world of Islam. It also means getting rid of the tendency to blame the outside world for our problems. This is not to suggest that problems that define much of the Muslim world are our own making. No. Not at all. The colonial interregnum and then what may be called the post colonial hiatus or pause has been deleterious for the Muslim world; it rendered Muslims on the defensive and the back foot and it constitutes an explanatory variable to account for many of our problems. But this is not the entire story. We, Muslims, as a community of the faithful, have not, measured upto the tenets and spirit of Islam. We have taken refuge in our modern past and tended to blame outsiders squarely for our condition without looking within. And we have turned inward only to either retreat into mental ghettoes or lash out in a violent idiom. All this, if the Muslim world , is to recover , needs to change.
Essentially, all this means and entails introspection on our part and then seeking answers followed up by a vigorous action to get rid of the problems that plague us. The specific components of the follow up to this course of action would mean engagement with the world in an idiom that smells of roses and – all shorn of violence. That is, comport ourselves and correspond to the real spirit of Islam.  
Islam, as it emerged in the deserts of Arabia was a revolutionary force that inverted and subverted dated and iniquitous practices and beliefs of that world. Islam’s tour de force and appeal lay in these revolutionary paradigms and Islam was meant as a force of peace, dynamism and vigor which when followed scrupulously and in its real spirit meant the amelioration and improvement of the human condition. This was Islam’s soft power. It is this spirit of Islam that must be rediscovered and it is then that peace and progress within and without will ensue. Lashing out in a violent and aggressive idiom only reinforces negative stereotypes about Islam and , in the final analysis, the losers are Muslims. We owe it to ourselves, our posterity above all to Islam itself to present and practice our faith that leads to the efflorescence of civilization and render the world of Islam at peace within and without. Let us make haste slowly and lead a transformation that is bold and beautiful. The time for this is now.

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