Between Our Civilization and Theirs


Between Our Civilization and Theirs
by Imām al-Haram 'Abdur-Rahmān As-Sudais

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

Brethren in Faith! I implore you and myself to fear Allah, for it is through fear of Allah that happiness can be achieved in this world and the hereafter.

Fellow Muslims! The making of glory lies in perpetuity of civilizations and that can never be achieved in the absence of true faith and high moral values. Whoever studies the history of civilizations will realise that they rise and fall while some have totally disappeared from the pages of history because of the absence of the stabilizing factors. The noblest civilization the human history has ever known is that of Islam and today’s western civilization is only a product of Islamic civilization in Andalusia and other places. The cause of its bankruptcy is its absolute dependence on materialism and shunning of religion and moral values causing thereby a great misery for mankind of which moral corruption, suicide cases and psychological disorder are some of its examples.

Brethren in Islam! The credibility of the western civilization has been put to shame in its claim that it is capable of bringing about the much needed peace and stability and preserving moral values. The only nation capable of doing that and elevating the human civilization is the Muslim nation. Allah says,

  “Thus We have made you (true Muslims) a just nation, that you be witnesses over mankind.” (Al-Baqarah 2:143)  

  He also declares the Muslims as the best community, “You (true Muslim) are the best of people ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin all that is good, forbid all that is evil and you believe in Allah.” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:110)  

The Muslims are also those whom Allah describes thus,

  “Those who, if We give them power in the land enjoin performing prayers, paying of Zakaah, enjoin all that is good and forbid all that is evil. And with Allah is rests the end of (all) matters.” (Al-Hajj 22:41)  

This should not be surprising, for our righteous predecessors were the builders of the imposing edifice of Islamic civilization and the bearers of the light of guidance. They raised the banner of prosperity for all mankind and presented abundance gift to humanity. None can really know this honour except him who takes Allah as his Lord, Muhammad as his prophet and Islam as his religion.

Brethren in Faith! The greatest quality of this religion is its pure Islamic monotheism that encourages knowledge, recognises reason, takes care of man and aims at benefiting mankind and save them from harm. It also protects man’s fundamental rights, preserves his religion, honours and nurtures his mind and positively elevates his soul. Islam commends gentleness, easiness, fairness and mercy regardless of what its enemies may say. Allah says,

  “We know indeed the grief which their words cause you (O Muhammad): it is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses of Allah that the wrongdoers deny.” (Al-An‘aam 6:33)  

No just man will deny the fact that the world has never witnessed a civilization better than that of Islam in compassion, high moral standard and justice. And since the so-called modern civilization has fallen into the abyss of materialism and moral corruption, it is Islam that remains the only viable leader that can lead the world. Islam does not use modern technologies to exploit nations, drain their wealth and desecrate their honour neither does it take modern inventions and discoveries as means to promote atheism or use sophisticated weapons to threaten the security of other countries. Also, Islam does not use the mass media to mislead people. The responsibility of the Message of Islam is to save man, bring him the much-needed peace and protect him from injustice and misery.

Fellow Muslims! Our Islamic civilization has left its impacts in all fields of sciences and ethics, achieved much in the area of human development and has had far-reaching influence on modern civilization. This is not an exaggeration but facts recorded by the history in golden pages.

In the area of human civilization, Islam established the pure foundation. Allah says,

  “O Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has piety.” (Al-Hujuraat 49:13)  

By this honourable verse, Islam removes man from the atmosphere of hatred and racialism to the blissful world of equality and mutual cooperation in which there is no place for racial superiority. This concept was exemplified in our civilization through many incidences. ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab one day saw an old Jew in the market of Al-Madeenah begging. He asked him of his condition and then said, “We have not been fair to you. We took tax from you while you were young and neglected you in your old age.” He then took him to his house, gave him food and then sent to the keeper of the Muslims’ bank to give him and people like him what could suffice them and their families. This is a marvellous example from the history of our civilisation.

Brethren in Faith! In the area of treating the opponents, Islam established a principle of fairness, good relationship and calling unto the way of Allah with the best method through dialogue and conviction. Allah says,

  “And argue not with the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians) unless it be in a way that is better.” (Al-‘Ankaboot 29:46)  

Islam enjoins it adherents, while arguing with their opponents to refrain from insulting their deities.

To promote social harmony, Islam enjoins good neighbourliness. The Messenger of Allah had some neighbours among the people of the Scripture whom he used to visit and from whom he accepted gifts.

Another glowing example in this regard is what ‘Umar did to the residents of Iliya (who were Christians) by giving them protection on their properties and places of worship and granting their request that no Jew should be allowed to reside there with them. These and other examples from the history of Islamic civilization caused those with sense of justice among non-Muslims to admit that no country had known conquerors who are more passionate and more tolerant than the Arabs and that no religion is more tolerant than their religion which is Islam.

Fellow Muslims! There is another shining aspect of our civilization: our war etiquettes. While the rest of the world was being ruled by jungle law, Islamic civilization has started shining with the establishment of war etiquettes and rules. In war, Islam prohibits looting and desecration of the honours of the opponent. It gives war a noble goal which is defence of the faith, security of the society and driving back the aggressors. Allah says,

  “And fight in the way of Allah those that fought you, but transgress not the limits, Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors” (Al-Baqarah 2:190)  

War does not make us forget our principles. That is why Abu Bakr gave this instruction, “When the war becomes terse, do not mutilate, nor betray or steal from the booty or kill an old man, young child or woman. Do not destroy date plantations nor burn it, neither should you cut a fruit-bearing tree or slaughter a goat, cow or camel except for food. You will come across some people who keep themselves busy (with worship) in their hermitages so leave them as they are.” Abu Bakr admonished the Muslim soldiers with these words while he was sending them on an expedition under the command of Usaamah bin Zayd.

More wonderful than this is the saying of the Messenger of Allah when he was injured in the battle of Uhud and had his molar tooth broken. He told his companions who asked him to curse the disbelievers, “I am not sent as a curser but as a mercy to mankind. O Lord, forgive my people for they know not what they are doing!” He also told his adversaries on the day of Conquest of Makkah, “You are free, so you can go.” In one of his battles, he saw a slain woman and was annoyed and said, “Had I not forbidden you from killing women? This woman should not have been killed.”

During the Tatar wars, many Muslims and non-Muslims who were living under their protection fell as captives in the hands of Tatars. Shaykul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah interceded for their release and the then ruler agreed to free only Muslims. Shaykul-Islam rejected that and said, “All of them should be freed both Muslims and non-Muslims and no captive should be left behind.” This is how our civilization deals with war captives, Muslims and non-Muslims.

When Salahuddeen Al-Ayyoobee conquered Baitul-Maqdis, there were more than one hundred thousand non-Muslims. He gave them security over their lives, properties and allowed them to go out of the city in exchange for a paltry sum to be paid by those who were able to. As for those who were not, he paid on their behalf. This is our civilization.

The contemporary history has witnessed the barbarism of others and their terrorism in spite of the beautiful slogans that are being disregarded in practice and the international pacts that proclaim human rights through imaginary treaties and democracies. Christian wars against Muslims in Andalusia and in the present age did not and will never escape the notice of history, so are other atrocities committed by their civilization against humanity. Their hatred for humanity manifested in the two world wars in spite of the so-called United Nations pacts.

Theirs are mere slogans. They hide under the call for world peace and stability to cultivate terrorism and colonialism. World events have unfold their cruelty and testify to the fact that they are merciless murderers and heartless racists. How could they then unleash media campaign against Muslims and call them terrorists while their evils are so open that everyone can see it?! The Muslims will never forget the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla at the hands of the Zionists against our brethren.

The secret of the Western media has been unveiled when it became confirmed that most news agencies and satellite channels are controlled by Zionist organisations. Since this reality is known, it then becomes the duty of the journalists all over the Islamic world to awake from their slumber, take up the challenge and use the Muslim mass media to explain the beauties of our civilization to the world. It is also incumbent on them to verify their information, stare clear of instigations and preserve the correct Islamic values.

We have to decide on terminologies so that there would not any mix up between the abhorred terrorism and legal resistance to injustice and in order that innocent and well meaning people who work for charity, Islamic propagation and knowledge are not wrongly accused of terrorism. There is however a question for the world opinion leaders and western media: Is what is happening presently in Palestine and the atrocities being committed by the malicious Israeli government against Palestinians in agreement with truth, fairness and humanity? If the vicious crimes of the Zionists in Palestine are not acts of terrorism what then is terrorism?

All the above will make it necessary for the Muslims to see their civilization as the only one capable of paddling the canoe of humanity to safety in a world full of challenges and where the weak have no say.

Brethren in Faith! While we are talking about the necessity of a plan under which the Islamic civilization will be promoted, we must have sincerity of purpose and unite in our adherence to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. We should free our minds from hatred, rancour and whimsical desires, nurture our youths with the true knowledge of Islam through erudite scholars and get ourselves preoccupied with the most importance issues. We should review our political stands and examine ourselves, so that the arena will not be free for those who only serve their personal interests; those who have been defeated and deluded by false glittering of the of the enemy’s civilization, lost confidence in themselves and their nation and have become beggars at the dinning tables of western culture and philosophy. They are paid to launch assault on Islamic belief and values. Islamic principle of allegiance and denunciation has become weak in their hearts and they attack Muslim woman’s manner of dressing and belittle the Muslims’ culture and educational system with impunity.

In the midst of these malicious attacks against Islam and Muslims, a voice emerged from the land of the two Sacred Mosques that there would not be any bargaining over our religion and faith. This gladdened the hearts of the true Muslims and blocked the way in the face of the selfish people, so that our society can have progress.