Human Greatness and the Muslim Defeatists: Half a Lesson learned

Past few days we have seen so much written on Steve Jobs including my previous post. Unfortunately the many Muslim discussions on him revolve on just a single theme: he died a non Muslim with no faith and hence he will end up in hell leaving all his fortune behind including the work he did. Based on this it is deduced that it is important for us Muslims to remember that death is inevitable and we need to prepare for it with “good” deeds. These “good” deeds are going back to the sources of Islam: the Quran and the way of the Prophet (peace be up on him).

Without undermining the supremacy of true faith in the Creator who is none but Allah (swt), I would like to state the defeatist mentality that permeates this incomplete premise. I call it incomplete because it ignores the greatness that the Muslims need to achieve today and what they have achieved several centuries ago. Greatness that we achieved in science, mathematics, medicine, technology in almost every field, poetry, arts, literature, architecture, and most importantly in leading the world to enlightenment. This is what the Muslims achieved. Today if the non Muslims are achieving the very same zenith in these fields and the Muslims are no where on the scene then we say “but they have no faith”. Aren’t we forgetting that these are the people who have made our lives better in this world? It is them that have invented the iPhones that we use so passionately to recite the Quran or remind us of prayer times. It is their technology that we use to calculate the moon sightings or the Tylenol that we give to our kids. Have we forgotten the technology that brings us the warmth during cold and the cool breeze that we enjoy during the harsh summers? The books that our children study at schools and colleges, the cars we drive, the hospitals that we frequent, the cities that we live in, the banks and roads we use and everything else? Do we not know that non Muslims gave their lives for the civil rights that we enjoy today? They gave their lives for the peace we enjoy in so many countries. Was it that long ago that thousands of scientists and doctors not just dedicated their entire lives but gave up their lives simply so that we and our children may live comfortably? While hundreds of Muslims today have given up their lives so that others may die.

And the only lesson we learn from these great lives is that they died with no faith? What about the greatness they achieved for mankind? Do we quest for this greatness? Have we produced Schindler’s and Rabe’s who risked everything to save humanity simply because they were humans? Do we forget the countless unsung heroes that keep our lives safe and comfortable irrespective of what creed we believe in? We are producing thousands of huffaz (those who memorize the Quran) and scholars and yet our community lies at the rock bottom of the greatness that was once the monopoly of Muslims. This is simply because we have forgotten that our job is to be witnesses for all mankind. It is us who have to lead all humanity in bringing about a better social, political, scientific, technological and economic world. And this is not going to happen by us starting from scratch but by taking the mantle from the great non Muslims of our times. And we cannot take that mantle without acknowledging and respecting their achievements.

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