Globalization: Role for Muslims

It is critical, in this backdrop; to examine the role Islam and the Muslim Ummah can play in influencing and shaping the future course of globalization.

Globalization provides a very unique opportunity to Islam and the Muslim Ummah. Islam with its fundamental values of Tawhid, Oneness of God, and consequently of Oneness of mankind; of supremacy of the moral over the material; of integration of spiritual and mundane; its overriding commitment to justice, beneficence and compassion (al-adl xva al-ehsan) for all; and its insistence of shura - consultation - as the process for decision-making at all levels, can provide a framework for genuine globalization that could be a blessing for mankind.

But this can become a possibility only if the Muslim Ummah is prepared to take stock of its present position and pursue a path that is truly representative of the Islamic ethos. The present state of the Muslim Ummah is rather disenchanting.

The Muslims can seize these opportunities only if, on the one hand, they seriously strive to overcome their weaknesses and drawbacks, and on the other, they open up a meaningful civilizational dialogue with the rest of the world, particularly with the West, as an ummah with a mission. As the Qur'an says:

“Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you...” (2:143)

If the Muslims pursue this mission diligently and with perseverance, then the promise of Allah (SWT) is very clear:

“Faint not, nor grieve, for ye will overcome them if ye are (indeed) believers.” (3:139)

The promise of success comes with a clear condition and that is in kuntum momineen - if you actually behave as true believers. And to be a momin does not merely mean offering prayers five times a day, fasting in the month of Ramadan and frequent visits for Umrah and Hajj. They are obligations and constitute mighty pillars of a Muslim’s strength, but prayers (salah) must prompt the people to fight evil and become rightful representatives of Islam. Fasting (sawm) should inculcate in those observing the fast, the true and dynamic spirit of taqwa, which is God-consciousness, heedfulness towards Allah, self-discipline and commitment to a life dedicated to the fulfillment of Islamic ideals. Obligatory charity (zakah) is a great 'ibadah ’, but it is associated with a vision of a sharing society where wealth ensures well-being of all and mobilization of the resources of the ummah for the welfare of humanity. Pilgrimage to Ka’aba (hajj) is a symbol of the Muslims’ unity. Today, millions of Muslims come for hajj from every part of the world, but where is the unity that may harness their energies in the direction of amr bil ma ’roof wa nahee ‘anil munkar - bidding what is right and forbidding what is wrong - and of conducting the affairs of human society with justice? Globalization can be a historic opportunity, provided Muslims can fulfill the Qur'anic condition: in kuntum mo'mineen.

If the Muslims sincerely, seriously and courageously strive in the path of Allah (SWT), His help and guidance is assured:

“As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good.” (29:69)

Khurshid Ahmad


Source: Essays on Muslims and the Challenges of Globalisation, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad. Republished with permission.
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