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منتدى إنما المؤمنون إخوة (2019 - 2010) The Believers Are Brothers

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 FOREWORD

اذهب الى الأسفل 
كاتب الموضوعرسالة
أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn

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مُساهمةموضوع: FOREWORD   FOREWORD Emptyالأحد 08 يناير 2017, 9:57 pm

FOREWORD
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Seldom has mankind been intellectually as restless as it is in our time. Not only are we faced with a multitude of problems requiring new and unprecedented solutions, but also the angle of vision in which these problems appear before us is different from anything to which we have been accustomed so far. In all countries society passes through fundamental changes.

The pace at which this happens is everywhere different; but everywhere we can observe the same pressing energy which allows of no halt or hesitation.

The world of Islam is no exception in this respect.

Here also we see old customs and ideas gradually disappear and new forms emerge.

Where does this development lead?

How deep does it reach?
How far does it fit into the cultural mission of Islam?


This book does not pretend to give an exhaustive answer to all these questions.

Owing to its limited scope only one of the problems facing the Muslims today, namely, the attitudewhich they should adopt towards Western civilization, has been selected for discussion.

The vast implications of the subject, however, have made it necessary to extend our scrutiny over some basic aspects of Islam, more particularly with regard to the concept of the Sunnah.

It is impossible to give here more than the bare outline of a theme wide enough to fill many bulky volumes. But none the less - or, perhaps, therefore - I feel confident that this brief sketch will prove, for others, an incentive to further thought on this most important problem.

And now about myself - because the Muslims have a right, when a convert speaks to them, to know how and why he has embraced Islam.

In 1922 I left my native country, Austria, to travel through Africa and Asia as a special correspondent to some of the leading Continental newspapers, and spent from that year onward nearly the whole of my time in the Islamic East. My
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interest in the nations with which I came into contact was in the beginning that of an outsider only. I saw before me a social order and an outlook on life fundamentally different from the European; and from the very first there grew in me a sympathy for the more tranquil- I should rather say, more human ­conception of life, as compared with the hasty, mechanized mode of living in Europe.

This sympathy gradually led me to an investigation of the reasons for such a difference, and I became interested in the religious teachings of the Muslims.

At the time in question, that interest was not yet strong enough to draw me into the fold of Islam, but it opened to me a new vista of a progressive-human society, organized -with a minimum of internal conflicts anda maximum of-real brotherly feeling.

The reality, however, of present-day Muslim life appeared to be very far from the ideal possibilities given in the religious teachings of Islam. Whatever, in Islam, had been progress and movement had turned, among the Muslims, into indolence and stagnation; whatever there had been of generosity and readiness for selfsacrifice had become, among the present-day Muslims, perverted into narrow-mindedness.and love of an easy life.

Prompted by this discovery and puzzled by the obvious disparity between "Once and Now, I tried to approach the problem before me from a more intimate point of view: that is, I tried to imagine myself as being within the circle of Islam. It was a purely intellectual experiment; and it revealed to me, within a very short time, the right solution. I realized that the one and only reason for the socialand cultural decay of the Muslims co nsisted in the fact-that they had gradually ceased to follow the teachings of Islam -in spirit. Islam was still there; but it was a bod y without a soul.

The very element which once had created the strength of the Muslim world was now responsible for its weakness: Islamic society had been built, from the very outset, on religious foundations .alone, and the weakening of those foundations has necessarily weakened the cultural structure ­ and possibly might cause its ultimate disappearance.

The more I understood how concrete and how immensely practical the teachings of Islam are, the more eager became my questioning as to why the Muslims had abandoned their full application to real life. I discussed this problem with many thinking Muslims in almost all the countries between the Libyan
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Desert and the Pamirs, between the Bosporus and the Arabian Sea. It almost became an obsession which ultimately overshadowed all my other intellectual interests in the world of Islam. The questioning steadily grew in emphasis until I, a nonMuslim, talked to Muslims as if I had to defend Islam from their negligence and indolence.

This progress was imperceptible to me, until one day - it was in the autumn of 1925, in the mountains of Afghanistan - a young provincial governor said to me: "But you are a Muslim, only you don't know it yourself." I Was struck by these words and remained silent. But when I returned to Europe once again in 1926, I realized that the only logical consequence of my attitude was to embrace Islam.

So much about the circumstances of my becoming a Muslim.

Since then I have been asked, time and again: "Why did you embrace- Islam? What was it that attracted you particularly?" ­ and I must confess that I do not have any single satisfactory answer.

It was not any particular teaching that attracted me, but the whole wonderful, inexplicably coherent structure of moral teaching and practical life-programme. I could not say, even now, which aspect of it appeals to me more than any other.

Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other; nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking; and the result is a structure of absolute balance and solid composure.

Probably this feeling that everything in the teachings and postulates of Islam is "in its proper place" had created the strongest impression on me. There might have been, along with it, other impressions as well which today it is difficult for me to analyze.

After all, it was a matter of love; and love is composed of many things: of our desires and our loneliness, of our high aims and our shortcomings, of our strengths and our weaknesses. So it was in my case.

Islam came over to me like a robber who enters a house by night; but, unlike a robber, it entered to remain for good.

Ever since I endeavoured to learn as much as I could about Islam. I studied the Our'an and the Traditions of the Prophet. I studied the language of Islam and its history, and a good deal of what had been written about it and against it. I spent nearly six years in the Hijaz and Najd, mostly in Mecca and Medina, so that I might experience something of the original surroundings
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in which this religion was preached by the Arabian Prophet. As the Hijaz is the meeting ground of Muslims from many countries, I was able to compare most of the different religious and social views prevalent in the Islamic world in our days.

Those studies and comparisons created in me the firm conviction that Islam, as a spiritual and social phenomenon, is still, in spite of all the drawbacks caused by the deficiencies of the Muslims, by far the greatest driving force mankind has ever experienced; and all my interest became, since then, centred around the problem of its regeneration.

This little book is a humble contribution towards that great goal. It does not pretend to be a dispassionate survey of affairs; it is the statement of a case, as I see it: the case of Islam versus Western civilization.

And it is not written for those to whom Islam is only one of the many, more or less useful, accessories to social life, but rather for those in whose hearts still lives a spark of the flame which burned in the hearts of the Companions of the Prophet - the flame that once made Islam so great as a social order and a cultural achievement.
Delhi, March 1934. M.A.
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