The roots and causes of the Islamic Ummah’s decline
The Islamic Ummah started to suffer from serious problems when it decided to separate religion from government, and ethics from management. The ground was prepared for the decline of the world of Islam the day when certain kings proclaimed themselves “caliphs” in Baghdad and Levant and in different other parts of the world. The ground was prepared for the decline of the Muslim world when these self-proclaimed caliphs raised the flag of Islam but became busy with their human passions, their carnal desires, their ulterior motives, their arrogance, their kingly pride and their love for accumulation of wealth under the flag of Islam.
The movement that was started by the Holy Prophet (S) and his honorable companions and brave followers was pushing Islam forward at a high speed. Until the 4th and 5th centuries on the Islamic calendar, it was the Holy Prophet’s (S) original efforts that were the driving force behind the political and scientific progress of Islam. This was while the seeds of weakness, decline, corruption and hypocrisy were being sowed in courts and among the ruling families.
It was the same seeds that grew and crippled the Islamic Ummah, and Muslims felt the consequences with all their heart and soul after the passage of many centuries. After Muslim nations had suffered from colonialism and the hegemony of the enemies in the 18th and 19th centuries, they fell behind in science.
Our enemies became more powerful and we grew weaker on a daily basis. They sucked our blood and became stronger, and we lost blood and became weaker, so much so that the destiny of the Islamic Ummah and the destiny of Muslim nations of the Middle East region in particular, fell into the hands of oppressive and tyrannical rulers. Our destiny fell into the hands of England at one point and later on England passed on this legacy to the Great Satan of the contemporary era, namely the regime of the United States of America. In any case, they took advantage of the weakness of the Muslim world.
May God bestow His mercy on our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) who awakened our people and helped them bring their power into the arena. Our conditions used to be the same: we used to be trampled upon. For example, the biggest sins used to be committed in the city of Tehran and nobody would even frown upon them. The most hostile enemies of Islam used to come to Tehran and live in perfect security as if they were living in their own homes. They used to plunder the wealth of our country. They used to plunder our oil resources. They used to stand in the way of our progress.
They used to impose their treacherous and oppressive plans on the people of this country as well as its managers namely, Mohammad Reza Shah and the people who were close to him who would treat them as their masters. Of course, on the face of it, there was some show of power as well, but they used to obtain permission from foreigners for everything they did. Iran’s court officials used to ask permission from American and English ambassadors whenever they wanted to make decisions about the most important issues of the country. We have specific documents that prove this. Unfortunately, today the same problems exist in many of the Islamic countries.
This talented nation, this intelligent nation, this nation with its great history, this nation that is currently shining in the arena of science, in the arena of Jihad, in the arena of technology and in the arena of politics, used to be trampled upon before the Revolution. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) encouraged the people to step into the arena. He trusted the people and the people proved themselves. When he trusted the people, the people decided to trust him. Iran, which was a source of hope for Kufr, became the standard-bearer of pure Muhammadi Islam and by Allah’s favor, the Iranian nation will continue moving forward on this straight path.
Those who thought that after the demise of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) the people would gradually drift away from values, were wrong. They made a mistake and you can see the mistake they made. We are committed to these values. We believe that Islamic values are a source of national dignity and pride for us. We believe that these values will cause the capacities of our nation to develop. Thanks to Islam and divine grace and power, we will manage to reach and conquer the peaks of scientific progress at a speed that is higher than normal. We will overcome the weakness that has been imposed on us for many years and we will strengthen ourselves.
It is obvious that the arrogant powers are not satisfied with this. It is obvious that powerful people are trying to stand in the way of this movement through creating uproar, through propaganda campaigns, through political work and through economic pressure. But they will fail. We are standing firm. Our nation is standing firm and other Muslim nations have awakened. Today the hearts of Muslim peoples are full of spite towards the Zionists and America. Today throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, Muslim countries and youth are enthusiastic about restoring their Islamic identity. This is what has developed in the hearts of peoples. 1
Commemorating these days is a reminder for us, a reminder about the greatness of the person who was born on this day although the human mind is not capable of understanding that great truth and that noble and brilliant soul. What is said by the likes of us is only about the superficial outer aspects of the issue.
These are the things that the human mind can witness about the Holy Prophet (S), thereby immersing human beings in the blessings that emanate from his commands, principles and words.
We, as Muslims and as human beings, are in need of the Holy Prophet (S) today because the Holy Prophet (S) is a blessing for the entire humanity, not just for Muslims. The entire humanity is indebted to the Holy Prophet (S) for the mercy and blessings he brought. What he gave to mankind as a result of his prophetic mission whose details have been discussed in the Holy Quran is available to us today and we can benefit from it.
The Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his household) led mankind to salvation and happiness. He encouraged human beings to move on a path that can lead to a solution for the problems facing mankind and a remedy for the sufferings besetting human beings. Mankind has long been suffering from chronic pains in the course of history. Humanity is in need of justice, in need of guidance and noble human values. The human mind requires the help of divine messengers.
The Holy Prophet (S) offered divine guidance to human beings. However, what has caused and will continue to cause mankind not to benefit from the blessings of this divine guidance and assistance is related to human beings themselves.
It stems from our ignorance, our sloth and shortcomings and our hedonism and pursuit of sensual pleasures. If human beings open their eyes and use their wisdom and move forward with perseverance, it is possible to find a solution to all the problems facing mankind and a remedy for the chronic pains and old wounds of humanity.
Opposed to the invitation of divine prophets is the invitation of satan, who has always mobilized his armies and friends and followers against divine prophets. Human beings are standing at a junction and they should choose between two paths.
Today Muslim nations throughout the Islamic world have a new outlook on the divine religion of Islam. After long periods of ignorance and lack of due attention to pure Islamic truth over many centuries, Muslim nations comprising the Islamic Ummah have now opened their eyes to Islamic teachings and precepts, because man-made philosophies have already displayed their failure and inadequacy in practice.
The Islamic world, by adhering to the divine religion of Islam and Islamic teachings, can be the vanguard of human movement toward prosperity and perfection. The world is ready to welcome an initiative on the part of the Muslim Ummah. The scientific achievements of mankind have mostly pushed morality, spirituality and the religious spirit into the sidelines. However, human knowledge and man's new outlook on natural realities of the world can help to set the stage for the Muslim Ummah's initiative.
Muslim nations should benefit from Islamic knowledge and the teachings, lifestyle and words of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household). Above all, they should benefit from the Holy Quran. The Islamic world is able to move forward. 2
Be’that of the Seal of Prophets (S) opened the door to liberation from old and chronic pains that have afflicted human communities. Some people responded to the call of the Holy Prophet (S) and they benefited from it, and some others rejected this call and they suffered the consequences.
In our opinion, today humanity is still in need of the message of Be’that and the teachings of the great divine prophets. And all these teachings have been included in the teachings of Islam and the Holy Quran in a comprehensive way. At the top of the list of Islamic teachings, there are three things which are more important than all the other things. These three things have been mentioned in the Ayahs of the Holy Quran: knowledge and wisdom, purity and ethics, and justice and equity.
If we pay close attention, we will realize that even today humanity is in need of these three things. Today humanity has made progress in terms of knowledge, but this progress is confined to a specific area. Humanity has made progress in the natural sciences which are related to the materialistic aspect of life.
But humanity needs to learn spiritual teachings which broaden the mind of human beings regarding the beginning of creation and monotheism and guide the hearts of human beings towards the purpose for which they have been created. Islam's call to acquiring knowledge is an all-embracing call. Today the issue of morality and moral and spiritual purity is even more important than this. The problems of humanity result from ignoring the issue of moral purity.
Primarily, these statements are addressed to outstanding personalities in different countries. If political, scientific and cultural personalities, who stand on the peak of importance in human communities, enjoy morality and purity, these blessings [morality and purity] will reach the people and they will be blessed with morality as well. Primarily, these statements are addressed to officials of Islamic countries. Love of the world, pursuit of carnal desires, indulgence in animal desires, the kinds of friendship and hostility which are rooted in animal and materialistic desires, the kinds of warmongering which result from seeking power and the desire to increase one's materialistic power, the kinds of insecurity which result from the wickedness of politicians in different countries – these are the main sources of trouble for humanity.
Moral purity is really necessary for a country. Kindness, fairness, understanding and mercy towards one another are the things which bring peace to people's lives. If we see that the world is being destroyed because of insecurity, this insecurity stems from developing weak policies, seeking power, behaving in an immoral way and drifting away from piety. Today insecurity is the biggest problem of humanity or, at least, it is one of the biggest problems.
People are not secure inside their homes and in their social lives. They do not have security inside their own countries. Islam invites us to purify ourselves. This is one of the main teachings of Islam.
"We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, rehearsing to you Our Signs, and sanctifying you, and instructing you in Scripture and Wisdom." 3
The Holy Prophet (S) recited the Holy Quran and he purified and instructed people. Another issue is justice. Administration of justice is the advice of all divine prophets. Allah the Exalted said that all the prophets and the scriptures He sent and all the efforts that prophets and their followers made, were for this purpose:
"That men may stand forth in justice." 4
The Holy Prophet (S) is the pivot of uniting all Islamic groups. The hearts of all people are filled with the love of the Holy Prophet (S). The entire Islamic Ummah loves this chosen servant of God, this noblest person in all history. Muslims should unite by making the Holy Prophet (S) the pivot of their unity and they should establish a close relationship among themselves. 5
Remembering Be’that is not limited to remembering a historical event - this is the point we should keep in mind when remembering this great event, which is a precious memory for humanity. Rather, this glorious memory is in fact like repeating and reviewing an unforgettable lesson for the Islamic Ummah - the people, as well as outstanding personalities of the Islamic Ummah, including politicians, scientists, and intellectuals. Second, it is an important lesson for all human beings. Remembering Be’that is like repeating a lesson, emphasizing a role model and reviewing an instructive event.
There are many aspects to this event, and in fact one has to speak for hours and write several books if one is to eloquently - though briefly – discuss the different aspects of Be’that. However, even when one considers this event superficially, there are many lessons to be learnt. If you look at the event, you will see that the Holy Prophet (S), with a message that included everything human beings needed for perfection, emerged in community and began to promote Islam in a society that was devoid of Islamic virtues.
The Holy Prophet (S) carried the message of knowledge, yet there was no knowledge in that society. He carried the message of justice, yet there was no trace of justice in that society and powerful people and bullying rulers dominated people's lives and wealth. He was the messenger of morality, lenience, forgiveness, justice and kindness, yet that society was truly devoid of such characteristics. The society was full of unkind, bullying, immoral, ignorant and prejudiced people who were unjustifiably arrogant and who had their hearts attached to human passions.
The Holy Prophet (S) grew up in such a difficult and prejudiced atmosphere and in such a dry desert. He tolerated those conditions for thirteen years and this thirteen-year period finally ended in the establishment of a government. He formed a community on the basis of monotheism, knowledge, justice, morality, ethics and generosity. He transformed humiliation into pride and savagery into brotherhood. He turned fanaticism into tolerance and reasoning.
He transformed ignorance into knowledge. He built a strong and logical foundation on the basis of which Muslims could dominate the peaks of global civilization for centuries and could rise to new heights which were unprecedented in human history.
- 1. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on August 22, 2006 in a meeting with government officials, Ambassadors of Islamic countries and participants of the Islamic
- 2. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on April 6, 2007 in a meeting with government officials
- 3. Sura al-Baqara, Ayah 151
- 4. Sura al-Hadid, Ayah 25
- 5. Supreme Leader’s speech delivered on August 11, 2007 in a meeting with government officials of the Islamic Republic and ordinary citizens on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s (S) Be’that