Ideological Conflicts Between Islam and the West

0
832

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

PREAMBLE

The modern World, despite its prosperities, achievements and accomplishment has been proved to be the unfortunate host of an avalanche of intellectual, psychological, ideological and socio-cultural problems of today’s youths in general and Muslims youths in particular. No one denies the fact that the Westerners came with their western ways of life, which brought about civilization in many facets of life. Some of their erstwhile colonies, or the so called Third World Countries most especially the West African Countries viz., Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Cote d’lvoire, Guinea, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Togo, Niger and Guinea-Bissau, benefited tremendously through the westernization and globalization, which includes education, science and technology, information technology, agricultural extension, games and sport and a lot more.

Still and all, it is so disheartening that the negative effects of the western life on the compatriots of these countries are enormous and out- number its merits. Several studies have later shown the motive behind the so-called universal natural and neutral values or civilization peculiar to the countries of Europe and America as a systematic process of subjecting other countries’ cultural heritages under their socio-cultural values (Cultural Imperialism). The collision between the two most recognized civilizations in the world that is, Islamic and Conventional civilization is what is referred to or captioned by Samuel Huntington as “Clash of Civilizations”1 in his 1993 thesis.

However, the writer intends to make use of a dialectical approach, so as to juxtapose and justify and haply, make a balance between these opposing thoughts. Thus, listed and enunciated below are but few of these:

 

RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS

Some critical studies have divulged the secrecy behind the adventure taken by the Portuguese and Christian missionaries in 15th and 19th century respectively. The sole aim was evangelicalism and rapid conversion of the people of the so-called black continent (West African) into Judaism and Christianity, but all in the name of introduction of formal education and civilization. Every aspect of Islamic-oriented socialization is undermined by various elements of Western culture. The colonial Masters and the religion they represent were drummed into our ears via the agencies of today’s television, radio, music, education in mixed public schools, peer groups, cinema and the press. Those silent deceptions are meant to destroy the Islamic Thought or tenets. There are many religious creeds from the Westerners, purposefully propounded to contrast Islamic basic beliefs that therefore rendered some Muslim youths confused or totally derailed.

Concisely, the tabular table showed below summaries of the contrast between Islamic and Western Worldviews on religious Doctrines.

S/N ISLAMIC DOCTRINES WESTERN/CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
1 Man is born pure and sinless (nafsun zakiyyatun) Man is born sinful and the inheritor of the original sin
2 “Religious beliefs” is the main stay of morality therefore it is absolute Religion has nothing to do with morality therefore, it is relative
3 Islam teaches the concept of one God (Monotheism) The West teaches the concept of trinity (Polytheism or Deism)
4 Brotherhood of man is based on faith Fraternity is based on racism
5 Women are the mothers of civilization and their rights are respected Women are nothing but sex objects. Therefore, they have limited rights
6 Domination of the earth for Allah (i.e., Asceticism) Domination of the earth for European and American man (i.e. Materialism)
7 Unity of knowledge Compartmentalization of knowledge

 

Besides these examples, most of the Muslim youths feel bashful and shameful to be identified with their MUSLIM NAMES. They prefer to be called Sola, Kunle, Sogo, Bose, Bukky, etc., to calling them Abdur-Rahmon, Muhammad Sa’eed, Sherifud-Deen, Habeebatullah, Abdul Hafeez, etc. You could hardly identify some as Muslims except on Fridays or in the month of Ramadan. These are called ceremonial  Muslims. This is so because they have been made to believe that Islam imposes restrictions on human freedom and liberty. So, they shun Islam especially while in the midst of their peer-groups and regard it (Religion of Islam) as too conservative for their liking. They regard it to be too aggressive and retrogressive but not knowing that in their own hearts, are cumulative diseases. A poet once said:

One who has a bitter and diseased mouth!

Will find cold and sweet water bitter,

When he drinks it

In a nutshell, arguably, though very unfortunate, Muslim youths’ Islamic identities in part of this World (West Africa), have been lost to the glory of these Westerners, as far as religion is concerned.

 

MORAL CONFLICTS

The western life has affected some of our Muslim youths intellectually, which, as a result, brings about decadence of Islamic moral values. The human intellect co-ordinates the moral drive and when its power of reasoning is affected or is not brought into use, the worst hit, victims of the consequences or aftermaths, are man and his moral world.

Through the so – called westernization or civilization, immorality is born, corruption is nurtured, and social vices are sustained. Virtues are rubbished and the entire cosmos vibrates and trembles due to such silly negligence and unwholesome indulgence. The physiological and psychological trauma we are experiencing in our domestic and international politics today is a problem of morality. The unrest and chaotic atmosphere in our institutions is a problem of morality. The socio – economic calamities and imbalances in our nation and one we see on a daily basis are all problems of morality.

Furthermore, some Islamic culture and moral values such as chastity, greetings with tasleem, eating etiquettes, respect to the elders, obedience to parents and constituted authorities, to mention but few, have all been bastardized and distorted. Some Muslim youths male and female cannot boast of their chastity before marriage. Greeting with tasleem has been changed to “Hi” or “What’s up”. Some compromising Muslim youths eat and drink with left hands especially when they are with their contemporaries in cafeterias. They put spoons in their left hands and knives: in their right hands thereby join their contemporaries in their misleading modern life. They forget the candid advice given by the Holy prophet (S.A.W) which says: “Do not eat nor drink with left hand for Shayton eats and drinks with left hand”2 (Sahih Muslim). Respect to elders has become obsolete or “Old School” in some today’s Muslim youths’ diaries. The only time they accord respect to their parents or elderly ones is when they need something from them and they become arrogant and rude thereafter.

In addition, research shows that today’s youths in most developing countries want to act after the modern life of the Westerners’ children. They are looking at their moral permissiveness which has given birth to promiscuous society or lacuna in moral world. These mimicking youths are ignoramuses and lack foresight because they are yet to know that parents in Europe and America are in a remorseful state as a result of moral permissiveness, aided by their government, of their children. There is a serious debate going on as regards possible legislation which would make parents vicariously responsible, in the eyes of the law, for crimes committed by their children and thus as delinquents, dealt with by juvenile courts. It is strongly felt that, had the parents discharged their responsibility to discipline their children more seriously, there would be much less crime scene in the streets of Great Britain today.

 

SOCIO-CULTURAL CONFLICTS

Samuel Huntington opines in his 1993 thesis- Clash of civilization that: ‘the conflict in the modern world is a result of a clash between two opposing civilizations: Islamic and Western’3. It should be well noted that Islam, as a religion, has its own peerless primitive socio-cultural values and guiding principles that bring about civilization, which stands the threat of Western civilization. Some of these unique socio-cultural values of Islam have been misconstrued by some Muslim youths, who allow themselves to be deceived and engulfed by Western socio-cultural frivolities. The most powerful instrument used by the west to deceive our Muslim brothers and sisters is cultural imperialism, which is occasioned by foreign or western films, magazines, novels, cinemas, musical concerts, pornographic posters or pictures and other print and electronic media. These are sources and killers of the Muslim youths’ conscience. Most of the horror films, blue films, spy suspense films, love or soft novels and other print or digital media dominate our libraries and archives. To my dismay, Muslims have also gone to the extent of sub-titling or translating these into different local languages of different Muslim ummah. We do not realize that these films and books do not only shape the minds of our youths but also have negative effects on their moral lives, especially the Muslim youths.

Through Western films and write-ups, several Islamic values have not been only eroded in Muslim societies but it has also instigated and exposed our youths to many illicit practices that are unlawful in Islam. One pathetic and bitter truth is that domestic films and literatures now follow the trends of their foreign counterparts and portray the same abnormalities and immoralities.

More so, music and dance, immodest dresses, intermingling of sexes, watching of foreign football matches (i.e., the so-called premiership and champion’s league), joblessness which leads to internet scam (i.e., yahoo-yahoo), drug-addiction, drinking and gambling are all the products of the West and are the means by which unethical conducts, atrocities and heinous crimes are perpetrated and promoted.

Most of our Muslim male and female youths in West African countries now dress immodestly, all in the name of civilization. Male dresses in female clothing and vice-versa. Almighty Allah abhors this and His Apostles (SAW) curses a man who looks like a woman because of his dress e.g. plaiting of hairs or putting on earring. He (s.a.w) also curses a woman who looks like a man because of her dress. Some ladies put on long trouser, jeans or so-called three-quarter shorts, bum shorts, with a short shirt or skimpy dresses in lieu of loose flowing long gown. Even one of the religious books of the West, Holy Bible, states: “A woman must not wear man’s clothing nor a man wear woman’s clothing for the Lord, your God detests anyone who does this”4 (Deuteronomy 22 vs 5).

However, Islam does not dislike dressing corporate either in suit or other befitting and classical dresses. But a Muslim youth must not lose his or her identity. A woman must use Hijab irrespective of the types of dresses she puts on. Also, she must avoid the so-called fashion or satanic Hijab. Q24 v 32 prescribes the appropriate Hijab for Muslim female youths by saying: “… and that they draw their head covering over their bosoms (breasts)”5. A “fatwah,” Islamic verdict by Shaykh Ibn Jibreen, in the book “Islamic Fatawa Regarding Women” also says: “woman’s body is nudity even her voice”6. The west has partly succeeded in westernizing our dress code and even trying to totally eradicate the use of Hijab and Burqa (full Islamic veil).

To buttress this, in July 2010 the French parliament in France approved a ban of burqa by a vote of 33 to 1. Now, support for a ban on the burqa is widespread across Europe. But I believe, very strongly, that Allah’s wish shall prevail “Wa inna Jundanaa Iahumul-ghoo Iibuuna” 7 (Q 37 vs 173).

As I stated earlier, another menace from the West that has surfaced its ugly head among the compatriots, mostly amidst the young and old men of sub-Saharan Africa (West Africa) now is the issue of Football League. Some youths are Chelsea fans, Arsenal fans or Barca fans but never ready to be fans or supporters of Allah’s cause.

Besides drug addiction, drinking and gambling are also socio-economic vices out of which none augurs well for the peace and good of a society. Gambling is institutionalized in almost all advanced countries most especially at Las Vegas in U.S.A. Online betting, casino, soccer bet, etc., are now copied and done with pride by the citizenries of the Third World Countries like West Africans. Research has shown that the amount of money spent on drinking in one day in Great Britain is enough to feed the famine-stricken multitudes of Africa especially, the West African countries for many weeks. Yet, in the most poverty-stricken countries of Africa and other continents, drinking is not considered a luxury that people cannot afford.

In addition, drinking, music, night-clubbing and dancing and other modes of pleasure are largely considered innocent pursuit by most societies of the world. They are later presented as essential parts of different cultures by the West. Though, initially, the true cultural values were retained and these modes of pleasure were regarded as foreign ideologies, but later they became hand task-master that sometimes over burden and break the backbone of society. All these socio-cultural values of the West begin to attract increasing attention from society. The speed at which they capture the youths does not take very long to become a stampede. Therefore, the youths are made to believe that all these so-called pleasures are the very purpose of man’s creation which goes in contrary to the real purpose of human creation, as Allah unequivocally makes it clear, in Q51 vs 57 that “ And I do not create the Jinn and the man except to worship Me”8.

In the same vein, our Muslim female youths are being deceived by the West by letting them see polygyny (polygamy) as a threat to peaceful matrimonial life. They, therefore introduce “for better, for worse”. The issue of boyfriend and girlfriend is warmly welcomed by some of our Muslim youths without juxtaposing it with Allah’s injunctions and that of His Messenger’s. This act leads to illicit and pre-marital sex. What is now in vogue among our youths is to say: “he is my boyfriend and not my future partner (fiancé)” or vice-versa. This ideology is alien to Islam. Islam supports Hijab wal Qobal (i.e., offer and acceptance). Since there is offer or proposal from either of the parties and acceptance follows, engagement or courtship (al-khitbah) has started in Islam. So, the issue of I am not yet engaged but having boy or girl friends or even double-dating should be totally discarded. Some of our ceremonies today are westernized. The way Muslims organize Nikah, Naming and Burial ceremonies are not different from how Westerners do organize theirs.

Although, these happenings should not bewilder us as it is a prophecy fulfilled. Holy Prophet Mohammed was reported to have said: “A time will come when my people (the Muslims) will pass through the same circumstances as did the children of Israel (Jews and Christians). They will become as similar to each other as one shoe of the same pair is ‘similar to the other”9 (Trimidhi). This tells you why  Muslim sisters and brothers want their marriage flamboyant, “catchy” and “flashy”. Insertion of rings in to each other’s finger, cutting of wedding cake, kissing and feeding each other publicly and dancing are all the orders of the day in Muslims’ wedding. Is this Islam? For a confused youth of any of West African countries, response may be in affirmative but an upright youth knows that all these are not only alien to Islam, but are also typical Western ideologies that must not be allowed to adulterate our rich Islamic ethos.’

 

POLITICAL CONFLICT

It is incontrovertible that Islam prescribes democratic style of government to rule any state successfully. It is a process where the rulers are elected by their subject, the rulers always call for consultations and the resolutions are fully implemented afterwards. Al-Amanah (Trust), al Adalah (Justice and equity), al-Mas’uliyyah (Accountability and Transparency), al-Shurah (Consultations) among others, are all the features or characteristics of an Islamic system of government. However, western style of government introduced to us, e.g., Autocratic, Pseudo Democratic, Lassie faire and Parliamentary System of Government which certainly go against the system of government established by Islam. This Western style only brings nothing to the ruling of any state except, corruption, youthful restiveness, injustice, fraudulent practices, non-accountability, and dishonesty among others.

Hence, if peace and justice is what each state needs to be unique, prosperous and in harmony, the prescription of Islamic system of government must be willingly and unanimously imbibe without any condition.

 

ECONOMIC CONFLICT

The Western economic system has been proven to do more damage to any state/nation’s system than the good. The system of usury or taking interest on loan, conventional banking system, mortgage system, sales of Islamic prohibited products either edibles or inedibles are all characteristics of today’s Western conventional economy system, introduced via cultural imperialism or culture osmosis. In line of this, Islam introduces non-interest basic economic system, sales of lawful products to sustain livelihood, Islamic banking products such as, Mudarabah, Musharakah, Bay’salam, Islamic Takaaful (insurance) among others. There is a great clash between these two systems: Islamic Economic System and Conventional Economic System. And, it is high time people of the world realized that the major cause of the global economic recession is as a result of interest-based global economic system we operate. Allah abhors and warns against in Q2 vs 275-276: “They who devour interest do not rise except as rises one whom Satan has smitten with insanity. That is because they say: ‘Trade also is like interest;’ whereas Allah has made trade lawful and made interest unlawful. So he to whom an admonition comes from his Lord and he desists, them will that which he received in the past be —-; and his affair is with Allah. And those who revert to it, thus are the inmates of the fire; there in shall they abide.”

“Allah will abolish interest and will cause charity to increase. And Allah loves not anyone who is a confirmed disbeliever and an arch-sinner.”10

With the above quotation, I believe the world would know peace and free from recurring economic recession, if this Allah’s prescription is followed to the letter without any prejudice. Besides the aforementioned ideological conflicts between Islam and the West, which are categorized under these four headings, Religious, Socio-cultural, Moral, Political and Economic conflicts, I will like to add these additional points which are also in vogue:

  • Gender equality (feminism)
  • Homosexualism (Lesbianism and Gayness)
  • Bridal’s shower or spinster’s night (sister’s night)
  • Bachelor’s Eve (Bache Eve)
  • Hall pass (couples give each other space for the main time e.g, weeks, months, or years)
  • Family planning (child-spacing)
  • Birthday party and other frivolities in today’s ceremonies in West African countries.

 

Now, if I may ask, will there be solutions to all these quandaries? Yes, there are. It is commonly said that “complex problems need complex solutions”. To paraphrase the submission of Dr. Timehin in the book, “In Search of Peace”, ‘ It is unambiguously cleared that our selfhood has been badly bruised. We have lost our identity. Our language is the first identity we lost!!! We study in Western schools with their language and try to mimic and imbibe Western identity” and we are rudely jerked into a tingling awareness of the fact that we have lost our own identity. It has now become a thing of joy that everybody wants to be associated with the West socially and culturally. How else can we explain the case of a typical Yoruba man who leant tailoring or barbering in ljebu Ode or Ibadan as an apprentice and when he started working, calls himself “American Tailor or American Barber”. Or what do we see about a Ghanaian who learnt in Accra but turn to be “London Barber’.   We can never be truly western and we can never be “European Nigerian”, “American Togolese” or “German Ghanaian”. This is but an illusion or mirage and is high time we blacks stand up from our slumber, believe in ourselves and not trying to be someone else.

Frantically, we sought refuge in the Arab World and some Gulf States like Saudi Arabia,  Emirate, Kuwait, Malaysia and others but we grossly forget that Islam is not Arabism. We try to assume Arab identity only to discover that they too have lost their identity. Vercours (Jean Bruller) expressed the core dilemma of humanity in his 1953 allegory titled — “YOU SHALL KNOW THEM” as fellows: “all of man’s troubles arise from the fact that we do not know what we are and do not agree what we want to be”11. This therefore, sums up the causes of the crises or problems mentioned above and briefly, here are some possible solutions.

 

SOLUTIONS

Today, youths in West African Countries are facing enormous challenges; therefore, they need direction and guidance. To do this, the government, the parents, the schools, the community leaders and the religious institutions need to work together to achieve this noble and urgent objective, so as to save the youths, as they are the backbone of the society and future leaders. By doing this, up-coming generations will also be saved from the dungeon of destruction, dug by the West for particularly the Muslim Ummah and Muslim youths of this region, being their main targets.

The government should enact and implement the good policies that bring into existence, distinct moral values and ideologies that cannot be adulterated. Drug addiction, drinking, gambling, importation of blue films or and pornographies and other anti-social acts, have to be legally checked and abolished.

The Muslim parents should awake and give up their lazy and quiet lives and assume the responsibilities for their lives. We must today choose what our tomorrow would be and plan and strive. Parents have to be empowered with the knowledge of raising socio-culturally conscious Muslim youths who can retain their identity while combating with Western values and ideologies. Devoted parents help to protect their children from falling prey to increased immoralities in the World. The success of a child begins at home. Parents must therefore devote more time to listen to their children, offer advice and help them in what needs correcting in reference to the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Founder of Islam (s.a.w). More importantly, parents must be very prayerful for their children.

The school system has to be re-structured and overhauled. New academic curricular have to be developed and implemented. Teachers or lecturers have to be committed to their work, inculcate into youths’ minds the true moral values of the society. The community leaders have to join hands with school-teachers in carrying out this Herculean task. They should know that school and society are two sides of a coin. The good product of a school becomes good citizen of the society and bad product becomes t a social miscreant.

The bulk of responsibilities also lie on the shoulders of the Ulamas (Islamic scholars). Just like the teachers in the secular field, heads of religious institutions especially the Islamic institutions should package their message in a manner that would touch the innermost corners of the souls of the youths with a view to re-orientating them towards high Islamic moral and socio- cultural tenets. Muslim philanthropists can so help in constructing or building the schools and Modrasah (Islamic schools) via which all these creeds will be taught and implemented. Lastly, let us all together in one mind be prayerful and render the brutal concussions of the Westerners against the more stronger, colossal and deep rooted system of Islam as a peerless religion and their ill- nurtured efforts futile and void. Q6 vs 153 says: “Verily, this is my way, leading straight, follow it. Follow not (other) paths. They will scatter you about from His (great) path. Thus doth He command you that you may be righteous.”12

REFERENCES

  • Samuel, H. 1993. Clash of Civilization: Thesis
  • Sahih Muslim: The Book of Drinks. Book 36, hadith 138 retrieved February.14, 2017 from sunnah.com (mobile free version software 1.2)
  • Samuel, H. 1993. Clash of Civilization: Thesis
  • The Holy Bible ( Revised Standard Version RSV), 1971 edition.
  • The Holy Quran – Arabic Text and English Translation retrieved January.5, 2017 from alislam.org
  • Amina, H. Ramadan.1420AH. Is the Female Voice Awrah? Retrieved February.14, 2017, from https://www.muhajabah.com/docstorage/voice-amina-h.htm
  • The Holy Quran – Arabic Text and English Translation retrieved January.5, 2017 from alislam.org
  • Ibid
  • Hadith Jami’ al-Tirmidhi retrieved January.5 2017 from e-Deen.com ( free version 1.06)
  • The Holy Quran – Arabic Text and English Translation retrieved January.5, 2017 from alislam.org
  • Jean, B. 1953. You Shall Know Them: Allegory
  • The Holy Quran – Arabic Text and English Translation retrieved January.5, 2017 from alislam.org

By: Mikail, Saheed Olajire  

                                                                                         

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here