WHEN THE MUSLIMS WAKE UP … (1/100)
1/100: The state of the mind before the state of the world
By observing the more or less recent history, as well as the state of the Muslims, both in predominantly Muslim societies and in those where they live as “minorities”, one cannot but reach a sad assessment. Yet the first liberation we need, the first “revolution,” in the literal sense of the word, is an intellectual revolution: in order to change the way we view our heritage, our history, and our present contribution to humanity.
The history of Islamic thought, religiously, spiritually, philosophically, artistically, scientifically and technologically, is far richer than what educational textbooks in the West or other civilizations have actually picked up. At the end of the lineage of monotheisms, at the crossroads of Indian, Chinese, Greek and Roman heritage, the Muslim religion has nourished spirits (of women and men) who have contributed to developing and enriching all fields of knowledge and all human thought. From medicine to botany, from applied sciences to literature and philosophy, from architecture to figurative and abstract art, from the right to morality to mysticism. Everywhere, in all domains, on every continent, Muslims were not only proud of their Islamic heritage, but they were especially aware of their responsibility to serve humanity beyond the diversity of colour, history and religion. This history is about Islam and its followers.
Today, we are told about backward and corrupt Muslim societies, dictators and the negative visibility of Islam and Muslims. The lens through which this negative perception is being conveyed should be changed in order to shed light on those personalities that the media and the books fail to bring to our attention. They are millions, tens of millions of anonymous persons, who are worthy of respect for their commitment and dignity, who defend people and resist dictators, serve the poor and the impoverished, advocate for equality between women and men, spend time educating and teaching voluntarily, commit to animals rights, call for the end of the destructive consumerism, commit to the environment, fight against all types of racism in the name of a universalistic commitment. They are millions, far from the limelight, enriched by Islamic teachings, willingly give their time, and risk their lives; every day, everywhere.
This forgotten history and these neglected women and men must alert us, bring us to initiate our intellectual revolution, retrieve the momentum, find the meaning and follow the path. This is how we must look at ourselves as well as our history, whatever the apparent state of affairs is. Thus, taking into consideration the state of our dignity, yesterday, today and move forward.
Like this migrant we meet in our streets, poor, helpless and beggar. We can be tempted to think that he has nothing left, when his very presence should remind us that he had the dignity to say “no”, to seek, by exile, his freedom, his dignity and his honour. His condition says more about our negligence than about his dishonour, obviously. If, and only if, we change our state of mind, to change the world, namely its state, and ours.