Muslim backwardness is proverbial. But that is so only from the 13th Century, onwards. Prior to that, for a span of six hundred years, the Muslims were at the top of the World stage in matters of Culture and Civilisation. They showed the right path to the Kingdom of God. Moreover, they elevated themselves to the eminence of World Leadership in tut fields of Science, Exploration, Navigation, Mathematics, Medicine and creation of Universities and International Libraries. They thus rightly earned the fame of being 'The Torch-bearers of Civilisation."
But now, the Muslims stand at the lowest rung of the ladder of Nations. They have acquired a bad image as terrorist, destructive, lawless, reckless, fanatic and fundamentalist, and are prone to be treated as objects of hatred and contempt everywhere. Today, the Muslim World is known for its inner strife, division, Self-contradiction, as well as for its wars between Muslims, and Mushms, its threat to World Peace, its excessive wealth some where and excessive poverty else where. On political front, the Muslims are divided: on economic front, they are under-developed and on religio-cultural front, illiteracy, ignorance and lack of earnestness have driven them into a blind alley. Steeped in superstition, mentally imprisoned by dogmas, governed in daily life by customs and usages prescribed over a thousand years back, the Muslim is considered to be the "sick- man" of the World today.
All these deplorable factors have be-devilled the Muslim Nations of the World because of their forgetfulness of the Quranic Wisdom. The Teachers of such wisdom, the Ulama, are themselves on 'sick-bed', and are unable to cure the ailments of others. There are two sides of the coin. On the one side, there are a countless number of Ulama, whose life-long' sacrifice and devotion helped the rapid emergence of Islam as a World Religion. They also fought against heresy, depravity and unethical innovations among the erring mass, and thus preserved the purity and integrity of the Religion all these long Centuries. On the other side, there is the evil genius of another category of a vast multitude of Ulama, noted for their hypocrisy, perversity and impiety, whose faulty convictions and conflicting preachings led to narrow sectarianism and irrational dogmatism, hastening the process of decadence of morals and weakening of Faith all over the Muslim World,
On the above consideration, the whole gamut of Ulama may be placed under two broad categories, 'namely, the rightly-guided Ulama (Ulamae-Rashid), arid the misguided Ulama (Ularrrfre-Fasiq). The benefits from the services of Ulama-e- Rashid were so immense and fruitful that' they may be regarded as the BOON for Islamic Society. On the other hand, the disservices rendered by Ularna-e- F""asiq have proved to be so harmful and ruinous, that they may be considered to be the BANE of Islamic Society. The vivid picture of the life and activities of these two opposite types of Ulama has been depicted in pages ahead in order to enable the reader to make his own critical evaluation of the contribution or the derogation, as the case may be, made by different personalities.
. The present Publication breaks new grounds in the sense t hat emphasis has been laid on a vital matter hitherto overlooked. It has now been pointed out that, according to the Injunctions of the Holy Quran, it is essential for every Muslim to perform the dual function. First, to worship God and observe concomitant obligatory duties, and second, to study Science. This two-fold aspect of compulsory Islamic Faith has unfortunately escaped the attention of the Ulama, who enforced only one aspect, namely. Prayer to God and omitted to prescribe the second aspect. Such omission has been "the main reason of the downfall of Muslims. The relevant Quranic Injunctions have been explicitly mentioned in Chapter 2, to which the attention of all serious readers is drawn. By compliance with these directions, man's inherent potentialities will be re-vitalised by combining the practice of Religion with the cultivation of Scientific Knowledge.
The time to take to study of Science has not only come, but is already past. Either the Muslims now must take to a crash programme of Scientific Education, or they must sink into oblivion for lack of adaptability in the avalanche of irresistible changes coming with the advent of the 21st Century. The liability of yesterday has to be transformed into the asset of tomorrow. The choice rests with the immediate present generation. Let there be no ambiguity.
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