To many the understanding of revival is ambiguous. To some it is to have what the Western world has in terms of technology, organisation and material progress. Others take it to mean progress economically or where the standard of life increases.
Others use terms that are not crystallised in their minds. Terms like irtafaa al fikri-intellectual elevation are submerged in a cloud of vagueness. It is essential that the meaning of revival be understood otherwise the aim of reviving the ummah may never be achieved. Distraction and confusion may reign and the very move towards reviving could well fizzle out or be diverted to preserving the declined situation.
The term Arabic term for revival nahda comes from the root to arise, to get up, to stand. So the meaning of nahda in the context of the situation of the ummah points to the fact that they need to arise from their declined position.
How should Muslims view this subject about reviving the Muslim Ummah from its current state to a revived golden era? An explanation by the will of Allah (swt) follows.
The West is revived but it does not have true revival, as their basis secularism is false. It can be seen that every issue faced by the West is thought through on the basis of their viewpoint about the meaning of life, their aqeeda, and secularism.
Secularism maintains that the everyday affairs of life in this world have no connection to what was before this life and what is to come after. It holds that man is the ultimate source of what is acceptable or unacceptable. A view that does not fit to this basis is immediately rejected, labelled as wacky or called extreme. This has been proved when Muslims have tried to speak from an Islamic perspective in the media. In western society the acceptable and the non acceptable, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong are all viewed from a single basis. The laws in society, the systems of ruling and their conduct with other nations are driven by this viewpoint. One may find differences but these differences emerge in the branches but not at the root. For example when “ We disagree with the war in Iraq, we think that religions should not be insulted, we disagree with homosexuality” and other statements of this nature are examined it can be seen these are based upon the same viewpoint or basis as those that carry the opposite views. It is this unity upon the basis and how to view problems that leads the west to move forward in all aspects of life albeit in the incorrect way as their basis is flawed. Take the argument in the USA where some call for isolationism and others call for the current US philosophy of treating the world as their ranch- both arguments come from the same basis, but the difference lies in a judgement about national interest.
If one were to contrast this to a society like Pakistan one would witness that there is no basic thought that is predominant. Rather there are a whole host of thoughts that are used. Some people are Islamic but only in the spiritual sense, some are capitalistic but only in the monetary sense, some are nationalistic and some are so declined in their thought that they are prepared to do anything to try to achieve what they want. Pakistan is said to be a democracy, an Islamic Republic and a dictatorship at the same time. As result confusion reigns, there is no standard; right and wrong are not considered on a single basis. In sum, Pakistan like all the countries in the Muslim world is a messy soup of confused thought and conflicting ideas. It is little wonder that countries like Pakistan take one step forwards and two steps back whilst gawping at the advancement of the West.
The Need to Return to Islamic Ideology.
Islam obliges Muslims to make sure that every thought; emotion, view, rule and law are linked back to the Islamic aqeeda. The relationship of creation i.e. the purpose of this life is to worship Allah (swt) and the relationship of resurrection that actions undertaken in this life will be accounted on the day of judgement are the basis upon which Muslim societies must proceed. The Muslim world would become revived once society has adopted Islam as the basis in all its relationships and Islam becomes the source of individual and societal actions, emotions and thought. It would be essential that the Khilafah be established to say that we have revived. In the meantime the ummah would head towards revival but it would be incorrect to say revival had occurred as. The ummah would only have true progress and revival once Islam became the basis for all issues.
One of the best examples of revival is that of the Prophet (saw). He (saw) brought the Islamic viewpoint about life to the declined people of Arabia. Once they had embraced the thought and applied it in society via the Islamic ruling system society progressed in an unprecedented manner. The fruits of this revival reverberated through many lands and humanity advanced upon the basis of the message from Allah (swt).
Abdur Rahman Siakhi