Muslim world lags behind in every sphere of life: Dr. Zubair Zafar Khan


By Special Correspondent

New Delhi : Muslims are the second largest religious group on the planet earth after Christians but they stand nowhere in terms of scientific research and other indices of progress. This was stated by Dr Zubair Zafar Khan while delivering an extension lecture on “Muslim Progress in 21st century” at Jamia Millia Islamia here on Saturday.  Dr Khan, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, said the comparative analysis of the 54 Muslim countries and developed nations, like USA, European Unions, and China shows Muslims lag behind in every sphere of life.


Relying on the data of western sources, Dr Khan said  US-based Pew Research Centre pegs world  total Muslim population at 1.65 billion while the Jews population around 14 million, representing 0.2% of the global population.  He underlined that the ratio of Muslims, Jews is 117:1 or the population of Muslims is 117 times larger than of Jews but still Muslims stand nowhere.

For example, almost three quarters of the world’s 775 million illiterate adults are found in only ten countries and out these ten six are Muslim Majority Countries (MMCs).

Continuing his lecture, he said, “There are 2621 universities in total in the Muslims world while 6500 universities are in USA alone. Average research per MMC is made between 2005-12 is 193 wherein 7,482 researches were made only in small country like Finland.USA, China, Denmark, Finland, Iceland are those countries which produced individually more PhDs than all MMCs produced collectively”

The AMU teacher also underscored that since 1901 to 2020 Muslim won only 12 Nobel prizes whilst Christians won 423, Jews won 203 and Hindus won 9.

On GDPs, he said  only top seven MMCs have their GDPs greater than the revenue of Royal Dutch Shell while the rest of 44 MMCs have GDPs lower than the revenue of Royal Dutch Shell in 2012.

He explained closely that the sum total of the Exports of all MMCs is $2.190 trillion in 2012 while China alone exports the goods of worth $2. 021 trillion and USA $1.612 trillion in the same year.

He also highlighted that only 16% of Muslim population is involved in industrial production, whereas for Christians only this figure is 60%. The employment conditions of some MMCs are also too worse.

For instance, 77% population of Burkina Faso is unemployed. Similarly, Turkmenistan has 60%, Dijbouti 59%, Senegal 48%, Kosovo 45.3%, Yemen 35% unemployed population.

When it comes to poverty, he said 80% population of Chad is living below poverty line and similarly, 70.2% population in Sierra Leone, 70% in Nigeria, 60% in Comoros lives below poverty line.

He also drew attention towards achievements of Muslim world stating  that only 9 Muslims travelled to space whereas 14 Jews and approximately 487 Christians, 3 Hindus and more than 20 of other faiths including Buddhist and others went to space till date.

Till today 27 MMCs have won 118 Gold Medals collectively in Olympics, whereas US alone won 1063.

In terms of local newspapers, the figures are too surprising.

He said only Turkey has the maximum numbers of local newspapers among MMCs with 91 papers while UK has 652 and USA 9712 papers.

 He further said since the first aircraft (in 1903) still no MMCs has its own aircraft engine manufacturing facility except Iran. No MMCs have airborne observatory, resonant bars, radio observatory neutrino detector, major web server, multinational news channel except Al-Jazeera, Multinational newspaper, automobile manufacturer, atomic force microscope, multinational cell phone manufacturer and the like.

In his concluding remarks, Dr Khan suggested   that a paper on “Current Muslim Development” should be introduced in the curriculum of Colleges and Universities.

In his presidential remarks, Prof Syed Shahid Ali, head of the Department of Islamic Studies, advised the students to follow the culture of inquiry by asking questions. He said that a linguistic expression that asks for information or investigation because human mind is like a big desert, vast ocean and huge space.

Prof Ali said question culture is a very strong Islamic tradition.

“As the Prophet of Islam says “Why did they not ask if they did not know?” And at other place the Prophet (pbuh) says: “Verily, the only cure for ignorance is to ask questions.” He also brought the question answer story from the Quran between God and Angles (Quran 2: 30), God and Humans (Quran 2: 44) and God and Prophets, questioning between the Prophet and Companion”.

He also pointed out  that the massive development of Islamic Jurisprudence is a proof of question culture among Muslims and said India can be empowered the Islamic Studies discipline.

Dr Javed Akhatar introduced the speaker to the students and welcomed him while Dr. Nadeem-e Sahar Ambreen proposed the vote of thanks.

As part of the activity of Writers Lab, JMI’s Department of Islamic Studies has organized this lecture. This online lecture series is planned to promote collaboration among faculty members, between institutes, as well as to motivate young research scholars.


  1. Blatant Generalizations here. It must be understood that Muslims being “backwards” Has nothing to do with them being religious (%of Muslims being actually religious is not that great). If Muslims were to actually INTERNALIZE islam, then we would be having Second Islamic Golden Age of Technology, Civilization, Peace, prosperity and spirituality. Problem is Muslims have not internalized Islam and they are being led by Incompetent, inept, corrupt and immoral people. So, such conditions of Muslims is a logical, natural consequence.

    • You are right.. There is no relationship between being religious and being backward.. But the author never said that. He didn’t make any comment or remark how religious Muslims are.. He has pointed out how backward us Muslims are.. He didn’t so its because we’re religious.. I hope you have clarity on the topic..
      Tough times ahead brother.. We have to work hard to educate and uplift the community

      • And what are those internal problems?
        Lack of Initiative?
        Lack of resolve and determination?
        Lack of unity?

        Hope, you don’t choose the second option

        Muslims have NOT internalized islam. If they did, we would be the most prosperous, civilized, cultured, serene and technically advanced people on the planet?

        • Asalamualikum,
          We have great Ullama of Deen and also we have great Muslim scientists. But we are backward, why?
          I believe its because we have divided Deen from Dunya, politics from Islam, and Islam from Science and tech, we need Ullama of Deen that are also Ulama of Dunya.


  2. The major reason behind muslim backwardness is muslim women are treated as second class citizens. They don’t have rights wear they wish, they don’t have right to work post marriage etc. If 50% population is backward then naturally entire muslim community will remain backward only.

    • What about our hindu sisters they wear what they want..are these indian woemen more advance than other indian woemen…Cause is lack of number of education fascilities…lack of number of universities in india 5 thousands candidates are selected for medical education out 5 millions students thruogh neet…..

    • The actual cause in india is the deficient number of universities and lack of education fascilities..Both hindu and muslim woemen are sufferers.For medical entrance five thousands candidates are selected out of Five million students….dressing of muslim woemen has no role in it.

      • In India, government has made girls education free till 12th standard in 1972.. i.e. around 50 years ago. then why today 50% Indian muslim women are still iliterate? Who stopped you to take free education?
        Most of the muslim families are against girls education and anyway muslim women are not allowed to work after marriage. Hence, this 50% community has remained backward. Thus, entire society is backward.

        • My dear our whole country is backward when compared to other developed countries like Malaysia Indonesia Saudi Arabia Turkey etc . And also the status of our sisters from majority community is pathetic given the amount of sexual violence against them. It is time to put our own house in order rather than comment on things we don’t have first hand knowledge.

  3. No doubt muslims are in downfall position now…but comparison is not fare as the author represented for muslim and christians…
    Geographical and political discrimination is the cause of backwardness in different countries for all sects of religion, even in eastern Europe and south America and mexico christians are also backward…..
    Chinese and russians and Malaysians are more advanced than christians of Asia…so do not compare on basis of religion..,at present muslims are much ignorant about their islamic religion than materialistic knowledge.
    European advancement in science and technology started since 17 century and dominated all over the world after world war 2nd…..before this invasion muslims were ruling two third area of the world from spain to Africa from turkey to middle east and from persia to Philipine….and to Indonesia, malaysia in southeast….
    India was known as the richest country till 18th century under muslim rule economically as well as culturally and politically…
    Muslims had a glorious past of thousand year bright history..
    Every nation has its own history in progress and downfall since beginning of the world…..


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