The reason for the downfall of Muslims in today’s world

By Zafarul-Islam Khan

No Muslim living today will deny that contemporary Muslims are hated, despised, and considered backward. Exceptions apart, this is the case of Muslims whether living as a majority or minority across the globe. It is not that we are poor or uneducated or because we lack political power. There are 58 countries which claim to be “Islamic” and thus qualify for membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference. Yet they are unable to face a tiny country, Israel, to thwart one aggression after another against Muslim countries, or to force countries like Myanmar and China not to persecute their Muslim minorities.

The fact is that wealth at the disposal of millions of Muslim individuals, corporates and states today far exceeds what Muslims ever owned during the past fifteen centuries. There is an army of graduate, post-graduate and doctorate-holder Muslims. Yet, as people and communities, Muslims are not respected.

The only reason I can think of is that we have turned our Islam into rituals – our prayers, our fasts, our Haj, our ‘Umrah, our Zakat and sadaqahs have become lifeless rituals. Once outside mosques or on return from Makkah and Madinah, no difference is discerned in our character. Such visits hardly enthuse us to live Islam in our real lives in our homes, offices, workplaces, factories and on the street. We live carefree as if Islam poses no duties and obligations on us and as if there will be no Day of Judgment ever. Our lives hardly differ from those who do not believe in Islam, if not worse.

Turning a vibrant and revolutionary Islam into lifeless rituals is the direct result of our shunning the Qur’an. Today we read the Qur’an or listen to it for thawab (reward in the Hereafter), not as a source of guidance and inspiration, not as a guide in our daily individual or community lives. Even those who know Arabic prefer to listen to famous reciters of the Qur’an in order to enjoy the recital, not as a guide and source of inspiration and admonition. This is why our noble Prophet will complain to Allah on the Day of Judgement: “O my Lord! Truly my people deserted this Qur’ān” (25:30). What a severe indictment of our character – we have deserted the Book which taught us and made us how to be Muslims – a community which submits to Allah. It is the book which lifted the barefoot illiterate Arabs into guides and masters of the world within decades of its first revelation in 610 CE.

Today, we have in our midst, in this country, such wretched people who tell us not to read the Qur’an translation because, they claim, you will get misguided because without certain “sciences” (‘ulum) you cannot understand the Qur’an! How strange! These “sciences” did not exist in the time of the Prophet or the Companions or even during the time of those who succeeded them for the next few centuries. Ordinary Companions of the Prophet understood the Qur’an instantly without these so-called “sciences”. They lived it, propagated it and conquered most of the known world at the time fired by their faith and understanding of this divine message. Any part of “Islam” which was not known to the Prophet, his Companions and the immediately following generations (tabi’un, taba’ tabi’in) is not Islam of Muhammad.

Muslims in the Subcontinent are told today to read and are forced to listen to man-made books which are read out in mosques instead of the Qur’an.

It is a duty of every Muslim to read and understand the Qur’an in Arabic and if he does not know Arabic, he must read the Qur’an’s translation which is available in most languages of the world today. If you receive a letter from a government official, will you start doing its tilawat (reciting) again and again and assume that you have complied with its instructions? If you don’t know the letter’s language, you will rush to someone who knows it. But a majority of Muslims today are exactly doing this: making tilawat of the Quran, without knowing what it says.

Muslims are misguided that merely saying the Kalimah or saying a few prayers or reading certain chapters of the Qur’an will suffice for their Salvation in the Hereafter. If we actually read the Qur’an, we will never make such claims. The Qur’an on every page exhorts us to believe in Allah and do righteous deeds. The two, belief and continuously doing righteous deeds, go hand-in-hand. Many think that without doing any righteous deed they will enter Paradise while Allah says in the Qur’an that mere saying good words is meaningless unless accompanied by good deeds (35:10).

The Qur’an says that Prayer (salat) “restrains from obscenity and abominable deeds” (29:45) but our prayer today fails to make any real impact on our lives or character. The Qur’an says that you should spend “Whatever is in excess of your needs” (2:219) while our majority does not pay even the meagre amounts of Zakat, yet millions of Muslims around the world spend lavishly on social occasions, buy costliest gadgets and compete to make ‘Umrah visits, one after the other, while their fellow Muslims starve in so many parts of the world. We are doing everything to earn Allah’s wrath and yet blame others! The only way for our salvation is to read the Qur’an, in translation if we do not know Arabic, and meticulously follow Allah’s commands in every part of our lives.

According to the Qur’an, this community is the best community raised for mankind. It enjoins good & forbids evil (3:110). This community has not been raised for itself. It has been entrusted with a mission to bear witness to the Truth before humanity. In order to carry out this mission, Muslim individuals and societies must first return to the straight path in their thought and conduct. It is only by living true Islam that they can bear testimony before the world.


The author, an alumnus of Al-Azhar and Cairo universities with a PhD in Islamic Studies from Manchester University, has been attempting since 2010 at revising Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translation of the Holy Qur’an. It has now evolved into a wholly new, most accurate, translation of the holy book in simple and modern language, with new copious footnotes. It may be out before the end of this year.

12 thoughts on “The reason for the downfall of Muslims in today’s world

  1. ترک القرآن والوھن سببان فقط
    للزوال۔ واسوقوط
    وللذلۃ والمسکنۃ
    انتم غثاء کغثاءالسیل
    وسببہ الوھن۔
    حب الدنیا وکراہیۃ الموت

  2. The author starts out by being brutally honest. Then, he veers off into mythical lands of human minds in an attempt to “sell” the products of his academic pursuits. The “Holy Book” is a text of faith. The problem the author identifies is because of the inability of the Muslims to coexist with people of other faiths. If the Muslims would respect the followers of faiths other than their own just as much as they do those of their own the problem would go away. To what extent does the “Holy Book” PREVENT the Muslim mind from respecting other faiths? That’s the question the alumna of Manchester U. needs to discuss.

    1. Let me tell you how brutally honest the TRULY HOLY BOOK THE QUR’AN is with regards to the relationship with people of “other” Faith with just an AYAH of the Qur’an. It commands the MUSLIM MINDS AS

      Al-Mumtahanah 60:8

      لَّا يَنْهَىٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَٰتِلُوكُمْ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَٰرِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِمْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُقْسِطِينَ

      Allah DOES NOT FORBID you as regards those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that YOU DO GOOD TO THEM, and DEAL JUSTLY WITH THEM. Surely Allah loves those who maintain justice.

      You see, that’s the SUMMIT of good treatment.
      1. Do good to them
      2. Do justice to them. In other words, Be just with them.

      Isn’t that brutally honest from the TRULY HOLY BOOK?
      A TRUE “Truth Seeker” will recognize the TRUTH in it,
      And not be ai inconsistent hypocritical bigot…
      You see, I’m being brutally honest here.

        1. You’re not really a “Truth Seeker”. You are just here to post ridiculously irrational, and fallacious comments.
          If you were really a ” Truth Seeker” , you would research a subject/topic you know beans about.
          You would investigate the matter WITH AN OPEN HEART and OBJECTIVE MIND.
          And look at your senseless hypocrisy.
          You questioned whether The Qur’an allows MUSLIM MIND to respect/tolerate the people of other faith, and when i answered that question with Just An Ayah of the Qur’an, you think I’m being brutal, and not honest!
          So, if a Muslim does GOOD TO A NON MUSLIM and behaves with JUSTNESS with the Non muslim, then he’s brutal?

          So, you are proving me right in my analysis of you.
          You are not a truth seeeker, rather you’re adopting a hypocrital attitude…

          1. Do you understand simple English? I am sorry I don’t read, write, or speak Urdu.

    2. Dearest Sir, I’m really so sorry to read your comments. And so, may I request u to plz try to spare some of your precious time to read & understand the holy book ie Quraan so as to be able to know the truth

  3. Truly mentioned the ulcers of the muslims community. Not only the ordinary people have disowned Islam but Islamic scholars have too disowned Islam. They too do not know what is Islam and what to do with Islam.

    I think islamic scholars Ulama and academicians should think about reconstruction of Islam on social, economic, political lines.

    Furthermore I think there should be a world/country ulama council, in which volunteers and ulama join. There should be departments like dawah, reformation of individual (tassawuf), reformation of society (islahe muaashra), education, social reconstruction, economic empowerment/ reconstruction, political activism/reconstruction, unification of islamic laws and constitutional or municipal laws of muslim countries. Each such department may be held by interested ulama and volunteers.

    Then there should be hierarchy of masjid- village, town, district, state, country and international. Role of each masjid should be to look after the people of its vicinity, all the problems should be taken care by volunteers of such masjid help be taken from other masjid.

    I think this way Muslims will be reorganised and Islam could be practiced. The non muslims will not be left out rather they would also be cared about and will be the beneficiary.

    Hazak Allah khair

  4. السلام علیکم و رحمۃ اللہ و برکاتہ برادرم مجھے آپ کے مضمون کے تمام مندرجات سے اتفاق ہے اس میں بس ایک خلا محسوس ہوا وہ یہ کہ قرآن ان کی زندگی کا سر چشمہ تھا ان کی قوت وشوکت کی اساس تھا مگر ان کی قوت اور ایک جہتی کا سبب ان کا اجتماعی نظام، نظام سمع وطاعت، جسے عہد زوال میں ہم فراموش کر چکے ہیں. ایک منتشر بھیڑ کو جو محرک ایک امت میں اس کو ڈھالتا ہے وہ نظام سمع وطاعت ہے. اللہ آپ کی مساعی کو قبول فرمائے بڑی خوشی ہوئی کہ انگریزی ترجمہ کو آپ اپ ڈیٹ کر رہے ہیں. الف الف مبروک.

  5. In which era muslims were respected by non-muslims? Since the birth of Islam 1400 ago, we hear muslims were involved in force conversions, religious place destruction, force capturing of land, uncontrolled population growth etc. Presently you may be facing downfall in economy but if you measure muslim society in terms of social values, non-muslims never respected muslims.
    If you want non-muslims to respect you then please do following:
    1) Convert all Islamic countries into secular because in Islamic countries non-muslims are 2nd class citizens.
    2) Educate terrorists that terrorism is not the part of Islamic teaching.
    3) Accept local laws where ever muslims are in minority.
    4) Put complete focus on women education & their empowerment.
    5) Follow 2 child policy.

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