The Rise and Decline of Islam


March 19, 2016

The Rise and Decline of Islam

by: Kassim Ahmad

Revised and expanded on March 19, 2016

The Quran in Surah Ali-‘Imran (3) states that “The only religion approved by God is Islam.” The Arabic word ‘deen’ essentially mean ‘way of life’ rather that the restricted ritualistic meaning of the word ‘religion’.

Former political activist Kassim Ahmad © speaks to journalist outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur on January 6, 2015. The Malaysian Insider/Najjua Zulkefli

Former political activist Kassim Ahmad © speaks to journalist outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur on January 6, 2015. The Malaysian Insider/Najjua Zulkefli

This religion of strict monotheism is taught by all prophet-messengers from Adam to its completion and perfection by Muhammad, the last of all prophet-messegers. But, as it is wont with human beings, corruption and deterioration set in and complete their work in after about 300 years (10 generations) to change the original teachings. Thus, the monotheism of Prophet Moses became polytheism in Judaism, of Prophet Jesus polytheism in Christianity, and of Muhammad polytheism in Sunnism. Sunnism is polytheistic in that it has elevated Muhammad to a second god, against his will. [1]

Sunnism is sectarian “Islam”, worshiping two gods. [2] Two gods are one too many. It is polititeism. Fortunately for mankind, the last of God’s scripture, the Quran, is divinely  protected so that all mankind can always refer to it as its guide.

This divine protection lies internally in the scripture in a mathematically awesome and impossible to imitate structure called Code 19. This Code is stated in the Quran in Surah Al-Muddaththir  (74), verses 30-31.

The verses go, “Over it is nineteen. We appointed angels to be guardians of Hell, and we assign their number (19) (1) to disturb the disbelievers, (2) to convince the Christians and the Jews (that this is a divine scripture), (3) to strengthen the faith of the faithful, (4) to remove all traces of doubt from the hearts of Christians, Jews, as well as believers, and (5) to expose those who harbor doubt in their hearts. The disbelievers will say, ‘What does God mean by this allegory?’ God thus sends astray whomever He wills, and guides whomever He wills. None knows the soldiers of your Lord except He. This is a reminder for the people.”

The rise of Islam, beginning with the reign of Prophet Muhammad in the Arabian Peninsular in early seventh century, within a short time of only sixty years shot up to be the Number One power in the then world, beating the two superpowers, the Byzantian Empire and the Persian Empire.

Historian Philip K. Hitti, in his book, History of the Arabs (1970), states, “If someone in the first third of the seventh Christian century had the audacity to prophesy that within a decade some unheralded, unforeseen power from hitherto barbarous and little-known land of Arabia was to make its appearance, hurl itself against the only two world powers of the age, fall heir to the one — the Sasanid – and strip the other – the Byzantine — of its fairest provinces, he would have undoubtedly have been declared a lunatic. Yet that was exactly what happened.

After the death of the Prophet sterile Arabia seems to have been converted as if by magic into a nursery of heroes the like of whom both in number and quality is hard to find anywhere. The military campaigns of Khalid ibn-al-Walid and ‘Amar ibn-al-‘As which ensued in al-Iraq, Persia, Syria and Egypt remain among the most brilliantly executed in the history of warfare and bear favourable comparison with those of Napoleon, Hannibal or Alexander.” (p. 142).

A Western philosophical historian, Robert Briffault, in his epoch-making book, The Making of Humanity (1919), after denouncing a conspiracy of silence by most Western historians on the contributions of Muslim science to modern Europe,  surmarised the contribution of Muslim science to civilization, thus: “The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories. Science owes a great deal more to  Arab culture , it owes its existence. The ancient world was, as we saw, pre-scientific. The astronomy and mathematics of the Greeks were a foreign importation never thoroughly acclamatised in Greek culture.

The Greeks systematized, generalized and  theorized, but he patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute methods of science, detailed and prolonged observation, experimental inquiry, were altogether alien to the Greek temperament. … What we called science arose in Europe as result of a new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the method of experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of mathematics in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs.” (p. 191)

Muslim civilization lasted eight centuries. In that time, Baghdad became the capital of the world and Europe became students at the feet of Baghdad. When the rot set in, Europe took over the banner of civilization and what is known as the European Renaissance began. Will Western leadership last for ever? Only time can  tell. But basing ourselves on its truncated epistemology, we can say that it cannot last forever, at most another two or three decades.

One of two thing will happen. Either Europe and the United States will adopt the true revolutionary doctrine of Islam, which  I characterize as “revolutionary, life-affirming, and death-defying”, or the Muslims themselves will be reborn with that true spirit of the Quran and borne in the life Prophet Muhammad and the early republican-democratic Caliphates.

In the meanwhile, Muslim leaders must answer the question why the Muslim way of life, guaranteed by God, has collapsed, and how they can rebuild it. To answer this all-important question, they must re-study the Quran with a scientific methodology. I can suggest a few signposts.

First, at a certain point in time, Muslim science froze and deteriorated, due to wrong teaching of certain so-called masters. These were made into masters by a new priesthood class adopted in imitation of medieval Hinduism and Christianity. In Islam there is no priesthood class.

Second, at a certain point in time, a certain attitude of fatalism developed in Islam due a new theology preached in accordance to hadith teachings. Hadiths are essentially fabrications falsely ascribed to the great name of Prophet  Muhammad.

Third, that new theology also preached salvation in the Afterlife, in a nondescript Theologians’ Nirvana in imitation of Buddhism. This led to Muslim apathy in a life waiting for death. At this point, roughly from the Fourteenth Century onwards, this false Islam died, with the false Muslims.

Fourth and last to rebuild, the Muslims must re-study the Quran (which is their and mankind’s book of guidance) and the examples of their great leaders in the republican democratic period  , to find correct answers to their current plight.

I have surmarised the teachings of the Quran as “revolutionary, life-affirming and death-defying”.  We must seek salvation in this life by raising our souls to a higher level. It is this raising of our souls to a higher level that is necessary for the coming Second Muslim Civilization, which must come.

 [1] See Quran (16: 51) which states: “Do not worship two gods. There is only one God.” Further Surah 63, verse I, invalidates the second syahadah which is uttered by hypocrites.

[2] God has proclaimed: “Do not worship two gods; there is only on god. Therefore you shall reverence Me.” (Quran, 16: 51).

28 thoughts on “The Rise and Decline of Islam

  1. “The only religion approved by God is Islam.”
    Should it not be “The only religion approved by Allah is Islam” ?

    Just seeking clarification as the local religious authorities had stated that
    ‘ALLAH’ CANNOT BE EQUATED TO ‘GOD’ AS ‘ALLAH IS FOR MUSLIMS
    AND ‘GOD’ IS FOR OTHER RELIGIONS.
    Consequenlty it may be perceived that the Muslim Holy Book is only for Muslims.
    Hope someone can enlighten me. Regards

  2. I am sure there are many good things about Islam but to non-Muslims in Malaysia, they have only known and see Islam as a religion that encourage and tolerate theft, corruption and threat of violence because a group of reputedly staunched and pure Muslim Malaysians are institutionalising all these evil deeds while the rest of the Muslim Malaysians are too afraid to stop these criminals.

    So, you see, it looks like there is nothing good about this religion after all, judging from the way Muslim Malaysians claim to have actively live the religion daily.

  3. “The only religion approved by God is Islam.” The Arabic word ‘deen’ essentially mean ‘way of life’ rather that the restricted ritualistic meaning of the word ‘religion’.

    why the translation stopped at ‘deen’ and not continued with the word ‘islam’ which means submission? so, when every word of the verse is translated, it will be read as ‘the only way of life approved by god is submission’.

    unfortunately, islam has become another product brand which is different from the purpose intended.

  4. Muthu based on your arguments,they are alot of Hindus who are corrupted in India especially the politicians and government servants,Not only they are corrupted but they are so intolerant to people of other faiths that they killed Muslims on suspicion of eating beef and forced Christians to revert back to Hinduism.Based on your arguments,I can also say Hinduism is not a good religion at all.At least in Malaysia we dont kill people for eating pork or bacon.

  5. “……unfortunately, islam has become another product brand which is different from the purpose intended.”

    How true that is, in Malaysia, as in many other parts of the world.

    From Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon during his farewell pilgrimage (khutbah al-wida’):

    “O humankind! Your Lord is one Lord, and you have one father. All of you are from Adam, and Adam is from dust. The noblest of you is the most God-fearing. No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, no non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab, no black person has any superiority over a white person, and no white person has any superiority over a black person – superiority is only through piety.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî]

    And yet the worst forms of racism and oppression are justified under the name of Islam now. Annuar Musa claims that Islam permits him to be racist. He clearly has no understanding of his own religion.

    It only proves that UMNO is beyond any hope.

  6. He knows his religion that is for sure, BUT the end of Western civilisation? LKY said before he left, the 21st century will still be an American century much less a Western one. Sorry but when it comes to global picture, LKY vs Kassim Ahmad, no contest.
    _____________
    As far as I know Pak Kassim never claimed to be a political visionary. He is an Islamic intellectual.It is not apt to compare him to LKY.–Din Merican

  7. Islam will rise again but this time in the West particularly US. The US Muslims are now developing their own identity as American Muslims, different from that of their birth country or parents birth country. There are numerous Muslims intellect teaching at US Universities and Colleges and doing research in Islam and the Abrahamic theology. Many are also delivering Khutbahs and Conducting Halaqa and lectures around the country. They firmly believe that ‘home is not where their grandfather was buried but where their grandchildren will grow up”

  8. Islam was never a religion. Islam has no true God, it is only a military tool used by Mohd based on Judaism to become a prophet to control the masses and drive fanaticism for military purposes. This is clearly how it has evolved, and best explained by Frank Herbert’s Dune which illustrates how religion is developed and utilized for warfare. That is why fanaticism, bigotry and genocide are traits of this religion, – just ask check the Armenian Genocide, which not ONE single leader of this fanaticism has been willing to seek justice if this was a religion. The world will be a much better place without such.

  9. Mr. Kassim,

    What does it take to shift Muslims from treating Mohammad as God?
    Is there any change needed in the content of Shahada? If yes, just for the sake of discourse, what would be the proposed change in your opinion?

  10. “This is clearly how it has evolved, and best explained by Frank Herbert’s Dune which illustrates how religion is developed and utilized for warfare.”

    I loved the first book, liked the second two and couldn’t be bothered (but read) the last three but I think it’s an oversimplification to assert this about Islam or any other religion for that matter.

    But then again form your tone, I don’t really think you have a problem with Religion but Islam. This makes any kind of communication ….problematic.

  11. Edit to add.

    Someone once told me that any form of religion or spirituality is a kind of connective tissue between human beings.

  12. Neil deGrasse Tyson lectures a crowd on how religious fundamentalism is the root of the collapse of the Islamic Golden age of Science and Mathematics in Baghdad. An Islamic scholar named Hamid Al-Ghazali deemed Mathematics evil.

    Mathematics is the work of the devil – and the collapse of Islamic intellectual began.

  13. 1. I thank all those who have given responses, both positive and negative. I shall now answer them.
    2. ‘Allah’ is an Arabic word, meaning ‘The God’ that has entered into the Malay language. It is not the proper name of Allah, as some translators say. God has no name. The Quran states that all the best names belong to God.
    3. The Quran is for all mankind, both believers and disbelievers.
    4. There are two types of Islam. One, monotheism, brought by all prophet-messengers from Adam to Muhammad, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Islam, meaning submission, is another name for it. Two, inherited Islam, that has changed over time from the original monotheism to become polytheism of other religions that has at its core the concept divine unity. Even the completed and perfected Islam of Prophet Muhammad has not been spared of this corruption, except that this Islam has retained its protected scripture, the Quran.
    5. Thanks to Ferdi one who quoted from Muhammad’s Final Sermon.
    6. There is only one syahadah in Surah 3, verse 18. The second syahadah practised by the Sunnis is nullified in the Quran in Surah 63, verse 1.
    7. Time will prove me correct that before the end of the 21st Century the world will have adopted Islam. Islam, repeat the Islam of the prophet-messengers, is, in its essence, the TRUTH.– Kassim Ahmad

  14. ” ‘Allah’ is an Arabic word, meaning ‘The God’ that has entered into the Malay language. It is not the proper name of Allah, as some translators say. God has no name. The Quran states that all the best names belong to God.”

    Thank you Pak Kassim for persevering over the years. It makes sense that God has no (specific) name and all the best names belong to God.

    The Quran (24:35) says God:
    – is the light of the heavens and the earth
    – is light upon light
    – uses various metaphors

    If the majority of Muslims meditate upon this one verse alone and endeavour to explore the full spectrum of its meaning in its breadth and depth, and come to truly appreciate the notions of “light” and “metaphor”, then they couldn’t afford to be so literal and petty.

  15. Addition: 1. Someone mentioned the name of Lee Kuan Yew, and presumed to say that I am nowhere compared to him. Did I claim to be a LKY? I admired him. In fact, the world recognised his services to the island city-state. Although he was an ethnic Chinese and of Buddhist religion, I think his values reflected those of true Islam, with zero corruption, practising consultation, integrity and resoluteness in his administration. I wish our leaders would emulate him.
    2. Unfortunately, I have never been in government, although political power is one of the things I seek. But I have administered my party (PRM?PSRM) for 18 years. I also very successfully administered a small cooperative for four consecutive years. In my forthcoming book, one of the chapters is titled “If I Were the Prime Minister …”
    — Kassim Ahmad
    ______________________
    I look forward to buying and reading your book. Yes, you did not compare yourself to LKY. Like you, I am a LKY fan. He was a special man with sterling character and integrity. –Din Merican

  16. I don’t think LKY was a Buddhist. He was an atheist. At most a nominal Buddhist in the sense of observing tradition rather than rituals or ceremonies.

  17. Religion has killed more people in this world, more than disease and natural disasters. And all this killings are perpetuated by man to fulfill their ambitions.

  18. Kassim,
    Lee Kuan Yew is not a buddhist! He is a agnostic just like SR Rajaratnam! In fact, he is pretty much closer to embracing christianity. His brother was a devout christian.

    The,
    There is a difference between an agnostic and an atheist. Atheists especially that jerk called ktemoc who treats atheism as a form of religion. Like football to some englanders.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/11/world/asia/11lee.html?_r=0

    “……Lately, he said, he had been looking at Christian marriage vows and was drawn to the words: “To love, to hold and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse till death do us part.”

    “I told her, ‘I would try and keep you company for as long as I can.’ That’s life. She understood.” But he also said: “I’m not sure who’s going first, whether she or me.”

    At night, hearing the sounds of his wife’s discomfort in the next room, he said, he calms himself with 20 minutes of meditation, reciting a mantra he was taught by a Christian friend: “Ma-Ra-Na-Tha.”

    The phrase, which is Aramaic, comes at the end of St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, and can be translated in several ways. Mr. Lee said that he was told it means “Come to me, O Lord Jesus,” and that although he is not a believer, he finds the sounds soothing…….”

    Guys and Gals,
    While SR Rajaratnam declared himself as an atheist in his speech, comparing him with that jerk atheist ktemoc………I declare him as agnostic instead

    http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/data/pdfdoc/SR19830916s.pdf

  19. “6. There is only one syahadah in Surah 3, verse 18. The second syahadah practised by the Sunnis is nullified in the Quran in Surah 63, verse 1,” Kassim Ahmad.

    Mr. Ahmad,
    I recognize the profound nature of your above one sentence reply.
    Which line of teaching have you follow that leads you to Shahada based on Quran 3:18 – I sincerely want to know? I will not feel boring with scholar names and book titles, even with Arabic translation.
    Picking on your brain and research, may you kindly let us/me know which sects of contemporary Islam adopt Quran 3:18 as their Shahada in daily prayers? My interest here is strong because things recited on daily basis are what changing the world.

  20. 1. Do’nt worry Pak Din. I shall reserve a few copies to be presented to my friends, one of whom is you.
    2. Dear Shiou, the followers of the Quran, without the fabricated hadiths — there are many of them. I would put their number at 30%. They are non-sectarian Muslims. The great names are Dr. Rashad Khalifa, Dr. Edip Yuksel, Dr. Ahmad Subhi and many others I may not know. I would simply called them monotheists or followers of all prophet-messengers of God from Adam to Muhammad, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ.
    3. Religious fanatics, or any type of fanatics, are a danger to society. They have caused wars.
    4. At the core of religion is a sense of wonder at the majesty of the creation of the Universe. Man falls down in worship of this Benificient and Merciful Creator. It is a great force for good.
    — Kassim Ahmad

  21. looes74, I know the difference between atheist and agnostic – I used to be agnostic, but now an atheist. I think LKY was an atheist, but towards his closing days, maybe he thought he ought to place some bets on Pascal’s wager. When one is so close to the end, one shouldn’t be making enemies with either sides.
    Yes, the definition of agnostic is an atheist without balls.

  22. looes74, just to add, yes, Lee Suan Yew attempted to convert LKY to Christianity, but I don’t think he succeeded. There was a priest (Catholic?) who was on youtube discussion meditation with LKY, but I think he was respectful enough not to evangelize and proselytize LKY.

    Atheism is definitely not a religion or belief system.

  23. Pak Kassim:
    1. “Either Europe and the United States will adopt the true revolutionary doctrine of Islam . . . or the Muslims themselves will be reborn with that true spirit of the Quran.”
    2. “Time will prove me correct that before the end of the 21st Century the world will have adopted Islam. Islam, repeat the Islam of the prophet-messengers, is, in its essence, the TRUTH.”

    I am a little perplexed by your overly optimistic prediction and hopes. Only 85 years separate us between now and the end of this century. Since the Battle of Karbala, sometimes described as the “definitive break between the Shiah and Sunni sects of Islam”, the schism within Islam has seen so many rough patches; that’s 800 or so years of unremitting bloodshed. As if we need more proof that the great reconciliation is not going to happen anytime soon, look no further to the turmoil, suffering and deaths in so many countries in the Middle East.

    What is happening there is in direct repudiation of The Amman Message promulgated and adopted in 2005 — the closest to any concrete and genuine attempt at grand reconciliation after 800 years, and this would have provided the impetus, if not the inspiration, for the world to take a second look at Islam, and from within Islam to herald in another real Golden Age, not merely as Muslims are wont to celebrate “remembered glories of the past.”

    The Amman Message: http://www.ammanmessage.com/

    “Based on the fatwas provided by these great scholars (who included the Shaykh Al-Azhar; Ayatollah Sistani and Sheikh Qaradawi), in July 2005 CE, H.M. King Abdullah II convened an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Islamic scholars ‘Ulama) from 50 countries. In Amman, the scholars unanimously issued a ruling on three fundamental issues (which became known as the ‘Three Points of the Amman Message’):

    1. They specifically recognized the validity of all 8 Mathhabs (legal schools) of Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadhi Islam; of traditional slamic Theology (Ash’arism); of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim.
    2. Based upon this definition they forbade takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims.
    3. Based upon the Mathahib they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.

    These Three Points were then unanimously adopted by the Islamic World’s political and temporal leaderships at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit at Mecca in December 2005. And over a period of one year from July 2005 to July 2006, the Three Points were also unanimously adopted by six other international Islamic scholarly assemblies, culminating with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of Jeddah, in July 2006. In total, over 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide.”

    Any chance that Europe and the US will be attracted to the revolutionary doctrine of Islam? I doubt it, but I am more hopeful of the second part of your dream that Muslims will redefine themselves vis a vis the spirit of the Quran.

    To your credit, I am more than comfortable to read this: “We must seek salvation in this life by raising our souls to a higher level. It is this raising of our souls to a higher level that is necessary for the coming Second Muslim Civilization, which must come.”

  24. Only time can tell. I may be wrong, but with the fast development of modern technology, 100 years of 100 years ago can compress into 10 now. Anyhow the human species is a million years already on the planet, and civilization 5,000 years. We are old. Everyday we are learning faster and faster. We have too, otherwise we will left behind and become extinct! — Kassim Ahmad

  25. Pak Kassim:
    I like your allegory of space-time compression for human species to achieve accelerated learning with the help of modern technology even as the universe — so old — still expanding and accelerating — so too must we keep pace not to cause the mind to come to a standstill — and as you have put it, court our own extinction.

    Our London-based writer Tash Aw, likens the new immigrants from China arriving in Singapore at the beginning of the 20th century as Strangers, lost on a pier— penniless, hungry, frightened, friendless, and ahead, an unknown future — hope was what drove them to take the first tentative steps out to the unknown — to Singapore’s hinterland, Malaya.

    We too are also Strangers, lost on a pier, and ahead of us also an unknown future; we seek some certainties (within the limits made possible by the education we receive and the innate qualities endowed us at birth). So like you, many of us, each in our own way seek to raise “our souls to a higher level”. Here I don’t even dare discount all atheists, because for some, their spirituality is expressed by their deep humanity and compassion for others even as they deny the existence of an omnipotent and omniscient God, a super Being, whatever.

    I join you in our common journey to the finest and grandest goal of human life — the celebration of life on Earth — as we travel, at different speeds, along the highways of human thoughts, prayers and reflections — just so we can say it to ourselves, at the end of our journey, that we deserve this place and time.

    We must add to human welfare, and not subtract as the highway men have done and still do along the by-ways which they have illicitly constructed by altering major messages and stories, and even sometimes deleting some altogether.

    There is a lot still to be done by you and fellow seekers of TRUTH.

    Incidentally,Strangers, lost on a pier is taken from A Stranger at the family table: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/a-stranger-at-the-family-table

  26. Mr. Ahmad, this is not an objective analysis of what has gone wrong in the Muslim world. Instead, it is simply a muddled rehashing of half-baked mystery claims (e,g,. Code 19) and many discredited historical claims that Muslims cling to because it makes Islam look so good. The West owes little if anything to “Muslim” scientists. Baghdad was never the center of the world, and Europeans certainly didn’t travel there to learn from Muslims. Most of the scientific advances Muslims claim for Islam were actually plagiarized from earlier advanced cultures like those of Greece, India and Babylon.

    Your article is a perfect illustration of what has gone wrong in the Islamic world. Until Muslims relinquish their mystical claims for the Qur’an, along with their historical fallacies, and start thinking critically about their culture and their religion, Islamic societies will continue to stagnate and fall farther behind the rest of the world. Time to grow up intellectually. The truth is often inconvenient, even painful, but it is NEVER optional.

    In essence, you declare that the only cure for the current dysfunction in the Islamic world is more Islam. Not hardly. Muslims need to let go of a mythical great past and admit that most of the problems in their societies derive from the straightjacket that is Islam. This 7th century tribal faith simply isn’t designed to function in the 21st century. It is inadequate as a modern worldview.

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