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The mistake that cost the Arabs their global dominance


By SAYYID QUTB

Under Islam the Arabs had, for the first time in history, an international role to play. They also had a powerful state to be taken into consideration by world powers. They possessed a sweeping force that destroyed thrones, conquered empires, and brought down false, deviating and ignorant leaderships in order to take over the leadership of mankind.

But what facilitated these achievements for the Arabs for the first time in their history was that they forgot their Arabism. They forgot racial urges and fanaticism. They remembered that they were Muslims, and Muslims only. They carried the message of a forceful and all-comprehensive faith, which they delivered to humanity with mercy and compassion. They did not uphold any sort of nationalism or factionalism.

They were the exponents of a divine idea which gave mankind a divine, not earthly, doctrine to be applied as a way of life. They left their homes to struggle for the cause of God alone. They were not after the establishment of an Arab empire under which they might live in luxury and conceit.

Their aim was not to subjugate other nations to their own rule after freeing them from the rule of the Byzantines or Persians. It was an aim clearly defined by Rib`iy ibn ` Āmir, the Muslims’ messenger to the Persian commander, when he said in the latter’s headquarters:

God ordered us to set out in order to save humanity from the worship of creatures and to bring it to the worship of God alone, to save it from the narrowness of this life so that it may look forward to the broadness of the life hereafter, and from the oppression of other religions so that it may enjoy the justice of Islam.

Then, and only then, did the Arabs have an identity, a power and a leadership. But all of these were devoted to God alone. They possessed their power and leadership as long as they followed the right path. But when they deviated and followed their narrow nationalistic ideas, and when they substituted for the banner of Islam that of factional bonds, they came under subjugation by other nations. For God deserted them whenever they deserted Him; He neglected them as they neglected Him.

What are the Arabs without Islam? What is the ideology that they hold, or they can give to humanity if they abandon Islam? What value can a nation have without an ideology which it presents to the world? Every nation which assumed the leadership of humanity in any period of history advanced an ideology. Nations which did not, such as the Tartars who swept over the east, or the Berbers who crushed the Roman Empire in the west, could not survive for long. They were assimilated by the nations they conquered. 

The only ideology the Arabs advanced for mankind was the Islamic faith which raised them to the position of human leadership. If they forsake it they will no longer have any function or role to play in human history. The Arabs should remember this well if they want to live and be powerful and assume the leadership of mankind. It is God who provides guidance for us lest we go astray.

This is an extract from Sayyid Qutb’s commentary on Surah Al-Fiil, or Chapter 105 of the Qur’an, published in his book, In the Shade of the Qur’an. Qutb was executed in 1966 by the tyrannical Egyptian government of Gamel Abdel Nasser.

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0 #1 Abu Musa 2012-06-08 15:07
It is said that Arabs 'Agreed to disagree' may be this is the ideology Arabs are persuing but i dont see it taking them any where, look at Arab league and its leaders,people like Amri musa after messing the league now you dream of becoming the president of Egypt? OMG, i congraculate the people of Egypt for side lining that crazy man and for pelting that CIA Agent Mohamed ElBaradei who wanted to come and accomplish the work of his bosses.
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