The Golden Age of the Abbasid Caliphate and Ottoman Empire provided countless opportunities for Muslims to conquer the world. Muslims led all the disciplines, such as astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and architecture. Scientists, philosophers, architects, and travelers, such as Al Beiruni, Ibn Seena, Ibn Battuta, Sinan, and many others laid the foundation for the discoveries and explorations of the modern world.
The world dynamics changed completely during the first half of the twentieth century, owing to the World Wars, Industrial Revolutions, and the Gulf Wars. It shifted the balance of power from the Muslims to the Western world. Since then, the lack of opportunities for Muslims to recover from the losses has led to the gradual decline in the authority of Muslims.
Muslims today face many challenges from within the Islamic world and the West.
Challenges for Muslims in the contemporary world: –
Lack of unity: –
Allah commands Muslims to become one under the banner of Islam. Unfortunately, Muslim countries engage in rifts and clashes amongst themselves. They have long forgotten the teachings of brotherhood in Islam. In the contemporary world, countries in the same region or religion need to unite and face global issues. Opportunities for Muslims will instantly appear if they unite as a single force and share their resources.
Socio-economic challenges: –
Another challenge for Muslims is most Islamic countries are either war-stricken or below the poverty line. This poses great challenges such as poor literacy rate, high corruption rate, law and order turmoils, and many others. Consequently, Muslim countries are unable to focus on growth and development as they struggle to survive.
Weak financial institutions: –
Allah has blessed Muslims with a complete code of life through the Holy Quran and hadith. If only they follow the teachings of Islam such as in the development of their financial institutions, it will grant many opportunities for Muslims to face the challenges of the modern world. Many countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Brunei are working on strengthening their financial institutions. Strong financial institutions make a country independent in its decision-making and management of diplomacy.
Association of terrorism with Islam: –
Islamophobia is the biggest challenge for Muslims today. Especially Muslims living in the West face judgmental expressions, both verbal and non-verbal due to Islamophobia. On the contrary, the definition of a Muslim in Islam is one from whom the other person is safe. Islam is a religion of peace and harmony.
Opportunities for Muslims: –
In face of these challenges, Muslims need to recognize what opportunities they have in the modern world. Here are some of them.
Tourism is a great way to make the West understand Islam. The recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar is a wonderful illustration of how the whole world witnessed the beauty of Islam. Tourism is an important part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. Development across the country to increase tourism other than Hajj and Umrah services is one of the priorities of Saudi Arabia. By inviting foreigners to Islamic countries, Muslims can let the West understand Islamic culture and practices better.
Participation in international politics:-
Muslims must learn from the West how they have formed alliances and cooperations. Similarly, Muslims must be vocal and alert about the changing dynamics in international politics and how they impact Muslims. OIC is an example of Islamic cooperation. Muslim countries should make concrete efforts to make it more active and practical to increase opportunities for Muslims.
Focus on education and technology:-
Although Muslims were amongst the pioneers of technology and education, with time they lost their interest in gaining knowledge and exploring the world and beyond. This made Muslims lag. Many countries are realizing the importance of technology and education to increase productivity. Now we can see Muslim astronauts going to space and tech geeks leading the technological sector.
Promote brotherhood amongst Muslims:-
Opportunities for Muslims will grow exponentially if they unite. The Middle East region is an excellent illustration of regional cooperation. Similarly, other Muslim countries should also unite to face the challenges of the modern world.
Concrete efforts to restore the tarnished image of Islam:-
Western countries mistake Islam for an extremist religion. Muslims are not war-mongers or oppressors. Successful women from different walks of life show how tolerant Islam is, especially for women. Also, concrete efforts at the international level to condemn Islamophobia and improve the image of Islam shall be helpful to tackle the challenges Muslims face in the contemporary world.
Islam is a religion that professes the highest moral, social, and ethical values. If only the Muslims stick to Islamic teachings, they can witness opportunities for Muslims for growth and development.
What are the main challenges facing Muslims in the world today, and how are they affecting Muslim communities and individuals?
The main challenges for Muslims today are: –
- Prejudices against Muslims in Western societies;
- Political instability in Muslim countries;
- Technologically aloof countries;
- Socio-economic challenges.
These challenges make it difficult for Muslims to survive especially affecting their mental health the most.
What are some opportunities for Muslims to engage in social activism and community building, and how can they make a positive impact on the world around them?
Social media gives an equal chance to everyone to express themselves. Muslims can use the power of social media to promote the good image of a Muslim.
How can Muslims navigate the complexities of modern society and balance their religious beliefs with their personal and professional lives?
Islam is a beautiful religion that perfectly balances the personal and collective aspects of life. Its teachings are all-encompassing. They are not bound to any particular time or region. Hence, by truly practicing the teachings of Islam, Muslims can navigate the complexities of modern society.
What are some ways that Muslims can promote interfaith dialogue and understanding, and how can they contribute to building more inclusive and diverse communities?
Here are some tips for a constructive interfaith dialogue: –
- Use of positive words and phrases;
- Being objective-oriented;
- Speak with empathy;
- Promote tolerance.