Enlightenment-cum-moderation

Daily: The Nation
Date: 03.07.04

Time is such an instrument that ruthlessly slices Present and throws it backward to build
Past. After learning from Past and then maneuvering Present, Man tries to change Future.

The tragic event of 9/11 will be remembered in history of the world not only because of
destruction of twin towers and a portion of Pentagon of the US but also due to extent of use
of a weapon: Human Bomb. The episode was both unpredictable and unprecedented. In
shape of the buildings, the incident brought down the grandeur and glory of the political
and economic symbols of the ‘New World’.

Now, it is a story of Past. However, it is providing an opportunity to both the non-Muslims
and Muslims alike to manipulate Present together to build an amicable collective Future.
From one side of the fence, voices of ‘Crusade’ have been muzzled, while from the other
side concerns of enlightenment and moderation have been raised.

In the 18th century Europe, Enlightenment was a period in which some intellectuals and
writers believed that reason and science, and not religion, would advance human progress.
In its essence, it was taken as shunning ignorance, prejudice, superstition, etc, as well as
acquiring more knowledge and information. The concept can be viewed in the context of
role of Christian religion through Church in a State’s affairs. The period of Enlightenment
was preceded by Renaissance but followed by Industrialization. Resultantly, the 19th
century witnessed an upheaval of scientific discoveries and inventions, which are still
continued unabated.

Moderation is a quality of becoming less violent, extreme, or intense. Human history has
never declared any period a period of Moderation. In the wake of the period of
Enlightenment, the world witnessed two World Wars. Europe remained an epicenter of the
both. Secondly, the Enlightenment could not teach Europe to end colonial period on its
own. It was the IInd World War that served a lethal blow to end the era. Hence, for the
liberation of today’s world, the credit goes more to war—an anti-thesis of moderation— than
to any sort of enlightenment.

From the Cuban missile crisis to the Star war crisis, the Cold War also could not catch a
tinge of moderation. Focusing on the US and allies, even the Gulf War of 1991 was a sheer
negation of moderation of the enlightened West in its transatlantic dimensions. The same is
significant to mention here if someone tries to justify the ferocity of attacks on Afghanistan
and Iraq as a retaliatory measure of 9/11. Hence, one can hardly find a true model of
moderation in the contemporary history of the world to learn lessons.

It was a commendable step of the Muslim countries to form a platform in the shape of an
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). However, the dilemma is its ineffectiveness to act
practically for a Muslim cause, instead of merely regretting and passing resolutions. Hence,
one of the reasons of militancy in Palestine, Kashmir, and Chechnya, especially in the post-
1991 era, is the toothless roaring tiger stature of the OIC.

The Muslims being fatalistic in nature get less concerned with poverty. However, owing to
having Faith in ‘Life after Death’, they react more against oppression. That is why, where
an assembly of the Muslims, like any national assembly or the OIC, remains worthless
practically, an individual and a low level reaction is started on the real ground. Further, that
reaction goes against both one’s fellow nationals and the oppressors. The recent example
is of Saudi Arabia where the ‘nonconformists’ have been launching attacks on whatever
they deem wrong and unjust.

Hitherto, half of the story has been revealed and the consequent stances from either side
of the fence have been brought forward to reconcile the differences. The second half of the
story is related to the spheres of society and morality. For that matter, the statue of Liberty
may be the next symbol to focus.

The famous statue of Liberty symbolizes unrestrained and unbridled ‘Free Will’. That free
will when enters in political and economic spheres provides Democracy and Capitalism
respectively. When the same free will enters in societal and moral spheres, it introduces a
different kind of New Order.

At the society level, it disrupts the family system and gives birth to broken families. The
same leads to negative population growth rate and same sex marriages, as happenings in
the US and Europe. Similarly, when the same free will pierces the moral sphere, it brings in
the concept of free sex and pornography.

Under the umbrella of the free will in political and economic realms, both the social and
moral fields have been penetrating the Muslim part of the world especially in this age of
global village.  

This diffusion is making the Muslims reactionary and introvert. They have become more
concerned about social and moral fabric of their lives, as Islam stays on as an inseparable
entity from them. Agitations against banning of headscarf in France and Germany by the
Muslim women, and the incident of Bali bombing are major examples of such reaction and
introversion. Likewise, the way of living of the Muslims even in the US and Europe as a self-
segregated sub-community is another illustration.

At this juncture, in order to bridge the widening gulf between the non-Muslims and Muslims,
focusing merely on politico-economic aspect of the story is insufficient. Nevertheless, it is
inadvisable to wait when bringing down the statue of Liberty also challenges the rest of the
free will! Rather, the situation calls for a parallel emphasis on socio-moral part of the
remaining story. The OIC is in a better position to enter in a dialogue with the US and West
to incline them to restrain the free will.  

In a nutshell, if the OIC becomes pro-practical on politico-economic front to act on behalf of
the Muslims, besides acquiring a pro-active role to impel the concerned to keep the free will
away from the socio-moral front, it will provide an opportunity to both the non-Muslims and
Muslims to manipulate Present for a promising Future.

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