Why Has the West Surpassed Us?
For what reason has the West surpassed Muslims in all fields, while we have the gracious Quran with its innumerable treasures? Is it us who fall short of understanding the Quran? Why do we suffice ourselves with only eloquent words? We can analyze, use evidence and make refutations. But can we pace with the West and its progress in different fields?
All praise is due to Allah. Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah. Almighty Allah has set laws for this universe. He says, “Whoever desires this [life of] haste, We shall hasten for him therein whatever We so will for whomever We intend.” [17:18] and says, “Whoever desires the tillage of the Hereafter, We shall increase for him his [reward for this] tillage. But whoever desires the tillage of this world, We shall give him of thereof.” [42:20] Western countries have observed these universal laws – the laws of hard and constant work, and rational means. They used these laws of advancement which are based on cultivating the land, as Almighty Allah said, “They cultivated the land and built it up [far] more proficiently than these [non-muslims] have built it up.” [30:9]
Cultivating the earth is achieved through building on it, through inspecting it, searching for minerals and water, and through digging out its treasures. Whoever makes use of these laws will find results. The issue is not that we have the Quran and we do not understand it. It is our falling short of acting upon the injunctions of the Quran. The Quran commands us to work, “Say: Work.” [9:105] It commands us to give up laziness and to be ready with power, “So prepare for them all that you can marshal of power…” [8:60] We fall short of complying with and applying Quranic injunctions.
Thus, the issue is clear; he who did not plant seeds cannot wait for a harvest. We cannot wait for the result without taking the introductory steps. These are the laws of Almighty Allah and expecting different results than these laws dictate is impossible. There are the injunctions of the Creator and the laws of creation. It is true that the West has been negligent and unmindful with regard to the laws of conduct; namely, with regard to answering the call of Almighty Allah with regards to their transactions and their relation with their Lord, but they have followed the laws of creation.
A guided Caliphate is based on two aspects: the aspect of the universal laws of advancement, which is based on cultivating the earth, and the ethical aspect, which is based on, “And their messengers came to them with clear proofs” [30:9] as indicated in the verse that reads, “They cultivated the land and built it up [far] more proficiently than these [non-Muslims] had done. And their messengers came to them with clear proofs.” [30:9] They did not believe in what the messengers (peace and blessings be upon them) came with, but they cultivated the land and built it up. The reason is so clear. There must be diligence, order, system and hard work. There must be an innovative, not heretical, movement to deal with this universe. Without this we cannot build up the land in a perfect and guided way. Allah knows best.