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|Subject: Has Western Civilization Brought Any Comfort Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:18 pm|| |
The Humanity’s Need to the Cultural Role of Our Muslim Nation
By Prof. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
Hiroshima & Nagasaki, evil of Western modern technology
Hiroshima & Nagasaki, evil of Western modern technology
In the very beginning, we are to stress the fact that a nation that once
reached the peak of civilization can create a new one, making use of
the bright side of the Western scientific advancement, placing it in a
frame of human and spiritual values and making it conform with the
Divine legislation. In this way, the defects of the contemporary
civilization will be eradicated.
The whole world now has been immersed completely in a dream-like wonder
of the Western technological advancement that has leveled the space and
time for man. It has made life easy for him to the extent that most of
his needs are now fulfilled once he presses a small button. What’s more,
he may even dispense with buttons in many occasions; upon entering his
house, a door opens itself. Such automatic faucets and escalators are
few examples of assortment of luxury and comfort the Western
civilization has offered man.
Man has also invaded the outer space, explored the moon and brought some
of its stones and rocks for laboratory work. This mammoth scientific
advancement could never be imagined before. Such achievements are all
alluded to in the verse: "And He createth that which ye know not."
Man Reaps Wretchedness from this Civilization
Now comes the very important question: Has this scientific advancement
that has enabled man to travel to the moon brought him happiness?
Our bitter reality denotes that the answer is in the negative. This pure
materialistic Western concept of knowledge granted man just only
physical comfort, not the spiritual one. Yes, man succeeded in achieving
many state-of-the- art technologies but failed to have peace of mind.
This has led to a sort of disparity between man's outer appearance and
his inner self. His life, though decorated and colorful, is shallow from
It has become a common matter to hear cries of distress, fear, sorrow
and despair from people of the so-called developed world. With all the
means of comfort they have, they lack spiritual calmness.
No wonder then to see psychiatrists in those countries always having a
busy schedule, with throng of clients bringing in their complaints of
moral corruption, worry, family disintegration, lack of social stability
and solidarity. All this culminated in the high rates of crime to the
extent that led to spreading fear and horror among people.
The cause of all these ailments is the absolute freedom granted man
under the umbrella of the Western civilization. This has corrupted man’s
inner nature and failed to satiate his unfulfilled needs. The more one
fulfills his desire, the more he yearns for extra luxuries. The West
fails to realize that there is no absolute freedom in the universe. All
planets and stars move in certain orbits. Ships and planes go in certain
ways that if struck by a tiny change, it may lead to a fatal
Man is not the only victim of this so-called civilization; it has taken
its toll on the environment as well. Pollution, nuclear and chemical
wastes are in abundance endangering the living species on earth. What
adds insult to injury is this genetic engineering, which, instead of
addressing man’s woes, has brought about more dangers. Mad cow is just a
An Arab poet says:
Still in the days to come,
More surprising is the outcome.
These are but the natural results of man's own work, when he gives
himself loose rein and thinks of himself as being the sole controller of
the universe and forgets that he is no more than a creature and that he
has to surrender to the laws of his Lord in order to prosper.
Why Do People Suffer?
People’s woes stem from the fact that they have forgotten their Lord and
thus He causes them to forget themselves. Now, they lack the fuel that
makes them lead life and look to their future through a dim perspective.
They are like a living corpse walking on earth.
Many scholars, philosophers, instructors, men of letters and politicians
have warned against the dangerous effect of this materialistic Western
civilization on man.
Among those erudite scholars is Alexis Carrel and René Dubois, a noble prize winner.
The well known American philosopher John Dewey says: "A civilization
that allows science to destroy the existing values with no capacity to
create new ones is a self-destructive civilization. "
The contemporary British thinker and renowned historian Arnold Toynbee
is quoted as saying that the solution to the problems of the Western
society lies in giving the religion high priority for them to gain
The American intellectual, John Steinbeck, sent to his friend Adlai
Stevenson that reads: “The problem of America lies in its luxury and the
many things it has. With all those things, it has no spiritual vocation
to offer. We are in a dire need to something that will awakens us from
our slumber. We have really overcome nature but still unable to overcome
our own selves.”
The German poet Brochert expressed the problem of these new generations
being brought up under the umbrella of this new civilization and said:
“Our generation is shallow from within. We really lack religion, comfort
and tranquility. Our love is physical and the gloom of youth fades away
in us. Our generation knows no limits, no borders and no protection.”
Among the politicians who showed concern in this regard is the
well-known American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, who wrote a
book entitled “War or Peace” that included a chapter “Our Spiritual
Need”. In this chapter, he addressed many things that America lacks. He
wrote: “The problem is not one of material things, for we have the
state-of-the- art materials. What we really need is strong sound faith,
for without it all our materials do not worth a tinker’s cuss. Such
deficiency that arises out of lack of faith cannot be compensated for by
politicians, diplomats, scholars or anyone else.”
He further wrote: “Before his demise President Wilson wrote: ‘All in
all, our civilization cannot keep on this way unless it regains
Science Cannot Bring Happiness to Man
People are now complaining of being wretched and miserable. They feel
that life is purposeless. With all these technologies and unprecedented
scientific discoveries, people are still unable to gain happiness. These
forms of sciences fail to remove people’s wretchedness, misfortune and
triviality. Great scientists have always reiterated that science cannot
act as a savior for mankind.
Sayings of Great Scientists
Among those scientists is Alexis Carrel, the Noble prize winner in
science and the author of “Man; That Unknown Being” in which he put
Western civilization to criticism based on scientific criteria.
Alexis Carrel wrote: “Modern civilization is on the horns of dilemma,
for it does not really suit us. Such a civilization was established on
the images of scientific discoveries, people’s lusts, fake ideas,
theories and wishes. In spite of the fact that it is we who established
it, it is not suitable for us.”
In another place, he wrote: “Man is to be librated from the chains of
this universe. It was scientists and astronomers who placed man in such
chains. Though being immense, the world of matter is still limited for
Finally, Carrel wrote: “It is now time for man to get out of these
shackles; man needs to revive himself. This is not a matter of laying
down a program, for a program is no more than a new chain that imprisons
our future inside the bars of our mind.”
The well-known American psychologist Dr. Henry Link writes:
“Science does not have remedies for complicated life problems. Science
is not the source of happiness, for more scientific advancement means
more complicated life. Unless these free sciences are unified and placed
in the frame of clear facts of life, they will inevitably lead to decay
in minds and total collapse. It is faith only that can play this
The West Is Far Remote From Religion
In addition to all the above, science, in the West, emerged while being
separated from religion or even as an enemy to religion. The church
adopted a hostile stance towards science and scientific discoveries.
Scientists, in their turn, also perceived religion as a threat, so they
kept it at their arm’s length; they would not even mention Allah’s name
in their writings.
It was for that reason that all scientific studies looked to universal
laws as emerging from nature and not as being Divine. None of those
scientists even said to his students that such and such is a divine
creation. Instead, they were of the say that all surrounding phenomena
are created by nature.
In fact, the entire universe witnesses to the fact that it is Almighty
Allah Who has created everything. Almighty Allah says: “Our Lord is He
Who gave unto everything its nature, then guided it aright.” (Ta Ha: 50)
The West uses the modern technologies for harmful as well as beneficial
things, in good and evil. The World War I and World War II pose as
evidence of the great destruction the Western civilization can inflict
on the humanity. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are another living evidence.
How can we say, after all this, that the West is still able to grant
happiness to the world. How to expect those who are shallow from within
to be saviors? How to think that those who are wretched will give
happiness to us? Indeed, those who have nothing can give nothing.