The lack of will that affects the Ummah nowadays has many factors. Some of them are related to the past and others to current events. Some originate within the Ummah and others originate outside it. These factors affect the self, whether the individual or collective, and the motivation to work. When the self is negatively affected by some factors, the will is inevitably affected. The factors that affect the Ummah’s will can be summed up in the following points.
Deficiency of Thought
Muslims’ perspective on the Islamic creed has become deficient. Generally speaking, Muslims believe in the Islamic creed and, accordingly, they are Muslims. However, their perception of this creed suffers some problems that make it unable to motivate them to work. Muslims’ conviction and belief remain restricted to their hearts, and they fail to translate such belief into tangible action. Depicting this situation, Sheikh Ibn `Ashour says, “It is in their hearts and witnessed by their tongues, but it never moves their limbs and organs.”
Separation of Belief From Reality
Nowadays, there is a huge gap between Muslims’ beliefs and reality. Muslims believe that Islam is comprehensive and relevant to manage all life affairs, yet the Islamic laws and regulations are not applied or enforced. Part of this problem is to be blamed on the failure of Muslim societies to practice Islam and implement its teachings, and the other is to be blamed on the secularist regimes forced upon Muslim countries. While Muslims, in general, have the conviction that Islam is an all-embracing way of life, they find it isolated and blocked from having any say in the laws that run their affairs. This contradiction between what they believe and what they live results in a spirit of frustration and defeatism that only helps to undermine their will and confidence.
At the present time, Muslims are helpless before the sweeping Western civilization. Actually, they are dependent on the West in all aspects of life. They feel so feeble and inferior, and this feeling is intensified by the ongoing interactions between Muslims and the Western countries.
Because they are unaware of the reality of Western civilization, many Muslims are captivated by it to the extent that they see only its positive aspects and are blind to the negative ones. Deluded by the power and advancement of this civilization, they believe that since the West accomplished these amazing achievements, it must be right and its way must be the best. By the same token, since we suffer this miserable situation and defeat, they argue, our way and beliefs must be wrong.
This, in turn, creates a sense of self-degradation and inferiority that has negative effects on the Muslims’ will, both on the individual and collective levels. To get out of this dilemma, some Muslims resort to blind imitation of the West without any serious attempt to understate or sift through its outputs. Another party resorts to buying and consuming the products of the Western civilization and technology, believing that this is enough to be as powerful and advanced as the West. This, indeed, is the easy but the useless way. Buying the means of power cannot make up for the failure to produce them. There are still others who despair of achieving the same progress of this sweeping civilization; thus, their life has come to a standstill and they wave the white flag, waiting for their inevitable fate.
Tyranny is almost the gravest factor in the deficiency of will suffered by the Ummah today. Muslims live under totalitarian regimes that usurp their rights to expression, participation, and justice. Such oppression is exercised by a few people who care only for their own interests and pay no heed to the public welfare.
The effect of this tyranny on the individual and collective will is obvious. When people are deprived of their right to participate in running their affairs, when their right to think and express their ideas is usurped, they become introverted and abstain from participating in any field of life. For they know that they are not allowed to participate and that if they tried to express their ideas, they would be persecuted and suppressed. They therefore feel no motive to do anything assigned to them under these regimes, either because they are not convinced of the task or they know no benefit from it. This lack of motivation manifests itself in indifference, deliberate negligence, or even outright rejection.
By Dr. `Abd Al-Majeed An-Najjar