There are many reasons for Muslims’ weakness in this age:
1. There is no real role of mosques in Muslims’ life in this age. Mosques in many Muslim countries have become no more than a place where the prescribed Prayers are performed. The great role that mosques can play in people’s life is no longer there. This, in turn, has negatively affected our nation. Comparing this to the status of the mosque at the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), one finds that the mosque then was the center of leadership, planning for Muslims’ life, and acquiring knowledge.
2. The number of religious qualified scholars who devote themselves to spreading religious knowledge has become few. It is unfortunate to find that while there are thousands of holders of high scholarly degrees (i.e., masters and doctorates) in the different branches of religious knowledge, there are few religious scholars that really abide by the teachings they have acquired and who sincerely strife for Allah’s sake to spread what they know among Muslims.
3. Curriculums in many Muslim countries in the different stages of education are not religiously-oriented. Their orientation is either secular or left-wing. They carry borrowed ideas from the West or East and seldom is there a ray of Islamic enlightenment in them.
4. Muslims nowadays lack the perseverance and the steadfastness required in acquiring religious knowledge sincerely. Seeing the conditions of the lessons given by religious scholars, one finds that in the beginning of the lesson, there may be many attendees, but gradually the number shrinks until they become few. This is because temporary enthusiasm overwhelms our acts and quickly evaporates. There are few who have determination in this respect. Not all people have such deep insight and broad-mindedness that enable them to strive in the path of acquiring religious knowledge and overcome the difficulties that they may encounter.
5. Muslims nowadays run after worldly pleasures and easily succumb to the temptations of this life. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “By Allah, it is not the poverty about which I fear in regard to you but I am afraid that the worldly riches may be abundantly given to you as were given to those who had gone before you and you begin to vie with one another for them as they vied, and they may destroy you as the past nations were destroyed.” These words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) proved true, for the majority of Muslims nowadays feel much sadder for missing the pleasures of this world than they feel for losing the rewards of the Hereafter.
6. The multitude of amusements and means of entertainment in this age divert people from thinking about lofty aims. Their clinging to this world deflects them from having sublime goals for their life.
7. Recent specialization in sciences of Sharia reflects weakness in acquiring religious knowledge. A scholar in the past would study all branches of Sharia: tafseer (exegesis of the Qur’an), Hadith (Prophet’s traditions), `aqeedah (creed), fiqh (jurisprudence), etc. Nowadays, a scholar becomes specialized only in one of these branches, without studying the other ones. Moreover, some of these branches have been further subdivided. One finds, for example, that the science of fiqh has been subdivided into fiqh and usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence), with both being quite separate fields. Hence, scholars are no longer quite knowledgeable about Sharia as a whole. If one of them is asked a question in a field other than his specialization, he apologizes saying that this is not his domain of knowledge. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is taken now for granted.
8. Many Muslims accord great respect to applied sciences, while Sharia sciences are looked down upon. For instance, some university students meeting for the first time may introduce themselves to one another as follows: A medical student would say proudly, “I am so-and-so, and I am a student in the Faculty of Medicine.” An engineering student would say in the same tone, “I am so-and-so, and I study engineering,” while a Sharia student would meekly say, “My grade in secondary school was low and so I joined the Faculty of Sharia.”
By Sheikh Nasir Al-`Umar