Published On:28 October 2010
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

OPINION: Individual: First & Last

By Dr. Wasim Ahmad

One of the challenges that we have is to save and restore the individualities. There are many who are ready to devour up the individuals and who are actually doing so for a long period of time – from after 1258 CE. We have to be careful about those situations where the individual is sacrificed on the altar of someone else’s agenda and ideology. The most effective technique being used is to catch these individuals when they are young. Then they remain young the entire life – even at the ripe age of sixties and seventies and beyond.

We as a people have to outlive our herd mentality, our communitarian outlook. This mentality and outlook is our bane. This is one of the culprits. This is not allowing the flowering of the potentialities of individuals to the maximum extent. This is why we are below the poverty line in ideas – despite so many people. This is why we are sheer numbers and digits. This is why we are a “minority”. Minority is only about numbers. We have to stop counting the numbers. We have to leave the statistics far behind.

If we start focusing more on the individual and according him more respect – irrespective of his affiliations – it will bring a positive change in due course. Our communalism and communitarianism has immensely hampered the individual growth and flowering. It has acted as a conditioning effect and a psychological barrier – generations after generations. This is why hundreds of thousands of AMU graduates and the alumni of madrasaahs are not able to think beyond their respective backgrounds. They are not able to shake themselves up and come out of the crippling conditioning effects. And the impression that one gets is that they have reached where they currently are after years of objective analysis and (re)search.

This is why we do not talk about any civilizational goals and do not think of aligning everything to those goals. This is why one gets an impression that we only need some superficial changes and fixing of a few things here and there. And not a sea change and a paradigm shift. Or a rebirth. This is why while we do lament on zawaal and inhetaat of Muslims but when it comes to analyzing our Institutions and Organizations we do not take the analysis to the logical conclusions. We do not do so because then the responsibility will be localized (or individualized) and each one of us may have to share something.

Let us talk about one person and leave the rest. Let us hold that one human being responsible for all our ills and evils. That one human being who has eluded all responsibility –under the luxurious cover of communitarianism. Let us put him under the scanner and under the microscopic lens. Let us respect his individuality and hold him accountable for his part – whatsoever it may be. However, we cannot do the above unless we do it to ourselves. Let us change our thought patterns, before anything else. Let us look at everything differently.

The individual has receded in our environments and has gone into hiding. Because over the generations he has found that nobody cares about him. Nobody talks about him. Everybody is worried about the collective entity but not for him. Seeing this apathy and unconcern and not being always so powerful as to withstand the backlash of an entire community he has given up. He has accepted his lot. The entire community has suffered from the adverse effects of the above.

The real wealth is the wealth of ideas. We haven’t gotten this wealth because of the withdrawal of individuals. Let us not look at the wealth of ideas that we currently have. Let us imagine the fund of ideas that we could have obtained by now if we had allowed the individual his due right and position. We need to reinstate him in his rightful position which is lying vacant for centuries due to an uncalled for dismissal of him.

Refocusing on the individual the Indian Muslims can do wonders. They can blaze a trail and can serve as a very good example for the rest of the world. Let us not forget that we had individuals first. This is why we feel the individuality of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (r.a.) till date. Let him be the last.

[Dr. Wasim Ahmad is Department Head of Islamic Studies, Preston University, Ajman, UAE. He can be contacted at malikwasimahmad@gmail.com or +971505363235]

About the Author

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on October 28, 2010. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on October 28, 2010. Filed under . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

0 comments for "OPINION: Individual: First & Last"

Leave a reply

Donate to Sustain IMO

IMO Search

IMO Visitors