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Extreme Truths

The Muslim world is riddled with extremism: there are the extremely wealthy elites - who hold the reins of power - as opposed to the extremely poor. There exist the extremely religious, who view other Muslims as extremely faithless, whilst declaring those who belong to different sects as 'Kuffaar' - 'deniers of the truth'. There are the extremely intolerant, who cannot engage in civilised discussion - upon any topic - without resorting to abuse, insults and personal attacks. And so on, ad infinitum.

Islam is not practised as it was during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Emphasis, then, was upon the Mercy of God, Who had, out of His Abundant Grace, bestowed upon an illiterate and wild people the gift of the Qur'an. Thereby, bringing the proud, disparate, bitterly divided Arab tribes out of the intense darkness of ignorance, into the light of faith, knowledge and truth.

The Prophet was, and is, described in the Qur'an as a 'mercy to all the worlds'. Which effectively meant that all who believed in, and followed him, were supposed to manifest and reflect that mercy. Qur'anic Arabic became a subject for profound study and research, which involved great intellectual activity.

Over the course of time, the practice of learning Qur'anic Arabic waned, eventually being abandoned altogether. Only scholars, academics and intellectuals continued that practice. Muslims, lacking knowledge of Qur'anic Arabic, became almost entirely dependent upon translations, interpretations and explanations by their chosen - or preferred - scholars, sects and schools of thought. The Qur'an states, in many places, that it is specifically intended 'for people who think'. The great majority of Muslims, unable to think for themselves, had recourse to the subjective thoughts of others - religious scholars who shaped the Message of Islam according to their understanding of it.

Muslims can read the Qur'an, indeed, are taught to at a very young age. However, they cannot understand the language, even many Arabs find it difficult to comprehend the 'classical Arabic' of the Book. Thus, a firm barrier has been established between the Qur'an and those who believe in it. This has rendered perversions, distortions and corruptions - through bad translations or misinterpretations - to take root. It is not difficult, then, to imagine extremists employing those distorted messages to further their own agendas.

The period preceding the advent of the Prophet, and revelation of the Qur'an, is known as 'The Times of Ignorance'. Muslims, once great thinkers, scientists, philosophers, intellectuals, scholars, academics, have once more regressed to 'Al-Jahiliyyah' - the 'Times of Ignorance'. They are divided along national, sectarian, theological, political and tribal lines. It is all but impossible to deal with, even address, the problem of extremism, because of these divisions.

Former colonial powers, responsible for the carve up of the Muslim world, have continued to meddle - both militarily and politically - in Muslim countries, propping up their most favoured rulers, who do their bidding, whilst overseeing the violent removal of those who do not. The consequent destruction of one Muslim nation after another has led to increased extremist activity, not witnessed its reduction. Whether Western governments exploit weaknesses in Muslim societies to gain control over precious resources, or not, the truth is that their military involvement in the Muslim world has not only been counter-productive, it has been catastrophic.

Whilst extremists on all sides - those who blame Muslims for violence, wars and terrorism, or attribute all blame to the West - take centre stage and control the narrative, which insists upon more violence, wars and 'revenge', innocent lives are destroyed, communities and countries divided.

Politicians and religious leaders behave like saviours, heroes and warriors - pretending only they possess the power and ability to rescue their communities from the terror inflicted upon them by
a) 'Muslim terrorists', or
b) Western interference in Muslim countries.

But, these are dividers and rulers. They instil fear and suspicion of the 'other', exploit both, and thereby further their own agendas and interests. Corporate news media, meanwhile, ensure that blanket coverage of extremist atrocities continues for days on end. In this way, everyone is consistently reminded of the extremely high 'threat level', people are reduced to helplessness, their fear transformed into rage, hatred and extreme intolerance. Profit and agenda-driven news media abandon all other important events, in order to focus upon 'extremism'. Thus, is everything reduced to an extremist narrative.

The world is lacking in wise, righteous and honest leadership. Countries are not governed by the good, humble and knowledgeable - either in the East or the West. This being the case, it is hard to imagine a new approach to extremism, but easy to think that wars, violence, death, destruction and bloodshed will continue.

Each individual is responsible for making this world a better, more humane and harmonious place. However, if people seek refuge in extreme nationalism, tribalism and religious sectarianism, then surely they deserve neither peace nor the light of goodness.

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