A Historical Review

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan


The British put an end to the Muslim rule over India in 1857, giving a death blow to the Muslims’ political and cultural supremacy. Japan witnessed a similar tragedy about ninety years ago in 1945 when America having completely destroyed its industrial and military power by dropping two atom bombs had succeeded in establishing its total domination over Japan.

During the past one and a half centuries after the fall of their power, the Indian Muslims launched a number of movements for their reconstruction at the cost of great sacrifices. Right from the revolt of 1857 to the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992, the sacrifices given by Indian Muslims of the subcontinent are too much that if an appraisal is made of these sacrifices in material terms it will come to a Himalayan magnitude. But all these sacrifices proved to be fruitless and of no avail to Muslims from any respect.

Let us now look at the Japanese nation. After the defeat in 1945, they started their struggle for reconstruction, and within a short span of forty years they not only made up for the loss suffered in the Second World War, but also managed to occupy a far more honorable position of the world.

What is the reason of this difference between the Muslim and Japanese communities/nations. There is only one reason and that is traceable to the different strategies/plan of action opted by the two towards the solution of their problems. The Muslims led by their incompetent leaders opted for their target to destroy their opponents (their target was the destruction of others). On the contrary, Japan led by their wise leaders resorted to the policy of self-construction. It is this difference of their approach which accounts for the sharp difference between the state of the two communities.

In the mid nineteenth century when the British grabbed political power from the Muslims the initial reaction of the Muslim leaders was to recapture their lost power by resorting to violence. Muslim leaders, therefore, embarked upon a bloody battle against the British despite their ill-equippedness/insufficient preparation. This conflict aggravated their ruination a hundred fold. However, Muslim leaders ignorant of any other method/strategy held others responsible for their ruin and continued their collision course with the British.

Despite incurring huge losses, Muslim leaders and thinkers are still not able to come out mentally of this collision-course. They are completely unaware of any other approach except that of agitation and encounter. Consequently, whether it is the revolt of 1857 or the confrontation over the Babri Masjid this war-loving leadership has set Muslims, on all occasions, to the path of conflict to be welcomed only by deprivation and defeat.

All this does not mean to suggest that leaders with vision (wisdom) were never born in the Muslim community. Nature has always been generous to every community in this respect, wise and competent leaders have therefore always been born in the Muslim community. Unfortunately though, the Muslim did not pay any heed to the advice of their competent/worthy leaders. The basic reason being that a wise leader always addresses his people in a low-profile, but, due to certain reasons, the present Muslim psychology attaches importance only to high profile address (leadership), however baseless and meaningless they might be as regards reality.

Sir Syyed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) provides one notable example in this connection. Being an eye witness to the turmoil of 1857, and then after a critical observation/estimation of the situation he realized that the Muslims were not in a position to make an advance, but they were in a stage of preparation. He thus offered to the Muslims same suggestion as was done by the King Hirohito of Japan about a hundred years ago. Hirohito told his people that although America had destroyed our cities, its army had captured their territory, yet, he said that a sphere of action was still lying wide open for them. It was the field of knowledge. Admitting that the American domination over Japan was undoubtedly an insufferable tragedy he said that they had to suffer the insufferable in order that they could set the next generation on the path of knowledge and progress. After a little hesitation, the Japanese community finally wholeheartedly accepted Hirohito’s advice. Subsequently, the entire world witnessed Japan’s history taking a new turn through the efforts of only one generation.

Exactly the same suggestion was made by Sir Syyed in the wake of 1857 revolt, to the Muslims of the subcontinent. He asked Muslims to accept the British domination temporarily, and to avoid any political encounter with their rulers as it was not going to serve their purpose. He tried to convince the Muslims that bright opportunities for the acquisition of knowledge were lying open for them, outside the sphere of the political dominance of the British. He tried to impress upon them that if they could devote their energies to the field of knowledge, their history would itself begin to change.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica gives the following description of Sir Sayyed’s mission:


’The supreme interest of Sayyed’s life was education—in its widest sense. Sayyed advised the Muslims against joining active politics and to concentrate, instead, on education (1/369)’.

While Hirohito’s people honored/accepted their leaders’ advice, Sir Sayyed’s people rejected their leader’s advice alleging/castigating him as a British agent. The difference of the result of respective responses is for all to see. Japan today occupies the top rung of the ladder of the world’s developed nations. On the contrary, the Muslim are today engaged in putting pressure upon the Indian government to declare Muslims a backward class so that they may avail of the privileges reserved for such reserved communities.

It is the verdict of history, however, that a community which fails in the test of prudent/wise action, can never compensate for its loss/deprivation through agitational campaigns and charter of demands, even although their poets, orators and writers all join together in support of this demand.Far from observing the whims and fancies of any group, this world strictly adheres to the immutable laws of nature. All the individual and collective achievements in this world can be gained only by conforming with the laws of nature. Those who follow their own desire will receive nothing in this world. The Indian Muslims have to start their history anew from the point where they had left Sir Sayyed. They will have to learn to starve the problems and feed the opportunities (already at hand). By availing the existing opportunities one enables oneself to solve over problems as well. Whereas one who is entangled in the problems not only loses out on the existing opportunities but also fails to solve the problems.


Back To Islam Awareness Homepage

Latest News about Islam and Muslims

Contact IslamAwareness@gmail.com for further information