By Izzul Asyraf

I believe that we can be proud of what has been achieved by our Muslim brothers and sisters in history as built what is known as a great civilization, Islamic civilization. The Golden Age of Islam civilization during the Abbasid caliphate marked the strong reality that Islam as a religion and as an inspiration could be a tremendous attraction from around the world. The spreading of knowledge in Islamic educational centers went along with on how Muslims did behave according to Islam, thus they were able to portray what Islam really means to the world which had been thirsty for knowledge and change. This is a good point for modern Muslims to learn and follow their achievements in order to improve our status. These are three points which I think are important for us to improve the status of Muslim based on the readings on Islamic civilization.

The first point is related to knowledge. Being an educated Muslim should be our priority in order to compete in modern global developments. Muslims in the glorious times of Islamic civilization was known as the great intellectuals, they invented many technologies and managed to spread the Islamic ideologies through their research and innovations. Became the first and the best was a culture and the spirit that they did not practice it for their fame but it was done because of their religion and faith. They understood the essence of Islam very well as Islamic principles dictate that seeking knowledge is an ibadah (worship to God). This understanding led them to acquire as much knowledge as they can. They were competing to show that all the knowledge and wisdom that they have found were from Allah, and they related this understanding in their research and manifested it through their writings.

The second lesson is related to the openness or welcoming attitude had been practiced widely in Islamic civilization. We have to admit that if we are in the state of jumud, or refusing to accept anything from outside, then our community actually be degenerated. Look at the countries which are practicing a close door policy like North Korea. What did happen to their people? The closed-door policies of their country halted their freedom right. They may feel superior to others, but, from the international point of view, they are living in illusions. Muslims in Islamic civilization were completely different. They accepted any information coming from the outside and welcomed anybody who wanted to visit their land. This led to new information to flew into the Muslim lands and benefit all humanity. We should follow this approach today as we should not be left behind the global developments in science and technology. We should be open-minded and work for the betterment of humanity.

Third, there is no double standard in gender rights. This is really an important point that differs Islamic civilization from other civilizations. In Islamic civilization, women were allowed to study, they practiced their religion as did men, had rights to own wealth, and held important positions in the administration. The oldest university in the world called the University al-Qarawiyyin was established in 859 CE by a Tunisian woman Fatimah al-Fihri. Also, Shajar al Dur became a ruler in 1250 CE for the Mamluk administration. These two examples show that Islam did not restrict women from public activities if they wanted so and were qualified. At that time many women in Europe faced too many discriminations due to gender.  But soon later, after they integrated and learned from Islamic history particularly from Muslim Spain and Muslim Sicily, a movement emerged to talk about the gender equality.

In conclusion, these three points are the most crucial elements that a Muslim must understand and practice in our days. The era of materialism really kills the sense of humanity in the human soul. But Islam teaches many lessons from the past and all of these three points are the solutions to survive in the current times, not only for Muslims but for entire humanity regardless of their races, customs, and religions.


The author is an undergraduate student at the Department of History and Civilization, International Islamic University Malaysia