Thursday, 18 February 2016

Individual Reformation vs Collective Reformation

We have seen in the article and that addressee of every responsibility assigned in the Quran, except such  responsibilities which are exclusively assigned to our Nabi (s.a.w.w), has been mentioned in plural form; it means that every responsibility assigned in the Quran is individual as well as collective in its nature. In fact, boththese responsibilities reinforce each other; the execution of individual responsibilities lead us to execute collective responsibilities, and execution of collective responsibilities make us execute individual responsibilities. The first phase of every collective deed is the individual deed; when the individual deeds are institutionalized, collective phase/deed is completed. Similarly when the collective deeds are institutionalized, they make the individuals to execute their individual deeds. The difference between individual and collective deed is that individual deed is compensated individually whereas a collective deed is compensated collectively. In collective deed, contribution of every individual is not essentially required; similarly reward and penalty of collective deed is not confined to individuals which contribute to collective deed.
Though individual deeds and collective deeds reinforce each other, they can be mutually exclusively performed. Though both kinds of deeds have to be performed, individual deeds can be performed without performing collective deeds; similarly, collective deeds can be performed without making every individual perform his/her individual deeds. Actually implications of these two types of deeds are entirely different; individual deeds are to be compensated in the world Hereafter; but collective deeds are to be compensated in this world only. The rise and fall of nations is based on collective deeds of nations; it is not based on individual deeds (for details pls. see
We can see western civilization is dominating Muslims’ civilization at present, though westerners seem to be no better than us in terms of individual morality. Actually western civilization is dominating Muslims’ civilization due to their social systems which are more Islamic in their color and nature than the social systems adopted by the Muslims; the western nations are dominating Muslim nations due to their collective deeds. As for as Muslims are concerned, they have adopted the same political and economic systems which have been adopted by the western nations- in terms of political and economic systems, Muslims are as bad as are western nations; but the social systems adopted by Muslims are worse than those adopted by the western nations which have adopted such social systems which are closer to Islam than those adopted by the Muslims. The social systems adopted by the western nations ensure there should be justice through judicial system; there should be protection of human rights and human freedoms- e.g. consumers’ rights’ children’s rights, sellers’ rights, old people’s rights, un-employed peoples’s rights, minimum livelihood rights, educational rights, health care rights, freedom of speech  etc. The Muslims would start rising when the collective systems adopted by them would be closer to Islam than the collective systems adopted by the western nations.
In order to rise in the comity of nations, Muslims have to diagnose  correctly the reasons of their downfall. According to one view, the reason of Muslims’ downfall is moral decline at individual level; accordingly the remedy which is suggested is there should be a widespread movement aiming at individual reformation so that such movement may morally reform, if not all people, at least majority of people. As we have discussed above, this diagnosis and suggested remedy are not correct because rise and fall of a nation is based on its collective deeds; it is not based on individual deeds.
Another view is that an armed struggle should be initiated so that the present regime may be overthrown and state apparatus may be captured. Such a view may also not be supported in most of the cases because, in most of the cases, armed struggle to topple down the present regime is not permissible (for details pls. see
Both views mentioned above are extremist views. To say that an Islamic state and society cannot be established without reforming moral character of majority of the people is as much extremist in its nature as is  saying that Islamic state and society may be established, in all cases, through armed struggle. In fact both these views take us away from the goal of establishment of a true Islamic society and state.
A true Islamic state and society may be established by installing Islamic institutions/systems in the society. For the purpose, there is no need to train majority of the people; institution building is a specialized job. So only required number of persons are needed to be trained. Simultaneously social cum political agitation may be launched so that way may be paved for installing Islamic institutions, once the required number of expert persons have become available. It may be appreciated  peoples’ support is required to launch successful social cum political agitation but it is not necessary to participate in the political process for the purpose. People’s support can be obtained peacefully by convincing the people through preaching, education, training, organization and political agitation. It is not necessary to convince the whole society for the purpose; but the required number of people  need to be convinced. Every Muslim society may start the process of installation of Islamic systems gradually in their respective society. If people’s support enables the Muslims in any Muslim society to obtain political power, the process of Islamization of Muslim society may be faster. But an attempt to grab political power without required number of people’s support would lead to such internal conflicts which would ultimately weaken the Muslims society against the non-Muslims; therefore such kind of attempt is not permissible.

It may also be appreciated that mustering peoples’ support is something different from reforming peoples’ moral characters. In the process of gathering peoples’ support, people are required to be convinced to support a cause which suits people’s own interests; this process is different from the process of moral purgation and purification of people. The author is not opposing the idea of individual reformation of people; there is no second opinion that individual reformation facilitates collective reformation, as has been mentioned above. The author is opposing the view that individual reformation-aiming at moral purgation of majority people- is essential for collective reformation. Quran sys:
 That is because Allah would not change a favor which He had bestowed upon a nation until they change what is within them. And indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing” (al-anfal-53).
“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a nation until they change what is within them (their deeds). And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron” (al-ra,d-11) .
In both these above mentioned verses, Allah is stating about conditions of a nation; in other words Allah is stating about collective conditions of people; not individual conditions of people.
According to one hadith, moral character of the people is reflected in the moral character of their ruler. Of course, it is so; but a bad ruler may be forced to undertake good collective deeds without reforming his individual moral character.  Secondly this hadith may also be interpreted as mentioning about collective character of people, instead of individual character of people.
We may conclude that collective reformation of a nation is not necessarily based on individual reformation of people. Both these processes, though reinforce each other, can be undertaken exclusively of each other. The rise and fall of a nation is based on collective conditions/ deeds of a nation; in order to rise in the comity of nations, Muslims have to undertake collective reformation. As collective reformation is reflected through collective systems, Muslims need to install Islamic institutions in their respective societies, instead of pursuing individual’s moral reformation as a first stage. Most importantly, Muslims societies have to strengthen mutual unity so that what Islamization they would have achieved in their respective societies may be protected from foreign adverse interference (for details pls. see


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