1. Every Muslim is taught that they are the best of peoples that has evolved for mankind. That they have the Truth with them and that they are on the “right path of God”.
2. Every Muslim believes that “Islam” is the answer to all of human ills and sufferings and the Muslim through “God’s teachings” will be able to guide human beings to a better life here and in the herefater. Hence, many Muslim today wants to implement the “syariah law” which has been touted as “divine laws” by the Muslim clerics especially the “hudud laws” which is considered sacrosanct and deemed beyond any discussion.
Indeed the Quran does in surah 3 verse 110 state the following:
“You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in God. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors”.
3. Yes, the Quran says that the Muslims are the best of peoples. But who are these Muslims and where are they? Let Muslims not forget that Allah also speaks well of the people of the Book in surah 3 verse 113 to 114:
“Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration”. (Q3:113)
“They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous”. (Q3:114)
4. Q3:113-114 clearly says that among the people of the book (the Jews and the Christians) there are those who enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong and do good works like some Muslims do. The Quran is equally clear that in the Muslim community itself there are hypocrites (Q4;142, 63:1) who cause mischief within the community and spread false teachings in the name of Allah with their tongue and for wealth (Q2:41, 77; Q3:77-78, Q9:009)
From the discussion above, is it not a reasonable conclusion to make that a righteous Christian and Jew who forbids wrong and enjoins what is right is better than a hypocrite who pretends to be a Muslim? Q5:69 even states “any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve”.
5. As a matter of clarity, it is important to note that all beautiful names belong to God and “Allah” is just one name ordinarily used by Muslims to refer to God the One and Only.
“Say: "Call upon God, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name you call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak your Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between." (Q17:110)
6. So, back to the question – are Muslims indeed the best of peoples evolved for mankind? I sincerely believe that those Muslims who adhere to the Quran and study it as it should be studied (Q2:121) and take the best meaning/interpretation from it are indeed useful for the world (Q39:18). These are people of peace (aslama), who are able to co-exist with compassion and understanding with people who have completely different belief systems or even an atheist, are diligent, productive, self-accountable and responsible, and able to engage in any discourse in an intelligent way as best as they can. In short, the best possible of a “civilized” person.
7. Is that the image that Muslims portray today? I am sad to say that the general perception is completely the opposite.
8. A general analysis of all the so-called “Muslim countries” shows backwardness in many ways – economically, politically and socially. They paint a gloomy and embarrassing picture of communities with poverty, abysmal record of human and women’s rights, constant civil wars, religious persecution often by the state itself, increasing lack of tolerance for other communities, overbearing sense of self righteousness, lack of respect for human privacy and freedom of thought, and most shockingly in this era of knowledge explosion, state sanctioned faith.
9. Saudi Arabia for example, where the Quran was first revealed is a nation which has trapped its ordinary people in a time wrap completely excluded from the realities of the rest of the world. Many have noted that there is “so much religion and very little Islam” in that country. The reader can easily do further research to understand what I mean.
10. Look at the “Muslim majority” countries in the African continent, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Libya, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Mali, Gambia, Kyrgyzstan and so on. Honestly, do these countries give meaning to the “best peoples evolved for mankind”?
11. What have these “muslim majority” countries contributed to the betterment of the 7 billion over people living on earth in just the past 100 years that they deserve to be called the “best peoples evolved for mankind?”
12. Muslims appear to be fond of blaming the whole world except themselves for whatever weaknesses, lackings, unhappiness or misery they suffer. When they cannot blame others, they break up into groups and sects and blame each other and often times ending up in bloodshed or persecution.
13. How can we expect non-Muslims to have high regards for us when the perception globally is that we are intolerant, self-centered, unable to think for ourselves but completely dependent on the priests/clerics, over-sensitive to differing ideas and criticisms and hence lacking in self confidence, aggressive to the point of screaming Allah’s name in the streets and engaging in suicide bombings, that Islam is more politics and law rather than a spiritual guidance from the Creator and so on?
14. It is also perceived that some of their ulamaks are of no help but only seek to put their followers further in a defensive position and angry position for what they lack in life. Not for a second are they encouraged or motivated to progress from whatever resources that have nor are they encouraged to use their creative minds to reap Allah’s mercy. You reap what you sow is a universal truth.
15. All these extremely negative perceptions of Islam hurts me as a Muslim but I cannot simply get angry with them. This is a perception that my Muslim community has allowed to evolve. This is a perception that my Muslim community has failed to address because, I humbly believe, we have forsaken the teachings of the Quran (Q25:30) and gone on a frolic of our own following the teachings of men. We seem to have abandoned our God given common sense, thinking skills and compassion given by the Merciful and Compassionate Creator.
16. Even in my own beloved country Malaysia, we witness some people abusing and subverting Islam to promote exclusivism, fascism and racism of the worst kind and in the process trying to create division, distrust, hatred and chaos among the peaceful people of Malaysia. Are these the “best of peoples evolved for mankind” as stated by Allah in the Quran? Surely not.
17. I sincerely pray to Allah that in 2015, Muslims begin to sincerely indulge in their own soul searching and are courageous enough to be self critical (Q17:36, Q2:44), so that they can conclude for themselves whether they have indeed became the “best of peoples evolved for mankind” as stated by Allah in the Quran.
18. Peace and Happy New Year.
NOTE: The above views are entirely my understanding and no one is required to agree with them. Kindly check with your own copy of the Quran and make up your own minds and thoughts. If I have erred in my facts, kindly highlight to me.