It is like an exchange of baton in a relay race how the Islamic world, who used to be light for others, particularly Europe, have gained comfort in the backseat of irrelevance, while Europe, their former tutee now sit atop them. They not just sit atop them, they also dictate what their trainer-turned-trainee should do and not do. They have succeeded in infecting the world – more of concern here is the Islamic world – morally, economically, politically, culturally, socially, educationally, and all of these done fantastically.
Renaissance of Europe was the beginning of modern European society. This renaissance was due to Islamic achievements in science and civilization on a large scale. It was these achievements that awakened Europe while Islamic civilization was drowning into the ditch of ignorance. This dated back to the 17th century when the Europeans began to contribute to the progress and development in every walk of life – science, technology, medicine, arts, communication, education, and many other areas of prominence, which used to be lightened up by Islamic civilization.
As time went by, Europe would be joined by some other superpowers in the Western hemisphere of the world that, collectively, are referred to as The West. Their exploits came to be referred to as Westernization. However, with the passage of time, these supposed progressive movement towards development has distorted and destroyed universal truths and belittled the highly valued value of human life and society, its need character and heritage.
With Islam and Muslims being the centrepiece of this piece, in what shall come afterwards, the areas wherein Islamic doctrines have been deleted from space of usage and replaced with that of the West shall be discussed. The toxic tonic our world at large has been compelled to force down shall be highlighted and, as expected, the ways of overcoming and neutralizing the poisonous extent of this tonic. Upon core and authentic Islamic tenets, culture and doctrines these recommendations shall be built and driven around.
In the book, What Went Wrong, by Lewis Bernard, he wrote, “For many centuries the world of Islam was in the forefront of human civilization and achievement. In the era between the decline of antiquity and the dawn of modernity that is, in the centuries designated in European history as medieval the Islamic claim was not without justification.” These words of his clearly depict the sad deviation of the Islamic world from what it used to be – from relevancy to redundancy.
Over the years, the values and ethics of Islam have been thrown into the well of desertedness, for while Islam preaches monotheism, polytheism and atheism are popular crafts of the Western culture. There is no gainsaying in it that the West has a relatively fat bite in the cultural practices of countries, people, and more importantly, ideologies around the world. This is evident, like the midday sun, in the alien practices littering our landscapes far and near. Practices ranging from marriage to family life, from governance to customs and laws, from dressing to lifestyle, among many more, boldly mirrors the far the Western culture have diffused into other people's culture globally.
This never happened by conjuring from void. It did come to be by what started with colonialism and continued till date by the potent channel of neo-colonialism . These tools, coupled the far-reaching tentacle of the media, strengthened the quest of the Western world to dominate the world, conquer lands, and control territories. Today, it is almost by conscious sensitivity could what is foreign be discerned from what is traditional. No thanks to the West.
To ensure stamping the foot of superiority of this culture of theirs over that of others, force, deceit, eroding basic foundations, misinformation, and appeals were used. With Islam, being the an outstanding aspect of life, with its own civilization and culture, no pebble was left unrolled by Allaah and His Messenger for us to understand and be liberated from toxicity of whatever form brought about by any culture, or people.
The word West was first used in the 12th century. Also known as the occident (from Latin: occidens “sunset, West”), the West, historically, encompasses every of the Western Bloc (the non-communist countries of Europe and America). However, it is a term usually referring to different nations, depending on the context, most often including at least part of Europe. This is to say, "there are many accepted definitions about what they all have in common" . It is from the word West, Westoxification took its source.
Westoxification, on one hand, is not an English word. Grammatically, it has three morphemes – West, being its free morpheme and root word. “Toxification” has no particular definition in the English dictionary. Something close, which could be likened to this word, is toxication. However, Westoxification, in English, is what could be best described as a pun, or simply, wordplay.
Toxic, on the other hand, is the word that highlights the rife in the topic of discuss. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines toxic as, “containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation”
Westoxification, which came to be first used in the 20th century, was derived from the Persian term “Gharbzadegi” which refers to the complete imbibing of Western culture while eroding the cultural practices in other part of the world. Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, a well-known Iranian thinker and writer is credited with the term “Gharbzadegi” – which, if translated to English means Westernstruck, occidentosis or Westoxification – in his book Occidentosis: A Palgue from the West . It is a phenomenon that refers to non-Western societies relying heavily on the West for cultural, military or financial reason, and many other aspects and walks of life. Of these non-Western societies, the Islamic world stands out.
From the foregoing, Westoxification is therefore best explained as the poisons and harms the Western world has injected into the veins of the world. And like we clearly see, sense and hear around us, the cultural practices of the West have a robust space in the lives of all and sundry. At the turn here and there, we see their ideologies boldly inscribed in our dealings and endeavours.
3.0 THE WEST’S INFLUENCE ON EDUCATION.
During the golden age of the Islamic empire – usually defined as the period between the tenth and thirteenth centuries – when Western Europe was intellectually backward and stagnant, Islamic scholarship flourished with an impressive openness to the rational sciences, arts, and even literature. It was this period that the Islamic world made most of its contributions to the scientific and artistic world.
However, despite its glorious legacies of earlier periods, the Islamic world seemed unable to respond to either culturally or educationally to the onslaught of Western advancement by the eighteenth century. On the most damaging aspects of European colonialism was the deterioration of indigenous cultural norms through secularism. Other means include: imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, capitalism, among others. With its veneration of human reason over Divine Revelation and its insistence on separation of religion and state, secularism is the anathema to Islam, in which all aspect of life, spiritual or temporal are interrelated as a harmonious whole.
As a result, religious education was deleted from the space of public education even on Islamic soils. Religion education became a separate and personal responsibility, having no space in public education. In fact, if Muslim students desired religious training, they get its supplement: moral education. But, this moral education was devoid of sincerity, civility and divinity. This greatly contrasts the core Islamic principles and doctrines.
4.0 OVERCOMING THESE CANKERWORMS.
Osokoya, in his own contribution, defines education as a continuous process the society establishes to assist its members to understand the heritage of the past and to participate productively in the future. He went further to explain that education is the leading out of the in-born powers and potentialities of the individuals in the society and the acquisition of skills, aptitudes, and competencies necessary for self-realization and for coping with life’s problems.
The traditional education with its unwritten syllabuses and unplanned schemes of work enables children to learn how to speak their mother tongue. They learn how to establish relationships with other people and how to exhibit and control their emotions within the acceptable norms of society.
Islamic education came earlier than Western education; Islam was introduced to Nigeria in the 14th century, while Western education was introduced mid-nineteenth century. This latter was that of hypocrisy. The European missionaries came to the nation on the basis of what could be described as three C’s: Civilization, Commerce, and most important to them, Christianity . This is evident in how those who could afford to be educated then have to change their names to Christian names before they could be admitted in the missionary schools.
In Islamic education, child’s education will be free since it is the duty of the state to provide basic necessity, free education for every male and female at secondary and primary levels. Also, there will be existence of Islamic curriculum to instil Islamic dispositions on the child. They will be enlightened on Haram and Halal.
Imagine a situation where students arrive in school and expected to greet Islamically with Taslim and would not be taught theories such as “theory of evolution” but subjects tailored in line with Islamic Aqeedah. Therefore, even in language, the rich history of Islam will be taught, and in the event of quest to further learn new language, it will be to further education in other higher classes.
Children taught under Islamic education would gain sound knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence) and detailed rules of Islam. Universities and madrasat would be in one greater institution of enormous knowledge. With all these measures taken, a Muslim child will be nurtured towards an Islamic personality. This in return prepares them to live their lives in accordance with orders and prohibitions of Allaah. Various aspect of Islam such as social conduct, prayer, Islamic laws etc., is what will be imbued in this system of Islamic education. And as expected, since teaching is done within the framework of Islam, hypothetical ideas propounded by the West like the evolution of human from apes and matter and energy being eternal, will not corrupt the minds of these children. This, coupled with the society – which teaches people as much as the school does – will ensure both educational and spiritual upliftment.
To achieve this, re-educating the entire Muslim world with basic Islam and Sunnah and manner of everyday life is the first and most important step towards untangling Muslims from the cobwebs with which the Western culture has blocked their march to progress. By ensuring that only the Qur’an and Sunnah dictate what is learnt and taught in the educational system, then the golden age when the Muslim world shone like the fourteenth day moon would return. And as such, purification of our souls would enhance better development into human race. Allaah tells us in the Qur’an that:
“And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own soul; and the destination of all is Allaah”
If Islamic education flourishes, development will be enriched. The purpose of man’s creation by Allaah which is to worship Him will be fulfilled. The world would transcend its present state of anarchy and disarray to become the abode of peace and tranquillity.
5.0 INFLUENCE OF THE WEST ON POLITICS.
Harold Laski described politics as “the survival of the fittest which is characterised by tension where God for all and everybody for himself” The post Berlin conference – where Africa was partitioned – marked the inception of colonialism in Africa . Since then Africa had been subdued by the Westerners until 1936 when Italy attempted to invade Ethiopia under the government of Mussolini. Goodly, this marked the beginning of the decolonization in Africa. Colonialism is the political domination of one area by another for the purpose of economic exploitation. Colonial rule in Africa was a child of imperialism which refers to monopoly stage of capitalism was to seek for markets for European finished goods and raw materials for their own industries.
Leaders like Jaja of Opobo and Nana of Itsekeri who refused to surrender their resources to the imperialist were forcefully ejected from their own lands. Prior to colonialism there were kingdoms or emirate system with leaders extracting tributes from their subjects. Shari’a system was implemented in the North by Uthman Dan Fodio after the Jihad of 1804 .
There were indigenous industries producing goods that met the various needs of the indigenous populace. Trade was carried out by barter where commodities were exchanged for their equivalence. Likewise, Trans-Sahara trade had happened between the Northern Nigerians and Malians – it during this time Islam came into the country. However, to create large areas for the purpose of economic exploitation, the different kingdoms with different political, economic and socio-cultural backgrounds were forced to come together under the same imperial-colonial domination.
After colonization ___ decolonialism, after decolonization___ neo-colonialism. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana defined neo_colonization as the process of handling independence over to the African people with one hand only to take it away with the other hand. He also defines it as “clientele sovereignty, or fake independence: the practice of granting a sort of independence by the metropolitan power with the concealed intention of making the liberated country a client-state and controlling it effectively by means other than political ones.”
He further observed that where colonialism exists the power exercising control is often the state which formerly ruled the territory in question, but this is not necessarily so. A state in the grip of neo-colonialism is not a master of destiny. It is the worst form of imperialism. For those who practice it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress. He goes further to state that neo-colonialism is a stage in the development of imperialism. That is more insidious; complex and dangerous than the old colonialism. “It not only prevents its victims from developing their economic potentials for their own use, but it controls the political life of the country and supports the indigenous bourgeoisie in perpetuating the oppression and exploitation of the masses. Under neo-colonialism, the economic systems and political policies of independent territories are managed and manipulated from outside; international monopoly finances capital in lead with the indigenous bourgeoisie, communication, banking, insurance and other key services are controlled by neocolonialists.”
6.0 FORMS OF NEO-COLONIALISM.
Neo-colonialism according to Nkrumah may take the following forms:
1. That in the extreme case, the troops of the imperial power may garrison the territory of the neocolonial state and control its government.
2. The neo-colonial state may be obliged to by manufactured goods from one power to the exclusion of similar products from other countries.
3. Through control over the government polices whereby the imperial power contribute toward the cost of running the government by provision of civil servants who are usually placed in positions where they can dictate polices.
4. Through monetary control over foreign exchange through the imposition of banking system controlled by the imperial power.
Generally, the result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation of the world. This is done through the fallacy of transfer of capital, technology and foreign experts. A foreign investment also exploits the less developed countries through tax evasion, under invoicing of exports and over-invoicing of imports. Investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreasing the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world.
7.0 THE WEST AND THEIR PHARMACEUTICAL PRESCRIPTIONS.
Borine insulin is a biologic drug used to the management of Type I diabetes mellitus. However, it is stained or extracted from the pancreas of pigs which is forbidden for Muslims. Alcohol [ethanol) has been extensively employed as a solvent excipient in many drugs that are consumed. In Islam ingestion of alcohol is forbidden .According to Abdul Al Mawlud Shari’a forbids we use of all those drugs which are injurious to man’s physical, mental and moral existence. Psychotropic drugs such as morphine, heroine, and codeine although very useful for the disorders as they have similar effect as alcohol on the brain and as such not favoured.
As supplements for this, the Islamic remedy to illness is efficacious. Ruqyah, zaytun (olive), habbatu sawda’ (black seed), dates, khal water, honey, zamzam, hulba, among others are what Islam has recommended, and which natural and non-prohibited.
8.0 THE WEST’S INFLUENCE ON SCIENCE.
There is no such thing as Islamic science for science is the most universal of human activities. But the means to facilitating scientific advances have always have been dictated by culture, political will and economic wealth. What is only now becoming clear (to many in the West) is that during the dark ages of medieval Europe, incredible scientific advances were made in the Muslim world. Geniuses in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, and Cordoba, took the scholarly works of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, India and China, developing what we would call “modern” science. New disciplines emerged – algebra, trigonometry and chemistry as well as major advances in medicine, astronomy, engineering and agriculture. Arabic texts replaced with Greek as the fonts of wisdom, helping to shape the scientific revolution of the renaissance. What the medieval scientists of the Muslim world articulated so brilliantly is that science is universal; the 1001 inventions exhibition at London’s Science museum tells some of the stories of this forgotten age. Here are some exhibits:
A. The Elephant Clock.
High replica of an early 13th-century water clock and one of the engineering marvels of the medieval world. It was built by Al-Jazari, and gives physical forms to the concept of multiculturalism. It features an Indian elephant, Chinese dragons, a Greek water mechanism, an Egypt phoenix, and wooden robots in traditional Arabian attire. The timing mechanism is based on a water-filled bucket hidden inside the elephant.
B. The Camera Obscura.
The greatest scientist of the medieval world was a 10th century Arab by the name Ibn Al-Haytham. Among his many contributions to optics was the first correct explanation of how vision works. He used the Chinese invention of camera obscura (or pinhole camera) to show how light travels in straight lines from the object to form an inverted image on the retina.
C. Al- Idrisi’s World Map.
The reproduction of the famous 12th-century map by the Andalusia cartographer, Al- Idrisi (1100-1166), was produced in Sicily and is regarded as the most elaborate and complete description of the world made in the medieval times. It was used extensively for several centuries by travellers for several centuries and contained detailed description of the Christian north as well as the Islamic world and the Far East.
D. The Banu Musa Brothers’ “Ingenious Devices”
These three brothers were celebrated mathematicians and engineers in ninth-century Baghdad. Their Book of Ingenious Devices, published in 850, was a large illustrated work on mechanical devices that included automata, puzzles, and magic tricks as well as what we would today refer to as “executive toys”.
E. Al- Zaharwi’s Surgical Instruments.
This array of weird and wonderful devices