During the European dark ages, the contemporary Islamic civilization flourished in all respects; the sciences, arts, in architecture, etc… Do you think this was so because the Muslims of that time followed a work ethic that was intrinsic to the deen that they practiced?
I want to know where in Islam is it required of the followers to strive to be their best. If it does somewhere, then why isn’t more emphasis given to something that is so important. Obviously, the Muslims of the great civilization before us got to the state that they did because of a drive to improve themselves. At that time, there wasn’t even the pressure to uplift themselves socially like there is upon us today.
Was their success God’s gift to them for being good Muslims, or did they strive to improve themselves because they felt it was a religious obligation?
I often wonder myself how I can use my Iman, and my Muslim identity to elevate myself (academically- as I am a student) over my non-Muslim peers.
I love your site and have recommended it to many of my friends. May Allah grant you the best of this world and the next. Ameen.
The dominance given to the Muslims immediately following the life of the Prophet (pbuh), was in fact the dominance bestowed upon the progeny of Abraham (pbuh), as a part of God’s promise to the great prophet. This domination of the progeny of Abraham (pbuh) – whether given to the children of Israel or to those of Ishmael – is not comparable with the rise and/or fall of any other nation. For further details regarding this issue, please refer to one of my earlier responses to a related question titled: “Does Jerusalem Belong to the Muslims“.
In view of my opinion regarding the initial political dominance of the Muslims as well as that of the Jews was, in fact, a special blessing of God and no derivations can be made from the history of that dominance for other nations.
As for the second part of your question relating to your personal academic and/or intellectual superiority over your colleagues, it should be noted that this superiority has absolutely no connection with your faith and belief. Your faith in God and your belief in the values promoted by the prophets of God would invariably have a direct impact on your ethical and moral behavior, but not on your academic, intellectual or technical superiority over others. The latter depends on your natural abilities, your interest in the subject in question and the hard work that you are willing to put into your selected endeavors.
Thank you for your encouraging remarks. May the Almighty guide us all to the path of His liking.
I hope this helps.
October 12, 2002