Rafed English

Youths and Heritage

Adopted from the book : "A Glance at the World of Youth" by : "Al-Balagh Foundation"

Heritage is a `present culture of civilization' terminology, which takes its course and role in the culture and intellect of the people, and becomes an object of debate and differences, in such a way, that even non-Islamic, intellectual writers are using it, as well as, the Islamic writers and intellectuals. The last two decades have witnessed various researches and critique, as well as, analytic studies on the intellectual and cultural heritage of the Muslims.

Thus, heritage is termed as `an intellectual and cultural inheritance, which the present generation inherits from the past generation'. This includes the methods of study, history, jurisprudence and its principles philosophy, ideology, morals, literature, grammar, interpretation, the science of hadith and chain of narrators. And, rather, some of the non-Islamic writers say that the history of the Prophet and his traditions and what is narrated from the holy twelve Imams (Ahlul-Bait) (a.s) are considered as a part of heritage. However, the criticism, which heritage faces by some secularist and Muslim writers, shows two extreme approaches:

1. An approach which sanctifies anything inherent, and defends everything called heritage.

2. Another approach tries to downgrade the importance of heritage, and works toward its destruction through creating doubts about its value. It tries to show that heritage is an exudation of the past which does not have a role in the present era, and as a result, it tries to separate the past a of nation and its present.

Both these approaches have passed the limits and made mistakes. There is a misunderstanding of what heritage is, and which must go under careful scrutiny and purification, to determine what is Shari'a and Divine values and what is not heritage. That which does not need purification is the Holy Qur'an and the authentic Traditions (sunna) (of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and the infallible Imams (a.s)), but, since not all of what is ascribed to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Holy Imams (a.s) is authentic and correct, they must be evaluated. Because all of what is left out by the philosophes, theologians, historians, interpreters and jurists concerning the affairs of jurisprudence, politics and narrations should be under criticism and purification, and none of these views, opinions and approaches will be termed as authentic, unless after thorough examination and investigation.

Therefore, authentic is what is confirmed to be authentic, by clear proofs and scientific examination. In view of this, not all of what reaches us from the Prophet's companions, followers, religious scholars, from books and other scientific sources, and what is reported from historical events, and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and the twelve Imams (a.s) are solely authentic, rather, they are authentic and non-authentic.

Likewise, not all of what we inherit from views and opinions of the religious scholars in the fields of politics, ideology, history, culture and Qur'anic explanation is sacred and pure. Rather, the scientific method proved by the Holy Qur'an, is the correct method of proof and reasoning and scientific criticism. Therefore, it is necessary for us to embrace heritage and deal with it as a method and with the present thought and views of the Islamists, as well as, non-Islamists. However, the youths face two opposite powers: A power which tries to separate the present generation from the heritage, and isolate it from its past, and at last from its ideology and Islamic values, under the guise that heritage is only useful to the past. And another power which tries to impose solidification and backwardness on the intellect under the guise of protecting the heritage, in all its contents, even those that need purification, with the excuse that doubting these heritages will end in doubting the ideology and the sanctity of the past.

Hence, the generation of youths stands between two attractive powers being pulled, by each, to their own respective power. The present terminologies, inventions and transfering from the past to the present, has attracted and seduced a great number of the youths. Also, the secularist writers, and those who are creating doubt about the value of the inherit Islamic thought, have taken advantage of the limited civilization and intellect of the youths to create doubts about the heritage. Thus, it is necessary for the youths to understand and know the value and greatness of their nation and its past thoughts and views, and what the Muslims present in the field of science and technology, the scientific methods of research and the thinking for the human race, in general, and their own present advancements.

Consequently, the roots and foundations of the present advancements, in reality, depend on what the Islamic intellectuals and scholars offered to the scientific, as well as, intellectual foundations, and the method of scientific studies which was transferred to Europe through Spain, and translating the books of Muslim scholars after the dark ages witnessed by the West in the Middle Ages. Hence, Islam is the path finder and pace setter of scientific advancement and the helper of the mind and the founder of human civilization.

And what the generation of youths should believe is that the correct method of dealing with the heritage, and the greatness of the nation's heritage depends on scientific research and proofs. This can be achieved by the spreading and publishing of scientific and inherited works in the field of thought, civilization, technology and morals, and the new and present subsistence. Activating the criticism movement and purifying the heritage from the mistakes it carries is another way of dealing with the problem. Separating Islam, as a belief and great Shari'a from the results of the researches of religious scholars (Ulama), researchers and the people of views and opinions of the past generations, helps so that we cannot ascribe anything to Islam unless it is proved and confirmed by proofs through the pure argumentative and deductive method.

Thus, it is necessary for the youths to be conscious of the great conspiracies and plots against Islam and humanity, through the intellectual thesis and treatise which carries the present terminologies and hide under the guise of intellectual freedom, which, in its real sense, is an attempt to destroy the intellectual structure and essence of the nation and dissolve its cultural identity, being the secret of its power, advancement and dignity in life.

The Islamic ummah (community) has lived in a period of intellectual loss, and the generation of youths and the intellectuals live in this loss, influenced by the present, material culture and civilization, which shielded humanity with war and colonization, and the exploitation of its wealth; oppressing it.

But, this does not mean that we should not use the present scientific technology witnessed by Western countries, rather, the required thing is to choose the pure thought and culture which corresponds with our Islamic culture and civilization. Surely, the superpowers fear the greatness of Islam and the Islamic intellectual ability in building a strong nation and a pure civilization, which goes hand in hand with knowledge, beliefs and morals. Consequently, the mass media and cultural institutions, as well as, writers have subjugated the Islamic thought by mixing and mingling matters and concepts, exploiting the spirit of the intellectual impulse, desire of studying for invention and the good future of the youths.

Indeed, critical studies on other's thoughts which face Islam, will give the youths an understanding of the falseness and forgery of the claims and allegations of such treatise against the Islamic Ummah. A thorough study of Islamic thought from its original source, and with the spirit of knowledge and the intellectual method, will disclose the greatness of Islam and its ability to head the human race and reform its affairs. Finally, there is a basic issue in the study of Islam, and this is the differentiating of Islam and the backward state of the Muslims. The required thing is to upgrade the Muslims to the ideological, legal, as well as, moral standards of Islam, and not measuring Islam on the Muslims endeavours and dealings which is against Islamic teachings.

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