As the most influential person in the world, Prophet Muhammad laid a fundamental teaching of Islam that would inspire many policies and organizations in the world. Below are five of the many movements inspired by Islam that might cheer up our day:
Union of Islamist Traders in Indonesia
As the most populated Muslim country, Indonesia played a major role in development and economic cooperation within the Islamic world. Prior to year 1945, Indonesia was once colonized by the Dutch and briefly by the Japanese. In a struggle to fight for self-determination, there was one civil movement that would be the precursor of an independent Indonesia. Sarekat Dagang Islam or Union of Islamist Trader was a Batik trader organization with its goal to empower local traders against the monopoly of foreign merchants. The movement was organized by H.O.S. Tjokroaminoto, who then had three of his students that would become prominent key figures in Indonesia’s Independence. They are Sukarno, the nationalist, Semaoen, the socialist, and Kartosuwirjo, the Islamist. Sukarno eventually becomes the first Presidents of Indonesia and one of five prominent figures in the Non-Aligned Movement, together with Joseph Broz Tito, Kwame Nkrumah, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Gamal Abdul Naseer.
One of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakat is the practice of imposition giving, based on accumulated wealth (approximately 2.5% of all financial assets owned over the course of one lunar year). It is obligatory for all financially able Muslim adults and is considered to be an act of piety through which one expresses concern for the well-being of fellow Muslims, as well as preserving social harmony between the wealthy and the poor. The concept which obligates Muslim to give part of their wealth to the poor and the needy was imposed by caliph Umar ibn Khattab during his years of ruling. Later on, the zakat concept widened its purposes not only for the poor, but also to the elder, orphans, widows, the disabled, even the unemployed. In 19th century, the western world saw this concept that would become today’s policy of pension and social security fund.
American Civil Rights Movement
America was once undergone one of its dark times of social discrimination against African-American. This social turmoil reached its turning point in the year 1952, when a former convict learn about the teaching of Prophet Muhammad PBUH against racism and social equality in Mecca. Malcolm X or el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz learnt that to achieve emancipation, African-American have to reform its commune with education and mass organization. Malcolm X speeches electrified African-American for their conscious to exercise their civil rights and to fight for it. Malcolm X founded Muslim Mosque, Inc., a religious organization and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, a secular group that advocated Pan-Africanism. This movement inspired later generation like Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, and later the Hippies movement that would later dominate the popular culture of young American in the next decades.
There was a youth movement that shocked the face of the world in modern history. The 1979 Revolution toppled the throne of the United States backed shah of Iran and put an end at decades of corruption and western intervention in the country. It was thanks to doctor Ali Shari’ati, an Iranian intellectual and sociologist. Shariʿati wrote and lectured on the history and sociology of Islam and criticizes the current regime, Marxism, Iranian intellectuals, and conservative religious leaders. His teachings brought him great popularity with the youth of Iran. His teachings attacked the tyranny of the shah and his policy of westernization and modernization that, Shariʿati believed, damaged Iranian religion and culture and left the people without their traditional social and religious moorings. Shariʿati called for a return to true, revolutionary Shiʿism. He believed that Shiʿite Islam itself was a force for social justice and progress, but also that it had been corrupted in Iran by its institutionalization by political leaders. Iran was never as great as it is today because of his thought.
In the 7th century, women in Mecca were prone to exploitation and discrimination. From infanticide to degradation of women’s rights, Islam came and eradicates such ruthlessness. With Islam flourished in the Middle East, from military leaders in Aisha to business women like Khadija and even Mary, the Mother of Jesus, it has inspired women throughout the world and not exclusively for Muslims, but also non-muslim authors like Karen Armstrong. Today, emancipation for women’s rights in education was encouraged and implemented by Malala Yousafzai. Once a target of an attempted assassination, Yousafzai stand up against Taliban atrocities and started an advocacy for education for women in her native Swat Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Yousfazai earned the Nobel Prize for her role in establishing the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization aimed to raise girls’ voices and ensure every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, and qualitative primary and secondary education. On her 18th birthday, Malala visited Lebanon to open a new school financed by the Malala Fund. It was named in her honor. The Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School was established by the Kayany Foundation and provides non-formal education for adolescent Syrian refugee girls in the Bekaa Valley.
This article is written by Shiroti Nasuha