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Empires Based on Religion are Bound to Decay

Religion combined with power has the potential to corrupt even the best of minds. History can provide numerous testimony to it. However, when it comes to Muslims, the scenario worsens. The Abbasids, thé Umayyads, the Ottomans etc all present a classic example of deterioration of religious/moral values of Muslims with rise in power hierarchy. Muslims in non-Muslim majority countries are comparatively enjoying a much peaceful serene life than those with a Muslim ruler. It is said that mistakes can be rectified by learning from the past mistakes. A case study of Ottoman empire would throw light on it.

When Europe was moving towards industrialization during the 1700s and 1800s, Osmania’s economy stayed subordinate and remained excessively agrarian. The Ottomans lagged far behind its European competitors in literacy. By 1914, it’s estimated that only 5 to 10 percent of its inhabitants could read. The empire had a shortage of engineers, clerks, doctors and other professionals. Corruption and favouritism were the trademark of the Ottomans as it gave chances to less qualified, disabled, and fewer intellectuals to look after the empire due to the system of hierarchy & nepotism. Moreover, corruption spread to the provinces where an official would buy his office, then squeeze more taxes from the populace to reimburse himself.

Being an Islamic empire, the Osmania caliphate proved to be incompetent and unable to save their existence and later replaced by the modern regime of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk which transformed Turkey and made compatible with the modern day globalised world. Here it is to be noted that Caliphate Osmania which was governed by a purely Islamic and radical regime was full of evils and not flexible for new transformations caused by the renaissance. Backwardness embedded in the caliphate proved to be anathema and responsible for the downfall of an empire.

Muslims must learn with the decline of the Osmania Caliphate that a State governed by religious law could never succeed as the purely religious laws barely accept the transformation and change like the caliphate of Osmania ignored industrialization and even the modern scientific education. Despite the Osmania state governed by so called Islamic law, it displayed several evils including nepotism and corruption as there was a lack of a democratic system. Religion in combination with power made the rulers invincible leaving little space for public to redress their grievances. This ultimately backfired resulting in the downfall of the empire. Hence, learning from the mistakes, Muslims must not fall for the Khilafah propaganda and reaffirm their faith in the democratic values.

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