Ahmed Keeler’s perceptive “Rethinking Islam and the West: A New Narrative for the Age of Crises” describes the “ever-growing release of powers within the material realm,” as threatening civilisation.
This is contrary to the view of the British Geological Survey which proclaims the fact that “Humans are now drivers of environmental change on a scale that is unique in Earth’s history,” as a great leap for human kind.
To the contrary Keeler sees that this has led to an escalation of crises and a once benign natural world turning “hostile and unpredictable.”
He thus questions the long held fundamental truth of modernism that the conquest of nature leads to unending progress.
The threat inherent in the prevailing system is becoming apparent: “The gulf between rich and poor is widening. Debt is mounting, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the modern way of life.”
This has become all too obvious in the prosperous modern economy of Australia, where a shocking drought, terrible bushfires, floods and a total lockdown of the nation under the threat of the coronavirus pandemic have shocked the population and government.
Economic, racial, religious and political fragmentation are emerging as dominant themes in most western societies.
The approaching downturn in the modern economies, interlinked through globalisation, offers an uncertain future.
As Keeler writes: “All that holds the current fragmentation together is the dynamic of economic growth. Once this falter, noting will be left.”
However all is not lost. Human beings are full of positive potential. They have a conscience and an awareness of right and wrong.
Amidst the enveloping crises, although there are unsettling cases of rampant greed and criminality, Keeler notes “there is still a great reservoir of compassion and thoughtfulness in the West. There is generosity in response to the crises taking place around the world, and many have devoted their lives to alleviating the suffering of those afflicted.”
The Covid 19 pandemic has shown human beings at their best. Nurses and doctors working extreme hours, some sacrificing their lives, in the battle against the virus.
Under-appreciated paramedics, retail workers, transport operatives, putting their safety at risk for the community. These like the firefighters during the bushfires, are outstanding positive examples of the best of humanity on display.
This Age of Crises will almost inevitable lead to profound changes in how we live.
“Deep thought is being invested in trying to understand what is happening and to find a better way of living sustainably on earth. Many are recognising the wisdom contained within pre-modern cultures, and are seeking to preserve, practice and promote traditional husbandry, health and knowledge systems.”
Although there have been very embarrassing cases of religious ignorance put on display during the present pandemic, Muslims are already noticing some interesting developments.
One such development was an article by Craig Considine, in a widely read English language magazine, Newsweek.
He writes: “While he is by no means a “traditional” expert on matters of deadly diseases, Muhammad nonetheless had sound advice to prevent and combat a development like COVID-19.
Muhammad (s) said: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague outbreaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”
He also said: “Those with contagious diseases should be kept away from those who are healthy.”
Muhammad also strongly encouraged human beings to adhere to hygienic practices that would keep people safe from infection.”
“And what if someone does fall ill? What kind of advice would Muhammad provide to his fellow human beings who are suffering from pain?
He would encourage people to always seek medical treatment and medication: “Make use of medical treatment,” he said, “for God has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease—old age.” [17 March 2020 Newsweek]