Friday, 25 May 2012

We the Consumers

"According to statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the total number of patent applications around the world in 2010 is estimated to have been 1.86 million, and about 1.5% of them were filed in OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation)* member countries. USA, Japan, China, and Korea Republic accounted for about 69% of the total patent applications in the world."
Logo of the OIC

*OIC stands for Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The organisation attempts to be the collective voice of the Ummah and attempts to safeguard the interests and ensure the progress and well-being of Muslims. It has 57 member states, pretty much all the Muslim countries including the Middle East, the Muslim countries of Africa and the Far East (including Malaysia) and some countries with a large Muslim population.

According to the figures above, Muslims are lagging way behind compared to other countries when it comes to scientific advancement and research. This, brothers and sisters, is one of the major problems with the Muslim Ummah today. Where are our inventors, our scientists? Our researchers, our pioneering leaders in all fields? What exactly, have we, the Muslims of today, contributed to this world???

 Apple products. They're just so creative and make everything so much easier. Where is the Steve Jobs of the Muslim Ummah?

Microsoft Windows, the most widespread operating system. Where is the Bill Gates of the Muslim Ummah?

Facebook... need I say more? Where is the Mark Zuckerburg of the Muslim Ummah?

Here's the thing. A civilization is not called civilized by the number of skyscrapers it has (so pleaaaseee lets stop competing in trying to build the tallest tower in the world, its ridiculous really). What really makes a civilization is the art, the technology, the knowledge, the actual brains of the people and the uses they put them to. A civilization with no intellectual growth... is dead. I know that sounds morbid, but look at history, in fact lets look at Muslim history. The Golden Age of Islam. A period of amazing intellectual activity, the beautiful architecture, medicine, inventions, astronomy... and then it ended. There are many reasons for that, one of them is the fact that we became less concerned with intellectual growth and more concerned with power and wealth. A nation will only lead in power, when they lead in intellect.

I'm not trying to say that there are no Muslims doing amazing work. There are. But what the majority of us (and I definitely include myself) have turned into is a passive consumer culture. As much as we gripe about how Western influence is so bad and how they are forcing their values onto us, we pretty much sit back and take it, and not only that, we beg for more. 

Allah has blessed us with brains. Allah has blessed many of us with money. (Where on earth is all that oil revenue in Saudi going to???) Allah has blessed us, that we're living in an age where the world is at our fingertips. Allah will ask us on the Day of Judgement what we did with all these blessings. 

All of us have the capability to do something meaningful with our lives. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a noble prize winner to make a difference in the world. Be creative. Find new ways to contribute to the world.

Change starts with you.

Note: Statistics obtained from Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. You can check out the full report here:


Assalamualaikum. Do you have an article, short story, poem etc. that you would like to share with the Muslim Ummah? Send it to, and Inshaallah I'll post it up. Please do leave your feedback and criticism, and ways to improve. Thank you.

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