“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” – Karl Marx

Every Muslim must face the truth:  the world has left us in the dust.  And if our so-called “scholars” had a solution, we would have heard it by now. We must also understand that an Imam is not a preacher or even a teacher.  An Imam is a leader.  Our masajid have preachers, not real Imams.

While Muslims deem it necessary to constantly remind the world of our scholars and sciences in history, which scholar of today is ever consulted on the global challenges of humanity?  Which scholar has put forth a vision to lift the Muslim world from the abyss of irrelevance?  When any society is incapable of confronting challenges with a cohesive and intelligent solution, they will instead break into groups: the apathetic, the mystics, and the barbarians.  Today, 90% of Muslims are apathetic, 5% resort to mysticism, and the remaining 5% resort to barbarity.  This means that 100% of Muslims, as a society, are failing to confront reality with any intelligence.

Knowledge and intelligence are not the same, but they share a common truth: they are built over time and require applied discipline.  Yet nowhere is found a curriculum designed to quickly enlighten any Muslim.  Our institutions of knowledge require a drawn-out process lasting 10 years or more, and leave their graduates missing knowledge of modern society. Such graduates then take positions as masjid “imams” in which they spend decades sharing their learned facts, conveying nothing of intelligence or relevance to Muslims in the community.

Intelligence is essentially the ability to understand, to begin with a question and arrive at a defensible answer.  None of our “imams” or “scholars” are answering the questions of economics, destruction of the ecosphere, the collapse of civilization, public administration in a world of 7.5 billion humans, or any other serious matter.  Instead, they spend their lives parroting irrelevant facts from Islam’s history.

The vast majority of Muslims see Islam as irrelevant because it has been made irrelevant by unintelligent “leadership”. When our “scholars” are propped-up as “the best we have” while simultaneously failing to provide solutions, they automatically become synonymous with irrelevant.  So they are ignored by the lay-people and intelligentsia alike.  The world finds no real use for them.

This failure is multiplied throughout generations.  One generation of Muslims tells their children “Islam is great.  Islam is truth.  Islam is success”, yet fails to prove that greatness and success. So the next generation loses all motivation.  Similarly, if one generation of Muslims fails to acquire an intelligent understanding of Islam as global solution-provider, they are unable to convey such intelligence to the next generation to build upon.

This is in stark contrast to the progressive developments of early Muslims.  The Prophet and his companions laid the foundations of intelligent problem-solving, and successive generations constantly improved, both in application and finesse.  As generations passed, the Islamic world became the leading scientific civilization of its time.  Today, Muslims are mere cannon-fodder.

Both of my major projects – Islam Forward for the general community, and The Medina Network for Converts provide curriculum that is focused on providing a broad-base of the most relevant knowledge in Islam, economics, Western Civilization, philosophy, and public policy.  A graduate from my programs can become an independently thinking leader within 2 years, as opposed to our “imams” who spend 10 years to become unthinking parrots, or the general Muslim population, which spends decades learning nothing useful.

Mustafa Howard | Past and Current Projects

The Imperative of Useful Knowledge and the Velocity of Transfer