Causes of Moral Decline and the Way Out
Moral decline occurs when people are not content with what they have.
Moral decline can lead to destruction of a society if not addressed. The youth play a pivotal role in the development and prosperity of a nation. The more the youth is educated, civilised and united, the quicker the nation will develop and progress.
Moral Decline and today’s youth
However, it is saddening to see the state of our youth and what they are following to achieve in their lives. Today’s Muslim society as a whole has fallen to the lowest levels of moral decline. There is abundance of prayers and devotions but morally we are even worse than animals. The ethical ills that were present among all the previous nations and that caused their moral decline are all collectively present within us. We adulterate things instead of selling pure items and under weigh things. People no longer differentiate between halal and haram. Moreover sectarianism is common. In addition, people don’t shy away from lying, backbiting, showing vanity and pride. The youth are only interested in following their sensual desires. The women are often found backbiting.
Moral Decline and Children’s Upbringing
The parents and elders are not paying the due attention to their children for their good upbringing. Instead, they teach the children such things themselves that spoil their character and personality. The same parents then complain about their children not behaving in civilised manner. In fact they are the ones who put them on such wrong path in the first place. The first learning environment for children is their home and in particular the company of their mothers.
Common Causes of Moral Decline and ill manners
Below, we will discuss some of the common causes of moral decline. The riddance from such causes is the way to put the society back on track for progress and prosperity. And that would eventually form the basis of a welfare society.
The first and foremost cause of moral decline is not living our lives according to the will of Allah. When we start chasing the worldly desires and forget about the real purpose of our creation and our lives then that leads to all sorts of problems in our lives. Our negligence from obeying the orders of Allah Almighty means that we superficially practise Islam and the teachings of Islam. We perform the daily prayers and other rituals. However, our prayers and devotions are hollow. They are like a soul-less body. Such prayers and devotions hold no value in the court of the Almighty Who is indifferent to everything.
Another reason for moral decline is us not following the teachings of Quran and Hadith. Even if we ever remember the teachings of Quran and Sunna, that’s usually only for fulfilling our worldly desires instead of making our life in the hereafter better. We are Muslims but only so-called. And that’s the reason of our decline in the world.
Causes of Moral Decline according to Allama Iqbal
وہ معزز تھے زمانے میں مسلماں ہو کر
اور تم خوار ہوے تارِکِ قرآن ہو کر
Explanation: Iqbal addresses the Muslim Umma and reminds them of their past glory when Muslims ruled the world. He says, your forefathers were well respected throughout the world because they were true Muslims, they followed the teachings of Quran and Sunna to full extent and moulded their lives according to these teachings. And this made them gain the closeness and pleasure of Allah Almighty and hence they ruled the world. On the other hand, it is today’s Muslim umma who have lost their dignity and respect. Iqbal says that’s because we have left following the teachings of Quran and Sunna.
Even when we do study books, that is only as a hobby and not to learn from them and put the teachings in practice. The Quran says about such people:
كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا
Meaning: The case of those is like that of a donkey loaded with heavy books on its back. (al-Jumu‘ah: 5)
Another important reason for moral decline is the love of the worldly riches. There is abundance of amenities in today’s world. In order to achieve these amenities everyone is running after them blindfolded. In the lust of achieving these, people don’t hesitate to adopt any kind of means whether right or wrong. The trust in Allah is merely so-called. Instead of relying on the Creator, people look to the creation to fulfil their desires.
On the other hand the rich class gets richer and the poor gets poorer. The poor feel deprived when they see the abundance of wealth with rich people. Due to lack of trust in Allah they start to feel deprived. If one believes in Allah firmly then he or she would also be content on Allah’s will of distributing the wealth amongst His men. As Allah says in Quran:
قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّي يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيَقْدِرُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Meaning: Say, ‘Surely, my Lord releases sustenance in abundance for whom He wills and restrains (for whom He wills) but most people do not know.’ (Saba : 36)
وَمَا مِن دَآبَّةٍ فِي الأَرْضِ إِلاَّ عَلَى اللّهِ رِزْقُهَا
Meaning: And there is no moving creature (living being) on the earth but (that) its sustenance is (a bountiful obligation) upon Allah. (Hūd : 6)
Moral Decline results from waywardness
Another reason for our moral decline is waywardness. In the name of modernisation people are breaking away from the cultural norms and adopting obscenity. People who try to practise Sharia and adopt Islamic teachings are labelled old-fashioned and ridiculed. Moreover, mixing and mingling between men and women who are not related is seen as modernism whereas Islam has forbidden such interactions.
In the name of modernism and freedom of speech people are being encouraged to adopt behaviours that eventually damage the social and cultural system and lead to moral decline. When children and the youth see this kind of environment they quickly adopt such things. The youth are the foundation for a society’s development. When that very foundation becomes weak, how can that society develop or progress.
Focus on outward looks than to adopt good manners
Another reason for moral decline is that people now focus more on their outward looks instead of developing good etiquettes and morals. The real character is to purge one’s innerself and cleanse one’s inwards of its various diseases. As a result of this negligence, a man may be well dressed and may appear to be civilised outwardly. However, regarding character that individual may be full of all sorts of negative traits and ill habits. This is as if someone is wearing nice, clean and elegant dress and looks very well dressed outwardly, however in reality that person would be unclean as per sharia.
Nowadays, people respect others only for their own interest. These days, the standard of respect has become the worldly wealth instead of someone’s character, piety or closeness to Allah. The more someone is wealthy and influential in society, the more people respect him.
Lack of self-accountability causes moral decline
Another reason for moral decline is lack of self-accountability. Instead of looking at one’s own wrongdoings and mistakes, they put blame on others. This results in more deterioration in society. People look at others as if they are to be held accountable for all the problems.
Nowadays people often only remember their own rights and forget about their responsibilities. For example, their responsibilities as a father, son, brother or as a common citizen, they are completely oblivious to them. As a society, we are collectively victim and responsible for the injustice within our society. There are different rules for rich and influential class. If the rich commit a crime, they are let go. And if the poor commit the same crime, they are given the worst punishment to set an example for the poor. The rich don’t shy to commit any crime because of arrogance on their wealth and knowing they will not be punished if caught.
Lack of unity is behind moral decline and ill manners
Another reason for moral decline is lack of unity. As a nation, we lack unity and we collectively are not willing to work together for the development of our society. Everyone is focused on fulfilling their own desires and interests and have no interest or worry about others. If the people of a nation don’t stay united and don’t work together then that nation is destined to decline.
Amongst the many reasons of moral decline, another reason is that we have adopted unnecessary rituals and traditions. And we often exceed the limits and forget the limits of Sharia. And sometimes we even end up adopting traditions of non-Muslims.
How to address moral decline and adopt good manners
All the aforementioned reasons that lead to moral decline have only one solutions. And that is to correct our collective moral behaviour as a society. Our crises is not financial but that of moral decline. We need inward cleansing which is only possible in company of perfect Fakirs. As it is their blessed company and spiritual being that enlivens the dormant souls of the common people. Their innerselves are purged of the various esoteric diseases and they start moving towards attaining closeness of Allah Almighty. As the man progresses esoterically towards his Lord, his character begins to reform and improve. As the inward reforms, it affects the outward as well. There is a Hadith of the Holy Prophet that says:
تخلقوا بأخلاق الله
Meaning: And acquaint yourself with the attributes of Allah.
The meaning of the aforementioned Hadith is to cleanse one’s inward of the various esoteric ills. And adopt the attributes of Allah Almighty.
Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the present Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri order. He is the Divine Universal Man and perfectly accomplished Fakir. Through his Divine company and spiritual attention, countless seekers of Allah have achieved Divine presence and presence in the Mohammadan Assembly. There is nothing more desirable or elevated in the path of Faqr than the aforementioned two stations. His Divine company has turned numerous seekers of the world into seekers of Allah. The youth who were once only interested in collecting the worldly riches and fulfil their sensual desires have now dedicated their lives to serve the cause of Allah and call His men towards His way.
With every passing day, his Divine beneficence is spreading throughout the world. Everyone is invited to come and join this caravan and get onto the path of eternal salvation.
May Allah give us the strength to come out of our present moral decline and make us amongst those whom He is pleased with. Ameen
Allah is the Creator of this universe. He has created everything to perfection. Every human has a set sustenance that Allah has destined for him. When people don’t stay content with what Allah has destined for them, it leads them to adopt unjust means of gathering wealth. This results in moral decline which then deteriorates a society and leads to its decline.
It is very important for people to understand the real purpose of our lives in this world. It is in fact to recognise our Lord – Allah Almighty and gain His closeness and vision. However, most people get dragged into the worldly attractions and forget their real purpose in life. Due to the disparity between the rich and poor class in our society, the lower class people instead of being content on what Allah has bestowed them with, they strive to collect more and more wealth. This leads to weakening connection with Allah. And as the man moves away from Allah, it leads to moral decline.
Moral decline or moral deterioration is when people adopt attributes that are not desirable. For example, greed, jealousy, lying etc.
Note: This article is an English translation of the Urdu article. اخلاقی پستی کے اسباب اور ان کا حل The Urdu article appeared in the June 2020 issues of the monthly Sultan ul Faqr magazine. Ahsan Ali Sarwari Qadri wrote the original article and Waheed Hassan has translated it in English. To read the original article, please follow the link given below: