The Starting-Point for Reformist Effort. By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

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In the ancient past, when political decline set in among the Jews, some of them thought that they could regain their political power by waging war. At that time, according to the Bible, the Prophet Jeremiah said to them:
Say to the king and to the queen mother, "Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads." (Jeremiah 13:18)
As the Jewish example here illustrates, after nations rise, they experience a fall. After experiencing political domination, they face political subjugation. This happens in accordance with the Law of Nature. At such times, communities must accept this change. For a community not to accept this change is tantamount to dragging itself to further destruction.
The fact of the matter is that political power is not the monopoly of any particular group, community or nation. The acquisition of political power is linked to one’s eligibility or capability. A community will continue to wield political power as long as it possesses this capability. But after it loses this capability, it will lose its political power, too. When this happens, it must strive to once again develop the necessary capability, instead of unleashing a useless war against others.
The Quran (13:11) tells us:
God does not change the condition of a people’s lot, unless they change what is in their hearts.
From this we learn that changes in the conditions of a collectivity always come about because of changes in individual conditions. Whenever the collective conditions of any community decline and degenerate, the community should locate the cause for this at the level of its individual members. This is because it is only after the conditions of the individual members of the community change that the collective conditions of the community can change. Without this change at the level of individuals, change at the collective or community level is not possible at all.
Any action for reform begins at the level of individuals, rather than at the collective level. Efforts for reform that begin at the collective, rather than individual, level are nothing but a means for some people to acquire and exercise leadership. Such an approach cannot bring about any desirable and meaningful reform.

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