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Saudi Arabia: Transformational changes in the Islamic world
Crown Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia has initiated massive changes in Saudi Arabia. Being the temporal head of Sunnis, others world over take cue from the House of Saud.

Liberal version of Wahhabi and modernity sync Islam appears to be the aim of the initiative. Can Indian Muslim clergy and politicians help the community in India to follow suit?

Saudi Arabia, till recently, has been accused of abusing its oil wealth to spread Wahhabi version of Islam and funding madarsas and terror outfits all across the world. Since oil and money both were available in abundance, none including big powers dared challenge the Saudis. In fact, big powers cajoled it to control petroleum costs through OPEC and invariably it obliged.

With terror hitting US and Europe quite frequently and increased shale oil availability with the US, alternative cheap, renewable energy options becoming available and need to keep petroleum prices down to counter Russia and rogue oil producing states, West, especially Europe, is slowly waking up to menace of terrorism and US under President Trump is coming down extremely hard. World is realising the huge potential of terrorists to destroy civilisation itself or wreck huge violent devastation.

Saudi Arabia has financial might and temporal authority to guide the Sunnis and it has wherewithal to usher change in Wahhabi culture. The young, dynamic Crown Prince Mohammed Salman having understood the ramifications has started the change. Permitting women rights; accepting right of Israel and Palestine as two independent nations; flights via Saudi to Israel and imprisoning erring sheikhs are some of the things which were unacceptable to anyone in the Muslim world.

Things are slowly but surely transforming in the Sunni Muslim world. It will take some time but the direction is very clear and augurs well for peace; tranquilly and co-existence amongst religions. Fortunately, Crown Prince is finding huge support from non-Islamic world as he implements such mega changes in incremental manner. Having quelled internal dissent and being temporal head of Sunnis/Wahhabi and masses with him, success seems highly likely.

World was preaching to Muslims that they must change and leave terror aside, however, Islamic world saw it as an assault on Islam and went into counter offensive. It led to men picking up arms for jehad to protect Islam which was endangered due onslaught of Western thought. Rather than trust and mutual understanding it ended up with rise of armed men justifying terror for protection of Islam. But with Crown Prince and Saudi clergy/scholars leading the way, transformation is very likely to be successful.

India has unique opportunity in this transformational change under execution. Our Sunni Muslim leadership must take cue from Saudi Arabian scholars. Islam is largely misinterpreted in India by hardly literate religious leaders with consequences of lot of malice to favour a few. Triple talaq, halala, child marriage, and illogical fatwas; are keeping society divided and women mentally enslaved and subjugated. This is as cancerous as caste system amongst Hindus. Nudged by GOI, our religious Sunni scholars, seeing winds of change can contribute by empowering youth to shun violence and directing maulvis to stop issuing nonsensical fatwas. Other reforms which are overdue can be initiated. This has the potential of upgrading laggard community into progressive youth and then there is no looking back.

Issue is can our clergy and Muslim political leaders take advantage of this opportunity!The world may not realise it but we are witnessing history being made by Crown Price Salman by modernising Islamic society in sync with modern values.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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