What Was the Secret of Sir Syed's Success


SOCIAL: Arabian Social life presented no better a picture. The Arabs were ignorant of the very essentials of social virtues. Their manner of life made the progress of any social virtue impossible. Tribal feuds engaged their whole attention. A settled and peaceful mode of life, indispensable to the cultivation of social qualities, was unknown to them. The prospect of hostilities with another clan that might break out at any time was ever present before their minds.

They led a nomadic life, wandering with their cattle from place to place. They would set up their tents of camel-skins wherever they found water to drink and forage for their cattle. Only a small minority of them had settled in villages and still fewer in towns. There were certain noble traits like Hospitality, love of freedom, daring, manliness, tribal fidelity and generosity in which the Arab had no equal.

RELIGIOUS: No doubt, the Arabs professed faith in the unity of God, but their belief was shallow. Their practical life belied their profession. They thought that the Almighty had entrusted the discharge of the various functions of the universe to different gods, goddesses and idols. They therefore turned to these, invoking their blessings in all their undertakings. Thus their belief in the Unity of God was an empty belief, finding no place in the system of their practical life. Besides, idols, they looked upon the air, the sun, the moon and the stars as the controllers of their destinies, and worshipped them as such. They had fallen as low as to worship pieces of stone, trees and sand-heaps. They prostrated before any fine piece of stone they might come across. Should they fail to find a piece of stone, they would worship a sand hill. They looked upon angels as the daughters of God! Even men of fame were worshipped, images being carved out in their names. It was not necessary to have the stones properly carved or...