Maulana Wahiduddin Khan remarks, "Real reform begins with educating individuals, and not by simply criticising the authorities."
Some people argue that social problems can be solved only through ‘social activism’, particularly through demonstrating against the state or the authorities.
This is nothing but ‘protest activism’, and experience shows that this kind of activism is completely futile in terms of results. We find that it always ends in a waste of money, time, energy and loss of life. Protest-oriented ‘social activism’ is just a beautiful name for reactionism. Social movements based on this may be good for their leaders, but not for the society at large. These so-called social movements only produce negative thinking which is destructive and cannot lead to any positive end. Reform requires a sincere kind of positive effort. No amount of negative criticism can bring about reform.
Some protest-oriented activists focus only on what they see as problems around them. They spend their lives demonstrating against this or that. This problem-oriented thinking is ‘unnatural’ thinking. According to the law of nature, problems are an integral part of life. But they cannot entirely eliminate the opportunities that also exist in the situation simultaneously. So, the best practical formula is to ignore the problems and avail the opportunities that are available.
By educating individuals, social problems will be solved by themselves.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is an Islamic spiritual scholar who has authored over 200 books on Islam, spirituality, and peaceful coexistence in a multi-ethnic society.