It’s really not a good time for liberal-secularists. They’ve been wishing extremely hard for the end of Islam so that their agenda can be accomplished.
We had penned an article a few months ago demonstrating the rise of religiosity within the Arab world, and it seems now that the Muslims of South-East Asia, or the region known by the locals as Nusantara, is witnessing a very similar phenomenon.
This information was discovered by a recent study entitled The New Muslim Consumer, which was produced by a US-based marketing agency called Wunderman Thompson.
Al-Jazeera has reported on this in their article, “1 in 3 Southeast Asian Muslims more devout than parents: Report“:
One in three Muslims in Southeast Asia consider themselves more religious than their parents were at their age, with their faith informing decisions around personal spending, fashion, banking, travel and education, a survey has found.
Just 21 percent of the region’s 250 million Muslims say they are less observant than their parents were, while 45 percent consider themselves just as devout, according to the New Muslim Consumer report released on Wednesday.
A strong relationship with God is the most important thing in life for 91 percent of Southeast Asian Muslims, on par with health and just ahead of family, according to the report by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence and VMLY&R Malaysia.
It is only in the Muslim world that you will witness the youth resisting secularization. Everywhere else, it is typically well known that the youth are becoming increasingly less religious than the generation of their parents.
Besides the remarkable fact that 1/3 of the Muslim youth in South-East Asia are more religious than their parents, it is also amazing that 45% (almost half) are just as religious as their parents.
Compare this to Christians in the West for example, who have perhaps now lost all hope in ever seeing a more religious generation of youth. They likely would have been quite pleased and content with the Christian youth merely just maintaining their faith.
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It also goes without saying that the remaining 21% (roughly 1/5) that are “less observant” have not necessarily become atheists or agnostics either. And we pray to Allah that they not only maintain their faith but also become stronger believers, with their worship and lifestyles more firmly grounded in Islam.
Another website that has analyzed the report is Malay Mail. Fortunately they have also provided the following graphs which are very helpful:
84% pray five times a day and 12% pray “several times a day.” Once again, we ask Allah to continue increasing them (and all of us) in religiosity and devotion to Him.
These numbers are quite remarkable, especially when considering that many correlate “economic development” with secularization. Indonesia and Malaysia aren’t exactly economic backwaters.
Of course I am not at all suggesting that we, as Muslims, measure the “success” of a society based on its GDP or GDP per capita. However, all of this should certainly serve as a serious reality check for those who believe that a society can only know prosperity (even from a materialistic perspective) by abandoning religion.
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In fact, this entire report is a testification to how Islam, in contradistinction to other faiths, is not defenseless against liberalization and secularization.
It should also to be noted that when it comes to statistics about religious observance, Muslims have significantly more “demanding parameters” to deal with than other religions—five prayers every day compared to what exactly for Christians, Hindus, etc.?—and yet, despite this, Muslims always seem to be more religious in comparison.
We can extract a number of things from the reports. For example, the Al-Jazeera article states the following in relation to their perception of the latest technologies:
Southeast Asian Muslims’ faith also influences their enthusiasm for burgeoning technology such as the metaverse, a nascent form of shared virtual reality, with 85 percent of respondents saying they would like to see virtual spaces made for Muslims and 78 percent expressing interest in virtual religious accessories. However, 59 percent said they do not believe the metaverse is compatible with Islamic teaching.
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At the very least, there is something that we can all conclude with certainty.
The Muslim youth (not only in South-East Asia but rather throughout much of the Muslim world) seem to be more committed to Islam in comparison to the previous generation. And while until recently this was only known anecdotally, we now also have statistical reports from Western organizations that also prove this fact.