Celebrations in connection with advent of the fifteenth century of Islamic Era were started well in advance, before its beginning on the 1st of Moharram 1401 AH. (10th November, 1980). Elaborate arrangements were started for celebrating the occasion in a befitting manner right from 1400 AH, both within and outside the Islamic world. There were numerous political and other reasons including the impact of a variety of Islamic movements which had lent an importance to this change-over (which occurs after the turn of every century) as had never been accorded earlier to the beginning of a new century. In the Arab and non-Arab countries a series of conferences, meetings and seminars were planned under different pretexts, and even a secular country like India decided to celebrate the occasion as well as issue a commemorative postal stamp to mark the occasion.
But, in spite of world-wide rejoicing on this occasion, I could not bring myself to join these celebrations. The present state of affairs in the world of Islam and certain tragic happenings had made me so dispirited that I found no urge to join others in the celebrations of new century; I had, therefore, to express regret at not being able to comply with their requests. The Students’ Islamic movement of India decided to organise a celebration week in the honour of the fifteenth century which was to begin with a meeting to be held on the 1st November 1980 (22nd Dhil Hijja 1400) in Lucknow. They insisted on me to inaugurate the celebrations. I had to give in because of the great fervour and enthusiasm of these young men. I had intended to speak at the meeting for few minutes only so as to draw their attention to certain important aspects of the matter.
This article, which is basically the revised shape of speech, should not be expected to mention every important personage and movement of Islamic history. Nor should it be considered an omission if certain persons do not find all such movements and personalities mentioned in it, for it is not directory of the revivalist movements in Islam. It is only a rapid survey of the revivalist efforts of the last few centuries and should be taken as a message for self-introspection to find out the latent capabilities of each one of us
The Fifteenth Century