The root cause of issue of Islam and modernism is the debate which has been raised by western media that Islam is outdated. Before going to look at the essence of this subject, it is important for us to know what this term modernism really mean.
“Modernism is defined as the trend which affirms the power of human being to create, reshape their environment with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentations and is in the essence both progressive and optimistic”. In other words, there is no room for religious knowledge. Therefore, whoever tries to indorse anything on the basis of religious knowledge has been labelled as pessimistic and unprogressive.
Modernity according to west point of view is individualism, empiricism, secularity, glamorization of life. Westernized secular mind asserts that modernity let the man free from religious dogmatism, sectarianism and extremism. In the name of modernity, west has decriminalized adultery and fornication. As they have abandoned religion, so they put forth a universal law for the relationship between man and woman.
According to which, whatever takes place between consenting adults should not be interfered by government. Furthermore, incest was decriminalized in much of the Europe as a result of changing trends under the umbrella of modernity. But according to Islam all these laws are absolute corruption.
According to modernist point of view, system should change over the course of time otherwise they become outdated.
Allah has said in the Quran:
“This day I have perfected for you, your din and have bestowed upon you My Bounty in full measure, and have pleasure to assign for you Islam as your din.”Al-Ma’idah 5:3
West regards Islam as not revealed religion but created by prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. So principles laid by the Islam should change like every other principle put forth by man. West regarded a practicing Muslim as fundamentalist.
Islam assures good life in this world as well as in the world hereafter. On the other hand, modernity is something which confines it to this world only.
Modernity has its center in man and religion has its center in God. The main interest of both is man and his betterment, but they view it from different perspectives. The one is notorious for its humanist tradition, the other for its humane tradition. The humanism of the modernity is based on intellectuality and humanism of religion is based on emotions. The idea of one God in Islam implies the idea of one humanity but is also “inseparably linked up with a humanism and a sense of social order and economic justice.”
The following surah implies it:
Did you see the one who repudiates the faith? He it is who maltreats the orphan and does not exhort (others) to feed the poor. Woe betide those who (although they) pray, are (yet) neglectful of their prayers; those who (pray for) show (and even) refuse (the use of) utensils (to needy people).
Modernity is a riot against tradition and authority of all kind. It is indebted to admire change as its ratified ideology.
In the contrary, Islam provides equilibrium between tradition and change. It puts as such emphasis on preserving its culture as on its renewal to overcome the changing circumstances of life. Life is constant growth. Shariah law has always progressed with it through the use of ijtihad (individual judgment) and ijma’ (consensus of the learned), as verified by its long history of careful acceptance and adjustment of elements of other cultures. Its inner intensity and extensiveness knows no obstacle. Only we have to use the policy of ijtihad. Qur’an and the Sunnah is broad, accurate and universal. It provides explicit instructions, commands, guidelines and general principles for rectification of developing issues and problems in human societies. The rectification of comparatively modern problems and modernity exists in implementation of the Qur’an and Sunnah through the policy of ijtihad as compelled by the Sunnah itself.
Author: Filza Munir