The Muslims of the world, taken as one body, do not present the image of a coherent personality. There is no consensus among them about certain fundamental issues. They are not all committed to the same world-view, they do not have the sense of a shared destiny, and they are not quite agreed on the broad framework within which the diverse activities of society are to take place.
The reasons for this fragmented being of the Muslim Ummah are not far to seek. When, in the last phase of their decadence, Muslims were faced with the modern challenge, they did not respond to it in a united manner. One section of their intelligentsia strongly resisted the onslaught of modernism. The new thought and culture which had come from the West they condemned as antireligious and unethical, and they spent all their energies in preserving the legacy of Islam from the depredations of modernism. But though they succeeded in safeguarding their heritage, they were seriously at fault in having fought a purely defensive war. They had shut themselves up in cloisters and hoped, ostrich-like, that the storm would blow over.
The other section of the intelligentsia meanwhile saw it more expedient to welcome the new creed with open arms. In order to jump on the triumphant bandwagon from the West, they willingly made the sacrifice which was demanded of them or which they themselves thought necessary to make. Thence began the strife which, being of the nature of a civil war, has enervated the body-politic of the Muslim Ummah and has reduced the Ummah to the status of what Toynbee calls an arrested civilization.
Attempts have no doubt been made to heal this rift between the traditionalists and the modernists. But so far they have not borne fruit. Their rejection of each other is almost total. The traditionalist thinks that he has nothing to do with what he dubs irreligious and immoral modernism. He, therefore, rejects it with completeness worthy of his blind dogmatism. The modernist, on the other hand, looks down upon all tradition as the principal cause of backwardness and misery. And so he spurns it with a perversely rigid attitude.
The traditionalist is mistaken because he fails to appreciate the true nature of the modern challenge. The modernist falls into error because he fallaciously thinks that anything rooted in the past is antiquated. The traditionalist blames modernism for having weaned Muslims from Islam, their mainstay, while the modernist accuses traditionalism of making the disastrous attempt of putting the clock back. The two are not prepared to listen to each other because each thinks he is in the exclusive possession of the truth. So while things stand as they do, it is well nigh impossible to affect a compromise between the two parties. And, one is disposed to think, even if some kind of compromise were affected, it would be no more than a patchwork, with the fate of a patchwork.
There is only one way in which this gulf between two very important forces of the Muslim community can be bridged. There must come into existence a new breed of intellectuals who combine in them selves both the traditional and modern strands. The new breed must have a profound sense of the worth of the Islamic traditions and be so well versed in it as to be regarded better custodians of it than the traditionalists. On the other hand, they must have an intimate knowledge of and a deep insight into the modern situations and problems and prove themselves to be better modernists. It is only men of this caliber who can pull Muslims out of the quagmire they are at present stuck in.
The only means of producing this kind of people is to open educational centers in which talented young Muslims could be trained on the lines suggested above. It would be ideal if some Muslim government were to undertake the establishment of such educational institutions. But it is doubtful whether any government would take such a project in hand before concrete proof of its feasibility is made available. The initiative, therefore, will have to come from private individuals.
"...Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves..." Quran 13:11
Abridged article from "A New Breed of Intellectuals" by Mustansir Mir
It was a very nice article.I also truly appreciate your view.I think if one follows Islam correctly & do whatever is in Shariat then his thoughts will be quite modern 'coz according to my view the Sahabas & Sahabis(R.A.A) were more modern than the so called today's modern people.
As Salam O Alaykum Warahmatullahe Wabarakatahu
One of your readers, Comment No.5886 on this article, which I read through is asking you for addresses of people who can shed light on why people converted into Islam.
The previous Jama prayers on Friday, I heard a very learned man-his knowledge of the history of Muslims in India is mind boggling- speak on why or how Muslims flourished in India. Though he conceded that majority of the converts are from the poor and lower strata of the then Hindus, he narrated several examples of well to-do, supremely placed Hindus, who had no necessity to become Muslims, did convert and rose to very high esteem. He also said he is working on a book that will expound the freedom, the catholicity, the noble and the sublime character, Islam offerred to its followers, which attracted highly placed non-believers to Islam.
I suggest that your reader, comment NO.5886, Mr.Masarat Kanji, seek this scholar and obtain from him the information he requires.
The scholar's particulars are:
Hussain Baksh Madrassa,
Jama Masjid, Delhi-110 006, India
Kindly, pass this information to him.
Under this effort around 20 people with mostly engineering and medical background are studying humanities and social sciences.
Some of the students attend their course work in US and then go to Pakistan to work on their thesis. Right now Tanzeem-e-Islami is financing this cause by offering scholarship for Ph.D programs.
Those of you who are interested in pursuing this area should start from this article
Salman A. Sheikh
email me at [email protected]
Zikrullah is the process of implanting the glories of Allah in the hearts of mankind, in the true spirit of the Noble Qur'an. They will hold aloft the shaft of science with one hand for spanning the world spaces with supersonic speed and with the other the shaft of supra-science for the steepest climb of the heart - the climb steeper than the icy steep of the Everest peak, of the steep apogee of the moon, the Mars and other celestial orbs in the planetary or stellar orbits. This steepest steep is beyond the ken of human brain but within the ambit of the human heart, the steepest height of the spiritual plane where only the justice ('adl) of Allah and selfless services (ihsan) for God's sake alone prevail. They liquidate greed, self-aggrandizement and wars of annihilation on the one hand, and on the other, slavery, hunger, destitution, disease, ignorance and all miseries of the body and the mind. The Noble Qur'an declares:
He has not yet attempted the steepest Steep. And, what is that Steep? Manumission of man from all kinds of slavery and drudgery or supply of adequate provision for feeding on a day of hunger, to an orphan - of close or distant relation, or a needy man dust-ridden (so as to liquidate misery for good from the face of the earth). And further on, he becomes one of those who have acquired the infinite power of faith and who inspire one another to remain steadfast and inspire one another to be gentle and benign. They are the fraternity of the right hand (Surah al-Balad/ 90: 12-18).
The climb up the spiritual plane must be co-operative and universal with no stay-behinds and no stragglers. The guiding motto of the climb in Islam is 'everyone for all and all for the hindermost'. Obviously this climb can be only in the realm of the heart. It is purely spiritual.
Living and experiencing life here in the states is a jihad (a real test)for me as a Muslim but I have to be a strong believer inorder to survive and fight for others who can not.
One can not live a life of a traditional Muslim in this unIslamic country and not be affected on what's going on around us politically, economically, and socially.
People will not hear us and undestand us if we keep on praying inside the mosques alone. We need to go out and speak up for our rights and others all over the world who can not.
I am an Indian, 60 years old, HKG resident and Alhamdo Lillah, senior executive in Shipping, well versed with Quranic Arabic and The Holy Qur'an.
I must congratulate you with my heart for your article. I would even go further. Instead of saying that fault is 50-50, traditionalists and modernists - I think 90% of the balme rightly goes to the traditionalists. In their attempt to memorise, and blurt out what happened 1400 years ago, they totally lost sight of the principles - why it happened! By and large they are totally illiterate with zero IQ. That is the undoing of Islam & of Muslims. You and I will be ground to dust for no fault of ours. "GehooN ke saath ghun bhi pistey haiN".
One has to be intelligent to reject American materialism. One has to be intelligent to fathom what is moderation and what is breaching the limits. When Allah (Subhanahu wa taala) sent Musa & Haroon to Phraoh, He said "Innahu taghaa" (he has crossed his limits).The Mullah's and the traditionalists have no clue what it means. Where is limit? What is the middle path.
May Allah show us light,
Your brother in Islam, just call me Khalil, your friend.
Khalil Ahmed Ansari.
At last I found somebody talking something sensible. But you see, brother you talk of Muslim Governments, where are they? Do we have any? As far as I am concern, No! What about Private Corporations. Do you mean the type that engages in all the usuries that Allah warns us against? That if we indulge in it, it will be like we are fighting Him and His Messenger? No I have been given your ides some thoughts for quiet sometime now, but what I keep seeing is that We Muslims are doomed. We have digressed far away from the religion of Islam and I am afraid the verse you quote in the last part of the article is going to be fulfilled. It is how and when, nobody can say except the Lord of the Worlds.
There is still hope however, let me, you and all Muslims change and follow all the commandments of Allah.
Truly led by this, I absolutely agree with your views and want to add that time is passing by very fast and we are taking so much time to respond. The only way to this is, I think, yes edacutional institutes where we are taught the same things but in the philosophical background of Islam. We need to read darwin's theory and then the reason why we reject it and what we beleive and we need to teach our children why clouds thunder and how strange it is that it happens when we cannot see that power controlling it.
We need to promote an islamic educational system that could be adopted by all islamic countries in which we could formulate an infrastructure of the study courses from kindergarten to Ph.D. Yes, we can still have scholars of the same degree as we had by doing this.
May Allah help us and may we help ourselves.
Allah Bless You and The Ummah.
It is much easier to point a finger at the cause of failure rather than enduring the necessary pains to correct those problems, such as illiteracy.
My Salaams to Mustansir Mir. His short article speaks volumes of hope.
Your idea of new bread of the Muslim leadership who will bring about this combination of Modernists and traditionalist is very true. If you expect any Muslim government to promote this idea, then I am afraid to say that you are living in a dream world. Every Muslim country is ruled by the people whose survival depends on the backwardness of the masses. They will never promote this idea.
You are invited to visit "www.qaiu.org" to meet few people, the kind you described.
please keep on.
Before we get into a new Islamic World order so to speak we must beware of innovation and shirk on both major and minor levels. The Qur'aan and Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad(s.a.w.s) is and enduring truth for all times. It's complete in it's testimonial and trials and it has been proven time and time again. In this day and time our Islam our din is being tested and in some cases blown out of proportion. But we must do the best we can to please our Lord Allah.. I urge all to be scholarly and apply all that you can for every muslim in this world. Schools of thought can be best utilized for some situations but not all. Every innovation will and should be rejected but at the same time all different cultures that make up the muslim ummah will be respected. Often times we as muslim(s) struggle to find our true identity in this world and we are not being respected and i know it hurts our self-esteem and our pride but we must remain true and be steadfast in who we are as muslim(s. I believe and still feel it is an honor and a blessed priviledge to be a muslim i will not die any other way. But we are under attack my dear brothers and sisters our very image and our sacred knowledge we must unite with a common purpose and a common only for the pleasure of Allah and not for our own selfish desires and we shall be rewarded far greater than anything. Allah has told us in his holy word that Islam will be the most dominated and occupied religion Surah 9:33,48:28,61:10-13. and so on but we must stand up to the challenge and endure in time of peace and ease and in times of war and difficulty Insha'llah may Allah bless us all with Victory,Truth and Life
I believe the solution to our problems is unity and education.We have fragmented
Its not about traditionalist or modernist.I do not agree with these terms.Our religion has not changed, but our situation has.
We need faithful, intellectual, open minded muslims with a modern approach to our modern problems.
We need active muslims who believe in unity.
As long as we are divided , we are not going to be powerful.
Our division is due to ignorance ,and education will unite.
Lets get back to basics,remember arabs initially were more ignorant and divided, but our prophet educated and united us bit by bit,patiently.
I agree today these initiatives need to be taken on by individuals themselves .
We need to be active ,we need to establish ourselves again.
power = education + unity + activism
of muslims of muslims.
We need to start at a level that addresses our communities problems.Irrespective of what problem it is and where you are.As long as you are improving within your community then it is a step in the right direction.
first of all we need to define culture and civilization. without the proper meanings we will fail like the generations before us.culture does not have anything to do with clothes,food,music and so on. these things are mostly products of one's environment. culture is the view that humans carry about life,man and the universe. this view affects human's behavior,actions,concepts and so on. for example,
in west,people's way of life is shape by the concept of seperation of God and state,religion and state. their way of life ,in the west,does not deny the creator,He just doesn't have anything to do with life outside the churches,masaajid,temples and so on. in the western culture man is the sovernity. he makes the laws he sees fit for his time,life,and environment. Religion and God have no say so about it. the laws can agree with a religion or disagree,but it is left to mankind to make the laws. this culture is opposite of islam,where the quran tells us that the hukm is for Allah only. by this principle muslims get their view of life,man,and the universe. the hukm sharii shapes our behavior that is pleasing to man's creator. the islamic aqeedah is our foundation.for example,the belief in the hell fire should mode one's behavior to fit into the realm of the shariah and not to do things that displeasing to Allah swt.the same can be said about the belief in the jannah. this belief should makes us do more good deeds, so that our creator will be pleased with us.
civilization are the tangible these in society.for example,cars,computers,airplanes,and etc...these objects do not affect one's belief. if i as a muslims drive a car does it affect my belief in islam. no, because it is just a way of transportation. the prophet of Allah,use to buy the steel and swords that were persian. not because he thought the persian fire worshippers had a great culture,he bought it because it was the best and it did not contradict the islamic aqeedah.
You also need to see the two positions as positions on a continuum rather than as either/or. There are many Muslims who may stand at any point on the continuum. And they may do so at various times, in different contexts or on different issues. The situation is complex. Perhaps you outline this in more detail in the full article. I would be interested to read more.
hereby i shoot my congradulation and best wishes for this wide message.
i want to study your file then after insha allah i will comment on wide.
As Salaamu alaikum
I follow the Quraan and the Sunnah, inshaa Allaah, so in that case I may be considered what the writer called a "traditionalists" I suppose. So I am wondering what the writer thinks of the Ulamaa. I never thought Islaam had anything against modernity unless it opposes the Quraan and authentic Sunnah. Of course, if implementing modern tools, ideas etc. opposes Islaam and the shariah it is error and misguidance and we seek refuge in Allaah from that. If taking a modern position means imitating the west in all its misquidance, sins and errors, such as riba, tabarruj, free-mixing of men and women, shaking hands, dressing like them and behaving like them, then where is the love for Islaam and being a faithful servant? Was Salaams
second,the modernist movement to me means to compromise,add something new,or to take something out. my thing is,who gave a human being the authority to do such things in this deen. islam came for all times and for all people. islam is for the times fourteen hundred years ago and is suitable for todays time. ALLAH swt created man and gave him intincts and drives. Allah swt also created the relationships between Him and man,man with himself and man with society. these intincts and relationships have never change from the first man(adam as) to now. islam came to satify these intincts that man has.for example, one intinct is for man to procreate,Allah taught man how to satify it in the proper manner,which is marriage. Another example is man has a intinct to survive,and from that intinct man has the desire to own things,Allah swt does not deny us this desire but teaches us to gain wealth in a matter that benefits man and society.
so in conclusion, i believe these titles that people give to muslims is probably the one game of divide and conquer or to keep muslims busy with such debates that just take up time and energy
Thank you for asking my opinion.
It is a good idea. But dont you think that it would be a most difficult task for the proposed group "The new Breed of Intellectual Muslims. While bridging the gap, we cannot ignore Islamic fundamentals. On the other hand we cannot change the modern concepts. Let us take an example of necessity of INTEREST in Modern Banking and overall economy. How the proposed group would handle this issue ?
May like to comment.
This would rid the Islamic world of both type of extremists the religious fanatics, who earn a bad name for Islam and the ultra modernists who seek to destroy Islamic spirit from within.
We should build schools modeled after the christian missionary schools. Any one in Sub-continent would agree that the missionary schools used to be regarded as the best schools, and people (yes even devout Muslims) would send their kids to these schools. Such an institution is needed, something like a Muslim Missionary school. Best in modern subjects and also teaching Islam at the same time. Thus maintaining the "balance" which is so essential in life.
Let us build a new Muslim generation which is modern in outlook but also devout Muslims. No Muslim goverment will do it. It is upon common Muslims to getup and act. Let us adopt the middle path favored by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and teach it to our kids. Our generation is beyond recovery, let us work on our kids. Teach them the love of Allah, Prophet, and all of Humanity. May Allah help us all...
I was whole-heartedly with you until the second to last paragraph, where you stated: "It is only MEN of this caliber who can pull Muslims out of the quagmire they are at presently stuck in". The issue I have with this statement is the omission, intentionally or unintentionally (Allahu Alim), of the word 'WOMEN' from your vision. Let us always remember the great women of Islam and the integral part they have played, and continue to play, in the growth and preservation of Islam. We need to broaden our vision to resurrect the status of women in 'Islamic' societies. Ultimately, the lack of education and the oppression of women in what are supposed to be 'Muslim' countries is an undeniable factor, among many, that has lead our Ummah to the factious situation that it is in. We have to realize that it is the WOMAN who educates her children. How can she fulfill her obligation to teach Islam to her children, when she is the one who is prevented from learning how to READ and WRITE? "Iqra!" Is that not in the first ayah of the Qur'an? A woman has a tremendous capacity to implement a vision of peace and unify our Ummah, if only she is given the chance to do so. Seems that we have to pull ourselves out of the hole we are in, with regards to the rights women have been given by Allah (SWT) but taken from man, before we can talk about a "new breed of intellectuals who combine in them selves both the traditional and modern strands."
May Allah unite our Ummah.
May allah reward your efforts!
I am a long time member of IslmaiCity. I wanted to ask about the weekly quiz that we used to have. Can we have it again as we used to do? Jazakumu Allahu Khayran.
my name is masarat and i am writting to you from kashmir india.
actually i am a film maker and we have a project in hand which will highlight the ways and means why people converted to islam world wide.
i would be thankful if you could give us some names and address or e mail address of some latest converts so that their view point is incorporated in this project.
fe amaan lillaah
Therefore we have to go the same path as the Sahaba did, when they conquered countries with long traditions of knowledge. Interestingly enough, the muslims with the Quran in their hearts were not at all culturally absorbed by these civilisations as it happend to the germanic tribes who invaded Rome. Instead they thoroughly studied the various schools of knowledge of the greek, persian and indian tradition, rejected such parts they found contradicting the basic ideas of islam and melting the others to a completely new islamic civilisation.
Which cannot be stressed enough is the fact that an intellectual competition of ideas based on rational analysis has been made, with the islamic idea convincing vast parts of the world of it's outlook of reality. We should be self-confident enough that Islam will also be able to convince people in the modern times. It is the religion of these modern rational times since it appeals to logic. However to do so, we must understand the basic concept of the west and compare it to and to overcome it by islamic concepts. So cheer up fellow muslims, think and do not be afraid of other ideas. Nothing can compete with Islam. It is our duty, to adapt and explain our religion without loosing its principles. This is a very big djihad.
As Salaam Alaikum,
Alhumdulilah for posting this article about one of the biggest challenges that the Ummatt faces today. Yes, I totally agree with the points highlighted in this article. We as Muslims must work to change the fact that traditionalist and modernist theologist do not listen to one another and therfore continue to be DIVIDED into sects!!
We know that in Islam, Quran tells us not to break off into sects...... Although, many do not see it this way.....this is exactly what happens when there is no BALANCE. We must strive with all our might and heart to follow the Quran and the teachings/life of Prophet Muhammed (SAAW). Off course, times have changed and life is different. If we strive to have the essence of what the Prophet (SAAW) taught us we will be able to utilize it and benefit from it....despite living in these contemporary times.
As Allah SWT created everything in stages...so must we as Believers continue to enhance and develop our practice of the Deen.
Your Sister in Islam
This is so true the time is now , but it starts with ndividuals .
we as muslims will be showing our presance at the world summit tomorrow .
People from all over South Africa and the world wish to voice our heart ace to the worlds wave against islam The oppresion suffered in this so called Progressive society .
This is the struggle we must all take a part in in how ever small a contribution it all adds up and we will be superior
ONE WAY OF MOVING FORWARD IS TO TAKE AN ISSUE, AMONG MANY OF THE CONTENTIOUS ISSUES, AND PROCEED TO ENLIGHTEN THE UMMAH ON ITS VARIOUS RAMIFICATIONS, IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE ISSUE IS SEEN TO BE RELEVANT TO OUR MODERN AGE, WITHOUT LOSING ITS SPIRITUAL CONTEXT. THIS WOULD NO DOUBT BE A TREMENDOUS CHALLENGE, BUT ALL PREVIOUS MOMENTOUS EVENTS IN HUMAN LIFE WERE PRECEDED BY SUCH CHALLENGES.
Quraan is full of Wisdom (Al_Quraan_036.002)
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, the Best of Best among you are those, who Learns and Teaches Quraan. (Hadith Bukhari)
Tips to understand Quraan:
After means never ever before. Anyone means Muslims are also included.
Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? (Al_Quraan_039.009)
(So their votes are also not equal. e.g. if we want to elect an Health Minister, only Doctors should be allowed to vote to Senior Specialist Doctors.)
O ye who believe! When ye rise up for prayer, wash you faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it. Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that ye may give thanks. (Al_Quraan_005.006)
Alcohol: Muslim is Never Drinks Intoxicants (Alcohol):
O ye who believe! Intoxicants (Alcohol) and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination, - of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination) that ye may prosper. (Al_Quraan_005.090)
Back Biting: Muslim Never does Back Biting:
O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...But fear Allah: For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Al_Quraan_099.012)
(No more space left to write)
United Prayers in Islaam
If you want to build a very tall building, you must first build foundation accordingly.
One Person came to Muhammad (SAW) and asked I want to accept Islaam, but I don't want to offer Prayer, don't want to pay Zakat, don't want to do any thing. Muhammad (SAW) said, if you want to accept Islaam, you must have to come for Prayers. And time showed that the same person took part in every part of Islaam actively. Without Prayers Muhammad (SAW) didn't accept any one's Islaam.
Now a days, we can see, if someone asks for Asar Prayers according to his Asar time, the other one could say, no ... no it is not my Asar time, at the same place. My Asar time will start 30 minutes later.
Should we stand for prayers side by side without any gap or we should say no ... no our Asar time will start 30 minutes later, at the same place.
What should we do if we go for Haj? Should we join the Prayers behind Imaam Kabaa or we should offer our prayers separately?
We know there are several groups of people offering their Prayers differently.
Should we unite under one method for all Prayers for the Unity of Muslim. Can we do little sacrifice for the unity of Muslim. Regarding Prayers Method, can we follow recent Imaam Kabaa, for the Unity of Muslim. Is there any thing wrong in it?
Allah said in sutra AL-ANAAM verse 159:
Those who divide their religion and break up into sects, they don't have any thing in ISLAAM.
I invite you all for the prayers, to follow the method of recent Imaam Kabaa.
I also invite you to tell others.
Either You are with the United Prayers in Islaam
or Against the United Prayers in Islaam
The division between traditionalists and modernists that the article discusses is even more acute with Muslim women. You have a tiny but loud minority of westoxicated secular women, some of whom openly say that Islamic culture has nothing to offer women, and then a larger but still small group of militantly traditionalist women, who advocate strict purdah. The few Muslim women who are trying to find a balanced way between the extremes of modernity and tradition tend to be ignored by both Muslims and "the west", and dismissed as having nothing useful to say.
Turkey immediately springs to mind ,as a nation caught in such shackles of ideological turmoil.
There are numerous other countries too. The author suggested one treatment for this malaise.
I agree with it.Why not transform Al-Azhar into the twenty-first century version of its illustrious heydays? Sow the seeds of this hybrid-Muslim Modernism. Water and feed it with compatible,energy giving, nutritious sustenance.Then watch it bloom into a thriving hardy annual of Muslim intellectuals, who will self seed.Then witness a plethora of these hybrids entering public life. Some of whom, will tower above other blooms, and become political leaders of character and demeanor, worthy to govern its people in the sprit of Islam. This all may seem far fetched, but I think not. The question is...who ,how and when can this be affected? Khomeini failed Iran,Taliban failed Afghanistan,Al-Haq failed Pakistan and the current leader in Nigeria is failing.So the former question still burns. It may not and does not have to be Al-Azhar in Cairo.It could be anywhere.But, it has to start in the hearts and minds of Muslims.Of course,if some of them have handsome resources at their disposal, then even better!
Very interesting article. I would like to know what we as individuals can do to make sure that we are the correct modernist muslims that you speak of? It was mentioned that the change has to begin by each indivdual. So, please tell us what we can do? I agree there is much division amongst muslims, for many reasons. What can we do as indivduals to overcome differences and become united in our overall aim? I am willing to do my part, but i'm not sure what to do!
Truly both traditionalists and modernists are both confused because they are not aware of Islamic Faith, especially the West.
May Allah bless you for the article.
This is a superb notion and one that I have though must be done for a long time. It should be clear to Muslim's around the world that if they want to fight Jihad against the west it won't be done with pitchforks and rifles, it will be done in schools. Make your Muslim children follow the right path as well as making them smarter and more knowledgable in todays topics such as economics than the jewish children and the christian children. This brother and sisters is how Muslims will become the most powerful. Had Osama Bin Laden purchased a few media stations in the US rather than drop two towers we would be able to sapread are pro-palestine, pro-muslim propoganda to fight the jewish propoganda and change hte minds of Americans and people around the world. Media is the most powerful weapon, and after all the pen is far mighter than the sword. This is how we must fight Jihad and opression, make the Palestinians educate their children rather than committing suicide. Than one or two generations from now we will be able to look America in the eye and say you harm any of us and you'll see. That should be the aim of Muslim's around the world, not to hurt people or fight about modern versus tradionalism. Bravo for this article I hope you readers take it to heart.
A religion which gave even animals rights over 1400 years ago is quite modern in itself. Buzzwords like "modernist", "fundamentalist", "tradionalist"are false divisions designed to break up the ummah. This is what happens when one adopts the criminal western mentality of cultural imperialism. If Muslims want to improve their condition, they need to return to the ways of the Quran and the Sunnah.
We need to wake up.
Those Intrinsic Intellectuals, this is beautiful interpretation of present day muslims. It is however, impossible to deny the fact that the traditionist, by insisting on the value of the concrete case as against the tendency to abstract thinking in law, have done the greatest service to the law of Islam. And a further intelligent study of the literature of traditions,if used as indicativeof the spirit in which the Prophet himself interpreted his Revelation ,may still be of great help in understanding the life -value of the legal principles enunciated in Quran. A complete grasp of their life value alone can equip us in our endeavour to re-interpret the foundatioinal principles. We are in need of such institutions which can produce better muslims.
The problem with Muslims are many, but the solution is one: abide by these everlasting words, return to the Deen. If one Muslim wishes for his brother what one has, Allah may start changing things. If we scorn our wealth, and shame selfishness, and start investing in Allah's Bank and Trust we will start prospering. That's Allah's promise. Does being modern mean following the West? Just look at the West and tell me honestly which part of it do you want to follow? Would modernity want our mothers and daughters to display their beauty in public so that every sick-hearted cretin wold feast his eyes upon them? Does being traditional mean you wear a beard? Define what it is to be traditional or modern; give examples so we can better see the point. Yes, I too can say there are so many hungry children around the world and unless they are fed they will die of starvation or malnutrition. Everybody will agree. But I should define the causes of the hunger and the examples and routes of how to eliminate it.
Focus on your relation with your Maker, his demands, his limits. Cleave to his guidelines. Pray humbly and fearfully before his Majesty, and maybe we'll deserve help.
8/24/2002 - Religious Social - Article Ref: IC0208-1723
By: Mustansir Mir
There is a subtle mistake in the wording hence the overall interpretation of the Quranic Ayat. Which should read Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is amongst/in themselvs.
It is a very interesting discussion.
But can you dear brother specify what exactly a modern Muslim or a modern Islam implies.
It is cute that you have quoted a relevant part of the Qur'an at the end.
Religion / Islam is of Allah. It means you can't changedit or adjust it or modify it, etc. It is a eternal lasting condition, till the Day of judgement.
That is the difference between a Divine, coming from the Creator, from Allah and whatever we produce.
The laws and quidelines coming from Allah is vey clear and we people can modify that to our need or desire.
So once again what is modern Islam.
presupposes that western thought and culture
is "modern" and its followers and supporters
"modernistic". Similarly, he labels, quite
cleverly through his weaving of words, those
who do not discard the injunctions of their
religion as things of the past as
This article is, in my humble opinion,
opinionated and misleading. The world is not
divided into only black and white, western
does not by default mean modernistic, Islamic
does not by default mean traditionalistic.
If the writer of this article has a clear
understanding of Islam, it would not take him
long to realise that it is a modern religion... in
beliefs, codes, practices, value systems.
And it urges its followers to inquire, to
questions, to probe, to wonder, to seek, to "go
up to China" for knowledge.
Throughout the history of Islam, sects have
come up headed by people who believed that
Islam needed a new set of "intellectuals". No,
dear writer, we DO NOT need another set of
We have all that we would need till the end of
this world. The problem lies in our lack of
understanding the value of what we have and
in slavishly looking up to the West for
"modernistic" thought and culture.
Rights of women, rights of minors, obligatory
education, human rights, social equality,
democracy... Islam propagated and
demonstrated these values long before the
Western countries as we know them today
In short, we don't need a new set of people
infatuated with the West... we need to learn to
see the wisdom and relevance in today's
world of what our All Knowing Allah has
revealed and our beloved Prophet (SAAW) has
demonstrated in his every action and deed.
And this is not going to come from a new
Jama'at... it is going to come from within... we
need to strive harder, and ask Allah for
The ideal government to establish this line of thinking is Malaysia, who under the leadership of Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, is the most effective muslim leadership on earth. The entire ummah can learn a valuable lesson on serviving in this century, and still maintain our Muslim traditions, and indeed our religion in tact.
I expected this to be the usual 'we need to be Muslim on the inside' and look like 'the West' on the outside to succeed' article. However I was pleasantly mistaken.
Mustansir Mir, although I am not familiar with him or his work, seems to have hit the nail on the head. It's the labels that are ruining our Ummah. The labels we are giving ourselves. A true 'Traditionalist' or 'Sunnah-ist' is one who lives his/her life according to the Blessed Qur'an and the Sunnah of our Beloved Messenger (s.a.s). A true 'Modernist', in Islamic terms, is one who attempts to apply the Qur'an and Sunnah to our modern social and geo-political world. Unfortunately, as Mustansir points out, the 'Modernist' became those who blame Islam for the Ummah being backwards, and the Traditionalists blame anyone but the Muslims for having fallen out of the Grace of Allah ta'ala.
It is our responsibility as Muslims to embrace Islam in every aspect of our lives. 'Dunya' or items of this physical life, are not inherently bad. It all depends on what we do with them.
If we use the dunya, whether Muslim or non-Muslim created, in a way which is pleasing to Allah and serves our Ummah's Real agenda of lifting 'La ilah ha il Allah,' then we are both a Traditionalist and a Modernist, without becoming Murtad, Kafir or Munafiq.
May Allah ta'ala save us from all three fates. Ameen.
you echo some of what i've been thinking; as a young Muslim aspiring intellectual ,to have to choose between the two is a delimma i have'nt been able to resolve.
Where can a brother recieve more of this thoughtful
Islaamic Sense?? I InshaAllaah Aziiz await an answer.
Jazaakumullaahu khairan wa Baarakallaahu feekum
Yours in Islam,
Taaleb-e-duah : S. Sulaiman
The issue here is not a simple black and white clash between modernists and traditionalists. Modernity is not a bad thing in itself--it is simply the progression of science and technology. Clearly that in itself is not wrong--it is how it is used that may or may not be wrong. In the Qur'an Allah sites the benefits of this kind of progression with this example:
21:80 It was We Who taught him the making of coats of mail for your benefit, to guard you from each other's violence: will ye then be grateful?
It is the culmination of knowledge given to us by Allah that gives us beneficial advances in technology in the so called modern world. However, the real problem is that for a long, long time now the West has owned this knowledge--not the Muslims. Therefore the West has used this knowledge according to thier moral or immoral(how ever you judge) perspective, not ours. This technology has been guided by Western culture and the two--culture and technology--are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, when the traditionalists see the modern world coming, they lump modernity and Western culture into one black sheep and take aim to slaughter it, instead of understanding that it is the immoral culture guiding modernity that is the real culprit and not modernity itself. Where as you have the flip side having the so called modernist muslims embracing not modernity but WESTERN modernity(the only brand selling these days;))and driving the traditionalists bonkers by doing so. Unfortunately the Prophet(pbuh) foretold this long ago...
Narrated Abu Said
The Prophet said, "You will follow the wrong ways, of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a mastigure, you too will go there." We said, "O Allah's Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?" He replied, "Whom else?" (Meaning, of course, the Jews and the Christians.)
What is the solution? For me, it's looking in the mirror and begining with that person. H
I wish people will reflect in their actions. True reflective practtioners have harsh words for vain intellectuals who have put two legs in two boats simulataneously and pontificate too much.
What comes out from this self professed intellectualism is neither prudence nor social change but chaos. We have seen chaos with frenetic attitude. This is a moral debacle, a social turpidue, and an intrinsic stigmatic failure. This is not intrinsic intellectualism.
Who are these self styled intrinsic intellectuals, any way?
Though I agree with many points made in the article, such as the uncompromising nature of many members of the muslim community, I think the root of the problem lies in two factors: 1. The reluctance of Muslims to accept more than one point-of-view in the muslim ummah ( although this was the case during the time of the Rasul (pbuh) and during the time of the great Imams) and 2. The lack of humility even among the most religious of muslims. Each individual sees himself, as the author said, as being the one in the right or the one who is BETTER.
Also, I don't believe that seperate centers will solve the problem. Muslims know that only with good intent, strong iman, knowledge, and moderation will Islam prosper. Finally, Muslims need to get beyond the complex that we are "less civilized" than the West. We aren't. Remember, "third world" is a term coined by Westerners; However, to believe that we are "better" is just as bad because this arrogance is what has poisoned our brethern (ahl al kitab). Remember that "hidaya" (guidance) is a blessing from Allah swt. Wallahu A3lam
I hate to say this but, we can never expect to see Islam grow in the West by people speaking in broken English, looking like a foreigner and does not understand nor fit into the culture.
If our goal is to invite masses to Islam, spread the word of the Qur'an so that millions can appreciate and study this miracle, we need leaders that act, behave, talk and look like a Westerner. I believe you can be all this and be Islamic. Islamic, just as much as the traditionalist and perhaps even more so.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed and his supporters have already begun what you suggested as the solution. Support the Imam and his supporters, Muslim American Society (MAS).
Islam, if to be understood well, is the right system for all times. This is called Fiqh of the religion.
All we have to do is understand Islam as a system that covers all aspects of life. What is religious obligation must be followed prompyly and precisely without discussion. What is cultural must be measured to the Fiqh of Islam and we might differ in that part. However, we should always be united and tolerent of each others differences.
We definitely need to clear our sense of direction and goals as a true Muslim (not Saudi or subcontinental version of Muslim) that transformed personalities like Omar (ra).
The phenomenon of faith, is not utterance of Shahadah, rather more of a educational process that transforms a person from ingnorance to light. It was that light brought by Prophet Mohammad (sm) and flourished humanity.
Keep up the good work!
The author seems to oversimplify the main point, and fails to include what effects colonialism, imperialism, communism, and nationalism have had (and indeed continue to have) on the Ummah as a whole.
More importantly, the author offers a suggestion that completely contradicts his own thesis: i.e. that "It would be ideal if some Muslim government were to undertake the establishment of such educational institutions.." The question to ask is:
1. Why? Why would any country/govt. in the Muslim world (being neither independent nor free in any capacity) and having a vested interest in maintaining the status quo have any interest in changing it?
2. Why would any society/ideology allow the teaching and propagation of ideas which if taken to fruition would allow itself to be undermined and replaced? (assuming that the author sees the current Muslim led govts. as problems and not quasi solutions).
Any concrete and realistic attempts at intellectual revival would first as a principle have to start from complete independence in attempting to even ask questions and arriving at solutions. In every part of the Muslim world (and even in the land of the "Free" the U.S.) this is increasingly becoming difficult if not impossible.
peaceful greetings was-salaam
category of moderate or replace modern with
it. It is not possible to join these two together.
A new breed should be fostered. How and
When???. Muslim intellectuals of 60s and
70s established Islamic instituitions starting
in places from the basement of houses and
established a good commuinty relationships
with dignified Islam. Majority New comers of
90s without much effort found instituion,
occupied and practice traditional,fundamental
or fanatic Islam what ever you call them.
Offspring of old comers involved in Islamic
(now driven away) work joined by people of
that ideolgy should take up leadership for our
survival and for enlightening people of other
faith about Islam till the new breed come into
From the article, "Those Intrinsic Intellectuals", the following is a clear example of our "incoherent (collective)personality":
"...On the other hand, they must have an intimate knowledge of and a deep insight into the modern situations and problems and prove themselves to be better modernists. It is only men of this caliber who can pull Muslims out of the quagmire they are at present stuck in..."
Dear reader, please notice a seldom acknowledged major problem which is the unabashed use of the word "men". In this case, the word "people" should have been used if that's - one can only hope - what the writer meant.
Until the inclusion of women becomes the norm, Muslims will remain a source of universal derision and stuck in our presently unenviable state of retrogression.
"When, in the last phase of their decadence, Muslims were faced with the modern challenge...."
 Muslims, as an ummah, have NEVER been decadent. Decadent means depraved and immoral. The author probably means "political decline".
 "modern challenge" - here the author has bought into the West's claim of modernity. How can Jahalliyya be modern? Islam is the definition of modern for a Muslim, and everything else is ignorance and darkness. Traditional Islam is the only modernity. What others call "modernity" is retrogression into darkness.
The author talks about "Intelligentsia" embracing a "new creed". A "creed" is a religious belief system. How can Muslims embrace a "new creed"? A "new creed" cannot be Islam, so the act of embracing it is an act of departing from Islam.
A Muslim quoting Toynbee? What does Toynbee know? He wasn't smart enough to embrace Islam, so that makes him an ignorant person. Yes we are advised to "Seek knowledge even unto China", but we need not swallow the lies of non-muslims.
Mir is selling defeatism and inferiority to Muslims. The idea that Islam is an "arrested civilisation" was used by Islam's enemies to immobilize and hijack Muslim educational and political systems in the 19th century- direct causes of the fall of the Kalifa. The author now wants us to swallow this lie. How can the only modern religion be "arrested"?
Islam is the nur of the world. Economic and politcal decline do not matter. Decline of iman, amal and ilm are reforms' ills.
He calls for a new modernist elite to replace traditional sources of Islamic knowledge in order to advance Muslims' worldly condition. Shaitan's "modernist" allies promote these ideas to Christianize Islam.
Yes, Muslims must be flexible to changing circumstances. Inflexiblity comes from heretical deviation from the Sunnah. Flexibility rises with the proper teaching of the Ahl as Sunna
Assalam o Alaikum wa RahmatULLAH e wa Barakatuh.
Come to the Raiwind Markaz and see the proceedings. JAZAKALLAH O KHAIR. You will not be disappointed. The Chechnyans Brothers weren't.
Please put aside your differences first and believe in LOVE FOR ALL HATERED FOR NONE. Join hands with Khilafat - E - Ahmadiyya and witness the REVIVAL of Islam. It has been ordained by Allah that Islam will be the only religion in the world and Prophet Muhammad 9saw) will be His Messenger and the last Prophet.
Please, once again, let us come together in these hard times for the sake of Islam; which you so highly profess. We extend our friendship and Unbiased Love to you all....May Allah be with you and give you the wisdom to choose between right and wrong. May you become pillars of Islam today.
Jazaaka Allahu khair!
A person that will come off of Mr. Mir's theory (he calls them intellectuals)will be like the one who takes part of Western Culture and part of Islamic culture, what would suit him the best. He would believe part of Quran and not believe other parts that he would think could make him a traditionalist. So in the end, such a person will be neither of Islamic culture nor of Western culture and the West will never be totally happy unless you become exactly like them.
It will perhaps be similar to something that Mughul Emperor Akbar tried to start ' Deene Elahi ' amalgamation of Hinduism and Islam.
I do not understand the definitions of MODERNISM AND TRADITIONALIST, Mr. Mir has in his mind. Muslims do not need to get the social and cultural values of non-Muslims since they have their own, its just knowledge and technology that they should learn and advance themselves in.
May Allah give us wisdom.
There is that which is wisdom; and that which is not wisdom.
Look at the flesh of the earth. Fragmented groups wielding conflicting teachings, each one striving to become unified, to become a body of believers with a purpose; in conflict with other groups whose appearances and intent is the same.
This is the way of a man - to strive to justify his beliefs.
Men recognize the errors of other groups, and form their own group to make right those wrongs; and fail to see, or ignore, the errors and shortcomings of his own group. These things are vanity and pride.
Is this the way of the one true God?
While the one true God perceives each fragmented group and what they have done, He also perceives whom He has selected from each of them as worthy of entering His Kingdom.
It is not those who promote the differences of the groups. It is not those who practice the rites of the belief with all their heart.
The one true God selects from the humble of spirit; those whom He has called out of the conflicts of men, out of tribulation; those who have responded in their hearts, even though they might still think of themselves or appear to be as a member of one group or another.
It is said, that the Lord knows His. What does your god know "you" as? If your god created the man who is not of your belief, why then does your god allow that man to exist amoung you? If your belief is so right, wouldn't your god NOT create any more people to interfere with the people of his belief; that they may fill the earth?
There is that which is wisdom; and that which is not wisdom.
It has been said, many are called and few taken.
With this, I bring an end to my dialogue to your kind
assalamu alaikum wrb..
muslims educators must bind themselves and be serious in addressing this problem...the success of the Muslim Ummah lies with the new breed of intelligentia...i recommend that much attention must be given to ISLAMIC EDUCATION--combining both the modern technology based on ISLAMIC AQEEDAH..shukran
(c) To describe the Muslims as "an arrested civilization" due to this bifurcation of the ummah into traditionalists and modernists is making the issue too simplistic, and his analysis becomes lopsided and erroreneus. The reasons for the differences or diversity of the ummah are complex and there may be as many reasons as there are groups/Muslims. (d) Islam begins and ends with the individual Muslim and his responisbilities and choices. Let's leave it at that! When the parts function well, the whole will take care of itself!