Those Intrinsic Intellectuals

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

Related posts from similar topics:

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  110 Comments   Comment

  1. abubakar adamu from nigeria

    this topic i,ve pondered over for a very long time i felt exited to know that someone shares the same view with me regarding our ulamas , who instead of teaching the umma he nasic creeds are fighting amongst them selves over minor issues causing the ulama to further divide into sects. may Allah guide us. Amin

  2. juwariya from India

    As SalamO Alaykum Warahmatullahe Wabarakatahu

    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

  3. Faiyaz Muhammed from India

    12th October, 2002,

    Delhi, India

    Assalamu alaikum,

    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:

    Maulana Aqlaq-Hussain,


    Hussain Baksh Madrassa,

    Jama Masjid, Delhi-110 006, India

    Kindly, pass this information to him.

    thanking you,

    Faiyaz Muhammed

  4. Salman A. Sheikh from US

    There is an effort already going on in North America under the banner of Tanzeem-e-Islami North America.

    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 protected]

  5. A Begum from USA

    Interesting article. I wish you had examined the work of some contemporary intellectuals. Do you think that individuals like S. H. Nasr and Ismail Faruqi and the new breed, Tariq Ramadan, Muqtedar Khan and Khalid Abul Fadl reflect some of the qualities you wish to see in our intellectuals?

  6. MD. NASIREDDIN GHANI from Bangladesh


    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.

  7. aisha brenda baraquil from usa

    We need this high-mindedness preaching in our mosques, schools, and communities. Times have changed. Our enemies use technology in spying and defaming Muslims. They destort people's minds about Islam using the power of the internet.

    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.


  8. Khalil Ahmed Ansari from Hong Kong.

    Dear Mustansir Sahib.

    Assalaamo Alaikum.

    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.

    Hong Kong.

  9. Adam Ibrahim from Nigeria

    Salamu Alaikum,

    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.


  10. Faisal Azeem from Pakistan


    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.

  11. DR.MUHAMMAD A TUFAIL(ABU ABDULLAH) from pakistani american

    yes,i totally agree,of course there is tremendous need to understand islam and that is possible only first learning QURAN and then finding solutions of todays problems in ITS light.

  12. Philip from USA

    Just the other day a friend and I were discussing what is going on in the Ummah. Both of us agree that the majority of Muslim nations in the middle East are suffering because of failure to adopt western technologies and the inability to deal with a global neighborhood. Tribal alliances and thinking will not help the Muslim community make up for the non-participation of 200 years of industrial progress and the challanges they present. It will serve the Ummah well if all peoples face reality and learn to function in this changing world and not run from it or blame western governments for the political and economic conditions that their own leaders have subjected them to.

    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.

  13. Firasat Khan from USA

    Dear Mr. Mir,

    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 "" to meet few people, the kind you described.

    Firasat Khan

  14. abderahim from holland

    It is be very good to talk about the reasons of the problems in the arab world and what could be the solution

  15. ayinde jelili from nigeria

    although i have little time to read you articles but those i read have proved worthy and broading my knowledge.thanks for that.

    please keep on.

  16. TalibDin Nkosi Abdullatif from United States


    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

  17. K.T.Yusuff from U.K

    If Islam says anything about changes and debvelopment as well as its adaptation/rejection then there should be no problem. The two sides should be sat together to go by what the Holy Quran/Hadith says.

  18. The Rock from Pakistan

    What I have to say is that i am only 14 years of age but am surprised to see the differences between muslim countries. I think it is about time that muslims should create a United Nations of their own and elect a Khalifa , and work towards progress TOGATHER i am looking forward about your ideas on the subject

  19. AAA from australia

    Please add to your criteria the belief in unity of muslims irrespective of what leniancies or groups they follow.

    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.

  20. ali salaam from u.s.a

    assalaamu alaykum

    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.

  21. Faikah Behardien from Australia

    I found the extract of your article quite interesting. I wanted to point out that you refer only to men: "It is only men of this caliber who can pull Muslims out of the quagmire they are at present stuck in." And then you go on to talk about :"... open educational centers in which talented young Muslims could be trained on the lines suggested above." In 3:195 (Al Imran),the work of BOTH men and women are valued by the Almighty. And if you are hoping to bridge the gap between traditionalists and modernists you need to engage both men and women consistently.

    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.



  22. lukman hakeem from india

    dear brother,

    assalamu alykkum..

    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.

    lukman hakeem

  23. mahmoodkhan from australia

    excellent analysis .I agree with you and endorse your advice,Perhaps it is imperative that we learn to tolerate each other and respect the other persons opinion .But this has to be reciprocal.Where there is a difference of opinion then one should agree to refer to and seek further clarification .However this does not preclude one from persuading the other to see the difference in opinion whilst keeping the BIG PICTURE in focus, The denominator would then be to focus solely on the big picture. that is to seek the pleasure of ALLAH SWT.At the same time both parties -the traditionalist and the modernist must embrace the covenant that Change in attitude and tolerance will be and ought to be the target or aim of this dialogue.For if we dont change we will REMAIN the SAME.Gentle persuasion withoutb being aggressive would be fundamental.As Allah SWT states categorically that we shoul invite others to the path of Allah SWT with gentle Persuasion .and words of wisdom. This duniya is a banquet as Hamza Yusuf mentioned. A "Madouba" and people of Adab are given the invitation to undertake this responsibilty of discharging the adab. This is an ideal place to exercise cognitive behavior and evaluate ones faults and inadeqacy. We need to Listen -listen very actively to each other.Then only can we engage in a discourse around the Adab Al Ikhtilaf. Another essential change we must embrace is that we are no longer the slaves of colonialism We Are the The Khairun Ummatun. We have the Goods. We can deliver . Balligh risala wa addil amana. Mahmood Khan Australia.

  24. Layla Woodar from USA

    Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

    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

  25. ali salaam from united states

    these two catogies of muslims,traditionalist or modernist, are new names to me. first,islam should be accept into ones' live through intellecutal thought,and not through"i am a muslim because my father was one and his father and so on". intellecutal thought is the process where the mind is used to come to the knowledge that there is a creator. By examining the universe,man and life we can see that nothing in the universe and what is in it is finite. all these have a start,an end,and most of all, depends on something to survive. so the belief in islam must be established by this method.

    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

  26. Janet Braden from u.s.a.

    The solution in this statement is excellent because it is a balanced one. But the difficulty with it is the same one as the other great religions - the "books" were written so long ago that it is almost impossible to relate them to the world as it is today, so changed. What I mean is that these books (Quran', Bible, etc.) do not directly address many of today's issues because those issues did not exist when the books were written. So when people try to interpret or relate the ancient messages to today's problems, they are subject to many interpretations. Another thing is that a foreign religion (Christian, etc.) seems to be attached to any form of modernism. So if muslims could adapt to modern things without that influence, it would help much. In regards to teaching a new balanced form of islam/modernism, there may be more hope in accomplishing this in the private muslim schools in the U.S. than in the muslim countries.

    Thank you for asking my opinion.

  27. Ovais Farooqui from India


    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.

    Khuda Hafiz.

  28. Farah Mustafa from UAE

    Wonderfully put. We really need such insightful analysis of our condition to pull outselves out of the deep sense of despair that we are in. I think that more and more people with the sort of training you mention are on the horizon (e.g. Hamzah Yusuf) and actively working towards the upliftment of the ummah and it is this breed that will probably be successful.

  29. Zulfiqar Sarosh from Pakistan

    I think there is a need for starting institutios which teach both secular/modern and theocratic/ traditionalist curriculum. In the context of Indo-Pak Subcontinent, we have madrassas teaching a cut-back version of 17th century curriculum developed by Khwaja Hassan Nizam (hence called dars-e-Nizami) which may have been "modern" then but is antiquated now. There is need for a modern syllabus which incorporates the spirit of Islam and at the same time teaches modern sciences/arts.

    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...

  30. zakir from usa

    There is only one truth. There is no modern truth or traditional truth. The question that needs to be decided is how do we ascertain the truth. The true intellectual will be committed to the pursuit of truth not to labels and not idealogies. In this pursuit he will be humbled at so much to learn from each other and from the universe and from God's revelations. It is only when Muslims put themselves back in the pursuit of truth that God will grant us all the glories we seek in this world and in the hereafter, if not, we will dragged to the truth kicking and screaming and defeated.

  31. Najat from USA

    Salam wa alaikum,

    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.


  32. Abdirahim Sheikh from USA

    Assalamu Alaykum,

    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.


    Columbus, OH

  33. masarat from india

    aslaam u alikum

    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

    masarat kanji

  34. Suheil Mahayni from Germany

    This article expresses the only possibility we muslims have to survive in the future. On the one hand the traditionalist path will lead us to a subculture with no rays of light enlightening other peoples since we would be stuck in the past and we would not have any solutions to offer to the modern times which is in desperate need of visions. On the otherhand the modern aproach will lead us to the same destiny as christianity: islam would be nothing more than a private matter without any relevance for society - thus contradicting thevery idea of Tauhid, that nothing is outside the realm of the All Mighty.

    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.

  35. HKBilal from USA


    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 must we as Believers continue to enhance and develop our practice of the Deen.

    Ma Salaam

    Your Sister in Islam


  36. Thulkiefil from South Africa

    Assalamun alay koem waragh ma tul-llah

    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

    insha Allah

  37. KABIRU from CHINA



  38. Irshad Mahmood from Canada

    First Step Towards Complete Islaam

    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.)

    Ablution: Wudhu:

    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)

  39. Irshad Mahmood from Canada

    Salaam O Alaikum

    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.

    Lets Unite:

    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

  40. Faisal Siddiqui from United States

    I think Mr. Mir has hit a nerve with this article. This has been a topic of many discussions amongst some of my friends. We can even extend this thought to 'where are we going to find the new leadership for Muslim Ummah'. We have to be able to strike a balance between modernism and traditionalism. We need practitioners fo Islam who are educated and religious at the same time.

  41. Aishanoor from Canada

    A new breed of men, huh? That's a large part of the problem--half the Ummah is not a part of efforts to address our problems.

    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.

  42. Mrs Nasreen Din-Marashli from England

    Well done sir,(Muntasir Mir) my sentiments entirely, and that of alot of others I am sure.

    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!

  43. Faith from USA


    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!

    Thank you


  44. Mohammed Rizwan from India

    The article shows traditionalist as backward. if we examine the chalenges of the modern time, they could be easily solve by the traditional methods of our prophet (saws). Infact the verse al Quran 5:3 "This day have I perfected your religion for you..." is enough. However What I think is muslim need to work more patiently and communicate the ture message and should never fall in the line of the wrongdoers. If the current educational centers shows the suffering for our prophets (saws) in the early days of his life in a different sense and compare it to the present time and follow him as he response in those days would definetly make traditionalist face the problems of these days.

  45. Kuraish from Philippines

    The article addresses a dilemma that has been plaguing the ummah for many years. But Im optimistic that with the global Islamic movement worldwide, the bridge that separates the modernists and the traditionalists. Also, we must remember that the youth, on the forefront of this movement has made leaps in changing this situation. The traditionalists should not be viewd as mere antiques but a wealth of preserved information about our religion, they just have to open their minds that not all changes are bad. No use debating over whether globalisation is good or bad for the Muslims, goals should be centered on how to use these trends to our advantage. The key is to give a balanced education to our youth based on the authentic sources of Islam. The youth needd mentors that could develop their personlities into a well rounded Muslim.

  46. Mirwais from USA

    Wonderful. It is a beautiful article today.

    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.


  47. Rayan B.T.S.A Rafay from Canada


    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.

  48. Ahmed from UK

    Unfortunetly the author is working within a very flawed framework. Modernism and Islam are stated as 2 different words, as if Islam is the opposite of modernity.

    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.

  49. riazkhan from pakistan

    ur essay or article about "Those intrinsic intellectuals is no doubt presents a balanced approach towards the issue.But muslims r divergent ideologically on different issues as Ummah but also lagging behind in the field of science and technologically viz a viz west and the world in general.Islam is progressive ,it is not a theorocratic religion only.We must allocate funds for the research of science and technology.The minister for sciene ant technology of Pakistan is doing this job toi allocate jointly a research center.The whole muslims nations should feel the need of the situation and should give finanace substaiantialy

  50. Mistura Irewolede from USA

    Serious work needs to be done to avoid codemning one for the other. Muslims must unite. There must be accomodations of the new and the old. Modernism must find a place in Islam if we want to be able to recruit more peolpe into Islamic fold. May Allh guide us to thr right path-amin


  51. taslim from Guyana

    Quite agree with the statement. Muslims need to be more moderisn than traditionalism. Centre can be set up in various countries around the world to elevate the situation and to educate the present generation of the muslims. I for noe if a centre is set up in Guyana or any other part of the world, I will be willingly to give my support. I feel it is time for me to start to do something for the religion in any way I can. We need to have Shae, Moulans and Mufti who are competence or people who have a comphresensive knowledge of the Quran to depart their knowledge to the young people. Not Muslims who will only say what the Quran say and to go by the teachings of the holy prophet but we must wake up and live, this is modernisation, information future. We don'nt have to copy their lifestyles of the west but we can modify our lifestyle not to be extreme but to be reasoable. As Msulims we have to start thinking we will bwe be in the future, probably in the next ten years, the super power might decided to put all Muslims people around thw world to live togehter and deprive them of everything.

    We need to wake up.



  52. Dr. S.Javied Malik from Gibraltar

    Dear Brother,


    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.

  53. Um Falah from Canada

    Assalamu Alekum. This is a great article, that focuses on a topic that is becoming fairly popular. I belong to a discussion group in which a woman smugly stated that American revert women were going to "save" islam from itself and bring about a renaissance. She decided this without actually submitting herself fully to Allah, but by "choosing the aspects of islam that are meaningful" to her. Such thought is dangerous and wrong, and I'm so glad that your article has found a middle ground. I am going to direct the sisters to your site to read this article for themselves.

  54. Hashim Alhussaini from U.S.A.

    Generally true but lacks more substance. What is modernity and what is tradition? What are the attributes of each? Is poverty tradition just because Muslims in wretchedly poor countries possess no cars, no tech. amenities, no adequate info. pipelines and media exposure. Is modernity the riches that are enjoyed by Gulf States princes and sheiks? Or is modernity a Muslim with a pierced lip, or one who submits to western fashion, or what? Blessed be our Prophet's words: "The Halal is clear, the Haram is clear, and between them are matters of suspicion. Leave that which confuses you in favor of what you are certain of," and "I have left among you what will always be a guide to you: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Prophet. Bite on them fiercely."

    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.

  55. Saiful Islam from England

    Those Intrinsic Intellectuals

    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.

  56. M.Ismail Shah from Pakistan

    Dear sir! The bulletin is very interesting and we hope it will produce great awareness among muslim youth. It is a revolutionary step towards the empowerment of muslims. I am the sutdent of IT and can contribute to this great mission. good by

    Allah Hafeez

  57. mohamed from uk


    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.

    Thank you

    Kind regards



  58. younus from india

    thanks for sending such a beautiful things which i have never seen in my life and i want to know more thing about islam and about mideast country allah hafiz

  59. Farrukh Naeem from India

    The article "Those Intrinsic Intellectuals"

    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

    even existed.

    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


  60. Arif Kadwani from USA

    And today the American Jewish League had an infomercial on a local NYC radio station stating that the Arab population of much of the Middle East needs democracy and freedom from oppresive rulers so that there could be peace in the region and peace for those of the Jewish faith. This is one more stone in the glass armor of the Muslim umma!

  61. Naim Yusuf from USA

    The author of this article is exactly on target. Muslims must come out of the dark ages, and into the light of modern times, or be in a self made prison from now on. The world will not wait for us as a society to wake up. We say our religion is a religion for all ages, and all places. But we live as though we are either stuck in time, or are afraid to step into the light and bring deffinition of the religion to meet modern mans needs. I say alhamdulillah, this is the right message at the right time in history, before we are all history and no future.

    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.

  62. Salim from US

    As-Salamu aleikum,

    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.

  63. Mahmood from Canada

    Very true.....I agree that muslims must practice Islam., however not isolate themselves from the ever progresive society that we live in. I believe that as muslims we have a duty to spread Islam to non-believers, and this cannot be accomplished if we isolate ourselves in the past, along with non-isolation, we still must not be rapped up in this modern society and fallow it ways but we must keep our islamic values and be progressive at the same time.


    I totally agree with this approach of the solving of the division in muslim ummah.

  65. s. shah from USA

    Very concise and thoughtful analysis. When the Muslim mind reads the Scripture with an open eye, ear and heart, it will also look at the universe with the same eagerness. That was what kept up the leadership of the Islamic civilization in past and can do so in future.

  66. raheema from india


    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.

  67. LOUBNA NASSER from U.S.


  68. Mujahid Abdul-Ahad from U S A

    Bismillaah !

    Where can a brother recieve more of this thoughtful

    Islaamic Sense?? I InshaAllaah Aziiz await an answer.

    Jazaakumullaahu khairan wa Baarakallaahu feekum

  69. shaikhsulaiman from india

    thank you verymuch for your regular news on islam and the da'wah activites. almighty Allah bless you in your all activities.

    Yours in Islam,

    Taaleb-e-duah : S. Sulaiman

  70. Seif from USofA

    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

  71. Dr. Hamid Khan from USA

    It is a shame that these people call themselves the new breed of intellectuals-- the intrinsic intellectuals! What a pity! Intellectual pursuit is not putting two legs in two boats to steer. Rather it is an intellectualism to finish your professional eductaion whole heartedly, and then ask, what my professional intellectual pusuit has to offer? Then go deeper into the understanding of another mystical cult of super metaphysics, and then when you elevate yourself higher and higher then suddenly you fall into the realm of rality, the domain of Islam. Read Iqra then and then recite Yasin. Then everything will make sense to you that there is nothing called intellectualism. "Wo man nuammir hu nunakkis hu fil khalqui afala ya'kilun... This is the extent to which intellectuals do not want to regress!! "If you are a modern day intellectual, you have short changed yourself, beacuse modern day intelelctualism does not cause you to grow, it causes you to regress, in fact it stunts you with a vanity of intellectualism prematurely with a myopic and a dwarfish vision. Plainly, the Quran has said, you have made a dwarf of yourself with a less than perfect vision of pragmatic opportuinism called intellectualism. " Kad Aflaha Man Zakkaha, wa ka khaba man Dassaha."

    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?


  72. Rania Sami from US

    Asalamu 3laykum,

    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

  73. Mustafa Arat from USA

    I tottaly agree with Mustansir Mir in his article "Those Intrinsic Intellectuals". I think it is possible to be modern and Islamic at the same time. Furthermore, I believe there has never been a better time for Islam to grow and prosper. However, this must come from the new generation. Our youth. They must lead this movement, fresh perspective of Islam. We just need to make sure that they understand and comprehend the history of Islam. As well as their role, duty and responsibilty to achieve this goal.

    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.

  74. Norah from USA

    I totally agree with this article, I hope more Muslims read it and try to be the modernist wile keeping the foundation and the 5 pillars of Islam alive in their hearts and daily practice.

  75. Imam Bilal Yasin El-Amin from USA

    As-salaamu alaikum,

    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).

  76. asmahan from usa

    i like this article very much. it really tells the real truth about the muslim Ummah. They do need to compromise and move forward with education and modernazation while still being able to preserve their traditions.

  77. Fabeha Fazal from usa

    This article is so TRUE and BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN that i have to forward it to everyone i know. May Allah Subhanotalah helps us in becoming a UNITED UMMAH and grant us a much BROADER VISION so that we start to look outside our boxes in which we have closed ourselves (completely misguided that we will one day be the winners in this world and hereafter). Ameen.

  78. Shakil Ahmed from Pakistan

    I disagree with your break down of the muslim ummah as moderinist and traditionalist. There are many of us who feel that major issue with thepresent practice of Islam is that it has been mis-focused rather then 'backwords". We tend to care more about women's wardropes and nail poliush in nail during prayer then about fundamentally un-islamic practices such as fores marriages and dowery. The author of the email states "It is only MEN of this caliber who can pull muslims out of the quagmire they are at present stuck in". My dear brother you will never get out of this quagmire until you include women as an intergal part of the change process that is necessary.

  79. Adnan Chaabi from usa


    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.


    Adnan Chaabi

  80. Reza Rabbani from Canada

    Very relevant thoughts. You are absolutely right that we need a education system or process that puts individuals to experience and learn the faith prophessed and practiced by Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

    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!

  81. s. kashif haque from foreign

    Salaam aleikum,

    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.

    salaam aleikum,


  82. Rodney Wilson from U.S.A.

    I am Christian. Christians, too, face the same struggle between modernists who reject much of the faith as irrelevant, and traditionalists whose faith often is rigid and of can make little sense to the modern ear. Both groups can be "fundamentalistic" and arrogant in their assertion that they alone are correct. Christians, too, need a wonderful middle road that incorporates the modern world in light of the unchanging truths of its faith. If Muslims can do this, and Christians, we'll be closer to the will of God than we can imagine. God's will be done.

  83. Osman Yuuni from Cote d'Ivoire

    Very brilliant analysis of the problem. I think we have one such new breed in Harun Yahya.

  84. R.A. Fris from holland

    You're quite right, and I think that's the line we are working on at the Islamic University,Rotterdam (in Holland),

    peaceful greetings was-salaam

  85. Dr.Naiyer Habib from Canada

    The article is very factual. One could add

    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


  86. abdul wadoud from USA

    I do not understand the riff Islam is the religion for all time for all people. As muslims we adopt the middle way. We can be succesful in the world but not fall in love with it as long as we remember who are and who we serve and keep to the best of abilities the convnet we have made. Then Islam is just as viable and strong as ever. The problem is we try to apply rules before we aquire faith. For thirteen years there was no rule or teaching but "La illaha IllAllah" now we have all the rules and no faith and that makes the few rules seem impossible to carry out or out of date. We have Islam on our lips not in our hearts for what is in the heart comes out through the hands. And until we have in our hearts what we profess with our lips we will be as we are now or worse.

  87. Dr Asad U Khan from Canada

    I whole heartedly agree with your conclusion that we Muslims as Ummah are confused and lost from divergent opinions. In my opinion the future leadership of Muslim Ummah will emerge from North America and Europe to carry the banner of Islam in twety second century. The books and magzine articles being published in N Amerca on Islamic subjects and Chairs of Islamic studies at various universities are encouraging. Dr Asad U Khan

  88. Zia from USA

    I agree with Reza's comments that there should be no modernist or traditionalist, Islam accomadates both, however, the author is simply pointing to the reality ... which is that unfortunately the Ummah HAS become divided into those two and perhaps even more categories. The intellectuals Mr. Mir talks about are the embodiment of what Islam prescribes ... people who can be tradional/religious and modern (within the guidlines of Islam) as well.

  89. halide salam from US

    I am very interested in the pedagogical ideas that Mr. Muntassir Mir may have regarding an educational system for today that incorporates his ideology. I am thinking that in the past institution such as Al Azhar and Aligargh( not the ones of today could fit the mold.

  90. Habib Khan from USA

    A.S. Just in the first paragraph you have pretty much defeated the article. Muslims current generation is a victim of Nationalim and socialistic (modernity) values which inturn have crippled the real focus of the Ummah. We already have tried the complex setting mechanism called modernity and lost our humanity. Just look at our several hundred generations of muslim social and political arena. Who ever resisted kept their faith, who ever succumbed lost their faith to material gain (so called modernity) Now I know the usual answer is 'oh, so we should go back to riding camels!' for these genious modernists. The answer does not lie in a sarcastic remarks, rather it lies in understanding shariah as to what needs to be applied and what doesn't. Most of these complex issues have been discussed and solved by great scholars of our past/present it is just when we clear the dust of this world(complex) from our eyes we may go back and pick up this treasure. What is the real goal set for this Ummah, and what we are chasing in reality. When we are out of this denial. Then Inshallah we shall see success....mind you success I don't mean in material terms as most would like it to be, but in terms of justice and truth and goal of Akhirah...remember....this is the true aim of a muslim. For we are all going into our own graves and answer for what we have done in this life. Modernity, socialism, nationalism is no excuse to not forfill our mission. NO need to group us into what other nations have been struggling with due to loss of the true message. Open your Quran and read the answers of the slackers, manipulators, hypocrites, people who wanted to change Islam to their liking....U'll find the common string as to what a lot of people are saying today posing it of as reason and thought (new breed of Intellectuals). If what I have said has offended any I ask for forgivness in advance, if what I have said is any benefit, may Allah(swt) reward me for it. Take care all and be well.

  91. K. Harlow from USA

    Salaam alaikoum.

    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.

    Ma'a salaama,


  92. I. AbdulBari from USA

    This article is an attack on Islam and Muslims.

    "When, in the last phase of their decadence, Muslims were faced with the modern challenge...."

    [1] Muslims, as an ummah, have NEVER been decadent. Decadent means depraved and immoral. The author probably means "political decline".

    [2] "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

  93. Faisal Khalid from Pakistan

    Dearest Loved Ones,

    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.

  94. Tahir Hamid from Houston, Texas

    The verse that you have quoted at the end of the article is perfect for you to reflect upon as well. The answer you seek is partly what the learned author of this article has suggested. But, for the Love of Islam, which you have shown in this article I would suggest that your problems can ONLY be solved thru Ahmadiyya Movement In Islam. The KHALIFA is the answer. Without him you may tear the earth apart but will NOT be successful in your mission.

    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.

  95. A. Umrani from USA

    Excellent article. I believe the new intellectuals are coming, insha Allah. Indeed I believe some are here with us already but unfortunately are not the loudest voices in the ummah. When one lives in the time of social and religious reformation, as I believe we are, change is not always readily visible or the pace of it sufficient. I am positive and hopeful about the future of the ummah.

    Jazaaka Allahu khair!

  96. Tanvir Ahmed from USA

    Of course Muslims need to advance themselves in education and new technology, BUT at the same time keep themselves abreast with the knowledge of Quran and Hadith. that's all wisdom and is not an obstacle in the way of learning new things.

    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.

  97. nuru raheem from u.s.a.

    as-salaamu alaikum... al-hamduli-lahe...wonderful insight into the cartharsis of our ummah...look to the indiginous/american born muslims...with meticulous and sincere study of the sunnah combined with sociological understanding of living, surviving and thriving in the "modernism" of the west

  98. Brian D. Lawlor from Canada

    The ostriches have taken their heads out of the sands my friends...they do not see what is right and by their religious conviction and duty to our one GOD they are to act. There are tghose of power who welcomed the West with open arms but in doing so denied their responsibilty to all those within the body of Islam. Just as in the Americas you have the place where evil lives with their corruption of Government, Industry, Finance, Mulitary, Nedia, Academic,Religion, etc...but remember that all peoples who are all religions were controlled and minipupted to allow these corruptions to become interweaved into their socirty and lives. This is the case within the body of Islam where the few do well while those they are responsibe do without...we are working towars that change my friends..patience..there are over seven billion Islamic youths to be eduacted for the first time but I promise you, and you can trust this as if it was given from your GOD and I can only say this from the perspestive of Prophet. The West developed all that is good to all that is bad..that was their function..your function under the guideline of the Qu'ran is to adapt the good and destroy the bad..that bad must be extinguished on a global level for the children with this connection we now share is the sourse of their knowledge..that also is in thw workds my move your individual body takes but move the various bodies within this one global body takes time...when it comes down to it please remember through the good and the bad.."IT IS THE WILL OF OUR ONE GOD"...Take all the breaths you have taken thus far in your is no more than a breath to the existence that awaits all...this time here is prescious my friends..what each others back..your going to want to be alive for the next seven years..take care and thoughts and prayers anre with you and yours from the a Roman perspective.Each generation advances the's always been about ther children my friends.

  99. Portal

    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

  100. Mudashiru A Gbadamosi from Kuwait

    This is a well thought of write up and it was very much in line with the situation the muslims are.The question is are there those who will be faithful to merge the two togethre without been biase?

  101. hasan from US

    First of all there is no traditionalist muslim or a modern muslim. Either you are a good muslim/ah or a bad muslim/ah. Modernty should not be measured by western standards, it should be measured by Islamic standards. Politics and the western world have alot to do with this continuation of divisions between muslims. They give support to rebel and keep dictators that force muslims into excepting western standard of life. Not to put all the blame on the western world, its mostly our own fault that we are so divided and most of that can be blamed on ignorance. Ignorance has prevailed when some sunnis want to kill shi'ites and when some shi'ites want to kill sunnis, when neither one of the above is supposed to exist in Islam. Muslims ought to be one nation, one code of life, one big mass connected by their faith. This is how its supposed to be. Its okay to differ in cultures but we should be the same when it comes to faith!

  102. jobayra from philippines

    bismillahiir rahmaniir rahiim

    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

  103. Katelin from USA

    Very interesting. I have not even really considered the posibility that the two could be reconciled. I think it is very problematic that all diveregent parties believe themselves to be somehow superior than the others. 'Traditionalists' on the one hand looking down at those who even try to embrace 'modernity' while keeping traditions, as immoral and misled. The 'modernists' look down at the 'traditionalists' as backwards, misled, and not understanding the essence of the Qu'ran which is universal by trying to apply a way of living in Medina which was not meant to be how we should live, as many elements of the Medinian society were either non-Islamic or a reaction to non-Islamic elements. Both ways of judging the other are wrong in the sense that we as humans are not fit to judge others. At least in the sense that we are both misled by judging eachother as if we are somehow fit to do so, we are alike in our faults which stem from being human and which can only be overcome with help from the Divine. InshahAllah we will find ways to keep Islamic traditions and culture while being able to live in this world for the time we are in it. InshahAllah we will also be tolerent and accepting of others attempts to reconcile their divinity with their humanity, understanding that there is not only one correct path on the Straight Path. Rather on the Straight Path their are different ways to follow it perhaps.

  104. msakhter from pakistan

    about christains some1 said in 1891, it is too late; now I would like to ask u: where your comments when the strategem was laid in front of us in the garb of 'fundamentalism'. now poisoned minds cannot be cured by these commentaries;I'm looking for book which contains rulings on lottery, usery, exhibition of body&wealth with exact refernce of quranic verse(s)/ Ayath in english; if possible without any reference to lengthy ahadiths; thanx Allah haafiz

  105. reza from usa

    there are no modern muslims or traditional muslims atleast there are suppost to be none; because isalm is a reliogen that fittes every life style. it is good for the past the present and the future.

  106. Sofia Shums from USA

    r from it! (b) Addresses the issue of the "Muslim intellectuals" with a male gender tag attached. The other does not exist in his world view.

    (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!