Modernize or Languish

Category: Asia, Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society Topics: Ummah (Community) Views: 4034

'Modernize or Languish' could be a charitable understatement. A more realistic assessment would be 'Modernize or perish'. Muslims stand today at a crossroad where the way forward lies in modernizing their outlook, changing their hackneyed ways to progress, and  modifying their way to teach the children. It also requires sending across the enlivening message of Islam, beam the benign image of their faith, impart to their women the freedom Islam has guaranteed and free them from the shackles the so-called Islamic and principally Arab societies have imposed on them.

The series of tragedies that have befallen the ummah during the humiliating capitulation of Afghanistan and Iraq in recent months, seem to clearly stem from their being a people who refuse to move forward, a people who have technically fallen behind the others and the ones who refuse to heed the call of the times. Even in the ambience of India we appear to have paid heavily for the backwardness of the community. And ironically, so dead set has been the community against the change, that every call to modernize has always been confused with 'Westernization' and consequently rejected. Modernizers like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan or Rachid Ghanouchi always lived under the fear of being called heretic. Those bolder than them like Ataturk had to almost turn 180 degrees exasperated as he got with the ulema. He was forced to adopt extreme and unfortunate postures against them and earn the ill-will of the larger ummah spread over distant lands.

Science and technology keep their relentless pace. The nations and communities that get outpaced, fall behind, lending the baton of power and progress to others. Once the rivals get empowered, their main concern shifts to denying the weapons of empowerment and science and technology to those who have fallen behind. So Arabs and Muslims are denied the cryogenic engines, nuclear fuels, reactors, remote sensing satellites etal. But at the same time, the same West is too willing to sell them air conditioners, colas, pagers, TV transponders, credit cards, McDonald burgers, Raybans, Guccis, Reeboks, Christian Diors, Sheaffers, Hollywood films and all other luxuries the sick West is ready to spit out and can be used to rake in some moolah. These do make the Arabs appear rich, but add nothing to their arsenal that could take them forward. 

This must encapsulate the tragic saga of the ummah lost in the wilderness of ignorance and illiteracy. The way forward lies in modernizing the attitude to knowledge, altering its world vision, and imparting to itself a new course whereby we could reject the tools of cultural degeneration and choose the ones of empowerment. The goal should lie even beyond this. It should envision empowerment of all, the black nations of Africa, the underdogs of South Asia, the Dalits of India, the subaltern classes of the Latin and North America. It should develop technologies that dilute monopolies, undermine concentration of power, evolve methods of sustainable development, knock out coteries at the United Nations and ensure equi-distribution of the Planet Earth's riches among nations of the world. 

This could be an over ambitious goal for the ummah looking at its current pathetic plight where it confuses the richness with progress, imitation as invention, borrowing of technology as scientific development and winning a few converts for its faith in the West as genuine dawah. The reality is that slavery of the ummah to the West was never more critically grave than today. 

The immediate precondition for a drastic change will be the removal of fuzziness of the objective. Unless the ummah says 'yes' to Modernization and 'no' to Westernization, the way forward may not be distinct from the beaten track.


  Category: Asia, Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society
  Topics: Ummah (Community)
Views: 4034

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Older Comments:
Okay, nobody seems to have suggested this yet, so here goes. My suggestion, to the Taliban, is try again but this time consider trying something perhaps a bit different than last time.

1) Do not prohibit your fellows from marching towards the Fire - if they appear determined to do so - so long as you have warned them of the direction in which they are headed.

2) Concentrate the savings in effort instead on preventing your fellows - who appear determined on marching towards the Fire - from dragging their neighbors with them.

Assalamu Alaikum (wa Lihub Billah).

Assalamualaykum.Dear brothers and sisters,
I agree to modernisation and disagree to westernisation.But i guess we can't do anything until our leaders support us.Also we are hollow without the islamic soul.We are being brainwashed and programmed by these western figures.The shaytan is controlling us.We have to strenghthen our faith then victory is ours.We have to learn how to use media for our purpose .To spread the truth and free those lead astray.But remember Islam has respect for all religions .It is a peaceful religion.

muslims are turning to modernize muslims which means not good muslims but just showing off muslims.In other words hypocricy.Which means saying something but doing something else.We need to prepaRE ourselfes for the hereafter.

The challenge to the Ummah is to live true to the teaching of the Golrious Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Achievement in science and technology is not a pre-condition for the success or otherwise of the Islamic faith. Rather, it the consequence of the true practice of the faith, in its original prestine form (not modernise).

The primary purpose of our temporary stay on earth is to attain favour with our Lord, and ultimately life in the Hereafter. Seeking sustenance (or excellence) in our duniyah should not divert us from the ultmate goal.

Certainly, we need to use Islam to address the needs of a troubled world, where the pursuit of duniyah has become the primary purpose of life, and where the concept of life in the Hereafter is giving little or no consideration.


Connecting to Allah! How? I don't agree with Khursheed since these slogans of connecting to Allah are all over the places. These will become just emotional rhetoric, until it is formulated into the practical terms. Very easy to say that Qu'ran and Sunnah are our guidelines, but the modern world requires modern techniques also. I am not talking of the spirit of Qur'an or Sunnah, but the physical aspect. In the past 3 to 4 hundred years, people has risen up with the concept of Khilafat at different places, their intention were also good, but miserably fell apart because they have failed to mobilise the modern warfare and modern economical, social and other necessities to further their holy cause, resulting in disaster. Taliban were very serious of establishing Khilafat, and Mullah Omar was a very pious man. What happened? They have refused to adopt the requirements of the modern era. Companions of the Prophet (saw) use to spend time with him to uplift their character and Imaan and apply into their lives. Instead of throwing slogans of uplifting Iman, Prophet (saw) showed them the steps to elevate their Imaan. For example, teachings like helping your neighbour, be kind to your parents, how to pray, importance of Zakat, how to be humble, character building, understanding Qur'an and Sunnah with the right approach, brotherhood etc.. If connecting to Allah is the straightforward solution of today, then why in the midst of renowned companions, Khilafat has gone into the hands of tyranny? Why? Musa Ashari, Amr bin Al Aas, Ali, Abdullah bin Zubair, Hussein, Talha, all were there but could not able to stop the power going into tyranny, from where we have not able to recover. Brothers and Sisters, Islam requires practical solutions, just not empty slogans. We need to build Imaan by taking steps and those steps should be defined clearly. We should complement Imaan with political think tanks, banks, factories, schools, welfare centres. Shuja Syed

Assalamalaikum. The most important treasure for a muslim is his/her deen. We have to remember that knowledge-seeking, as long as it is halaal, is desirable and recommended for every muslim. Progress is also good and definitely should be sought not by trampling on sister's hijabs or men's beards, but rather by promoting and enforcing Islamic principles hand-in-hand with wordly knowledge. We have to strive and God has to help us in acheiving this fine balance. This article should not serve as an excuse for women to put away their hijab or for muslims to talk to the opposite sex freely at their place of work. Every worldy achievement shines when done under the protective umbrella of Islam, and definitely there is a need for this type of progress. Wassalam.

The way forward is not the mere adoption of "modernisation" per se but an understanding,appreciation & adoption of Islamic principles,thoughts , practices and philisophies.If we can live with Islam in all its greatness, as contained in the holy Quran , Sunnah / Hadith and the teachings of the Ulema, than the full potentials of Muslims would be realised. The Islamic greatness in the past is a prime example of what Muslims could achieved. For this to happen Muslims have to see Islam beyond the rituals and religious practises and hold it up as holistic.The end sought is always Allah's blessings and or in line with Allah's or His Messenger's exhortations.The Al Quran calls on us to think of Allah's greatness on earth and in the universe. For Muslims to be able to do just that many fields of knowledge would have to be present.And so a Muslims cannot be ignorant and stupid because Allah's exhortations cannot be met if this was the case. This illustrates the fact that to be a Muslim one must be knowlegeable. And if Muslims are by and large knowleageable than Islam & Muslims would have been served very well. The root of being a Muslim is knowledge for without knowledge than the building block of religious practises, praying ,reciting the Holy Quran and many more cannot be achieved in all its worthiness.That knowledge must than be extended into all spheres because everything on earth & the universe belongs to all Allah and therefore there cannot be anything that knowledge is forbidden from unless enjoined so by Islam.Knowledge than become the building block of greatness or modernisation. But as mentioned earlier this can only be achieved if we have a true appreciation of Islam beyond its rituals and into its philisophies.

Does this author really seek to claim that Attaturk was a heroic moderniser with the best interests of the ummah at heart rather than a simpering, obsequious anglophile enamoured by the west and desperate to emulate them in every way, even to the point of trying to scour Islam out of the heart of his country?

Changes are needed, of course, but looking to men like him as guiding lights is the wrong way to go about it.

A very pragmatic article. I am not sure whether the author will be reading this but if so i would like to invite him to ellaborate further on the 'modernizing of our attittude to knowledge' by offering some practical advise on how this can be achieved on both an individual and collective level. This would be much appreciated, and I pray that the Lord of the Al-Amin blesses his efforts and that Allah can pour noor into the hearts of many young pragmatic brothers and sisters so that we may move forward and positivley contribute to a progresive ummah.

History proves that when, in centuries gone by, Islam embraced modernization and when many of it's scholers were on the cutting edge of science and technology, Christians and Jews were able to prosper alongside their submitted brothers who accepted the final revelation. So, our vision for the future is hidden within the victories of the past. A flourishing ummah is indeed in the interest of all of Allah's creation, whether submitted or not.

Notwithstanding the above, it is true that we can only do our best individually and collectively, and that we must ultimately submit ourselves to whatever is written in the will of Allah. This may be that the ummah does not rise once again. What we CAN do however is to make every effort to positivley contribute and to analyse carefully our attitudes towards positive change - not western change as accurately pointed out by the author. I will sign off by again inviting brother A.W. Sadatullah Khan to further reveal his thoughts regarding how we can go about modernizing our attitudes towards knowledge.

Salaam Aleykom

I agree with the author but again we are told what the problem is but are not given any practical pointers on how to achieve change.The Islamic world is not going to change while almost all muslims are trying to look after themselves. Private graft is taking up everybodys time. Go into any mosque throughout the world and you will most likely find that people bang their heads on the ground like robots and then zip up their mouths and go home.
The only people who spared their time, effort and money for fellow muslims were Osama Bin Laden and others like him. The Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) said that good muslim is one who wishes for his fellow muslim brother what he wishes for himself. How are we to change anything if we don't give our fellow muslims a second thought?
All the people who I talk to quote one hadith to me. That is the Prophet said: save yourselves and your families from the hell fire. They are trying to achieve this by spending all God given hours making money. We have to change ourselves first by setting aside time each week for the community. The prophet and his companions were selfless while today we muslims have become selfish. Modernisation is not only about learning technology, we have to change our inner selves first and become real muslims who follow Islam in the letter and spirit.

Asif Khan writes "We hear about China, Russia, Japan, nations non-Western that have managed to "Modernize" so why cannot we? Well, all three of these great nations have very sad human rights and war records that could put any Western nation to shame."

Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan all fit the above criteria, with either their war records or their human rights records. Or both. Actually, when you think of it, Pakistan has nukes and Iran has reactors, and possibly nukes, so they *are* modern to a certain definition. The technological advancements only seem to be for the military, though. Is that what this article is really about? More military technology? The author mentions wanting cryogenic engines, nuclear fuels, and reactors. Does the author even care for the 'regular people'? I wonder...


I really not understand about Muslim attitude nowdays.... we all agree and believed Al-Quran is complete source for our life to be succesfull khalifaht in this world and Akhirah. then... why we r looking on wrong place to fix our problem?

Islam is simple religion. Our core value is IMAN (faith/piety), ILMU(knowledge) and Amal(action). Example :If u r learned Science/technology (knowledge) and trying to create something new (action) but without (IMAN)piety, u can misuse the knowledge and creating something wrong such as porn website! and cannot prevent any immorality strikes. Nowdays...We are talking too much on ILMU and AMAL but abandone the IMAN! Equilibrium on this three elements are really important.How to do this? Lets take the Quran and Sunnah as our main reference, not books of science.

I'm agree with Khursheed - we are always looking in the wrong places for fixing the problem. FIX OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALLAH AND ALLAH WILL FIX OUR PROBLEM................... Insyallah.

Modernization & Consumption are bedfellows, we must realize. Perhaps the author should tartly have titled the article Consume or Languish!!!!
Ha ha hah h ah ha! How ironic. Imagine a Muslim
Ummah that does not need to spend trillions of
dollars pointlessly exploring space, building
weapons of mass destruction, driving around in
huge tractor sized SUVs, travelling and touring around the globe incessantly, watching semi-nude
women and men in movies day in day out, wearing the latest fashionable clothes, drinking 100s of kinds of alcoholic drink, eating junky unhealthy food like pigs, running up huuuuuge medical bills, inhaling pharmeceutical drugs by the pound every day, gambling their savings on the stock market, should I go on? Anyway, obviously such an Ummah would be backward by sheer laws of economics. Where will they come up with state taxes to build roads and schools. There would be no tobacco taxes, gas taxes, gambling taxes, I mean how will the government run? Lets face it, a philandering fornicating gambling boozing war mongering being makes the backbone of "Modern" society. There is no use of stingy conservative homely eco-friendly people. The third world is full of them, and you can see the result. Such a lot would leave little incentive for "research and development" the latest big screen, the tiniest hand-held, there'd be no market for it. Let us face the facts, Muslims would make terrible modernizers. No point of modernizing a people whose core values are traditional.

I think the problem is people are mistaking what is technological advancement, what is social advancement, and what is economical advancement? Question is how we can achieve this will not losing our faith, values, and moral. How can we get advance technology and not bringing the social disease of the west? This seems to be very complicated at first. But surely it is not, FOLLOW QURAN AND SUNNAH TO THE EXTENT THAT IT REQUIRES US TO FOLLOW. We had all the knowledge, we had the technology, and we were economical sound. What changed my brother in Islam? What has changed is our behavior. With this change came all the diseases. Now we are always worried about our image in other people's (social group, countries, and religion) eyes. But have stop and think about how we are looking to ALLAH (most merciful). HE is telling us in QURAN line after line, sura after sura that IF YOU MOVE AWAY FROM THE PATH I WILL CERTANILY BRING YOU DOWN. I think we are always looking in the wrong places for fixing this problem. FIX OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALLAH AND ALLAH WILL FIX OUR PROBLEM.

The word accountability is unknown to the Muslims of today. For example, in 1995, the average income of a U.S. and Saudi citizen was at par (21 thousand), today the average income of an American rose to more than 25 thousand while, shockingly, an average Saudi citizen earns only little over 2 thousand dollars. What happened? How come the income has fallen so much? Who is to blame? For 12 years, millions of Muslims have travelled for Hajj while their Muslim brothers and sisters were dying in hunger in Iraq. This is our situation. We have all the time to blame and blast George Bush like a memorized poem, but we have no time to go after Muslim traitors, who have participated with others and crushed their own people. Geographically, Iraq is located at the heart of the Arab world surrounded by the Muslim countries from all sides, and yet has to sacrifice its 1.5 million people due to hunger and starvation. Not a single Muslim country was ready to lift the sanctions and yet we foolishly and conveniently blame United States for the misery. Pope use to send condolences and food, but I never hear Imam Kaba had done the same. Tariq Aziz was received by Pope himself, but I dare Imam Kaba can do the same thing. Muslims are the most self-centered and selfish in the world. We have to look into mirrors now. Not only that, in England, Indian and Chinese students have scored more than 63% last year, while Pakistani children have fallen way behind. Where is the critical analysis? Why don't we have evaluation process for ourselves? Mosques have turned into Muslim ghettos! The dictators are all around the place. Shuja

well, what can be said other than that everything happening is written by Allah. Maybe and i insist on MAYBE it's because so many people in the arab world are to quick to declare themselves as true muslims when their actions don't go that way...
modernize or perish??!! no i don't think so, more then one billion declared muslims!!! great Islam will only disappear if Allah gets angry! surely he can do everything, so we must try to be better people and fight paranoia and force our governments to respect the teachings of the prophet (pbuh), NO familly dinasty rulers!!!!

The writer of this article is trying to exhort Muslims to
action using empty words and little clarification of the
terms he uses. If there was a time when unified clear
and concise calls for action to bring about change in
our Ummah were needed, this is the time. However, our
way is to base our thoughts and actions on the Quran
and the Sunnah. These texts are where the answer to
our plight are found. Words like "modernization" or
"westernization" are meaningless in this context.

Consider the Costs of Modernization which started
say around 1500 AD. 1st there were the slaves, then the guns, then bigger guns, Colonization came next, indentured labor after that, then the wars started, Napolean, WWI, WWII, Atom Bomb, Carpet Bomb, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Needed Oil for all this, Enter the Third World Dictator.
We hear about China, Russia, Japan, nations non-Western that have managed to "Modernize" so why cannot we? Well, all three of these great nations have very sad human rights and war records that could put any Western nation to shame. Perhaps we Muslims will need to go thru the same butchery to achieve the same result. Then what will be the difference between us and them? Perhaps it is better to be "backward" but peaceful, then "forward" and butcherish.

Charles Jacks writes: ...Of course the west would not allow anyone else to "conquer space"

I hate these petty little 'bon mots'. If the West wouldn't allow anyone else to conquer space, how come Japan, Russia, China and Korea have all been there? Did they all get special dispensation from 'the West'? Of course not. Instead of talking about it, they did it.

If we were to modernise, then we would have to become machines, build products of leisure and wepons of destruction, all that will decrease the number times we remember Allah. Todays modernisation had brought people to think that they do not need Allah. You forgot how modernisation desrespects nature. We were suppose to be the Khlifa of this earth,take care of. How foolish we were (the insan) to take the burden. ( the Qura'an states that.) I rather sleep in a hut and glorify Allah with the trees around me than have my technology. There is so much knowledge we can attain but modern knowledge is unhealthy knowledge it is usually descovered for the wrong intention, usually by people who are trying to make earth a heaven when it is truley a prison. I can recall a hadith that the prophet Mohammed (pbuh): there will be the time where it is better to walk than to run and better to stand than to walk and better to sit than to stand. Perhps you should look at the Sufis, they did work but only to give charity, they married but because Allah commands it and they sociallised but only to seek truth and the rest of their time ( wich was most of their time) they spend it remebering Allah. This is a time where we are not ready to fight nor to give in to the dreams of a Kafir, it is is a time to sit and wait. I, myself am a student of engineering but I don't kill myself studying, to me it is a trade what is more important is the knowledge of Din. If killing one soul unjustly is like killing the whole of man kind, then a stray bullet that kills some one had just killed the whole of mankind. Than maybe guns should not be used and we are thinking of adopting bombs. Shame on those who think that way. People think to much instead of rembering enough.
I end this comment with asking fogivness of Allah the All Merciful and Knowing. And Salli wa Sallam for our Propet Mohammend (pbuh)


Well said. Now is the time to capitalize on the oil revenues and educate the Muslim world. Invision a time when the best Universities are in Greater Arabia, Iraq, and Iran.

By the way, are sneakers really evil?

Consider enjoining what is good by reverting that which could - so to speak - be made enjoinable. Western fashion can be useful for showing the signs of Allah's blessings - so to speak - so consider the possibility of reverting Western fashion from that which would seem either vain or immodest.

Praise God - it would seem that piety among Westerners is becoming fashionable again. May those who pursue piety - for themselves and those they cherish - be rewarded.

Assalaamu Alaikum.

Why not welcome into your community misfortunate scientists specializing in technologies you wish to see promoted? A possible drawback could be that they might, in essence, observe only the first three pillars of Islam - at least initially.

Assalamu Alaikum.

Though I appreciate the concern raised by the writer, but I do not see the downfall of Muslims with western perspective. If we go into details of Quran, Hadith and the golden period of Islamic history, we sincerely observe that they were never demorlised by the big empires of the time. They never tried to adopt their culture. They never compromised on Islamic principles. Rather they changed the soul and mind of the adversories with true Islamic thinkings. The invaders converted to the protector of Islam(humanity).If Quran is understood in it real perspective, it will become easy to be adaptive of every right things without thinking about it's origin. When Quran repeatedly motivate for education(Ilm)/Tafaqqur, it never distinguish between social or natural science. When a nuculear scientist observes the piculiar structure and action of electron, proton & neutron ,his 'Mushahda' about it's creator becomes more perfect. Having true Islamic spirit, it is my firm belief that 'Sunnatullah' is applicable to entire mankind without distinguishing the caste, creed and religion. Whoever will adapt it upto what extent , he will achieve success accordingly ('succes' is a very misunderstood word, I mean it for this world, as well as, the everlasting world). So the problem of Islamic world is very simple. We have pulled out it's foundation stone and the entire building has collapsed. If we put the foundation stone at it's right place the building will come up. We all of us should try to work in this direction. I have seen some American websites through which I am surprised that they are going to adopt this in the name of 'social sciences'. Are we not afraid that we may be 'replaced'. Do we presume that the 'law of nature(sunnatullah)has been changed in our case. No, rather it is working on us but it is His rahmat that we are getting time.

Very well said. I agree completely

think about Akhira! we r here to think about akhir and prepar ourselves for it. we first ned to fix our Iman (Faith) then think about ths workdly life. we cud at least do both. teaching our childrento think about this world so much is no way a ay to survive. Allah says He will not change our conditions unless we change whatis within ourselves. Allah means o fi or Iman (Faith) first and follow his commandmens, then I promise Muslims will rise again. sure go to school get education and jobs, Islam totally promots that, but at the same time no way to think about this world so much is gona make us survive. Allah says He will wipe out every nation if the do not dotheir job i.e.invite to islam, think about hereafter of cousewe need to modernize, it is part of Islam but not so much get stuck in this worldlylife that Allah will abondon u just like abondoned him, His Slave's Sunnah And ALLAh's commandments...

As Salamu Calaykum

As for Asif Khan's comment, all the so-called have immitated the perverse qualities and behaviours of western nation. The only thing we have yet to imitate is their technological and financial success. We have pedophiles, politicians, movie stars, drug addicts, homosexuals, rapists, muslim alchohlics, sheikh pimps, maula drug dealers and gangbangers. The social evil has already been transferred. Transfer the benefits as well. I mean a pimp without a rolls royce just doesn't seem right. Especially a sheikh pimp.

Forgive my volatile remarks but we must stop criticising those of us with good ideas simply because it is a bit controversial or contrary to idealogy. That is comparable to the catholic church. might as well form a Muslim Church.


Forgive me, if not, I will seek Allah's forgiveness.

Children should be taught worldly skills. They need to survive this world in order for them to practise deen. Hadith will not get them a job. When they reach the age of decision, they can decide wether to pursue deen or not. You can't force deen on kids, it's a crime. Allah brings guidance, not human intervention. No matter what you teach, only Allah makes it worthwhile. Pray for the children and stop arguing. Your point of view doesn't matter. The points of views of all is meaningless. Islam Is "ALLAH is One and Muhammad is His Rassool." Don't hate. We came from ALLAH's Rahma, why bother with hate. Love Allah and his rassool instead.

May peace and blessing of the Highest be upon Rassool and His lovers.

I totally agree with this article and its author. It is so well written and perfectly clear.I love the idea of not confusing "modernization" with westernization.Just because the West may seem modernized, the West does not represent modernization because it has only progressed materialistically and is very spiritually deficient.Equating modernization with westernization is the number one mistake that the "Muslim" world has done because their troubles started whern they took the first step in trying to modernize by looking to the West. First, they abondoned the one ideology that helped them advance beyond any other nation or empire, that being ISLAM of course because a look at history proves this strong assertion. The West views modernization as leaving the past behind and advancing into the future with new ideas, new technology, new scientific achievements, new nuclear weapons. Western thinking involves thinking of ways to improve the quality of life for its citizens even if these great thinkers are only interested in the present worldly life and really don't care for the hereafter.The challenge for Muslim nations is to improve the lives of their citizens and at the same time teach them that they can have the best of both worlds. This means borrowing positive ideas from the West while not falling into the trap of materialism that the West has used as propaganda into luring countries that are behind economically.We should not depend on those with power to lend us some of that power in exchange for oil or anything else that they lack and we have plenty of.We have to know how to use our resources effectively and independently without outside influence. The "Muslim" world today has lost its independence. All of the once occupied nations are still occupied intellectually by the super powers of the world.There have not only been two wars fought against Afganistan and Iaq, but there is a major undercover war being fought against any nation that defies Western Ideals.

As Salamu Calaykum Wa Raxmatullahi Wa Barakatuh

I am totally for modernization. In fact, I am a modern muslim. Modern is just a word. The real travesty is the enmity a simple world raises in the minds of muslims who call themselves educated. Modern is not something belonging solely to western people. They attained through corruption and war. Our goal is to attain through peace.

However, I see no peace in a so-called muslim ummah that blows into hostility over mere words. We must teach our children in a way that makes teaching more fun than TV and video games. No child would rather the Sira when he has super mario waiting for him. No child cares about deen with starfox to keep him busy. We, in our stupid rhetoric and arguments have made deen boring for children. When a child asks a simple question, we pump them full of senseless hadith and leave as though we gave him true knowledge. Teach useful lessons like math and grammar and skipping. Anything but deen. Make them memorize Quran. Tell them the translation. let them learn as children.

Does anyone else have a problem with this paragraph? - "So Arabs and Muslims are denied the cryogenic engines, nuclear fuels, reactors, remote sensing satellites etal. But at the same time, the same West is too willing to sell them air conditioners, colas, pagers, TV transponders, credit cards, McDonald burgers, Raybans, Guccis, Reeboks, Christian Diors, Sheaffers, Hollywood films and all other luxuries the sick West is ready to spit out"

So Mr. Khan thinks the way to 'Modernisation' is to develop nuclear weapons and other tools of war, but he thinks that it's the West that's sick?

For the other posters here, I see no reason why modernisation can't take place within or without the umbrella of Islam. But let's be realistic. It won't happen without world class *scientific* education, increased literacy, empowerment for all, and an open mind. How long will it take for the Ummah to achieve these things? That is the real question.

If modernization means deeps understanding of fiqh to help mankind, build technology to defend the deen of Allah and to help bring ease to His creation. Than that is way to go. Muslims did it before and they will do it again.

However, if modernization means implementing laws that will make it much more difficult to establish the deen of Allah and make the life of mutaqi that much difficult (like hijjab in turkey was banned by law), then such mordernization was rejected by Muslims before and they will reject it again.

Whatever a Muslim does, is to please Allah and to establishes His deen on earth.

In my opinion, right now the duty of muslim needs attention in following areas:

1. to get deep education on quran, hadith and fiqh sciences (which is abandoned completely in recent generations). This mean establishing universites.

2. defend their land and their law (shariah) by acquiring the needed technology, not by borrowing, but by building it them selves. This means establishing science centers and defense institutions.

3. establish economy by inter trading amongsts other muslim nations and keep their businesses inhouse. This means establishing commerce.

4. Cultivate our lands to bring out the best fruits from Allah. This means establishing research centers.

5. Establish bait-ulmaal to help the needy. This means establishing welfare and emergency centers.

The only problem is the point 1, 2, and 3 can not be achieved under imperialist and colonized society. It requires freedom. Freedom of actions, freedom of our lands and Freedom of minds. Most of us are busy watching cable others are busy building missiles for lockheed martin, so where do we find time.

Most importantly, none of us feels the need of getting out of "what we are doing" and make some sacrifice to work for establishing our own society and our own system that will ruled by our own law. This includes myself.

Unless we learn this one word sacrifice, we are

AS-SALAAMU ALAIKUM. The term modernize is a realative tern and means different things to different people. Though Our main writer and respondents have made important points, I feel that we are missing the main important point.

The problem of our UMMAH is our insincerity to our belief in ALLAH. We say we are believers but almost every aspect of our collective lives are evidence of only skin deep belief. The evidence is ou there for all to see.

To modernize we need ALLAH, meaning we must re-assess our way of life and build the most important teachings of ALLAH and his prophet in every aspect of our lives. For example we can organize our scientific base all we want but if IKHLAS is not its foundation (and currently I think there is a tilt towards worldly knowledge among Muslims rather than a parallel process of being an informed Muslim as well as a good professional), our achievements will only go so far. As Sayyedinaa Umar once told those with him, "We must take utmost care with our Iman, for this is the basis for success of believers over their challengers"; when we do not take care of our Iman, we will never reach to the hieghts that Islam would give us. I believe we need to go back to basis and start from there.

If we do this then, INSHA ALLAH, ALLAH will be with us in the sense that HE says "ALLAH does not change the condition of a people unless they cahnge it for themselves".

Much of what we raise therefore are important, but they will crumble without the proper foundation i.e. a true belief in ALLAH evidenced in our lives (without the evident contradiction we see today).

These are thoughts, if I have said anything unworthy may ALLAH forgive me and protect the reader from it, otherwise ALHAMDULIL_LAH RABIL AALAMIIN.

I find myself somehwere in the middle on this issue. I would agree that there needs to be some changes in the way Muslim Society interacts with the west, but it certainly does not need to capitulate to it. Western society does have technology and the ability to influence many people, but does that technology and western influences bring something to Islam that is in keeping with Allah's Will? We can't let technology and the morals of the west negatively influence Islam.


I think brother Usman Sheikh needs to choose his words more carefully next time. WHy do you think we muslims in the west understand Islam better than the rest of the world ? If you ask me we are more spoiled and arrogant to Islam than others. We tend to question things for the sake of questioning and not practicing. We tend to find Halal ways of doing Haram things. We need to become better muslims and obey Allah's commandments, and in that lies the modernization that muslims need to be sucessful in this life and the hereafter.

as a muslim we are trying to find solution every problems we have but we are fail to look how Allah wants us to find solutions for mankind. now a days we don,t even identify ourselvs as muslims, look at the words we use such as arabic muslim, american muslim, indian muslim, kurdi muslim, sunni muslim or many other. i am a muslim that should be enough and need nothing else

In a world that is advancing scientifically and technologically those that don't keep up will be left behind, or far worse treated as no more worthy than trash to be disposed of at will by those that have superior knowledge and technology. The West has played out that scenario on every continent it has come in contact with. It is seen every day in its language of "red neck", "savage", "barbarian" in which those with less knowledge are treated as the "great unwashed" , scum to be exploited or removed instead of lifted up.
Sure there is danger in knowledge and technology. These are enabling, powerful and if power corrupts then more power corrupts more. But to assume the Muslim population should be held in ignorance because there will be a "social cost" due to the few that will fail this test is too doom the Muslim population to slavery and death just because you don't trust your neighbor.
Humans are learning animals and you cannot prevent them from learning something. The question is what will it be? Those who are not taught the good by intent will learn of bad by discontent.
But there is a much more important consideration. When the Jews lost their status as the chosen people it was stated that that status would be given to those who would "produce the fruits thereof". Part of those fruits are people that can be trusted with power and have the knowledge to use it. The ignorant, the enslaved and the dead don't meet that criterion.

A'Salam wr wb!

This is a highly relevant subject. Just one suggestion; it would have been just as effective if there was no mention were made of any particular Muslim race. We're all victims as well as responsible in the system.

More importantly, this discussion will be better appreciated and the problem managed if we had better measures of our Ummah's position as a starting point. I guess one good measure would be comparing literacy of Muslim countries. Another is the % of Muslim scientists. I'm suggesting another, which is the level of our Ummah's control of Intellectual Property, both as a measure of wealth as well as a critical ingredient for generating future wealth and control of the economy.

There should not be too many, maybe a couple more to complete the list of key measures.

"Can't improve what you can't measure", and it must be the relevant measures!

Kind regards, was'Salam

Hj Zin, Malacca

This editorial touched on an important issue and i agree with the extreme urgency of modernization. The crucial question is how to modernize while, as the writer described, the Arabs and Muslims are shuffled away every time they try. The answer is, look how China is doing it. They depend on themselves at home and their people everywhere else. Still some Muslim countries accomplished breakthrough from the glass ceiling, Malaysia in technology and Pakistan in Nuclear. Sincere cooperation among Muslims could help the rest.

I absolutely agree with this article. The arab nations which are rich only because of OIL are still dependent on Western Technologies to run there affairs. I disagree with Asif Khan that with modernization comes evil is absolutely ridicoulous. You have to change with time but your principles should remain the same. Muslims in Western countries learn the true meaning of being a muslim. They come here with so many opportunies to deviate (which some do) and still manage to balance it with faith. The only way to modernize people is through education which includes not just islam. And through education we can change attitudes. This world is made of humans so we should treat each other as we treat our muslim brothers or even better. "MODERNIZATION IS NOT WESTERNIZATION". We should not be pulling our selves back but forward. Even if some conspirators think that the west is poisoning the young muslim generation mind then it should educate the muslim generation so much that we won't have to worry about it. Minds are susceptible to change. We need to live with reality and accept it rather deny it. Live in the times and you will judged accordingly. Those who think that we should will live with out technology and western culture or clothes is ridiculous. Thank you

To Christians like me, Modernization does not mean the acceptance of sin or evil but a the acquiring of new practices to fight that which is not from God. So we use Modern Music, Technology and any thing else that is godly to spread the gospel and to praise God. We understand that nothing is in this world, which is not from God, and it is only in the manner is which one uses it that makes it sinful or godly. So, I will use everything within the reach of my hands and power, and God willing, I will spread the Word of God (Jesus' Love), to all four corners of the world. You (Muslims) could do the same, but I rather you not, until I visit your home as a friend and let you know about the Good News brought forward by Jesus Christ.

Here We Go Again. Another Empty Sloganizer. Encouraging us Muslims to Modernize while washing our hands off the bad social costs that go with that. As if anyone can pick and choose as they wish. If it was so easy to modernize, but not get stuck with all the social costs of doing the same, why would not the Western societies have done the same! Modernizing comes with Social Evil attached. So modernize at your own risk. You cannot separate the two.