By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
27 October 2021
Muslims in the Modern Age Should Develop a Modern Attitude Compatible with the Contemporary Society
1. Islam does not approve of violence in the name of spreading God’s message.
2. Islam was revealed for the modern, scientific society.
3. Muslims should develop a universal and multicultural attitude towards other faiths.
4. Muslims should reshape their attitude towards conversion and proselytisation.
Islam is a modern revealed religion with a clear book and its prophet pbuh has been declared the last and final prophet by the Quran. Since no prophet of God will come after Hadhrat Muhammad pbuh, the responsibility of spreading the message of the Quran has been entrusted with its followers who are called Muslims. But for spreading the message of the Quran – the unity of God, observance of Huququl Ibad (human rights of people) and fulfilling the duty of Amr bil Maruf and Nahi Anal Munkar (enjoining good and warning against evil). The followers of Islam will only give glad tidings to those who do good deeds and warn people against evil deeds. The Quran openly says that if God had wanted all the people to be on one faith, no one would be a denier. He made tribes, nations and different faiths to test the obedience and patience of His devotees.
The Quran also says that the followers of Islam should not force their faith on the followers of other faiths. The holy prophet pbuh has been described by the Quran as Basheer (giver of glad tidings) and Nazeer (warner against evil deeds). Therefore, the followers of Islam will also act only as such and will not use force to impose their faith on others. The Quran also envisages a society where people will worship the same Supreme Self in different ways as it clearly says that God gave every nation its own way of worship and Shariah. And so it does not want the demolition of the places of worship of followers of different religions. More importantly, the Quran says that God repels a group of people when they want to demolish the place of worship of a particular religion. If God had not done so, mosques, and churches, synagogues, monasteries and temples would not have existed as the powerful nations would have demolished them.
“Had Allah not repelled the aggression of some people by means of others, destruction would have surely claimed monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s name is often mentioned”. (Al Hajj: 40)
The above quoted verse clearly outlines the social and religious outlook of Muslims in all times to come. The famous verse in this regard is as follows:
There is no compulsion in religion (Al Kafirun)
Even for those who do not belong to the People of the Book and belong to the community of idol worshippers, the Quran says that Muslims should not act as their guardian or manager to dictate to them what to do and what not to.
But if Allah had willed, they would not have associated. And We have not appointed you over them as a guardian, nor are you a manager over them. (Al Anam: 107)
The Muslims have been advised to spread the word of wisdom among the people and leave their actions to them.
All this point to the modern outlook of the Quran. The Quran was revealed at the advent of the middle ages when scientific developments had been taking very fast. Political and social developments demanded that Muslims should abandon tribal behavior and deal with the issues of social and political importance from a scientific point of view. The Quran mentions scientific facts very frequently and also enjoins on the Muslims to develop a scientific outlook and a community with scientific outlook will not live the life of a tribe, of savages and keep engaged themselves in wars and plundering. Islam envisages an urban society with a sophisticated culture where lines are drawn for every individual and for every community so that they cannot encroach on the rights and purview of others. All the issues of social and political and communal importance are to be resolved and sorted out peacefully with the involvement of all the parties. Warfare and bloodshed is the last thing the Quran approves of.
One important issue that is debated among the Islamic intellectuals of today is that of religious conversion. In a multicultural and multireligious society that we live in today, campaign for conversion is seen as an attempt to change the religious demography of an area and an indirect religious warfare. This causes bad blood among the members of different religious communities. When we study the verses of the Quran on the issue, we come across the verses that ask Muslims to simply deliver the message of the Quran to the non-believers and then let them go. The Quran does not ask Muslims to forcibly convert people into Islam. On the contrary, this practice is strongly criticized by the Quran when it says:
“But if Allah had willed, they would not have associated. And We have not appointed you over them as a guardian, nor are you a manager over them”. (Al Anam: 107)
The modern age is an age of enlightenment and modern scientific developments have changed the outlook of the people towards religion. People look at the concept of God from modern scientific perspective. They do not look at God as the people in the seventh century looked at Him. They practice religion to attain spiritual solace and spiritual happiness and they practice religion according to their own understanding. They convert to other religions solely on their own understanding as literature on all the religions is abundantly available.
Therefore, Muslims of the modern age should develop a new outlook towards religion and towards the followers of different faiths. Modern political conditions require Muslims to have a modern attitude towards the work of Dawah and the issue of Conversion. They should act only as a warner and educator and as a worker for the better of the whole society, not for the Muslims alone. Religion should be a facilitator and a means for spiritual development as all the religions aim for the spiritual development of the people. No religion preaches violence and forcible conversion.
Islam aims to build a society on noble ideals and principles. It does not want to build a society based on coercion, force and bloodshed. It stresses on quality, not quantity. Therefore, Muslims in the modern age should develop a modern attitude compatible with the contemporary society without violating the fundamental spirit of Islam.
S. Arshad is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.
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