Reformation in Islam?

Posted by on May 16th, 2008 and filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


THERE is widespread opinion these days, among non-Muslims in particular, that Islam may not be a legitimate faith alongside Judaism and Christianity. If so, should Islam, a universal faith sanctioned by Allah (SWT) through His final prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) undergo a reformation to accommodate current political and social realities?

Muslims are convinced, and enlightened non-Muslims are generally aware, that the Holy prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is God’s messenger who proclaimed the same message brought by Jesus, or prophet Issa (alihis salam). The prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) fulfilled all roles as an expert military commander, comforter, and husband who single-handedly consolidated disparate Arab tribes into one theological nation-state whose influence spanned geological and cultural boundaries. Islam maintained a glorious Islamic civilization for centuries; it revived and influenced a Western “faith” in the physical and biological sciences, and its theological message is so consonant with human nature that it has essentially led to the Christian reformation.

Islam’s contribution to Western civilization has taught Muslims that the Christian religion is so antithetical to human reason, scientific progress and human nature that Enlightenment thinkers, notably Jefferson, Rousseau and Montaigne, upheld practical government based predominantly on human reason and democratic principles while at the same time regulated a Christian religion that they contended had largely been corrupted throughout the centuries. It is easy to conclude therefore, that Islam has benefited Europe rather than retarded its growth. Despite its technological and scientific progress, however, Europe has not upheld such lofty Enlightenment ideals in practice during the first quarter of the twentieth century; it has witnessed two World Wars that were largely based on zealous nationalism, totalitarianism and racism. This is so because no other religious faith provides a balanced solution to all facets of human practical affairs than Islam. Even though Christianity today has largely been reformed so as to conform to human political and social progress, it is generally assumed that it has lost so much of its originality and sincerity, simply because it is saddled with the most unfortunate episodes in modern history.

At present, there is talk about liberalizing the Middle East so that the unfortunate episode of 9/11 does not occur again. But the “liberalizing” project will only backfire because the current liberalization of the West shows clearly that liberalism provides a uniquely secular solution to human social problems that can only be curtailed by a Universal Faith. There is a concerted effort to export European liberalism without critically asking why the rest of the world, especially those in the Middle East, is so adverse to it. There are obvious pitfalls of liberalism, which I endeavored to explain in previous articles, that currently rallies so much resistance; but it seems that whenever Europe and America is confronted with an obvious resistance, largely from Muslim immigrants, to its political and social policies, they respond with detrimental force.

There is no need for Islam to be reformed; rather, European and American communities must continue to engage in serious introspection so that catastrophic world events may not occur in the near future. To do this they must consider seriously what Islam can do to benefit all humanity; and if they continue to resist then it is our responsibility, as concerned Muslims, to convince Europe and America that Islam benefits all of humanity.

The writer is a recent revert to Islam and can be reached at:

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