Islam and the modern world

2522

Abdul Rasool Syed

THE polemics concerning the utility and the relevance of religion in modern world often forms the nucleus of every academic discourse undertaken by the anti-religion western intelligentsia. They are of opinion that religion has exhausted all its usefulness and surrendered to the science once and for all and therefore, it deserves no place in the modern world. Freud, the renowned psychologist, for instance, while expounding on the utility of religion in modern times , says that the human life passes through three distinct psychological faces: superstition, religion and science; this being the era of science, so all the religions were pronounced out of date. However, western literati always stood divided on this very issue. Not all the outstanding scholars were antagonistic towards religion; nor do their works exhibit anything of this sort. The most noted figure among them was the astronomer Sir James Jeans, who started his intellectual career as a Godless septic but was led finally by his scientific explorations to the conclusion that the greatest problems of science could not be resolved without believing in God. The famous sociologist Jeans Bridge went so far as to eulogize Islam for achieving a successful amalgam of the temporal with spiritual into a harmonious system of thought blended with practical code of life. The celebrated English writer Somerset Maugham epitomized the whole attitude of modern Europe towards religion when he remarked that Europe had in the present era discovered a new god of science, in place of the old one.
The god of science has, however, turned out to be extremely fickle, ever-changing and constantly shifting positions, upholding one thing as a fact and reality today and rejecting it the other day as false and spurious. Consequently, its worshippers are doomed to a perpetual state of restlessness and anxiety, for how come they find rest and peace of mind under such a capricious god. It is, therefore, religion alone that can bring peace and tranquillity to the world. It inculcates in man love for goodness and the courage to stand up to the forces of evil and tyranny. Since Islam is the last revealed religion on the surface of earth, it, therefore, is the religion of every day and age. It offers solutions not only the problems of antiquity but also of modern times. Those who think that Islam has become outmoded and is no longer needed, actually, don’t know as to what it stands for, nor do they seem to understand its real mission in human life. The image of Islam that emerges from the books written on Islam and Islamic history written by western orientalists and their disciples and taught ever since colonial period is something like this: Islam was revealed merely to put an end to idolatry and guide man to the worship of God alone; that the Arabs were torn into antagonistic tribes, Islam came and united them; that they were addicted to gambling and drinking and led depraved lives; Islam forbade them from indulging into such depravities and abolished other customs prevalent among them such as burying their daughters alive and wasting away their strength in petty acts of revenge; and that Islam called upon its adherents to spread its message to the world which they did, this ultimately led to the determination of the boundaries of the Islamic world as we know today. This according to these people was the sole purpose of Islam in human life.
They believe that since Islam has accomplished all its afore-mentioned goals, therefore, it has had its day and is no longer needed in the modern world. One listens to this prattle from all quarters. Even some educated and otherwise enlightened persons repeat these assertions like parrot. This case against Islam is, however, a product of sheer ignorance and prejudice. Islam, in fact, stands for peace, fraternity, rule of law, justice and equity—the inescapable requites of every just and fair society. It denounces slavery in all of its kinds and manifestations. It brings to man freedom from fear and oppression. It has had most liberalizing effect on human intellect as it is diametrically opposed to all sorts of superstition. Inter alia, Islam establishes not only peace and harmony but also rids mankind of tyranny and oppression. The contemporary world in this respect presents no better view than it did fourteen hundred years ago, when Islam freed it from all false gods. Tyranny is sill rampant in the guise of haughty kings, insolent demagogues and heartless capitalists who are busy in sucking the blood of the millions, subjugating them and making capital out of their helplessness and misery. Now the question arises, what is the state of the world today? Has man freed himself from all superstitions, imbecilities and absurd beliefs? Has he discovered the man within himself? Has he liberalized himself from the yoke of worldly tyrants, if these lofty goals have not been achieved so far, then Islam has still a great and glorious role to play. Let the man, therefore, turn towards Islam for this is the time for all human beings to flock together under its banner so as to wipe out from the face of the earth all the vestiges of imperialism and exploitation of man by man. Finally, the world with clouds of war still hovering on it cannot but turn towards Islam, the only way to establish and maintain real peace on this earth.
— The writer is a Legal practitioner-cum-columnist based in Quetta Balochistan.

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