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Islam in the Modern World

Islam in the Modern World Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Normal Tablo"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; :10.0pt; "Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} The Prophet of Islam made a number of notable predictions which have been recorded in the books of hadith. One of these being that, in the final phase of human life on earth, the word of Islam will reach all human beings inhabiting this world. In other words, future times will see the intellectual ascendancy of Islam.


However, if the word of God is to be brought into every home, conditions must exist which will favor the success of such a mission. Without such conditions no such goal can be reached. Fortunately, recent studies show that as a result of revolutions occurring over the last several years, conditions now prevail which are more conducive than ever to the communication of the Islamic message. That process having been set in motion, individuals from different communities have begun embracing Islam in countries all over the world. Now, the need of the hour is for servants of God to arise and, by fully availing of new opportunities, play a decisive role in the last and most significant chapter of Islamic da‘wah.


Da‘wah is the real strength of Islam. It is through da‘wah that Islam makes continuous progress. That is why, in every age, believers have seen fit to engage themselves in this task. Today, there are greater opportunities than hitherto to make Islamic da‘wah a success. The communication of the message of God has certainly been going on in every age. But now modern circumstances have made it possible for this task to be performed with a greater degree of efficacy than ever before, and on a truly universal scale.


Today, opportunities to carry out da‘wah work are legion. But I shall cite only a few examples to illustrate my point.




Proof of the Existence of God


Rationalists have habitually attempted to deny the existence of God by asking, "If God created the universe, who created God?" Now, as we are nearing the end of the 20th century, it has become possible to answer this question on a purely rational level. This new possibility arises out of the big bang theory, which has now gained general acceptance among cosmologists. With the big bang theory, we have necessarily to accept a first cause underlying the creation of the universe. That is, if there were no cause, the universe would not have existed. It has made it possible for us to tell the rationalists that all along they have been giving their attention to a wrong set of options. In their view, a choice had to be made between a universe with God and a universe without God, whereas the real choice was between a universe with God and no universe at all. Since we cannot opt for a non-existent universe, we are compelled to choose the universe with God.



Validity of Inferential Argument


To prove Islamic belief in the unseen world, our religious scholars have so far used inferential argument. That is, they suppose an unknown reality on the basis of a known reality. The rationalists’ view of this argument was that its method was academically invalid, as it was based on the principle of indirect argument. They demanded to be given an argument of a direct nature. Only then would they accept it.


In this matter—as in material matters—the river of science has been flowing in favor of Islam. The above objection had apparently carried weight in the days when the study of science was macro-cosmic in scope. But as soon as scientific research began to delve into the micro-cosmic world, the balance tipped in favor of inferential argument. For it was revealed that the deeper realities of nature itself were those which did not come under the sphere of direct argument. For instance, the establishment of the existence of oxygen or X-rays is arrived at by indirect or inferential argument. Modern philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell, have demonstrated that inferential argument is as valid as indirect argument.


That is why, in science itself, inferential argument is held to be valid. Without it, scientific study could not be continued in the microcosmic world. In this way, a new chapter on unseen realities has been opened for the da‘is.


I was once asked by a non-believer by what set of criteria I establish the existence of God. I replied that it was the self-same criteria on which he himself relied. He remained silent at this. For he knew full well that his own scientific concepts were proved by means of inferential argument. So when inferential argument is valid in non-religious fields, it will certainly be valid in the field of religion.Historical Credibility of the Qur’an


In the present time, all manner of things, including religious scriptures, are being subjected to investigation in the spirit of free inquiry. A permanent discipline has been set up for this special study, called historical criticism, or higher criticism. Under this general heading, all great religious scriptures, including the Qur’an and the Bible, have been subjected to historical inquiry.


The results of these studies are entirely in favor of the Qur’an. They show that the Qur’an is the only religious scripture which is a historically accredited work. The rest of the books, having been shown to be dogmatic rather than historical, have lost their formal status as purveyors of eternal truth. Such research has provided a new and powerful argument in favor of Quranic veracity. That is to say, it is only the Qur’an which enjoys historical credibility. No other religious scripture is of similar merit.


This scientific discovery has brought Islam to the position of undisputed victory, for no other religion is capable of facing this academic test.




Scientific Verification


In ancient times, superstitious notions about every object of nature were given great credence, as is evident from the literature of those days. Now in modern times, when nature has been scientifically studied, many ancient concepts have been discredited. Books written in the pre-scientific age are now suspect—as belonging to the age of superstition. Even religious scriptures have not emerged unscathed, for the periodic interpolation of superstitious notions has reduced them to the level of non-sacred literature.


The Qur’an, on the contrary, being a preserved book, is exceptionally free from such apocryphal additions. There are numerous references to nature in the Qur’an, but none of these descriptions clashes with facts discovered by science. After making a study of several such statements enshrined in the Qur’an, Dr Maurice Bucaille concludes:


        "In view of the level of knowledge in Muhammad’s day,


        it is inconceivable that many of the statements in


        the Qur’an which are connected with science could


        have been the work of a man. It is, moreover, perfectly


        legitimate, not only to regard the Qur’an as the


        expression of a Revelation, but also to award it a


        very special place, on account of the guarantee of


        authenticity it provides and the presence in it of


        scientific statements which, when studied today,


        appear as a challenge to explanation in human terms."


Passing Modern Tests


New methods to determine the antiquity of ancient objects have been evolved in modern times. One of these, called carbon-14 dating or radio-carbon dating, was developed just after the second world war. It gave the stamp of credibility to many facts which had hitherto remained unauthenticated. It was applied in one famous instance to a mummified body, believed to be that of Merneptah, a contemporary of Moses. The mummy, discovered by Professor Loret in one of Egypt’s pyramids, did amazingly prove to date back to the time of Moses, when subjected to this new technique of dating.


This same method of carbon dating was applied to the Shroud of Turin, an old linen cloth bearing the imprint of a human face—always thought to be the covering in which Christ was wrapped after his crucifixion. According to this belief, the cloth had to be two thousand years old. But carbon dating revealed that it dated back no further than the middle of the fourteenth century.


There are so many examples of this nature, that it is not possible to deal with all of them. Suffice it to say that they are symbolic of how modern sciences, on the one hand, discredit ancient religions while, on the other hand, they strengthen the credibility of Islam.




The Last Word


In modern times, great new opportunities have arisen for Islamic da‘wah. This has made it possible for the first time to fulfill the prediction of the word of God being brought into each and every home. They point the way to Islam gaining the position of an ideological super power on a universal scale. But there is one necessary condition which is indispensable to the achievement of this goal. We shall have to adopt the same strategy in modern times as that adopted by the Prophet of Islam in the 19th year of his prophethood.


This historical strategy has come to be called the Hudaybiyya principle. This entails putting an end to the kind of controversies which create tensions between the da‘i and the mad‘u. Without a normal atmosphere, free of friction, no da‘wah action can be set in motion. Today the same controversial situation has come to exist between da‘i and mad‘u as was found between the Prophet and his hearers after the emigration. We must, therefore, follow the same Hudaybiyya principle as the Prophet did. This is the demand of the times, and in this lies the secret of all Muslim success.

Maulana Wahididdin Khan

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