Islam in the Modern World
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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
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
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.
opportunities to carry out da‘wah work are legion. But I shall cite only a few
examples to illustrate my point.
the Existence of God
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.
of Inferential Argument
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.
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
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
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.
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.
discovery has brought Islam to the position of undisputed victory, for no other
religion is capable of facing this academic test.
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.
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
the Qur’an which are connected with
have been the work of a man. It is,
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
authenticity it provides and the
presence in it of
scientific statements which, when
appear as a challenge to explanation in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.