Wednesday, May 7, 2008

'Modern' Islam

One of the things that attracted me to Islam was that the message and guidelines set fourth by the Qur'an and Sunnah are timeless. They applied 1400 years ago, and they apply now. Perhaps this is why it bothers me when I see people trying to change those timeless rules to suit the 'needs' of today's society.

None of us follow Islam perfectly, we can strive to, and do our best to learn what is right and wrong, but in the end, we all fall short. My main goal when acquiring knowledge or asking questions is to get to the correct answer. I realize that there are differences of opinions on many things, but it seems that there is a huge movement of ‘Modern Muslims’ growing in the Ummah.

In the Qur’an it says:

Sūrah Al-Baqarah

9. They [think to] deceive Allāh and those who believe, but they deceive not except themselves and perceive [it] not.

10. In their hearts is disease, so Allāh has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.

11. And when it is said to them, "Do not cause corruption on the earth," they say, "We are but reformers."

12. Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not.

13. And when it is said to them, "Believe as the people have believed," they say, "Should we believe as the foolish have believed?" Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish, but they know [it] not.

Now I’m not saying that these ayats talk about Modern Muslims, but I find ayat 11 very appropriate to them. ‘They say “we are but reformers”’. The modern Muslim movement wants to do just that… reform Islam, when it does not need reforming.

I've said this before in my posts, but it still holds true. If we were able to ask the Prophet these questions, what would he say? If we asked him if we can listen to top 40 music and heavy metal, what would he say? If we asked him if its ok for men and women to shake hands, what would he say? If we asked him if we should eat meat from a slaughter house that electrocutes animals before killing them, what would he say?

Its seems like 'modern' Muslims are in a big hurry to get away from what the Prophet taught us. In this day and age, Islam is under fire. The world sees us through the eyes of the media, and not as we really are. I know that perhaps the intentions are good, but should we really compromise what the Qur'an and Sunnah teaches us to appear more likable to the rest of the world?


sheyyab said...

assalmu alikum dear sis;
would u excuse me for this commet?
sorry for saying u r going too far in ur undestanding, the verses u mentiond is not for the believers it is for the hypocrites from ( 8 - 19 ), the verse from 1 - 5 for believers ( muslims ), the verses from 6-7 belongs to the dibelievers ( non muslims ), the verses from 8-19 for the one who claims islam but he is not real muslim ( hypocrites).otherwise the music ,shaking hands with women,and eating from not right way animal killing doesn't mean anyway that they r like what u describe.may u r right that they r weak may not, we have all to strive the attack on the islam, but doesn't mean that they r fall in that bad description.
i understand ur love to islam,and ur enthusiasm, but realy u have to calm down with ur brothers.
ur Dear brothet; Firas

Jamilah said...

I know that those ayats are not directed at muslims, but I find them to be very telling of what is going on these days.

Anonymous said...

Among the Muslims is where the hypocrites can be found... they eat with Muslims, sit with Muslims, pray with Muslims, but only in their hearts does Allah swt know the truth...

It is very easy to become a hypocrite, whose to say that trying to change islam or modernize it won't lead to that?

Personally I don't get the whole modern, moderate, extreme, etc... Last time I checked we ask Allah at least 17 times a day to lead or guide us to the straight path not the front, back, middle, left, right, moderate or extreme path. The straight path.

Islam is perfect. It was perfected with the Quran when the message was completed with Muhammad sallallu allaihi wasallam as the last messenger. There is no need for changes, improvements, innovations, whatever you want to call it.

Ihdinas siratal mustaqim
siratal latheena an amta alaihim
ghayril magdoubi alaihim wa lad dalleen


Amy said...


Salaam Jamilah, it's amazing you posted these verses. I was going over them in a class a few weeks ago and pretty much came to that same conclusion which you did. I had a post up, a few weeks ago about hypocrisy, and the problem of it among the Muslims, but I thought it too harsh.

But this post of yours... I see things the same way. In fact, it's really scary to listen to some people talk about Islam, because what do they say? "We are just reformers." We hear that from our Muslim brothers and sisters, who might be trying to placate society or something, but it is definitely something I have heard from the mouths of Muslims, and the verse makes me even question myself.

And the other verse... "Should we believe as the fools believed?" To be called a fool for belief, that isn't something that passed away either. This passage which we read so early in the Qur'an is such a strong and powerful reminder, for me at least, to watch myself for these signs of hypocrisy.

It is so scary to read because that is exactly how some people are today.


Jamilah said...

Asalamu Alaikum Sister Amy

I had actually posted something before this and took it down when a brother you and I both know said it was too harsh!

I'm just seeing this more and more and it does scare me a lot. I always agree that while learning about Islam we have to take the time to understand the meaning, but I don't agree that anyone should try so hard to find ways around things that at one time were so clear!


Amy said...

Wa alaikum as-salaam Jamilah,

You know, maybe it was harsh, and even some people will think this post is harsh. But should we just ignore it and never bring it up? You aren't pointing fingers at anyone in particular, just reminding everyone (including myself and yourself) that just saying we are Muslim doesn't give us a free ride, and it doesn't empower us to alter the religion to suit the world or our whims.

What is scary is that we do see this happening, still today, but we just try to ignore it.

Now, I don't mean to say we should fight the people, or we should call them hypocrites, or mock them or call them kuffar. We just need to keep giving them da'wah! In the most gentle way possible.