Pen Pal Column
The Liberal Islam
The majority of the “educated” people of the modern era consider Islam to be a rigid religion. They look for flexibility in religion, if they don’t find what satisfies their desires they say, the world has changed, and so has the course of life, therefore, Islam has become out dated and exhausted all its usefulness in the modern day context. They are perplexed when someone talks about Islamic way of life in the twenty first century.These people are blinded by the materialistic way of life, their whims and fancy decide for them, they elevate their desires to God’s position. The result is apparent: motto of life is extremely fickle, ever-changing and constantly shifting positions; they are in a continuous state of restlessness and anxiety.
Of the many allegations they throw against the religion, we discuss two. Firstly, they assume Islam to be a backward religion, against the scientific research and advancement. While history bears witness that neither the Islamic faith nor its system of rules ever came into conflict with science, or the application of its theories.
No scientist under Islamic rule has ever been burnt or tortured for discovering or announcing a scientific fact. True science is not in conflict with Islamic faith, and creation of the entire Universe by one God. In fact, Islam encourages its followers to study space and earth, and to ponder upon its creation in order to reach the ultimate truth of existence of one God.
Secondly, the advocates of “free thinking” allege that the Islamic system of rule is dictatorial because the state has vast powers, and this immense power and authority in the name of faith makes them blindfolded to the tyrannical rule.They conclude that the common people are made slaves with no right to think for themselves, and that freedom of thought is lost forever. None can dare to challenge the rulers and he who does is accused of rebellion against religion and God.
Though this is a false allegation against the true Islamic rule, there have been instances where oppression and tyranny ruled, or rather rules in the name of religion. But then, religion is not the only mask used by the dictators. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tungof China, Daniel Francois Malan in South Africa, who implemented the system of apartheid, all of them were dictators, and oppressed people with their ideologies.
These false accusations could be best refuted with the words of the first caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr (ra), on the occasion of his first speech as the caliph: “Obey me so long as I obey God and His prophet. But if I disobey God or the prophet I shall no longer be entitled to your obedience”.
Omar the second caliph was no less, he addressed the Muslims as a caliph saying: “put me right if you discover any crookedness in me.” Upon this, one of the audience retorted: “By God Almighty if we had found any crookedness in thee, we should have put you right with our swords”.