Research or Distortion? Contradictions of Modernists, Sedition and Disorder in Society, By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
Headings By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani
NOTE: This article was originally addressed to “Institute of Islamic Research” which was headed by Dr. Fazlur Rahman at that time, but applies to all modernists of our time.
Indeed numerous judicial problems have been created in our time, and in order to solve them it is essential that scholars of Islamic jurisprudence and those having insight in these matters make collective efforts through regular discussions, debates and research. There are many such problems facing the Muslim world which require that the scholars of Islam and experts of modem science hold joint discussions to solve them in the light of established principles of Islam. The importance and necessity of this splendid job is being felt in various circles of Islamic scholars and some efforts are also being made at some places but due to lack of resources these efforts have so far not materialized into an organized collective forum. The present government has formed an institute for this purpose after it came into power. Section 107 of our Constitution describes the purpose of such a body that through it research on various religious problems be carried out on the one hand, and on the other hand the society may be reformed on “True Islamic fundamental values”. The president of Pakistan, Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, has written in his autobiography that:
He had constituted an Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology and an Islamic Research Institute to advise the Government on our legislative problems, after studying them in the light of religion. He stated that this would help the legislators in bringing our laws in harmony with the spirit of Islam. But for the practicability of these laws, “a thorough survey of the requirements of the society is needed.” (Friends Not Masters, page 106).
Condition for success: good intention and the proper ways and means
Nobody can deny the importance and commend ability of purpose described here. In fact, this reflected the wishes of scholars of Islam and every one having an Islamic mind. Without such a move it is impossible to change and mould the worn out system of the country’s judiciary into Islamic laws. But any institution, no matter how sincere be the intentions behind it and how useful be the purposes of its establishment, cannot give beneficial results unless its system of operation is right and its authorities are competent to deal with its problems without bias and prejudice. They must have a reasonable working plan in their minds and the way to achieve them must be just and straight. Unless these conditions are fulfilled no institution can be expected to be successful.
Modernism: The solution of problems or disorder and sedition in society?
This is why the “Institute of Islamic Research” has not been able to justify its establishment so far. Several years have passed since this institution was formed but so far it has not only been unable to do some useful work but in fact an atmosphere of discord and dissension has been created in the country. So far it has created problems rather than solving them, evolved difficulties for our social structure rather than removing them, given air to the glowing fire rather than extinguishing it. That is why the institution which should have been the centre of wishes and ambitions of the nation, could not gain the confidence of the people. Living in the world of vain imaginations is living in a fools paradise. Try to penetrate the feelings of more than a hundred million population of Pakistan and your conscience will tell you that they do not consider this institution as their own. The so-called achievements of this Institute pinches in their hearts like thorny bushes, and their lack of confidence is so extreme that even a rightful statement from this institution is looked with doubt and suspicion.
In these lines we would like to discuss the reasons which have turned an extremely useful institution into an extremely harmful and unsuccessful one, and due to which a very unhealthy atmosphere of disruption, disputes and disturbances has been created. This is not a matter of obstinacy or anybody’s personal prejudice rather it concerns a problem on which depends the survival of Islamic thought and Islamic way of life, if it is not solved with solemnity and balanced thinking, this nation will never be able to achieve the goal that led to the creation of Pakistan. Hence the exigency of time demands that all concerned should think and ponder over this problem with a cool temperament disregarding sentimental pressures.
The difference between research and distortion
In our view the main cause of failure of this institution is that the people in authority could not differentiate between “Research” and “Distortion”. They have taken the two words as analogous and thus found superfluous solutions to the problems not conforming to the ideology of Islam at all.
The hypothesis of modernist researchers and fabricated mindset of modernism
It was obligatory for the Islamic researchers of our time to acquire and explore the guidelines of Islam provided regarding the problems being faced by Mankind in the twentieth century. How can it be put into practice? How the practical difficulties in this way can be removed? It was their duty to have surveyed the Western civilization with a view of research and criticism rather than counterfeiting them. They should have discarded the things that clashed with the laws of Islam, and should have suggested alternate ways which conformed to Islamic laws and at the same time fulfilled the legitimate needs of time. But the line of action of researchers of the Institute of Islamic Research is quite in contradiction to this. On the one hand they pre-supposed that the thirteen hundred years old laws of Islam have now become worn out and outdated, and it is not possible to implement and comply with them unless some fundamental changes are made in them (They call these changes as “New interpretations”). And on the other hand it has rooted deep into their minds that ideological and practical expositions of Western civilization are all blessings and benedictions, and unless Muslims accept them in Toto their survival in the present time is impossible.
The entire intellectual structure of Modernism has been constructed on the above two hypotheses. As a result, the style of their working had been that any ideology or style of working from the West is first taken as granted to be cent per cent right and there is no way out for us in the present time than to accept it and adopt it. Their ‘Research’ is then wholly directed towards proving it to be in conformity with Islam, by reshaping and distorting Islamic teachings and even by changing the established commandments of Islam. They do not hesitate in denying the prophetic traditions, or write down a new dictionary to give new meanings to the verses of the Qur’an. This is the very style for which the word “Distortion” should be used in place of “Research”.
Modernism or inferiority complex!
Our submission is that, if you believe that Islam is the natural religion, if you have faith that its principles and injunctions are not the product of any human brain but that of the All-knower Allah who is fully aware of all the needs of Mankind for all times to come, if you are confident that the Islam proclaimed by Muhammad (PBUH) contains satisfactory solutions to all the problems and difficulties that may arise till the Last Day, then you must admit that the solution to the problems of twentieth century also lies in the same principles which were brought by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 1400 years ago. This is, however, subject to the condition that you sincerely try to get rid of the inferiority complex which has made the West as the standard of righteousness in your eyes. Once you get the courage to lift up the veil of deception of the West from your mind you will have the chance to understand the problems with full confidence. It is then that you will discover new ways of survival in the present time fulfilling all the needs and demands of time on the one hand and save you from the unholy ways of the West. If you follow this course you will be able to acquire the wealth of peace and tranquility that has never been imagined by the West.
Realism or fear of ridicule from the western world ?
We may be excused if you find our tone unmannerly but if you have any claim to realism, be realistic in analyzing your approach. While seeking the solution to your problems you have the fear of being called conservative or superstitious or uncivilized by the West. This complex does not allow you to give a serious thought to the true Islamic virtues. You are always anxious to give Islamic sanction to all those things that have a label of liberalism on them. May be that this line of action brings you some good name in the Western circles, but this is never going to solve your problems nor will it give you the status of a living and free nation. It is not sensible. We may seem to exaggerate about your mode of action but an honest and realistic self-analysis will testify to the truth of our claim.
Modernism: Interest and insurance
You have observed that the West has based its entire banking system on “Interest”. This is the system which is regarded as one of the prominent virtues of modern civilization. So, you started investing all your energy to make the interest permissible in trading system. You never bothered to ask yourself if the interest was really inevitable for the Banking system and why cannot this be run on the Principles of ‘Mudaribah provided by Islam and why the Islamic Principle of ‘Mudaribah’ cannot be adopted in Banking? At the cost of the opposition of the Muslim Ummah you have compound interests but you never cared to find out the principles of interest-free banking which assures us more equitable distribution of wealth.
The “Insurance” is regarded as a symbol of civilization in the West. You accepted it as it was and tried to give it Islamic sanction by making fabricated interpretations in the Qur’an and Sunnah. But you never knew that there was an easier and fairer way of making some minor changes in the prevailing insurance system and thus bring them in conformity with the established principles of Islam, making it a more useful institution.
Modernism and Family planning
The Western countries have recently launched great campaigns to preach “Family Planning”. You also followed them in propagating it. For this purpose you consumed your energies to misinterpret the laws of Islam in favor of family planning. But you never thought how China is surviving with its 700,000,000 population? According to Chu-en-lai every new child brings a message of prosperity. In the hue and cry of the Western world you looked at one mouth of a newly born child and felt uneasy to think from where to feed it? But you did not see the two hands of the child to work. The small country like Israel realized the importance of population and has been using all the means of increasing its population. The Westerner had said that population rise is dangerous for developing countries. You accepted this “sincere advice” and imposed birth control as a law, but you failed to see how Vietnam had humbled the big power like America and why the Western countries are scared of China? Americans had declared that in the East they would give financial aid only to those countries who would adopt the birth control. You took it as a sympathetic gesture from them but you did not try to argue why Israel gets the lion’s share in aid inspite of being against birth control?
Modernism and Polygamy
You heard that polygamy is considered to be a crime in Western countries. In order to free yourself from this blame you made the excuse that Islam had allowed it only in some emergency conditions and now it is no more permissible. For this purpose you left no stone unturned in pulling and dragging the meanings of the verses of Holy Qur’an. But did you ever try to investigate why the Westerners never feel the need of more than one wife? Thanks to Modern Civilization and the open practice of un-registered polygamy in every hotel, every night club and every park, there is no need of getting oneself involved in regular family life. The Westerners had publicized that polygamists are cruel to their wives. You started pleading that the fundamental conception of Islam is to stop such a tyranny and hence polygamy is forbidden in Islam. But you shut your eyes from the naked reality that there are innumerable people who are extremely cruel to their single wife. In fact the number of such people is greater. Hence this argument requires that single marriage also should be banned.
Modernism and Hijab (woman’s veil)
You observed that the Westerners consider Hijab (woman’s veil) as a vice, so you started fabricating the established injunctions of Islam. But you never cared to think that by unveiling their women what disaster the West has brought, to their homes? Did you ever care to know, what is the cause of unabated grief of the serious thinkers of the West on this issue?
Modernism and co-education
You came to know that co-education is practiced in Western countries. You started advocating for it as an insignia of civilization, but never bothered to think of the reasons behind the dreadful scene of American culture presented by Kinsey Reports before the world? Did you ever think who is responsible for the ever increasing unlawful sexual relations in the young generation? What is the cause of the ever decreasing standard of education?
Modernism and miracles
You have read that many of the Westerners deny miracles and hold them as superstition. Very obediently you also followed the example and tried to reject the miracles described by the Qur’an in detail. As a result of this you converted the entire Qur’an into a poetic and metaphorical book. But you never thought that those who had initially denied the miracles had also called the existence of God as the worst form of superstition. They had even mocked at Prophethood and Divine Revelations. Further, you never paid any attention to the fact how rapidly the most recent researches of scientific knowledge are making miracles more acceptable to human intellect. Keeping all these facts in view, for God’s sake, please tell us if there is any exaggeration in our assessment that you pay no heed to finding an Islamic and intellectual solution to these problems.
On the contrary you are always looking for the Western ideologies. Whatever you receive from them as permissible you spend all your energy to prove it in conformity with Islam, with no concern to what damage you are causing to the Qur’an and Sunnah. When you notice any signs of dislike for something on the faces of Westerners you exhaust all your powers to declare it unlawful and prohibited in Islam even at the cost of giving away explicit injunctions of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Overlooking of modernists on the serious atrocities against women
Further, it is noteworthy that so far you have taken into consideration only those problems which have been raised by the Westerners. You paid no heed to the multitude of genuine problems of our own society, and no attempt was made to solve these problems. A clear example of this is: You promptly noticed the injustice which the polygamist do to their wives even though such incidences are rare in our society, while the brutalities done by the monogamists are so common that hardly any family is devoid of it. You will find innumerable women who do not have co-wives yet they are leading a miserable life due to inequity of their husbands. The plight of such women does not stir your heart; you feel no sympathy for their helplessness and make no attempt to free them from the cruel grip of their cruel husbands?
Your pen did not move for a single word against the evil customs of our society with reference to marriages, dowry, Mehr, living allowances, housing and inter family relations. You made no move against the defective, time- consuming and out-dated judiciary system, which has deprived the society of justice. In matrimonial matters you could see only one thing, that is, polygamy which is practiced hardly by 10% of people, and you consumed all your efforts in proving it as unlawful The reason of your serious concern against polygamy is that it was initiated from the West and hence it sounded most important to you, while other problems being local, could not achieve your serious consideration.
Turning a blind eye by modernists to the injustice to women by giving three divorces
Moreover, the problems that came to your attention, you tried to solve them by a strange method. Inspite of investigating into the real causes of the problems you just took the easy way of finding temporary and easygoing solutions. Due to ignorance from the teachings of Islam the common people have developed a practice of throwing three divorces to their wives on trivial matters. This practice is absolutely wrong and impermissible which is usually the cause of social disorder. It was essential that a wide publicity was made to educate people on gravity of this sin and its evil consequences. It was further necessary to decide if any legal punishment for such a sin can be imposed or not? Surprisingly, you brought out the solution to this problem that makes a mockery of the entire judicial system of Islam. Your solution was that “three” should be counted as one, thus giving free license to men to give as many divorces as they could without being acknowledged as three. Is it not like a person being beaten by another, when the oppressed man calls you for help you tell him “Keep taking the punishment, we shall never accept that you had been beaten”. Is this the way of freeing the oppressed from oppression?
Contradictions in modernism: Inheritance of Orphan Grandsons and injustice to Nephews
You observed that sometimes an orphan grandson is left unprotected after the death of his paternal grandfather. Your solution to the problem is to cut a portion of legacy of his paternal uncles and give it to him. But you failed to conceive that if it be set into practice how would you solve the problem of orphan nephews? Why should they be deprived of a share in the heritage of their uncles? You also ignored the basic moral obligation that you cannot remove the distress of one person in the Robin Hood fashion. For removing the distress of such helpless persons Islamic Law provides adequate relief. These methods are explained in “Kitab-un-Nafqat”, “Kitab-ul-Wasiyyah” and “Kitab-uz-Zakah”. If the rules laid down in them are implemented properly they would be of great help to the distressed.
The effects of modernization: Disturbance, chaos and anxiety
The above observations if given due consideration, with no prejudices in mind, provide one with the conclusion that the Institute of Islamic Research and its co-workers are basically wrong in their very mode of thinking. As a result of it they have not only been unable to do any service to the country and the nation but in fact created disruption, uneasiness, confusion and anxiety throughout the country. How we wish that the authorities of this extremely important institute give serious, sincere and selfless thought as to how harmful and dangerous for national unity is the way adopted by them?
We have not made these submissions for supporting any group, but it is a sincere and devoted effort to incite them on giving a serious and sincere consideration to our deliberations.
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