Some people claim that ‘Islam requires reformation.’ Endorsing their claim, they make reference to how man has reached the moon and space, whereas the adherents of Islam are sat engrossed in 1400-year-old texts like Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi and the teachings of that era. Furthermore, statements such as ‘In order for Islam to be compatible with modern-day needs, we require a modern version of Islam’ are also commonly heard. Let us conduct a thorough analysis of such an ideology.
The statement regarding man having reached the moon is famous and one that most people may have heard. Having said that, I would like to make the following request to those who make such claims: My dear friend, why don’t you go to the moon? Nobody is stopping you, are they? Islam has not prevented you from doing so; yes, wasting time has been prohibited, and so if you do go to the moon, then do so for a purpose and not to waste time. What link is there between people having travelled to the moon, rovers being sent to planet Mars or the accomplishment of other such things and the classical teachings of Islam? All individuals work within their respective fields. Landing on the moon or sending rovers to planet Mars is the work of scientists; it is something that they have accomplished. However, what link is there in using this to somehow object to the teachings of Islam?
If such statements, which are out of context, are going to be used senselessly during unrelated instances, then allow me to also present the following instances to you. The role of a journalist is to compile news, write columns, review and analyse. People [who make an incorrect analogy between landing on the moon and religious teachings] should approach journalists and inform them of how they are strange people, because people have reached the moon, and yet here they are, still gathering news and not getting any time away from writing columns; they should leave all these matters and just busy themselves with reaching the moon.
Similarly, such people [who make such incorrect comparisons] should also approach a poor cobbler. Although the pitiful individual earns a living and feeds his family by stitching shoes, they should share their philosophy with him too. They should tell him that people have managed to reach the moon, and yet here you are, still stitching shoes; you too should go and [try to] land on the moon. Let us hope that he does not reply saying, ‘That is fine. I shall leave my livelihood, please take me with you to the moon [whenever you go].’
Likewise, such people should also go to the school and college teachers of the social sciences, such as the teachers of education studies and economics, or geography teachers, for example. They should then say, ‘What is all this information about oceans, their starting point, ending point, and their channels that you are teaching about? These oceans and seas will remain where they are; leave all this. People have reached the moon and you are still here measuring the distance of oceans.’ Political scientists should also be approached and informed, ‘You are sat here trying to define democracy and analyse its various definitions given by so-and-so. Man has reached the moon but look at what you have got yourself into.’
In actual fact, allow me to proceed further. If someone is getting married, for example, he too should be approached and addressed by saying, ‘How unusual is it of you to busy yourself in the same old ceremony of marriage, whereas people have managed to reach the moon.’ The one whose wedding it is will first stare at the face of the one who made such a claim, ask him which asylum has he escaped from and then say, ‘If people have reached the moon, what do you expect me to do? Why are you interfering with my wedding?’
The above statements may appear very silly, and the reality is that the comparisons made are unrelated and out of context to a great degree. This is because of the attempt to link landing on the moon to journalist gathering news, a cobbler stitching shoes, a geographer speaking of oceans and seas, a political scientist speaking of democracy, as well as the attempt to link this with a groom and his wedding day. However, the degree of foolishness and fallacy in comparing landing on the moon to the teachings of religion is a thousand times greater than the aforementioned. The reality is that the response to people who make such claims is what the glorious Quran has stated,
وَّ اِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجٰهِلُوْنَ قَالُوْا سَلٰمًا
and when the ignorant address them (rudely), their only response is, ‘Salaam’ (i.e. a greeting of parting).
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 19, Surah Al Furqan, Verse 63)
What response can be given to someone whose claim holds no validity? If one uses his intellect, wisdom and understanding, it will be clear that the world is vast and that there are many facets of human life. A single person has a thousand necessities; he requires a pen to write, a mobile phone to communicate, a chair to sit on, a bed or charpoy to lie down on, air-conditioning to repel heat, a heater to deal with the cold and so many other things to meet his various needs. All of these are material needs. In addition to these, a lot is required for the peace of the heart and soul. Living amongst family and society presents its own needs. If one ponders over this world that consists of billions of people, many aspects and needs of life will surface. Different people have to work in different departments. Now, if a science-driven individual who wanders around uttering ‘moon, moon’ was to go everywhere presenting the same objection about how people have reached the moon and yet so-and-so is still engrossed in such and such work, the following would be explained to him: Every individual works in his own respective field. Islamic teachings and landing on the moon are unrelated. Landing on the moon, or the research and preparations associated with it, as well as other scientific inventions, are a matter of science, not Islam.
The subject matter of Islam revolves around how can a person become a good human; what is the purpose of his life; how can he enhance his character and spirituality; how should one’s relationship be with other humans, and more importantly, with his Creator; what are the commandments of his Creator and how should one act upon them commandments? This is similar to how a sociologist would speak on certain matters pertaining to life, or how a political scientist would comment on democracy, public inter-relations and the rights and duties associated with democracy and citizens. Nobody can reject the social or political sciences in the name of scientific advancement by claiming that science has advanced significantly and yet you [sociologists and political scientists] are still discussing the family unit, society, democracy and the populace. Just as this claim is totally fallacious and invalid, likewise, using the basis of scientific advancement to deem the revealed laws of God and the education, research, studying and teaching of Islam as unimportant is equally nonsensical in actual fact, a thousand times more!
Making a gun and cannon is the role of a gunsmith, and making missiles is the work of science [and technology]. However, it is not science that will tell you not to use these weapons to cause oppression, rather it is Islam that will teach you this. Making a camera is the work of science [and technology], but the impermissibility of using that camera to make a video of someone to blackmail them is what Islam will teach you. Science does not elaborate on trustworthiness and treachery, honesty and dishonesty, good character and bad character, justice and injustice, virtue and usurpation, love and hatred, friendship and enmity, forgiveness and revenge, responsibility and idleness, affection and severity, generosity and miserliness, humility and arrogance, patience and impatience, gratefulness and ungratefulness, contentment and greed, self-control and waywardness, fortune and misfortune, selflessness and selfishness, [praiseworthy] traits and contemptible traits, and attributes, habits and dispositions as such; it is Islam that elaborates on these.
A bulb, mobile, AC, car, aeroplane and travelling to the moon all bear significance, but does being a good human not hold any importance? If this is what these liberals believe to be true, then good luck to them. Moreover, if being a good human being is also a foundational requirement of life which it certainly is, then know for sure that it is Islam that educates regarding this. No one knows mankind better than the one who created it, and the name given to the excellent way that the Creator has provided to become good human beings is Islam. It is this very Islam that mankind is most in need of.