Islam is the second largest religion in the world. It originated about 1400 years ago in Arabia and since then it has spread to farfetched corners of the world. Despite all the spread of Islam and the glory it experienced in its early times, at present Islam is facing numerous challenges on various forefronts that make a person question the true message of Islam.
The true message of religion is peace and guidance for the humanity. However, at present it has been alleged of fanaticism, extremism, regression, violence and so on. The lines below explain the major challenges faced by Islam in the contemporary world, and what are the true teachings of Islam regarding these allegations.
The primary challenge faced by Islam is the Jihad undertaken by Mujahedeen’s across the globe. The Jihadists consider west as their mortal enemy and go to all the measures in combating with them. As a result of all their activities, people of the world consider Islam as an intolerant and destructive religion that only accepts the existence of Muslims in the world and has no tolerance for people from other beliefs and religions. Moreover, this image of intolerance of Islam complimented with Jihadists activities make people think that Islam relies on the force of power to eradicate all those who resist Islam or are not Muslims.
Islamic Teaching- The true preaching of Islam towards the followers of other religions is based on tolerance. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Himself allowed the Christians of Najran to say prayers in the mosque, therefore, Islam in no way is intolerant of the existence of non-Muslims. Furthermore, Hazrat Umar (R.A), the second Caliph of Muslims was offered to say prayer in the Church after Muslims conquered Jerusalem, but he refused to do so saying that if he said prayer in the church, Muslims would ultimately convert it into a mosque, which he didn’t want to happen. These two are evident examples of the tolerant attitude Islam has towards non-Muslims, therefore, all the Jihad activities that are going on at present are because of the lack of knowledge of the Mujahedeen’s regarding the true preaching and history of Islam. Moreover, Islam only allows fighting others when the existence of Islam is at stake, and in that fighting also Islam instructs the followers to fight at the combat forefronts and not harm or kill civilians. Therefore, all that is happening at present is a misguided venture undertaken by people who have limited knowledge of Islam and are ignorant of its tolerant and forbearing side.
2. Regressive Religion:
The second challenge that Islam faces is its impression as a regressive religion. People who have limited knowledge of Islam, especially the people from West think that Islam is a regressive and backward religion that does not adapt and sticks to the teachings of Quran that was revealed 1400 years ago.
Islamic Teaching- If a person views and analyzes Islam with a spectacle of objectivity then every sane individual in this world would come to the conclusion that Islam is the most progressive religion in the world. It was progressive even 1400 years ago when it was first revealed to the mankind. Islam was the most progressive religion revealed to humanity in the 7th century, some major changes brought by Islam that show the reformation spirit of religion are as under:
- Islam is the first religion that gave rights to women in property
- Islam also gave women freedom of speech and rejected the idea that women are lesser beings
- Slaves and women were given rights equal to other people and they were allowed to give protection to other people, which was against the Arabic tradition of that time.
- The Arab tribal system of ransom was also reformed by Islam and it introduced the system of parity, where the free man of aggressor was punished for the free man of the aggrieved party and the same rule applied to women and slaves as well, thus establishing a form of justice in Arabia.
- On contrary to the dynastic rule prevalent at that time Islam came with the concept of Caliph where Caliph was chosen after consensus and not because of the heredity attributes of a person.
- Islam also abolished the system of usurious loans, which is a straight away exploitation of poor, thus presenting an economic system where poor were not exploited; rather they could live their life with dignity.
3. Quran Is Not Universal:
Muslims believe that Islam is a universal religion and the teachings of Quran are also universal as well. This is what gives rise to another allegation where people think that Quran is not universal, for them Quran is just a book with religious instructions and it has no other implications regarding any matter of the world. Moreover, further to this allegation people also attribute the Muslim association and affiliation with Quran as a source of Muslims being backward and knowing nothing about the contemporary world.
Islamic Teaching- Firstly, Islam in no way is regressive and Quran is not just some religious book rather it is a book of knowledge and contains knowledge about all the things in the universe. It is the vision of exploration of the universe that leads all the Muslim scientists to make amazing advancements in science while the West was going through its dark ages. Therefore, Islam gives knowledge about everything and encourages its followers to ponder over the meanings of Quran to understand the secrets it wants to unravel. Secondly, Islam in no way discourages the enhancements in education and knowledge, rather Prophet (PBUH) in His numerous hadiths encourages learning and seeking of knowledge. Moreover, the seeking of He made seeking of knowledge an obligation upon every Muslim man and woman. Therefore, the teachings of Islam are universal and it is a religion that encourages the spirit of knowledge seeking in its followers.
In short, the true teachings of Islam are full with love, peace, learning and progression. It’s the followers of Islam who don’t have enough knowledge about Islam and the some Westerns who are not objective in their approach when it comes to Islam that has put a negative impression of Islam in front of the world.
May Allah Almighty help us in developing a true understanding about the message of Islam and give us the strength and wisdom of sharing this knowledge with others in a delightful and peaceful way. Ameen!