Does Islam need to be modernized?

There is no doubt in the fact that Islam guides in all phases and facets of a humans life because it is a comprehensive religion. That is why Allah, the Almighty mentions in the Holy Quran:

 

[الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ” [المائدة: 3″
“Today, I have perfected your religion for you” (al-Maa’idah:3)

 

This bears witness to the fact that Islam is a global religion, a religion in which the rulings and judgments are enough for the guidance of humanity until the day of resurrection; whether the rulings relate to acts of worship and beliefs or social dealings and business transactions or trade and industry or government and politics or any other field. That is why Allah, the Almighty also orders us believers to act completely on this inclusive religion. He states:

 

[يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً” [البقرة: 208″
“O those who believe! Enter Islam completely” (al-Baqarah:208)

 

Some ignorant people object that Islam is a decaying and olden-aged religion. They say today’s times are different from the past, we are now living in the 21st century, not the stone ages, therefore, the Holy Quran and prophetic narrations are not feasible for today’s times (or they are feasible but need to be modernized). Nor does the Holy Quran or prophetic narrations have total guidance and tutelage for the needs of our time. For example, in today’s world you have; accounting, auditing, banking, financing etc. The guidance for such things is not found in Islam.
Such objections only testify to how narrow minded the objectors are because the objectors have not read the Holy Quran and prophetic narrations. If they have read the Holy Quran and prophetic narrations, they have not understood it/them or read it/them thoroughly. If they would’ve read the Holy Quran and prophetic narrations thoroughly they would have come to a clear cut conclusion that the Holy Quran and prophetic narrations do provide guidance regarding such things. Even now (in the 21st century) the Holy Quran and prophetic narrations are an origin/source for such things.

 

Let’s take the example of accounting. Accounting means, “to secure a record, prepare a report and analyse economic transactions under a specific business custom”. So we come to know that in accounting, all the transactions and the record of giving/borrowing is secured. The benefit of this is that the profit and loss of the company is known. Hypothetically, if a disagreement or misunderstanding does occur between anyone in a giving/borrowing transaction then then this could be dealt with and cleared through the present written record. This is exactly what is mentioned in the Holy Quran. Allah, the Almighty states:

 

[وَلَا تَسْأَمُوا أَنْ تَكْتُبُوهُ صَغِيرًا أَوْ كَبِيرًا إِلَى أَجَلِهِ” [البقرة: 282″
“And be not loath/reluctant to write it down, as payable at its time, no matter how short or long” (al-Baqarah:282)

 

Likewise, Allah, the Almighty mentions in another place:

 

[يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا تَدَايَنْتُمْ بِدَيْنٍ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى فَاكْتُبُوهُ” [البقرة: 282″
“O those who believe, when you transact a debt payable at a specified time, put it in writing” (al-Baqarah:282)

 

The above commandment of writing down a debt transaction is for remembrance and proof in the future. Likewise, this will close doors to dispute.

 

Even though writing the transaction down is a preferred act, some great scholars of the past used to make it a habit of writing down such transactions. Furthermore, they used to encourage others by saying, “whosoever conducts a debt transaction  should write it down and if he/she  sells something he should make witnesses”.

 

The famous exegete and historian,  Ibn katheer (may Allah, the Almighty be pleased with him) has written regarding one of the companions of ka’b (may Allah, the Almighty be pleased with him) that he asked his companions, “Do you know who is oppressed? They replied in the negative. He then said, “oppressed is he who sells something on credit (i.e. the seller will receive the money on a future date) and he does not make witnesses nor does he write down the transaction. Thereafter, he mentions the incident of Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) and his forgetfulness (this incident has also been recorded in the books of Hadith). In the incident it has been mentioned that Allah, the Almighty showed Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) his children. From amongst them there was one who was shining brightly. Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) asked Allah, “oh Allah! Who is this? Allah, the Almighty replied, “this is your son, “Dawood” (peace and blessings be upon him). Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) then said, “Oh my lord, how long is his life span?” Allah, the Almighty replied, “60 years”.Thereafter, Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “oh lord, increase his age”. Allah, the Almighty replied, “no! But, if you want, you can give him some years of your life”. Then Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) asked, “how long will I live?” Allah, the Almighty replied, “1000 years”. Upon hearing this Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) granted 40 years of his life to Dawood (peace and blessings be upon him). Allah, the Almighty wrote this down and made the angels witness to this. When Adam’s (peace and blessings be upon him) life came to an end and the angels came to take his soul away, Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) objected, “There are still 40 years of my life remaining”. Allah, the Almighty then reminded him that he granted 40 years of his life to Dawood (peace and blessings be upon him). Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) forgetfully denied and said, “I never granted anyone any years of my life”. Thereafter Allah, the Almighty showed Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) that paper/chit upon where Allah, the Almighty wrote down and made the angels witness to the fact that Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) had granted 40 years of his life to Dawood (peace and blessings be upon him).Thereafter, Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) remembered. (Ibn Katheer)

 

Similarly, in accounting every transaction is written down. In the case of forgetting, a written record will be present due to which doors of dispute will be closed.

 

Further, it has been mentioned:

 

(تعاشروا كالإخوان،وتعاملوا كالأجانب”(المستطرف،ج:1،ص:70″
“Live like brothers (and sisters) but conduct transactions with each other live like strangers” (al-Mustatraf,v:1, p:70)

 

In a nut shell, the above narration means that in normal day to day things (for example when meeting someone, talking to someone etc.) we should all live like brothers and sisters (with peace). However in business transactions (for example) we should deal with each other like strangers. For example, someone sells an item to his/her brother and upon receiving the money from his/her brother, one will not feel the need to count the money, believing that his/her brother gave him the right amount. However, if a stranger was to be in the place of one’s brother/sister (in this scenario) then one would definitely count the money. This should not be the case, rather, one should also count it when dealing with his/her brother too. This will keep one free from doubts and downfalls.

 

Upon conclusion we can see that the basis of accounting is present in Islam. Furthermore, the Holy Quran and prophetic narrations still do and will have the capability of being an origin/source for all needs of life until the day of judgement. Just like it is important in accounting to write down the transactions, make witnesses on the transactions, to keep a pledge, to keep account of the records, to safeguard from fraud and deception etc. These things which are in reality abstracted from Shariah, likewise there are many other injunctions, instructions and guide lines for all aspects of human life in the Quran and prophetic narrations. The above was just one example from many.

 

Judging from the above, I ask you o reader, does Islam really need to be modernized? Or are we unmindful of what is in the Quran and prophetic narrations?

 

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Tayyib HMC FInder

Munadil Islaam

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