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					                   Islam and the Modern World

        The original manuscript of this book was written in
1995 in Urdu. At that time majority of the people did not feel
much importance for a dialogue on ideological and
intellectual issues between the West and the Muslim
Ummah. In fact, the writer of this book, for the first time in
1991, intensively asserted that there is an urgent need for a
comprehensive dialogue between the West and the Muslim
Ummah. West is unaware about the ideas and views of the
Muslims regarding different issues and conflicts. Similarly,
there are widespread misconceptions among the Muslims
about the attitude of the West. The situation has been further
deteriorated through flashing news and baseless headlines in
a sensational media.

        There is a drastic change in the world after 9/11. Now
reasonable and sensible people feel an urgent need for an in-
depth understanding of the issues. Majority of the
intellectuals, social and political scientists are striving for a
purposeful dialogue in order to sort out unanimity on most of
the issues. On some issues, where the differences are more
deep, serious efforts must be done to sort out ways and
means to maintain a peaceful atmosphere on the principle of

        In this book, an effort has been made to discuss one
important aspect of this needed dialogue and that is to
remove some misconceptions of the Modern World about
Islam. Some of the issues regarding the concept of War in
Islam have been discussed in detail in another book of the
writer, “Jihad and Qital: some basic issues.”, The English
edition of this book will be available very soon. In another
book “Islam & Women”, the writer has discussed gender
issues in detail. The social and political issues relating to the
subject have been discussed in “Ummate Muslima Kamyabi
                   Islam and the Modern World

ka Rasta” in two volumes. This book is yet to be translated in

        The concept of a viable Islamic state and its different
dimensions have been discussed in “Pakistan our Ikkesswi
Saddi”, (Pakistan and 21st Century) and “Islam Kiaya Hai”.
(What is Islam). The English translation of these two books
is not available at present.

        I hope that my humble efforts will prove beneficial
for the cause of the Muslim Ummah and the Modern World

                               Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan
                               Mardan - Pakistan

                   Islam and the Modern World

                                                    Chapter 1

       Today, there are numerous misconceptions, doubts
and reservations in the West regarding Islam and Muslims.
In many parts of the world, other than the West, these
misconceptions are also spreading rapidly. In fact, Media has
generally played a negative role in this regard. But it is also
an undeniable fact that some objections and reservations
need a serious attention on the part of the Muslims and they
should be analyzed positively and sincerely.

        West is almost stable in perspective of its social and
political life. Democracy, Nationalism, Secularism and
Welfare state are unanimously followed as the basic ideals in
the West. As far as the social values are concerned, the
Western society is fully intact to honesty, merit, human
rights, equality of men and women, equality before law and
justice within national boundaries. On the contrary, the
situation in Muslim societies is very deplorable. There is no
political stability all over the Muslim world. The social
values are not regarded, as they are required. Therefore it is
very much essential that the true teachings of Islam and the
existing state of the Muslim world will have to be taken
separately for analysis. The current analysis of the situation
of the Muslim world has been discussed in detail in my
book, “Jihad and Qital: some basic issues. In this book the
misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islam have
been discussed briefly. In this regard some misconceptions
of the Non-Muslims, Particularly the West is as follows:

   That there is no democracy in Islam. There is no proper
    system of election and no way to remove a ruler from his

                   Islam and the Modern World

    office once assumed that charge whether through
    objectionable means. The real power lies with a faction
    of “Mullas” strong enough to change anything and
    anyone under the pretext of their being against religion.
    The masses are mere subjects.

   That there is no freedom of opinion in Islam. Nobody is
    allowed to give vent to his conscience in any form. No
    one is allowed to criticize whatsoever the brand of Islam
    be practiced at some place. No Islamic state affords real
    freedom to a newspaper, a journal, or a book. Those
    expressing the voice of their conscience are frequently
    penalized. Islam has dual standards in this regard. A non-
    Muslim is persuaded to embrace Islam but a Muslim
    desiring to change his religion is sentenced to death.

   That Islam teaches expansion of its boundaries through
    war. Muslims think it their religious duty to dominate
    other nations by force and enforce Islamic law upon
    them. They call it “Jihad”. They don’t accept other
    nation’s right of self-determination. They also believe in
    terrorism for the promotion and fulfillment of their
    objectives and therefore explode bombs, play havoc with
    the lives and property of innocent people and create an
    atmosphere of fear.

   That Islam considers women as second rate citizens and
    puts undue restrictions on them. They are made
    dependent upon men. A woman has to depend upon her
    father and brothers before marriage and her husband after
    marriage. She is not allowed to appear before any male
    person with her face uncovered except before her very
    close relatives. She cannot step out of the premises of her
    house without the prior permission of her male custodian.
    As such she is deprived of all rights. She lives just for the
    service of men. Moreover a man is allowed to keep up to
                   Islam and the Modern World

    four wives at the same time. The witness of a woman is
    considered to be half as compared to that of a man in the
    court of law. The ransom paid for a murdered woman is
    also half to that of a man.

   That the non-Muslims are treated as second rate citizens
    in a Muslim society. Undue taxes are levied on them.
    They are denied the right of vote. Infact they lead the
    lives of untouchables.

   That Islam, on the whole discourages Fine Arts. Music
    and Painting are strictly forbidden in Islam. Life in an
    Islamic society is boring, dull and unlovely, and there in
    no room for entertainment and amusement in it. Every
    one is subjected to strict rules and regulations.

   That Islamic law is extremely harsh, inflexible and
    impracticable. The brutal punishments like lashing and
    amputation of hands are inflicted upon the individuals
    according to this law.

   That Islam fails to offer solutions to the problems of the
    present era like pollution, crimes against children and
    inadequacy of health and educational services.

   That Islam has certain principles contradictory to the
    modern society. Islam, for example, admits and allows
    slavery, prohibits drinking, and ordains beard, as if it is
    the responsibility of the state to force men to keep

        The above mentioned are some of the most important
reservations of the Western mind about Islam. It is also
noteworthy that some modern Western intellectuals do not
realize the difference between Islam and the Islamic history

                   Islam and the Modern World

and culture. They take it for granted that all that was
practiced by the Muslims in the past was in accordance with
the teachings of Islam. They also confuse culture with
Islamic teachings. They mistake a particular aspect of society
for Islam while it might have been a display of culture.

        The credibility of Islam has been put to doubt for the
Western mind due to the baseless and wrong answers to
these and several such like other questions.

        The modern Western intellectual is afraid of the
misconstrued response to these questions which relate to the
one fifth of the world population. Such questions are the
natural outcome of the correlation between diverse nations.
This must be kept in mind that many educated people also
feel the force and depth of these questions.

        It is essential that we must look towards the origins
of Islam for an appropriate reply to such queries. The
misunderstandings must be segregated from the real
doctrinal differences. Is it possible to adopt an attitude of
tolerance and reaching a compromise through dialogue? This
book has an answer to this question.

        This book does not deal with the typical religious
matters like the credibility of Muhammad (SWS) as the
Prophet of God, the nature of revelation, the respective
beliefs of Islam and Christianity about the concept of
Doomsday and eternity and the differences between the
Quran and the Bible. This book is not meant for these
questions. There are a lot of other books that offer sufficient
response to suchlike questions. The focal point of this book
is the theme whether there is a possibility of a peaceful co-
existence in spite of the differences between Islam and the
Western civilization.

                  Islam and the Modern World

                                                   Chapter 2

        Before proceeding with the issue discussed in the
first chapter of this book, it is necessary to keep some facts
about Islam in mind. Every one knows this simple fact that
Islam is the religion, which was initially preached by the
Holy Prophet (SWS) on the soil of Arabia fourteen hundred
years ago. But a serious reader does not feel satisfied with
this much information. He needs more information to quench
his thirst for knowledge.
What does Islam mean?
        In Arabic, Islam means submission and peace. It has
been named so because it teaches submission to God which
in turn gives peace of mind to a human being. When we use
Islam as a term, we mean the teachings provided by the
almighty to Adam, the first human being with intellect and
free will, so that he as well as the whole of the mankind
should practice them. God kept on sending Prophets to his
creation with regular intervals in order to remind it of his
message. All those who acknowledged the validity of these
Prophets, were Muslims. It can thus be appreciated that all
the Jews were to be considered as Muslims up to the
Prophethood of Jesus Christ. In the same way all the
Christians prior to the beginning of revelation upon
Muhammad (SWS), the Prophet of God, were also Muslims.
With the arrival of Muhammad (SWS) the series of Prophets
was concluded as he presented before the world the message
of God through his teaching in the most accomplished way.
The meaning of “Deen”.
       Every human being in this world forms a doctrinal
approach towards the universe and its relevance to him and

                   Islam and the Modern World

leads his life accordingly. This is “Deen”. So we can say that
“Deen” is a fine blend of philosophy and practice which
teaches him the relationship between God and him, between
all the humanity and the awareness of the Doomsday. The
same blend has been explained and elaborated by God
through his Prophets. And so it becomes “The Deen”. Islam
is nothing else but the sense of “The Deen”.

Origins of Islam

        Islam is originated from two sources: the Quran and
the Sunnah. The Quran is the collection of the revelations
dawned upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SWS) from
time to time throughout the twenty-three years of his
Prophethood. After the completion of the process of
revelation, the Holy Prophet sequenced the “Surah” (the one
hundred and fourteen segments of the Quran) in accordance
with the commandment of God so that it should assume the
status of a complete set of instructions for the mankind till
the doomsday.

        Sunnah is the practical method introduced among the
Muslims by the Prophets of God. This method of “Deen” had
been very much there since the time of Ibraham, the Prophet
of God. But with the passage of time certain malpractices
polluted its purity. Muhammad (SWS) took steps to eradicate
these malpractices and introduced the real shape of Islam
among the Muslims. The sacred companions of the Prophet
had a consensus on it and practiced it. The Sunnah of Islam
included the practical method prayers for five times a day,
the institutions of Zakat, Fasting and Hajj, more practical
methods of praying, cleanliness of body, etiquettes of eating,
the manners for the social interaction, the customs to be
observed at the time of birth, marriage and death.

                   Islam and the Modern World

Belief in God:

        The Holy Quran tells us that God is the sole creator
and Master of this universe. He rears all its beings and has
perfect control over it. He possesses absolute wisdom and
intellect and has the capacity to manage every thing. He is
therefore, the only one who deserves our total submissions.

        Belief in God is the light that enlightens this
universe. By means of settling his faith in one God, it
becomes easy for a human being to understand true
relationship between himself and the universe. It also enables
us to determine a definite path of life in terms of thought and
practice. This is the light, sans which every thing is mere

        God is perfect and immortal. He is above all
deficiencies. He has dominance over everything, but at the
same time, He is just and maintains justice. Nothing is
beyond the reach of His knowledge. Every-thing is mapped
out, brought into being and given the proper shape by God.
He is distinctive but a prop of affection for every one. He is
neither a son nor a father of anyone and no one is equal to
Him. All characteristics of grandeur and nicety exclusively
belong to him only. These include mercy, command and
control, kindness, benevolence, knowledge, and awareness in
their perfect form. All of His qualities have an equal
proportion but His benevolence, merey and love for human
beings is like a canopy that showers down all other

        He knows the secrets of our heart. Even a leaf does
not move without his will. He is not unaware of our worries.
He is the one who listens to what we whisper to Him in the
                   Islam and the Modern World

solitude. We can supplicate and pray before Him. Belief in
Him brings the wealth of ego and self-respect to us. Reliance
upon Him keeps our conscience alive and grants us courage
and determination. Our faith in Him fills our hearts with
satisfaction and comfort.

Faith in Prophets:

        For the guidance of humanity, God has blessed it
with two faculties: intellect and conscience. But the facts of
this universe and life, which were difficult to be probed into,
were unfolded to human-kind through the process of
revelation upon some chosen people among human beings.
These people are known as the Prophets of God.

        A Prophet is by nature an example of sublimity in
character before and after his Prophethood. He is so
extraordinary and distinctive amongst the people around that
every one acknowledges his qualities of truth, honesty,
nicety of behavior and manners.

        There is no room for improvement in the knowledge
of a Prophet. Unlike a layman he doesn’t learn through a
gradual growth of observation and experience. The perfect
reality dawns upon him from the very first minute of his
Prophet Hood. He need not learn more. He is guided directly
by God. His thoughts and ideology never change. He is the
final authority on philosophy, law and “Deen”.

        A Prophet is always a model for the people in terms
of character and behavior. There is not even the slightest
possibility of any weakness in his character. He is always
placed in the highest rank in all walks of life: as a ruler,
politician, judge, commander of armed forces, preacher, head
of a family and a human being.

                  Islam and the Modern World

        Muslims acknowledge all Prophets sacred to
Christians and Jews. However, they challenge the credibility
of certain immoral references about the Prophets laid down
in the Bible. They believe Jesus Christ to be a Prophet of
God and not a son of God. Muslims believe that there had
been the Prophets throughout the history and in every nation,
and Muhammad (SWS) was the last Prophet. The process of
Prophethood was over after Muhammad (SWS), because it
had now become easy for the whole of humankind to receive
the message of one Prophet on account of the sufficient
means of communication and a modernized phase of
civilization. It was to be an era where similar principles
would be the guideline for the practical life of the whole of
the world.


       In this universe every thing has been created in
couples. Each member of a couple complements the other.
The co-mate of this world is the dooms-day. This world is in
fact a test arena for humankind. It is to be ascertained
whether a person makes the right use of his free will through
following the path of his conscience and intellect, and
chooses the way of God, which is the only way to peace and
success. Each and every action of a person in this world will
be accounted for on dooms-day. The successful ones would
be blessed with the seat of excellence in the eternal dominion
of God, while those who declined to choose the way of
righteousness revealed through the Prophets shall be
penalized for a sufficiently long time.

Some aspects of Islamic directives

      Islam has laid down some guiding principles in order
to make the individual and collective life of a person

                  Islam and the Modern World

beneficial for the whole of humankind and to harmonize it
with society. A few of them are as under:


        Fundamental human morals are a part of the Islamic
thought and philosophy. They are in the instinct of a human
being. Even then man has constantly been reminded of these
moral values so that he may not forget his nature and keep
following his conscience. These include Justice, honesty,
merit, hard work, education, tolerance, restraint, dialogue,
wisdom, doing good with one’s parents, granting the
relatives their dues, helping the traveler and the needy,
charity, nice conduct, fulfillment of promise, social service
and attitude of forgiveness. The Holy Quran accords all the
details about the basic human morality.
        The motive behind the prayer is to keep the contact
of God and man alive. Such a prayer accords peace and real
happiness to man. As per “Deen” the compulsory code of
prayers includes five times prayer, fasting during the month
the Ramadhan, contributing Zakat and performing “Hajj”
(pilgrimage), if the individual has sufficient money to
undertake and perform it.
        God, in the holy Quran, has issued instructions
regarding human relations. Family is regarded as the base of
society. The husband-wife relationship has been given
greatest significance by the Holy Quran.
        Wealth of this world has been bestowed upon man in
order to test him. God has declared several principles for the

                   Islam and the Modern World

proper chanalization of this wealth. Some of these principles
would be discussed in this book at their required place.


        The Holy Quran has laid down principles about
establishing a state, rights and duties of the ruler, obligation
of a state, rights and liabilities of a citizen etc. These would
also be discussed elsewhere in this book when required.

Law and punishment:

         Free will is an honor for man but its misuse creates
fuss and gives birth to crime. Punishments have been
determined in the Holy Quran for five major crimes against
life, property, and honor, if committed in the extreme form in
a true and perfect Islamic society. The state has been given
free hand to devise ways and laws for the rest of crimes
according to the circumstances and requirement. There
would be a discussion about them later on.


        Islam tells us the ways and means to bring harmony
between different cultures and societies. For instance, to start
eating with the name of God, eating with right hand,
expressing good wishes at time of meeting, asking “Assala-
u-Alaykum” (prayer for peace in this world and the
hereafter) and several other things like these.

Four important religious issues

        In order to understand the forthcoming discussion in
a better way, it is a pre-requisite to keep in mind the four
important issues having fundamental nature.

                  Islam and the Modern World

The status of Holy Quran

        The Holy Quran is the equity of Islam. We can judge
the truth of every thing in this equity. We know all the
difference between right and wrong, logic, practicality,
thought and philosophy through this Book, which is the basis
of Islam. There is absolutely no possibility of any alteration
in the text of the Quran. This has been claimed in the Holy
Quran very clearly in Surah Furqan:

       “Sacred is the being who revealed this book upon His
       Prophet for the distinction of right and wrong” (Al-

       Thus the Holy Quran is the real source of information
about Islam. It tells us distinctively what “Deen” is. The
matter adjudged right on this equity would be final. Surah
Shura says:

       “It is God only who revealed this Book with absolute
       truth and made it a scale”. (Sura 42:17)

       The Holy Quran has certain other epithets too, e.g.:

Custodian of belief and practice.      (Al-Maidah-5:48)
The best speech and message.           (Al-Zumar-39:23)
The stable light and an ever-true logic. (Al-Nisa-4:174)
The message of God for people.         (Al-Ibrahim-14:52)
The everlasting and subtle words.      (Al-Zumar-43:28, 29)
Final verdict, the origin of law and Jurisprudence.

        Thus it becomes clear that the Holy Quran is the final
authority in all matters of Islam.

                  Islam and the Modern World

The status of Sunnah

      Sunnah has been discussed earlier. To cut short
Sunnah is the practical method of “Deen” which was adopted
by the Holy Prophet and his companions followed it
unanimously. There has been a consensus over it among
Muslim Ummah for the last fourteen hundreds years.

The status of Hadith

        Several companions of the Holy Prophet remembered
all what was said or done by him and at times conveyed it
too. Although the Holy Prophet had not issued any such
instruction yet his companions did that out of love and
respect they had for him. Consequently many books based
on these traditions and references were compiled. These
traditions are very precious as they not only reflect the
Prophet’s way of living but also a record of the history,
culture, language and other notable material of those times.

        The compilers of these books received these
traditions through a chain of four or five persons. It means
that an individual heard something from the Holy Prophet
and conveyed it to another fellow. That fellow conveyed it to
the next one and so on until the fourth one or the fifth one
narrated it to the compiler. Obviously such a chain had
possibility of a weak or unreliable channel somewhere. So
the following standards are essential to test and verify the

   The Hadith must have a reliable source.
   The Hadith must be in accordance with the Quran and
    Sunnah because these are the only two sources the Holy
    Prophet instructed to let every Muslim know.
   The Hadith must not be against nature and common
                   Islam and the Modern World

       We can conclude that the Hadith is a very valuable
source yet it has to be understood in the light of Quran and

Special status of Prophets known as Rasools

        Prophet Hood means that a chosen man, through
revelation is assigned the work of telling the truth to people,
informing them of the promise of God about their happy
ending in case they remain obedient to God and vice versa.
Every one of them is called “Nabi”

       A special group among these Prophets is called
Rasool. They are the greatest source of guidance.

        Rasool has got a special status. God accomplishes a
special task through Rasool, for which Rasool is used as a
tool. A Rasool is in fact a court of God on this earth for his
direct addressees i.e. his nation. It means that as far as
normal people are concerned, the court of God will be
established for them on Doomsday but as far as the direct
addressees of the Rasool are concerned, when everybody of
them has received the message of Din in the most complete
form for a sufficiently long time and even then they refuse to
embrace Din because of their prejudices and stubbornness,
then the court of God is established for them in this very
world and they are punished accordingly. When this court is
set to announce its verdict, then the general principles of this
world are no more applicable. Instead the rules of the
Doomsday come into force. This sentence is given to the
wrong doers according to the severity of their crimes. Some
of them are totally eliminated from this Earth. This death
penalty was inflicted upon the wrongdoers and infidels of the
nations of Noah, Looth, Ibrahim, Hud, Salih and so many
other Rasools. The Holy Quran has narrated in indetail the
stories of these Rasools to explain this point. After this the

                  Islam and the Modern World

Rasool and / or his companions become triumphant in this

       In fact this special status is the greatest sign and
proof of the Prophet Hood of a Rasool. Right from the start,
he proclaims that he has been appointed as Rasool and after
the lapse of a specific period; his enemies would be
sentenced by the court of God directly.

       Prophet Muhammad (SWS) was also a Rasool. The
special Godly mission, on whom he was sent, was to
accomplish Islam’s predominance over the Arabian
Peninsula, to lay the foundation of Muslim Ummah, to make
a perfect Islamic society and to make Kaaba a center for all
the Muslims permanently.

        This special status of the Holy Prophet has been
announced many many times by the Quran. During the
Mecca period when the number of Muslims was extremely
small, Holy Quran claimed again and again that the Rasool
will triumph. The following verses are few out of many,
revealed during the Mecca period.

       “(Muhammad) say to Those who disbelieve: Do
       whatever lies in your power, and so shall we. Wait if
       you will, we too are waiting” (Hud-11:121,122)

       “Those who disbelieved said to their Rasool: Return
       to our faith or we will bash you from our land. But
       Allah revealed to them: “We shall destroy the
       wrongdoers and let you dwell in the land after them”.

       “Say O’ Muhammad: Each one is waiting for the
       result. So wait if you will. Soon you will come to

           Islam and the Modern World

know who has followed the right path and who has
been rightly guided”. (Taaha-20:135)

“(O Muhammad) your opponents are like a small
faction which will be defeated as many such factions
against the previous Rasools were defeated (Swad-

“(O’ Muhammad) whether We shall show you,
within your lifetime, part of what We promised your
opponents, or take to Ourselves your soul before it is
all accomplished, your duty is only to make the
message reach them. Then it is our part to call them
to account. Why don’t these people see that we are
gradually reducing the land (of Arabian Peninsula) in
their control from the outlying borders (due to the
spreading of Islam). Everything is in the command of
God. There is none to put back his command. He is
swift in calling to account. (Al-Raad-13:40-41)

The same prophecy was proclaimed again and again
in the Medina period as well.

“Allah has decreed. I will surely triumph myself and
My Rasools” (Al-Mujadilah-58:21)

“These opponents seek to extinguish the light of
Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect his
light, much as the disbelievers may dislike it. It is He
who has sent his Rasool with guidance and the faith
of truth, so that He may exalt it above all religions,
much as the pagans may dislike it.” (Al-Saff-61:9)

The task for Rasool is much different from a normal
person, so many rules and regulation for a Rasool are
different than an ordinary person. Some rules are

                  Islam and the Modern World

       more strict and some are relaxed for him. So many
       rules for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SWS) were
       also different. Many such examples will be discussed
       in the following pages. Just for instance.

   The Tahajjud (Midnight) prayers were compulsory for
    the Holy Prophet but they are optional for other Muslims.

   The rules and regulations of marriage were also different
    for the Holy Prophet.

   It was Holy Prophet’s task to make the Land of Arabia a
    centre of Islam for which a specific war was allowed for
    him which is not allowed for other Muslims.

   After Twenty three years of preaching, death penalty was
    sentenced for his opponent pagans of Islam. If was
    proclaimed by the Holy Quran that the sentence from the
    court of God will be promulgated on the pagans through
    the hands of the companions of the Holy Prophet. No
    such penalty can be ordered for the opponents of any
    other preacher.

   Similarly after this preaching, the sentence announced
    for “The people of the Book” of the Arabian Peninsula
    was that they will be subdued and will have no share in
    the government. No such penalty can be announced for
    “The people of the Book” outside this area and after that

   Even some of the rules for the Arabian Peninsula (the
    Centre of Islam) are permanently different from the rest
    of the world. Idolatry and paganism are not allowed in
    the Arabian Peninsula but out side this area; the Muslims

                  Islam and the Modern World

   are bound to respect the sacred places of every religion
   including pagans.

       There are many more such examples which will be
discussed at the relevant places. It is extremely important
that this specific and distinct role of the Holy Prophet is
understood. If this specific role of the Rasool is
misunderstood, then the verses of Holy Quran seem to be
erroneously thought as contradictory to one another. And if
this distinct role is understood properly, then we can very
properly differentiate between the verses specific to the Holy
Prophet and the verses for the general mankind.

       Here a question may arise: what is its relevance to us
now. The answer is: It is the biggest proof and argument in
favor of the Prophet Hood of Muhammad (SWS). This
biography tells us how a single human being stood up to
raise the message of God and claimed that he is last of the
Rasool and he will triumph and then within twenty three
years he succeeded on every front. In this way this makes it
the greatest proof of his Prophet Hood.

                  Islam and the Modern World

                                                   Chapter 3


         The Holy Quran guides us in detail in those matters,
which hardly alter with the change of time like family
affairs. All other matters that change a lot according to the
circumstances have been left upon the free will of people to
legislate accordingly. For these matters the Quran simply
lays down some guiding principles. Politics is also one of
such matters. We know that politics and state-craft are
subject to change according to the temperament and culture
of different societies. The human approach towards these
matters also keeps changing with the passage of time.

        According to the Quran the ruler of a Muslim state
has to be elected by the people. It means that a Muslim state
should be a perfect democratic state.
The Quran says:

       “They (the Muslims) decide all their collective issues
       through mutual consultation.” (Al-Shura-32:38)

        Any matter that is pertained with the interests of two
or more than two persons cannot be decided single-handedly.
In order to put this law to practice it is necessary that the
people be given absolute freedom to express their opinions.
A ruler must be appointed through the free vote of people.
The whole system of the state must be formulated through
consultation. Every one must be given equal right of vote. A
law once formulated through consultation must be
withdrawn through consultation. A ruler is also bound to
take a decision approved by the majority.

                   Islam and the Modern World

        There is no room for dictatorship or imperialism in
Islam. People have the right to put a ruler into or out of his

        We shall discuss all expected questions one by one
arising through the discussion on Islam and democracy.

       The above-mentioned stand is mainly objected on the
ground that the majority of the people all over the world are
wayward and for the same reason the Holy Prophet
Muhammad (SWS) was forbidden to follow the opinion of
the majority. In a way it is said that the rule of majority is

        The verse of the Quran dealing with this issue has not
been understood properly. This is why the faction among the
Muslims against democracy presents this verse as logic in
their favour but without its context. It will be tried here that
the real motive of the Quran in this verse be presented with
its true context. The Quran declares that the affirmation of
right or wrong does not depend on majority or minority;
rather it is judged on the equity of the individual’s
conscience and intellect. Above all, the real test for the ad
judgment of true and false is the guidance of God. It is quite
possible that the majority might decline something despite it
being true and right. This was the philosophy behind God’s
advice to the Prophets asking them to continue their rightful
struggle and not to submit before adversaries.

       The above-mentioned advice of God was also given
to Prophet Muhammad (SWS) during his Makkah era. It is
known to us that the Holy Prophet had to face discouraging
circumstances when he initiated his preaching in his native
city Makkah. There were a few people who embraced Islam.
The Muslims of that era were failed to understand why the
majority was not ready to agree with them if they were really

                    Islam and the Modern World

on the right path. Thus God satisfied them through the Holy
Prophet by telling them that the validity of truth doesn’t
depend on its acknowledgement by the majority. The
majority might turn it down under the influence of their
worldly desires. So irrespective of the results; the struggle
with all its profundity must be carried on.

       In the early days of Islam the number of the believers
was hardly in hundreds while the non-believers were in
millions. Thus God revealed His message upon His Prophet
for the morale boosting of His companions several times.
The following verse was also a part of that:

         “Perfected are the words of your Lord in the truth
and justice. None can change them. He is the Hearing, the
knowing. If you obeyed the majority of these people, they
would lead you away from Allah’s path. They follow
nothing but falsehood. Allah best knows the people who
stray from His path and those that are rightly guided.” (Al-

        The study of above mentioned verses of the Holy
Quran make it clear that they do not deal with the formation
of any system for the running of collective affairs of a
Muslim state. It was merely a message to console the
Muslims of that time and it achieved its target. So the Holy
Quran is justified in relating the fact that the validity of truth
has no relevance with the certification of the majority.
Democracy, in fact, simply lays down the principle that the
decision of the majority should prevail in case of a dispute.
The decision of the majority may be wrong. This is why one
political party does not always remain in power. This is the
only way to resolve the issues because it carries more
advantages and less disadvantages.

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Here we come across an inevitable question: if it is
difficult to consult masses in every matter, could there be a
possibility in Islam of holding consultation through a
parliament of elected representatives of the people. Well, the
Quran allows this as per principle but the practical
affirmation of this belief can be seen in the adoption of this
rule in the lives of the Holy Prophet (SWS) and the later
Muslim rulers. For instance, on an occasion when the
question about the release of some prisoners was under
discussion, the Prophet asked the Muslims to communicate
their point of view through their representatives. (Bukhari:
Kitab al-Ahkam)

       Afterwards the pious Caliphs also followed the
procedure of holding consultation with the elite of every
community. If needed, they used to take the public opinion
through referendum. (Kitab-ul-Khiraj)

      Here arises the question whether                    Islam
accommodates the existence of political parties.

        In principle, the answer is in affirmative. Since Islam
does not ban the political parties, it naturally gives the sense
that the establishment of a political party is admirable and it
can level the ground to win favor of public. The Muslims can
enjoy difference of opinion within their society as well. They
are free to convince others in favor of their opinion and can
take part in the elections through their political factions.

        The next question is what sort of culture Islam wants
to create through the fair and free elections and a purified
democratic mind and atmosphere. The Holy Quran tells that
a leader must possess the distinctive qualities of knowledge,
intellect, righteousness and strength. Islam rules out any
major role of money in the appointment of a ruler.

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Through al-Baqarah-2:247 the Quran relates an
incident from history that when a ruler was chosen in a
nation, it was objected by the people that since he was
inferior to them in worldly assets, he had no right to rule
upon them. They were replied that the ruler was, however,
superior to them in knowledge, morality and strength.

        It proves that an Islamic society should form such a
model of democracy where there is no manipulation of
money in the appointment of a political office bearer. Islam
affirms that every office is a sacred duty entrusted upon the
office bearer.

        Another issue requires its satisfactory answer: Who
would be the arbiter to decide in case of dispute over the
interpretation of a point in Islam. The answer is that Islam
grants such a right to the majority. If the matter is the
concern of the individual, he has every right to interpret
according to his will. If the matter deals with collectivity, it
is only the prerogative of the elected representatives of the
people to implement what they deem fit. The factions in
minority have of course a right to maintain the difference of
opinion and work for leveling the ground in their favor. As
long as they do not get a law amended through the majority,
they are bound to observe the legislation passed by the

        Islam does not approve of any legal right to any
faction of religious scholars for the forcible implementation
of their notions based on their understanding of Islam. There
is no such concept in Islam. A scholar may convince the
masses by dint of his arguments and moral strength but he
has absolutely no right to enforce his notions. The Quran, as
a principle, stresses upon the consensus on all collective
matters. It respects the majority in case of a dispute. So there
is no room for theocracy in Islam.

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Non Muslims too, may dwell in a Muslim state, so it
is important to know about system of their participation in
political affairs. The Quran had laid down a principle in this
regard that the Muslims have to keep up their promises. It
proves that the Muslims are bound to respect every pact
made with non-Muslims after mutual consultation. It is a
must for the state to keep in view the international situation,
pacts, and the problems of the Muslim minorities in the non-
Muslim countries.

       It is a must for the Muslims to honor every
commitment made with non-Muslims. For instance the
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali-Jinnah, the founder leader of
Pakistan, gave his word to non-Muslims that they would be
granted equal political rights in Pakistan. Therefore, it is
obligatory upon the state of Pakistan that the non-Muslims
get equal rights with the Muslims in this country. (Quaid’s
address on 11 Aug 1947).

      The further discussion regarding the rights of non-
Muslims would come later in this book.

         The next discussion deals with the meaning of the
Caliphate, as this word comes repeatedly in Islamic
literature. The word Khalifah (Caliph) has been used in the
Quran meaning a person with power, authority and freewill
i.e every human being. A Muslim ruler in the same capacity
is called Caliph. It is important to note that the word Caliph
is not used as an essential religious term; any other synonym
like president, Prime Minister and Chancellor can also be
used in its stead.

       It is said that the Holy Prophet had decided in his
own life that his successor in the office of the leader of the
Muslims would be among the Quraysh, the then biggest tribe

                  Islam and the Modern World

of the Arabs. Was it not an undemocratic decision? How the
first four Caliphs after the Holy Prophet were appointed?

        The answer is that the Qurayshites were respected
and trusted by the inhabitants of the soil of Arabia. This
position of respect was enjoyed by the Qurayshites for
hundreds of years. People contacted them for arbitration in
disputes and admitted their leadership. In fact they were in
majority. The same situation persisted even after they had
embraced Islam, because a faction of the Quraysh had
accorded the maximum sacrifices for Islam. So in the light of
the guidance of the Quran no tribe other than the Quraysh
deserved the leadership of the Muslims in the whole of
Arabia. The Holy Prophet decided in their favor owing to
their being in majority. The Holy Prophet justified his
decision as under:

        “The general masses are subservient to the Quraysh
in the matter of leadership. The believers of Arabia follow
the believers of the Quraysh and the non-believers follow the
non-believers of the Quraysh.” (Muslim: Kitabul-Amarah).

        Therefore the decision of the Holy Prophet was
purely a democratic decision. The first four Caliphs were
elected on the basis of the same principle. Abu Bakr was the
most prominent man among the Quraysh. When his name
was proposed as a Caliph, all had a consensus on it. In the
same way Abu Bakr consulted the leading persons about the
appointment of the new Caliph before his death. When he
became sure that the majority of the Muslim leaders were in
favor of Umar, he declared his name as his successor.

       When Umer reached the dusk of his life, he formed a
council comprising of six most prominent leaders. These six
leaders were the fittest candidates to become Caliph. After

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having consulted the general public and through a consensus,
this council elected Usman as the next Caliph of Islam.

        The election of Ali was in a period of chaos but even
then consultation was the main source of his appointment at
that time. Implementation of the policy of consultation was
one of the two reasons for the conflict between Ali and his
opponents. Ali had the stand that since the inhabitants of the
Capital had chosen him their leader, he was the Caliph. He
expressed that the opinion of the people belonging to the
other parts of the state would be taken when the situation is
normalized. His opponents, however, believed that he was
not a Caliph unless people from all over the state vote in
favor of him.

       This dispute has a positive gesture that indicates how
much importance the Muslims of the early period of Islam
attached to the democratic values.

       It is a pertinent question here how far these values
were practiced in the time of the Holy Prophet. Its principled
aspect is that he was the Prophet of God and he received
guidance directly from God in every important matter. So
apparently he was not dependent upon the consultation of
any one else. The Quran Says:

       “He does not speak out of his own fancy. This is no
       other than inspired revelation.” (Al-Najam-53:3-4)

       “Whatever the Rasool gives you, accept it; and
       whatever he forbids you, forebear from it.” (Al-Hshr-

       Despite this all, the Holy Prophet was advised by
God to consult his companions in all affairs of political and
administrative nature. So he not only consulted them but also

                   Islam and the Modern World

acted upon the advice of the majority. There was only one
exception at the time when the pact of Hudaybiyah was
made. His companions were not willing to make the
agreement but he reached an agreement with his enemies
after having direct orders from God, the Quran says:

       “It is thanks to Allah’s mercy that you (Muhammad)
       deal so leniently with them. Had you been cruel and
       hard-hearted, they would have surely deserted you.
       Therefore, pardon them and implore Allah to forgive
       them. Take counsel with them in the conduct of
       affairs; and when you are resolved, put your trust in
       Allah” (Al-Imran-3:159)

        This is how the Prophet of Islam formed a complete
democratic society where everyone expressed the voice of
his conscience in an atmosphere of perfect freedom and
fearlessness. According to a Hadith, Abu Huraira the
companion of the Holy Prophet says that the Holy Prophet
used to consult people more then any body.

        Islam had its entire growth in an absolutely
democratic way. The Prophet of Islam (SWS) initiated his
preaching from his native city, Makkah that was the pivot of
the whole of Arabia. Despite his peaceful struggle which
spanned over thirteen years, he could not convince the
majority of the dwellers of his native city. He did not raise an
army at that time for the forcible occupation of that city. One
the other side almost the whole of the population of Madina
became Muslim and they invited the Prophet to come over
there and establish his rule. Therefore, he reached there and
established his rule according to the will of the local people
in a purely democratic way.

                  Islam and the Modern World

                                                   Chapter 4


        Islam is an exponent of tolerance and freedom of
opinion. Islam is a religion that believes in reason and
intellect and invites people to act in accordance to them. The
Quran has an appeal for the intuition, conscience, intellect,
and understanding to every individual. The Quran has a
logical expression in every matter like Oneness of God,
Prophet hood and the hereafter. It draws the attention of its
addressee towards the facts both within the human being and
spread through the whole of the universe. It addresses the
human-kind because they are the masters of their own free
will. They admit logic and act accordingly. In the Quran the
repeated appearance of the words like intellect, thought,
farsightedness and wisdom for more than two hundred times
prove that it is a book based purely on intellect,
farsightedness and logic.

       “In the creation of the heavens and the earth; And in
       the alternation of night and day, there are signs for
       people of sense”. (Al-Imran-3:190)

       “This is a clear message to mankind. Let them heed
       thereby, and know that Allah is one God. Let the
       wise bear this in mind”. (Ibrahim-14:52)

       “We gave Moses the guidance and the book in
       inheritance to the children of Israel: guidance and an
       admonition to men of understanding”. (Al-Mu’min-

       “Thus Allah makes known to you His revelations that
       you may understand”. (Al-Baqarah-2:242)
                 Islam and the Modern World

       “(O Prophet,) Give good news to my servants, who
       listen to My word and follow the best version of it.
       These are they whom Allah he guided. These are they
       who are endued with understanding”. (Al-Zumar-

       The above quoted verses are given here because the
sense conveyed through them is repeated for over two
hundred times.

        A book based on logic has a lot of room to
accommodate the difference of opinion. This is why the
Quran advised the Holy Prophet and his followers to have an
objective discourse with their opponents and avoid conflict
however stubborn they be.

       “Repel evil with good. We are fully aware of all (the
       slanders) they utter”. (Al-Mu’minoon-23:96)

       “Good and evil deeds are not alike, requite evil with
       good, and he, between whom and you is enmity, will
       become your dearest friend. (Ha-Mim al-Sijdah-

       “Tell my servants to be courteous in their speech”.

       “Believers, fear Allah and speak the truth”. (Al-

       “The true servants of the Merciful are those who
       walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant
       address them they say: ‘peace’!” (Al-Furqan-25:63)

                   Islam and the Modern World

       “Call people to the path of your Lord with wisdom
       and mild exhortation. Reason with them in the most
       courteous manner”. (Al-Nahl-6:125)

        There are many such verses in the Quran that convey
the similar sense. Owing to this stand, the Holy Quran made
it clear to the Prophet of God that his main task was to
communicate truth to the people. He had no more
responsibility. And the admittance on the part of the people
is not a certification of success.
       “(O Prophet) therefore give warning. Your duty is
       only to warn them: You are not their keeper”. (Al-
       Ghashiyah-88:21, 22)
        “You shall not use force with them.” (Qaf-50:45)
       There are eighteen verses in the Quran that convey
the same sense. The Quran, besides this, makes it clear that
every man is free to decide whether he becomes a Muslim or
adopts the counter path. It is so because this world is the
place where man is put to trial by granting free will to him.
The Doomsday is yet to come.
       “This is the truth from your Lord. Let him who will,
       believe in it and him who will, deny it”. (Al-Kahf-
       “There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance in
       now distinct from the error.” (Al-Baqarah-2:250)
       “We have shown the Human being the right path,
       whether he is grateful or ungrateful”. (Al-Dahr-76:3)
        The verses giving the sense as above have appeared
at more than fifteen places in the Quran. These verses make
it clear that man is free to choose the religion of his liking;
he cannot be forced in this matter.

                   Islam and the Modern World

Punishment for apostasy?

         Here the proclamation of the Holy Quran regarding
the grant of freedom of opinion to the individual brings
about confusion in general minds; how did this concept go
round that a person once embracing Islam will be inflicted
death penalty in case he reverts to his previous religion. And
if it be true, is there a duality in the Holy Quran in specific
and Islam in general. It gives rise to a contradictory situation
when a person finds that Islam invites the people belonging
to other religions to embrace it; whereas it declares death
punishment for those who want to revert to any other
religion. Is it true? Let’s find an answer to this question.

        In fact this is not true. The above-mentioned
confusion is due to the misunderstanding of a specific
established practice of God. This practice is, in fact a law
that is pertained with Rasools only and has nothing to do
with even Prophets who are “Nabi”. This law has already
been dealt with briefly. It says that a Rasool is in fact equity
of justice, a scale to weigh right and wrong, and a court of
God within this world. He communicates the message of
God to people through his words and actions in such a vivid
manner that only the stubborn ones and those who remain
adamant in their vested interests refuse to yield.

        When a specific time span is passed after the message
has been communicated in the most accomplished manner, it
is decided by God that the court to be established on
Doomsday should be set in this world as well. Thus those
who still show inflexibility in their sinful life are penalized
directly or indirectly, by God. Many such measures in past
have been related through the Quran and the Bible that
approve the above-mentioned fact, for example the disaster
faced by the nation of Noah. In the likewise manner when a
faction of Israelites fell victims to paganism, they were

                   Islam and the Modern World

inflicted death punishment by Moses (Musa). It was so
because they had no justification for their misdeeds. This
incident has been described in Chapter 32 of the book of
“Exodus” of the Bible.

        Muhammad (SWS) was also a Rasool of God. After
the proclamation of Prophet-Hood he preached the people in
a peaceful manner. Not even a single person was converted
to Islam forcibly. After the lapse of twenty-two years a great
number of the pagans of Arabia embraced Islam through the
exercise of their free will. At this juncture the peculiar law of
God was enacted. God declared through Surah Al-Tawba
that His message had been absolutely communicated to all
pagans of Arabia. They were granted a time limit of four
months to embrace Islam. They were given an opportunity as
well to clarify their ambiguities about Islam if any in the
meantime. During that time their safety was the
responsibility of the Muslims. Yet it was up to them whether
they embrace Islam or not. If they chose not to become
Muslims even after four months, they were asked either to
get ready for war with the Muslims or to quit the land of
Arabia. (Al-Tawbah-9:5)

        While explaining an aspect of this law, the Holy
Prophet said that the same punishment would also be
inflicted upon those who would revert to their previous
religion once having accepted Islam as their Deen. Thus this
punishment was meant for the direct addressees of the
Prophet of Islam. Since this law was applicable to the direct
addressees of the Rasool, it had lost its chances of
enforcement after that period had perished.

       It must be borne in mind that the above-mentioned
law was applied on the pagans only. The Christians and the
Jews of Arabia were exempted from it. They were just bound
to remain under the control of Muslim rule. They were not

                  Islam and the Modern World

allowed to form the government of their own inside Arabian
Peninsula. (Al-Tawbah-9:29)

       It is historically proved that after the above-
mentioned declaration, all the pagans turned Muslims. None
of them left the Arabian soil nor there was any war against
them. Since with the completion of this stage the task of the
Prophet was over, he died just a few months after that.

        The above discussion makes it clear that the law of
death penalty for those who leave Islam after having once
accepted it could only be exercised by the “Rasools” of God
in a specific period and up to a time limit. After and before
that everyone is free to choose his religion, whatsoever he
likes. There would be no accountability in this world; it
would be decided on the Doomsday.

Morality of preaching

        The whole mankind has a consensus that a civilized,
sophisticated and graceful style is desirable during
conversation; no abuses, no allegations. The Quran advises
the Muslims to adopt a tender, wise and nice way of

       “Call people to the path of your Lord with wisdom
       and mild exhortation. Reason with them in the most
       courteous manner”. (Al-Nahl-16:125)

       “Good and evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with
       good, and he, between whom and you is enmity, will
       become your dearest friend.” (Fussilat-41:34)

       It is advisable that a preacher should wind up his
preaching for the time being and avoid any conflict when the

                  Islam and the Modern World

opponents are bent upon making a mockery of his preaching,
raising allegations and launching undue criticism.

       “When you see those that scoff at Our revelations,
       withdraw from them till they engage in some other
       talk”. (Al-An’am-6:68)

        When the Holy Prophet (SWS) started conveying the
message of God to Makkans, his opponents raised a lot of
allegations against him. These allegations have been related
in the Quran in detail. It is obvious that the companions of
the Holy Prophet (SWS) got enraged over such allegations
but any step taken by them in rage would have been
tantamount to nullifying the objectives of the preaching. So
the Quran relates it as a distinctive quality of good Muslims
that they avoid such people, show tolerance and
perseverance in the event of adversity, and pray peace and
prosperity for even their deadly enemies.

       “Allah loves the righteous people who spend alike in
       prosperity and in adversity, who curb their anger and
       those who forgive their fellow-men”. (Al-Imran-

       “The true servants of the Merciful are those who
       walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant
       address them they say: Peace!” (Al-Furqan-25:63)

        An ignorant is the one who abuses, raises allegations
and misbehaves while showing his ignorance. The servants
of the Merciful stand aside by saying good-bye to them.

       “They pay no heed to vain talk, but say: We have our
       actions and you have yours, peace be upon you. We
       do not seek (The company of) ignorant people”. (Al-

                  Islam and the Modern World

        At one place in the Quran, while replying the
charges of the pagans, which they levied against the Prophet,
Muhammad (SWS) was advised as:

       “Bear with them and wish them peace, they shall
       (before long) know”. (Al-Zukhruf-43:89)

At another place the Prophet was advised as below:

       “Bear patiently with what they say and leave their
       company with dignity”. (Al-Muzzammil-73:10)

He was further told:

       “Show forgiveness, enjoin justice, and avoid the
       ignorant”. (Al-A’raf-7:199)

       After the establishment of the Muslim rule in
Madina, the Jews and hypocrites of Madina started hatching
up conspiracies and raising allegations on the character of
the Holy Prophet. The Prophet was advised by God to show
patience and tolerance to these conspirators

       “Pardon them (the Jews) and bear with them, Allah
       loves those who do good”. (Al-Maidah-5:13)

       The hypocrites also lived in Madina. These were the
people who pretended to be the Muslims but inwardly
remained busy in conspiracies against the Muslims and the
Holy Prophet. At times they turned insolent. They labeled
the promises of the Holy Prophet as fraud and imposture.
Their leader, Ibn-i-Obayy called the Holy Prophet a
worthless man and claimed himself to be worthy of respect.

       The Quran has discussed it in detail. The Prophet was
advised about them as under:

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       “Therefore let them be, and put your trust in Allah.”
       (Al-Nisa- 4:81)

At another place it was advised:

       “Do not obey the unbelievers and the hypocrites:
       disregard their insolence. Put your trust in Allah;
       Allah is your all-sufficient Guardian”. (Al-Ahzab-

       This attitude bore positive results and opponents of
Islam could not succeed in their evil designs.

        Freedom of opinion does not allow an individual to
play havoc with the lives of others. Though the Muslims are
advised to be tolerant yet a Muslim government has the
natural right to penalize such criminals if they play with the
sentiments of the Muslims, blame their dearest leaders, turn
cruel to them, create a pathetic situation for the whole
Muslim community, and conspire with the enemies of Islam
to create chaos.

                  Islam and the Modern World

                                                   Chapter 5

        There is a lot of confusion about Jihad. One such
misunderstanding is that the Muslims consider it their
religious duty to bring other nations under their subjugation
whenever they get an opportunity. If this happens to be the
religious obligation of the Muslims, they are obviously a
threat to the world peace. It is, therefore, necessary to
analyze the concept of Jihad in the light of the Quran.

        The real meaning of the word “Jihad” is struggle. In
this sense it is a must for every Muslim to contribute and
struggle for his “Deen” through the offering of money and

       “The true believers are those who have faith in Allah
       and His Prophet and never doubt; and who struggle
       for His cause with their wealth and persons. Such are
       the truthful ones”. (Al-Hujrat-49:15)

        The actual word used for war in the Holy Quran is
“Qital”. This word has been used in Quran at fifty-four
places. As far as the word “Jihad” is concerned, it has been
used in the Quran at Twenty nine places. Out of these, it is
used for a peaceful struggle at twenty one places and at eight
places; it also includes war as a part of struggle.

        Qital is of two kinds. One kind was specific to the
Holy Prophet while the other one is forever. The Qital
specific to the Holy Prophet was purposed to defeat the
unbelievers and affirm the dominance of Islam in the soil of
Arabia to make it a centre of Islam. It was a special task
from God to be accomplished through the Holy Prophet:

                   Islam and the Modern World

       “It is He who sent His prophet with guidance and the
       Faith of truth, so that He may exalt it above all
       religions, much as the pagans may dislike it”. (Al-
       Saff 61:9)

        Therefore, after having completed all the formalities
in the communication of the message to the pagans, the Holy
Prophet, was granted the right to abolish their power by
force, although this right was never exercised. It is
important to mention the fact that all the battles fought in the
lifespan of the Holy Prophet, were either in defense; or
against those who were busy in playing havoc with the
belongings and peace of the Muslims; or those who joined
hands with the pagan invaders; or who had violated treaty of
peace, or those who had evil designs against the Muslim to
attack them, but conspiracy was unveiled before time. Thus
all these battles were justified and were fought in self-

       “(O’ Prophet) make war on them until persecution is
       no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme”. (Al-

         So far as the conquest of Makkah is concerned it had
a logical justification. The immediate reason was the attack
of a tribe allied to the Quraysh against one of the tribes allied
with the Muslims. The Muslims had entered into an
agreement with that tribe binding both the parties to fight
against an invader jointly. The Quraysh had helped their
allied tribe in terms of armament, violating the agreement.
Therefore, the Muslims had a moral justification to punish
them. But the other reason was more significant. The Prophet
Ibraham as per orders of God built the Ka’bah so that it
would be used for the worship of the Almighty only.

                  Islam and the Modern World

        The city of Makkah was constructed with an
objective that its inhabitants would meet the requirements of
the pilgrims. But the Quraysh turned a deaf ear to the
message of God and transformed Ka’bah into a centre for
paganism. It was, therefore, an obligation that the idols must
be taken off the Ka’bah and it should be left specifically for
the worship of God.

       “Follow the faith of Ibraham. He was an upright man,
       not a polytheist. The first house ever to be built (as
       sanctuary) for people was that at Makkah, a blessed
       place, and a beacon for the nations. In it, there are
       clear signs and the spot where Ibraham stood.
       Whoever enters it is safe”. (Al-Imran-3:95, 97)

       “And why should Allah not chastise these pagans,
       when they have debarred others from the sacred
       Mosque, although they were not its guardians? Its
       only guardians are those that fear Allah, though most
       of them do not know it” (Al-Anfal-8:34)

        It should be kept in mind that according to the Quran,
the people of Arabia would have embraced Islam on their
own will, if there was no fear of persecution from their
leaders. This is evident from the Peace Treaty of Hudaibia.
With in two years of this treaty, a large majority of the
people of Arabia converted to Islam.

War of a normal Muslim State
       As far as the war of a normal Muslim state is
concerned, there are two grounds where war is admissible.
First: for self defense. The Holy Quran says,

       “War is allowed for those on whom war is imposed
       because it is a tyranny.” (Al Haj 22:39)
                  Islam and the Modern World

      Second: for the help of the oppressed people (esp.
Muslims) and persecution in some tyrannical state. The
Holy Quran says:

        “And why should you not fight for the cause of
       Allah, for the helpless old men, women, and children
       who say: Deliver us, Lord, from this city of
       oppressors; send forth to us a guardian from your
       presence; send to us one that will help us. (Al-Nisa-

       The Holy Quran further says:

       “Fight them on until there is no more persecution,
and the religion becomes God’s. But if they cease, let there
be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.” (Al-

        In the above verse God’s religion means that every
person on earth should exercise his free will to choose his
beliefs without any persecution.

       The war fought for the above two conditions is called
       “War in the way of God” (Qital-Fi-Sabeellilah).

      There are six important conditions laid down in the
Holy Quran for a war.
        First, a war can be announced only by a state. No
militant group has the prerogative to proclaim and wage a
war. This point will be dealt with in later paragraphs in
      Second, honoring an international agreement is
most important. No war can be announced in violation of a

                  Islam and the Modern World

treaty with another state, even if the other state is brutal
towards its Muslim subjects. The Muslim state is prohibited
to accord armed help to the tormented Muslims of another
state with whom there is a peace treaty. The Holy Quran
       “If they (the Muslims out side your state) seek your
       help in the cause of your religion, it is your duty to
       aid them, except against a state you have a treaty
       with” (Al-Anfal-8: 72)

      Third, a war should only be fought when the
Muslim state has got sufficient resources to defeat the
enemy. The Holy Quran says:

       “Against your enemy, make ready your strength to
       the utmost of your power” (Al-Anfal-8:60)

The Holy Quran further says:

       “God has lightened your task, because He knows that
       there is weakness in you. If there are one hundred
       patient and persevering among you, they will
       vanquish two hundred, and if there are one thousand
       among you, they will vanquish two thousand, with
       the order of God: for God is with those who patiently
       persevere”. (Al-Anfal-8:66)

       It mean that a Muslim state must have at least half the
resources of the enemy, before announcing and waging a

      Fourth, if the enemy offers to enter in a peace
accord, then it is a must to make a treaty with him.
The Holy Quran says:

          Islam and the Modern World

“If they incline to peace, make peace with them, and
put your trust in Allah. He is the Hearing, the
Knowing. If they seek to deceive you, then Allah is
All-sufficient for you”. (Al-Anfal-8: 61,62).

                  Islam and the Modern World

The Holy Quran further says:

       “(the peace treaties are) not dissolved with those
       Pagans with whom you have entered in to accords,
       and who have not subsequently failed in there pledge,
       nor aided anyone against you. So fulfill your
       agreements with them to the end of their term”. (Al-

       “As long as the idolaters, with whom you have made
       treaties near the Sacred Mosque, keep the treaty, you
       should also honor the treaty with them”. (Al-

Fifth, it is prohibited to harm or kill non-combatants.

The Holy Quran says:

       “Fight in the cause of Allah, only those who fight
       you. Do not transgress the limits because God does
       not love the transgressors.” (Al-Baqara-2:190)

The Holy Quran further says:

       “(Do not fight those) who join a group between
       whom and you there is a treaty or those who
       approach you with hearts restraining them from either
       fighting you or fighting their people….. Therefore if
       they withdraw from the fight and instead offer for
       peace, then God has opened no way for you to war
       against them.” (Al-nisa-4:90)

       “Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable
       to those who have neither made war on your religion
       nor driven you from your homes. Allah loves the
       equitable. But He forbids you to make friends with

                  Islam and the Modern World

       those who have fought against you on account of
       your religion and driven you from your homes or
       abetted others to do so”. (Al-Mumtahinah-60:8,9)

     Sixth, it is prohibited to wage a war in specific
four months i.e. Rajab, Zee Qaad, Zil Haj and
Muharram. The Holy Quran says:

       “They ask you concerning fighting in the Prohibited
       months. Say: Fighting there in is a grave offence.”
       (Al-Baqara-2: a part of verse 217)

       Seventh, if there is a transgression from the enemy
in the use of force, the Muslim state can also reply in the
same coin. The Holy Quran says:

       “There is a law of equality. If anyone transgresses the
       prohibition against you, your can transgress likewise
       against your enemy.” (Al-Baqara-2:194)

       Today, all the Muslim countries have entered into a
peace agreement with all nations of the world through
U.N.O. From Islamic point of view, it is now obligatory that
they don’t have to make aggression against any other country
of the world. Now the world’s conscience has reached a
stage where they deem it their duty to help the oppressed
ones. Same is the message of the Quran. Still there is room
for improvement in the attitude of the world. If the whole
world adopts the Islamic concept of War, all oppression in
the world will be abolished naturally because War, in Islam,
means nothing else but answer to aggression and oppression.

       After having discussed ‘Qital’ it is necessary to find
out what the “terrorism” is. It has three components. First an
organization or an individual makes an armed struggle
without the consent of the state. Secondly there is an

                   Islam and the Modern World

intentional adoption of such measures that might claim lives
of some innocent people. Thirdly the warfare is not against
oppression rather it has different designs. If any one of the
above mentioned factors is found in a war, it is not Qital Fi-
Sabillilah. It is rather the “terrorism”. If all of the three
factors are there, it is an absolute form of “terrorism”.

       The second and third components of the “terrorism”
mentioned above do not need any more explanation.
However, the first component needs a bit of more

         According to Islam, it is the prerogative of the state
only to declare the “Qital”. Even Prophets did not declare
war unless they were in power. They did not make an armed
struggle before that time. They did not avenge themselves
upon the oppressors. The Holy Prophet did not take a single
armed action even in self-defense throughout his Makkah
life. In fact it was prohibited by the Holy Quran at that time.
Afterwards when the state of Madina got its ground, the
Holy Prophet was allowed war for self-defense.

        The Prophet Moses also declared Qital at the time
when he established his government in the desert of Sinai
with the assistance of the Israelites. Since the Prophet Jesus
Christ did not form a government he was directed to show
tolerance to the extent that he was to offer his other cheek to
his enemy if he was slapped on the one.

        The Prophet Muhammad (SWS) also taught patience
to his followers during his Makkah days. When one female
follower of the Prophet, Sumayyah, was martyred along with
her husband, he, instead of taking their revenge, promised
paradise for the martyrs to their relatives. Thus as per Islamic
principles, war can only be declared by a Muslim state.

                   Islam and the Modern World

Wars after the Holy Prophet

        In this context the next question is, what was the
nature of the conquests and the battles fought by the
companions of the Holy Prophet after his death. In fact all
these wars were fought in self defense. The newly
established Muslim state was confronted with many enemies
on its borders who were not ready to tolerate this state.

         The Holy Prophet, four years before his death,
invited through letters, all rulers of the nearby countries to
embrace Islam. He also dispatched his envoys to them so that
they could guide them about Islam in detail. The reason
behind writing letters to the monarchs was that it was the
time of monarchy all around. The subjects could not even
think of accepting a religion, which was not acceptable to
their king. Therefore the only way to communicate the
message of Islam to the people of that country was to invite
first their rulers to embrace Islam.

        These letters had three direct effects. First, Najashi,
the king of Habsha (Ethiopia) embraced Islam. (He
embraced Islam but could not proclaim it publicaly). Second,
the monarchies of Egypt and Bahrain did not immediately
accept Islam but promised to consider the offer lately and
treated the ambassadors of Islam with respect and nicety.
Third, the ruler of Persia not only looked down upon the
message of the Holy Prophet but also treated the envoy in an
insulting manner. But the message of Islam kept infiltrating
in those countries through the traders of Arabia going there.
Since the rulers everywhere were well informed, therefore
they came to know about Islam in a detailed manner.

       After the demise of the Holy Prophet the
circumstances witnessed some changes of fundamental
nature. Firstly, there seemed to be no scope of

                   Islam and the Modern World

communicating the message of Islam to the subjects of
neighboring countries, and providing opportunities of
embracing Islam to the desirous masses. Secondly, some
neighboring states had started assembling their armies in
order to wipe out the Muslim state from the map of the
world. Thirdly, there were certain tribes involved in piracy
and lawlessness in the Muslim state. These trouble mongers
used to get asylum in the neighboring countries after their
unlawful activities. All these circumstances demanded a
serious notice of them and some steps to safeguard the newly
born state of Islam. Therefore it was decided as a policy that
there would be absolute peace with the countries like
Habsha, which did not offer a threat to Islamic state. The
friendly states like Egypt and Bahrain were picked up to
make treaties. The states, which showed open animosity to
Islam, were declared the enemies against whom the wars
could be fought.

        In this way, wherever the Muslims set their feet,
Islam spread rapidly. It is important to note that the people of
those states were not made Muslims forcibly but they
witnessed such a distinctive change between the character
and mannerism of the old and the new rulers that they
embraced Islam willingly and happily. It is a historically
proven fact that not even a single person was made Muslim
against his will.

                   Islam and the Modern World

                                                    Chapter 6

        The rights of non-Muslims in a Muslim state have
been discussed partially in this book on the earlier pages, yet
it seems more apt to discuss this issue in detail so that the
Islamic point of view in this connection becomes clear to the

        It has been made clear through the previous chapters
that Islam is based on democratic principles. It offers its
message in a peaceful and binds none to accept it against his
will. The obvious result of such an offer is that a group of
people may not accept Islam. The rights of this group, in a
Muslim state, are to be discussed here.

        The readers might have observed through the
previous discussion that the Quran, in such matters only lays
down the principles instead of giving details for the
convenient and universal application of its instructions in all
circumstances and for all times. Therefore, the Quran issued
forth the order based on principle:

       “O believers, be true to your treaties”. (Al-Maidah-

       It means that the Muslims, as a rule, are bound to
honor the agreements, if any, made with the non-Muslims.
While explaining this principle, the Holy Prophet said:

       “I warn you that whosoever makes aggression against
       the non-Muslims in agreement, limits their rights,
       presses them more than their capacity or snatches any
       of their belongings. I shall sue against such a Muslim
       on Doomsday”. (Abu-Dawud: Katib al-Jihad)
                   Islam and the Modern World

       The same has been ordered by the Quran as under:

       “And keep your promise. Surely it will be inquired
       into”. (Al-Isra-17:34)

       Particularly about non-Muslims, it was directed by
the Quran to deal them with justice:

       “Do not allow your hatred for other nations to turn
       you away from justice. Deal. Justly; justice is nearer
       to true piety. Have fear of Allah; He is cognizant of
       what you do”. (Al-Maidah-5:8)

        Justice means that the non-Muslims must be granted
all human and political rights, their lives, property and honor
must be safeguarded. Their basic necessities must be met
with, their religious and individual matters must not be
interfered, their holy places must be protected, they must be
allowed to propagate and promote their religion in a civilized
manner and they must be allowed to pay a tax equal in ratio
to that of Muslims. Rather they must be treated with, even
better than, Muslims. Because the Quran says:

       “Be extremely kind and beneficial to others; Allah
       loves the benefactors, the generous”. (Al-Baqarah-

        Keeping this Quranic injunction the Holy Prophet
entered into several treaties with the non-Muslims during his
stay at Madina. (Unfortunately, most of these treaties could
not be honored by the non-Muslims). For example, the Holy
Prophet made an agreement, commonly known as “The
Charter of Al-Madina”, with the neighboring Jews of the
state of Madina. The following were the main features of this

                  Islam and the Modern World

      The Jews and the Muslims will be considered as one
       state despite practicing their respective religions.

      Both the parties will fight jointly against an outer
       force making aggression against either of the two.

      The Muslims and the Jews will meet their respective
       expenses at their own.

      The mutual relations of the two parties will be based
       on good will, nice conduct and justice.

      The oppressed will be helped.

      Indiscipline, violence and bloodshed          will   be
       forbidden in the state of Madina.

      This treaty will not be a source of protection for any
       oppressor or a criminal.

      In case of a dispute, Muhammad (SWS) would be the

        As a result of this treaty a federal state came into
being with Madina as its capital and Muhammad (SWS) as
its head.

       If studied minutely, it would become clear that the
above-mentioned agreement respected the noblest human
values above all. This agreement is still a lighthouse for the
whole world.

        Unfortunately the Jews did not honor this agreement
and started violating it very soon.

                  Islam and the Modern World

                AND “JIZYAH”.
        This subject at this turn requires an answer to the
questions regarding the identity of a “Zimmi” and the
definition of “Jizyah”.

        Before answering this question we shall have to keep
the special status of the Prophet Hood of Muhammad (SWS).
In fact after the completion of the process of communication
of the message of Islam, the Holy Prophet, just one year
before his death, was ordered by God that all Jews and
Christians, living on the Arabian soil who have not yet
embraced Islam, should be declared “Zimmi”. These Zimmis
would be the subjects of the Muslim state if they want to stay
here and would be its responsibility; they would pay a tax
named as “Jizyah” as the Muslims pay the tax known as

       Thus they were punished in a way that their
independent status was terminated and they were included
among the subject of the Muslim government of Arabia. The
following order was issued forth by God one year before the
death of the Holy Prophet:

       “Fight against such of those to whom “the Book” was
       given as they believe neither in Allah nor the last day,
       who do not forbid what Allah and His Prophet have
       forbidden, and do not embrace the true faith, until
       they pay tribute out of hand and are subdued”. (Al-

        Certain facts here are noteworthy. First, there was no
regular state formulated on the Arabian soil. So when the
establishment of a regular state was planned, it was to be

                   Islam and the Modern World

perceived what should be the status of the Jews and the
Christians reluctant to embrace Islam. Therefore, they were
declared Zimis and were levied the tax of Jizyah upon them.
It was made clear that they would not render compulsory
military service in return to their payment of Jizyah.

        Second, those who did not accept Muhammad (SWS)
as the Prophet of God faced the penalty inflicted upon them
by God. This punishment was not the same for the believers
of the Holy Books and the pagans. The pagans were warned
to be ready for death or exile in case they failed to accept
Islam as their religion whereas the believers of the Holy
Books were just declared Zimmis.

        Thus these instructions were also exclusively related
with the direct addressees of the Holy Prophet. Since a
Rasool is himself a court of God set in this world, they were
penalized by this court. This instruction is no more
applicable in later periods. This is why, there is neither any
Zimmi today nor does the tax of Jizyah exist. Now, all the
non-Muslims ruled by a Muslim government are the party of
the treaty made between the two groups by the constitution
of that country. And the Muslims are bound to honor this
treaty and treat the non-Muslims with justice. These people
are called “Maahid” (Non-Muslims with whom an agreement
has been accorded).

       This principled and ideological discussion gives birth
to some questions. The first one is about the obligations of
the Muslim governments of today towards the non-Muslim
minorities according to the Islamic point of view. The
answer is that in the present day all the Muslim governments
are the members of the United Nations Organization and
they are, therefore, bound to observe its charter. They are
also bound to honor the treaties with any other nation on
reciprocal basis. Their treatment with the minorities has to be

                   Islam and the Modern World

just; rather they must treat them even better than their own

         The second question deals with the issue of separate
electorate and separate seats for the non-Muslims in the
parliament. It is important to know the Islamic point of view
in this regard. In fact, it all depends on the mutual settlement
between the Muslims and the non-Muslim minority whether
they go for separate electorate or joint elections. However,
the opinion of the non-Muslims should be given priority as
Islam teaches nice conduct with non-Muslims.

        The joint elections seem more appropriate if
perceived from the Islamic angle. The joint elections
promote an environment of cordiality between the two
parties. The non-Muslims esteem Islam higher and feel
convenient to study the message of Islam. Their problems
can be solved in a better way and as such they can be saved
from becoming followers of fanatic leadership. On the other
side separate electorate might cause an environment of
constant hatred between the Muslims and the non-Muslims.
The non-Muslims may get away from the Muslims forever.
Their problems hardly get solved. Such a situation gives rise
to the extremist religious parties and causes the fanaticism
among the candidates taking part in the elections. Thus the
separate electorate creates such a gap between the Muslims
and non-Muslims which gets wider and wider with the
passage of time.

        There is a question, in this context; what is Islam’s
point of view towards the holy places of the non-Muslims,
their customs, and their statues of historical importance.
Does it direct to demolish them considering them against the
belief of oneness of God or attaches due respect to them?

                   Islam and the Modern World

       Islam positively instructs its followers to respect the
Holy figures of the non-Muslims. It forbids them to abuse
any of them because the non-Muslims might do the same to
Allah and Islam in reaction. Obviously the respect for the
sacred places of the non-Muslims and their statues is
enveloped in their respect for the holy figures. The Quran

        “(Muslims) Do not revile (The idols) which they
invoke besides Allah, lest in their ignorance, they should
spitefully revile Allah.” (Al-An’am 6:108).

        The second portion of this instruction is that the Holy
Ka’bah and its surrounding areas have special significance. It
is so because the Holy Ka’bah was constructed by the
Prophet Ibrahim according to the direct commandment of
Allah for the worship of the Omnipotent. Therefore, it is the
center of the Unitarianism on this earth of God. Hence it is
necessary to keep the whole of this area purified from every
touch of paganism and attaches special importance to it. The
logic behind this is that the pilgrims should find every
convenience and get the food in abundance. There should be
a state that takes the task of the safeguard and management
of the Holy House as its foremost duty. This was an area
God managed to be conquered at the hands of the Holy
Prophet. It includes most part of the Arabian Peninsula.
Since this is the center of Unitarianism, there can’t be any
other shrine here. This is why the Prophet purified it
completely from every shape of paganism. Different aspects
of this direction have been stated in the Quran at different
places. The part of the Arabian Peninsula handed over to the
Holy Prophet by God, was purified from every shrine, every
idol, every picture or image used for the purpose of worship
and every vaulted grave. The authentic Hadiths state it in

                   Islam and the Modern World

        The companions of the Prophet were so clear of both
the parts of this direction that when they stepped out of the
Arabian soil, Abu Bakar, the first of the pious Caliphs issued
an order regarding the protection of every shrine, saint and
hermit. Therefore history tells us that not even a single
temple was damaged during the process of the conquest
outside the Arabian soil in the days of the Prophet’s
companions. Big idols situated at all important places like
Abul Haul and Abu Sunbal were also left as such and were
rather safeguarded. It must be kept in mind that these parts of
Egypt were conquered during the regime of Umar, the
second Caliph of Islam. These statues are still erect.

        The above discussion makes it clear that it is
obligatory upon the Muslims to protect and respect all the
holy places of the non-Muslims in the areas under their

Special instructions for “People of the Book”

        The third issue requires the answer whether the
Christians and the Jews must be dealt with hatred as the
Quran forbids the Muslims to make friends with these two

         The reply to this question is that the verse 51 of Sura
Al-Maida is not, generally translated in its true context
which causes confusion. The Quran is an integrated and
comprehensive document. It is not a set of separate sayings.
So, while inferring from any verse of the Quran, it is
necessary to relate it with its proper context. According to
the Arabic Linguistics, if a common noun takes “al” in its
start, it becomes a proper noun and hence gives a particular

                  Islam and the Modern World

        The above mentioned part of chapter al-Maidah deals
with those Jews and Christians who had received the
message of Islam very clearly through the Holy Prophet and
his companions. Despite this, they not only refused to accept
Islam but rather started hatching up conspiracies against the
Muslims regularly. Therefore, the Muslims were forbidden
to develop friendly relations with this specific group of Jews
and Christians, as they would harm the Muslims in the guise
of friends. The Quran says:

       “Believers, take neither these Jews nor these
       Christians for your friends and protectors. They are
       friends and protectors of one another. Whoever of
       you seeks their friendship and supports them shall
       become one of their members. Allah does not guide
       the wrongdoers”. (Al-Maidah-5:51)

        This verse is specific to the Jews and Christians of
the Prophetic period only. This verse does not, in any case
give the general meaning because the Christians and Jews
have also been deadly enemies to each other during the
different years in past. In the next few verse, after further
analysis the Quran points out that the Muslims can find
friends among Christian’s closers than those from other
religions. The Quran has generalized this verse by not using
the two-lettered word “al” with it.

       “You will find the nearest in affection to the pure
       believers those who say: ‘We are Christians’. That is
       because there are priests and people devoted to the
       service of mankind among them; and because they
       are free from pride”. (Al-Maidah-5:82)

        If the verse 51 is generalized, the verse 82 becomes
meaningless; rather both the verses convey contradictory

                   Islam and the Modern World

       The truth about it is that the verse 51 deals with those
Jews and Christians of the Prophetic period whose enmity
with the Holy Prophet and the Muslims was clear and open
and who were busy in plotting against them. It has no
concern with the Jews and Christians in general.

        It seems appropriate here that Islam’s attitude
towards other religions should be known. The verse 82 of
Al-Maidah tells us about the Quran’s perception about
Christians. In fact, the Quran stresses a lot on bringing all
those religions closers to one another, which have
monotheism as the common feature:

       “People of the book, let us come to an equitable
       agreement among us that we will worship none but
       Allah, that we will associate none with Him, and that
       we will not set up another lords besides Him”. (Al-

        While making critical analysis of the Jews and
Christians, the Quran points out several ideological
misconceptions and wrong notions in faith. However, the
Muslims are told by the Quran that there are nice people
among them too and the Muslims can make friends with

       “Yet they are not all alike. There are among the
       people of the Book some upright people who all night
       long recite the revelations of Allah and pray; who
       believe in Allah and the last day; who enjoy justice
       and forbid evil and vie with each other in good
       works. These are righteous people: whatever good
       they do, shall not be denied them. Allah knows the
       righteous”. (Al-Imran-3:115)

                  Islam and the Modern World

        The verses conveying the above mentioned sense are
present in the Quran at seven different places. The Quran
deems all such places of worship as holy and sacred where
God is worshipped irrespective of any religion they belong
to. The Quran declares that it does not allow the wrongdoers
to gain absolute strength in this world so that they might not
destroy all places of worship.

       “Had Allah not repelled some (bad) people by the
       might of others, the monasteries and churches, the
       synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s name is
       frequently remembered, would have been utterly
       destroyed”. (Al-Hajj-22:40)

       Once a delegation of the Christians came to Madina
       to meet the Holy Prophet. When Sunday approached,
       the Holy Prophet offered them to pray in the Holy
       Mosque of Madina in Christian style. The members
       of the delegation did so. (Ibn e Kaseer: Book 1:434)

       It is also asked in this context why the Prophet sent
two Jewish Tribes in exile from the state of Madinah and
sentenced one tribe to death during his regime?

        The answer is that when the Prophet came to the state
of Al-Madinah, the Jews accepted him as their head and
admitted to accept his decision as final under an agreement.
They might have a conception that the Prophet would just
emerge as a national leader. But when Islam started
spreading very fast and even among the Jews several people
started embracing Islam, they became busy in conspiracies
against the Prophet. First of all a Jew Tribe, Banu Qaynuqa’a
refused to accept any accord. They were, hence, expelled
from the state of Al-Madinah. Another Jewish Tribe, Banu
Nazeer hatched up a conspiracy for the murder of the
Prophet but the plotters were caught before hand.

                   Islam and the Modern World

Consequently, this tribe was also sent in exile. The crime of
the Third Tribe, Banu Qurayzah was the most horrible one
and the gravest nature. During the war of Ahzab, when all
forces of Arabia launched a untied attack on Madinah and
the Muslims besieged themselves by digging a trench, Banu
Qurayzah broke the accord with the Muslims in that crucial
time. They assured the enemies of Islam that they would
attack the Muslims from inside while there would be a
sudden attack from outside. The Prophet came to know about
it and countered the action in time. When the enemy
retreated, the Prophet besieged that tribe according to the
orders of God. Banu Qurayzah appointed Sa’d Bin Mu’az as
their arbitrator owing to his old terms with that tribe. Hence,
Sa’d decided after consulting the holy book of Jews that such
a tribe must be put to death because of their act of treason. If
Banu Qurayzah had left the matter at the mercy of the
Prophet, he would certainly have decided exile instead of
death for them.
        It should also be kept in mind that according to the
Quran, the Jews invited towards Islam directly by the Holy
Prophet, were punished by God directly. It is not a general
rule. It is that specific rule under which all such people
invited towards Islam by the Prophet himself and having
received the message of Islam in its accomplished form, still
remain adamant due to their carnal desires, stubbornness and
pride are punished by God directly. This punishment cannot
be imposed after the Prophet’s time. Therefore, any faction,
the Muslim or the non-Muslim committing such crime today
within a Muslim state would be dealt with in accordance
with the general laws of the state.
Islamic punishments for the non-Muslims
      The next issue poses the question whether the
punishments proposed by Islam are applicable to non-
Muslims as well. If so, can it be just?

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Islam gives due importance to life, honor and
property of an individual. In the same way, Islam attaches
great respect to the peace and order in a society. Therefore, it
determines severest punishment against the five major
crimes in relation to an individual, as man has always struck
imbalance in the punishment of these crimes. These crimes
include murder, theft, adultery, slander and injury. The
society is free to determine the punishment for the rest of
crimes according to its circumstances. Yet some facts must
be kept in mind regarding the punishment to such crimes.
They are as under:

        First, these punishments are for the crimes of extreme
nature where the criminal cannot be given any relaxation.
Second, if a crime is less in gravity, the state can have
legislation in this connection according to its circumstances.
Third, these laws are mean for a true welfare Islamic state.
Fourth, Islam differentiates between a crime and a sin. It also
differentiates among the crimes of religious nature. For
example, it is obligatory for a Muslim to fast during the
whole moth of Ramzan. It would be a sin if he fails to do so
but it is not the duty of the state to punish him. The other
example is related to the crime of taking alcoholic drink.
Islam forbids doing so. If a Muslim drinks wine, the state has
a right to punish him but such a law is not applicable to non-

       Theft and adultery are the two crimes, which are the
main concerns of the non-Muslims. So, they are being
discussed further.

        The Quran determines through verses 38-39 of al-
Maidah that one hand of the thief is to be severed. It must be
clearly understood that imputation of one hand is the
punishment of the thief and not against ordinary theft. The
literal meaning of the relevant words used in the Quran and

                   Islam and the Modern World

interpreted by the Holy Prophet affirms that such punishment
is applicable to a habitual thief. Therefore a person
committing theft of ordinary nature, taking a thing left
uncared for and stealing under forced circumstances is not
titled as thief. This is why the Holy Prophet did not inflict
this severe punishment on those who deserved relaxation. In
the same way the second Muslim ruler (Caliph), and the
most reliable companion of the Holy Prophet, Umar, did not
impose this punishment during famine, because he argued
that state is not fulfilling its responsibility of providing food
to everybody.

        If state or courts think it appropriate, keeping in view
the circumstances: to give mild punishment to a person
committing this crime for the first or second time. In the
likewise manner, a habitual thief who does not give up
stealing despite repeated warnings, can be given this

       The punishment of adultery has been determined in
Surah Al-Nur. It says that the man and the woman found
guilty of this crime should be given the punishment of a
hundred lashes.

        Unlike this order of Islam, adultery is not at all a
crime in the West. In the West, the freedom for the
individual is above anything else. For the same reason, the
importance of a family is far less than that of the individual
in that society. It does not matter in the West if it fails to
make a family but there must not be any restriction on the
individual’s freedom. Quite unlike this, Islam emphasizes
upon the family connection along wit the freedom of
individual. It believes that a family is the basic unit of a
human society. Therefore, anything that weakens this unit
must be banned. Adultery is the crime that badly damages
the system of family. It also generates other types of vice,

                   Islam and the Modern World

which are harmful for the individual and the family equally.
This is why Islam has declared it a major crime and has tried
to keep people away from it.

         However, as Islam does not overlook the forced
circumstances in the commission of a crime, it also accords
relaxation in the punishment of a criminal who is neither
fully educated nor fully given proper awareness. For
instance, during the Prophetic period, if a slave girl after
getting married was found guilty of the crime of adultery,
she was granted the punishment of just 50 lashes which was
half to that of a free person (Al-Nisa-4:25). It was so because
their basic education was not up to the mark though they
were provided an opportunity to lead a pious life after
entering into the bond of marriage.

       It must be borne in mind that all these punishments
find their enforcement when an Islamic sate has been
properly established in its true sense. This Islamic state must
have educated and inculcated the moral values in its citizens
so that they can prevent themselves from committing such
crimes. It is wrong to enforce these punishments by
developing a conceptual situation based on a wrong

        It is also important to know what code of law Islam
has determined in order to deal with the crimes like assault
on chastity, gang rape, group murder, robbery, dacoity,
terrorism and prostitution.

        For an answer to this question we can consult verses
33:34 of Surah Al-Maidah, which grant extensive powers to
a Muslims government in this regard. They are extensive so
that the humankind may be saved from every kind of atrocity
and the aggressors must be exterminated. Since the nature
and gravity of such matters can be in varied forms, the Quran

                   Islam and the Modern World

leaves it to the discretion of the government and the court
whether to sentence such criminals to death, punish them
physically, put them behind the bars or send then in exile. It
is quite possible that the first two punishments seem
intensive to the Western mind but two things must be kept in
mind in this context. First, Islam considers that the peace and
order in the society is very important. Second, these
punishments are discretionary and an Islamic government
may lessen their intensity.

        For the non-Muslim the Holy Quran is very explicit
that there is no compulsion in religion. The Holy Quran says:

       “There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance is
       now distinct from error.” (Al-Baqarah-2:250)

       “We have shown the human being the right path,
       whether he becomes a believer or not”. (Al-Dahr-

       So it is evident from the above verses that the Islamic
criminal laws are not applicable to non-Muslims. They are
allowed to frame their own laws for these crimes. Even they
can ask for separate courts for the promulgation of their
personal laws.

                   Islam and the Modern World

                                                    Chapter 7

                ISLAM AND WOMEN
         There is a lot of confusion in a common man’s mind
about Islam’s point of view on this topic. In fact the Muslim
history during the middle ages is responsible for this
confusion even more than the West. The society of that
period was mistaken as the representative society of Islam. It
is, therefore, necessary to highlight the Islamic point of view
on this issue.


        The basic fact in this regard is that Islam considers
woman a separate entity and not subservient to man. She has
a perfect right to develop her personality. She is equally free
to acquire education, get a job, do business or exhibit her
creative potential. Her faith is also not subservient to man,
rather her entire person shows its existence in this field as
well. She can do social work. Hence she is absolutely master
of her own. The Quran says:

       “The Muslim men and women, for believing men and
       women; for devout men and women; for men and
       women who are patient; for men women who humble
       themselves; for men and women who give charity;
       for men and women who fast; for men and women
       who guard their chastity; and for men and women
       who remember Allah much. For them all has God
       prepared forgiveness and a great reward”. (Al-Ahzab-

        The Quran further says about woman’s rights to build
her person, acquire education and get a job:

                   Islam and the Modern World

       “For men are portions of what they earn and for
       women is a portion of what they earn”. (Al-Nisa-

         This is the reason that women during the Prophet’s
time looked after their agricultural farms and gardens. They
supervised their trade as well. The authentic books of Hadith
testify the above fact through many such events.


        It is crystal clear that Islam attaches basic
significance to the unite of a family for the preservation of
the society. This was the logic when Islam banned adultery
in order to prevent it from becoming a free sex society.
Keeping in view this reason Islam has formulated a code of
manners for the mutual meeting of men and women aiming
at developing them as social values.

        In the closest circle of a family there is no restriction
on mutual contact and meetings. The surah al-Nur describes
in detail the manners on meeting outside this circle. The first
of these tells that it is obligatory for every man and woman
to get him or herself introduced with the inhabitants of a
house before entering it, confirm their willingness and pay
regards to them. Obviously, this is a universal custom. The
Quran says:

        “Believers, do not enter the dwellings of other
       people until you have asked their owners’ permission
       and wished them peace. (Al-Nur-24:27)

       Thus after having observed the initial manners of
entering a house the visitor may sit down with the dweller.
The Quran exempts public places from this restriction. It
means that if a person has some business in a school,

                  Islam and the Modern World

hospital or an office, he may enter those without observing
these manners:

        “It shall be no offence for you to seek shelter in
       uninhabited dwellings which are of use to you.” (Al-

       It is natural that men and women will talk mutually
when they will meet at such places. It is, therefore,
obligatory for men to wear civilized dress, have modesty in
looks and avoid throwing bold and lusty glances towards

       “Say to the believing men to turn away some of their
       gazes and preserve chastity”. (Al-Nur-24:30)

        Turning “some of the gazes away” means to have
modesty in eyes. The preserving of chastity means that they
should avoid vulgarity and should not wear such clothes that
have sex appeal. Women on such occasions should observe
three manners in particular. The first two are the same as
determined for men. Since women beautify themselves and
wear ornaments which might attract men, they are directed to
hide the ornaments which are easy to hide except the obvious
ones like those worn on ears. They should put their shawls
on their breasts. If some ornament creates a sound they
should take care in not making such sound intentionally. It
can be summarized that they should remain in a civilized
circle and avoid tempting anyone towards them sexually:

       “Say to the believing women to turn away some of
       their gazes, to preserve their chastity and to cover
       their adornments except such as are normally
       displayed and to draw their shawls over their bosom.
       And let them not stamp their feet in walking so as to
       reveal their hidden trinkets”. (Al-Nur-24:31)

                  Islam and the Modern World

        Thus men and women can have mutual contacts on
purpose at their residences and public places according to the
teachings of Islam. They can talk and exchange views. The
two families can have friendly relations in a civilized
manner. There should not be sexual excitement and a bold
interaction. But there is no restriction upon their civilized
social interaction; they may even dine together:

       “It shall be equally lawful whether you eat together
       or apart. When you enter other’s houses, salute one
       another with salutation from Allah, blessed and kind.

        Thus Islam does not discourage the liberty, interests
and interaction of the social life. It, however, dislikes

Covering of face by women

         The above discussion gives rise to certain queries.
First, in the light of the instructions given in the Surah Al-
Nur, the covering of face by women has nowhere been
mentioned. Where else do we find instructions in this regard
then? The answer is that it is good for women to cover their
body and head with a shawl or overcoat where they feel the
danger of being teased, receiving uncivilized remarks or
while passing though an unsafe area. So far as the covering
of face is concerned, it has nowhere been mentioned in the
Holy Quran.

       It has a historical reference. During the Prophetic
period many Jews and hypocrites lived in Madina. The ill-
natured among them used to tease and pass remarks on the
Muslim women when they passed from their streets. Later,
they used to take the plea that they had been getting frank

                   Islam and the Modern World

with them taking them for the women of their community.
The Surah al-Ahzab in the Quran has analyzed such
conspiracies of the Jews and the hypocrites in detail.
Therefore, in this context, the Muslim women were advised
to cover their bodies with a shawl or overcoat when they
passed through such areas. In this way the Jews and the
hypocrites would not be able to find an opportunity of
teasing them:

        “Prophet, enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the
wives of the true believers to draw their shawls around them.
That is more proper, so that they may be recognized and not
molested.” (Al-Ahzab-33:59)

        Thus the logic behind taking a shawl is to save
Muslim women from being molested by getting identified as
chaste ladies. It has nothing to do with covering of face. The
confusion regarding this must be cleared.

Should women stay at home?

       Secondly, the Quran through the Sura Al-Ahzab
advises the wives of the Prophet to stay at home. Obviously,
the same order seems to be for all the Muslim women
because the wives of the Prophet are the role model for all
the Muslim women. So, is this the instruction for all women?

        The Quran has related it on several occasions that the
rules, rights and duties for the Holy Prophet are different
from those of normal men owing to his distinctive
responsibilities. In the same way, the wives of the Holy
Prophet have distinct responsibilities and thus different
obligations and rules from those of other women. Their main
duty is to give religious education to other women. For this
purpose it is necessary for them to limit their social contact.
They should mostly stay at home so that any women seeking

                  Islam and the Modern World

guidance in religious matters might not return in
disappointment. So, these discussion starts with these words:

       “Wives of the Prophet, you are not like other
       women”. (Al-Ahzab-33:32)

Then they are reminded of their original responsibility:

       “Convey the revelations of Allah and the words of
       wisdom which are recited in your houses.” (Al-

       Therefore, they are advised to stay at home for most
of the time in order to work as educational institution for
other Muslim women and lead a graceful life:

       “Stay in your homes”. (Al-Ahzab-33:33)

       In the wake of this discussion they are warned that
the law for their punishment would also be different from the
general womenfolk:

       “Wives of the Prophet, those of you who commit a
       proven sin shall be doubly punished.” (Al-Ahzab-

       The next point requires explanation of the instruction
to the wives of the Prophet when they are directed not to
show complaisance while talking to men.

        In fact at a time the hypocrites of Al-Madinah had
becomes so mischievous that they even tried to scandalize
the life of the Prophet. While enacting their evil plans, they
used to enter the house of the Prophet in his absence and
tried to be frank in conversation with the wives of the
Prophet. They tried to catch a word form their mouths in

                   Islam and the Modern World

order to scandalize it and thus create conflict among the
Muslims. Therefore the Quran through these words
countered this evil design:

       “Wives of the Prophet you are not like other women.
       If you fear Allah, do not be too complaisant in your
       speech, lest the lecherous-hearted should be moved
       with desire. Show discretion in what you say”. (Al-

       Hence the Quran advised them to show discretion
and talk straight to the hypocrites in order to avert their evil

       The Muslims were directed in the Quran next in the
above discussion to stay behind the curtain of the door while
talking or demanding anything from the wives of the
Prophet. This point needs explanation too.

        While performing different roles, the Quran also
reformed all cultural malpractices, which were in vogue in
that society and thus countered the conspiracies of the
hypocrites. For instance, it was a general practice that some
people used to create problems for the Prophet by becoming
unwanted guests at dining time whenever he had some
guests. The Quran forbade the Muslims to do so.

        The Prophet used to meet all guests in the Holy
Mosque of Al-Madinah and the same was the practice for
meeting other Muslims. The separate houses of all the wives
of the Prophet were adjacent to the Mosque. There was just
one curtain that worked as partition between the Mosque and
the house. Keeping a drawing room or a sitting room was not
a practice in those days.

                   Islam and the Modern World

       The hypocrites initiated a bad practice. While sitting
with the Prophet in the Mosque, under the pretension of
drinking water, they used to enter the house of the Prophet
without prior permission and demanded something from the
Prophet’s wives. In fact they had the evil intentions of seeing
the Holy Women in their casual dresses. Certain simpletons
among the Muslims also carried on this practice.

         Therefore God stopped this practice and told them
not to enter the house of the Prophet without permission
unless they had a family relation with the Holy Woman. In
fact it is an explanation to an aspect of verses 27 of al-Nur.
Thus the Quran says:

       “Believes, do not enter the houses of the Prophet for
       a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless
       you are given leave. But if you are invited, enter and
       disperse. Do not engage in familiar talk, for this
       would annoy the Prophet and he would be ashamed
       to bid you go; but of the truth Allah is not ashamed.
       If you ask his wives for anything, speak them from
       behind a curtain. This is chaster for your hearts and
       their hearts. You must not annoy Allah’s Holy
       Prophet”. (Al-Ahzab-33:53)

       This Quranic teaching had its special implication for
the house of the Prophet in order to end every conspiracy.

Is head cover compulsory

     Here it seems proper to know whether it is a must for
women to cover their heads in front of others.

       The word used for a shawl in Surah al-Nur, Verse 31
is “Khimar”. It means an additional cloth worn by women
upon their dress in order to cover the bosoms. During the

                   Islam and the Modern World

Prophetic period it was a general practice among women of
good Arabian families that they used to cover their heads and
bosoms with the shawl. It is, therefore, the general opinion
that the Muslim women should also do so. It has become a
symbol of the Muslim culture as well. But the covering of
head has not been emphasized directly in comparison to the
covering of bosom. Thus it can be said that it is a good social
custom but not a religions binding.
3      RELATIONSHIP OF LOVE AND                       TRUST
        The Quran asserts that the relationship of a husband
and a wife is the main unit of a society. Consequently, this
relationship develops into a pious society. The Quran gives
the logic that this gives satisfaction and contentment to
human being who wants love by nature. So it must be a
relationship based on confidence.
        The Quran has related a comprehensive example in
this regard. It says that a husband and a wife are dress to
each other. They are part and parcel of each other. They
accord pleasure, protect from misery and cover the demerits
of each other. The Quran says:
       “The (women) are apparel to you, as you are apparel
       to them”. (Al-Baqarah-2:187)
       “And of His signs is that He gave you spouses from
       among yourselves, that you might live in tranquility
       with them, and put love and kindness in your hearts.
       Surely there are signs in this for thinking people”.
       “It was He who created you (men and women) from a
       single being. And similarly He created his mate, so
       that every one might find comfort in his or her mate.”

                   Islam and the Modern World

          MEN AND WOMEN:
        According to the Quran both men and women are
equal in rights as human beings. If one is given an additional
right in some peculiar matter the other is relaxed in some
other way. However, the Quran affirms that when a man and
woman marry each other and thus form a family, the man
would act as the head of that institution. Consequently, he
will be responsible for fulfilling the financial requirements of
the family:

       “Wives shall with justice have rights similar to those
       exercised by men, although husbands have a step
       above them” (Al-Baqarah-2:228)

        The Quran has declared that the preference to a man
or a woman has been given over the other in different
capacities. For instance man is more suitable for the
protection of a family while woman can nourish her children
in a better way. It also affirms that man is responsible for
meeting all financial and security requirements of the wife
and the whole family:

       “Husbands have the responsibility as “Qawwam” of
       wives because Allah has made one (some times man
       and sometimes woman) superior to the other. So
       (here) the reason is that husbands have spent their
       wealth on wives”. (Al-Nisa-4:34)

       The word “Qawwam” here used for man means the
person who accords protection, supervision, and fulfills the
needs. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a man and he
deserves it too. In the context of strengthening the family ties

                   Islam and the Modern World

the Quran expects from women to show obedience and keep
the secrets of their husbands. (Al-Nisa-4:34)

        While issuing the above instructions to women, the
Quran directs man to meet all due requirements of his wife
and not to cause any trouble for her. He is directed to keep
his ties with his wife intact in every possible way even if
some of her habits annoy him because a human being is born
with some shortcomings.

       “O Believers, it is unlawful for you to inherit the
       wives of your deceased kinsmen against their will, or
       to bar them from re-marrying. Do not force your
       wives to give up a part of what you have given them,
       unless they be guilty of a proven crime (of adultery).
       Treat your wives with kindness; for even if you do
       dislike them, it may well be that you may dislike a
       thing which Allah has meant for your own good”.

       The Quran advises men to treat women with nicety
and withdraw from their rights in their favor. After a detailed
discussion about the laws of divorce in Al-Baqarah, the
Quran says:

       “It is more pious that you should forgo your rights in
       favor of women. Do not forget to show kindness to
       each other. Allah observes your actions”. (Al-Baqara-

        It proves that there is no one-way traffic in Islam;
every right is equalized with an obligation.

        Here we see a clear and basic difference between the
Islamic and the Western values. The West does not accept
the status of man as a protector and believes that man and

                    Islam and the Modern World

woman are equal in all respects. It does not accept man as
the head of this institution, rather does not accept it as an
institution at all. It does not put the financial responsibilities
on the shoulders of man as well. In fact, this situation
generates a large ratio of frequent divorce, a weakening
family connection tending to annihilation, an unsustainable
love between husband and wife and several other problems
of similar nature. In practice all successful couples in the
West forgo their rights in each other’s favor and either of the
two assumes the status of custodian. Thus withdrawal from
some of personal girths is the prerequisite for the success of
family life. The West must consider if its concept of personal
freedom is better than that of Islam, which draws equilibrium
between the individual’s freedom and the assuredly of a
successful family life. It is obvious that one has to sacrifice
some of one’s personal rights for a strong family unit.

Rights of man as head of family

        Here the question arises what the rights of man as the
head of a family are? Is he free to dictate his wife according
to his own sweet will?

        The answer is NO. Though the Quran advises her to
be obedient to her husband, she is free in her personal life
and no one can dictate her (Al-Nisa 4:2). She cannot be
stopped from wearing the dress of her choice or cooking her
favorite food. Her belongings cannot be taken away by
anyone else. She is free to adopt any profession or do social
work. In short no man can interfere into her personal matters.
The Prophet has also described them all. His sensitivity in
this regard can be judged through his last address to the
Muslims at the time of Hajj (Pilgrimage).

       Husband is only a symbolic final authority. That is
why Islam has given women the right to disagree with their

                  Islam and the Modern World

husbands. Islam desires that man should seek the consent of
his wife in all matters. Similarly the woman is expected to
regard her husband’s likes and dislikes in the matters related
to her personal life. The Quran and Hadith emphasize it a lot.
In fact this teaching is the true explanation of the verse 187
of Al-Baqarah where husband and wife are declared apparel
of each other.

Violence against women

       Islam is against every kind of violence against human
beings. A person can only be punished through law by a
Court. Apart from this nobody else has the prerogative to
hurt anybody through any means. As far as physical violence
in concerned, the Holy Quran has very clearly forbidden it
and has declared that the perpetrator will be punished in
proportion to his or her violence. The Holy Quran says:

       “We ordained therein for them: “Life for life, eye for
       eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, Tooth for tooth, and
       wounds equal for equal.” But if any one remits the
       retaliation By way of charity, it is an act of atonement
       for him. And if anyone fails to judge by (the light of)
       what God has revealed, they are (no better than)
       wrong-dowers.” (Chapter Maida 5:45)

       This verse does not make any distinction between
man and woman. Nobody is allowed to physically abuse any
other person. Again the Holy Quran says:

       “The recompense for an injury is an injury equal
       thereto (in degree): but if a person Forgives and
       makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God: for
       (God) loves not those who do wrong” (Chapter Al-
       Shura 42:40 )

                   Islam and the Modern World

       As far as psychological or verbal violence is
concerned, the Holy Quran has also prohibited it very clearly
(see chapter Al-Maida 5:2 and chapter Al-Haj 22:77).
Especial emphasis has been given to the rights of relatives
which include both Genders. (see chapter Al-Nahal 16:9,
chapter Al-Baqara 2:83 and 177, chapter Bani-Israel 17:26,
chapter Al-Shura 42:23 and many others. All the Human
beings have been advised to repel evil with the best attitude.
(see-chapter Al-Mominoon 23:96, chapter Al-Sajda 41:34,
chapter Al-Haj 22:22 and many others).

       The Holy Quran has specifically advised everybody
to use soft language and to take care of the self respect of
every Human being (see Al-Baqara 2:261,262,263,264 and
many others).

        As regards the relation ship between husband and
wife is concerned the Holy Quran has described that the base
of this relationship is love and tranquility. (see chapter Al-
araf 7:189 and chapter Al-rum 30:21). Quran also describes
that a husband and wife are like apparel and garment for
each other. This phrase shows the extreme intimacy and care
which both the partners should have for each other in every
sphere of life. (See chapter Al-baqara 2:187).

        The Holy Quran also says that a husband is the head
of the family and due to this he has got a slight edge over
her. But apart from this both have got equal rights over one
another. (see chapter Al-Baqara 2:228 and chapter Al-nisa 4:
34). The Quran advises husbands to live a life according to
the best human standard with their wives. (See chapter Al-
Nisa 4:19). Similarly the Holy Quran also advises husbands
to forego their rights with respect to the rights of their wives.
(see chapter Al-Baqara 2:237).

                   Islam and the Modern World

        The Holy Quran also accepts the fact that a wife can
have a difference of opinion with her husband and there can
be a dispute between both partners. She has the right to
oppose her husband. If the matter becomes so serious that
there is a danger of separation between the two, then the
Holy Quran advises that one arbitrator should be appointed
from both sides who should try for reconciliation. (see
chapter Al-Nisa 4:35).

         After this discussion, we are in a position to explain
one of the most controversial and ill understood verse of the
Holy Quran, i.e. the last part of verse 34 of chapter Al-Nisa
4. the translation of this part is as follows:

       “As to those wives, on whose part you fear disloyalty
       and ill conduct, (first) admonish them, (but if they
       refuse to mend their ways then next) refuse to share
       their beds, and (if the situation is still grave then) beat
       them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, then
       do not seek against them any means of annoyance.
       Because God is Most High and Great.”

        Two things are very clear from the above verse; one
is that it deals only with those wives who have started
interest in other men and are becoming unfaithful to their
husbands. This point has been very clearly stated by the Holy
Prophet in his narrations. It means that it is a remedial
measure to save the family from disintegration. This verse
does not allow husband to beat his wife in any other
circumstances. If the wife comes with a complaint of
violence against her by the husband in a court of law, the
husband will have to prove the disloyalty of his wife or he
will have to face punishment. If he charges his wife with the
allegation of disloyalty and he does not have any eye
witness, then he will have to face separation from his wife
through the process of “Leaan” as explained in chapter Al-

                   Islam and the Modern World

Noor 24:6. It means that the husband will have to face very
grave consequences in either case.

        The second point is that this verse only permits a
light beating, because more than that has been very clearly
forbidden by the Holy Quran in chapter Al-Maida 5:45. This
has been very clearly stated by the Holy Prophet in many
narrations. The Holy Prophet has also forbidden to strike on
face or any other delicate part of the body.

        The above discussion bears testimony to the fact that
Islam totally forbids violence against women. The only point
which has been mentioned in last part of chapter 4:34 does
not relate to violence, rather it relates to a situation where
saving a family bond becomes top priority.

        It can be asked; what will a wife do if she comes to
know about the disloyalty of her husband? My answer is; she
has got the same right as her husband. At first she will try to
persuade her husband not to be disloyal to her. As a second
step she can refuse to share bed with him. And as a final step
she can also scold and chide him bodily so that he
understands the gravity of the situation. My answer is based
on an analogy from a similar situation. In chapter Al-Noor
24: verse 6-10, it is stated that if a husband charges his wife
of adultery and he has no other witness, then he and she will
take oath five times and after that they will be separated.

       Every body agrees that if in a similar situation, a wife
charges her husband with adultery and she has no other
witness, then the same procedure will have to be followed. In
my view similar is the case with chapter Al-Nisa 4:34.

       From the above discussion we come to the
conclusion that legislation on the issue of violence against
women is imperative in Muslim states. This legislation

                   Islam and the Modern World

should clearly say that any kind of violence against women
is a crime. Even in cases of alleged disloyalty, the husband
cannot inflict an injury, whether grievous or simple, against
his wife. Even in a lighter scolding, if the wife comes with a
complaint before a court of law, then the husband will either
have to face punishment or prove disloyalty of his wife by
way of Leaan. He must keep in mind that in case of Leaan
he will lose his wife for ever.

Disagreement between husband and wife

        At times husband and wife disagree on an issue,
which cannot be resolved under normal circumstances. What
is the guidance of Islam in such matters?

        Islam has laid down different ways to tackle such
matters/situations. Firstly, if there is a sensitive issue, its
terms can be mentioned in the agreement of marriage.
Marriage is an open agreement between a husband and a
wife and any term can be included in it. The Quran calls it a
strong agreement.

       In case of an unforeseen issue both the parties can
resolve it through dialogue. If it still remains unsettled it
should be solved through arbitration by the state or society.

       “If you fear a breach between a man and his wife,
       appoint an arbiter from his people and another from
       hers. If they wish to be reconciled, Allah will bring
       them together again”. (Al-Nisa-4:35)

Why a man is allowed to marry upon four women at a

       In fact as per Quranic teachings it is better for a man
to marry just one woman. This is the logic behind equal ratio

                   Islam and the Modern World

of men and women in the world. There was only one wife for
Adam. It is natural for a man and a woman to build their
joint home. However, if women and children become
widows and orphans at a large scale and lose every prop of
affection or a man’s first wife fails to give birth to a child,
the man may marry the second woman with two conditions.
First, that the man must do justice with his wives. Second, he
cannot marry more than four women.

       In fact, in the second battle of Islam, commonly
known as battle of Uhad, many Muslims were martyred
leaving behind a large number of widows and orphans. It
was felt that the orphans might be stricken by a sense of
deprivation without the affection of a father. Therefore, the
Quran encouraged this solution as such:

       “If you fear that you cannot treat orphans with
       fairness, you may marry such women as seen good to
       you; two, three, or four of them. But if you fear that
       you cannot do justice, marry one only or those you
       possess”. (Al-Nisa4:3)

       Thus, a man is allowed to marry more than one
woman conditionally. It is admissible under unavoidable
circumstances and maintaining justice is a must.

       It is worth asking whether the state has a right to
intervene if the above permission is being exploited.

       The answer is that the state may ban this practice if it
becomes an unjustified tradition. The man may be asked to
seek the prior permission of the state justifying his claim for
the new marriage. The state, through the court of law, may
make the man bound to maintain justice among his wives
and meet all their economic needs.

                   Islam and the Modern World

         The West and Islam differ on this point as well.
Despite the permission, the ratio of a second marriage in the
Muslim society is not more than 1%. The second marriage is
unlawful in the West but it is important to note that people in
the West may have more than one wife out side the bond of
marriage. They may have kids from them and it is not a
secret. The most pitiable aspect of the whole affair is that
such women have no legal rights at all and thus, doing of
justice is out of question.

         It can be said that Islam has faced the reality and has
determined rights of all parties within the law whereas the
West has turned its eyes away from the fact and has not done
justice to several women by not regarding their rights.

Woman as witness in a court of law

        It is said that Islam maintains distinction between the
witness of a man and a woman as the witness of two women
is considered equal to one man. Further the witness of a
woman is not taken as reliable in the cases of Hudood i.e.
Grave offences. If it is so, is it not that Islam gives an
inferior status to woman?

        It becomes necessary to know the real instruction of
Islam in this regard.

        These instructions about evidence have come at eight
different places in the Quran. At seven places there is no
difference between the witness of a man and a woman. In
Surah Al-Baqarah only, this difference is maintained in
connection with the deal of a debt. The concerned verse says:

       “O believers, when you contract a debt for a fixed
       period, put it in writing (….) Call in two male
       witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be

                   Islam and the Modern World

       found, then one man and two women whom you
       judge fit to act as witness; so that if either of them
       forgets, the other will remind her.” (Al-Baqarah-

        There are two different interpretations of the above
verse made by two different schools of thought. According
to one group, women are born with weak intellect and are
habitually forgetful therefore the witness of a woman is half
to that of man in petty affairs and witness of a woman cannot
be accepted at all in crimes of extremely grave nature like
murder etc.

        On the other side, the second school of thought does
not consider the above quoted Quranic verse as against
women. It argues that during the Prophetic period the women
were generally unaware of the business affairs and it was
mostly a man’s field. The education level among the women
was also very low. Before the complete Islamic rule it was
unsafe for woman to travel long distances in an atmosphere
of disorder and chaos. Therefore it was quite natural for them
to show forgetfulness in a business deal or a contract of debt.

        It can be said that the Quran believes in the fact
known to us through a proverb which says: “Every person
doth his business best.” It means that if a matter is beyond
one’s understanding or there is a risk of any complication or
forgetfulness, it is better to take the written witness of at
least two people. Thus the above-mentioned Quranic verse
gives us a principle based on wisdom and does not declare
women as an inferior creation at all.

        Four more aspects must be kept in mind while
studying this particular verse of Al-Baqarah. One that it is
related with documentary evidence only and does not pertain
with any event, accident or sudden occurrence. Documentary

                    Islam and the Modern World

evidence is one’s own business. One can get the signature of
one’s choiced persons and can be scribed in a well-planned
manner. Quite unlike that, the circumstantial evidence is of
immediate, sudden and accidental nature. Every event is
unforeseen. Since both kinds of evidence are basically
different. One’s rule can’t apply to the other.

        Second important point is that this verse does not
give any legal code at all; rather it gives a guideline to all the
Muslims so that the disputes may be avoided if any. The
Quranic words are. “O believers. When you contract a
debt……..” If the instructions would have been for the court
of law, the wording would have been like this. “O believers,
when a contract of debt is brought to you……..” In fact, a
court does not require a document signed by the witness
while reaching a decision. It might be helpful but it is the
duty of the court to accord justice to the affected party on the
basis of other evidence and facts as well when the
documentary evidence is non-existent.
        The third aspect of this matter is why a woman
cannot be witness in the court whereas she can be a doctor
and an engineer and there is no scientific or logical
justification to prove her weak in intellect. If woman can
relate the Prophet’s saying (Hadith) why she is no granted
the right of witness. It is certified even by the religion that
the men and women are equal in faith. The Quran maintains
this fact in clear terms as in Surah Al-Ahzab 33:24
        The fourth aspect is that it is a historically proven
fact that during the Prophetic period and afterwards during
the pious Caliphate, the criminals were inflicted heavy and
severe punishments on the evidence granted by women only.
For instance, a murderer was sentenced to death by the
Prophet on the evidence of a girl. Naila, the wife of third
Caliph of Islam, Usman was the only witness of her

                   Islam and the Modern World

husband’s murder. On the basis of this witness, the blood of
the Usman was demanded to be avenged upon.
Blood money of a woman as compared to man
        It is also said that the amount of penalty charged
from a person committing unintentional murder is half for
the blood of a women to that of a man.
        This allegation is baseless. Islam has not determined
any fixed ratio of DYAT’ (ransom) at all. Islam has only
given a guiding principle that ransom must be paid keeping
in view the law and practice of the society. Obviously, every
place has different social, economic and culture conditions.
If Islam had determined a fixed amount of ransom it would
have been inappropriate.

        It is important to keep in mind the particular principle
of Arabic linguistics. Wherever a Quranic order takes along
Arabic word. “Al” it becomes a proper noun and gives the
peculiar meanings, which were taught by the Holy Prophet.
For example, ‘Al-Salat’ means the particular way of offering
the prayer taught by the Holy Prophet, which all the Muslims
are bound to follow. On the other side a Quranic order given
in the shape of a common noun does not determine a peculiar
way of implementation. The word, ‘DIYAT’ (ransom) has
been mentioned in the Quran at two places. Firstly, in Al-
Baqarah, verse 178-179 and secondly in Al-Nisa, verse 92.
At both the places this word has been used in the sense of
common noun.

        Muhammad (SWS), the Prophet of God, enforced
“DIYAT’ in his own times according to the old traditions of
Arabia and did not bring any change at all. ‘DIYAT’ can be
fluctuated according to the time, conditions, economy and
society of different epochs.

                   Islam and the Modern World

Can a girl marry on her will?

       It is generally alleged that a Muslim girl is not free to
exercise her will in the matter of her marriage. Rather her
parents decide her fate according to their sweet will.

        It is again a baseless thing. It is, of course, desirable
in Islam that both man and woman and their respective
families should get introduced to each other and shows their
consent before marriage. It is so because a marriage is the
union of two families as well. However, if this ideal situation
is not possible, a man and a woman are free to marry
according to their choice. It is clear through the study of the
Quran and the events of the Prophetic period that Islam does
not deprive a woman of this right of hers. It is rather known
to us that the Holy Prophet restored this right of a woman if
ever it was snatched from her previously.

        The Quran has mentioned it with full clarity that
women are free to marry the men of their choice and no one
is allowed to interfere. This right is meant for all the women,
unmarried, divorced and widows. It is feared that the
relatives of a widow’s deceased husband might force her not
to remarry. The Quran says:

       “If a man has divorced his wife and she has reached
       the end of her waiting period (three menstrual
       cycles), do not prevent her from remarrying the
       husband of her choice if they have come to an
       honorable agreement. This is enjoined on every one
       of you who believes in Allah and the Last Day; it is
       more honorable for you and the chaster. Allah knows,
       but you do not.” (Al-Baqarah-2:232)

       “And those of you who die and leave wives behind,
       such wives should keep in waiting for four months

                  Islam and the Modern World

       and ten days after their husband’s death. When they
       have reached the end of their waiting period, it shall
       be no offence for you to let them do whatever they
       choose for themselves provided that it is lawful.” (Al-

       Once a girl complained in front of the Holy Prophet
       that her father had forced her to marry against her
       will. The Holy Prophet told her that she was free to
       accept or reject the decision of her father. (Abu
       Dawud, Nisai, Ibne Majah, Masnad Imam Ahmad
       through Ibni Abass.) In another case like this, the
       Holy Prophet declared the marriage void as it had
       been against the will of the girl. (Dar Qutni, reference

       On another occasion, a woman complained to the
       Holy Prophet that her father had married her with her
       nephew against her will. The Holy Prophet left it
       upon her whether to accept or reject her father’s
       decision. In response to that she said:

       “I accept whatever my father has decided. I simply
wanted to make it clear upon women that their fathers are not
masters of their choice in this matter. (Nisai, referred by

Woman’s right to divorce her husband

       There is another misconception that a man can
divorce his wife any time whereas a woman has not been
granted any such right.

       In fact, a woman can get the divorce as well. In has
been termed as “Khula”. In this case, if the husband insists,
the wife will return a part of the wealth given to her by her

                  Islam and the Modern World

husband. There is no other condition for ‘Khula’. It is not
essential for the woman to charge some allegation against
her husband or base any of his weakness in order to get
divorce. It is the best way to resolve the matter amicably
within the home. If the woman withdraws from her right of
MEHR (the amount paid to the wife by the husband at the
time of marriage), no other dispute is left behind. However,
the court must separate the two parties in case of a dispute.
Many events quoted through several ‘Hadiths’ relate that the
Holy Prophet , after having made efforts for reconciliation,
separated the two parties whenever any such case was
brought to him for the decision. The Quran says:

       “(In case of divorce demanded by a woman) It is
       unlawful for the husbands to take from them (their
       wives) anything they have given them, unless both
       fear that they may not be able to keep within the
       bounds set by Allah; in which case it shall be no
       offence for either of them if the wife ransom herself.

Are four witnesses required for proving rape?

        It is also objected that if a sexually assaulted women
files a petition in a court of law, it is generally dismissed
because she is unable to present four eyewitnesses required
in such a case. A case is rather instituted against her for
raising false allegation.

        In fact, the Quaranic verse revealed on this topic is
not properly interpreted. The Quran rather affirms that at
least four eyewitnesses are required to prove the charge of
adultery against a woman. It shows that Islam basically
wants to protect women against such allegation as long as it
is not proved on logical grounds. The Quran says:

                   Islam and the Modern World

       “Those that defame innocent women and cannot
       produce four witnesses shall be given eighty lashes.
       And do not accept their testimony ever after.” (Al-

This verse can be concluded as follows:

        Firstly, the Quran wants to save women from such
allegation because a woman gets irrevocable loss through
them. Secondly, if such guilt is committed by a woman, it is
better to conceal it unless it is done in a bold and shameless
way. Thirdly, this rule is not applicable to prostitutes. In such
a case, the charge can be proved after collecting witnesses,
getting medical examination reports and making all sorts of
investigation because this comes under “Fasaad Fil Arz’ i.e.
creating mischief for society. Fourthly, if a man is charged
like this and the court concludes that it was a malicious
attempt of tarnishing his image, the accusers themselves can
be punished.

        In most cases of sexual assault and gang rape, there is
hardly any witness except the affected women. How the case
would be proved in this situation? If it stands unproven, will
the woman be thought guilty of slander? In such situation the
court will reach a decision through the evidence like finger
prints, medical examination report, and the clothes of the
accused, the conditions and the possibilities. In fact this case
comes under the Quranic term of “spreading mischief in the
society (al-Maida 5:32) If the case is not proved due to some
reason, the woman would not be declared guilty of slander.
The logic behind this is that the repute of the woman is also
damaged through such allegations and it is not expected in
normal circumstances.

       It is crystal clear through the Quranic words that this
law is meant to deal with those trouble mongers who are in a

                   Islam and the Modern World

habit of slandering the innocent women. Obviously, it is not
for the protection of rapists. However, if it is proved that the
woman has a notorious character and that she slandered the
man to tarnish his repute, she can also be punished.

       The situation gets complicated when a woman gets
pregnant and she files a petition for the case of sexual assault
against some criminal. This issue can, now be resolved
through the sophisticated medical tests like D.N.A. Hence it
is no more complicated now.

Love in a Muslim society

     Is there any provision of love between a man and a
woman in an Islamic society?

        The simple reply is that an Islamic society is in fact a
human society. Love is a natural phenomenon. Islam does
not aim at crushing nature; rather it canalizes it on the right
direction. The Quran affirms:

       “And of His signs is that He gave you spouses from
       among yourselves, that you might live in tranquility
       with them, and put love and kindness in your hearts.”
       (Al-Rum 30:21)

         This instinctive sentiment is displayed in a Muslim
society too. In a Muslim society there is no binding upon
men and women to meet in places like educational
institutions, hospitals, restaurants, offices and homes. It is,
therefore, natural that they develop feelings of love and
admiration for each other.

       For the expression and satisfaction of these feelings,
Islam allows one shape while forbids the other. Islam allows
the civilized way of love through the expression of one’s

                   Islam and the Modern World

intentions of marriage with the other. On the other side Islam
disallows any sexual relationship outside marriage. It is
totally prohibited. Islam affirms that developing secret
relationships, spending time with an unlawful companion in
an environment where one might go off the track and secret
marriages are fatal for a Muslim society.

        So for as the first shape is concerned, the Quran tells
that those who want to marry the widows, can propose them
indirectly even during their waiting period. They may marry
them after their waiting period is over as per traditions of
their society:

       “It shall be no offence for you to propose indirectly
       to such woman or cherish them in your hearts. Allah
       knows that you will remember them. Do not arrange
       to meet them in secret, if you want to marry them,
       speak to them honorably.” (Al-Baqarah-2:235)

       “All good things have been made lawful to you now.
       The food of those to whom the book was given is
       lawful to you, and yours to them, lawful to you are
       the believing women and the women from among
       those who were given the Book before you, provided
       that you give them their dowries and live in honor
       with them, neither committing fornication nor taking
       them as mistresses”. (Al-Maidah 5:5)

       Hence it is not love, rather it is fornication and secret
marriage that is disallowed in a Muslim society. In this
context a Hadith is related through different books like Ibni
Majah, Hakim, Behaqi and Tibrani. Imam Jalal-ud-Din
Sayuti has related its background in his book “The Reasons
for the Hadiths.” As per reference a man told the Holy
Prophet that he wanted to marry his only daughter with a

                   Islam and the Modern World

wealthy man whereas she loved a poor man and wants to
marry him. The Holy Prophet said:

       “The best solution for the problem of the two lovers
       is marriage”.

       So it is evident that if a man and a woman fall in love
with each other, it is better to arrange their marriage.

        However, physical relationships and secret marriage
are disallowed. Every marriage is to be announced publicly
in Islam.
Relaxation to women in discharging their religious duty

        The answer is in affirmative. These relaxations are
remarkable. For example a woman will be given equal
reward in the hereafter to that of a man even if she offers her
prayers at home. It is really a challenging task for every man
to offer all his prayers in a mosque. In the same way the
pregnant ones and those giving breast feed to their children
are given the choice to fast later instead of fasting during the
month of Ramadhan. The women are allowed to leave the
laborious tasks during the pilgrimage (Hajj)

        The women are granted several relaxations in social
matters. It is the responsibility of the husband to earn and
feed his wife. If she is unwilling to participate in the
economic struggle, she cannot be forced. In the same way
she is exempted from compulsory military service. In court
matters, if a woman makes a mistake, no action would be
taken against her; rather the court will help her. The Holy
Prophet transformed this method into a regular practice so
that the comfort of the women should be given priority.

Reasons for several marriages of the Holy Prophet

                   Islam and the Modern World

       What were the reasons for several marriages made by
the Holy Prophet?

     As in many other fields the rules made by God for the
Holy Prophet were different from those for general public:
the rules of marriage and divorce were also different for him.
Since the Holy Prophet had to formulate the Muslim Ummah
during his lifetime, it was all essential. All these rules have
been described in detail in Surah Al-Ahzab through verses 6,
28, 40 and 50-52. These verses reveal that the matter of the
Holy Prophet’s marriages was managed and controlled by
God himself. The Holy Prophet was disallowed to marry out
side a limited circle. He was not allowed to divorce any of
his wives. His wives were not allowed to remarry after his
death. They were given the epithet of “Ummahat-al
Mu’mineen” (Mothers of the Believers). They also had to
face additional restrictions as compared to other women.

        The first wife of the Holy Prophet was Khadijah. At
the time of marriage the Holy Prophet was twenty-five,
while Khadijah was forty years old. Khadijah had been three
times widow prior to this marriage. All her previous
husbands had died. She had been the only wife of the Holy
Prophet during the next twenty-five years. She died at the
age of sixty-five while the Holy Prophet was still fifty. Thus
he led the prime period of his youth with a middle aged
widow. He was in deep love with her, which he expressed on
several occasions.

       After the death of Khadijah. The Holy Prophet
married Sawdah. She was also a widow of fifty years mature
age. The Holy Prophet was still at Makkah at that time.

         The Prophet migrated to Al-Madinah at the age of
fifty-three and remained there for the next eleven years till
his death. This was the period when he had to marry for

                  Islam and the Modern World

many times. Some important requirements from the
women’s point of view had arisen at that time. Firstly, the
Muslim population started growing rapidly. It was important
that their women should get excellent training which was
possible through the trainer women trained directly by the
Holy Prophet. Secondly, some prominent tribes had enmity
with Islam. The ideal way to merge these tribes in the
Muslim Ummah was to marry their women with the Holy
Prophet. It was also a requirement that there must be certain
well-trained Muslim women after the death of the Holy
Prophet so that they may educate other women on religious
matters. It was also necessary to end certain wrong social
practices already prevalent in Arabia. For the fulfillment of
all such motives, the Holy Prophet married for several times
during the last eleven years of his life. It is worth noticing
here that the only maiden among his wives was Ayeshah
before marriage. All the rest were either widows or divorced.
Every marriage helped in the further propagation of Islam.

        After studying the above circumstances every honest
person can understand that there was no sexual motive
behind these marriages. All these marriages were made for
the formation of the Muslim Ummah as per direct
instructions of God. This is the whole background of the
Holy Prophet marriages. This is why the Quran lays down
clearly that the rules of marriage and divorce for the Holy
Prophet are different from those meant for the rest of the


        It is generally objected that honor killing is
admissible under Islam. It means that Islam does not object if
an individual assassinates his relative woman in case he finds
her involved in an illegitimate relationship with a man.

                   Islam and the Modern World

Generally, the rest of the members of the family pardon his
act of murder in these circumstances (seems all conspiring).

        It is true that such merciless customs are still in
vogue in various Muslim societies but it has nothing to do
with Islamic teachings. Some facts must be kept in view in
this context.

         Firstly, murder of a human being is the gravest of all
crimes on this earth of God. Quran affirms that the murder of
a human being amounts to murder of the whole of the
humankind and saving a human being’s life is like saving the
whole of the humankind. (Al-Maidah-5:32). This is why
Islam inflicts death punishment on the assassin. The Quran
declares this law as savior of the whole society because it
relieves men from the brutality and fear of the murders (Al-
Baqarah-2:179). Unlike this, the punishment of adultery is
just hundred lashes, which is because of the far less gravity
of this crime than murder. (Al-Nur-24:2-3)

       Secondly, Islam in no way allows honor killing.
Islam disallows honor killing to that extent that even a
husband cannot take the law in his hands, in case he finds his
own wife indulged in an illegitimate relationship. The
husband has to swear in the court of his eyewitness, but if a
woman also swears of her innocence, both of them will be
separated and their Nikah (Marriage bond) will be declared
void by the count of law. The Quran says:

       “And those who accuse their wives and have no
       witness except themselves, let each of them testify by
       swearing four times by Allah that his charge is true,
       calling down in the fifth time upon himself the curse
       of Allah if he is lying. But they shall spare her the
       punishment if she swears four times by Allah that his

                  Islam and the Modern World

       charge is false and calls down Allah’s wrath upon
       herself if it be true” (Al-Nur-24:6-9)

        It proves that there is no room for honour killing in
Islam, rather every such matter will be decided by the court
of law.

        Thirdly, the Quran asserts that every law must be
implemented in its true spirit. Everyone knows that some
criminal minded people exploit the wording through
flexibility in the law or take shelter of the misinterpreted
statutes and thus act against the spirit of the law. All such
efforts are wrong and must be countered. The Quran asks the
Holy Prophet:

       “Give good news to my servants, who listen to my
       word and follow the best interpretation of it. These
       are they whom Allah has guided. These are they who
       are endured with understanding” (Al-Zumar-39:18)

       Fourthly, every Quranic injunction has certain
common sense exceptions, which must be taken to account.
All the Quranic orders are for ordinary and normal
circumstances. New legislation is required for extra-ordinary

        Keeping in view the above facts, now we analyze a
particular Quranic instruction. This instruction affirms that
the death punishment of a murderer can be pardoned if the
heirs of the murdered are willing to accept the ransom. The
spirit behind this instruction is to maintain peace between
two families or two tribes. So far as the justice on the
Doomsday is concerned, the murderer will receive his
punishment even if he has been pardoned in this world. (Al-

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Now, if a woman is killed in a family, in the name of
honour, it would be certainly a platform for the forthcoming
chain of slaughters. On the basis of this honour killing, the
criminal minded people would start killing women within
their families under true and false allegations. The women
would feel themselves unprotected and they would rightly
understand that the men folk have a license to kill them.
Therefore, it cannot be called a simple murder, rather a
disorder and mischief on earth (Al-Maida 5: Verce 32-33)
for which the criminal must be inflicted upon severe
punishment so that peace and order is maintained in the
society. There should be no room for apology or compromise
in such cases.

        Since Islam believes that the murder of an individual
is tantamount to the murder of the whole of the humankind,
the court can have the prerogative to award compulsorily a
punishment inferior to the death penalty if any of the heirs of
the murdered insists on not pardoning him.

        In the likewise manner, the murder of a woman
within the family must also be declared an unpardonable
crime because in both these cases it is no more a simple
murder rather it is a disorder on earth. And there is no room
for ransom or apology in this crime.

                  Islam and the Modern World

                                                   Chapter 8

        It is generally assumed that the history of human
rights started from the “Magna Carte of England in 1215
A.D and it reached its climax traveling through the work of
Tom pan’s “Human Rights”, Rousseau’s “The Social
Contract”, “Manifesto of Human Rights” of the French
Revolution, and finally U.N’.S “Charter of Human Rights”.

        Before we make a comparative study of world’s
“Charter of Human Rights” and the Islamic teachings, it
seems more appropriate that we positively glance at the
instructions laid down by the Quran regarding the
responsibilities of the state and the rights of the citizens.

      It is the responsibility of a Muslim state to promote
“Maaruf” and to eradicate “Munkar”.

        “Maroof” means everything and value which is good,
right and desirable according to the collective human
conscience. Thus it is the duty of every Muslim state to
nourish and establish every virtue and good values in the
society, for example justice, fairplay, merit and truthfulness

       “Munkar” means every crime or evil or wrong
according to the collective human conscience. Thus it is the
duty of a Muslim state to eradicate and discourage every
crime from the society, for example murder, dacoity, theft,
corruption and oppression etc.

        “Maroof” and “Munkar” do not mean the specific
religions commandments of Islam because according to the
Holy Quran, good jews and Christians also nourish “Maroof”
                  Islam and the Modern World

and forbid “Munkar”. It is clear that the religions
commandments and rituals of all the three religions are
different. The Holy Quran says:

       “Not all of them are alike. There is a portion among
       “the people of the Book” who stand for the right.
       They rehearse the signs of God all night long and
       they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe
       in God and the Last Day, the promote “Maaruf” and
       forbid “Munkar”. They hasten in emulation in all
       good works. They are in the ranks of the righteous
       people”. (Al-Imran 3- 113-115)

        It is also clear from the Holy Prophet and Sunnah that
there are only four areas out of the specific religious
commandments where a Muslim government can punish the
culprits, they are: refusal to pay Zakat (a tax payable by the
Muslim citizens having a prescribed financial status),
adultery, drinking alcohol and indulgence in usury. Apart
from these four areas, the Holy Prophet never used force for
promulgating any religious instruction. The Holy Prophet
has also not mentioned any penalty for the violation of any
other religious commandment. It means that all other
religious commandments have to be encouraged through
education and persuasion.

        It is obligatory upon a Muslim sate to accord all
human rights to the non-Muslims living in it. The ratio of the
tax imposed upon them must not exceed the ratio of Zakat. It
is obligatory to adopt an attitude of broad mindedness and
nicety with them.

       The state cannot demand more from its citizens in
addition to those mentioned above. For example their wealth,
property, and honor must be safeguarded. Their freedom
should remain intact. They cannot be forced to adopt a

                   Islam and the Modern World

particular opinion. All people are equal in law and society. It
is also the state’s responsibility to provide the basic
necessities to needy person.

        Now, all the above points would be explained in the
light of the Quran. The Quran has determined the following
four responsibilities of the state:

       “Allah will assuredly help those who, once made
       masters in the land, will attend to their prayers and
       pay the Zakat, enjoin “Maroof” and forbid “Munkar”

       It is necessary that the state maintains justice and
observes merit in all affairs:

       “Allah commands you to hand back your trusts to
       their rightful owners, and to pass judgment upon
       human beings with fairness”. (Al-Nisa-4:58)

         A Muslim government cannot impose any other
restrictions if a Muslim citizen offers his prayers, pays Zakat
and does not commit a crime:

       “If they repent and take to prayer and pay the Zakat,
       let them go their way” (Al-Tawbah-9:5)

        They will be granted equal rights with the rest of the

       “If they repent and take to prayer and pay the Zakat,
       they shall become your brothers in the faith (Al-

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Islam gives three guiding principles to deal with the
non-Muslim citizens of a Muslim state. The first is to keep
all promises made with them:

       “And keep your promise, surely it will be inquired
       into” (Al-Isra-17:34)
       Second, that justice must always be done to them.
Islam insists on maintaining justice with every person, even
the enemy.
       “Do not allow your hatred for other nations to turn
       you away from justice, deal justly; justice is nearer to
       true piety” (Al-Maidah-5:8)
       Third, that they should be granted even more than
they deserve and they should be kept satisfied and happy
regarding their requirements:
       “Deal nicely as Allah loves those who are good in
       their behavior” (Al-Baqarah-2:159)
         After the above discussion it would be convenient to
clarify the differences and the common factors between the
Islamic teachings and the U.N.s “Charter of Human Rights”.
If observed minutely, we would find almost the whole of the
charter similar to the teachings of Islam except a partial
article. According to this article there should be no hurdle of
race, complexion, religion, nationality and the like when a
man and a woman want to marry each other. Islam allows
the marriage of a Muslim man with a Christian or a Jew
woman besides a Muslim woman, but he can’t marry a
woman outside these religions. A Muslim woman can marry
a Muslim man only. Thus Islam attaches fundamental
importance to the institution of marriage in religion. Let us
reflect why it is so.

                   Islam and the Modern World

         In fact the basic reason lies in the difference between
Islam and the West regarding the importance of family as a
unit. The West does not attach much importance to family or
at least regards it not more than the individual. Unlike this,
although Islam weighs the individual’s freedom much, yet it
can be sacrificed for the greater interest of the family under
special circumstances, such as the case of marriage. In case
of different religions there would be difference of opinion
between the husband and the wife on every matter including
culture, point of view, living style, birth of child, the and
values of life. It would all reflect on children, which would
result in a conflict among the members of the family.
        Islam allows the marriage of a Muslim man with a
Christian or a Jew woman because the difference among
these religions regarding the basic values can be
        It can be asked why a Muslim woman can’t marry a
Christian or a Jew man when men are allowed to do so. It
has a sound reason. A Muslim man as a custodian of a family
will respect Christianity and Judaism as the Muslims
acknowledge Christ and Moses as their sacred Prophets. In
case, a non-Muslim man becomes the custodian of a family,
there is little likelihood that he would respect Muhammad
(the Prophet of Islam SWS), as he does not acknowledge him
as a Prophet. This situation might hurt the feelings of a
Muslim woman.
        So it can be said that there is no other remarkable
difference between the Islamic teachings and the U.N’S
“Charter of Human Rights”. The same is the case with all the
other rights, which have assumed much importance these
days. Since Islam stresses on the promotion of every good
and eradication of every evil according to human’s
conscience, it always favours the voice of the conscience.
For instance, it is against any atrocity upon children

                    Islam and the Modern World

including forced labour, it wants every child to acquire
education because the future of the humankind depends on
these matters. The U.N.S “Charter for the Rights of the
Children” is in accordance with the Islamic teachings.
        Since pollution and narcotics are the social evils and
harmful for humanity, Islam makes it obligatory upon every
Muslim individual and state to struggle against them. Same
is the instruction about other evils. Islam deems it essential
for every Muslim individual and state to contribute towards
the collective progress of the humankind. Islam recommends
reformation and checks disorder. The Quran says:
        “Do not corrupt the land after it has been purged of
        evil. That is best for you, if you are true believers”
       Several other verses with the similar sense have been
revealed in different stages of the Quran.
        Another aspect needs our attention. Every sensible
person would agree that hunger, fear and ignorance must be
uprooted from the world. Every one needs shelter for safety
and medicine for protection from disease. However, it is also
an undeniable fact that there are innumerable people and
nations in the world who are stricken with poverty and
ignorance quite unlike the people of the developed world,
who own much more than they need. These people lack even
the basic necessities of life. The bitterest reality of this story
is that the economy of these underdeveloped countries is in
the control of the developed countries. The major part of
their budget is consumed in the payment of the debt they
have already taken from these developed countries in order
to meet their basic necessities. Thus these nations are
constantly in an intricate circle of poverty, ignorance and
sufferings where there is no way out. It is a pity that the
U.N.O. has not included putting an end to this sheer injustice

                  Islam and the Modern World

and discrimination in the “Charter of Human Rights”. It is an
incomplete document in this context. It is the responsibility
of the well off nations of the world to take steps for the
redressel of the suffering nations and the individuals.

                   Islam and the Modern World

                                                     Chapter 9

               FAMILY PLANNING
       Islam is religion of nature and so does not deny any
natural requirement. Therefore, all fine arts are originally
valid according to Islam. All things that give beauty,
amusement, and ecstasy to human life are adornments. The
Quran says:

       “Say: ‘Who has forbidden you to wear the nice
       clothes or to eat the good things which Allah has
       bestowed upon his servants?’ Say: these are for the
       faithful in the life of this world, (though shared by
       others); but they shall be theirs alone on the Day of
       Resurrection. Thus we make plain our revelations to
       people of understanding.” (Al-A`raf 7:32)

        There are just two restrictions laid down by Islam on
their practice. First, that there should not be violation of any
religious order. For instance idolatry and vulgarity must not
be reflected through their practice. Second, that every thing
must be in the circle of moderation. If a person is so
absorbed in some of the fine arts as to forget his profession,
family, and even God, it is not approved by Islam.

Images of living things

       It is generally assumed that the image of any living
being is forbidden in Islam. It is a baseless assumption. In
fact every picture free from idolatry and obscenity is
permissible whether drawn by hand, shot by the camera, or
used for cinema or television. The logic here is that the Holy

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Quran has not forbidden it although pictures were used in the
society at the time of the revelation of the Quran.
        Since the Quran is the equity for us, and the basis for
every thing valid and invalid is laid down here, it would have
been clearly mentioned if illustrations would have been
disallowed in Islam.

        When we study the Holy Prophets sayings (Hadith)
regarding illustration in the light of the above principle, the
fact dawns upon us that paganism was prevalent in that

        In addition to the statues of the Quraysh in Mecca,
the statues and images of the Holy Christ and the Holy Mary
were present in the churches, and the Christians worshipped
these images. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SWS)
explained it very clearly. When two female companions of
the Holy Prophet, Umm-i-Habibah and Umm-i-Salmah
migrated to Habshah (Ethiopia) because of the atrocities of
the Quraysh, they saw the churches there, where different
images were present for worship. They related it to the Holy
Prophet on return from Habshah. The Holy Prophet told that
those people used to construct a place of worship on the
grave of pious persons and placed the images of the pious
people for the purpose of worship. They would be the worst
creation of God on the Doomsday. (Bukhari-kitab-al-Salat,

        The paganism was the real crime reflected through
these pictures, which is strictly forbidden in Islam. At
another time Ayeshah, the Holy Prophet’s wife hung a
curtain on the door of house, which had images of pinioned
horse. The pinioned horses stood a symbol for the angels
used by the pagans for worship. Therefore, the Holy Prophet
ordered Ayeshah to replace those imaged curtains. (Bukhari,

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Since those who drew pictures for worship believed
that the pious people imaged on their pictures are alive even
after their death, recommend their redemption to God, hear
them and set their destinies aright. So these artists would be
asked on the Day of Resurrection to infuse life into the
pictures made by them. It would a punishment for their
idolatry at that time. Therefore, the crime in these references
is paganism and not illustration. This is why the pictures of
the artists have been mentioned in these references as proper
nouns. (Bukhari-kitab-u-Tasveer).

        Every idol was worshipped in those days and every
projected grave and every picture was also considered
sanctity. This was the situation when the Holy Prophet
directed Ali to wipe out all such marks of paganism and he
did so. (Muslim:kitabul- Janaiz).

         This is the reason that the Holy Prophet allowed the
illustration where there was not chance of idolatry. For
example, Abu-Talhah Ansari, a companion of the Holy
Prophet, relates a Prophetic saying that a cloth with an image
can be used as a curtain if it is not used for idolatry,
(Baukhari: Kitab Al-Libas)

        In the same way when Ayehah tore that curtain and
changed it into a bed sheet (and thus eliminated any
expression of paganism), the Holy Prophet did not forbid her
to do so. (Muslim: Kitab ul-Libas)

        Salim bin Abdullah, a Prophet’s companion, relates
the Prophet’s saying that only that picture is disallowed,
which is used for worship and thus placed prominently; but
not that which is on an ordinary place. (Musnad Ahmad)

                   Islam and the Modern World

        It becomes clear through the above discussion that
the right context of the Prophet’s saying can be determined if
studied in the light of the guidance laid down by the Quran.
Their exact justification comes before us and the apparent
contradiction in different references also becomes clear to
the level of our satisfaction. Picture is a natural thing; those
who consider it wrong have to give several exceptions like
pictures for identity cards and passports, cartoons, pictures of
religious and political gatherings, pictures for educational
purposes etc. It is a fact that even those declaring it wrong
have made it valid for positive purposes.

Is music disallowed?

        Next is the issue of Music. In fact there is nothing
throughout the Quran to forbid music. Music was played
even before the Quran was revealed. Had the music been
forbidden in Islam, the Quran would have laid down clear
instructions about that, so music is originally valid if not
used wrongly.

       Now, when we study Hadith, we find two kinds of
references. One forbidding music and the other allowing it. It
is important to note that all references against music are
weak and unreliable. For example a Prophet’s saying is
quoted in a book titled as “Kanz-ul-Ammal”:

“I have been sent to repel music”

        The author of the book himself acknowledges that it
is an unreliable reference.

        Unlike this, most of the references according validity
to music are strong, true, and are quoted in reliable books.
For instance, it is related by Ayeshah that on the occasion of
the marriage of an Ansari (local resident of Al-Madinah) the

                   Islam and the Modern World

Holy Prophet asked if they had no organs of music, as music
was favorite to the Ansar. (Bukhari: Kitab ul-Nikah)
        In the likewise manner, it is related by Amir bin Sa’d
that he witnessed two girls busy in singing in the presence of
two companions of the Prophet on an occasion of marriage.
Amir asked them if it was all valid when it was done in the
presence of those companions of the Prophet who had even
participated in the Battle of Badr. They replied that they had
been granted this permission on such occasions ad now it
was up to Amir to remain there or leave the place. (Nisai:
Kitab ul-Nikah)

        Another reference from Bukari (The book of Hadith)
relates that two girls sang the songs of the war of Ba’as with
music in the house of the Prophet on Eid day.

       Another reference of Masnad Ahmad and Tirmizi
(two books of Hadith) relates that a woman sang a song with
a musical organ (Duff) on the return of the Holy Prophet
from a war.

        The brief discussion made above establishes the
principle that basically music is allowed. It can only be
invalid if used wrongly. The references (though weak) that
declare it forbidden had the logic that music was
accompanied by idolatry, wine, and vulgarity.

Drinking alcohol

Next is the question of drinking.

         It is very clear through the Quranic order in Al-
Maidha verse 90 that the wine and all other narcotics are
strictly forbidden in Islam. It is also clear that wine has been
a forbidden thing in every revealed faith. However, the
gradual imposition on wine during the Prophetic period

                   Islam and the Modern World

makes us realize how Islam brings a change in an intangible
way without disturbing the society. God ordered for a change
in the society only when people were prepared to accept this
change after a long period of eighteen years.

        We know that the Arabs were addict to wine. They
used to take it even more than Westerners of today.

      A disapproval of wine was expressed like this in
Madina period:

       “They ask you about drinking and gambling. Say,
       there is great sin in both, although they have some
       benefit for people, but their sin is far greater than
       their                  benefit”.                 (Al-
       Baqarah 2:219)

       When it had settled in the hearts of people that
drinking is a bad act, they were directed, as a step further not
to offer their prayer in a state of intoxication. Thus the
timings for drinking wine were limited to great extent:

       “Believers do not approach your prayers when you
       are drunk, but wait till you can grasp the meaning of
       your words” (Al-Nisa 4:43)

        The Holy Prophet kept educating people after this
revelation to leave drinking, as the complete ban on it was
expected soon. Therefore, the final revelation in this regard
appeared in the third year of his Madina reign:

       “Believers, alcohol and games of chance, idols and
       divine arrows are abominations devised by the devil;
       avoid them, so that you may prosper.” (Al-Maidah

                  Islam and the Modern World

       The above discussion proves that Islam is in favour
of gradual change and not revolutionary or an abrupt change.
Islam wants a behavioral change before every order.

Keeping beard

        It solely depends on the conscience of a Muslim
whether he keeps a beard or not. Thus the state cannot ask
any Muslim to keep beard or punish him for that. Beard is no
doubt desirable in Islam. All Prophets kept it as they
modeled nature; and beard is of course a natural thing.
Generally, the pious people have been avoiding shaving their
beards. So it can be said that beard is something good.

       When we glance at the origins of the faith of Islam,
we don’t find it mentioned anywhere in the Quran. Among
the Hadith, there is one saying of the Prophet quoted in the
Bukhari and the Muslim which is related by Abdullah Bin
Umar as under:

        “Oppose the pagans, let your beards grow and trim
        your moustaches”.

        Besides this all other references are unreliable and

       We must reflect upon the above quoted Hadith and
find out what is the sense in opposing the pagans by growing
a beard and trimming moustaches. Obviously, three possible
answers dawn upon us:

        Firstly, the Holy Prophet wanted to maintain a
distinction between the Muslims and the pagans. This seems
to be a weaker possibility as people from both the
communities wore and ate alike. The name of a pagan was
not changed even when he embraced Islam unless it

                    Islam and the Modern World

conveyed the sense of paganism. It is also historically
recorded that the pagans too used to keep beards. Secondly,
there is the possibility that some unwanted innovation might
have been in practice which needed its reformation. The
reformation of every such innovation is always a temporary
phase and it never assumes the status of a permanent order.
For example, it is quoted in Bukhari and related by Abu
Hurayrah that the Holy Prophet directed the Muslims to
color their hair as it was not done by the Christians and Jews
as a rule. It is agreed upon by all the Muslims that it was just
a temporary order. Now it is not a binding upon the Muslims
to color their hair as this instruction has lost its justification
in the present era. This is why some of the Muslims color
their hair while some others don’t. Third possibility could be
that the style of the pagan’s beard might have been snobbish
and queer in appearance. So as the Holy Prophet banished
wearing of every vulgar dress in his times, he directed the
Muslims to let their beards grow and trim their moustaches
so as to avoid the vulgar style adopted by the pagan. It is just
as the Holy Prophet asked a Muslim to take care of his hair
when he saw his hair disheveled. It means that one who
grows his hair must arrange them properly. Thus the
important thing is that if kept, the beard and the moustaches
must be in a civilized, noble, and proper way. It is clear that
no one was punished for not keeping a beard during the
Prophetic period. The same had been the practice during the
pious Caliphate when there must have been several people
without a beard living in the Muslim dominion spread over
millions of square miles of land.

       According to Shafii, one of the most important
schools of thought in Islamic jurisprudence, keeping beard is
not mandatory, rather it is an optional Sunnah.

                   Islam and the Modern World


        It is generally objected that slavery is established as
an institution in Islam. The non-Muslim prisoners of war can
even now-a-days are made slaves. This is merely a
misunderstanding. Islam believes in equality among all
people and declares that man is an independent and free
creature. Islam eliminated slavery gradually as Islam
believes in a gradual change in every important matter. The
Quran affirms that God has bestowed upon man the dignity
and honor by blessing him with best characteristics and
placed him above many of his creations:

       “We have bestowed blessings and respect on Adam’s
       children and carried them by land and sea. We have
       provided them with good things and exalted them
       above many of our creatures”. (Al-Isra 17:70).

       God honoured humans to the extent that the angels
were asked to bow before him and he was affirmed as an
independent and free beings to act as the viceroy of God on

       “And when we said to the angels: prostrate
       yourselves before Adam, they all prostrated
       themselves except Satan, who, in his pride, refused
       and became an unbeliever”. (Al-Baqarah 2:34)

       “When your Lord said to the angels: I am placing on
       the earth one that shall be My deputy, they replied:
       Will You put there one that will do evil and shed
       blood, when we have for so long sung your praises
       and sanctified your name? He said: I know what you
       do not know,” (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

                  Islam and the Modern World

       There is no distinction between a Muslim and a non-
Muslim in this matter because God always declared the Holy
Prophet of the time a brother of even the non-Muslims:

       “And to the tribe of Aad We sent their compatriot
       Hud”. (Al-A’raf 7:65)

       “And to Thamud We sent their brother Saleh”. (Al-
       A’raf 7:73)

        Islam declares all men as equals and believes the
division of nations and tribes to be for the mutual
identification of one another. The one who obeys God is
superior to others:

       “Mankind, we have created you from a male and a
       female, and made you into nations and tribes that you
       might get to know one another. The noblest of you in
       Allah’s sight is the most righteous of you”. (Al-
       Hujurat 49:113)

        Islam esteems man’s life very precious and affirms
that the one who saved a man’s life in fact saved the whole

       “Whoever saved a human life should be regarded as
       though he had saved all mankind”. (Al-Maidah 5:32)

        The above-mentioned Quranic principles and Islamic
teachings are sufficient to prove that there is no concept of
slavery in Islam. Islam does not acknowledge this rubbish
that an individual should make another individual his slave
and his life and belongings should be at the mercy of his
master. In fact, Islam abolished it forever through its
directions and teachings but it was done gradually in order to
avoid any conflict and chaos in society. Those days the

                   Islam and the Modern World

whole Arab economy was dependent upon the institution of
slavery. Every wealthy man had several slaves who were
used for the services in the fields like trade and agriculture.
In case of the sudden release of all slaves from shackles of
slavery it would have been fatal for the economy and most of
the slaves also would not have been able to earn for their
souls. Therefore, Islam first made the people realize morally
and declared the release of slaves as a big virtue. One of the
initial Quranic orders issued in this context during the Mecca
period was as under:

       “Would that you know what the height is! It is the
       freeing of a bondsman”. (Al-Balad 90:13)

        As a first order in this regard, the Quran forbade to
transform prisoners of wars into slaves. The slavery was
uprooted through the law that the Muslims would either just
receive ransom (fidya) from the prisoners of war or would
free them to please God if ever they overpowered the enemy
completely. This verse was revealed even before the first
battle was fought at the state of Madina.

       “Therefore, when you meet the unbelievers in the
       battlefield strike off their heads and, when you have
       killed many of them, bind your captives firmly. Then
       grant them their freedom or take ransom from them
       until war shall lay down its burdens,” (Muhammad

       This is how Islam abolished slavery and ended its
prospects forever. Consequently the Holy Prophet did not
declare any prisoner of war as slave during the future battles.

        Now it was time to lift the status of the slaves already
present in the society and to eventually free them. So at the
next stage it was declared as a principle that the human rights

                  Islam and the Modern World

of the slaves are equal to those of free men and they should
be treated as the relatives and the neighbors are treated:

        “Serve Allah and associate none with Him. Show
        kindness to your parents and your kindred, to the
        orphans and to the needy, to your near and distant
        neighbors, to your fellow travelers, to the wayfarers,
        and to the slave whom you own. Allah does not love
        arrogant and boastful men”. (Al-Nisa 4:36)
        After the revelation of this Quranic verse the Holy
Prophet forbade everyone to call anyone by the epithet of a
slave or a maid rather they should be called by good names
like a boy or a girl. It was made a law that a specific amount
could be allocated in the government treasury as a payment
for the release of slaves:

       “Alms shall be for the poor and the needy and the
       captives”. (Al-Tawbah 9:60)

       Then it was legislated that the slaves could get
freedom by paying a set amount to their masters through an
agreement and the masters would accept the agreement by all

       “As for those of your slaves who wish for a deed of
       freedom free them if you find in them any promise
       and (the state should) bestow on them a part of the
       riches which Allah has given you”. (Al-Nur 24:33)

        After this revelation only those old men and women
did not get freedom that were well set in the houses of their
masters and used to live as members of their families. With
this the Holy Prophet ordered to abolish the rule that the son
or the daughter of a slave would continue to be a slave rather
it was decreed that the offspring of a slave would be deemed
to be free automatically.

                   Islam and the Modern World

       This is how Islam abolished slavery and ended its
prospects forever.

Family Planning

        It is also alleged by the modern world that Islam is
against the family planning and is thus generating problems
of diverse nature.
        The fact is altogether different. Islam does not oppose
family planning at all, rather directs to devise a strategy and
planning in this field too like all other fields. It can be
described as under:

        God has made a code of conduct for the smooth
running of this world. Thus all the works, accordingly get
accomplished in two ways. The first way is beyond the
capacity of human beings as in the matters of rains, storms,
floods, earthquakes, changing of seasons, and the natural
calamities etc. the second way has the partial involvement of
the human being’s will and action. In all of the matters
which a human being considers to be in his capacity, God
has directed him to undertake them with knowledge, rational
thinking, intellect, wisdom and proper strategy.

       The Quran has placed this direction and the related
references at more than a hundred spots. For instance, the
following verses are noted:

       “Say: Lord increases my knowledge.” (TA’HA’-

       “Are the wise and the ignorant equal? Truly, none
       will take heed but people of understanding.” (Al-
       Zumar 39:9)

                  Islam and the Modern World

       “And the person that receives the gift of wisdom is
       rich indeed. Yet none except people of sense bear this
       in mind.” (Al-Baqarah 2:269)

       “The meanest beasts in Allah’s sight are those that
       are (by choice) deaf, dumb, and devoid of reason”.
       (Al-Anfal 8:22)

       “In the creation of heavens and the earth, in the
       alternation of night and day, in the ships that sail the
       ocean with things that are beneficial to people, in the
       water which Allah sends down from the sky and with
       which He revives the earth after its death, dispersing
       over it all manner of beasts; in the movements of the
       winds, and in the clouds that are driven between earth
       and sky: surely in these there are signs for people
       who understand.” (Al-Baqarah 2:164)

       “(O Prophet) Give good news to my servants, who
       listen to my words and follow the best interpretation
       of it. These are they whom Allah has guided. These
       are they who are endured with understanding”. (Al-
       Zumar 39:118)

        In all such matters where man has free will whatever
the decision he makes and whatever the line of action he opts
becomes the decision of God, if it is not against the larger
interest of the whole of the humankind. Thus man continues
proceeding on the highway of knowledge, rational thinking
and science through this way. God has declared this principle
in clear terms in the Quran that He never let any man’s
Action go waste:

       “No soul bears another’s burden and that each person
       shall be judged by his won labors”. (Al-Najam 53:38,

                   Islam and the Modern World

       “God never mends the plight of a nation, unless it
       struggle to do so” (Al-Raad 13:11)

       However, if an individual effort proves to be overall
against the whole humankind and has a risk of promoting
evil so as to curb virtue completely; it is turned down by

       “Had Allah not repelled some by the might of others,
       the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and
       mosques in which Allah’s name is frequently
       remembered would have been utterly destroyed”.
       (Al-Hajj 22:40)

       “Had Allah not defeated some by the might of others,
       the earth would have been utterly corrupted. But
       Allah is bountiful to His creatures”. (Al-Baqarah

        Childbirth is one of the selective matters where God
lets the free will of the human beings exercise. Though a
child is born as per the order of God, yet the human beings
are the vehicle for that. It is just as a farmer cultivates his
land and grows the crop. The Quran affirms it at so many
occasions that the cultivation of land and growing of crop by
man is certainly done at the will of God. The farmer is no
doubt the source. Thus the same intellect employed by man
for the cultivation of his land should be applied while
cultivating his generation too. Both these matters have been
yoked together in Al-Waqia’ah:

       “Behold the semen you emit: did you create it, or did
       we? (….) Consider the seeds you grow. Is it you that
       give them growth or we?” (Al-Waqi’ah 56: 63-64)

                   Islam and the Modern World

        Therefore, under present circumstances we must
think about certain things before extending the size of our
family. The very first and foremost thing in this regard is the
health of the mother both physical and psychological. It is a
fact that a woman after giving birth to a child becomes weak
both psychologically and physically. Secondly it is important
to make sure whether the woman has completed the process
of the training and education of her first child. The first two
years are very important in this. If a child does not find
enough attention of the mother through this period, it might
affect his life and personality. The third notable thing is the
income of the father. It is important to realize whether he is
able to meet the requirements of all the kids he wishes to
have. These requirements include education, medical
assistance, proper lodging and an honorable life and he
would be answerable to God in this regard. At the fourth
stage a father has to think over how many kids he can pay
personal attention to, how much time he can spare and to
what extent he can educate and train all of them in the most
desirable manner. The fifth considerable matter is the
economy of the whole country, the situation of the
unemployment and the chances of appropriate planning.
Every individual has to think for the collective welfare of the
whole of the society. In short, planning is necessary in every
field of life including the matters of family and it is very
much according to the teachings of Islam. The above point of
view can be objected from different angles. It is better to
analyze them.

       The first objection is that the family planning is an
expression of the lack of faith in the capacity of God as the
Provider of food. Since He is the guarantor of food to people,
birth control is unjust. The answer is simple. If family
planning is a lack of faith, what is the status of man for
employment, trade, cultivation and scientific development?
Should man just sit idle and wait for the things to happen? If

                   Islam and the Modern World

we acknowledge that it is necessary to struggle for one’s
earning, we must try to understand the sense in God’s
capacity as the provider of food. It means that God has
treasured his bounties in this soil and has granted intellect to
man so that he benefits himself from them in a proper way.
God will open the mouth of his treasures when he will use
his intellect. Thus man has to plan for that, otherwise he
would not get it enough. Hence one must plan the size of
one’s family, the time for the birth of a child and the proper
care of every child. This is what we call family planning.

        During the time of the Holy Prophet some of his
companions used to adopt certain preventive measures for
birth control. The Holy Prophet knew it and allowed to
continue with that. Thus it can be concluded that all methods
for birth control are valid in Islam.
        It is also objected that the Quran forbids the killing of
children and family planning amounts to the same. The fact
is contrary to this comprehension of the Quranic verse. In
fact the pagans of Makkah used to kill their daughters in
particularly considering them a burden on their economy and
due to some other reasons too. Hence the Quran stopped this
practice, as it was criminal. It has nothing to do with family
planning at all.

        It is also said that the family planning is a plot
hatched up by the Western and the Jewish lobby so as to stop
the increase in the number of the Muslims. This objection is
due to a misunderstanding. In fact the real plot against the
Muslims is to keep them disordered, disorganized,
uneducated and ignorant of scientific progress. The
unplanned population increase provides the best platform for
the enactment of the above-mentioned plot. Unlike this an
organized nation can maintains her superiority over the
world through her better civilization and practicability. So
the Muslim Ummah can open the gateway of Islam for the

                  Islam and the Modern World

other nations to enter through reaching the zenith of
progress. This is the real way to increase the number of the

        It is argued that “women have been declared as the
fields of their husbands and they have been allowed to go
into their fields as they desire, through the verse 223 of Al-
Baqarah in the Quran. Obviously through the fields one gets
maximum yields but the family planning is against this
teaching. Thus Islam is against it”. The facts are otherwise.
In the above quoted verse of the Quran man or a husband has
been personified as a responsible farmer who, first of all
gives fertilizer and water to his fields, sows the required
seed, looks after the fields during the growth period and
protects it from every disease and gives proper pauses
between the harvest and the new fertilization. Only an
irresponsible farmer doesn’t observe these measures. Thus
the above-mentioned Quranic verse lays a lot of
responsibility on of the shoulders of a husband. He must take
proper care of the health of this wife. He must plan for a new
child when his wife is able to give birth to a child in all
respects. He has to look after her during her pregnancy. He
must give proper respite between the births of two children.
He can only be called a wise and a responsible husband if he
abides by all what has been stated above.

                   Islam and the Modern World

                                                    Chapter 10

               NEED OF A DIALOGUE
        It has been concluded through the discussion made so
far that in spite of the distinctive qualities of Islamic society
as compared to other societies in terms of values, aims of
life, and practice, it acknowledges the existence of other
societies and interacts with them in a useful way. It does not
believe in any sort of aggression if other societies keep
respecting its entity.

        It is also an established fact now that Islam lays as
much stress upon all peaceful and human values as any sane
and conscientious philosophy does. These values include
democracy, freedom of opinion and peaceful co-existence
etc. However, Islam has a different approach about certain
matters. For example, Islam emphasizes the unit of family a
lot and does not allow a sexual relationship outside marriage
including homosexuality. Islam teaches respect and care in
the relationship between man and woman to avoid any
sexual perversion. Obviously, most of the civilizations of
today have a sharp contrast from Islamic civilization in this

        It has become an issue of great significance today
whether Western and Islamic civilizations can co-exist.
Though there are basic differences between the two
civilizations in terms of values and aims of life, there is a
wall of alienation between them based on a mere
misunderstanding on certain matters. Realizing the facts can
create an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence.

       At the moment there are three kinds of attitudes about
the West among the Muslims. One is the attitude of
extremism. The faction with this attitude considers the West
                   Islam and the Modern World

as a blend of evils and believes that the whole West is
against Islam and thus both the sides have eternal enmity
between them. People with this mentality are in minority in
the Muslim world but they have strong foundations. This
mentality is generally known as fundamentalism.

        Second is the attitude of inferiority complex. This
faction is fully impressed by the West and its values. This
mentality is present in the affluent class of the Muslim
world. But this group is overall strange to the majority of the
Muslim world as it is against their collective conscience.
       Third is the attitude of moderation. This group
believes that the wall of misunderstanding between Islam
and the West can be put down despite the basic difference
between both and there is a possibility of mutual co-
existence. This group is in majority among the Muslims.
         On the other side, the West also has three kinds of
attitudes about the Muslims and the Muslim world. First is
the attitude of hostility. This group believes all the Muslims
to be hostile to the West and wants to crush them
completely, as to them; it is the only way for their survival.
They want to promote a leadership among the Muslims that
believes in Western values. They never spare the Muslims
and launch a campaign of negative propaganda against them.
        Second group, though not hostile to the Muslims,
considers them backward and against democracy, progress,
and novelty in thinking. The political sphere of the West is
occupied by this kind of mentality, so their priorities and
strategy about the Muslims keep changing. They want to
keep the Muslim governments under their subjugation so that
they might not be a threat to the West.

      Third faction has a sympathetic attitude towards the
Muslims and believes that the Muslims have been

                   Islam and the Modern World

misunderstood and misreported by the Western media. This
group reminds the West of the contrasts within itself, and
dislikes its discriminatory treatment with the Muslim world.
It has an optimism that the Muslims would respond
positively if the West offers friendship in the real sense.
        It is, therefore, evident that the mutually based good
relations depend on the emergence of moderate, considerate
and human friendly groups in both sides. This is difficult but
not impossible, it is difficult because most of actions done by
the Western governments cause reaction in the Muslim
world. In the same way the Muslim extremists generate
repulsion among the Westerners, so in such an emotional
situation the persons with moderate and sane thinking are
labeled, as agents of the opposite group. Reasonable people
from both sides should realize their responsibilities. The
moderate group among the Muslims should present their
interpretation of Islam with a forceful argument so that the
majority of the Muslims accept it and work with moderation
while analyzing any of the Western action on political
       On the other side the Westerners should develop a
harmony with the true and moderate interpretation of Islam
and try to learn more about the message of Islam. They
should devise such political policies so as to inculcate an
environment of understanding in the Muslim world and not
an atmosphere of reaction against the West.
        All this would only be possible when there is a flow
of dialogue between Islam and the Western brain on levels of
serenity, knowledge, ideology, and rational thinking. This
would end many misunderstandings and both sides would
tolerate each other, understand each other and come closer to
each other. This is in fact the real message of the new


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