Islam and Modernization: A Comparative Analysis of Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey

By Javaid Saeed | Go to book overview
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4
ISLAM AND MODERNIZATION

It has been well over a century since the conditions existing in Muslim societies became the focus of attention of some of the leading thinkers of the Muslim world. They have examined the role of the existing interpretations, conceptions, and practices attributed to Islam, and their relationship to the backward and stagnant conditions existing in Muslim societies. Muslim scholars who have examined this issue, however, have been relatively few; and their works have largely remained out of the reach of the general public; in the educational institutions, their works, important as they are, have not formed part of the curriculum. The major reason for which seems to be that the state is not aware of the serious nature and the repercussions of the issues involved; nor does it seem to care. As a result, the issue of the existing ideas attributed to Islam and their relationship to the existing conditions in the societies is not seriously discussed at all as if the problem does not exist. Ghulam Ahmad Parwez, a modernist writer of Pakistan, explains the situation thus:

The question as to why . . . [Muslims] are so down-trodden, backward, and humiliated, needs very deep thought and attention. In the first place, in Muslim societies this question is not considered worth raising collectively, and if sometimes it becomes a subject of conversation, it is either ignored or subjected to emotionalism. Those who claim monopoly of religion, get very angry on this question; and they dismiss it by saying that "such noises are raised by Westernized, materialistic, and irreligious elements of the society for whom the purpose of life is only to live in comfort and convenience; such people do not accept 'spiritualism,' and they have no concern with God and Prophet Muhammad. The true people of God have their eye on the next world, which is the real home of mankind. This world is like an inn. . . . A traveller visiting an inn never worries what kind of structure the inn has; he has to merely spend a night in the inn and move on the next morning." 1

Such discourse is presented as Islamic education and its effect is that the

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