Under the present circumstances proper line of action for us is that in the pursuit of industrial revolution we should not blindly march on the path that has carried the West to the brink of total destruction. The industrial revolution will give rise to many difficulties and new problems, which will be resolved under the Islamic guidance and this solution, will be free from the defects of the Western thought. Rather, we should acquire science and technology with deep insight and open mind in a manner that Islamic values are not injured.
On the contrary, if alteration and innovation is carried out in Islam itself, to fit it into the framework of Western civilization and, somehow or the other, it is molded to meet the requirement of the modern time, what credit goes to Islam for this? In this manner any religion can be brought in conformity with the present time by twisting and distorting it. There are many who demonstrated such artistry in their religions. The credit of this goes to them and not to the poor religion that became a plaything in their hands. We honestly feel that Islam cannot be matched with other religions. Treating Islam in this manner is by no means justified, and any such attempt will be an interpolation in religion and hence condemnable.
No doubt many injunctions of Islam are flexible enough to accept changes in varying circumstances. But there are certain prescribed rules which must be observed when applying these to new problems. It does not mean that every Islamic injunction can be dissolved in the ready- made mixture of modern necessities. It may be understood that the Islamic injunctions prescribed by the Qur’an, the Sunnah and by the consensus of the Ummah are fixed and unalterable. They cannot be changed in any period. However, in the matters, which can be influenced by change of time, the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah have provided us with some basic principles without giving specific commandment for a specific condition. These principles can be used as a basis for the deductions of new injunctions in every period. Had Islam permitted the people of every time to deduce Islamic injunctions according to their circumstances and in opposition to the unanimous decisions of the Muslim Ummah, it would not have provided us with such comprehensive and detailed commandments in every sphere of life. Rather, it would have said, “Keep making your own commandments according to your circumstances.” On the contrary, Islam has provided us with specific and elaborate precepts with divine wisdom in order that they are to be observed up to the end of time. In short, these Islamic injunctions are fixed and cannot be changed simply because time has changed. They are not only practicable up to the Day of Judgment but they, in fact, hold the key to real material progress of the Muslims.
There are injunctions, the Qur’an and traditions have themselves left to be decided by time, which are alterable. They can be changed, and are being changed, according to the circumstances. But in the guise of this flexibility our modernists not only try to change those unanimously accepted injunctions that are being accepted as established for the last fourteen centuries but they desire to make amends even in certain beliefs that are against the clear and explicit injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah, though not accepted by a single person of any significance.
In case we allow this attitude to be correct it would imply that no basic belief of Islam has been understood by any one in the last fourteen hundred years. It requires our serious thought if such a religion is worthy of being followed by any sensible person?
How funny it is that our modernists feel the change of time only when they want to give religious sanction to an activity or when they want to seek approval to a thought or practice of western ideology. On the contrary, when the change of time demands labor or some hard work they do not even think of it. For example, the modernists have made loud claims that usury and interest should be made permissible because time has changed but none of them ever demanded that the concessions in the Salah (Five daily prayers of worship) and Fasting during journeys should be withdrawn because the change of time has made journey far more comfortable and easy than it was in olden days. They never insisted that these facilities should be withdrawn in modern time and they were meant only for the time foregone.
The hedonistic attitude of Modernism can be well conceived with this diversity of action. In fact all its arguments are designed for their pre-conceived ideas. Since their aim is to infuse Western ideologies in Islam they look for any situation where this may be achieved and they use, any trivial thing they find, as an argument, no matter how transient and superfluous it may be. Whereas the same argument is simply ignored when it turns against their intentions. How I wish that our Modernists think over these submissions seriously and realistically and their able efforts are spent on some constructive service instead of distorting or innovating the Islamic guidance.