In the previous blog we spoke about that while Muslims should be open to adopt new ideas and thoughts in life, we must do that within the parameters of fundamental principles of Touheed and accountability, and do so by following the middle path of Islam in selection or rejection of new ideas.
We live in an era of nations states. Pakistan is the only state in the world that came into being on the basis of Islamic ideology. The main motive of its creation was to follow the Islamic teachings
At the time of independence Pakistan and its people had to face many challenges and one of them was the identity. We had to explore Muslims Modernity and Modernism and what it meant to be a modern Muslim. What that modernism could be? Sixty eight years on we are still no there. We are still in search of that meaning.
We have to find a proper definition of Modernity and Modernism that is compatible for Muslims in terms of both religion as well as modern world. We don’t desire for a state that is totally based on mullah’s Islam. Neither do we want to live without religion as they have done in the West. We need to reconstruct the religious thoughts that can provide foundations for adoption of modern ideas and thought into our lives with changing times.
We claim that Islam itself is a very complete religion. It has the solution of all the problems. So why is it that we are unable to find solutions, to the problems presented by Modern life? After all Pakistan was meant to provide answers to the dilemmas of modern life in the context of Muslim nation state. We must find an answer to this conundrum to continue our discussions about Modern Pakistani Muslim.
These modern ideas are not only about superficial outer look but instead modernism must mean knowing the latest and blending it seamlessly with the tradition; disruption but not destruction. We have to reinterpret the Islamic thoughts and practices along with a message of hope, general awakening and change among the nation. We have to struggle to re-capture the eminence of our civilization by walking step-in-step with the modern world. We have to hold on to modern institutes and practices both socially and politically, without losing the sense of how Islam guides us.
Not only has this Islam also needs to be implemented in our lives. But the question rises here is who will interpret Islam? Its answer could easily be found around us. We should not reach out for traditional Ulamas for Islamic interpretation. They have up to now shown themselves to be too much enamoured by the tradition and unwilling to learn anything about Modern Life. More so they have created divisions and fissures in Pakistani society. Unless they change there is no hope they will be up to the task.
The word Aalim means Scholar. Ulama is a plural and means Scholars. For too long, the meaning of the word Aalim has been restricted to traditional religious and fiqah scholars. Over the centuries very few of these scholars have actually contributed to the progress of Muslim Societies. Most have been content with repetitions and many have been hand maidens of the ruling elite. It is about time this changes.
Each and every person no matter which profession he or she belongs to should be contributing towards a mass movement within the society for an interpretation of Islam. Every person with knowledge is an ‘Aalim’ or a Scholar, whether you are teacher, professor, scientist, social scientist, economist, financial expert, a movie maker, some engineer, doctor; no matter what profession one belongs to, one should be able to contribute to this mass movement for creating meanings for Muslim Modernity.
The very first step towards this will come in the form of Education. Modern as well as traditional. And the very first step in education is Literacy. Ability to read, and Write. Think and Analyse. Adopt and Change. Progress with Tradition.