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Islam and Requirements of the Time

Of all the religions Islam alone is more concerned with all the aspects of human life. Its teachings are not confined to acts of worship and prayer and to a set of moral counsels. As Islam has dealt with men's relations with God, it has also given the broad lines of men's relations with each other. It has, in various forms, dealt with individual rights and obligations, too. That is why the question whether its teachings are applicable or not to the ever-changing circumstances is more valid in the case of Islam than in that of any other religion.

Incidentally, many non-Muslim intellectuals and writers have studied the social and civil laws of Islam and have commended them as a body of progressive laws. They have paid rich tributes to Islam, as a living and everlasting religion, and have recognised the applicability of its laws to all times and circumstances.

The well-known liberal minded English writer, Bernard Shaw has said: "I have always held the religion of Muhammad (P) in high estimation, because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capability to the changing phase of existence, which can make itself appeal to every age. I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow, and the signs of this are becoming apparent even now. The medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Muhammadanism in the darkest colours. They were, in fact, trained both to hate the man, Muhammad, and his religion. To them Muhammad was anti-Christ. I have studied him, the wonderful man, and, in my opinion, far from being anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the leadership of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness".

Dr. Shibli Shama'il is an Arab materialist of Lebanon. He, for the first time, translated Darwin's 'Origin of Species' into Arabic, along with the German scientist Boucher's commentary on it, giving it the name of 'A weapon against religious beliefs".

Though he is a materialist, he does not feel shy of admiring Islam and its great founder. He appreciates Islam as a living religion, applicable to all times.

This man, in the second volume of his book "Philosophy of Evolution", which he has published in Arabic, has written an article under the caption "The Qur'an and Civilisation". He has written this article to refute a non-Muslim who had travelled in the Muslim countries and had expressed the opinion that Islam was responsible for the decline of the Muslims. Shibli Shama'il has tried to prove that actually the cause of the decline of the Muslims is their deviation from the social teachings of Islam. Those Europeans who attack Islam, either do not know it or criticise it with the bad intention of making the people of the East sceptical about their laws and their system with a view to keeping them under the western tutelage.

During our time the question, whether Islam is compatible with the present age, has become a burning question. We meet a cross-section of people, especially those belonging to the educated class and we find that this question is asked more often than other questions.

Adapted from the book: "Woman and Her Rights" by: "Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari"

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