As part of an endeavour to try and unpack what we mean by ‘Modernity’, it might prove useful to distinguish a series of warnings about what to avoid when trying to be a Real, Living-It Muslim (i.e. a Mu’min – Believer).
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله
All praise is due to Allah and peace and blessing upon His Messenger
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
A. Lord Cromer and the ‘Modernised’ Muslim
(SOURCE: Muslimah’s Diary)
From Lord Cromer’s book ‘Modern Egypt’ [1908 CE]:
1) The West will not tolerate an Islamic government. On page 565, he said that it would be “absurd” to assume that Europe would tolerate a “government based on purely Mohammedan principles and obsolete Oriental ideas.”
2) And yet Muslims must be forced to adopt the principles of Western civilization. On page 538, he said that Egypt had to be “forced into imbibing the true spirit of Western civilization.”
3) Westernization must be introduced under the guise of women’s rights. Lord Cromer says that the “position of women” in Muslim countries was a “fatal obstacle” in the introduction of colonial values. (page 539)
4) The West must educate a class of young secular Muslims to be the rulers. Cromer’s hope was that a Europeanized education system would cause an Egyptian to “lose his Islamism”, cause him to “no longer believe that he is always in the presence of his Creator”, and only hang onto “the least worthy portions of his nominal religion” for the sake of convenience. (page 230)
Muslim men and women: 1870s pics
5) The West must reform Islam. Cromer says that the goal should be to create “de-moslemized Moslems”, where people are Muslims-by-name, but in actuality, are “agnostic”. After all, Cromer says, “Islam cannot be reformed … reformed Islam is Islam no longer.” (pages 228-229)
6) The Muslim reformer would hate Muslim scholarship more than Europeans do. The Westernized Muslim would consider the `alim to be a “social derelict”, use him in matters of convenience, but otherwise disrespect him. On the other hand, a European Christian intellectual would at least look at the `alim with sympathy and respect, as a “representative of an ancient faith”. (page 299-30)
7) Modernized Muslims will become Deists. “It is conceivable that, as time goes on, the Moslems will develop a religion, possibly a pure Deism, which will not be altogether the Islamism of the past and of the present, and which will cast aside much of the teaching of Mohammed but which will establish a moral code sufficient to hold society together by bonds other than those of unalloyed self-interest.” (page 234)
SOURCE: Muslimah’s Diary
Further Quotes: Lord Cromer on the British Colonial project for Egypt
B. Lord Macauley and his ‘Minute on Indian Enducation’ (1835 CE)
“…it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people [in British India]. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.”
C. MWM Response
So is it true that a Modern Muslim or a Secular Liberal Muslim is someone who appears like a ‘Muslim’ but has been thoroughly colonised in the mind and the heart? NOTE: No takfir has been made.
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.” (Qur’an, Muhammad, 47:33)
Warning 1: Be mindful where you get your Islam from. Clearly, by the verse above, the Qur’an tells us to follow Qur’an and Sunnah – anything else will “invalidate your deeds”.
See the Qur’an: 9:71 and 4:59 and 4:66-70 where this point is repeated.
Warning 2: Confirm that it is authentically from Qur’an and Sunnah and not someone’s opinion/ guess work…
“Believers, when an ungodly (or wicked, or disobedient, or rebellious) person brings to you a piece of news (or information), carefully ascertain its truth (or verify it), lest you should hurt (or harm) a people unwittingly and thereafter (you) repent at what you did.” (Qur’an, al-Hujurat 49:6)
Warning 3: Ensure we are not following our hawa (desires, opinions, whims and fancies) – for instance, like Lord Cromer.
“Have you seen he who has taken as his god (ilah) his [own] hawa (desires, opinions, whims, fancies) and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah? Then will you not be reminded?” (Qur’an, al- Jathiya 45:23)
Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4031: Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Ibn Hajar
Of course, this is not easy, but, to end positively, see this hadith (and please read the whole post) on You will be with those whom you love.
O Allah, Guide us upon the Siraat al Mustaqim (the straight path to only You). Ameen.
سبحان ربك رب العزة عما يصفون وسلام على المرسلين والحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله محمد وعلى اله وصحبه أجمعين
Exalted be your Lord, the Lord of Glory, above what they attribute to Him, and peace be upon the Messengers, and all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe. And the peace and blessing upon prophet Mohammed and his relatives and all his companions.