(The Ass in the Lion's Skin)  

The fundamental mistake which our so-called Islamic reformers are committing today consists in their servile acceptance of the Western outlook as a norm to measure right and wrong.   They endeavour to 'prove', with the help of the most ridiculous mental juggleries and a distortion of historical facts, that the aims and ideals of Islam in reality do correspond to what Western people regard as desirable and respectable.  They are trying to smoothen the differences between Islamic and Western ideologies by gradually forcing Muslim lifestyle into the channels in which Western life flows.

These so-called reformers see the material advance and political power of Europe and America and compare it with the deplorable state of the Muslim World.  They see the present day Muslim communities entirely lacking creative strength and vigour.  Hence, they naively believe that the strength and vigour must always be 'right' and must therefore succeed in the spiritual field as well.  As a result  of  this  childish  belief,  coupled  with  their ignorance of the true causes of Muslim degeneration, they conclude  that  the  Muslim  World  could  overcome  its stagnation if it adopted the Western principles and hence become vigorous. 

What was the outcome?  The far-reaching dependence on Western Ideologies of these so-called reformers gradually produced in them the habit of regarding Western civilization as a model of all positive developments. This finally led them to subconsciously believe that the aims of Islam must be identical with the aims of the Western civilization.  They produce a spate of literature bent on proving that Islam was 'fundamentally' in agreement with Christianity.  Whenever they find anything in the  teachings  of  Islam that does  not agree  with Western concepts, they try to explain it away either as a 'corruption' of the original teachings or as a 'out­bound' injunction meant to uplift the uncultured Arabs of Rasoolullah’s time (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and therefore irrelevant  to  our  'enlightened'  society  today.    In particular, they grew accustomed to reject the entire structure of the SUNNAH on the unfounded plea that the AHADITH (plural of HADITH) are unreliable: and so their slogan became


To them, this meant an arbitrary twisting of the Qur’anic teachings in the light of Western notions.   A glaring example of such a so-called 'reformer' is the notorious GHULAM AHMAD PARWEZ whose teachings are being blindly propagated by the Western orientated journal AL-BALAAGH published from Lenasia, Gauteng in South Africa.

Nevertheless, anybody who has the slightest acquaintance with  the  principles  of  Islam  knows  that  the  above reasoning  implies  an absolute negation  of  everything Islam stands for. 

Firstly, to consider Rasoolullah (peace be upon him) just as a mere wise man cuts at the very root of the Islamic conception of Prophethood.  A Muslim who believes that the Qur’an is the revealed Word of Allah will not have the least hesitation in saying that the Blessed Personality through whom it was revealed was truly the wisest of all men.  But this alone does not constitute the whole of his greatness.  The ultimate reason of his being the greatest man lies in his function as a LAST of all Prophets, as the bearer of Allah's last Revelation to man and therefore 'he does not speak out of his own desire.' (Al-Qur’an 53:3).  It is Allah Who speaks through him, in whatever he utters by way of spiritual guidance or practical legislation.  It is Allah Who made it clear to us in countless verses of the Qur’an that to follow Rasoolullah (peace be upon him) in whatever he ordains is to follow the Creator Himself.  Though Rasoolullah (peace be upon him) was undoubtedly human, his leadership of men was Divinely Inspired.  None can be called a Muslim who does not accept this basic doctrine of the Qur’an.

Secondly, none can be called a Muslim who does not accept the Law of Islam as a time-less expression of Allah's Will, for He said: 'Today I have perfected for you your religion (deen) and fulfilled my favour unto you ...'. (Al-Ouran 5:3).   What perfection could there be in a time-bound law, a law suitable for a particular period but unsuitable for later stages of human development?  Could such a transitory legislation be rightly described as a fulfilment of Allah's favour to mankind?   Let it be known that the denial of the Eternal validity of the Shari’ah (Qur’an and Ahaadith) is synonymous with the denial of Rasoolullah's claim that the Qur’an is truly the revealed Word of Allah.

Nevertheless, it is not my business to argue with these so-called 'reformers' such as Ghulam Ahmad Parwez and his ‘blind’ followers, who take such a denial upon themselves.  These very sincere advices are addressed to Muslims who believe in the Qur’an and its Messenger, who regard Islam as a fulfillment of Allah's favour to man - a perfect, self-contained ideology, a program of life, a spiritual guidance and a socio-economic code.  If Islam is all these, then most certainly it cannot leave the shaping of its society and civilization to Western non­-Islamic factors.  Only thoughtless people can imagine that it is possible to imitate Western social design without such an implied rejection of the true spirit of Islam.

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN, South Africa.