Wednesday, September 10, 2008



The opponents of those who are striving to build a genuine Islamic society argue with the most arrogant cynicism that Islamic civilization has vanished forever, that its era of creativity is past history and that it has nothing more to contribute to the world. They take supreme delight in relating how one Muslim country after another has succumbed to Western civilization. The various stages of acculturation are described in detail in order to prove that the disintegration of Islamic life and the complete triumph of Westernization are inevitable. It is furthermore asserted that nothing can stop this process. The assumption is that modern civilization is invincible. No propaganda technique in the hands of our enemies has proved so successful in demoralizing the rising generation of Muslim youth than the adoption of these clichés. Despite voluminous propaganda to the contrary, Western civilization is far from invincible. Racial hatred, class conflicts, the epidemic of lawlessness, the perversion of scientific achievements for destructive purpose, the debility of the family, drug and alcohol addiction, universal indulgence in illicit sex and the waste of natural and human resources for luxurious living are some of its most vulnerable weaknesses. What has doomed all other civilization of the present? Our most precious asset over our adversaries is that genuine Islamic life is not contaminated with any of these corruptions. Western civilization only appears invincible because there is no rival. Once effective opposition appears on the scene, the corruption of modern culture will be exposed for all to see.

Most devastating to our cause are those of our writers who escape from a practicable and realistic solution of present day problems by over glorifying the past, entirely overlooking the fact that the most extravagant praise of the achievements of Muslims a thousand years ago, provides no guarantee that the Islamic community will flourish in the future. These well meaning authors write reams in praise of our Holy Prophet and his companions, never tiring of rejoicing in the superiority of the “noble spiritual principles of Islam” coupled with a most vituperative condemnation of the “materialistic West” as if their effusive verbalism would automatically result in a beautiful Islamic utopia without any further effort needed on their part! As one Muslim writes about this problem:

The Muslims of the world are passing through the most critical period in their history. The western civilization called modernism has dominated over all other civilizations with the forceful hammerings of scientific advancement. Christianity fought against it desperately but it could not stand any longer for it had many vulnerable chinks in its armor. Other religions met the same fate as Christianity. There may still different customs prevailing in different countries but none can deny that they are highly influenced and imbued with modernism, so much so that they are totally changed and have lost their originality. Although the Muslims of all countries are trying hard to ward off the mighty blow dealt by modernism, they are losing ground against it. Even most of the Muslims themselves have welcomed it and are now gradually being absorbed into this universal civilization.

Superficially at least, the chances for the success of those determined to implement Islamic life on a significant scale would appear to be extremely remote. The recovery of political sovereignty from European rule has not at all weakened the influence of Western culture. On the contrary, under the slogan of “economic development”, the westernization of Asia and Africa continues to progress at an ever-accelerating speed. The beginning of the 19th century witnessed the merging of Islamic society into the world-wide society of the present era. To become aware of these implications is in my view the greatest single problem of the Islamic society of our day. The influence of the West has been so great that even when the Islamic peoples regained their political independence they have found that a return to the traditional Islamic way of life was not possible. If the above quotation is so typical of the mentality of our modern-educated elite, must we Muslims yield to complete pessimism and bow to defeat? If every other civilization has been vanquished by modernism, must we meekly resign yourselves to the same fate? Is there no hope for us? However bleak the prospect for an Islamic renaissance may appear at present, I still maintain that there yet remains considerable hope for us provided we take the appropriate action in time. This ray of optimism is based on the following assumptions;

1. The fundamental sources of Islam --- the Quran and the Sunnah --- are uncorrupted and intact. No other religion can claim this advantage.

2. As Islamic teachings are comprehensive, all-embracing in scope and entirely self-sufficient, Islam does not tolerate eclecticism or compromise with any culture in conflict with its principles. Islam alone provides adequate guidance for life in its totality. Not only does Islam tell us what to do but also specifically how to do it. The exant teachings of all other religions are limited, restricted and fragmentary.

3. The determination to preserve and propagate Islam in its original purity has been practically implemented in every period of Islamic history simultaneously in every Muslim country by a long series of Mujaddids. Although with the support and encouragement of Western scholars and politicians, the modernists attempt to force their distorted interpretation of Islam upon the entire community, happily they are encountering stiff resistance on every side from those who are not deceived by this hypocrisy and are determined to preserve an unadulterated Islam intact.

4. From Morocco to Indonesia the overwhelming majority want Islam and once inspiring leadership is prodded, they will be ready to follow most enthusiastically.

This being the case, why has not Islamic leadership emerged in any Muslim country? We must realize that this is not on account of any intrinsic merit of Western culture, much less inherent inadequacy of Islam. The answer can be found by an insight into the nature of European imperialism. In 1908, Lord Cromer wrote very revealingly in the last chapter of his book, Modern Egypt, that England was prepared to grant eventual political freedom to all of her colonial possessions as soon as a generation of intellectuals and politicians, imbued through English education with the ideals of English culture, were ready to take over, but under no circumstances would the British Government tolerate for a single moment an independent Islamic state. What was true in the case of Egypt is equally applicable to Pakistan and what was British policy was also French, Italian and Dutch policy and remains American and Russian policy to this day. Consequently, our political sovereignty is more nominal than real and the Western powers through economic means are determined to keep it that way.

At this stage it is essential to examine the social structure of the Muslim countries in relation to the issues at stake.

On the top rung of our social and economic ladder we have our moderneducated elite who, although Arab, Indian Malay or African by blood, are carbon duplicates in their mentality of their ex-overlords, zealously determined to make their respective countries as closely as possible resemble the societies in Western lands. Although constituting only a small fraction of the total population, they hold all the power and unless their activities are stopped in time, the perverted moral and cultural values, hitherto limited to the aristocratic elite, will spread and contaminate all classes of the people.

At the bottom of the ladder is the second group which is more than three quarters of the population in all Muslims countries---that is, the simple common folk. This second group includes all of these who by good fortune have remained removed from the impact of modern culture and not received a modern education. Although these Muslims are mostly poor and illiterate people in humble occupations, the ulema and Imams of mosques who have received an exclusively madrassah type education (such as, al-Azhar or Deoband) also belong to this category. Although most of them are good Muslims at heart and some even in practice, because of their naïve ignorance, they are easily deceived and although they are numerous, because they are so weak disorganized, they are powerless. To make matters even worse, many, if not most, in this group observe Islam much more as habit and custom than personal conviction. Because there is no dynamism nor vitality left in the traditional culture they represent, the modern-educated youth cannot help but associate everything “Islamic” with what is old, primitive, backward, poor and dying while every thing “Western” appears to them as bright and beautiful. And to the foreign tourist, this “traditional” culture is but the decaying remnants of the “exotic” Orient. Because no young person can bear to be stigmatized as backward or a reactionary fanatic and yearns to be praised as enlightened, modern and progressive, as soon as these youth can qualify at the government or Christian missionary higher institutions of learning as businessmen, technicians, doctors, teachers or social workers, to gain prestige and respect they are determined to put an end to all “traditionalism” and spread the “blessings” or modernism to the most remote corners of the land. With the full backing of the Government and the Western powers with their technical assistance programmers and foreign business investments, they are sure to succeed. The most the simple folk can do is offer passive resistance. And even if they themselves do not succumb, their children after imbibing modern education inevitably must.

If the question rested with these two groups alone our cause would indeed be hopeless but thanks to God there is slowly emerging a third group who, although smallest of all numerically, will decisively determine the future of theMuslim community. These are the men and women who, although having been thoroughly exposed to Western culture and received a modern education even to the extent of studying or working abroad in Europe or America, have by the grace and mercy of God maintained their faith and love for Islam, demonstrating in their daily lives, their zeal and readiness for self-sacrifice to implement their faith. Because this group possesses the necessary intellectual weapons to resist effectively modernist penetration into Islamic life, they alone are qualified for the leadership of the Muslim world.

The prevailing view of contemporary Muslim writers and scholars is that the Christian Church in Europe lost its power and influence between of its irrational dogmas of the Trinity, the Incarnation, Original Sin or the reactionary institution of the priesthood. Since Islam is a simple and straightforward doctrine having no inherent conflict with scientific progress and no priestly hierarchy set apart from the bulk of believers, it is immune to the catastrophe which befell Christendom. This line of reasoning, comforting as it may be, is dangerous wishful thinking. How ever contrary to Islam Christian dogma and institutions have always been, they themselves were not the cause of Christendom’s downfall. When the Catholic Church was confronted with the secular humanism of the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and tidal wave of atheist materialism which followed the French Revolution, all the Church did was resort to purely negative measures. Thus the Church welded all the power it could command to conduct a systematic persecution of nonconformists, organized heresy hunts, infamous inquisitions, invoked excommunication and the burning of heretical books. Had the Catholic Church employed its best scholars to refute intellectually with logical and persuasive arguments the fallacy of the materialistic philosophers instead of merely hurling anathemas of heresy and placing their writings on the index of forbidden books, quite probably the Church would have succeeded in retaining its influence undiminished. Unfortunately, instead of appealing to the minds and hearts of its members and thus inspire love for Christianity in the minds of the Christians, these repressive actions incited nothing but hatred and rebellion. Even if, from the point of view of the Church, its heretics deserved what they received, repressive measures alone are not only cruel and inhuman but utterly ineffective, completely defeating their own purpose. Those who want to implement Islam by force and blood shed should take a lesson from the history of Christendom.

Although we Muslims, thank God, have never been guilty to such an intense degree of persecuting those who do not agree with us, still we must be honest with ourselves and confess that some of us have committed in a milder way, the same mistake. Merely cursing Western civilization as “materialistic”, “ungodly” and “satanic” (as true as this is) cannot in the slightest counter its growing allurement for our modern educated youth. Hurling vituperative of heresy at the modernists is not going to stop them. The question at stake is not whether they deserve to be labeled as kafir. Quite probably they do but is this sufficient to accomplish anything constructive for our cause? The answer is an emphatic no ! The final judgment is God’s---not ours---and we as believers can rest confident that if we exert ourselves to the utmost for Islam, God will punish as He sees fit.

The crisis the Muslims are facing today is nothing new. Centuries ago we were faced with the same problem with the growing popularity of secular Greek humanism propagated by such Mu’tazilite philosophers as al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd all of whom exactly like the modernists today, tried to concoct a new brand of Islam. But by the grace and mercy of God, al-Ghazzali in his Incoherence of the Philosophers ripped their fallacies and intellectual dishonesty that the Mu’tazilite movement was halted in its tracks. Ibn Taimiya dealt the rationalists the fatal blow. Henceforth Greek humanism lost all its influence and never again did the Mutazilite philosophy command any respect in the Muslim world.

What the Muslim world today needs above all is a modern al-Ghazzali and a modern Ibn Taimiya. The task of their successors would not be nearly so complicated it as may seem at first because the secular humanism of ancient Greece does not at all essentially differ from contemporary materialist philosophy. The latter is but a further development of the former.
One of the most important tasks of our modern Ibn Taimiya is to refute the bogey of progress. Our obsession with “change” and “progress” and “moving with the times to meet the challenge of the age” is nothing but a modernist dogma derived from the Darwinian theory of evolution and incorporated into social philosophy as materialist concept of history by Karl Marx. As Muslims we should be concerned only with submission to the will of God through unquestioning obedience to Quran and Sunnah in its plain, literal meaning. Once we attain cultural independence, we do not have anything to fear from a natural and spontaneous social evolution and development within the context of our indigenous Islamic values and ideals. So long as we remain slaves to modernism, however, change means nothing except progressive abandonment of Islamic values in exchange for the Western way of life and this is why under the present circumstances, every change is from the Islamic point of view to our detriment.

There is nothing “new” or “progressive” about modernism. Despite science, technology and economic development, ideologically Western civilization has not changed at all since the Age of Pericles nearly 2,500 years ago.

Ibu Taimiya’s modern successor must also expose the modernist dogma concerning the so-called necessity for complete freedom of inquiry on the part of students and teachers in higher institution of learning as just another bogey. This demand for complete freedom of “rational” and “scientific” inquiry is but another dogma of modernism derived from the philosophy of Socrates as recorded by his pupil, Plato and continuing to this day under the guise of “liberalism”. Divested of its sophistry, this so-called intellectual freedom is intended for the sole purpose of casting doubt and ridicule on the foundations of faith and mock God, His revelation and the Here after which has found its legal expression in the Soviet Constitution of 1936 guaranteeing to all Russian citizens complete freedom of anti-religious propaganda. Freedom in its true sense must be freedom in every direction yet under the patronage of Western civilization; this so-called “reason” must always be pitted against revelation never in its favor. Consequently, this so called “rational” and “scientific” inquiry is permitted to proceed in one direction only---the way of materialism. These people never tire of condemning traditional Islamic education for its lack of critical, creative or independent thinking but we are at a complete loss to find any more originality or independence in respect to theirs!

Another favorite technique of the modernists is to pit the “spirit” against the “letter” of Islam as if the two were irreconcilable! The letter of the Shariah, murders its spirit, so say the modernists. Consequently, the late Sayyid Ameer Ali in his well-known book The Spirit of Islam, suggests that the literal injunctions of Purdah are most “un-Islamic”, but the Western concept of free mingling and absolute equality of the sexes is the true “spirit” and Islam; the letter of the Shariah permits polygamy, but only monogamy, and marriage a liberal Christians understand it, is in true conformity with the “spirit” of the Quran! The plain injunctions of the Quran repeatedly urge Jihad against aggressive unbelievers as the most sacred duty of the Muslims, but Ameer Ali says that the “spirit” of Islam regards all warfare in the name of religion as a horrible sin, preferring peace at any price. The list could be added to indefinitely. The fallacy that the “letter killeth but the spirit giveth life” is a purely Christian idea taken from the Epistles of Saint Paul in the New Testament. Whatever Christian teachings may say, we as Muslims must summon the moral honesty to admit that this concept is totally foreign to Islamic values. Just as no creature can exist without its external shape, so in human society, the organization of institutions is essential because we cannot live as disembodied spirits. If the body of a human being were transformed into that of another creature, it could be human no longer. Similarly, the letter of Islam lives in its spirit and its letter, the two indivisible and inseparable.

Since the rise of modern technology, there has been endless and futile debate within the precincts of every religion as to its compatibility or incompatibility with modern scientific progress. If truth is one, then true faith could never conflict with true knowledge, that is, in its strict and impartial sense. The question arose only because modern science is not morally neutral but has evolved under the direct influence and patronage of materialist philosophy as its most important product and its most powerful weapon. One of the most essential tasks of modern Muslim scholarship is to distinguish genuine, useful and constructive knowledge from pseudo-scientific, materialist theory and speculation.

In my opinion the ideal Mujaddid or Mahdi will be a most modern leader of his age possessing unusually deep insight into all the current branches of knowledge and all the major problems of life. As regards statesmanship, political sagacity, and strategic skill in war, he will take the whole world by surprise and prove himself to be the most modern of the moderns. (p. 41). My view that the ideal Mujaddid will be a most modern leader does not mean that he will shave his beard, dress up in European clothes or live in the Western manner. I only mean to suggest that he will be fully conversant with the arts and sciences of his age, with its conditions and requirements and will use all scientific means and devices invented by it to the best advantage and all this is natural for unless a party captures all the available means of power and makes use of all existing arts and sciences, devices and techniques to propagate its influence, it cannot obtain its objectives and dominance in general.(p.147).

This means that our only alternative is to come to grips with our enemy and fight and that we had better possess some effective weapons to fight with. But here a word of warning. Coming to grips with modernism means fighting modernism---not compromising with it. And while waging our ideological and psychological warfare, we must never forget that once on the grounds of expediency we compromise and begin to resemble our adversaries, we shall have become as bad as they and have no reason to continue the struggle.

The God fearing creed cannot survive under the Godless leadership. Therefore it is incumbent on the God fearing people to establish the God fearing leadership in the world. The Muslims do not want leadership for selfish motives. Their contention with the materialists is not on the point of depriving them merely from the leadership. The Muslims want to regain the leadership on point of principle. The materialists are leading the world towards Godlessness and open rebellion against their Creator. It is extremely difficult in this environment of Godless culture and civilization that the God fearing theory, aims and principles of life may appeal to the minds and hearts of human beings because the entire trend of modern life is diagonally opposed to it. As opposed to this theory and practice, the Muslims are a group of God fearing people who place their belief in the obedience to Allah. This faith enjoins on the Muslims not only to keep themselves away from the materialist creed of the West but also to show to the world their own God fearing path. This duty cannot be performed by them successfully unless the Muslims take back the leadership of the world from the materialists.



To become a Muslim involves far more than observance of rituals. Although the rituals are indispensable, they cannot achieve their purpose unless the entire mental, moral and spiritual outlook of the convert is changed. The most important change which took place after I embraced Islam was the transformation of my mind from a Kafir mind into a Muslim mind. In order that the outsider may gain deeper understanding into the workings of the Muslim mind, I shall attempt to describe from personal experience how a Muslim looks at thee world, how he regards life and the effect of his faith upon his behavior, his tastes, and his aspirations. Much will surprise or even shock the out­sider until he attains sufficient insight into the inner mean­ing and intrinsic merit of genuine Islamic values.

The most essential belief in Islam is the concept of man as the slave of God. The Arabic word for "slave of God" is "Abdallah" which is among the commonest names in every Muslim country. "Islam" itself means literally "submission to the will of Allah" and all who choose to do so are Muslims. Since God is the supreme and only sovereign of the universe, the Christian concept of division of Church and State" appears utterly illogical to the Muslim mind. The purpose of Islamic rule is to enforce the law of God in the Qura,n and Sunnah. The Muslim ruler cannot become a law unto himself nor has he the right to create any new legislation on his own. The Shariah or sacred law can never be changed and only can be interpreted within strict limits. Everything belongs to God, Man owns nothing and is utterly dependent upon Him. All that a man possesses, even his own body, is merely loaned to him by God to put to the best possible use. If a man shirks this responsibility, he will be severely punished. To serve God as His slave, a man must be willing to sacrifice everything, if necessary his personal happiness, his pleasures, his desires, conveniences, wealth, his possessions and even his life. The genuine Muslim will not hesitate to sacrifice all his transitory pleasures for, the greater good. In so doing, he attains lasting happiness and serenity of mind. To be a "slave of God" means freedom from the tyranny of men. A true Muslim does not fear any man. He fears only God.

The Muslim divides the world into two opposing camps- Dar-ul-Islam or the Abode of Islam and Dar-ul-­Harb, or the Abode of the Unbelievers." The worst affliction of mankind is not poverty, disease or illiteracy but Kufr. Teen-age pregnant brides, unwed mothers, venereal disease, abortions, rapes; illegitimate; children, drunken derelicts and chauvinistic nationalism-all reflect {he consequences of Kufr. Whatever is in harmony with Islamic teachings constitutes the supreme good while Kufr is open rebellion against God which can never be tolerated. A Muslim judges his fellow man solely on the basis of the correctness of his belief and its practical implementation in his daily life. A man's race, nationality, wealth or social positions have no relevance to his intrinsic merit as a human being. If a man does not make any attempt to practice what he professes to believe, he is no more than a hypocrite and really has no faith at all. The Muslim is convinced that a man’s deed is utterly dependent upon his creed because he cannot conceive of morality and ethics apart from their supernatural, theological foundations.

The true Muslim has no fear of death, because death is only the passage-way to life eternal with. God. If a Muslim contracts an illness, he will do all medically possible to promote his recovery but after doing all he can, should these medical means fail to restore his health and save his life or those of similarly afflicted loved-ones, he will accept death with serene resignation. The Muslim believes that God has set the span of each life in advance so that nobody can die before his allotted time nor can all the doctors and medicines in the world delay his demise one instant longer.

The true Muslim is not a fanatic. The Holy Quran forbids spying and backbiting. He does not believe in heretic-hunting. No Muslim, however wrong he may be, ever can be ex· communicated by another Muslim unless he publicly renounces his faith. The Muslim does not persecute other religions nor try to convert people by force. Religious minorities in the Muslim state live in autonomous, self-contained communities of their own where they are allowed to follow their religious laws, educate their children as they see fit and perpetuate their culture in addition to the complete safety of their lives and property. However, despite all these rights guaran­teed to the protected minority by the Shariah, although all men are considered by Islamic teachings as deserving of equal justice and fair treatment as human beings, a non Muslim can never be considered as equal to the Muslim. The non-Muslim under Muslim rule is exempt from military service because only those who believe in the cause of Islam can fight for it. For the same reason, the non Muslim is not eligible to occupy strategic positions in the Government. A Muslim feels the closest bonds of kinship with all other Muslims regardless of racial or national origin. He can never feel at home among non Muslims.

“Those who imagine that the morality of Islam makes of it a heavy burden for humanity as to prevent its realization in their lives derive this belief from the tribulations undergone by the individual Muslim living in a society which is not governed by Islam. Under such circum­stances, the morality of Islam is in reality a heavy burden; it almost crushes the individuals who live with their pure Islam in the polluted society of ignorance. A specific environment then is indispensable for the life of this concept, an environment with its own specific values. Islam is a realistic system, and it therefore supposes that the people who live according to its path will be living in an Islamically-governed society. Without this environment, the life of the individual becomes impossible or at least extremely difficult. Therefore whoever wishes to be a Mus­lim should know that he cannot devote himself to his practice of Islam except in a Muslim environment dominated by Islam. He is mistaken if he imagines that he can realize his Islam in the midst of a society devoid of Divine guidance.” (This Religon of Islam, Sayyid Qutb, AI-Manar Press, Palo Alte, California, 1967, pp. 32-34.)

Islam is a universal faith actively seeking converts. Unlike the Christians, we feel no need for professional missionaries. Every Muslim is a missionary. To propagate Islam as far as he possibly can is his sacred duty. It may surprise non-Muslims to learn that vast areas of the world (particularly South-East Asia and Africa) have turned Muslim through the activities of ordinary Arab and Indian merchants and traders. No force or violence was ever used. Nor were any of these countries politically subjected by them. This was possible only because those merchants and traders put Islam first and business afterwards.

Like the strict orthodox Jew, the Muslim believes that man draws closest to God through obedience to His sacred laws. Therefore he draws no sharp distinction between ritual and morality which are inseparably intertwined. The Muslim does not separate the spirit from its outer form because he is convinced that no belief is effec­tive without its tangible expression. Ablution and prayers must be performed in a precise manner after the practice of the Prophet. The Muslim, who performs his Salat as he should, develops a keen conscience and high character because there is nobody but God to see if he does it properly. No other religion places so much emphasis upon the necessity of personal hygiene and cleanliness. Physical purity affects spiritual purity and the outer man is an expression of the inner man.

The penal law of, the Quran and Sunnah is the subject of the greatest misunderstanding on the part of non Muslims. What Islam regards as the worst crimes against society are hardly considered crimes at all in Western countries and, with the possible exception of theft, legal penalties are rarely, if ever, enforced. The Muslim does not believe that the merit of a law depends upon its leniency nor that the criminal deserves greater sympathy than society. To the Muslim, the penal law of the Quran and Sunnah is not the cruel and barbaric product of primi­tive 7th century Arabia irrelevant for today; on the con­trary, he is convinced that it is far more humane than the extreme psychological deprivation and moral depravity of our modern prisons and in the context of a genuine Islamic society, infinitely more effective in combating crime than any man-made law.

A Muslim believes that the strict segregation of the sexes is essential for a wholesome society. This means that men and women are forbidden to intermingle freely. That is why a Muslim cannot tolerate mixed social functions, co-educational schools or courtship before marriage. Men must not look at strange women nor women at strange men. Modest dress is required at all times; women are required to shroud their entire bodies whenever they find it necessary to go out and behave as inconspicuously as possible in public. A woman's beauty is for her only. Her body is not under any circumstances to be on public display exposed to the vulgar gaze of strangers. Public demon­strations of affection between men and women are severely punished. In Islam, the man is responsible for his social duties outside the home while the woman is responsible for everything within the home. Therefore it is not for women to compete with men in business or politics. The Muslim knows only too well that once the woman leaves the home there is no home!

Celibacy is condemned by the Quran and Sunnah and every normal man and woman is expected to marry. Although a man is permitted to marry up to four wives, Islam does not ordain polygamy; it is not even encouraged; it is merely allowed. The overwhelming majority of Muslims have always been monogamous. The restricted polygamy permitted by Islam curtails illicit sex to a minimum be­cause if a man desires relations with another woman, he must marry her first; undertake the responsibility of her support and fatherhood.

Islam differs from all the other religions in its discouragement of the "arts". A Michelangelo, a Rembrandt, a Beethoven or a Mozart would not receive any acclaim in a Muslim community. Consequently, this is why in Muslim cities there is such a conspicuous absence of sym­phony concert halls opera houses, theatres and art museums. The genius of Islamic art has expressed itself most fully in an architecture that has never been surpassed and Arabic calligraphy.

Instrumental music is banned from the mosque and condemned elsewhere. The social status of professional musicians in the Muslim world is extremely low. Instrumental music detracts the mind away from the remembrance of God and eventually leads to lewdness. If a man feels compelled to give vent to his emotions, he is allowed to sing to please himself but it is better if he refrains. No res­pectable Muslim woman will sing in public. The only laudable music is chanting of Holy Quran, Adhan and unaccompanied chants in praise of the Holy Prophet.

Because dancing is the most powerful known stimulus to illicit sex, it is prohibited completely except possibly on the two Eid festivals, to sir up enthusiasm for Jihad or at weddings. Such festivities must never be mixed. Men dance with men and women with women only.

Acting in plays, whether on stage, cinema or television screen is discouraged for the same reason. Islam condemns plays, whether one participates in them as actor or watches them as spectator, because they encourage people to be­come increasingly preoccupied with their private fantasies and less and less with real life Islamic cultural values regard it degrading to the human personality for an actor, to dress up and pretend to be what he is not and utterly unthinkable for a respectable Muslim woman to perform as an actress in public.

Literary fiction in the form of either the drama or the novel is not indigenous to any Muslim country but oratory and poetry are highly developed and eloquent speech most keenly appreciated by Muslims everywhere, especially in the Arabic- speaking world.

True Islamic culture can have no part of the Western mania for sports and games which is their inheritance from ancient Greece. An Islamic state would encourage athletics as part of military training to promote physical endurance. Thus all sports having military value would be included as part of the physical training in schools and colleges. Horseback riding, swimming, fencing, archery, weight­lifting, calisthenics, wrestling, mountain-climbing, etc. would be favored. Cricket, football, base-ball, hockey, basket-ball, rugby, soccer tennis and golf which are, useless for this purpose would be discouraged as a waste of time and energy. Such athletics as are tolerated in an Islamic state would be strictly amateur; Islamic culture does not honour professional athletes. Nothing could be more abhorrent to Islamic values than for whole populations to stop work for hours or even days on end to attend, watch on television or listen on the radio to a cricket or base-ball match and waste large sums of money which could be far more profitably spent elsewhere to construct vast sport stadiums.

The Islamic way of life is based upon transcendental values. Morality and truth are absolute, eternal and uni­versal. They are instituted by God and not by man. Therefore man has no right to tamper with them. To the Muslim, the Quran is God's book-not Muhammad's book. He believes every word in the Quran is literally true and must be obeyed. The Quran is the source of all knowledge and to question any part of it is tantamount to rejection of God's guidance. The Hadith, or sayings of the Prophet, and the Sunnah or the practice of the Prophet, are essential for a correct interpretation of the Quran. One is meaningless without the other. Since the Quran is God's infallible, complete and final revelation. to man, Islam cannot be “reformed" or "'changed". It will never be '"'improved". Islam is complete and self-sufficient. It has no place for eclecticism. The Muslim understands "progress" as bring­ing his life into closer conformity with the letter and spirit of the Quran. His earthly goal is not worldly success but preparation for the Life Hereafter.

Islam demands the Muslim’s total allegiance. A Muslim is a Muslim every minute of the day. Islam is rigorous to a degree inconceivable to a person of any other faith. Its laws control every aspect of his life from birth to death. Awake or asleep, Islam is always with the Muslim. He is never for a single instant allowed to forget what he is.

(ISLAM in Theory & Practice, Maryam Jameelah, Perfect Publication, Ansari Road Darya Gung, New Delhi, 2006, p33-42)