The subject addressed by this essay is very relevant to today’s world. This is because the Western ideologies are constantly clashing with Islam. I, therefore, agree with this essay, that the underlying cause of this strife is because Islam is more tradition-oriented. Western ideologies on the other hand tend to be shaped by modernism and secularism. In most scenarios, those in the west do not understand why followers of Islam cannot change their beliefs to incorporate modernism. This is because western culture has undergone tremendous changes. This essay states that modernism is closely related to a worldview. This is a very relevant observation.
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Another interesting thing about these readings is the story of Maulana Ashraf. As a religious scholar, he managed to accomplish a lot. His significant contribution to Islamic literature is amazing. It is estimated that his writings were found in almost every Muslim household in India during the nineteenth century. Also, his works continue to be relevant up to this day. His message also remained steadfast for the over fifty years he was an Islamic scholar. He was able to advocate for the traditional form of Islamic intellect and oppose modernism for all these years. Most people would have lost their focus.
The factors these readings attribute to the rise of modernism are not very clear. According to the readings, the British rule in India was a major contributor to the rise of modernism. Logically, the only religion the British were interested in spreading was Christianity. These readings indicate that the British were intent on destroying Islam. However, their motivation is not well explained in the readings. This is because there were already two other religions that were closely related to Islam at the time. The readings should have explained in more detail why the British favored the Hindus and the Sikh over the Muslims.
Maulana’s answer to modernism was that Muslims go back to the earlier teachings of Islam. According to these readings, Maulana was against rationalism and scientism. Instead, he advocated for the use of theosophy and philosophy in understanding the traditional concepts of Islam. For example, he takes issue with those calling for a new dialectical theology. This part of the readings is a bit confusing. This is because Maulana’s argument is itself modern.
He opposes dialectical theology and yet his argument seems to rely on its principles. He is also opposed to rationalism and scientism. Still, after reading his arguments it is quite clear they employ rationalism. The other confusing issue is the possibility of an ardent scholar fighting the urge to embrace progression and modernism. Scholars are known for coming up with new and updated forms of knowledge. Therefore, contrary to Maulana’s teachings, it would be almost impossible for them to escape modernism.
In my view, Maulana’s teachings about how to conserve Islam’s intellectual tradition are a bit farfetched. This is because modernism affects all other spheres of life. For instance, the education system is heavily affected by modernism. When the education system is affected, it in turn affects the family setting, politics, and eventually the religion. Therefore, even though Maulana raises very solid points in his arguments, it is almost impossible to eliminate modernism in Islam. At some point, modernism will always find its way into Islam.