According to Nawawi et al (2007) in the manual of Muhammad an law he has noted that, with the dawn of 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century a large number of Muslims people had lost a big part of their cultural and political sovereignty to the neighboring Christians living in Europe, America and the other parts of the world. This was brought about by the trade between the European and the Muslims during the earlier parts of the century and this was further influenced by the increasing Western technology, civilization and modernization. As a result of modernization there was a strong change in power which was brought about by the falling Ottoman Empire, and in regard contributed to the subordination of Muslims due to Western technology and modernization. The suppression by the Christians made Muslims from the Middle East to question and doubt their aspirations, beliefs and some of their values. As the Muslims criticized and questioned their dogma, there were a number of responses that they implemented. Most of them agreed to the fact that they should adapt some of the interesting and acceptable Western practices, advocate for separation of power and religion as well as call for fight against unequal Quran rule. Nevertheless, the most outstanding response to Western civilization that was adapted by the Muslims was the Islamic modernization. However the today world has taken a different approach as modern scholars share a completely different view from the earlier researchers. And from their finding, what the modern Muslim is trying to do is so complicated that one may not know whether they are for reforming or against reforming the Islam law.
Adeed (2003) has researched in his book, Arab nationalism in the twentieth century: from triumph to despair and established that, traditionalists, modernists and fundamentalists have varying ideologies and concepts on Sharia. And that for any person who is interested or intend to seek for changes and reformation in the Islam law, it is imperative that he master the concepts of Quran, Fiqh and Sunnah. And pertaining to different school of thoughts of Islamic Law by different scholars, Ali Khan has investigated and found that in the modern era the concept of Sharia has been confused both in literature and legal work. But the consensus on Sharia by the scholars is that Sharia comprise of Sunnah and Quran. However some scholars have got different views and they see Sharia has having classical fiqh. Since it is imperative that the readers be aware of Islam Law, Sharia, it is in order to understand the importance of Quran in the changing times. In deed the concept of justice as outlined in the Islam law is very different from the Western law and must be given keen look. For instance, Muslims believe that the Islam law has been given to their leaders by God, and that the laws which govern all the human affairs are the same to those governing nature. Therefore any one who violates Sharia has committed offense against their God and nature, including his human nature. And because any crime committed to them is a sin, they uphold their punishments and judgment based on Quran, making Quran the cornerstone of the Islamic law. (Khan, 2003), A theory of universal democracy: beyond the end of history, the Hague.
Lapidus (1996) has also found out in his book, The Cambridge illustrated history of the Islamic world that since being a human being is enough guarantees for an individual to become a citizen, there is no need to go beyond and judge somebody based on the color of the skin, creed or personal beliefs. In deed, the Arab intellects and think tanks have agreed that they are faced with a big mountain to climb, and each of them is thrown into the dilemma of choosing between their beliefs or modernity. Furthermore, the fact that most of these men acknowledge and accepts that there is need to revise the existing Muslim laws, they also find it difficult to accept that these laws should change because they believe this will be the beginning of their extinction since Muslim will lose its identity. But real modernists Islam do find it easy to add into their practices all the advances that have been brought about by civilization.
Muslims are definitely tied up by the rigidity of their doctrine Tanzil which is also interpreted to mean mechanically dictated revelation resulting from the Quatrain revelation coming from their god Allah. As much as the mentality of most Muslims may have a place and mind ready for reforms, they always tend to disagree with the notion that the change is inevitable. Instead, most of these Muslims will go for revelation of the Quran and non will go out of the way to change what was written in the Preserved Tablet at the beginning of Islam. In these revelations, human agency is not necessary and thus it is not acknowledged. All Muslims are aware of the fact that all men are slave to Allah and that Allah is not a slave to any man. Based on this concept, there is no way an Islam is going to think or look into the Quran in ways that favor man. (Ann, 1999), Islamic law and human rights: conundrums and equivocations, chapter 14 in Carrie Gustafson.
Just like any wave found in the ocean, Muslims want to be modern and participate in the activities promoting modernization and complete civilization. Though Muslims want to be modern and accept and acknowledge all that are brought by modernity including gender equality and equity, their religion can allow them to. Because, there religion command them to know that a woman is not anything to rely on, but is half man in inheritance of wealth and court witnessing of cases. The Quran also teaches an Islam person to remove out the hand of that person, who has been found steeling, administer using a whip, hundred strokes of the whip to that single man and woman who by any chance have been found enjoying sexual intercourse, and in the case where the two are married, Muslims are commanded to stone them to death. This do not go well with many, and for that reason a number of people have kept asking themselves a big question, like what should a Muslim do?, to go by the Quran and retain the favor of gender inequality that Quran teaches, or to choose to be a modernist who is also motivated to be a progressive Muslim. In the Middle East or any Arab media, most of the Muslims will choose to introduce themselves as “مسلم حداثي” Muslim hadāthī, which when is interpreted mean that modern progressive muslim. The Islamic law, Shari’ah is based on the principles and rooted on the dictating texts from the Quran and they have been confirmed and approved by the practices and tradition of the Mohammed. And since Islam is not any new age spirituality, but political, state religion, it is very hard to withdraw reforms on the laws. Furthermore, many Muslims perceive that Mohammed’s military tactics in the city of Medina enabled Allah to emerge victorious since the people of Mecca had no choice but to surrender to Mohammed. Thus, their Allah, according to them is beyond questioning. (Badawi, 2010), The status of women in Islam.
Looked differently, modernization is real more so when it is intended to seek for human dignity as its goal number one. For instance when people get to know that the Sabbath day was created for man and not the other way round, they will be able to understand and embrace modernity. There are Muslims who have got the will to embrace modernity and they have managed to take in what Mohammed did like having too many wives and concubines. However, in Surat Repentance 29, the verse of Jizya orders Muslims to humiliate Christians as much as possible for not submitting to Islam. But this makes one to wonder whether this verse was really written by a prophet of Allah or not. Because, there is only one God who has made man in His own image and that everything on earth He has created for man. So how can such a good God also want something bad for the same man He has created? And because all men should realize that with God it is just love and no humiliation of one another, man must endeavor to reciprocate his true paradise which is nothing other than trying to make God the sole purpose of living, or the goal of ones life. Hence, for such kind of verses, regardless of how strong in faith one may have in Islam, he can ignore considering reformation on the same. (Eposito, 1998), Islam: the straight path
Therefore, as I conclude, it will be vital for all people practicing Islam to know that once a Muslim adopt the three fundamentals of the French revolution, Liberté, égalité, fraternité which together implies brotherhood, he will be best placed to practice fraternity, equality and liberty. Yet in this way, the Muslim will be indicting his God and his own prophets by practicing brotherhood and in so doing he will bring down the Islam teachings which have been in existence for the last fourteen century. In fact, the person will be announcing to everyone the hypocrisy of Islam to which he is steadfastly clinging on and fighting for. In deed the Islam laws and teachings are founded on the characters of authoritative and biased prophets like Mohammed and some undermining and authoritative texts in the Quran, which hardly suggest anything close to brotherhood, liberty, fraternity and equality. For instance in Quran verses where non-Muslim people are termed as infidels who deserve being killed, we don’t see anything like brotherhood. On the other hand, liberty refers to showing and giving full respect to a person, and that the person is entitled to full human dignity irrespective of his autonomous sovereignty or personal life. But this is not the case as discussed above and as founded in Quran where men are more equal than women. Conversely, only fellow Muslim are able to experience fraternity as investigated in the Quran by scholars, whereas non Islam people are shown contempt and are pressured by the Muslims to give in to there Islam guidance. Therefore, the Muslim law is still held tightly by the Islam practices of the past and the Muslims education, thought and heart yearn for advancement of the modern world. Surely, how can a Muslim bring in the laws and policies of the fifth century into the light of today?
Ann, E. M., ed 1999. Islamic law and human rights: conundrums and equivocations, chapter 14 in Carrie Gustafson. New York: Oxford University Press
Badawi, J. A., 2010. "The status of women in Islam". Al-Ittihad Journal of Islamic Studies 8 (2)
Esposito, J., 1998. Islam: the straight path. New York: Oxford University Press. 126-7.
Hafez, M., 2006. "Why Muslims rebel". Al-Ittihad Journal of Islamic Studies 1 (2).
Khan, L. A., 2003. A theory of universal democracy: beyond the end of history, the Hague, Kluwer Law International.
Lapidus, I., eds 1996. The cambridge illustrated history of the islamic world. Cambridge University Press. p. 296.
Nawawi, E. C., Howard, L., Willem, C. and Minhaj, T., 2007 : A manual of Muhammadan law ; according to the school of Shafi. Lahore : Law Pub. Co, 467.