Foundation, NJ U. S. A
the Message Continues ...
Article 1 -
Article 2 -
Article 3 -
Article 5 -
Article 6 -
Article 7 -
Article 8 -
Article 9 -
Article 10 -
WHO IS A PROGRESSIVE MUSLIM?
by Asghar Ali Engineer
(Excerpts from his article)
A progressive Muslim is one who is firmly grounded in the
of truth (haq), justice (‘adl), compassion (rahmah), wisdom
(hikmah) and does service to others rather than being served by
others. A progressive Muslim does not believe in sectarian Islam
(sunni or shi’ah or Isma’ili or Deobandi or Barelvi or ahl-e-hadith
salafi Islam but rises above all these sects and gives
Qur’an above everything else.
A progressive Islam not
only does not adopt sectarian approach but is
respectful of entire humanity and human dignity as per Qur’an
He leaves mutual differences, ideological and theological to
alone and does not condemn anyone who differences from him/her
kafirs as often sectarian Muslims do. It only widens differences
intensifies conflict. A progressive Muslim uses, as per Qur’an,
(hikmah) and goodly words (maw’izat al-Hasanah) in discussion
leaves rest to Allah. He does not try to be judgmental.
A progressive Muslim is least influenced by personal prejudices
always gives more importance to knowledge than his opinion.
condemns prejudiced opinion (zan) and promotes knowledge (‘ilm).
openness of mind is a seminal quality and avoids arrogance born
out of ignorance than knowledge. Those who have little knowledge
more arrogant and those who have greater degree of knowledge
limitations of their own knowledge and hence tend to be humble.
A progressive Muslim
first of all studies his/her own religion in
depth and tries to understand, as objectively as possible, the
of differences between different religions and shows full
others beliefs. It is those who do not know their own religion,
less those of others, who condemn religion of others. The Qur’an
“And abuse not those whom they call upon besides Allah lest,
the limits they abuse Allah through ignorance.” (6:109). Further
this verse Allah says, “Thus to everyone people have We made
deeds fair-seeming; then to their Lord is their return so He
inform them of what they did.” Thus ultimately it is Allah who
judge. We human beings when we judge, we judge more out of
and arrogance of our ego than knowledge and selflessness.
The key words in this
verse are that for every people We made their
deeds fair-seeming to them. Then who are we human beings to
others beliefs and deeds. Let then Allah alone to judge who is
and who is wrong.
Also a progressive Muslim celebrates diversity as diversity is
creation of Allah and if Allah desired He could have made entire
humanity one community. (5:48). The Qur’an also says, “And of
signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the
of your tongues and colors. Surely there are signs in this for
learned.” Thus a progressive Muslim will never have any
against any language or color of skin or any color for that
as these are all creations of Allah.
Also, both men and women
are creation of Allah and both need to be
treated with same degree of dignity. Allah has created all
couples and it is necessary for survival of all species. No
will survive unless it is created in couples. Thus feminine of
couple is as important as masculine and in human beings both
must be treated equally. Moreover gender is social and cultural
construct. Whereas sex is natural gender is social and cultural.
A progressive Muslim
knows this very well and treats both men and
women with equal dignity and believes in giving equal rights to
And in today’s context gender equality becomes a crucial test
progressive Muslim. Female servitude was purely feudal cultural
creation and Islam opposed it and pronounced the doctrine of
equality in clear terms (2:228) A progressive Muslim knows that
certain Shari’ah provisions establishing male superiority were
response to cultural needs of a patriarchal society than based
Qur’an and hadith.
Thus a progressive
Muslim will give more importance to Qur’anic
pronouncements of gender equality than feudal female servitude
would not consider these [provisions of Shari’ah laws as eternal
unalterable. A progressive Muslim, therefore, would reconstruct
Shari’ah laws in this respect and accord equal rights to women
also believers. One believer cannot be superior to another
Male superiority is a human construct and human construct cannot
override divine injunction. Also, functional differences i.e.
children should not result in distinction of superior and
A progressive Muslim
would accord seeking knowledge highest priorityas knowledge has
been equated with light (nor) and ignorance to
darkness (zulmat) and Allah brings out believers from darkness
to light. And the Prophet (PBUH) has said that a moment’s
more important than whole nights worship (‘ibadat). Thus
knowledge haspriority over worship.
Thus these are the characteristics of a progressive Muslim and
who imbibe these characteristics would survive all the
all the times and would not face any difficulty in keeping pace
the changing times.
NEWSLETTERS - BOOKS
- CONTACT - FEEDBACK
material published by Al-Huda.com / And the Message Continues is
the sole responsibility of its author's).
opinions and/or assertions contained therein do not necessarily
reflect the editorial views of this site,
of Al-Huda and its officers.