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Updated: Dec 7, 2023

What is Modernism?

Modernism is an ideology where people attempt to modify and reinterpret traditional beliefs in accordance to their own modernistic ideas. This article will dissect the beliefs of a modernist and what is Islam's stance on Modernism.

These people (the modernists) consider old-practiced, traditional beliefs to be outdated and that one cannot apply them nowadays. For example→ the word Hijab, some modernists do not regard hijab to mean headscarf, but rather they interpret hijab as a barrier or cover. Some Modernists regard not wearing hijab as permissible but rather recommend not wearing it at all, which is completely forbidden (Haram) in Islam. This is one of the depravities (shameless things) of modernism.

One of the main arguments of modernists is → How can beliefs and religious laws from over 1400 years ago be applicable nowadays? They (Modernists) believe that the more time progresses, the better things will get, but it has been narrated by Zubair Ibn Adiyy (RA), clearly refuting this belief of the modernists, → He says:

اَتَيْنَا أنسَ بْنِ مَالِك، فشَكَوْنَا إليهِ ما نَلْقٰى مِنَ الحجَّاج، فقال اِصْبِرُوْا فَإِنَّهُ لا يَأْتِيْ زَمَانٌ إلّا الَّذي بعْدَهُ شَرٌّ مِنْهُ حتَّى تَلْقَوْا ربَّكم سمعتُهُ مِنْ نَبِيِّكُمْ صلى الله عليه وسلّم.

“We came to Anas Bin Malik (RA) and we complained to him regarding Hajjaj. So he (Anas bin Malik) said: Exercise patience, no era will come upon you except that the one after it will be worse than it (previous) until you meet your Lord. I heard this from your Nabi (SAW)”.

They (Modernists) also say that the only way to get ahead and progress is to either modify old teachings to fit the current era or toget rid of the old traditions and beliefs entirely. They also believe that the Ulama of recent times are behind since they follow the old traditions. However, the Ulama are the ones who are on the right path. 

Consider the following verse where Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,

اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم واتممت عليكم نعمتي و رضيت لكم الإسلامَ دينا

“Today I have perfected your religion for you and have completed my favor upon you and chosen Islam as a deen for you”.


From this verse, we understand that Islam is already complete, and has been perfected by Allah (SWT) for us, so who are we, as regular human beings with no power, to try and modify the beliefs, religious laws, and teachings set by Allah (SWT) and His Rasul (SAW). And who are we to disobey their commands when the Sahabah (RA) (the best of this ummah) would fear and regret so much to even accidentally disobey one command. 

Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Masud (RA) made a beautiful statement regarding the Sahabah (RA), he said,

“Whoever amongst you will follow someone then he must follow those who have already passed on, because the living are not safe from fitnah (trials). They are (the ones who have passed on) the companions of Nabi (SAW), they were the best of this ummah, with the most pious of hearts, the most thorough in knowledge, the least in pretense (were not false), they were a people whom Allah (SWT) had chosen for the companionship of His Nabi (SAW) and to establish His deen. So acknowledge their excellence and follow in their footsteps. Hold onto their ways and to their deen as much as possible, for verily they were on the straight path of true guidance”.

This beautiful statement allows us to understand the reasons why we should follow the people who came before because they were more pious and much better than us in every way possible. These few mentioned Ahadith and verses, completely refute the modernistic ideology, to modernize everything, to change rulings to one's desire. 

In conclusion, Islam is a religion based on the truth that has been perfected and completed by Allah (SWT). We do not need other people (the modernists) trying to change Islam According to their desires and trying to reinterpret various laws and beliefs when in turn they are corrupting other Muslims and misguiding them. May Allah allow us to be steadfast on his deen and protect us from such trials. Amin

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