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Islam and Progress

What is the relationship between Islam and progress? What type of progress do you want to make? And what will progress look like in an Islamic state?

Our age is one of progress. Therefore, everyone wants to progress. Just as a person with a particular state of mind cannot be prevented from committing suicide, similarly, today’s humans cannot be prevented from progressing. This includes children, youth, middle-aged, and elderly; there is no discrimination. There is no discrimination between men and women, rich and poor, lower class and upper class. There is no discrimination even between the living and the dead. Even at the time of death, today’s person wishes they could progress further.

Our honorable Prime Minister has also made several statements in this regard. He has said that they will make Pakistan like Japan. At one point, he said they would leave Pakistan like Korea. Well, whether it’s Japan or Korea, the point is that they want to make Pakistan a developed country and the Pakistani nation a developed nation.

Well, our Prime Minister’s stance is not the only thing. Our respected religious scholars also say this, and they say it with great emphasis, and why shouldn’t they? After all, Islam is not against progress. At least from the perspective of our esteemed scholars, this seems so.

Islam does not reject anything. It accepts all of the human’s natural demands and allows their expression in theoretical and practical forms. In its eternal truth, both religion and the world exist, but do they coexist? Or is their status, their position determined? Meaning one is the leader and the other a follower?

There is no question of these two walking side by side because only those who are equal in status can walk side by side. And these two cannot be of the same status, or even comparing them is a matter of sheer ignorance. However, the second point is initially correct, that is, their status is determined with religion prioritized over the world. But this distinction ends in the next stage. The world becomes absorbed in religion, and only religion remains. This is the stage where a person becomes a Mu’min. But does being the negation of the world and absorbing oneself in religion mean that a person goes and sits in the mosque? No, rather the whole world becomes a mosque for him, and all his actions become worship. If you want further clarification, study the explanations of the scholars because I am not qualified to explain due to my ignorance.

Well, let’s return to the fundamental question of this discussion. Islam is also not against progress, but what does progress mean?

The present world has set many standards for progress. For example, one standard is to assess a country’s annual per capita income. Another standard is to analyze the standard of living of the people of that country and see what comforts of life are available to them. In addition to this, there are other standards, and one standard comes into existence by combining all these things.

Well, this standard has been provided to us by the current industrial revolution of the West, and based on this, we decide which country or nation is at what level of progress. The most important thing about this standard is that it is ultimately based on material comforts. Well, does it make a difference? Islam does not negate material life, does it?

Alright, now when our Prime Minister, religious leaders, and political leaders say that we also need to progress, it means that our standard of living should be equal to that of developed countries like Japan, America, or Korea. Furthermore, it means that our per capita income should be equal to Japan’s per capita income. Eighty percent of our population should have personal vehicles. Everyone should have a TV, fridge, air conditioner, etc., with the intention that they have everything that the people of Japan have.

Alright, we achieve all these comforts and stand among the ranks of developed nations. Let’s say you also stand there, but before standing, consider a few questions.

The progress achieved by the people of Japan did not happen overnight. Every individual there works eighteen hours a day and has been working continuously for years. So they have achieved this level of progress. Let’s assume that you also spend eighteen hours a day making TVs, cars, or doing some other work. Now just consider that if you will spend such a large time of your one-day life in such a work, how much will this action be compatible with the spirit of your religion? Because your entire time is spent only on earning money. I repeat.

“Only on earning money.” This becomes a question.

Another question is: What effect do you think working eighteen hours a day will have on the relationship between your spirit, soul, and body? Will there be no disruption in your sensuous, psychological, and emotional systems?

Now, let’s turn to the question raised above. Consider what effect material luxuries have on a person’s personality. Arrogance, pride, haughtiness, insensitivity—aren’t these all signs of a luxurious life?

There is a common belief that only the soul affects the body. This is not true; the body also affects the soul. History bears witness that the comforts of the body have made souls sick.

طاؤس و رباب آخر

Many people believe that Islam will act as a suit of armor for them. It’s true that armor can protect you from arrows and swords, but if you dive into deep water, even armor will not keep your body from getting wet. Wearing armor is, after all, an assumption.

Now, let’s take some examples from our history. Well, there’s no need to mention prophets as they are the greatest beings in the universe, but look at the people who were nurtured in their light—what did they choose for themselves?

Is your faith stronger than that of Hazrat Umar Farooq (RA)? No, right? If he had wanted, he could have made considerable personal progress. He could have thought that his faith was strong enough that the world’s luxuries wouldn’t affect him. But he turned away from the world’s comforts. The same was true for thousands of other companions (RA). Why?

There have been countless religious scholars for whom earning worldly wealth was not an issue. Imam Ghazali (RA) renounced his wealth and the honor and respect of the court and chose a life of poverty.

Many of our Sufi saints lived their lives in the same manner. Why? Did they not understand the concept of combining religion and the world? It is interesting that we often discuss the worship and asceticism of these revered figures, but we do not mention their disinterest in the world, or at least not as much as we should.

So now think about what the relationship between Islam and progress is. What kind of progress do you want? Japanese? American? Korean? And those who dream of an Islamic revolution, tell us what kind of progress their Islamic state will have, and what its direction will be? Well, just like the model of the Islamic atomic bomb, you must have a model of Islamic progress too, right?

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