By Dr Mohd Farid Mohd Shahran
January 1, 2019
ONE of the challenges facing the Muslim
youth today is to maintain their religious identity while living in the modern
Although most are able to equip themselves
with basic education, and some even excel in their professional life, the
challenges faced by Muslim youths from the modern value system have compelled
them to drift away from religious norms and principles.
Findings from recent research showed a
number of Muslim youths, including those in Muslim-majority countries, are
becoming more sceptical with some basic principles of belief in Islam.
London-based international magazine, The
Economist, in its online publication, reported the result of the latest PEW
Research Centre. The findings from the nonpartisan fact tank showed 23 per cent
of Americans raised as Muslims no longer identify with the faith.
The number of American Muslims, the
research said, increased by almost 50 per cent in the past decade, so too has
the number of ex-Muslims.
The cause of such a dilemma is mainly
connected to the current zeitgeist of the modern world, which is the rise of
scientism and humanism among youths. Among the basic premises of the view is
that religion is seen as inferior to science, especially in guiding human
beings to interpret realities.
Since religion is strongly connected with
revelation, there is a general inclination among youths to look at reason or
rational inquiry as a single sufficient source of guidance for their life,
including their normative and epistemological values.
On the contrary, the understanding of
religion based on textual proof (Naqliyyat) is regarded as limiting the
freedom of choice, thought and life.
Contrary to the above understanding, the
position of reason in Islam is more complementary to revelation.
One of the meanings of “Aql”
(reason/intellect), according to renowned Muslim linguist, Muhammad ‘Ali
al-Jurjani, is “the light in the heart that knows what is right and wrong and
prevent the possessor of reason from deviating towards false path”.
The Quran itself does not view reason as
something antagonistic to religion. People of reason, in the Quran, are
consistently referred to as those who are inclined towards religious values and
The people of true reason (Ulu Al-Bab),
according to the Quran, are those who always contemplate on the lessons from
the Quran as written signs of God (Ayat Maqru’ah) and from the natural
world as perceived signs of God (Ayat Manzurah).
the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and
day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding” [Surah Ali ‘Imran (3):
Many of the arguments of the Quran are
presented in a rational way. God issues challenges to non-believers to bring
forward their arguments to prove their position, “Say ‘produce your proof (Burhanakum)
if you are truthful’” [Surah al-Baqarah (2): 111]. The term Burhan (proof)
is known in the Islamic intellectual tradition as the demonstrative argument
which is based on reason and empirical evidence.
important arguments used by the Quran is the verse which argues on the oneness
of God, “if there were in the heaven and earth, other Gods besides Allah, both
will fall into ruin” [Surah al-Anbiya’ (21): 22].
The Quran, itself, is revealed to rational
men. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, one of the celebrated theologians, outlined 10
rational criteria in accepting the certainty of a traditional proof.
The openness of the Quran to rational
principle has influenced the development of Islamic intellectual tradition at
least in two respects; first, in the discussion of Islamic epistemology, reason
is regarded as one of the valid channels of knowledge apart from senses and
true reports (Khabar Adiq).
Second, the willingness of Muslim scholars
to accept Greek logical traditions into the Islamic tradition
Early Muslim philosophers like al-Farabi,
Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd contributed a great deal in translating and commenting
and in some sense, restructuring the Greek logical literature.
The same goes for Muslim theologians
(Mutakallimum) like al Baqillani, al-Ghazali and Fakhr al Din al-Razi, who
appropriated logical principles into theological discussions.
Discussions such as conceptualisation
(Taawwur) and assent (Tadiq), intellection (Naar) are few examples of important
preliminary topics in the Muslim theological discussions which can be seen in
the writings of the later Muslim theologians.
With this reception of rational methods in
religion, gradually, logic became one of the important tools of knowledge in
the Islamic classification of knowledge.
Since the 12th century, logic was placed
hand in hand with Quranic sciences, theology and Islamic jurisprudence in the
curriculum of Islamic education in many parts of the Muslim world.
Indeed, such are some of the important
messages from the Quran and Islamic tradition for the Muslim youths of the
Understanding, reasoning and thinking all are gained by knowledge
which is necessary both for the world and the Hereafter. Those who do not
acquire knowledge, their inner or outer actions may not be sound and
acceptable. Their endeavours without knowledge may result into trouble and
toil. For such people, it is mentioned in the Quran “He loses both the world
and the Hereafter; that is indeed an evident loss” (22:11).
The holy Prophet also said, “It is the fortunate and pious who are
granted learning and the unfortunate are deprived of it”.
is by knowledge that one can learn how to refrain from inner vices such as
anger, ostentation [Riyakari],
arrogance [Kibr], jealousy [Hasad],
and backbiting [Ghibat].
It is by knowledge that the man learns the consequences of
arrogance. He learns that it was arrogance that caused Iblis to disobey Allah’s
command, thereby leading to his expulsion from Heaven [Jannat]. The Quran and
Sunnah have strictly condemned arrogance and haughtiness.
Allah Almighty says, “I will turn away from My signs those who are
arrogant upon the earth without right…” (7:146),
“Those who dispute regarding the signs of Allah without
any proof having come to them; how very disgusting this is, in the sight of
Allah and in the sight of the believers! This is how Allah seals the entire
heart of every haughty, rebellious person.” (40:35),
“And you will see on the Day of Resurrection
the fabricators of lies against Allah, with their faces blackened; is not the
destination of the haughty in hell?” (39:60), “It will be said, ‘Enter the
gates of hell to remain in it forever’; so what a wretched destination for the
“Verily, Allah does not love those who are
proud and boastful.” (4:36,
“Those who turn away from My service out of
pride will soon enter Hell being disgraced.” (40:60).
Good article! I
would say that we should use our intellect and reason in right format. Not only
does the Quran ask the people to use their intellect but also to use it in