The Evolution of Islam

Islam has not evolved with time due to some fundamental issues with its doctrine, and historical events. Current failures have pushed Muslim extremist to look backward to draw the map of their future.

All Muslims believe that Quran is the word of God written for all times. However, when it comes to understanding these words in light of the time, disagreements arise. Some do believe that explanations compiled in the book of Hadith that go back 1300 years, and had been collected 200 years after the Prophet’s death, were still sacred and should not be reinterpreted. Many of the 7000 parables or Hadiths (about 3000 replicated) of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUP) had been disputed for lack of accuracy. Only 600 sayings are related to the core of the faith while the others, if accurate, deal with social issues not relevant to our time.

Disputed Hadiths had been advocated by the fundamentalists (Salafists and their new age followers, the Wahhabis and then Daesh), who, like all fundamentalists in any religion had refused to allow their understanding to evolve. Looking backward for the deliverance of the glorious ways of the past had been typical of all failed cultures that could not cope with the present or the future. From the Ancient Egyptians to the Chinese, this looking back strategy had always led to failure.

Historical events; in particular invasions by the Mongols, the Crusades, and in modern times, the European colonialism (British, French and in more modern Zionism and the USA), have had a serious impact on fundamentalists. These events forced the Islamic discourse inward and closed to any new ideas. This, of course, had been dangerous as frozen ideas are only dead ideas. Consequently, Islam has been forced into a state of crises as it tries to shed the stifled and catatonic state of existence.

Salafists sought social changes in the modern Islamic world. They focused on enforcing the appearance and manners of the 6th century ACE desert society. Most of what they had subscribed to had little to do with faith but rather with the social habits and culture of a primitive society.

If that meant men dressing in Galabia with sandals; then be it. If it meant men would have beards but shaved mustaches as it had been common, then in the Salafists’ view, it must be part of the faith! If it meant child forced marriage at any age; then it must be part of the faith. If it meant no education for women, then it must be also part of the faith. If it meant enslaving women and children as war booties; then it must be also part of the faith. If female genital mutilation (FGM) had been practiced in ancient society, in the Salafists’ view, it must be also part pf the faith.

It is important to note that the modern version of these Salafists is the Wahhabis, Daesh, and Qaeda. They had taken on the war, rode on the culture of the desert society hoping to apply it in the 21st century. Adding to that is their particular venom against other Muslim factions (Shia, Allawi, Druze.) and other minorities that allow them to declare someone apostate and execute him (A particular philosophy that was developed during the Mongol invasions who converted to Islam but declared apostate).

But is the new age Islamic Salafists any different from the Orthodox Jews or the Christian Evangelicals? There are so many similarities between all fundamentalist sects in all the Abrahamic religions and even beyond. All are patriarchal and holds women in low esteem as part of the existing social customs at the time of a religion inception. In all cases, the fundamentalists desire to return to historical ideals that they believe was the source of great glory and they feel that the community had been drifting away from.

Many Muslims, in particular, the well-educated ones, look to reform the faith. Interpreting that faith in light of the current state of knowledge is necessary. Trying to form the current knowledge in light of an immovable doctrine would stifle all efforts. Shedding much of the legacy that had been accumulated over 1400 years would be required. Even though it would be a long and difficult task to achieve, it is paramount for the survival of the Islam faith of 1.6 billion people.