Upto this day we had only one impression of Islam…..the bright Islam, the quintessence of enlightenment, a bringer of radiance; a herald of glowing teachings from beliefs to worship, from interactions to mannerisms; when its wisdom is followed, the light spreads everywhere……in your outer self, in your inner self; in the surroundings, in your home. Whoever clasps it to their breast will be encircled by a halo of light. If a hundred year old kafir embraces it, the darkness of kufr leaves him to be replaced by a gentle glow……but…..a few days back it was exposed that Islam is of two types: the illuminated Islam and the dark Islam, the modern Islam and the backward Islam! This revelation was made not by any common man but by the President of Pakistan himself!
In a BBC program he aired the view that the idea of confining women to their houses was absolutely incorrect. He thought that the women staying inside their homes and those wearing the veil outside reflect the "backward Islam". He said that some people think that women should be confined to their homes and not step out which was totally wrong. He said, ""My wife is travelling around. She is very religious but she is very moderate,"
A Muslim with his eye on the Book and Sunnah is in a quandary whether to accept the "modern Islam" or the "backward Islam". If he takes the latter, he will be a target for fun, mockery, and ridicule. He will be called a mulla, outdated, fundamentalist, and an enemy to progress. If he accepts the former, where shaking hands with non-mehrams, mixing with the opposite sex, intimate correspondence, free behaviour is all allowed; where it is okay to go in bazaars and markets, clubs, and foreign countries, then the beliefs of the Book and Sunnah slip from he hands and you have to negate the Islam taught by the sahabah-e-kiraam, mufassarin, and muhditheen.
In Surah Ahzab, Allah Ta'ala commands the wives of Rasoolullah (sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam),
"You are not like any of the (other) women: if you do fear ((Allah)), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak you a speech (that is) just."
This command is being given to those chaste and pure hearted women who were not only given the honour of being sahabiyaat but had been through special training as the wives of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam). Then they were the mothers of the ummah, not only in name and in respect but truly for it was haraam to marry any of them after the demise of Rasoolullah (sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam). Most of the men talking to them were the sahabah who have been accepted by Allah Ta'ala and whose purity has been attested by Him in His Book. Also keep in mind that whatever conversation took place used to be behind a curtain, because the order is,
"When you ask for something, ask from behind a screen; there is purity of heart for you and for them in this."
Think and think again that when the sacred mothers were not allowed to come before chaste persons like the sahabah, not even talk to them in a womanly fashion, then how do you expect the lustful people of the fifteenth century to be allowed to exchange secrets with, shake hands with, or mix freely with someone's daughter or sister?
The next ayah of Surah Ahzab commands,
"And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; "
The Lord of the Worlds is commanding to sit quietly in your homes and not go out except for need, but if this injunction is paralleled with "backward Islam", answer me fairly, is it not a clear rebellion of the Command of Allah?
Before us is the infested, rotten civilisation of glittering Europe, bemused with which we are rebelling against the Book and Sunnah. Why do we not stop to think that the consequences for following this civilisation will be nothing but the destruction of the family system, termination of contentment, souring of marital life, the ruin of the daughter of Eve, and social mayhem. Why are the followers of this civilisation fed up with it themselves? The fire of egotism, obscenity, and immodesty that they had stoked is burning their own hearts; the wonder is that the followers of Azir are clamouring to jump out of this fire while the followers of Khalil (`alayhisalaam) are dying to jump into it!
Hearing the strict injunctions of Allah and His Rasool (sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam) about Pardah, the sahabah and the sahabiyaat made such effort in this respect that even extremes of sorrow or happiness did not prevent them from observing hijab. Hazrat Qays bin Shamas (radhiallahu `ta`ala anhu) relates that a sahabiya named Umme Khallad (radhiallahu `ta`ala anhu) came to the Holy presence (sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam) to enquire about her son. Her son had been martyred in some battle. She had come with her face behind a veil. Looking at her a sahabi said in wonderment, you come to ask about your son with a veil on your face? She replied with some spirit, if I have become distressed regarding my son, should I heap another kind of distress on my head? (meaning that the leaving of modesty is as distressing as the death of a son). It was as if she was saying, People, if my son is dead, my 'hya (modesty) is not. That is alive and well, then why should I not cover myself? The 'hya of uncovered women is dead and with 'hya goes Imaan. The two are closely related. Hazrat 'Abdullah bin Umar (radhiallahu `ta`ala anhu) reports that Rasoolullah (sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam) said,
"'Hya and Imaan are joined together; when one of them leaves, the other is lifted too."
The sahabah were the followers of the same Islam that is today being labelled as the "backward Islam". Come, let's have a look at the lives of those who were the supporters of "Modern Islam".
Who can deny the "open mindedness" of Sir Sayyed? In his open mindedness he even wrote an explanation of the Qur'an that openly refutes the salf-e-saliheen. It is written in his memoirs that when the Muhammadan College, Aligarh had been established, the British Governor of UP was in Aligarh with his wife. His wife wished to visit the daughter-in-law of Sir Sayyed at his home. Sir Sayyed wrote in his answer,
"My daughter-in-law observes Pardah, and Islam does not allow meetings with uncovered non-Muslim women. Therefore, with due respect to the Governor and his wife, I and my daughter-in-law are powerless (to accede to your request)."
The readers should keep in mind that this incident occurred at a time when refusing a common British officer would have been as good as inviting disaster, let alone a governor. Although Sir Sayyed was considered one of the British sycophants, at this occasion he neither feared nor toadied to the request of the governor, but gave such an answer that shows his honour and nobility.
Now another incident of Sir Sayyed that has been told by Dr. Abdus Salaam Khursheid. He writes that once Maulvi Sayyed Mumtaz Ali went to Sir Sayyed and presented his treatise on women's rights. Sir Sayyed's colour changed as he turned each page. At last he tore it apart in anger and said, 'Mumtaz Ali! We lost our leadership, we lost our civilisation, now will we lose our women too?"
Allama Iqbal was one of the intellectuals which popular opinion thought to be broad minded and he is often made out to be opposed to "Backward Islam". Hakim Muhammad Amritsari who had close relations with him is said to relate that once Allama Iqbal went with a delegation to a western country. All members were going with their spouses, Allama was invited to bring along his wife too. He declined saying, my wife observes Pardah and there is no chance of that in delegations like this.
Once he was invited to Sir Muhammad Shafi's "with family", but he went alone. Sir Shafi asked, "You didn't bring your wife?" he replied, "She strictly observes Pardah." His host said, "She could sit in the zanana (women's quarters)". The poet replied, "Uncovered zanana's are all the same (as mixed gatherings)."
At one time a person asked the Allama what he thought of Pardah for women. He said, "I think today's boys must observe Pardah too."
Alright, so if you are put off by the advocates of "Backward Islam" why not take up what the adherents of "Modern Islam" say? To you these people are ideal and the right interpreters of Islam, so why hesitate in agreeing with them? Believe me, we too want our country on the road to success; we too wish not only our nation, but the whole of the Islamic world to leave others behind in science, technology, space programs, business, and modern facilities……but, we want to continue this journey in company of the boundaries of Islam. Let it be known that our ideals are the Pure ladies of the Prophetic household, the chaste daughters, and the sahabiyaat-e-Rasul. Their way of life is the coolness of our eyes and the contentment of our hearts. No one can hold a light to them, no one else can be as wonderful as them; and all of them were strict adherents of Islam, the same Islam that is now being labelled "Backward".