Essay Sample on Islam and Modernity

Published: 2023-08-29
Essay Sample on Islam and Modernity
Essay type:  Reflective essays
Categories:  Islam Muslim Social issue
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 827 words
7 min read

I used to view Islam as a rigid religion without freedom of thought, full of superstition, and fanaticism. I believed that religion was anti-science, and it encouraged oppression and ignorance, resulting in the stagnation of nations with a Muslim majority. However, I have realized that Islam is not as rigid; therefore, it is possible to reform and develop a progressive reinterpretation of the Quran, which allows modern science and social reforms to occur.

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The interpretation of the Quran, followed by many Muslims today, is restrictive and has rigid structures, limiting freedom of thought, which is essential when adopting modern science and its progress. The current interpretation of the Quran and Islam's rigid orthodoxy makes it illogical, and irrational, and has no room for free thought, therefore, contradicting modern science and its applications. Islam also holds back social reforms resulting in poor human rights records in nations with Muslim majorities, such as gender equality rights due to its rigidity. Resistance to the adoption of modern science and medicine can result in a low quality of life for people under Islam. Modern science is responsible for improved quality of life; therefore, resistance to its adoption leads to stagnation and reduced quality of life. The establishment of political systems based on logical reason results in social reforms and freedom, which is suitable for scientific adoption and progress.

I realized that Islam's rigidity is not in the Quran but in the written interpretation of the Quran, which makes it possible to reinterpret the Quran in a rational, logical, and consistent way with modern science. The traditional interpretation makes Islam contradict rigorously proven scientific facts. The acceptance of modern science and Islam's practice creates many inconsistencies and results in irreconcilable differences. With the Sufi idea of the infinity of meanings of the Quran, I think it is possible to reinterpret the Quran and make reforms to meet modern science. A reformed Islam will be a preservation of human culture and history while avoiding irrationality and stagnation caused by a rigid interpretation of the religion. A reformed Islam presents an opportunity for gender equality and other human rights currently limited or opposed by the current understanding of Islam.

Islam was once more open to science and free thought, which led to discoveries in astronomy and the advancement of mathematics such as the field of algebra, and the eager adoption of Greek scientific advances and developments. It is an indication that it is possible to reform it to allow free use of reason, encourage rational thinking instead of superstition, and create a liberal religion open to the adoption of modern science. The process of reforming Islam can occur with intelligent discussion as it happened in the Western world when the rigid interpretations of Christianity were questioned. This resulted in the emancipation of people from religion and allowed free thought and scientific progress. Most of the scientific progress has happened in the West, which is mostly Christian because of reforms and liberalization of the religion, which was once in shackles of rigid orthodoxy. Islam too needs similar reforms and liberalization to enable free thought and educational reforms required for the adoption and application of modern science. A liberal environment encourages innovation, which is crucial in scientific use for the improvement of living standards.

I see the work of Muslim reform advocates such as Jamal ad-Din Afghani and Muhammad Abduh as an indication that Islam can be reformed from within by its followers to create a logical and fluid religion. The current degree of freedom can be used to push and encourage freedom of independent thought and secular science. Modernization involves a reform in education, allowing liberalization of education, therefore, separating it from religion.

Current Islam rejects science and logical reasoning, resulting in a society of superstitious and ignorant believers. Attempts to reconcile Islam as it is with modern science will result in theological problems and contradictions as encountered in the Western world when trying to reconcile Christianity and modern science. Christianity and modern science took centuries to resolve; therefore, it is likely to take a considerable time to address the contradictions even with contributions from Islam reformists.

In conclusion, I think modern science is healthy for the Muslim world because its adoption forces reforms in Islam due to contradictions between them. Reformation and modernization of Islam are possible through the reinterpretation of the Quran. These Islamic reforms will free Islam from rigid orthodoxy, therefore, allowing progressive social changes and the growth of secular science. A secularization and rationalization of Islam are needed for the easy adoption of modern science.


Tariq, Malik Mohammad. "Jamal Ad-Din Afghani: A Pioneer of Islamic Modernism." The Dialogue 6, no. 4 (2011): 340-354.

Nadler, Steven. "Spinoza, Leibniz, and the gods of philosophy." In The Rationalists: Between Tradition and Innovation, pp. 167-182. Springer, Dordrecht, 2010.

Amir, Ahmad N., Abdi O. Shuriye, and Ahmad F. Ismail. "Muhammad Abduh’s contributions to modernity." Asian Journal of Management Sciences and Education 1, no. 1 (2012).

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