This is the transcript from Sheikh Hassan Al-Maliki’s video in defining Islam solely from the Quran, entitled: “Is Islam really the Solution?”, commenting on this popular slogan being used by all Muslim groups and sects from all over. But they are all different from each other. And they are also completely different from the Quran.
Transcript translated and compliments of Qur’anic Islam YouTube Channel.
- Editorial comments at the end of the transcript.
In the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful and blessings and peace upon our liege-lord, Muhammed and upon is goodly pure family and may His Pleasure be upon the Emigrants and Helpers and those who follow them in excellence until the Day of Judgment.
To proceed a prevalent slogan these days, as well as in former days, is the statement “Islam is the solution”, so I get asked “Are you in favour of, or in agreement with, this catch-phrase or not?” And I find that my problem with it, is the definition of “Islam” which is the proposed solution, i.e. What exactly is it?
Is it the “Islam” seen in history?
or in schools of thought?
Or is it the “first” Islam?
The Islam of Allah?
Is it the Islam of men who mixed it with their politics, sects, history, desires and personal interests? If so, then that isn’t the Islam of Allah.
Those groups and sects that put forward the slogan “Islam is the solution”, if you were to look closely at their sources, their history, and their prominent figures and authorities, you can clearly see that the “Islam” they are speaking about and which they think is the solution is, for example, the Islam of the Caliphate or the Islam of the Umayyad Dynasty or the Abbasid Dynasty or even the Islam of the four Rightly-guided Caliphs, who themselves were not the same but were very distinct.
So even they don’t represent the ideal.
Islam of the Quran.
The ideal is in the Islam of the Qur’an.
It is the Islam of Justice, the Islam of Truth, the Islam of Human Rights, the Islam of Honesty and Truthfulness.
As we are discussing this Islam, let us mention a verse to clarify the context in which the word “Islam” appears in the Qur’an.
This is because most people had misunderstood. They think that Islam is what we are upon, what we have, right now. i.e. what Muslims are practicing IS Islam by definition. It is they who define it. But that just is not true.
I have previously explained Islam in a few articles and shown that Islam in the Qur’an is not the same Islam that we find in our narratives and narrations. Whether these narrations be Hadiths or implementations of the Prophet’s companions or their students.
It is true, no doubt, that in some of these Hadiths and implementations you can find what is similar to the “original” Islam of the Qur’an, but the problem is almost no one looks into Islam as portrayed and defined by the Qur’an.
The Islam of the Qur’an is kept, and stays, only in the pages of the Qur’an and what is used and brought out to the world is the “distorted” Islam.
You see, “Islam” is a large encompassing word. Amongst the previous Caliphs you can find one who was just, trustworthy, honest, knowledgeable and precise, and also another who is less than that, having both good and bad actions and characteristics, and you will also find complete tyrants.
The Common View.
The problem with most “Islamists” in general is that they put all of these groups under the banner of “Islam” and define Islam through them. Let me give an example using a common view which, as many such views, needs to be challenged.
The common view that “The Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties and their conquerors spread Islam to the Far East and West”, “Because of them Islam reached Spain and the gates of China”
But in truth they never really spread nor delivered Islam.
The Umayyads couldn’t deliver Islam to the East and West because they were not fit to do so. What they spread was a distortion of Islam to the East and West.
Because all of the actual goals and aims of these conquerors, whether to loot, pillage, plunder and occupy other nations, or to occupy opposition forces, or other aims, these were all political objectives, greatly satanic in nature.
So it is not right that we place Islam beneath the feet of these conquerors. Rather Islam is high above their heads.
That’s just one example, and I really don’t want to get further into discussing the Islamic Conquests as I have previously mentioned my views on them in detail. Namely, that the conquest of the Levant and Iraq were justified because the majority Arab populations in these countries were being oppressed by the Romans and Persians, etc.
My point is that the common view of Muslims that :
“We reached the East and West … We did this and that etc”.
“These are ignorant barbarisms [Jaahiliyat]!”
“We reached the East and West … We achieved this … We achieved that…”
“We, We, We” …
That’s the language of Shaytan, he said “I am better than him (Adam)”
Allah made this type of self-praise a sign of, as well as a reason for, a coming punishment.
He said: “Do not think those who rejoice in what they have done and love to be praised for what they have not done; do not by any means think that they are safe from punishment, and they shall have a painful punishment!” [3:188]
Yet look at all of our self-praise and pride and boasting that there is none like us! Self-praise is regarded as a type of polytheism (shirk) in the Qur’an, and that’s just with regards to those who love and boast over what they have or have done.
But those who say “We Muslims did this and that” haven’t actually done anything themselves! Those who did “reach” and did “do” were others not you.
It’s in this context that God says: “Those are a people that have passed away”
This very verse is a lesson to prevent boasting, but it is used now to prevent, for example, discussing the differences that arose amongst the Companions of the Prophet. However, it’s context is a discourse with the Jews who were want to boast about their heritage saying “Abraham is from us”, etc.
The Qur’an’s response is in that verse: “Those are a people that have passed away … etc”
So those who boast about the Muslims’ former conquests should at the very least realise that …
“Those are a people that have passed away, they shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn, and you shall not questioned about what they did” [2: 134 and 141]
Furthermore, regarding self-praise, He says :
“Do not think those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done; do not by any means think that they are safe from punishment” [3:188]
It’s as if this verse was revealed about all of these (Islamic) groups due to the similarities they have with their predecessors in boasting about what they have not done and in their joy and rejoicing in the oppression of other nations as if that were a part of Islam.
In any case, “Islam is the solution” is put forward by the Muslim Brotherhood as an explicit schema and slogan. Though, of course, it is also present amongst the Salafis and Shi’a. They all put forward this slogan. And, as we all know, all of the various individuals within each of these sects are not the same.
You can’t fit all of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood into just one box, nor all of the Salafis in one box, nor all of the Shi’a in another box, whereby you thus conceptualise any single one of them in terms of ignorant barbarism (Jahiliyyah) and wanting and praising, for example, “political Islam”.
The Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyid Qutb, for instance, even though the current Salafis sometimes strongly condemn him, and yes he does have some ugly takfiri views in his book Milestones, yet still he didn’t consider the life and actions of Mu’awiyah as representing Islam, nor even the actions of Uthman (ra) in the last six years of his rule. So Qutb’s thinking is more developed and refined. Whereas later members even considered the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties as great examples of Islam in practice.
As well as, of course, those who are called the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, which is based on a weak Hadith, or a Hadith which is, at the very least, speculative regarding its direct import, i.e. Was it those four or others?This Hadith was narrated by ibn Sariya and in any case it’s a weak narration.
Islam as Defined by the Quran.
“Islam is the solution” : I say yes, but when and how? Only when and if we define Islam from the Qur’an.
So what is Islam as defined by the Qur’an?
I have expounded the answer to that question in previous articles (collected Tweets) and shown that Islam in the Qur’an is not the Islam we see in our narrations and narratives.
Islam is defined by the Qur’an in three stages:
1 – Firstly, to fully and with complete sincerity “turn towards” any idea or information using all of your faculties of sight, hearing, heart and intellect, and in such a manner examine it and test it.
2 – Secondly, to actually “submit” to what is correct from any idea(s) thus encountered.
3- Lastly, “correct (or good, appropriate) actions” that should follow from the previous two.
How does this definition come from the Qur’an?
Well, the word “Islam” appears ten times in the Qur’an juxtaposed to “turning away (التولي)”, for example in [3:20] “if they submit … but if they turn away/back …” and ideas and concepts can be clarified and defined through their opposites and the opposite of “turning away” is “turning towards” so Islam can be defined as “turning towards” or al-iqbaal ( الإقبال) in Arabic.
This part alone, which really means a sincere turning towards an idea or piece of information with complete honesty; researching it, characterizing it, and pondering and thinking about it, this part alone is a third of what Islam really is:
> “submitting” and then having
> “appropriate or good actions/deeds”.
That is Islam in the Qur’an.
And it is very highly unlikely, or rather impossible, that the Qur’an does not have a definition and clarification of Islam.
Of course, I have looked at the Hadiths, and that subject will inevitably come up, like the Hadith “Islam is built upon five… etc”. However, the current understanding of them did not concur with the verses of the Qur’an in this regards. Rather these five are really rituals and obligations BUILT ON TOP OF the Islam which is described in the Qur’an.
“Arrogance”, “Shunning” and “Hindering”.
So, Islam is juxtaposed to “turning away” approximately ten times in the Qur’an, therefore Islam is the opposite of turning away and the opposite of arrogantly avoiding, of shunning, of resisting, of diverting, preventing, hindering, repelling, being opposed to, against or disinclined, etc. But unfortunately these types of “arrogance”, “shunning” and “hindering” are more widespread right now among the Muslims than any other people!
1. Turn Fully to an Idea.
Other nations at least have this first part, this first stage, this first third, of Islam, more than many Muslims do.
They, for the most part, turn fully to an idea. They open it, dissect it, look into it and try to conceptualize it.
So from verse 3: 20 and others we learn that Islam is the opposite of “turning away”, and the opposite of turning away is “turning towards”, hence the first part, or first third, of Islam from the Qur’an can be described as “turning towards”.
Thus “turning (fully) towards (الإقبال)” is the first stage of true guidance.
It can be found in the humble, in the truly educated, but not in the arrogant sectarian fanatics. Rather they almost always turn away from everything and everyone else, even from their own brothers in Religion. The fanatic will turn away from his brother, avoid him, abandon him, neither greeting him nor talking to him. He becomes averse to others and alienates them.
Remind me to speak sometime on this subject of “nufoor (النفور)” (aversion, distaste, alienation, estrangement). It’s incredibly important.
The next (second) part of Islam is submission. If you encounter a true, sound or correct idea, or piece of information, you should not be too arrogant to not accept it. Nor should you try to obstruct or divert it.
Whether this be a religious idea or a scientific idea or an intellectual, humanist or spiritual idea.
And so for this reason Allah says “And he who brings the truth and as well as he who accepts the truth; those are the truly God-conscious ones!” [39:33]
i.e. that doing that is real piety (tawqa). True honesty is a branch of God-consciousness
So when you engage with or bring any information you should bring only truth, and when truth is presented to you, you should accept it. You make sure that you only say what you know is true and if what is true is shown to you, you confirm it and submit to it.
All of this enters under the umbrella of “submission” which is the second tri-part of Islam.
To restate, the first tri-part is a “sincere complete turning towards” any idea or information (to look into it and test it). If you look now at all of the arguments and debates (which are many) in the Muslim world you don’t see anyone really turning to and listening to the other sincerely. Everyone is arrogant and pleased in what he has, in his own views, “turning away” from the others and their views.
In them you find a large portion of one of the opposites of Islam: “turning away” and “shunning/opposing”, but there should first be a sincere “turn towards” something, only THEN should come submission or rejection.
Eg: Let us say you have “turned towards” your intellectual opponent completely sure that truth is on your side, but then during the discourse you realise that your opponent has some ideas or information that is closer to the truth than yours. You MUST put aside your inclinations and submit and accept those ideas. That’s the second tri-part of Islam.
To recap, for the first tri-part (turning towards) we have seen that Islam was juxtaposed with “turning away”, ten times. And with kufr (rejecting/covering up truth) approximately five times which give us the second tri-part “submission”.
3. Good & Righteous Deeds.
As for the last third, Islam has also been juxtaposed to a number of actions, such as disobedience to God, oppression, etc which we can group together and say their opposite is “good actions (العمل الصالح)”.
Meaning Islam is also the opposite of disobedience, oppression, etc … which are obedience to God, justice, etc.
There are eight actions, or characteristics of actions, that have been juxtaposed to Islam in the Qur’an. Their opposites are therefore another way to define Islam.
So if Islam has been juxtaposed to “Oppression” in the Qur’an, then “Justice” is a way to define Islam.
And if Islam has been juxtaposed to “Disobedience to God”, then “Obedience to God”, is another way to define Islam, etc, etc.
I have grouped them all together under the heading of “good or righteous deeds”.
Islam as taken from the Qur’an is in these three parts or stages.
Now, do those who say “Islam is the solution” include or even consider these three parts when they speak?
Do they consider it vitally important to “turn to” any idea fully and with complete sincerity before rejecting it? Wherever it comes from, Muslims or non-Muslims?
And then to accept and submit to part of it which is true and sound?
And lastly to have that acceptance and submission reflected in their actions and behaviour? And in their ideas, thoughts, depictions and conceptualizations?
No, these considerations are far from their minds!
Authoritarian / Sectarian Islam.
The Islam which is put forward now (by these groups) is either an “authoritarian” Islam, or a “political” Islam, or a “historical” Islam or a certain sect’s Islam (or school of thought) or an “oppositionist” Islam or a “jurist’s” Islam … the bottom line is that it will be a “man-made” Islam. That’s what all of these “Islams” have in common.
We can therefore say that there is the “Divine” Islam, which I have tried to explain in brief summary, with its three parts from the Qur’an.
And there is also a “man-made” Islam which is then, even further summarised, dwarfed and put forward into different archetypes.
Sometimes a historical archetype is put forward, for example the model of the Caliphate. Other times the Shari’ah Law’s penal code is put forward, like amputating a thief’s hand. But it’s always one archetype or another of the “man-made” Islam-dwarfs that is put forward.
And what exactly is it that helped create these different man-made “Islam-dwarfs”? It was the narrations and Hadiths themselves, and there being clothed with politics, sects and disputes! For example, there is a famous Hadith that I have researched thoroughly and published my findings in articles concerning “Hadith Islam”.
Islam in the Hadith.
Islam in the Hadiths isn’t always just five pillars. It’s sometimes given as five pillars, sometimes six, sometimes four, other times just one, and yet another time as three hundred and fifty, etc. Very stark differences and contradictions. And these Hadiths even have, in and of themselves, real problems.
The famous Hadith of ibn Umar about the five pillars, for instance, is actually really only a statement of ibn Umar himself not the Prophet (saw). That’s the correct position concerning it. Ibn Umar was asked “Why don’t you fight (in Jihad)?” so he replied: “Islam is built upon (only) five pillars: The testimony of faith, the Prayers, the Zakat Tax, Fasting Ramadan, and Pilgrimage to the House”
This was really only a statement and opinion of Ibn Umar (i.e. an “unattributed” Hadith). Then some of the later narrators attributed it to the Prophet himself. And that is actually part of a big recurring problem in the science of Hadith that almost none of the scholars of Hadith look into or give any attention.
What happened was that towards the beginning of the second Hijri century, more consideration and import started being given to attributed Hadiths over unattributed narrations by the scholars of Hadith. This was due to their dispute with the scholars of “independent reasoning” (Rai’y), a dispute that itself deserves another video to explain, which we might very well make because it explains how it is that the narrations in the first and earliest collections, such as the Muwwata’ of Imam Malik (d. 179 A.H.), and the Mussanaf of al-San’ani (d. 210 A.H.), the Mussanaf of ibn Shaybah (d. 235 A.H.), etc
How is it that the vast majority of Hadiths in their collections were unattributed, but later on the very same Hadiths are written as attributed to the Prophet in much later Hadith collections? Later collections such as Bukhari, Muslim and the four Sunan collections? How did that come about?
How did an unattributed Hadith which stops at Hassan al-Basri or Zayd ibn Thabit or an action of Ibn Umar or an opinion of Ibn Umar, such as this five pillars Hadith, how did such unattributed Hadiths suddenly change and become attributed to the Prophet (saw) himself?
The Dispute and the “Science” of Hadith.
There were several social and jurist-related factors that were involved. One of which was that the Hadith scholars’ disputes with the jurists of Independent Reasoning (“opinion”) led them to force unattributed narrations into Prophetic Hadiths in order to win the argument. Thus making it seem that their opponents were no longer opposing a mere saying of so-and-so or so-and-so but the very words of the Prophet himself. And that was, in point of fact, a very deceptive trick played out by the scholars of Hadith, which they placed into the very science of Hadith itself.
And it seems to me that this dispute is linked in someway to the very creation of the science of Hadith and its branches. Meaning that this dispute with the scholars of Independent Reasoning caused the scholars of Hadith to give up using unattributed narrations and decide to only use Prophetic Hadiths in order to stem and stop arguments by being able to say “The Prophet said …”
Hence the science of Hadith was born. In any case, the man-made “Islams” which we find amongst different Islamic groups and movements, such as the the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, and even also amongst the Shi’a, though I confess that I don’t know much at all about the Shia’s narrations and their Hadith science.
i.e. do they have weak and fraudulent narrations attributed to the Imams which have then led to “man-made” Islam entering amongst the true narrations of Ahl al-Bayt?
Or do they have the narrations of Ahl al-Bayt (the Prophet’s family) pure and untainted?As for us Sunnis, we have the example of the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood who have both attributed to the Prophet, due to them, following those who came before them, things that completely contradicted the Qur’an and the original Islam.
The Shari’ah Laws.
The Muslim conquests are an example of that, as is the confining (or summarizing) of Islam into the Shari’ah Law’s penal code at the expense of the very purpose and Aims of the Qur’an and the Shari’ah in their totality. Such as the Supreme Aims of Piety (Taqwah), Pondering (Fikr), Remembrance (Dhikr), Active Guidance (Rushd), Cognitive Guidance (Hidaya), Success (Falaah), etc.
All of these were overlooked and neglected, even the Aim of Mercy (Rahma) … Yet these are the Supreme Qur’anic Aims and Goals! Instead their focus is placed entirely on rituals and minor details, making them out to be the whole of Islam in their view. Islam thus becomes dwarfed and “summarised” into these things alone.
So if a Muslim ruler enforces amputating the thief’s hand, for example, then it’s as if (the glory of) Islam has been fully restored! And that is such weakness with regards to conceptualising and understanding the religion itself! So this “man-made” Islam, which is a result of previous “man-made” narrations has been used to support (as well as helped cause) weak intellectualism, tyrannical authoritarianism and sectarian disputes which then further created more narrations, dogmatic creedal beliefs (‘Aqeedahs) and Hadiths. These are then seen (by their supporters) as the ideals.
As for those who look towards the Historical Archetypal Islam in the form of the Caliphate, then they should understand that it wasn’t uniform. There were the first Four Caliphs, as well as the Umayyad Dynasty, the Abbasid Dynasty, the Ottomans, etc, and you can find every and any injustice and oppression that you want somewhere amongst them.
The Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs.
And if they say “No, no! What we mean is just the first four Rightly-Guided Caliphs”, Then amongst them also you will find that there were wrongs done, such as preferential treatment in the distribution of wealth, the monopolising of power within a few tribes and families, the exclusion of the Ansaar (Helpers) as well as many other things (injustices) that were done by the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, though of course not all of them.
There was great disparity in wages, for instance. Who would now accept that different tribes (or races or ethnic groups) should receive different wages? Yet this was something that Umar introduced. May God forgive him and show him Mercy. He introduced different wages between the Emigrants (Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Ansar) as well as between the tribe of Quraysh and others, etc.
If today in Saudi Arabia different teachers were given different salaries based on their tribes, e.g. the Utaibies get 6’000 SR, the Jaiyzanies get 1’500 SR. the Subai’ies get 5’000 SR, and if it’s someone from the descendants of Muhammad ibn Abdulwahab then he gets 12’000 SR.
Wouldn’t that cause a fitnah (trouble, tribulation)? and disputes? That is basically what Umar did in his time and it was wrong and unjust. This disparity in wages based on tribe.
Arising Issues under Umar Al-Khattab.
Wouldn’t that cause a fitnah (trouble, tribulation)? and disputes? That is basically what Umar did in his time and it was wrong and unjust. This disparity in wages based on tribe.
Professor ‘IzzulDin Musa, who was a Sudanese lecturer who used to teach us in King Saud University, was of the opinion that one of the causes of the first Great Sedition (Fitnah) in early Islam was this disparity in wages. That as people mixed and talked and saw what others were being paid, animosity grew. The point is that even the Caliphate of Umar is not a COMPLETE standard, model or gauge by which we can know true Islam, which is the true solution.
The real model should be the Qur’an firstly, together with what is absolutely established of the Prophet’s practice and implementation of the Qur’an. Needless to say, our current topic of discussion doesn’t give us room to explain what exactly came about as the result of the inclusion of the man-made political Islam into the Divine Islam, right after the Prophet’s death and the meeting in the Saqifah.
Issues such as what are the correct criteria for the rightful ruler? Who are those who can choose him? Who has the right to complete the Pledge of Allegiance (inauguration)? Who is, or should be, part of the Advisory Board (shura)? What is its position? None of that was clarified and other issues arose, such as:
- The exclusion of the Helpers (Ansar) from almost any political participation.
- The lack of moderation in the Islamic conquests and attacking those who never attacked us.
- The expanding militarism by immediately sending new converts to the frontiers to fight.
- The disparity in wages.
- The introduction of new penal codes and increase in punishments during Umar’s Caliphate, such as floggings for anyone who names himself with one of the names of the Prophets,
- or asks about the ambiguous verses of the Qur’an,
- or takes the kunya (title) of Abu ‘Isa (lit. father of Jesus) because Jesus never had a father, etc, etc.
Things such as these which are now more beloved by organisations like the Religious Police (in Saudi Arabia) than the gentleness of the Prophet. They feel more comfortable with using the whip of Umar than the mercy of the Prophet. For them, the whip of Umar is the model to be followed.
They say say “Umar used to go here, and go there” and “Umar hit this person and he hit that person, and he used to carry his whip always …” etc, Okay, but please listen. The Prophet (saw) never used to carry a whip!
May God bless him and his family!
So do you prefer the sternness of Umar over the gentleness of the Prophet (saw)? Yes, Umar has his immense virtues. He has his Jihad, his fiqh (knowledge) his being amongst the earlier Muslims etc. He had many great virtues. But that doesn’t make him a Prophet.
Don’t “overcrowd” the Prophets and their station by including amongst them others that should also be followed. Our religion, our history and our literature can seem very crowded, cluttered and congested. It’s as if we were overcrowded with Prophets even though we really have only one Prophet. May God bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad!
In conclusion, please understand that this answer I have given is in very broad general terms. Because from amongst the Muslims there have been rulers and scholars and jurists who have had and practiced this true Islam (of the Qur’an) even if they never perfected it.
Umar Ibn Abd Al-Aziz (Umar II – Umayyad)
It’s not necessary that one should have, to perfection, all of the virtues of Islam. Umar ibn Abdulaziz was exemplary in his equity when it came to monetary matters. You could look at him and say that the justice and equity that God wanted in this regard can be found almost to perfection. But in terms of knowledge he was a Jabarite, i.e. a determinist with regards to the question of human free will. Which was also the creed of the Umayyads.
He just was not a great scholar, he never produced any thought whether related to nature, the cosmos and the world at large, or to the intellect and spirit.
But in terms of his economic policies he really is an excellent role-model.
Imam Ali a.s
Imam Ali (as). In him you find an amazing Qur’anic example on all accounts, not just in his monetary equity. But also in his, for example, highlighting and drawing attention to the danger posed by Shaytan and his animosity, which we rarely hear about today. Instead we are constantly being warned about the danger of each other’s sects. Also his understanding of the Culture of Hypocrisy, and his pondering and reflecting on the cosmos and nature, and his understanding and confirming of God’s absolute transcendence, etc.
Finding Islam in Muslims Figures.
You also find that the great Sufis had immense qualities of spirituality and fear of God. As for great examples of meditating, thinking and reflecting on the cosmos and nature, then you will find that amongst the Muslim philosophers like ibn Sina (Avicenna), al-Farabi (Alpharabius), al-Kindi (Alkindus), ibn al-Nafis and others, as well as amongst the great Muslim physicians.
All of these luminary Muslim intellectuals, who really thought on their subjects, they all have a large portion of the Qur’anic Islam with regards to these sciences. It’s true that I don’t know if, for example, Ibn Sina used to honor orphans or feed the poor or not, but I do know of one area where he excelled (philosophy). The same is true for others.
So in this way you can find parts of the true Islam in different individuals across history. You find parts of it in some (but very few) rulers, in philosophers, in spiritual (Sufi) masters, etc. You can even find examples amongst the tyrannical and oppressive Umayyad and Abbasid rulers.
Al-Ma’mun for instance, in terms of his collecting and allowing philosophy to flourish and in his trying to collect humanities literature through his Dar al-Hikmah (House of Wisdom) institute, and in his promoting and sponsoring the translation of texts. In all of that he had a goodly portion of the “original” Islam, though of course he was an incredibly unjust tyrant and oppressor in other areas. These examples of “Islamic parts” found in individuals are, firstly, not to be taken lightly or ignored. They are important.
However, perhaps an example of complete Islam can be found in someone like Imam Ali (as). In him it is possible to find real Islam in it’s perfection with it’s twenty Supreme Aims i.e. in his imbibing and embodying the concepts of Testing, Intellect, Pondering, Active Guidance, Piety (Taqwah), Honesty, Justice, etc. All of the Supreme Aims mentioned in the Qur’an after the words “so that” (لعلهم) were, perhaps, fully embodied by him. That does not mean I believe he was infallible, as some of our Shi’a brothers would like me to say. Infallibility (both for the Prophets and others) is another subject.
My point is you can find in him as well as in others, whether they be from the family of the Prophet or not, a complete or overall example of Islam. But when I see the mastery of ibn Sina in a certain field, or the accomplishments of the Brethren of Purity (a secret society of Muslim philosophers), or al-Farabi, and all of that despite the little (or even distorted) knowledge that reached them, then I have to concede that they had some real Islam.
In a similar way Umar ibn Abdulaziz was truly just and equitable, particularly in monetary matters, and that despite his Umayyad background and upbringing. So we can seek out and learn from all of these examples of true Islam.
It’s not really necessary that we find (Qur’anic) Islam, described explicitly in the world today as I have explained here, because the Qur’anic definition is a true, comprehensive, overriding conceptualisation of Islam which will continue, and will always be found somewhere, i.e. that Islam is firstly “turning towards” (الإقبال) and then “submission” (التسليم) and then “good deeds” (العملالصالح).
Islam is overflowing with these three concepts.
It’s not necessary to promote and protect this threefold explanation that I have presented. Some people may not like this explanation. They will straight away ask “has anyone said this before you?”
Which, by the way, is another real problem that Muslims have. That if there is no historical precedent and if none of the earlier Muslims have said something similar, then we are quick to reject any concept and consider it to be problematic or flawed.
On the contrary! You have the Qur’an and it speaks to you. And on the Day of Judgment it is the Qur’an that you will be questioned about [23:105] “Were not My communications recited to you?”
The question won’t be “Were not the practices and opinions of your (previous) leaders and righteous ones recited to you?”Rather, the question will be “Were not My communications (signs, verses) recited to you?”
Comment: By this definition, we can easily witness that Islam had flourished in Western countries as revealed by the Islamicity Index. We can see how western countries consistently turning towards a certain new ideas, such as public policies, environmental issues, or technological progress. All these ideas or ideologies were tested, scrutinized and changed from time to time towards betterment and for the benefit of humanity. Muslim countries on the other hand, are struggling to adapt to the progress in the 21st century, often backtracking and glued to the archaic non-quranic ideologies from the old era.