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The Threat of Modernization vs. Islam’s Moderation

One of the most detrimental effects of modernization is its unprecedented threat on our daily lives; Secularism, modern technology, excessive consumerism, urbanization, etc. have all had their toll on us.

We live in a world with no boundaries, barely giving you any room for choice or control over your life.

It has unfortunately become the norm for many Muslims too, to accept modernization without questioning if it is all in all in accordance with Islamic teachings. However, should we really not question any of this?

As Muslims, how can we deal with these challenges in a way that they don’t harm our faith or spirituality?

How can we strongly face the tide?

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The Threat of Secularism

Although it is no person’s right to force another into any religion, unfortunately secularism is not only the business of its followers as in a global technology ideas propagate with the speed of sound.

We are living in times, where in most areas, religion is scorned upon and seen as “the opium of the people”; a medium for the weak and poor and the ones less privileged ‘mentally’ to hold onto.

Morals have become an old fashioned connotation, replaced by unlimited freedoms that do not respect others’ beliefs, even if they strongly go against them. Islam goes against this, your freedom stops when you harm others.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“All of my Ummah will be fine except for those who commit sin openly (Al-Mujahiroon). Part of committing sin openly is when a man does something at night and Allah conceals it, but in the morning he says, ‘o so-and-so, last night I did such and such.’ His Lord had covered his sin all night, but in the morning he removed the cover of Allah.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim, 241)

The Threat of New Technology

Modern lifestyles are so stressful with the various tools of social media and the constant pressure to own the latest gadgets. We should be careful not to give in to this, as it not only harms our body but moreover destroys our peace of mind. Keep in mind that it is as vital too, not to take a part of something that goes against Islamic morals. This is not a call to boycott modern devices; rather it is only a plea to not let them control you; Islam calls for moderation; which is always the best.

We have become so engrossed in the virtual modern technology that it has unfortunately had its toll on our real lives; in improving our spirituality and relationship with our family.

Set your gadgets aside for a set time every day and turn to your Lord with a clear mind and enjoy some uplifting Islamic acts of worship such as Prayers, supplications, reading Quran, etc.

Ease the mind and body of its stress and sorrows and bring by a spiritual strength through drawing yourself closer to Allah.

Set your gadgets aside for a set time every day and spend real time with your family.

The Threat of Excessive Consumerism

Modernization has bombarded us with the need of excessive consumerism, but do we really need all this stuff that we are made to believe is a necessity?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever wakes up safely in his home and is healthy in his body and has provisions for his day, would have acquired all the worldly possessions he is in need of.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Subhan Allah, all what a person needs is actually “provisions for his day” to “have acquired all the worldly possessions he is in need of.”

The threats of excessive consumerism are summarized in the article “Why Overcoming Consumerism”:

“Consumerism interferes with the workings of society by replacing the normal common-sense desire for an adequate supply of life’s necessities, community life, a stable family and healthy relationships with an artificial ongoing and insatiable quest for things and the money to buy them with little regard for the true utility of what is bought.  

An intended consequence of this, promoted by those who profit from consumerism, is to accelerate the discarding of the old, either because of lack of durability or a change in fashion.

Landfills swell with cheap discarded products that fail early and cannot be repaired. Products are made psychologically obsolete long before they actually wear out. A generation is growing up without knowing what quality goods are. Friendship, family ties and personal autonomy are only promoted as a vehicle for gift giving and the rationale for the selection of communication services and personal acquisition. Everything becomes mediated through the spending of money on goods and services. Human beings who cannot spend become worthless.”

The Threat of Urbanization

One of the major characteristics of modernization is the shift of dwelling from rural to urban areas. Certainly, development is vital, however the price paid is drastic.

Alarming rates of pollution, both in the form of air, water, noise and light with 24/7 access to electricity resulting mainly in a disruption of the natural sleep cycle of the body; decreased access to sunlight, fresh air and produce; has led to more diseases, both physically and psychologically.

Islam calls for development, but without harming humans or the environment. However modernized development has gone out of control because it shifted away from moderation. Why not create a combination of rural and urban life? Do we really need all these factories, food produces, leisure facilities, etc.? Have they really made us happier?

Allah Almighty says in His Holy Book:

{Nay (behold), you prefer the life of this world; but the Hereafter is better and more enduring.} (87:16-7)

About Suzana Nabil Saad, MA
Suzana Nabil Saad is the former Ask About Islam Editor. She has many years of experience in dawah work.She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the Faculty of Languages, Ain Shams University, Egypt. She obtained her Master’s Degree of Arts in English Literature from Gothenburg University, Sweden.She currently resides in Texas, USA with her husband, and three kids. When she is not editing or writing, she enjoys reading, ideally followed by nature excursions.