Claim : “In accordance with the modern age, improvements in our religion also should be done. Many superstitions, which does not have place in the religion, have been mixed with Islam later. It is necessary to clear them off and return our religion to its earliest true, pure state.”
Answer: It is obvious that for the recent two or three hundred years there has been a standstill, even a decline in Muslims. Seeing this decline, it is very unjust, very wrong to say that Islam also is on the decline. This decline happened because Muslims did not trust the religion and they have been slack in carrying out its commands. Unlike other religions, Islam has not been mixed with superstitions. Maybe the ignorant have wrong beliefs and words. Yet these do not change what is declared in the fundamental books of Islam. These books declare the sayings of Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) and the knowledge coming from his Sahâbîs. All of them were written by the most efficient, exalted scholars. They have been approved unanimously by all Islamic scholars. For centuries, no alteration has taken place in any of them. That the words, books and magazines of the ignorant are erroneous cannot be grounds for attributing defects or stains to these fundamental books of Islam.
To attempt to alter these basic books in accord with the fashion and situation in each century means to make up a new religion for each century. To attempt to rationalize such alterations with the paralogism that you are trying to adapt them to the Qur’an al-kerîm and Hadîth ash-sherîf shows that you are unaware of the Qur’ân al-kerîm and the Hadîth ash-sherîf, and it reflects a blatant misconception of Islam. To presume that the commands and prohibitions in Islam will change in accordance with the time means to disignore the reality of Islam. The Qur’ân al-kerîm says, “Muslims command the things that are ma’rûf.” Ziyâ Gökalb and similar ferocious reformers, who attacked the Qur’ân al-kerîm and Islam impudently, attempted to alter Islam according to customs and fashion by saying ‘convention and custom’ for the word ‘ma’rûf’, thus ingratiating themselves with their masonic masters and capturing posts. In order to get what was mundane, they sold their faith. Ziyâ Gökalb was given the membership of the Central Committee of the Union Party as a recompense for this service of his. If Islam, as he said, gave place to customs, even at its beginning, it would not have prohibited the bad customs of the ignorant Arabs and would have tolerated idolatry, which was the most valuable custom of that time and which had gone deep into the Ka’ba.
Islamic religion is built upon knowledge and is conformable to reason in every respect. On affairs declared inexplicitly in the Qur’ân al-kerîm and the Hadîth ash-sherîf, to pass new rules compatible with reason and knowledge, that is, to make qiyâs or ijtihâd, is one of the main sources of Islam. Yet this job devolves on a Muslim possessing the necessary knowledge. If the reformers, instead of meddling with the fundamental books, thought of annihilating superstitions which have become established among the ignorant, nothing would be said against them. They would be serving Islam. But, if we are supposed to believe that they bear such good thoughts, first they have to prove that they are real and sincere Muslims. A non-Muslim’s pretending to be Muslim and attempting to attack us with our own weapon is very unjust, shameful and disgraceful of him. The religion reformers should not only pretend or claim to be Muslims, but also prove to be Muslims. It is not permissible for a Muslim to feign irreligiousness, unless there is the fear of death. As for the irreligious reformers, does ‘irreligiousness’ mean ‘hypocrisy, mendacity’ so that they pretend to be Muslims when it suits their purpose? It is not permissible to question a person who says, “I am a Muslim,” and we have to know him as our brother-in-Islam; but he should not play tricks with our faith. If we see him speak ill of and belittle the fundamental teachings of our religion, it will be not only permissible but also necessary to question him and to call him to account. We do not force the reformers to adapt themselves to our religion or madhhab but only want them to say frankly whether they are Muslims or not and their deeds to be in agreement with their words, for Islam has certain and unchangeable rules and Muslims have to talk in comformity with these rules. While some people who say that they are Muslims do not regard it a guilt that they dissent from Islam by holding the basic teachings of Islam of no account and making fun of them, they become angry when they are told that they have dissented from Islam. They mean that Islam should be attacked and the attacker should not be told that he attacks Islam and becomes a disbeliever; it should be free to attack Islam, and those who do so should not be told anything! They insult those who refute them in such terms as “retrogressive” or “fanatic”, which have been made up by communists. And about those who, like themselves, attack the religion, they say “modern, enlightened.” The truth is that they themselves are fanatics. Those who pretend to be men of religion are the bigots of religion and those who attack Islam as scientists are the bigots of science.
Alteration in the basic teachings and books of Islam and to adapt them to the present time means the defilement of Islam. A Muslim is a person who believes and reveres these basic teachings and who has promised not to attempt to alter them. And ‘democracy, freedom and secularism’ do not come to mean ‘not keeping one’s word or giving up one’s belief’. Islam does not command that the non-Muslim compatriots should be forced to be Muslims. Is there a democracy more egalitarian than this?
The bigots of science, the one group of our insidious enemies, accepting all the customs, fashions and immoral, exploiting, crushing movements in Europe and America, try to spread them among youngsters. As for Islam, they never mention it as if it were a guilt that should be covered, or they regard it heavy and horrible as if it were a crushing burden. On the other hand, some others say that religion is necessary for possessing a sound society and unity and it should be adapted to the present time and Islam should be cleared of superstitions. However, there is no superstition in the books of the Ahl as-Sunna scholars. There are superstitions amongst the ignorant of Islam. And for clearing these off, it is necessary to disseminate the Ahl as-Sunna books and teach them to the youth. When the reforms these bigots want in Islam seem harmful to the basic teachings of Islam, we should rebut them showing proofs among âyats and hadîths and say, “You have no right to make alterations in Muslims’ religion as if it were your own possession.” The bigots in religion want to blemish the great Muslim scholars and replace them. They tread on the basic teachings of Islam and on the Muslim scholars who collected them and spread them all over the world.