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Islam and modernity

August 27, 2009


And the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told Muslims to "seek knowledge, even if it be in China."  (Meaning 'seek knowledge wherever it may be found.').1

Iran's first national experiment with modernity was the constitutional revolution of 1906. The Iranian experimentations of the past one hundred years symbolize the deep divide between the two paradigms of modernity and the traditions of the distant past. In the intervening years, Iran was the only nation in history that underwent a religious revolution as yet another experiment with modernity. Above all, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 was a costly experiment in embracing the distant past and in the total denial of progress and modernity.2

Religion is also considered as a basic foundation of humanity. It is the framework and the structure of what kind of person and individual is. But with the revolving issues concerns with the religion, the religion must also be separated from the other’s entity.

Iranian Ideas on Islamic Science

It is important in the case of the Muslim to obey the teaching which regards the religion. Religion plays a vital role in the Muslim thus, every hour of the day they have to face the direction of Mecca and pray to Allah, wholeheartedly. An issue that seems sounds absurd but can happen. A new Muslim astronaut is going to fly outer space and yet the question is how can he hold the prayer position in zero gravity? At this point, many observations can be notice, like why do the Muslims let their land being stuck in the past.

            It can be barely notice that there is less contribution of the Muslims in terms of science. Although many Islamic have to catch up the developed science and technology-oriented work, still they must double their effort. The need for science and medicine is really appreciated in the areas that need medical assistance, most likely in hospitals in depressed places and military infantry. 

            Much more, the impact left by the Western cultures should serve as an inspiration in the Muslim Science. Definitely, there are many arts that originated in the Muslim cultures and inherited from their forefathers. Even the Western scholars are got hooked and fascinated in the alchemy and astrology that they adopted from the Islamic countries.

            Still the Islamic thrust in terms of science have to emphasize how such ancient and medieval ways of thinking about nature are different than what we understand as modern science.

Iranian Ideas on Islamic Politics

            Through the influence of an Iranian religious intellectual, many studies are created with regards to the religion and politics. The political thought that came have deliberately points out the following:

• No understanding of Islam is ever complete or final.

• No religious government should rule on the basis of an official Islamic political ideology.

• Human rights are the fundamental political criterion, and democracy is the only form of government that can both protect human rights and preserve a proper role for religion in politics.

• Institutional links between the clerical establishment and the government in religious states must be severed, in order to protect the integrity of religion and clerics alike.

• Iranian and Western cultures are not mutually opposed, but require continuous dialogue and constructive interaction.

            According to the thinker , who is controversial for two reasons: he argues for a clear distinction between clerical and religious power; and he champions democracy, human rights, and interaction with the West. There should be a clearing in the religion and politics, although we can’t really blind our eyes that there is a great influence and strong link between the politics and religion. Even in non-Islamic countries, the evidence is very visible.

Iranian Ideas on Islamic Modernity

Controversies between Iranian intellectuals about the destiny of Iranian intellectual history play a big part in Iranian life as nationalism and religion.

            Many mixtures of issues took an urge to call for a modernity of intellectual heritage. The Iranian modernity ideas points out two concepts. The first point is that critical reflection is the rupture of a closure and the shaking of received truths, including and especially intellectual ones. The second point is that the Iranian intellectual heritage that we inherit today represents itself to us as a closure which could and should be broken, not for the mere pleasure of doing so, but because such is the exigency with which we are confronted by our own activity of critical thinking.

The young Iranian intellectuals today sense themselves to be living at the end of something -- if not at the end of history, then certainly at the end of a history, more precisely an intellectual history that has defined their intellectual and political heritage for more than 150 years. Telling that, it is time for us to sink to the bottom of our misery to understand our truth.


            The need for improvement in many areas is purposely intended to catch up in the approach of new generation. Although there are certain areas that need improvement and apparently, the religion is a part of every structural concept of the science and politics. It somehow confusing that the religion is somewhat interfering the territory that is not entirely belong to his nest. Thus this study doesn’t not contradict the culture of the Muslim when it comes with dealing with their religion, but only come up with a suggestion for modernity.

            The intellectual ideas and approach to the concept of religion is not entirely faced on one side, but focuses on the possibilities that there should not have been any other areas of concentration. If the approach could be in the way of enhancing the science and medicine, then the focus should be in the development and innovating. When in the terms of politics, it is better if the power of the religion will set aside, since all the politics only needs a through advice from the spiritual guru.

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