Can Islam Change?
recently seen an attempt, by Muslim hard-line clerics in
We see this
in our own society, where because of major changes in the make up of our
population, in the way various groups of people think, and the changed
circumstance of modern life, serious conflict erupts as to how the Constitution
Now if this is a problem with a tradition that took form only two-hundred years ago, can we expect it will be any less a problem with a religion that took form was formed thirteen -hundred years ago? One would hardly think so.
Yet if we go back another thousand to two-thousand years before that, to the millennium during which the Hebrew scriptures were written, we find that major changes did take place, not just in the Jewish people and in the way they lived their lives, but even in the way they understood their religion. In fact, at the end of that period, approximately two-thousand years ago, so radical was the change that what amounts to two almost entirely new religions emerged. One which might be called the "conservative" reaction is what we now think of as "Judaism". The other, a much more liberal movement, was the beginning of what we now call "Christianity". And, as we well know, there has been an on-going struggle between those who keep trying to change things and those who want to keep things always the same within both these descendants from the ancient Hebrew religion.
Now we see a similar struggle going on within the third descendent of this ancient Hebrew faith, which is, in fact, Islam. However, many today seem to think that Islam, unlike Judaism and Christianity, can never change or adjust itself to modern life. They point out that Judaism and Christianity both have "constitutions" (their Holy Scriptures) made up of many books compiled by different writers expressing various interpretations of God's ways and God's will. Instead, Muslims have largely rejected their own historical religious roots claiming that both Jews and Christians got it wrong and substituted a single book, The Koran (Quran), which they believe was dictated directly by God and in fact involved no human "author".
Of course, if
this were really true, then there seems there can be hardly any room for varied
interpretations. But in fact, it never works out quite that way, even within
Islam. What happened recently in
File:Change.doc (626 words) 06-04-01.html