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The Myth Of Modernity

Each successive generation inherits the practices, traditions and beliefs of its predecessors. It continues to adhere to those concepts which provide its identity, whilst expanding upon knowledge and building upon past achievements. In every sense, a new age is regarded as "modern"

The question that necessarily arises is: how does one define or describe modernity? Is it modern to proclaim the supremacy of one particular idea - secularism, capitalism, communism, liberalism, and so on, - over all others? Is modernity associated exclusively with technological progress, sophisticated weapons, scientific advances, and material well-being? Is this how humans view current civilization?

The world has before it a model of modernity - The West. Other countries aspire to emulate their Western counterparts. Success is measured according to power and wealth, and the West has both in abundance. Some may question how such power and affluence were attained, and what methods are employed to maintain that position of dominance, but these questions are deemed to be irrelevant and unworthy, even reactionary.

The Western world is exceedingly modern - the definition of which it invented and applied to itself. Upon closer examination, however, it would seem that the portrait of enlightened civilization is not quite so pretty. People live longer, consuming and presuming more. New illnesses and diseases correspond to new patterns of thought, modes of lifestyle which are exclusively designed for the relentless pursuit of material comfort. Stressed, pressured and distressed - peace is certainly not a commodity that can be haggled over on the stock exchange, or purchased at the nearby supermarket.

Whilst systems of government in the West ensure a plentiful supply of earthly elements to their ever demanding masses, vast regions of the world remain in wretched states, wherein human lives are reduced to the bare minimum. A vivid contrast indeed. Wars are fought for control of the world's resources, and yet people still die through lack of food and water.

Tall, broad structures, fast, speedy means of travel and communications, great stores of information in the tiniest of places, would seem to suggest that modernity has arrived with a bang. In fact, the condition of humankind remains as dire as ever. These appear to be the Dark Ages, where everything - from knowledge and truth to compassion and love - are reduced to market goods, commodities with artificial value and no real worth. History repeats itself with the passing of time, because human beings are extremely repetitive. Thus, it may seem, superficially at least, that everything has changed and is shiny, new and modern, but in reality, nothing has nor will ever change. Modernity is but a myth.

Surah 13 Ar-Ra'd, Verse 11
..Verily, Allah does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves; and when Allah wills people to suffer (in consequence of their own evil deeds) there is none who could avert it: for they have none who could protect them from HIM.

Surah 30 Ar-Rum, Verse 41
(Since they have become oblivious of Allah) corruption has appeared on land and in the sea as an outcome of what men's hands have wrought: and so HE will let them taste (the evil of) some of their doings, so that they might return (to the right path)

Surah 41 Al-Fussilat, Verse 53
In time WE will show them Our Messages (through what they percieve) in the utmost horizons (of the universe) and within themselves, so that it will become clear to them that this (Revelation) is indeed the Truth. Is it not enough (for them to know) that your Sustainer is Witness to everything?

Allahu 'Alam

Translations from:
The Message Of The Qur'an, by Muhammad Asad.

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