Islam is a way of life; an all-embodying system of civilization with a system of law derived from the Qur’an, the Sunnah and ijtihÉd. Islam does not distinguish between the “sacred” and the “secular” and looks at man as an irreconcilable duality of spirit and matter. In Islam, God and the universe, spirit and matter, church and state, are organic to each other. As Muhammad Iqbal puts it: “to Islam matter is spirit, realizing itself in space and time”. Islam stands for unity of faith and reason and for unity of worship and work and pleasure. Those believing in Islam are called Muslims.
Muslims in contemporary times have been seeking to establish states capable of using modern means of life without, however, side-lining their cultural identity. The problem was to formulate patterns of modernization suitable for their respective nation building. They were required to learn from the industrialized and secularized countries in the West, such as Europe and the United States. The West has been “kind” and encouraged borrowing their culture and way of life. They took it for granted that Muslims, on securing independence, seek to establish a way of life similar to their own. Those objecting to be “Westernized” were accused of blasphemy or fundamentalism. To the West, Muslim societies desiring to modernize have no other way than to follow into the footsteps of the West, which may even require the negation of their “out-dated” cultures. The West proclaimed a mission to civilize the rest of the world through modernization which involves a separation between religion and the public sphere.
Modernization, Westernization and secularisation were thus blended and presented to the Muslim world. Modernization is a process whereby the organization of both the economy and society has been progressively rationalized. In a fully rationalized economy, impersonal calculation of profit and loss would eliminate all ethical and religious considerations. Religious and social values must follow the dictates of the economic values. The West has separated the temporal and spiritual worlds from each other. Reformations throughout the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries in Europe paved the way for the rise of humanism, and a modern understanding of the world that is distinctively secular. Secularism refers to the confining of religiosity to the private domain of life. It did not entail the end of religion but of keeping religion in the private sphere of human beings.