Society: Western society and the Eastern society

Q608 :Is it correct to say that while Western society is bad in all respects, the Eastern society is good in every respect? If a person does in Western style something that is not prohibited in Islam, will his action constitute a sin?


A608 : It is not right to describe everything in Western society as bad and everything in Eastern society as good. What we can properly say is that in a proper Islamic society, things are all good, as long as they conform to Islamic teachings. That is due to the fact that Islam is the system designed by Allah for human life and Allah has included in it all good things. In Eastern societies today, however, there are many traditions which are either borrowed from other communities or developed in isolation from the Islamic system. These must be judged objectively. We cannot say that they are all good. Besides, there are times when an Eastern community loses touch with the true Islamic system. It begins to drift away, either because of ignorance or because of different trends of influence. I will give an example. A century ago, education was totally neglected in many parts of the Muslim world, to the extent that you could hardly find anyone who could read and write in a whole village. The situation in cities was not much better. Could we say that at that time, illiteracy was good because it was a characteristic of Eastern society? On the other hand, there are certainly good elements in Western civilization. Let us take the example of respecting the dignity and the rights of every individual. In many Western societies, every individual can get his or her rights without the need to fork out large sums of money in the form of fees to lawyer. You do not need a lawyer to get what the law assigns to you. This is certainly a good thing which cannot be denied. The Prophet was once asked who were the best people. When he established what his questioners meant by their question, he answered: "The best of people in pre-Islamic days are the best of them in Islam, provided that they acquire good knowledge of their faith." In the Prophet's reply, we note that he described some people as good and that these make up the best of people when they embrace Islam, provided that they get to understand it well.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )