The Third Reason Behind Islam's Quick Spread Round the World

Islam's history from the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) until now has witnessed many challenges that were overcome through the flexible and rational set of rules offered by Allah. The way Islam deals with the requirements of each era and how its principles and rules can be applied to new cases are among the reasons for the quick spread of Islam during ages, which are addressed in this part of the topic. 


Time and evolution in Islam's History


Islam's history, changes over time, Salam Islam


Islam is basically sensitive to the evolutions and the requirements of each epoch. This is not the case for many religions and sects, especially those founded by humans. Imam Ali (AS) has advised: “not to impose the customs and traditions of your time on your children because they belong to a different era from yours” [1].


Unlike other creatures of the world such as animals, plants and inanimate objects, humans have memory, tradition, and history; animals might have memory, but not tradition nor history. This makes it possible for humans to compare different periods of their life and form the concept of progression and retrogression; which is not the case for animals and plants.


And, that is the reason why the specifications and the requirements of each time become meaningful; e.g., old vs. new, classic vs. modern, etc. This makes one pause once in a while to ask him\herself: am I going forward or actually taking a step back? And undoubtedly, getting advanced would be the most pleasant reflection that one can have. But, how can one be on an ever progressive path? 

Life framework Should be Based on Wisdom


For self-development, one needs a set of values, disciplines, and rules with the help of which he\she can define a structure for his\her life that will consequently guarantee his/her success and advancement over time. This also applies to social development.


On the other hand, every human being is not able, nor has time, to contemplate every detail and strategy about life and to establish his\her framework. Hence, one usually relies on the teachings and instructions of a specific sect, religion or ideology. But, how is it possible? How can one select the best framework and then adjust it according to the specifications of each era such that it can apply to every period? That is possible with the help of wisdom. 

More Rational, Closer to human Wisdom and More Acceptable


Among various ideologies and religions known in the course of time, those who are more rational can be adapted better to the requirements of each period and are consequently more understandable and acceptable by humans. Such a religion or ideology provides the principles and rulings which can be perceived by the human’s wisdom and from which humans can conclude and extract the guidelines and codes that are exclusive to each era.  


Islam, a wisdom-based religion


Salam Islam, Islam's history, wisdom in Quran


Among different religions, Islam is really the only one that is rational and is based on wisdom; So are the divine guidelines. Every good act and deed ordered to is rationally and truely useful in nature, not because it is a divine order. And something known devilish in Islam is intrinsically wrong; it is not wrong because God has told us so. In other words, it is not Islam who renders something good or bad, it rather provides the rational tools to identify what is wrong and what is right. That is the reason why Islam is more compatible with the specifications of each time, i.e., it provides the axioms and frameworks and leaves the rest to the human’s wisdom. This takes place through a process called Ijtihad

Ijtihad and Rational Solutions to the New Cases


Using Ijtihad, Islamic jurists (Faqih) derive the guidelines and regulations from the principles of the Quran, the narrations, and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Infallible Imams (AS). In this regard, Imam Sadiq (AS) said that the Infallible Imams had introduced the Islamic axioms and it is a duty over Muslims to deduce the details and rules [2].


This is the Islamic jurisprudence which is a unique characteristic that enables Islam to propose rational solutions, to respond to new issues and questions at each time. It also facilitates for human beings the application of the Islamic axioms to their activities and dealings. Otherwise, religion or ideology that is limited to the text, and has no solution to become updated in the course of time, will be a temporary time-dependent one that cannot survive through the time evolution. 


According to what has been mentioned above, Islam as a whole guide and roadmap is able to consider new situations, and issues raised at different periods and propose relevant solutions for them. Islam's history has shown it as a dynamic religion whose guidelines are not limited to the cases in a thousand years ago but meets the requirements of all time. Of course, it should be noted that being ever up to date does not mean to welcome every new change and circumstance; it rather means to derive the relevant Islamic orientation and ruling by considering the Islamic axioms.   



[1] Ibn Abi l-Hadid, “Comments on Nahj al Balaqa”, vol. 20, p. 267, T. 102.

[2] M. Al-Hili, "Al-Saraʼir Al-Hawi Li-Tahṛir Al-Fatawi", vol. 3, p. 575.