Globally, most cultures are open to several pluralistic and autonomous possibilities which are often experienced in the societies. Like other cultures around the world, futures of Islam are affected by numerous possibilities. The emphases of many scholars and scholars have been on shaping the tenets influencing the sustainability of future of Muslim societies. In this pursuit, some scholars have argued that Islamic religion, as a whole, is shortsighted in the sense that it has failed to create opportunities and space for exploration of alternative future paths. Muslims have had the tendency of being nostalgic in regard to glories of their background. As argued by some great thinkers, the religion has been fatalistic about some of its modern problems. Ziauddin Sardar is a 'critical polymath' and a scholar-adventurer who has been to all corners of the world while undertaking cultural analysis of Islamic religion (Lapidus, 2002).
Basing on Sardar thoughts, he strongly accented on diversity, dissenting and pluralistic perspectives relevant to Islamic religion. As suggested by other journalists, Sardar's Islamic analysis is surgically incisive. Thoughtfully, the thinker was not largely influenced by the correctness of academic thought throughout the course of his duties. His contributions to cultural analysis of futures of Islam range far and wide, but are particularly in Islamic futures, civilisation, postmodernism and identity.
For much too long, Muslim religion has persistently fallen back on age-old interpretations and perceptions. In the contemporary world, Muslims have experienced great pain as they have been uncomfortable with modernity despite reasoned struggle in the pursuit of reforms. Sardar is a stronger Muslim believer, however, he strongly criticize Islam. In reference to Islamic reforms in the contemporary societies, Sardar argues that Muslims are adversely affected by their tendency to be engraved in the ancient interpretations which are obsolete with the current and expected future happenings. In dissenting perspectives, the men-women relationship, the attitude towards women and the minority and the common notions of exclusivity ought to undergo fundamental transformations, and this can only be achieved by undertaking desired Islamic reforms.
In reference to his work, Reformist and Muslim Intellectuals, the scholar-adventurer argued that Islamic followers have been prone to cultural, physical and intellectual disbarment since they have constantly embraced parochialism and traditionalism in their family set ups. In order to avoid this extinction, Muslims are obliged to break free from these cultural mentalities. Lapidus (2002) affirmed that the sanctions posed by the post-colonial Islamic reforms have hampered the future of Muslims. Sardar consistently analyses the output of these reforms as revealed in his works: The Future of Muslim Civilisation and the Shape of Ideas to Come. According to him, Muslims would realize positive effects in the present day societies if they embrace creative thinking and eradicate ghetto mentality. By allowing these aspects to fossilize, their minds would roam free thus allowing creation of superior renaissance in ideas, attitudes and opinions. As such, new knowledge and technology would penetrate their societies (Lapidus, 2002).
Throughout his life as a scholar, Sardar enunciates numerous principles, notions and ideologies that form the core heart of the all Islamic societies around the world. In the pursuit of bright future, Sardar revealed the necessity of fossilizing and promoting plurality and diversity in the Islamic societies. He recognizes the need and the importance of embracing consenuiples sus in order to attain desired goals and objectives of life by engaging constructively with the all aspects of the modern world. Hoyland (2004) suggested that the idea of modernism has acquired added urgency in the Islamic societies as evident by various attempts to introduce positive reforms. Sardar asserts that serious attempts have been made by notable sages and intellectuals at Ijtihad. By looking around the Muslim world, Sardar suggested that these people have achieved pathological strain hence allowing proliferation of intellectual, social and cultural dynamics in the contemporary societies. Therefore, fairness, equality and humane values that are necessary in the era of modernism have been realized (Hoyland, 2004).
According to the Hoyland (2004), Muslims believed that the West, and particularly America, has been instrumental in the pursuit of modernity. They have been quick to blame Americans for hegemonic policies and tendencies that resulted in great deal of injustices. However, Sardar argues that Muslims ought to blame themselves for the problems affecting them in the postmodern era. He suggested that Muslims have adhered to sacred texts of Qur'an as frame of reference in daily undertakings. The context of Muslims sacred text as eluded by Prophet Muhammad has been completely frozen in history. As a matter of fact, a religion can only have positive interpretative relationship with sacred text if it is regarded eternal. The Muslim sacred text has lost its significant meaning, and this has great impacts on the future of the religion. Evidently, Muslims have persistently and strongly associate themselves with some of the ancient notions and historic interpretations. In effect, these have constantly dragged them back to history, an issue which has no direct relevance to the lives of Muslims in the modern days. Fresh thinking has been impossible. Notably, the western notions and representations believed to have been projecting on their collective personality by demonizing them for several years have been internalized (Hoyland, 2004).
Most Muslims considers Shari'ah as the divine law. Critically, the bulk of this law consists of jurisprudence or legal opinion governing the classical jurists. This law was formulated when the world was very simple i.e. could only be divided into blacks and white. As frame of law, Shari'ah could not be modified since the makers were incapable of noticing where the faults lay. As such, they did not value the aspect of fresh thinking and reformulation as necessitated by the changes occurring in the society. The jurisprudence has only evolved because of division arising between the framers and the governors of the law as noted in the 'golden' phase of Islamic religion. The makers of Shari'ah law described it divine thus imposing great deal of sanctions that were applicable only to by-gone jurisprudence. In the realm world, the imposition of Shari'ah contradicted with demands of the Muslim people in most countries of the world. This has resulted in medieval feel among the Muslim societies hence allowing ossification to set in. The law has been used by group of people with vested interest as a prerequisite to preserving territory, power and prestige. Muslims have shunned and labeled it outmoded body of law. By elevating the law to the divine level implies that Muslims have no agency hence they must follow it. Thus, Islamic followers are treated as passive receivers as opposed to being active seekers of truth (Nasr & Leaman, 2006).
Noticeably, Islam is an integrative worldview rather than being a mere religion. It offers numerous aspects of reality on human endeavor. According to Ehsan (2006), the religion does not offer ready-made solutions to problems but moral perspectives within which its followers must find solutions to the specified problems. However, the Shari'ah law means that everything is prior given. Thus, Islam religion is nothing but totalistic ideology. In most cases, as revealed by Islamic movements, Islam may become programme of action perpetuated by vested interested groups. In the event of this, the religion looses its humanity. This gives rise to misunderstandings and physical confrontations where morality and justice is compromised at alter of emotions. Evidently, totalistic ideology of Shari'ah law has transformed to totalistic order. This has resulted into modification of Islamic religion into a state-based political philosophy thus eroding moral and ethical content. Furthermore, this transformation debunks its history as un-Islamic. Perpetually, when Muslims attempt to rediscover the precious past, there are high possibility of disdaining the present and mocking the future (Ehsan, 2006).
In the fabric of world history, cultures and religions are intertwined and interconnected. Sardar believes that the future of Islam is influenced by the future of other monotheistic faiths such as Judaism and Christianity. Like Hans Kung. Sardar undoubtedly believes that the future of Muslim is greatly determined by the developments in other religions. In his monumental work, Sardar looks at the future of Islamic laws, principles and doctrines which shape the future of the Muslim politics, the dissenting potentials and possibilities of Muslim's economic order and the culture of Muslims in future. He asserts that the Islamic laws should undergo modification in order to meet the challenges posed by the ever changing demands and needs of human beings in the global world. Positive changes in the Islamic laws can only be realized through development of more advanced framework of human rights and responsibilities. Sardar forecast that politics surrounding Islamic religion will acquire secularity and that Islamic economics would evolve to form part of major economic system in the global market. Basically, modification of various systems and cultural facets would result in bridging of the disparity between Islam and the other Abrahamic faiths. In the face of deadly threats around the world, human being should rise up to demolish the walls of hatred and prejudice. This is a basic requirement for future survival of all religions (Ehsan, 2006).
In his book, The Future of Muslim Civilisation, Sardar asserts that the time within the Islamic cosmology pertain the future. Islamic followers are persistently preparing for the future both in this world and hereafter. On earth, they prepare the future as trustees of God and are responsible for maintaining integrity and good health for bright future generations. Their actions are based on the belief that full account of individual activities is due after death. Basing on glaring dichotomy of Islamic civilisation, Sardar agitated for alternative version of dynamism that would enable Muslim followers to become relevant in the ever changing environment. Islamic followers are future-oriented people; however, the future does not feature at all in the mind and thoughts of many. Sardar worked single-handedly t shape the present discourse of Islamic futures. In his book, The Future of Muslim Civilisation, Sardar argues that Islamic followers have had the tendency of relating present happenings with the past.
They believe that the present is useful in shaping their future. In an attempt to reconstruct its intellectual and cultural base in the verge of civilisation, Muslims employ a superior method. The notion of Islamic state and economic welfare characterizes critique of ideas posed by the great thinker. He argues that the future of Muslims around the world has already been colonized and influenced greatly by other monotheistic faiths. Larger nations such as United States of America and European countries have employed relevant forecasting and prediction studies in order to control and monitor progress of other countries which are commonly occupied by the Muslims. Advisably, Muslims should envisage alternative futures that arise from cultural transformations and civilisations in order to give room for various potentials and dissenting possibilities. In the course of his developments, Sardar came up with 'Islamic futures' as an important discipline of understanding the religion at present and in the future (Nasr & Leaman, 2006).
According to Sardar, Muslims ought to engage themselves with people of other faiths in the contemporary societies. They should pursue it both as a religion and a way of shaping the world they live in. As a religion, Islam is useful matrix and methodology for handling or solving human problems as they occur in the society. The religion forms an integral part in generating future choices, alternatives and dissenting possibilities for the Muslim people. In order to achieve brighter future, Muslims ought to regard themselves as important elements of world civilisation as opposed to common notion that they comprises set of fragmented societies and nation states around the world (Nasr & Leaman, 2006). By doing so, Muslims stands great chance of avoiding stagnation and marginalization in various aspects of human life.
The future of any faith or religion is influenced largely by plurality and diversity. Therefore, Muslims must embrace these aspects as their cornerstones. Like any other religion, the viable and desirable future of Islamic religion can be achieved through active involvement and participation of all members and communities in the religion's civilisation process. The members should consciously consult at various levels of the society in order to attain broad goals and objectives. Sardar also argues that members of Muslim communities must engage themselves positively and constructively with the other societies in various dimensions in order to shape desirable futures (Nasr & Leaman, 2006).
Sardar's dreams revolve around Muslim utopia i.e. future heaven on earth. According to the thinker, this heaven is open to all cultures and can only be achieved through necessary reforms. Islamic communities ought to take full responsibility of harnessing controlled explosions in order to facilitate immediate eradication of known premises of detritus without causing negative effects on the base of the House of Islam. This is necessary in order to create communities and societies that would attain some important Islamic principles, norms and values that form integral components of House of Islam both now and in the near future. Sardar strongly supports grand linear utopias in the pursuit of achieving desired reforms (Hoyland, 2004).
According to Zanella (2011), Sardar rightly noted that Islam should embrace participatory governance and social justice in order to move forward in the event of future civilisation. In order to succeed, the Islamic communities should build knowledge based societies that respect God. These societies should constantly create scientific and philosophical knowledge so as to condition of live both at individual level and humanity as a whole. Sardar's vision is intrinsically humanistic. Postmodernism, secularism and orientalism are some of the power tools which affect the attainment of the stated vision and any other things of value in the quest of new reforms (Zanella, 2011).
The word Him was another Sardar's tack, and he worked tirelessly to redefine it. He claimed that the definition of knowledge as postulated by the early scholars lacks clarity and is narrow in nature since it does not account for the thinker's degree. According to him, the word was designed purposely to safeguard sacred knowledge from being diluted by incompetent thinkers. According to Sardar, Imam Nawawi clarified the degrees of sacred knowledge. This includes sciences of materialism, philosophy and any happening that is directed towards creating doubt in eternal varieties (Zanella, 2011).
Sardar emphasizes the inefficacy and nay harm of foreign developments and reemergence of civilisations. In comparison with broad reformists, Sardar strongly stresses the primacy of the Islamic future, which is susceptible to colonisation by economic globalization (Zanella, 2011).
Throughout his career as a scholar, Sardar remained a critical polymath who consistently analysis the sustainability of Muslims in the emerging globalisation and civilisation. As revealed by the thinker, Islamic is an integrative worldview as opposed to being a simple religion. The future of the religion is greatly influenced by other faiths as they are intertwined and interconnected.