Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Islam Today | Al-Risala August, 1987
The marked zeal and fervour which was found in the early pioneering Muslims is sadly absent in the present generation. How is this difference of attitude to be explained? It can perhaps be attributed to the fact that Islam was, to the pioneering Muslims, a discovery – a new reality. For modern Muslims, Islam is, on the contrary, an imitative faith which has been handed down to them as a moral legacy by their forebearers; it is not something for which they have toiled; it is not something they have discovered as a new and superior reality.
The experience of fresh enlightenment has a revitalizing effect upon a man’s life, for it awakens in him to the highest degree aptitudes for thought and action which had hitherto lain dormant. The man who finds nothing new in life is like a sleepwalker, going through the motions of everyday existence like an automation. But the man who finds something new and of moral value in life is like one who has awakened from his slumber, moving from a state of mental inertia to that of the most acute cerebral activity.
Modern research tends to corroborate this thesis, one of the aims of this particular field of study having been to pinpoint the factor which prompted some people to greater activity than others. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1984): “Psychological experiments in the fields of motivation and learning have disclosed the power of novelty as an inducement to action.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, III/227)
Evidently the only way to awaken a living faith in the Muslims of today, is to make his faith a great discovery for him once again.