fundamentalist, extremist, moderate, or liberal Islam are meaningless when
viewed from the point of view of a person who is trying to understand and follow
the message of God sincerely. However, it is a fact that the same message of God
Almighty can be interpreted and understood differently by different people.
Their interpretations differ because human beings have their limitations. We
cannot know perfectly everything that is in the Qur’an and Sunnah. One of the
trials we are going through in this life is the trial of knowledge. We are
expected to always be open to the truth wherever it comes from. No one person or
a group of people can claim to know the whole truth about Islam, after the last
of the prophets, Muhammad (sws) left this world. It is the Qur’an brought by him
and the Sunnah which he has meticulously arranged to leave behind for the Muslim
ummah to follow, that forms the basic foundation of all Islamic learning.
However, learning from these basic sources is an ongoing process and that’s how
it should remain for all students of Islam. The one who claims that he has
learnt the final word about everything in religion is hopelessly ignorant.
If a person is an extremist or a
moderate in the sense that he has already formed his opinions about Islam from
an outside source (family traditions, scholars, or others) and is not prepared
to change them despite knowing clearly that the true message of Islam is
different from his views, he has certainly deviated from the right path. The one
who despite trying his best to learn the truth finds himself an extremist or a
moderate is not to be blamed for his views.