Why has Islam continued to be so successful in the modern world?
Praise be to Allaah.
Islam continues to be successful in the developed world, and elsewhere, because its call is in accordance with the fitrah or natural inclinations of mankind, and it advocates the best of human values, such as tolerance, love, mercy, truthfulness and sincerity.
Islam educates people and lifts them up to righteous conduct, good manners and virtue. Its call is distinguished from others by its realism, balance and moderation. Islam pays due attention to both the soul and the body. It neither suppresses physical desires nor allows extravagance in this regard; it makes a distinction between the natural inclination to enjoy the pleasures of this world and forbidden desires that come under the heading of depravity and perversion.
People embrace Islam because they find security, comfort and peace in it, they see a cure for their problems in it, and through it they are able to get rid of their feelings of confusion, anxiety and loss.
Islam is the religion of the fitrah, the natural inclination or pattern on which Allaah has created mankind. For this reason, people of sound minds and upright inclinations embrace Islam, as Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘There is no child who is not born in a state of fitrah (i.e., Islam), then his parents make him into a Jew, a Christian or a Magian (Zoroastrian), just as animals produce whole animals (i.e., the animals are born perfect with no part of their bodies missing). Do you find any born with their ears cut off?’” Then Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “ ‘… Allaah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allaah: that is the Standard Religion…’ [al-Room 30:30 – interpretation of the meaning – Yusuf Ali’s translation].” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1359). What is meant is that Allaah has created mankind with the potential to learn the truth, accept Tawheed (pure monotheism) and submit to Allaah. Their natural inclination is to learn Islam and love it, but a bad education, a disbelieving environment, their own whims and desires and the devils among jinn and mankind turn them away from the truth. Mankind is basically inclined towards Tawheed (pure monotheism), as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) reported that his Lord (Allaah) said: “I created all my slaves as ‘hunafa’ (pure monetheists), but the devils turned them away from their religion.” (Reported by Muslim). For this reason the one who becomes a Muslim after having been a disbeliever is described as having “reverted” to Islam, as this is more correct than saying that he “converted.” When Islam enters a country where there is no nationalism or great legacy of jaahiliyah (ignorance), it spreads quickly because of its strength and the small number of obstacles. You may also see that Islam is suitable for all people, educated and uneducated, male and female, old and young; everyone finds in it what he wants and needs. Those who become Muslim in developed countries realize what their country’s civilization and laws, which have been fabricated from men’s whims and desires, have done to them, and they realize the extent of the misery in which people in developed countries are living. They see how prevalent psychological illnesses, nervous breakdowns, insanity and suicides are, despite the technological advances and great number of discoveries and inventions and modern systems of management. This is because all of that is concerned only with the physical and the outward, but it neglects the inward and fails to nourish and nurture the heart and soul. Allaah says of these people (interpretation of the meaning): “They know only the outside appearance of the life of the world, and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” [al-Room 30:7]
Islam will continue to succeed, with the permission of Allaah, so long as those who work for its sake are sincere and its followers adhere to it and believe in it, and apply its laws.
The fact that there are those who are not committed or who fall short will not prevent Islam from succeeding, with the permission of Allaah, and nothing can distort its beauty. Its light will not falter because some people abandon it or fail to adhere to it. What Islam has given humanity in the way of progress and civilization, and lifting them up from the darkness of oppression and enmity, is pride enough.