Can we call Islam a progressive religion?
Can we call Islam, a “progressive” religion? How come or why not?
It all depends on what you mean by progressiveness.
If by progressiveness you mean an attitude of being prepared to accept the truth wherever it comes from, then Islam is indeed the most progressive ideology. The Quran tells us that the Almighty asked the prophet, alaihissalaam, to tell the addressees to bring evidences for the claims they were making, and it tells him that in case they do bring convincing evidences, the prophet should accept them. However, if they were not willing to bring forth evidences to support their claims and were not prepared to accept the truth simply because they loved their own ideology for no rational reason, then they ought to be condemned for their attitude.
For instance the Quran says:
“Ask them: ‘Bring a Book from Allah which is a better guide than these two (i.e. Taurat and Quran), I will follow it, if what you say be true!’ So if they do not meet this demand, you should know that they only follow their own desires. And who is more misguided than the one who follows his own desires rather than the guidance from Allah?” (28:49-50)
However, if by progressive you mean a tendency in an ideology to be prepared to mould itself in accordance with every changing fashion, then most certainly Islam is not progressive. Let’s not forget that Islam is a message of God that has come to guide mankind. If it was prepared to change itself according to the whims of every Tom, Dick, and Harry, then it would have been a meaningless message that had no basis of its own, which of course is untrue about Islam.
In short, Islam is open to all progressive ideas that are convincing and help in improving the intellectual and material lives of humans. However, in no way it is prepared to give in to the demands of those who would want it to bend its principles because some people don’t like them. If Islamic message is from God, which indeed it is, then everyone who believes in it should be convinced that true progressiveness resides in following its message properly and in accommodating all new ideas that are promising as well as acceptable to its teachings.