The emergence of modern science has meant the de-establishment of shirk in all its aspects. In modern times, scientific discoveries have forever destroyed the myth that there is any inherent diversity in the manifestations of nature or that they have any greatness of their own.
Modern science, through observation and experimentation, has proved in the last analysis that all the phenomena of nature, despite their seeming diversity, were composed of atoms. And the atom is a component of electric waves. This discovery has dealt a death blow to the myth of diversity in nature.
Oneness has been proved to be a reality in all things, notwithstanding apparent differences. That is, a more advanced stage of knowledge having rejected idolatrous concepts has provided an established basis for the concept of monotheism. Furthermore an important point established by modern science is that all the things on the earth or in the vastness of space are equally helpless entities. All are bound together in an eternal, immutable law of nature. In no degree do they possess any power or will of their own.
Another scientific factor has been established which favours monotheism over idolatry. That is, the entire universe, with all its varied components, is functioning under one and the same law of nature, called by scientists the single string theory. In other words, according to the discoveries of human knowledge itself there is only one God of the universe. There is no other deity or any other being worth worshipping save God.
The root of shirk lies in superstitious thinking. In present times, scientific research and investigations have held the superstition of former times to be baseless. In this way, the roots of shirk in modern times have been deprived of any purely academic foundation. No scientific mind is ready to believe in shirk as a reality. However shirk is still prevalent in certain parts of the world.
In ancient times, man held that so and so gods and goddesses were responsible for air, rains, crops and different human affairs. They thought of different gods and goddesses as being at work behind the diverse events in the world of nature and of human beings. But scientific investigation has proved that all these events, taking place in accordance with the laws of nature, are not the miracles of an array of gods and goddesses. In the face of these findings, the old type of shirk has, to a large extent lost ground.
Once there was an illiterate person who, for the first time in his life, saw a car traveling along a road. In his ignorance, he thought it was a magician who was causing a room to move by the sheer power of his magic. But any educated person would consider such a supposition ludicrous, because it does not take a scientist or an engineer to know for sure that such magic does not in reality exist.
In this way idolatrous beliefs and concepts or the system of supposed deities have become utterly ridiculous to the educated mind. For now everyone knows that the coming of rains, the yield of crops and all other such seasonal events are based on the principles of nature.
In the old superstitious age, the creed of shirk might have been acceptable, but today, in the age of knowledge, the whole structure of shirk, from belief to practice, has been thoroughly discredited. In the age of modern science, the fate shirk has met can be compared to that of a darkened room, which was supposed to harbour a dangerous, long-horned demon, but which, when opened up and flooded with light, was seen to contain nothing of the sort.
Before the emergence of science the world was dominated by superstitious beliefs. Due to an inadequate fund of knowledge, people were deceived into believing in shirk. But now with the spread of the light of science, it has become impossible for shirk to find a place once again in the minds of the people.
However, the superstitions themselves have not been entirely laid to rest. In their personal lives people all over the world still hold beliefs of mysterious kinds. Although the majority of the educated class does not believe in deities, they have not yet arrived at belief in one God. The only difference is that if the past generations were irrevocably devoted to gods and goddesses, nowadays people have set up another “deity”, called the law of nature, to which they accord the same importance as was formerly shown to pagan deities.
The course of human history has followed many pathways, but now a stage has come when all obstructions have been cleared away, so that a movement, based on the teachings of the Prophets, could well be revived. Today, such a movement to reject shirk and affirm monotheism could freely and effectively be launched. In this modern age the political and international atmosphere is also entirely favourable, and all academic arguments are in support of it. It would not be an exaggeration to say that today any movement based on monotheism would be in a position of unopposed victory. No obstacle is now in its way. The need of the hour is for the monotheists to rise with all their will and determination and communicate with unstinted zeal and vigour the divine message – the life-¬giving reality of tawhid.
In ancient times a number of evils had crept into human society, with the result that man had been divested of his natural greatness. It was the movement of tawhid, launched by the Prophet of Islam and his companions, which led the world out of a pitiable age and caused humanity to enter upon an age of progress in the real sense. For the first time in human history, man received the blessings which had been destined for him, and of which he had deprived himself on account of his self-styled superstitious beliefs. Humanity emerged from a prolonged age of darkness and entered the age of light. Now, despite all material progress, man is beset by insuperable problems. Trapped in the glitter of civilization, he is deprived of real peace and happiness. The greatness bestowed upon man by nature has again fallen into a new abyss of degradation.
Now the need of the hour is to revive the call of tawhid with renewed force and vigour. The task is two-fold: tawhid has to be made more acceptable by means of new and forceful arguments and, by using modern means of communication; it has to be spread all over the world. As recorded in the historic prediction made by the Prophet, the time will come when God’s religion will spread all over the world, and not a ‘home or a tent’ will be saved from entering God’s word of monotheism.