Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam
Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam
years after 9/11, the scourge of violent Islamist extremism has become even
more complex and deadly. The alacrity with which 30,000 Muslims from
around the world joined the so-called Islamic State’s war against humanity
has puzzled many. How could a peaceful, pluralistic religion be subverted so
easily to create inhuman monsters? Among many factors, social, economic,
political, psychological, the one common factor is a brainwashing of vulnerable
people on the basis of a supremacist, xenophobic, intolerant, exclusivist,
totalitarian, Jihadi theology.
is a blatant misuse of Islam, a spiritual path to salvation that teaches peace,
pluralism, co-existence and good neighbourliness. But there has to be a reason
why Jihadi ideology has gained acceptance; why fatwas issued by reputed moderate
scholars are proving so ineffective? How are Jihadis able to create a 100
percent certainty in the minds of some Muslims that violence against innocent
people, whom they consider infidel, will please God and lead them to Heaven?
we Muslims need to rethink some basic features of our theology. Success of
Jihadism lies in the fact that, at its core, the Jihadi theology is not very
different from the consensus theology of all other schools of Islamic thought.
Jihadists misuse the war-time verses of the holy Quran, as Muslims believe that
all verses, regardless of the context, are of universal applicability. But most
damaging for Islam and useful for Jihadism is the Doctrine of Abrogation
whereby all peaceful Meccan verses are considered abrogated by the
confrontational, war-time Medinan verses. Similarly the divinity attached to
Hadith and Sharia and their universal applicability will have to be
reconsidered by mainstream Islam, and not just to defeat Jihadism, but also to
deal with many other issues including Human Rights of women, children and
Open Letter to Maulana Firangimahali: Why Do Moderate
Ulema Stay Silent When Terrorists Claim
- 'Islam Has Never Been A Religion Of Peace, Not Even For A Day'?
Do Not Entertain Any Defamation of Islam Resolution
Until Islam Is Protected From Defamation by Jihadi Literature in the Islamic
World First, Sultan Shahin Asks UN Human Rights Council
Islam Is Based On the Prophet's Mysticism, Honesty and
Social Activism, Says Sultan Shahin in Pune: Muslims Should Strengthen These
Spiritual Foundations of Islam and Not Fall Prey to Fascism
Do Muslims need to disassociate themselves from
Salafi, Wahhabi ideologies of permanent war with non-Muslims and moderate
Muslims? A New Age Islam debate
5. Terrorists Have Failed So Far and
Should Not Be Allowed To Affect Global Multiculturalism, Sultan Shahin Tells
Parallel Meeting at UNHRC in Geneva
Islam is in need of a Renaissance. Like every other religion that has
grown by proselytisation, Islam too has had a violent history which, in those
times, was defensible. However, much as the advent of Islam was all about
progressivism, unlike their proselytising predecessors, Muslim theologists have
failed to inform their beliefs and attitudes with contemporary standards and
demands of inclusivity. There is a pressing need to present Islamic texts
unambiguously and in consonance with present-day realities, leaving no room for
misconstruction by anyone. ...
Two Islamic concepts, Jehad and kafir, are interpreted from an extremely
moderate to a highly extremist manner. This is an issue Indian Muslim
seminaries need to ponder on. Secular education is another solution. Common
schooling creates mutual sympathy and goodwill. Many madrasa teachings lead to
M Zeb Khan
Ijtihad, which was the cornerstone in Islamic tradition, aimed at
connecting the immutable principles of Islam with changing conditions of the
world, has been put in the cold storage for the last five hundred years.
Instead of defending their sectarian turfs, the Ulema should have worked for
unity of the Ummah and its repositioning as a global power....
Realising the Qur’an is fallible will not destroy Islam. It will destroy
the literalists. For the rest of us it will free us and free our reason so we
can take what is useful and helpful from religion and ignore what is not. Islam
did not come to replace the mind God gave us and turn us into heartless robots.
However, the most conservative and radical elements of Islam are being
used to rationalise, legitimise and excuse the most violent acts against
states, people and societal institutions. And, regarding the role of women, so-called
honour killings and the embrace of Salafist and Wahhabi ideologies, Islam is in
conflict with modernity....
Contrast this with how the guardians of Islam in our country often
present the religion as a series of fixed dos and don’ts. The Indian clerical
class has largely been bereft of any ideas that could have a universal appeal,
in the manner in which the Sufi path did at one time in our history. Their
mission statement seems limited to teaching children by rote and hanging on to
their turfs by energetically defending personal laws that are anything but
Fasting during Ramadan is an act of worship intended for God. It is
meaningful only when it is driven by a genuine will to obey God’s commandments
— not the laws of the state or the vigilantism of society. The latter does not
nurture true piety; it only nurtures fakeness and hypocrisy. That is why the
Quran says there should be “no compulsion in religion” — and no compulsion in
Islam is a religion of reason and calls for reasonable rulings. This has
underlined the work of jurists and scholars over the centuries. Reading the
Qur’an and Sunna in a completely rigid and literal way, as in the case of the
view of Ibn Baz and Ibn al-Uthaymeen, fails to understand the spirit of the
text and objectives of Islamic law (Maqāṣid
Calculating the Ramadan Timetable in High Latitude Cities Using Mecca’s
Length of the Fast
Sharia law, when coupled with Ijtihad (reason applied to religious
texts), has a lethal power. Against jihadism, that is, whether of the Islamic
State (IS) group, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Nusra Front, the friends of Beit
Al-Maqdis or Boko Haram....
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
articles seek to establish the truth and knock out the falsehood on which the
terror mongers thrive. The problem however is that their ideology is not very
different from the corrupted Islamic theology supported by the Ulema of all
sects. In the past, Allah has punished entire nations for corrupting His
message and scriptures and spreading mischief. If we fail to see the truth and
take corrective steps, the history of other nations on which the wrath of Allah
descended, will repeat for the Muslim Ummah….
Yasser Latif Hamdani
None of the Imams of any of the established schools of jurisprudence
ever claimed to be recipients of divine wisdom. They did their job admirably as
expounders of Islamic law for their time. They never claimed their works to be
the final word. If that were the case, there would be only one single Fiqh but
that is not the case. If, as we believe, Islam is not time bound, it should not
be hidebound either....
In the Sunni narrative, the Mujahid movement that swept through Kerala
in the first decades of the 20th century was inspired by the ‘Westernised
Islam’ of Muhammad Abduh, the Islamic scholar in Egypt, who said “I went to the
West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but
The problem does not originate from IS any more than it does from
Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Wahhabism, the MB or the Salafists or any other group.
Neither, does the problem originate in the so-called USA-created groups and,
the USA cannot be held accountable for such a belief system. Neither is the
problem lying in a handful of radicals tainting the image of Islam. The problem
lies in the fact that these foundational concepts of Fatah, Jihad and Shahada
have not been addressed and properly explained to Muslims by Muslim clergy.....
World affairs and global problems of scarcity are secular issues. In crescent of Islam and Afghanistan particularly, a great proportion of populace are more worried about the afterlife than this life. When heavens are to be cared more than this earthly abode you end up making this 'dwelling' of ours hell. That is what Afghanistan has regrettably become with Taliban in ascendancy. Every voice of reason and rationale is nipped in the bud.
The majority of
Muslims are Sunni, usually following one of four “schools.” Nowadays Wahhabis
are counted as Sunnis, although (a) Wahhabism emerged in rebellion against
Sunni Islam, and (b) for a long time a lot of Sunnis did not see Wahhabis as
part of their tradition. A significant minority of Muslims are Shia, further
distinguished by various branches within.....
With the Malacca government declaring that they are following a national fatwa in imposing a blanket ban on vaping and the sale of vape products, non-Muslims in the two states must be wondering why an Islamic edict should apply to them.
Islam need not be attuned to the normative demands of modernity for there will always interpretations from the epistemological pluralism of Islam which will contest this view. Rather the normative present should become the standard against which Islam should be judged. ...
In the wake of the Paris bloodbath, the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Bamako, Mali, and murders elsewhere before and since, people desperately want to understand the root cause of all this violence. That’s true not only in the West, where many blame Islam itself. It’s true in the Middle East, too, where we are struggling to come to grips with the carnage and the region’s role in it.
Our responsibility as Muslim citizens is to be part of the solution despite our grievances. If we want to defend the life and civil liberties of Muslims around the world and the peace and tranquility of every human regardless of their faith, we must act now to tackle the violent ex- tremism problem in all its dimensions: political, economic, social and religious.
Anas Alam Faizli
Islam is a religion that inculcates thinking. If we encourage thinking, and if we allow continuous discussions and debates, we will nurture intellectualism and progress. We need to question in order to understand the purpose of certain systems, rulings or judicial decisions.
Bashy Quraishy, New Age Islam
Simply put, any faith that does not accept its follower’s quest for exploratory questioning or fulfilling the ordinary human desire for spiritual and moral advancement, would in the longer run have difficulty in appealing or contain ability to fill the inner void resulting in the lack of peace. That is why, it is alarming that some groups within Islam wish to enforce a puritanical form of faith that was prevalent 1500 years back. The practices of 7th century are gaining ground in 21st century, among Muslims communities at large and even some of the educated and aware Muslim youth are attracted to it, both in the Islamic world as well as in the western part of the planet.
Our responsibility as Muslim citizens is to be part of the solution despite our grievances. If we want to defend the life and civil liberties of Muslims around the world, and the peace and tranquility of every human regardless of their faith, we must act now to tackle the violent extremism problem in all its dimensions: political, economic, social and religious. ...
Azis Anwar Fachrudin
The 90-minute film Rahmat Islam Nusantara (promoted in English as The Divine Grace of East Indies Islam) has attracted international attention, along with the idea of Islam Nusantara, after a piece about it appeared in The New York Times. Sharing the theme of Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) national congress several months ago, the film always intended to share the idea of Islam Nusantara, Indonesia’s unique style of Islam, with a global audience.
It’s true that terrorism in the 21st century is disproportionately rooted in the Islamic world. And it’s legitimate to criticize the violence, mistreatment of women or oppression of religious minorities that some Muslims justify by citing passages in the Quran. But let’s not stereotype 1.6 billion Muslims because of their faith. What counts most is not the content of holy books, but the content of our hearts.