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Books and Documents

Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

The Problem with ‘Liberalizing’ Islam
Z. Fareen Parvez

“It wasn’t so fundamentalist fifty years ago in Hyderabad. Now, when I see young men wearing their Islamic caps, I just have an allergy to it…I don’t want to make religion an institution. It should stay in the heart.” In Lyon too, middle-class Muslim activists held practices associated with the Salafist movement in the working-class, urban periphery with disdain. Although most opposed state legislation such as the ban on the Niqab, they believed that the Niqab was at best a grave misinterpretation of Islam….

Is Questioning Faith A Mortal Sin Or Divine Grace?
Yusra Shao

Do not suppress your confusion for temporary peace but let it ignite in you a desire for truth. Embark the journey with an open mind, an open heart, surrounding yourself with books and scholars, letting your mind be your compass, and truth be your end goal. The journey will be difficult because no goodness comes without effort. So, call this journey a test if you may, but never consider it a mortal sin...

Sadly, idealism in this area has convinced many Muslims that Divine revelation offers answers to life’s changing circumstances without having to make sense of, and strive with, the external environment and our own inner space. Ironically, it’s become automatic for many to approach sacred texts as remote and ‘untouchable’ due to their very sacredness. And on a macro level, too, today’s sectarian identity politics is partly a reflection of this kind of inflexibility and ‘crisis of intellect.’...

 

Muslim Discourse: There Is a Need to Reverse the Narrative Used By Extremists
Nikhat Sattar

Scholars need to come together and discuss exactly what they are bickering about and whether their stances are aligned with Islamic teachings. Muslims should be free to discuss what the Sharia means to their individual and collective lives and which form of it may or may not be relevant. The thousands of ‘Alims’ churned out by madrasas must be monitored for what they learn and subsequently do. Khutbas in mosques need to be carefully assessed and any vitriolic content removed...

Islam emerged as a vitally open society, while remaining aware of its own authentic tradition on which the Islamic identity was passed. It never simply ‘borrowed’ but accepted ideas from other cultures in building upon and shaping already existing elements.

However, it is to be appreciated that the spiritual content of modernism lies in moderation. If this definition of modernism is accepted, then we find that there is no conflict between Islam and modernism. In fact, moderation forms a major theme in the Quran. “Allah has raised the Muslim as the middle-most or a justly-balanced nation and has made it to stand as witness over other nations”....

The Muslim Reform Movement: Even More Necessary A Year In
M. Zuhdi Jasser

Islamism both violent and non-violent – has continued to advance across the globe. Islamist terror in Florida and Ohio, attacks in France, Iraq, Pakistan, India and beyond continue to take innocent lives and create an understandable culture of fear. Meanwhile, many Muslims still find themselves marginalized within their own community spaces: women, Black Muslims, sexual minorities and scores of other vulnerable communities continue to feel ostracized and even persecuted for who they are and what they believe....

The Mantle of Religious Interpretation Needs To Be Taken Away From the Clergy
Raza Habib Raja

A common tactic used by religious rights is to discourage any critical debate, and to give a belittling reference to inadequate qualifications of those who are trying to adopt a reformist approach. What really amazes me that this reference is never made when you are supporting ultraconservative view of Islam?...

Emphasis  On  Arab  Or  Persian  Culture  Prevents  Islam’s  Acceptance As  A  World  Religion
Asif Merchant, New Age Islam

To qualify as a world religion, Islam has to be acceptable in any part of the world, with anyone being accepted as a Muslim, purely on belief, and no other criterion. This can never happen as long as we have people in authority who are not willing to consider that the Holy Prophet had something more in mind for Islam than merely the Namaaz and the Hijab which the clerics are so fond of emphasizing. Consider the so-called Islamic calendar. It only records the lunar cycle, but is useless for agriculture or travel. ...

Islam Is In Need Of a Renaissance: It Is Not Enough for Muslims to Say That Terrorists Misinterpret Islam
Saif Mahmood

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. ...

It Is True That ‘Terrorism Has No Religion’ but Islam Has To Embrace the Modern, Examine Its Theology Afresh
Rakesh Sinha

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 radicalisation....

Ijtihad, the Cornerstone of Islamic Tradition, Has Been Put in the Cold Storage, What Went Wrong
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....

Muslims Can Reinterpret Their Faith: It’s the Best Answer to ISIS
Hassan Radwan

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. ..

Contradictions of Religion

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....

Muhammad Ali Delivered A Powerful Punch for A Non-Doctrinaire and Egalitarian Islam
Saba Naqvi

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 egalitarian....

 

The Right Way to Observe Ramadan: Fast According To the Dictates of Your Conscience
Mustafa Akyol

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 fasting, either....

 

Fasting Ramadan When the Day Is Extremely Long or Short and the Moderation of Islam
Louay Fatoohi

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 al-Shari’a). ....

And

Calculating the Ramadan Timetable in High Latitude Cities Using Mecca’s Length of the Fast

 

The New Religious Revolution
Yassin El-Ayouty

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....

A Complete Agenda for Reform in Islamic Theology
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

My 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….

Ijtihad And Pakistan: Iqbal’s Greatest Contribution To Muslim Thought Is The Idea That Ijtihad Could Only Be Done Through A National Parliament, Not By Clerics
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....

Islam in the West, Muslims in the East
Prashanth MP

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 not Islam.”...

 

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.

 

Muslims Need A New Definition Of Islam In Order To Survive
Haroon Moghul

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.....

Why Should A Fatwa Affect Non-Muslims?
Robin Augustin

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. ...

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NEW COMMENTS

  • Well written article. the author seems to have a clear idea of gender justice and women's co-....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Dear Naseer Sahab, You have said, NAI could not take its ideas of reform to even University level. I will put it this ....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • The so-called Ulema do not have any means of considered independent understanding of ...
    ( By Asif Merchant )
  • this lady has just made out a perfect case for the legitimacy of islamophobia as well as the ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • if that is mr ghulam mohiyuddin's argument, he should not complain of islamophobia.....
    ( By hats off! )
  • She dislikes Muslim hip hop groups adopting the style and even the lyrics of what she ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Aayina: You are a fake person, so your name, Aayina, is a misfit that talks of reality and....
    ( By Abdullah )
  • THE AUTHOR COULD NOT BE JOKING. Given the following academic credentials of the author of this article, one can hardly ....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Mohd. Yunus/ Mohammed Arif First premises the Qur’an expounded for all humanity is the use of reason. From both of your ....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Sultan Shahin ,founder editor; New Islam is a (Abusive word deleted..... Sub-editor) one he knows nothing about ...
    ( By Mohd Yunus )
  • Worshipping graves is shirk. And setting partners is the biggest crime in the sight of Allah....
    ( By Mohammad Arif )
  • does mr ghulam mohiyuddin really miss the underlying contempt this lady has for the ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Mr Nayim Ahmd sahab, Your post tries to justify the blast at All kalandar mosque,and court ...
    ( By U.p. Ojha )
  • @U.P. OJha do you believe Terrorist listen to Mullas. do not put failure of anyone on ....
    ( By Naeem Ahmed )
  • I can mention the name of Ibn Taimiya a muslim mulla who propagated Taqfirism. It is ...
    ( By Sudhir Bharti )
  • wow new one Islamic non-Violence, I like this joke. The author miss to write down the source of inspiration of this Islamic Non-Voilence.....
    ( By Aayina )
  • To Abdulla Your source if relation with fellow humans is based on text which you completely obey if ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Both Naseersaab and Hats Off make good points.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off's hostility to Muslims who have settled in the West continues unabated! He...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Good book review! It would be great if we can replace the ideology of jehad with the ideology of nonviolence.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "The absence of a clear cut hierarchy and an apex body of decision makers has not only....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Very brave article. Comments on the thread are on expected lines, not surprising
    ( By Soumyakanti Chakraborty )
  • @Soumyakanti Chakraborty aur islam ye bhi kehte hai ki kisi insaan ka qatl karne wale ki saja qatl hai aur rapist ki saja bhi ...
    ( By Imran Khan )
  • @Imran Khan, tu idhar udhar ki baat na kar, ye bata ki khafila kyun luta ? :) Salafis want...
    ( By Soumyakanti Chakraborty )
  • @Ghulam Mohiyuddin yes they should become like western liberals who killed and....
    ( By Imran Khan )
  • every religion is basically a commercial enterprise. this lady is peddling her identity politics as if a couple of hipsters ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • mr naseer ahmed should try making a youtube channel about his interpretation of the Holy Qur'an. in my opinion, the ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • thank you mr ghulam mohiyuddin - for seconding my opinion.'
    ( By hats off! )
  • I join Hats Off in saluting Usmansaab!...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Rashidsaab, Yes, the biggest curse is the Shia/Sunni divide because it weakens us and diverts ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Beyond articles in NAI, we have not been able to take our ideas for reformation even to the Universities where the young educated Muslims are ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Wel chronicled article.'
    ( By Comal Mahadevan Amrtheswaran )
  • We hate terrorist, but he wants to proof Muslim are terrorist
    ( By Nakib Saikia )
  • Why Islam has become totally xenophobic to the extent of madness.Yesterday shootout in paki court campus is an example.....
    ( By U.p. Ojha )
  • Our paid historians have written that Aurangazeb killed Dara Shikoh, his step brother, in ....
    ( By C M Amrtheswaran )
  • @ G.M, “…who feel lukewarm about  terrorism and are interested more in cursing Shias or Sunnis” You are right ...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • mr. muhammad usman, i salute you! may your kind multiply!'
    ( By hats off! )
  • Islam is like a Pandora box. Any set of views can be drawn from its labyrinthine archives. Its customs and practices over historical span are ...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Every practice of discrimination must be condemned but a question such as "If this . . . then why not that?" is not valid. Every ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent plea to our ulema! Angela Merkel is right when she asks us to "find strong language" to differentiate Islam from the evil ISIS ideology...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )