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Books and Documents

Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

True Social Cohesion Lies In a Reformed Islam
Michael Nazir-Ali

One urgent necessity is for Muslim politicians, community and religious leaders to articulate a clear counter narrative, not only to Jihadism but also to the more widespread and strident calls for greater “Islamisation” of communities and societies. It is not for a non-Muslim to say how they should do this but it seems quite possible for them to read their wider tradition, and the work of eminent Muslim reformers, in a way very different from the dominant narrative....

Muslim Scholars Must Go Back To the Teachings of the Prophet and Rethink Issues Related To Religious Pluralism Afresh
Waris Mazhari

Islam aims at enabling people to rise above narrow boundaries of colour and race and work together for welfare and justice and help each other. The Treaty of Medina is a brilliant illustration of this objective. After the Prophet’s demise, Muslim history went through many ups and downs. Yet, even then people of other faiths often enjoyed considerable religious freedom, although not everywhere and at all times. ...

An Islamic System: Islam Expects People to Use Their Intellect
Dr. Niaz Murtaza

I am a firm believer in secular democracy not because I don’t believe in Islam’s progressive elements, but because I see the faith hijacked by retrogressive forces and little inclination within the majority to challenge their hold and develop a progressive Islamic vision. In such a situation, secular democracy seems the best available option....

Muslims Need To Reform Their Minds: Tariq Ramadan
Tariq Ramadan

Ramadan explains that Sharia is a guide to ethics, not simply a legal code. Corporal and capital punishments are the result of a “brutal and literalist” application of it and should be suspended. His approach to gay people seems to be love the sinner, hate the sin – a conservative one in the context of very recent progress in the west, but hardly incompatible with life here, as millions of traditional Christians demonstrate. Islam considers modest dress for men and women an obligation, although not an essential one.....

Faith and Rationality: Islam Encourages People to Ask Questions
Nikhat Sattar

But should religious edicts be mixed with science, and time and effort expended on trying to extract scientific facts from sacred texts? Religion — especially as emphasised by Islam and the Quran — has come for spiritual purification and is not meant for other ends except where there may be a direct link with morality. Religion must not be used to alter scientific facts and vice versa. There is no scientific evidence against any divine truth revealed by God....

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.”...

 
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NEW COMMENTS

  • Among the most interesting and perplexing aspects of...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Promotion of liberal attitudes, personal freedoms and free speech would be a blessing for the Muslim society.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • wonder how many Muslims feel ashamed and embarrassed every time the AIMPLB opens its mouth.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • She speaks the truth!
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The media lack depth in reporting all issues, not just Muslim issues. They have not been fully....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • @Iqbal Husain In middle east, non Muslims are simply killed on pretext of blasphemy. ....
    ( By Ajoy Chakra )
  • @Ajoy Chakra majority of Muslim countries are secular. Tunisia, Moroccan . etc. do...
    ( By Iqbal Husain )
  • Delinquent and recalcitrant people'
    ( By Oshok Dubey )
  • Faiths spread hate and hate.'
    ( By Bihari Lal Handoo )
  • Whosoever condemns  terrorism must be welcomed by all.  People trying to foster  universal brotherhood must be supported by....
    ( By Iqbal Husain )
  • Hats Off is out of his mind. Is there any ambiguity at all?.... 
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • A bunch of hardcore christian theologians says Hats Off! He is not only in denial but resorting to a blatant lie. I repeat that ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • “Why is the Sufi counter-narrative not effective enough to make a difference?” Sufi theologians need to do hard work. They must speak with one voice. The ...
    ( By Royalj )
  • Sir, In Sanatana Dharma (aka Hinduism), volumes have been written to establish that E:kam  e:va adviti:yam "One Only without a Second"....
    ( By Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar )
  • @DG Gyan Chandra Sikhism and Buddhism ? Reinterpretation and revision is the call of the hour.
    ( By Anand Kumar )
  • Let there be a 10 day seminar of the learned,men of knowledge.One side Ulemas of Sunni,Shiya or whomsoever....
    ( By DG Gyan Chandra )
  • Good info Mr Abbas. Thanks.'
    ( By Ajoy Chakra )
  • @Ajoy Chakra Turkey and Bosnia and If I am not wrong Azerbijaan too follow the policy of Secularism..' ..
    ( By Syed Arif Abbas Abdi )
  • A scholarly debate with an apostate would be a waste of time. A scholarly debate...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
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    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hadith tales, whether they be about Taif or Ghazwa-e-Hind, do not deserve our time...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Sufism is not Islam and against the teaching of Islam.In order to judge some thing as Islamic, it must....
    ( By Abu Basim Khan )
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    ( By Ahraz Mohiudin )
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    ( By Vijay Tiwari )
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    ( By Muhammad Mukhtar Alam )
  • Absolutely right@Iqbal'
    ( By Muhammad Shah Rukh )
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    ( By Iqbal Husain )
  • @U P Ojha Sir, of course very nice guys are there but very few have guts to come forth rest maintain low profile by suppressing ...
    ( By Dalchand Chauhan )
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    ( By Deepa Natarajan )
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    ( By U.p. Ojha )
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    ( By Aamirr Sohail )
  • @amirr Sohail America fought in Korea in Vietnam for years then why Vietnamese and Koreans did not took to terrorism. No ....
    ( By Bijay Choudhary )
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    ( By Aamirr Sohail )
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    ( By Bijay Choudhary )
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    ( By Aamirr Sohail )
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    ( By Jayaraman Subri )
  • a bunch of biased hard core christian theologians are expected to support christian...
    ( By hats off! )