Books and Documents

Islam and Spiritualism (23 Dec 2013 NewAgeIslam.Com)


  • Islam is not rigid, Satwa Gunamji, Islam allows rethinking, indeed exhorts Muslims to do that as no more prophets are going to come. We are told to adapt to new circumstances as they arise. You may like to read Allama Iqbal's book on Ijtihad on this website. However, if Muslims close the doors of rethinking on themselves, Islam can do nothing. It is against all compulsion in matters of religion.

    Please read this book starting with this page:

    Preface: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal


    Lecture 1: Knowledge and Religious Experience By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal


    By Sultan Shahin - 1/17/2014 3:53:02 AM

  • Core problem of islam is its rigidness.   It has stopped the follower from thinking.  The faculty given by the creator or by nature.

    All these are coming out of narrow interpretation of the medieval books by power hungry religious leader who take complete advantage of the masses which follows them without thinking.

    Day the follower start thinking and try to find their own paths rather than restrict themselves to the narrow interpretation of the medieval books will be the nirvana for islam.

    By satwa gunam - 1/3/2014 12:56:37 AM

  • Mr. Sultan Shahin has unveiled a very bitter truth, which can be seen anywhere, especially in Muslim world.
    “Regrettably, despite Prophet Mohammad's pronounced mystical inclination and practices, Mr. Shahin continued, Islam is being turned today into an exclusivist, totalitarian, fascist political ideology. Bearded thugs are taking control of the religion in many countries.”

    The reason why collective efforts by Muslim scholars, intellectuals and intelligentsias as well, are much needed to wipe these diseases out. As the real identity of Islam is being hijacked by its internal enemies i.e. Salafi, Wahabi, Tablighi, Ahl-e-hadisi and modern Khawarij, so as a Muslim, it is our great responsibility to reclaim the real Islamic identity which is, more liberal, secular, inclusive, pluralistic and humanitarian than other world religions, as I believe.

    By Misbahul Hoda - 1/1/2014 7:51:24 AM

  • Mr. Sultan Shahin has raised a very pertinent question in his speech: “………It is very important for us to study what did the Prophet do before he was chosen by God to be his messenger. We don't know much but what we do tells us that he spent hours and days in mediation, in the way of our Sufis and Rishis, was considered a man of impeccable honesty by the people of Mecca including later his enemies and ran what today would be called a human rights NGO, called The Alliance of the Virtuous, fighting oppression, protecting the weak."

    This question has not yet been fully answered by the Muslim intelligentsia and is, of course, worth paying special attention to, at a time when Islam is being turned today into an exclusivist, totalitarian, fascist political ideology. Given this, I would want to base my upcoming piece on the very intellectual probe. I would also ask both the readers and writers of the NAI forum to seriously ponder over the subject so that we may offer a creditable retort to the extremist and violent interpretation of Islam by the people who peddle hate, intolerance, intolerance, exclusivisim and fascism, in the name of Islam. 

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 12/31/2013 7:44:23 AM

  • Calling a spade a spade, this article brings to light a truth-based part of the prophet (peace be upon him) that will truly and really extinguish the fire of war, hate and fate of prejudice, only if we and others are sincere to adopt it in a full swing.   

    By Ghulam Ghaus غلام غوث - 12/31/2013 12:55:10 AM

  • KHURAN was not compiled as a book during prophets' time. So which the book referred in khuran?

    By pcs - 12/27/2013 11:49:43 PM

  • The portrayal of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) as a Sufi as well as a social activist, fighting oppression and exploitation along with a group of Meccan activists  through the organisaion The Alliance of the Virtuous, is at least, for me, a novel concept. But it seems to make a lot of sense for what the Prophet did later in his life.

     I knew about his mysticism and trustworthiness, but not about his human rights activism. This also brings into focus the great emphasis in Islam on hoququl ibaad (human rights).Thank you, Mr. Shahin.

    By Khaleelur Rahman - 12/25/2013 2:12:16 PM

  • People should  make a serious attempt to understand the message of the Quran as it is meant to be understood and then study whether the message contains more/less wisdom than the `current wisdom’ on the subject. There is no virtue in showing little faith in the wisdom of the Quran and becoming a votary of meaningless ‘modernity’.

     The effectiveness of the prison system in reforming criminals has been extensively studied. It has been found that the system has failed to reform criminals. Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 States in 1994, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years. Sexual abuse and violence by prison guards and other inmates is an open secret. Incidence of HIV, suicides and serious psychiatric disorders are high. Every inmate is brutalized and suffers far more than a person who is subject to a punishment by flogging in the Islamic system. Besides, he is deprived of his freedom, chained or confined like an animal, and made to live with other serious offenders. Denial of freedom for several years by itself is much harsher than temporary physical punishment. Besides, his family suffers on account of his absence and approximately 5 more persons are indirectly ‘punished’ with social isolation, humiliation, loss of a bread earner, when their kith is in prison for as long as he is in prison and even after his release. The high rate of recidivism is proof that it is not easy to get back to normal life. The only humane thing about the prison system is that all its horrors are out of public view.

      Public physical punishments are in themselves a deterrent for future criminals to attempt to commit the crime. “And in punishment, there is life for you, O you who can comprehend” (Quran Chapter 2 Verse 179). Islamic punishment not only prevents recidivism but also acts as a deterrent. The prison system has not proved to have any deterrence value. The stark difference, however, when Sharia law is applied versus the abject failure of man-made laws, is the tremendous difference in the number of victims and criminals between both systems. “A quick comparison between, let’s say, Saudi Arabia, which applies these capital punishments, you will discover that the total amount of punished criminals and crimes, for that matter, in all physical capital punishments, is about 20 annually. This is not even one thousandths the four hundred thousand armed robberies and their victims committed annually in America alone. So in a closed, black box comparison, you would see, clearly, the mercy of Sharia law, upon all humans, in any society”

     There is considerable scope for defining the punishment for theft where cutting off of the hands can be made applicable to the rarest of rare cases and indeed this is so. The thief that gets his hand cut off is the one who broke, entered, and stole materials that are worth more than one quarter of a golden dinar, where in most of the cases, we would be talking about armed robbery. All other kinds of thieveries are not punished by cutting the hand, even though they are called thieves in western societies. Examples like an embezzling accountant, a store clerk who steals merchandise, or someone who steals from an open display – these have various fines and punishments, but the hands of those thieves are not cut.

    The punishment for adultery is however not open to ‘redefining by means of deductions, inferences or any other considerations unconnected with the plain wording of the Qur'an’

    The following is from a translation by M Asad with his explanatory note


    A SURAH [is this] which We have bestowed from on high, and which We have laid down in plain terms;1 and in it have We bestowed from on high messages which are clear [in themselves], so that you might keep [them] in mind.


    AS FOR the adulteress and the adulterer - flog each of them with a hundred stripes, and let not compassion with them keep you from [carrying out] this law of God, if you [truly] believe in God and the Last Day; and let a group of the believers witness their chastisement


    1 I.e., "the injunctions whereof We have made self-evident by virtue of their wording": thus, according to Bukhari (Kitab at-Tafsir), 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas explains the expression faradnaha in this context (cf. Fath al-Bari VIII, 361). The same explanation, also on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, is advanced by Tabari. It would seem that the special stress on God's having laid down this surah "in plain terms" is connected with the gravity of the injunctions spelt out in the sequence: in other words, it implies a solemn warning against any attempt at widening or re-defining those injunctions by means of deductions, inferences or any other considerations unconnected with the plain wording of the Qur'an.

    By Observer - 12/25/2013 1:11:19 AM

  • Yunus Sb., - Thanks for pointing out that the Qur'an offers a scope of flexibility (5:48) with the progress of civilization. It is an important point to remember.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/24/2013 11:22:54 PM

  • Dear Sultan Shahin Sahab,

    Un-Islamic rulings of Muslim family law/ notions in India’s traditional religious scholarship

    As regards the rulings of Indian Muslim family law and some of the popular notions that patently contradict the Qur'an's message based on gender neutral, historic specific, intelligent (‘aql driven) reading and introspective interpretation, I have done the following articles that you may circulate around the major traditional schools. Unless the Ulema there are bent on playing the believing desert Arabs of the Prophet's era, who were intense in Kufr, they will read them seriously and search their souls. They can fool the ignorant Muslims but they cannot fool God and He knows His enemies and knows best how to punish them unless they repent and reform.

    The Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) is NOT a Word of God!


    Notions Of Male Superiority, Domination And Beating Of Wife Stand Un-Islamic Today


    An Open Reminder To Ulama- Rejecting Universal Knowledge As Un-Islamic Is Brazenly Un-Islamic And Kufr (Denial Of Truth).


    Any Fatwa Imposing Full/Face Veil (Burqa/Niqab), Headscarf On Muslim Women As A Religious Requirement Is Anti-Qur’anic.


    The Opponents of the Right to Universal Education (RTE) to the Muslims are the enemies of Indian Muslims.   


    The Qur’an Prescribes Monogamy As The Social Norm For Humanity.


    Qur’anic Sharia (Laws) On Divorce: Triple Divorce, Temporary Marriage, Halala Stand  Forbidden (Haram)


    Love, Sex and Marriage in the Qur’an


    The Zakat – A Pillar Of Faith, As Actualized Today Is A Grand Mockery, If Not Fraudulent Realization Of Qur’anic Message On Wealth Distribution And Social Justice.


    A Call To Global Muslim Communities – Inciters Of Sectarian Or Communal Violence May Stand 'Kafir’ In The Divine Court And Criminal On Earth.


    The Qur’an Offers Protection And Coequal Personal Rights To Women And Those Who Deny Them Such Rights Today Are The Deniers Of The Message Of The Qur’an – Though God Knows Best.


    The Grievous Impacts Of Hadith Sciences In The Later Centuries Of Islam – A Soul Searching Exercise And A Final Call To The Muslim Ulema And Intellectual Elite.


    India’s Child Marriage Act 2006 Prescribing 18 As Women’s Legal Age For Marriage Is Consistent With The Qur’an, The Personal Sunna Of The Prophet And Does Not Infringe The Fundamental Religious Rights Of The Muslims In Any Way.


    The Opponents Of Women’s Equal Rights To Education And Employment As Men This Day Are The Belated Proponents Of The Pre-Islamic Jahilliyah And Thus Enemies Of Islam


    Is it possible that you mail this comment and the articles listed (in Urdu translation) to the heads of the major traditional religious institutions in India?

    I cannot claim to be above error but I am compelled by my covenant of faith to act as a witness to humanity and therefore I must share my exegetic insights as politely as possible for the tone of the foregoing comment would have been much different, if it was to echo the anger, disgust, shame and frustration that has built up in my heart over the years against those Ulema about whom Allama Iqbal said: ‘Ghathab Hai Satre Qur'an Ko Chalipa Kar Diya Tune.” So, my case is probably no different from his: “Mai Harfe Zere Lab Sharmindai Goshe Smama‘At Hun.” My tongue is sealed and what I have said is mere murmur, though clear enough for those with little intelligence to comprehend.
    By muhammad yunus - 12/24/2013 10:05:37 PM

  • Dear Gholam Muhiuddin Sahab,

    You hit right at the head of the nail in your assertion, " "In the 7th century our laws were ahead of the laws of other communities. We should try to recreate that situation again."

    Flogging was a concession to rajm (stoning to death) and killing of an adulteress by her husband if caught red handed. Likewise amputation with forgiveness clause was lighter than crucification.
    Even through the medieval ages when a suspect of a minor offense could face the all sorts of brutal punishment including burning on the stake or dumping into water hands and feet bound, the Qur'anic punishment were far lighter. Today, with changed sensitivity of man and softening of punishment in other civilizations, the Qur'anic specific punishment appear barbaric. But since the Qur'an offers a scope of flexibility (5:48) with the progress of civilization, the mode of punishment can be altered. In fact Caliph Umar introduced jailing for minor offenses and reserved amputation for grievous crimes. You may read Ch. 40 for further details.    

    By muhammad yunus - 12/24/2013 9:03:22 PM

  • Political Islam is on the rise all over the world,but the Prophet preached and practiced spiritual Islam. 
    By Aiman Reyaz - 12/24/2013 8:58:23 PM

  • Quran is neither a book of laws, nor a book of science, nor a book of medical practice. It is a call that requires us to be righteous, just, rational and compassionate. It illustrated those fundamental principles with practical examples which were suitable for the times. Twenty first century Muslims of India should formulate and support laws which are consistent with their ethos regarding righteousness, justice, rationality and compassion. Our laws should be such that they make us proud, not ashamed. In the 7th century our laws were ahead of the laws of other communities. We should try to recreate that situation again.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/24/2013 1:25:03 PM

  • Dear Muhammad Yunus Saheb, Thanks again.

    Clearly we have not been able to get your article read by as many people as we should be able to. These articles need to be read and re-read for their arguments and the conclusion:

    The Classical Islamic Sharia Law is NOT a Word of God! (Part 1: How the Qur’anic Message Has Been Subverted)

    By Sultan Shahin - 12/24/2013 10:15:08 AM

  • Shahin Sb,
    You are the one who indulges in distractions and digressions. I have no need for it.
    You have falsely accused me of wanting to apply portions of shariat for harassing women when on the contrary I am suggesting a drastic change in triple talaq. What I have said also makes sense since separation alone is proof of an intention to divorce and separation also makes both parties experience the consequences of divorce which facilitates reconciliation apart from allowing tempers to cool down. The simple principle for any change is what is best in the interests of the weaker party and this has been the concern in the Quran also.
    As far as criminal law is concerned I have only said that you have called flogging and amputation as barbaric when these are prescribed by the Quran. You could have avoided using the word barbaric if you had respect for the Quran. I have nowhere advocated implementing these not because I consider them barbaric, but because a truly Islamic society does not exist. The right to punish is accompanied by a tremendous responsibility and no government measures up to the required standard of justice, fairness and accountability.
    I have just used JS for people of their ilk who use the argument to make Muslims accept the common civil code. If you think that is a good argument, then there is a good case for scrapping shariat altogether and making the common civil code applicable to all. However, it is a poor argument which is not even supported by what we had in our history where different religious communities were governed by their personal laws but the the criminal law was common.
    The people to be convinced are the AIMPLB I guess.

    By Observer - 12/24/2013 10:01:26 AM

  • Dear Sultan Shahin Sahab,

    As expounded in the article referenced below, "exemplary amputation punishments (5:33, 5:38) accorded with the paradigms of the seventh century Arabia as the Qur’an could in no way ask its audience to engage the practices of later historical eras."

    This explains why, "nearly all of the 1.5 billion-strong Muslim country around the world has abandoned the criminal punishments of the so-called divine Sharia Laws."

    This is just to corroborate your remark with an exegetic argument.


    The Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) is NOT a Word of God!


    Epitome of Justice and Equity for a thousand years of Islamic civilization - now a threat to Islamic civilization and World peace, warranting an urgent paradigm shift in Islamic Juristic thoughts.

    By muhammad yunus - 12/24/2013 7:50:59 AM

  • An argument doesn't become infructuous merely because it is given by Jana Sangh. In any case Jana Sangh doesn't exist anymore and being no fan of theirs I do not know if they did give this argument before they ceased to exist as a party in 1977. In any case this is just a distraction.

    Let us get back to the subject. It seems you would merely like to be flogged, as flogging is in the Holy Quran, not stoned to death, even though it's part of various Sharia laws. But you would probably have no objection to being beheaded for let us say, saying that Quran is a book created by God, as Ibn-e-Taimiya suggested. Naseer Saheb, there is a lot of barbarism, advocated and perpetrated by the Najdi hordes who now rule a part of the Arab world and call it after the name of one family. Such barbarism does not exist anywhere else in the world, except, of course, among their followers in the Af-Pak region. I am sure you know what happened for a while in the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan or happens now in FATA or PATA regions of Pakistan. Let us fight barbarism wherever it exists and not spread it around further. However, if people do want to follow "Divine" Sharia laws, they should follow the entire Sharia laws, not those parts only that they find convenient.

    Some of your suggestions, however, sound quite liberal and modern. They should be discussed in an atmosphere free from abuse and calumny. I would like contributors to take courage in their hands and discuss these issues freely. Don't be afraid of being abused. That is just an idiosyncrasy of this scholar.  Many scholars are known to be eccentric. This is a subject that needs to be discussed thoroughly. So many of our mothers, sisters and daughters are suffering a daily life of hell on account of the so-called Shariah laws, and not just in India. But Indian Muslim women's situation is worse than perhaps that in any other civilised country.

     As I said in my talk in Pune, we would be better off implementing even Pakistani or Bangladeshi laws. But no such possibility is on the horizon. The Congress will, of course, only do what Deobandi Mullahs want. AAP party leader will probably listen to Tauqeer Reza Khan and what can you expect.  BJP, once in power, forgets to raise these issues; in any case, if it does, liberal intellectuals like Naseer Saheb will start shouting Jan Sanghis are saying this and so this cannot be good and so on. We have seen third front people and communists too. And why should anyone care for us if we don't care ourselves.

    Muslim Personal Law in India is a British relic and should be reformed. It's we Muslims who would have to launch a movement to convince the political parties that it's the community that desires change. Let us at the very least have the reformed Pakistani personal laws here. Our ulema will have to keep quiet if any government decides to do that. There is hardly any difference in Pakistani and Indian ulema on any issue of substance. Why should there be any on the issue of Muslim Personal Law.

    By Sultan Shahin - 12/24/2013 7:44:49 AM

  • Shahin Sb,

    Asking the Muslims to accept the Shariat criminal law if they insist on their personal law is the Jan Sanghi argument for asking the Muslims to accept a common civil code and makes little sense. 

    As far as the classical shariat law is concerned, I consider the laws of apostasy, blasphemy and stoning to death as antithetical to the clear message of the Quran and should  be scrapped. The contract of marriage should have monogamy as the default clause requiring the wife's prior permission for taking a second wife. The default clause can however be rewritten with the consent of the parties which would imply that the woman has given prior consent for taking a second wife. As we know, default clauses are  rarely changed since it requires negotiation and agreement and before marriage, the woman is in a better position to assert her will and desire. This way, we can have monogamy implemented contractually since any conditions can be agreed to as part of the contract of marriage.

    I have not opposed a change in the triple talaq law but in fact suggested a far more liberal one. So what do you mean by saying that I want to apply portions to harass women?  You are once again resorting to lies for character assassination when your argument is weak.

    By Observer - 12/24/2013 3:07:55 AM

  • Thank you Mohammad Yunus and Ghulam Mohiyuddin Saheban for your invaluable support in the cause of social reform.

    However, those who consider divine the so-called Sharia Laws of different variety, made by scholars separately for Sunnis and Shias of various schools of thought, should support my following contention, though expressed in the course of a speech, not very felicitously:

     "But those who believe Sharia laws to be divine and thus valid for all time and place should be given the choice to follow these laws in full. This means that in cases of crimes too these people should be given the barbaric punishments of the various medieval Shariah laws like cutting off hands, being flogged or stoned to death. If Shariah laws are divine then its criminal punishments too are divine. Muslims should have a choice to be punished with Sharia law punishments or from the common laws of the country. You can't just hide behind the supposed divinity of Shariah laws in order to get rid of your wife quickly or to get multiple wives without fulfilling the conditions laid down by God while refusing to be flogged or stoned for adultery and getting your hands cut for theft and fraud."

    There must be some reason why except in parts of Arabia ruled by barbaric Najdi hordes and Taliban-infested Af-Pak region, nearly all of the 1.5 billion-strong Muslim country around the world has abandoned the criminal punishments of the so-called divine Sharia Laws. If you believe in the divinity of Sharia laws have it applied to yourself in full, not just portions that you find convenient for harassing women and committing human rights violations of women.

    By Sultan Shahin - 12/24/2013 2:44:59 AM

  • Good speech! Education, reform and national integration have to be our top priorities. They cannot be achieved unless we eliminate extremist, fascist and coercive tendencies from our community. Moderate, reformist and inclusive Islam must be our agenda and our goal.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/24/2013 1:05:01 AM

  • Under Muslim rule, the Christians, the Jews, the Hindus and the Zoroastrians were allowed to practice and implement their own personal laws. Personal laws define Islamic family and society. If you change the laws  you change the society. As personal laws do not impinge on other communities, these have been allowed. There would be no diversity if these are not allowed and there cannot be progress either without diversity and learning from each other of what is best in each society.

    Criminal law however has to be common since crime can be intra-community. However, I think that even criminal law of a religious community was followed for crimes within a community.

    Flogging and cutting of hands is a punishment prescribed in the Quran, and calling these punishments as barbaric is unfortunate. It shows little respect for God's word.

    My understanding of why triple talaq was made binding even if said in a single sitting was to make men avoid uttering the dreaded word unless they meant it. It was to prevent men from uttering the word repeatedly to mentally torture their women. While some divorces could have been avoided by making three separate occasions mandatory, if it reduced the number of men using the word merely to inflict mental torture on their women, then it may have served a useful purpose. The law should certainly be reviewed and revised for what is best in the interest of women especially as it is at variance from what is there in the Quran. My view is that a divorce should not be deemed unless they physically separate thrice with the third separation be taken as final if an attempt at  arbitration fails to bring them together. What is said or not said can therefore be treated as irrelevant unless accompanied by physical separation.

    By Observer - 12/24/2013 12:24:17 AM

  • Great!
    Sultan Shahin Sahab has spoken in very simple and straight forward language that is bound to touch the soul of every Muslim listener without creating any feeling of bitterness among the proponents of classical Shariah/ family law in India.
    It is really shameful that pre-Islamic law like triple tallaq is still operational in India. This only goes to show that the followers of Muhammad (PBUH) continue to oppose his message as did some of the  believing desert Arabs of his. The Qur'an found them intense in kufr (denial of truth) and hypocrisy (nifaq) (9:97), described them as rijz (disgrace) (9:94) and fasiq (9:67, 9:96) and condemned them eternally (9:68, 9:95). God alone knows what fate awaits those Ulema of this era who oppose the Qur'an's clearly illustrated time-frame on divorce and insist in clinging to pre-Islamic laws.
    By muhammad yunu - 12/23/2013 9:04:57 PM