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Debating Islam

Different Muslims, uncomfortable with these violent verses in Quran have tried different ways of dealing with them. Some have rejected Islam as a divine religion and become and are now becoming in larger numbers ex-Muslims. Some have taken the instructions to heart and adopted radical extremism and terrorism, as a way of quick transition to Heaven through martyrdom. Others engage in what is called taaweelat or allegorical interpretations. Some Muslims try to change the very meaning of Arabic words used in these verses and say that Arabs have not understood Arabic of the Quran in all these centuries. The consensus theology is that it is every Muslim’s religious duty to help Islam conquer the world and extirpate all other religions, including those that were brought by previous prophets in whom all Muslims must believe to be a Muslim. Most mainstream Muslims accept the consensus theology but do nothing about achieving this religious goal. However, they do applaud, if not openly, at last in their hearts, when someone appears to be doing something about it....

Reform of Muslim personal law is the need of the hour. A demand for this has been made for decades in conferences, seminars and marches, organised by several progressive Islamic organisations including New Age Islam Foundation. These demands need to be intensified and peaceful demonstrations organised on a large scale, demanding that the government reform these laws. It will inevitably be opposed and equally inevitably expose the two-facedness of Islamic fundamentalists in the country. This would lead to a much needed debate on the hypocrisy of our ulema.

Faced with a barrage of questions, the ulema have now decided to challenge the progressive Muslims on their theological knowledge and more importantly, the courage, to stand up to their beliefs. At the same time, they are blaming them for encouraging courts to intervene, while taking their regular subversive position that courts and government should not intervene in matters of Muslim Personal Law as it is a matter of faith.

Rather than being cowed into silence or even dismiss this challenge as an effort to obfuscate matters, progressive Muslims should pick up the gauntlet and battle it out. This should be used as a great opportunity to breach the total stagnation that has prevailed in Islamic theological debates in the country. This will not only help the victims of our Anglo-Mohammedan Personal Law but also help open up issues related to violent extremism that is attracting our youth more and more in the absence of debate. For instance, accepting that triple talaq is not a part of Quranic teachings or even Hadith (sayings of the Prophet). A classical Muslim scholar, Hafeez Nomani, has asked if Quran alone is legitimate Islamic scripture and whether a bid’at (innovation) like triple talaq ordered by the second Caliph Hazrat Umar cannot be considered legitimate. He then goes on to ask that if triple talaq cannot be accepted, as it is a bid’at, then what about Quran, which in its present form is itself an innovation ordered by the same caliph and completed by the third Caliph Hazrat Usman.

These are among the issues that Muslims need to debate urgently for the wider good of the community as well as the nation and the world. We must never forget the solemn warning issued by Canadian scholar Winfred Cantwell Smith in mid-20th century that a healthy, functioning Islam is crucial for world peace. Clearly, the Islam today is not healthy and functioning. So it is not only the Muslims but the nation at large that should welcome an opportunity to debate and understand Islamic theological issues.

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the mainspring of thinking of both these groups, indeed all Islamic scholars of all schools of thought was Quran and except in the case of Mutazillah, Hadith. All of them may have violently disagreed with one another, even thrown each other in prison and got one another lashed, but they were all very sincere seekers of the Truth of Islam. The proof of their sincerely lies in the fact that not one of them recanted, despite facing extreme persecution by the Khulafa of their times. And the source of their thinking was Quran alone in the case of Mutazillah and Hadith and Seerah too in the case of others. Apart from Zahiris and Hanbalis, all of them had studied Greek philosophy, but their primary faith was in Islam and Islamic scriptures.

The Nuances of Quranic Diction
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
The Nuances of Quranic Diction
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

If people act in good faith, and without negligence, or without rejecting what they come to know as the truth, the door of Allah’s forgiveness is open to them whether they are “believers” or “disbelievers”. As to the question whether all the Mushrikin are Kafirin or not, the simple test is to substitute Mushrikin for Kafirin in any verse of the Quran, and discover the contradictions that this leads to. There cannot be a better proof than this, that not all the Mushrikin are Kafirin in any verse of the Quran. Why are people then reluctant to accept it? It is because of our Fuqaha who have made shirk such a dreaded word in their anxiety to ensure that the believers remain well with the limits that our minds refuse to accept that if the same strict rules are applied to other people, it would be unjust. Let us not continue to blaspheme God by refusing to recognize and accept the differences as divinely ordained. Let us not judge everyone by the yardstick that applies only to us....

Insha Allah (God-So-Willing): The Metaphysics of the Future
T.O. Shanavas, New Age Islam
Insha Allah (God-So-Willing): The Metaphysics of the Future
T.O. Shanavas, New Age Islam

Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi describes this universe as a battlefield where atom struggles with atom like faith against infidelity. In this struggle some benefit and others suffer. Islamic metaphysics of the future blends chance, unpredictability, and limited levels of free will to form our universe, within the providence of a Most Compassionate, Most Just, and Omnipotent God. Based on the Islamic metaphysics of the future, God proposes and humankind as well as other creatures together transcribe divine proposals, arriving with the future, into monuments of divine creation in the material world....

I am throwing open my debate with Yunus Sb by summarising the discussion. It would be great if all the scholars supporting NAI can reach a consensus on the common understanding of Islam which is detailed at the end of the article which will go a long way in defeating the false ideology of the extremists. Please therefore debate with me with the intention of clarifying all your reservations before accepting what I have proposed. …

There are thousands of debates on the internet regarding jihad. If on the one hand Muslim moderates are putting their utmost efforts to prove that Islam is a religion of peace, opponents are presenting some Quranic verses pertaining to Jihad and our own Hadith literature to prove the opposite. Ulema Islamic scholars) are maintaining a studied silence on this subject except giving general statements. … Clearly, Ulema need to go beyond making pious declarations of Islam having nothing to do with the offensive Jihad going on in several parts of the world today. They must take a stand and clarify why Islamic theologians over the centuries including reputed Indian ulema have interpreted war-time Quranic verses as calling for offensive jihad. These verses are being used both by Jihadis and Islamophobes to justify their respective viewpoints. It’s the religious duty of Ulema to come clean and clear the air, both for the sake of Muslim youth who are joining the Islamic State in growing numbers and non-Muslims who have come to fear Islam for obvious reasons

Concubines and Slavery in Islam
The Middle East Media Research Institute

Concubinage is allowed with two conditions if you meet the conditions as they met in the eras of Prophet [Muhammad] or of pious caliphs after him or during the caliphates after them... If you meet the conditions today you can keep concubines. "The first condition is that if during waging of jihad the women who come with the enemy forces to support them are captured and the emir of the army distributes them, it is his discretion, we can keep them as concubines. Second, if we explore and find some market where slaves and concubines are sold and the sale is established as a social institution there, the women you buy from there will be concubine....

Islamic Televangelism: The Salafi Window to Their Paradise
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
Islamic Televangelism: The Salafi Window to Their Paradise
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Dr. Ibrahim Saleh has explained that The Window to Paradise is a very popular programme in the Salafi Islamic televangelism. It has also greatly helped the Salafist preachers in propagating an anti-pluralist theology and exclusivist religious ideas.

Debates over the validity of pronouncing Talaq, divorce, three times in one go or over three months offer no solutions. Both methods find permissibility in schools of Islamic Fiqh, jurisprudence. Unilateral divorce allows men to commit grave injustices by stripping women of honour and dignity, inalienable rights both in Islam and the Indian Constitution. It is unwise to expect reform from the community whose religious leaders have historically treated women as subjects and not equals.....

This is what the Quran says about divorce: “al-Talaqu Marratan” (divorce twice) – and after that “either cohabitation as per the law or parting of ways in kindness.” In pre-Islamic society, men used to torment their wives by pronouncing and revoking Talaq again and again. The Quran abolished the mean practice by proclaiming that a Talaq can be revoked only twice, and that it should be pronounced the third time only if the marriage has irretrievably broken down and must be dissolved in the interest of both parties....

Related Article:

Reform Muslim Personal Law, Use Debate on Triple Talaq as an opportunity to Breach the Stagnation in Muslim Religious Thought

Amid an ongoing debate in the country over “Bharat Mata ki jai”, Darul-Uloom Deoband, the leading Islamic seminary of the Indian subcontinent, on Friday said that chanting of the slogan was against Islam. …

But scholars like Sultan Shahin, editor of NewAgeIslam.com, a website which talks about advocating reforms in Islam, slightly disagreed with the way the seminary interpreted the slogan 'bharat mata ki jai'. While the Darul-Uloom Deoband said chanting the slogan means “hailing and worshipping” the goddess “bharat mata', Mr. Shahin said, the slogan did not amount to worshipping 'bharat mata' and hence did not go against the idea of 'tauheed' (the belief in oneness of God).

“Primarily the idea of tauheed is believing into one God. However, there is a variety of interpretation of god and tauheed in Islam. The idea of tauheed (oneness of god) is vast enough to accommodate the idea of praising the motherland and showing love for her. I would not like to go into literal translation of Vandana or saying 'bharat mata ki jai' because I find the controversy unnecessary and irrelevant as there are enough controversies around the idea plaguing us,” said Mr. Shahin.

Talking about a variety of interpretations of 'tauheed', Mr. Shahin presented the instance of Sufis traditions in Islam and said that “a section of Islamic scholars, find even Sufi practices like going to Sufi Dargahs and praying to Sufi saints as against the idea of tauheed. Does that make Sufism un-Islamic? I do not think so. All versions of oneness of God are right but none should be forced on anybody”.

But Mr. Shahin also said that the slogan 'bharat mata ki Jai' should not be forced on anyone as the Constitution did not require anyone chant the slogan.

Is Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Phenomenon A New Fitna (Mischief)? Self-Righteous Kashmiri Sectarian Ulema Confer At A Book Release Function
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam
Is Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Phenomenon A New Fitna (Mischief)? Self-Righteous Kashmiri Sectarian Ulema Confer At A Book Release Function
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is one of the few sane scholars of Islam who calls for moderation, tolerance, pluralism and core values of Islam. He enjoys mass appeal among youth, as he can communicate to them unlike the traditional sectarian scholars and mullahs. He needs to be listened and appreciated for articulating a moderate, tolerant and inclusive interpretation of Islam. The attempts of low rung mullahs and sectarian scholars who enjoy little appeal among masses will in no way hamper the mission of Ghamidi, but it certainly points out a disturbing trend in Valley where pluralism of interpretation of religion is being curtailed through Unitarian efforts of sectarian censorship. This needs to be discouraged at every level because Muslims are not a monolith and in our tradition of Islam and Rishism, dissenting, alternative voices have never been curtailed by demeaning, labelling and branding them as conspiracy against Islam.

The Process for Divorce in the Quran
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
The Process for Divorce in the Quran
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

We know from psychological studies the power of priming. A person who does an act of kindness before sex is primed for behaving kindly towards his wife. Also the admonishment to fear Allah and to know with certainty that they are to meet Allah eliminates every chance of cruelty or coercion. The verse doubly ensures that the sexual act will be with kindness and generosity and without cruelty or coercion. Also the requirement of fulfilling conditions  before sex, elevates the act itself to the status of  a precious gift from the Almighty which requires thanks to be shown by performing some good act even before enjoying the gift.....

Related Article:

Qur’anic Wisdom: Marriage and Treatment of Women

http://www.newageislam.com/debating-islam/qur’anic-wisdom--marriage-and-treatment-of-women/d/8367

A person becomes a Kafir when he denies the truth in spite of being convinced that it is the truth. Since it is humanly impossible for a person to determine whether some person is denying the truth or not, it is only on the basis of information provided by the Almighty that a person can be called a Kafir. In the times of when He sent His Messengers (Rasul), He chose to impart this information to his Messengers through Wahi; however, after the departure of the last Rasul Muhammad (sws), people who have deliberately denied the truth cannot be pinpointed since the institution of Wahi has been terminated. No Muslim preacher is in a position to reveal the truth in a manner a Rasul is able to, nor can he ascertain who among his addressees is guilty of deliberately denying the truth.....

 

In one’s own country, without migrating to an independent piece of land, jihad is not allowed. The tale of Abraham (sws) and other verses pertaining to migration testify to this. The Prophet’s life (sws) also supports this view. The reason for this is that if jihad is not waged by a person who holds political authority, it amounts to anarchy and disorder....

For many centuries now, Islamic punishments have remained one of the hottest subjects of debate both inside and outside the Muslim world. “Islamic punishments are barbaric”, “Death to the death punishment”, “Civilized societies do not flog, stone to death or amputate hands” are a few of the typical slogans and comments that echo and reverberate among the intellectual elite of this Ummah. Without refuting the fact that Islamic punishments are indeed very severe, two things may perhaps help the modern mind in understanding the nature and logic of this severity.....

 

As many as 120 ulema from around the world belonging to most schools of thought have sent an Open Letter to ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’, And To the Fighters and Followers of the Self-Declared ‘Islamic State.’

Written in over 14, 000 words, this is a valuable document. It shows what is wrong with self-styled Khalifa Baghdadi's rulings. But, more importantly, it also shows what is wrong with moderate Islam at the present juncture; why this refutation will not work, and other such refutations do not work; and why our children will keep running away to ISIS and other terror centres. In fact, read between the lines, this moderate fatwa does not leave any leg for moderate Islam to stand on. ...

This is not to say the Open Letter is entirely useless or totally counter-productive. It is good as far as it goes. It does criticise Baghdadi and his clique, and quite vehemently, at least, for faulty implementation of Islamic principles, even if it agrees with him on the basics in several areas. But to expect the Open Letter to stem the tide of gathering support for the so-called Islamic State will be futile.

Extremism has been endemic in Islam, present almost from  the beginning of Islamic history. Muslims fought among themselves and quite vehemently even before the creation of Hadees and Sharia, which they now consider divine. Muslims have still not found an antidote to militant verses in the Quran that are now available to anyone with access to internet. Calling all verses of the Quran as of eternal value is not going to solve the problem. Calling Hadees and Sharia divinely inspired is no answer to the questions of the day.

Muslims will just have to  abandon the theology that leads to violence and supremacism and look for a new theology, a coherent theology of peace and pluralism, consistent in all respects with the teachings of Islam, and suitable for contemporary and future societies....

Related Articles:

Open Letter to Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, alias ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’, And To the Fighters and Followers of the Self-Declared ‘Islamic State’

URL of Part One: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/open-letter-to-dr-ibrahim-awwad-al-badri,-alias-‘abu-bakr-al-baghdadi’,-and-to-the-fighters-and-followers-of-the-self-declared-‘islamic-state’-–-part-one/d/104327

URL of Part Two: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/open-letter-to-dr-ibrahim-awwad-al-badri,-alias-‘abu-bakr-al-baghdadi’,-and-to-the-fighters-and-followers-of-the-self-declared-‘islamic-state’-–-part-2/d/104339

URL of Part Three:  http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/120-leading-religious-scholars-and-academics/open-letter-to-dr-ibrahim-awwad-al-badri,-alias-‘abu-bakr-al-baghdadi’,-and-to-the-fighters-and-followers-of-the-self-declared-‘islamic-state’-–-concluding-part/d/104348

Firstly, a husband and wife safeguard the chastity of one another by providing one another a legitimate means of satisfying the sexual urge. This protection of chastity is essential for the preservation of the family unit – the very institution on which the stability of a society hinges. Hence anything which puts chastity in jeopardy is disliked by the Almighty.....

This misconception has arisen because of a wrong translation of the Arabic phrase Naqisat-i ‘Aql wa Din. The word Naqs has generally been translated as “defective” keeping in view the Urdu meaning of the word. However, in Arabic, the verb نَقَصَ (Naqasa) means “to reduce” and the word عقل (‘Aql) here means “worldly affairs” since it is used in conjugation with the word دين (religion).....

 

 Consequently, Muslims must never break the laws of the country they live in and if a situation comes when, owing to some law, they are not able to follow a directive of their religion that seems imperative to them, they should first of all bring the matter in the notice of the authorities. ...

 

It alleged that the Qur’an has variant readings. Typically a verse may have more than variations. It is generally believed that these variations have been divinely revealed. The first person to record these readings in the form of a book was Abu ‘Ubayd Qasim Ibn Salam (d. 224 AH). He recorded twenty five readings; Abu Ja‘far Tabari (d. 310 AH) recorded over twenty readings, while it was Abu Bakr Ibn Mujahid (d. 324 AH) who selected the seven famous ones........

 
Reasons for Misinterpreting the Qur’an
Louay Fatoohi
Reasons for Misinterpreting the Qur’an
Louay Fatoohi

Like any scripture, and indeed any text, the Qur’an is open to different interpretations. Some interpretations are plausible, others are possible but unlikely, and many more are impossible so they can only be forced on the text. Among the latter category are interpretations that accuse the Qur’an of supporting unjustified violence, such as waging war against others for no reason other than being non-Muslims. Such misinterpretations are used by Muslim terrorists, such as ISIS, but they are also favourites of critics of the Qur’an who have their own agendas. While people with particular agendas deliberately use certain misguided methods to force certain misinterpretations out of the Qur’an, anyone reading and interpreting the Qur’an may inadvertently use those flawed approaches......

How ISIS Crippled Al-Qaida
Shiv Malik
How ISIS Crippled Al-Qaida
Shiv Malik, Ali Younes, Spencer Ackerman and Musta

Today, Maqdisi counts the leader of al‑Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as a personal friend, and he is held in the highest esteem by the rest of al-Qaida’s regional heads, from North Africa to Yemen. His numerous books and pamphlets are required reading for Islamic militants around the world, who eagerly follow the latest proclamations on Maqdisi’s website, the Pulpit of Monotheism and Jihad. But he may be best known for personally mentoring Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who founded the organisation that would later become Isis, while the two men were jailed together on terrorism charges in Jordan in the mid-1990s. Zarqawi was released in 1999 and, after swearing allegiance to al-Qaida, went on to become one of the most notorious figures in postwar Iraq, unleashing a brutal campaign of sectarian terror, which led Maqdisi to publicly upbraid his most famous student in a series of devastating public critiques....

 
A Net Assessment of the Middle East
George Friedman
A Net Assessment of the Middle East
George Friedman

The collapse of the Soviet Union energized Islam, both because the Mujahideen defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan and because the alternative to Islam was left in tatters. Moreover, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait took place in parallel with the last days of the Soviet Union. Both countries are remnants of British diplomacy. The United States, having inherited the British role in the region, intervened to protect another British invention — Saudi Arabia — and to liberate Kuwait from Iraq....

 
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NEW COMMENTS

  • who exactly is a renowned scholar, pray
    ( By hats off! )
  • Why to blame pakistan ? If you plant a mango seed you get a mango...
    ( By Madhuraj Patinhare Covilakam )
  • Quran 4:19 (Mohsin Khan translation), "O you who believe! You are forbidden...
    ( By zuma )
  • Quran 4:128 (Mohsin Khan translation), "And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion....
    ( By zuma )
  • Quran 4:90 (Mohsin Khan translation), "Except those who join a group...
    ( By zuma )
  • Totally rubbish comment from Hats Off! Even renowned scholars become targets of his hate if they...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • He did not say Islam is a race. White racists and Zionists figure prominently among the Islamophobes.'
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • a pot calling a kettle black. the leftist libtards...
    ( By hats off! )
  • is islam a race? or are muslims a race? islam is an idea and muslim is just...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Hats Off's deceptive techniques will not work here. The fact is that no one....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Very good discussion on what it means to be a Muslim in India.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Having an ideological dialogue with mass murderers does not only give....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent article! Hindutva history is just a mythic creation to bolster...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • There was a general failure to understand the underlying unity of the...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • ‏ایمان کے بعد طہارت بندے کے لئے فرض ہو جاتی ہے۔نماز طہارت کے بغیر نہیں ہوتی۔ ظاہری طہارت پانی سے اور باطنی طہارت توبہ اور ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • i have never seen so much hatred of the jew, the kuffar, the munafiq and the mushriq as there is in islam and the muslims.' ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Terrorist attitude is not of that individual alone , it is the outcome of the very foundational aspect....
    ( By Madhuraj Patinhare Covilakam )
  • ban everything that comes from such religious wrong idealogy who believes in reward in heaven and...
    ( By yaya )
  • Hats Off sounds like a broken record. His sole interest is in blaming and vilifying Islam. I have...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • no. what we should on the other hand do is restart and replay that age old gem "nothing to do with islam" hit ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Hats Off's bag of tricks includes presenting regressive views as moderate views...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • All South Asian countries must mount a vigorous joint counter-offensive...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Those who glorified the ISIS and misled the Muslim youth are trying....
    ( By Arshad )
  • My article was published in Urdu section on APril 3. Anybody can read it....
    ( By Arshad )
  • This article is plagiarise from my article on the same topic published...
    ( By Arshad )
  • In a sharp contrast, the 'Wilayat' in the Sufi connotation is quite different...
    ( By GRD )
  • this will continue as long as moderate muslims keep parroting the untruths such as - islam empowers women, ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Hats Off seems to have made a career of lying about me and slandering me! As if that will hide his venomous....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Muslims seem to need authoritative and clear rules to conduct themselves. Spontaneous and heart-felt behavior seems,...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Yes, that is what being a true Indian means.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • They have been driven mad by a frenzy of hate...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Such organizations have no place in India. Indian Muslims....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • ISIS narratives as well as ISIS actions are satanic....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • you are a total fake and it has been proved many times. rather painfully proved...
    ( By hats off! )
  • The prescriptions and prohibitions from religion have always proved to be logical in hindsight but the wisdom....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Person like Gulam Mhouddin is same Rat as he calling Hatts off.'
    ( By Aayina )
  • Whatever may be the geographical origin, Muslims, in general, become extremely intolerant and ....
    ( By Madhuraj Patinhare Covilakam )
  • Islam in India should reform itself to be eligible to exist in India.'
    ( By Madhuraj Patinhare Covilakam )
  • Trump's anti-Muslim policies have a distinctly malignant character, hence we can expect Hats Off to run to his defense.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • There is no such thing as Orwell's Utopia.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )