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Books and Documents

Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

Recontextualising, or Reforming the Problematic Tenets within Islamic Orthodoxy Needed to Save Indonesia from Islamism
Yahya Cholil Staquf

The recontextualisation and reform of Islamic orthodoxy is thus crucial to the welfare of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, for it constitutes the one indispensible prerequisite of any rational and humane solution to the multi-dimensional crisis that has plagued the Muslim world for over a century — which not only shows no sign of abating despite an ever-growing toll of human lives and misery, but rather, increasingly threatens to spill over and engulf humanity as a whole....

 

Many terrorists who typically graduated from secular institutions instead of Islamic seminaries formulated discourses entirely foreign to Islamic tradition. In other words, their discourses have no intellectual precedent in Islamic traditions. For instance, the idea that killing innocent people can be justified or that the aims of a state should include establishing an Islamic caliphate -- neither have any grounding in Islamic classical intellectual legacy....

One could well say that the sacred texts don’t mean; they are. They are us. Since our own being remains rather dimly available for scansion, how come sacred texts could become available? No wonder most of the Quran is Mutashabihat that resists meaning closure. In fact the very quest to interpret has to be ultimately given up. One finds salvation by consenting to becoming a Question that our being is....

 

Malaysia: Reclaim a Narrative of Islam That Is More Humanist, Egalitarian and Inclusive
Aizat Shamsuddin

Religious leaders from all faiths, Shariah judges and community leaders – also referred to as social influencers – must be exposed to democracy, political science, law and human rights to understand the state policies from multiple angels and not just from the religious perspective. And that the state's operations are complex and reformative according to our progression in the 21st century....

How Much of Islamic Tradition, As It Was At Its Genesis, Is Meant To Be Preserved
Mustafa Akyol

These are the Muslims who live in the high latitudes, where “dawn till dusk” can equal almost the entire 24-hour day. In Reykjavik, Iceland, for example, which is now home to nearly 1,000 Muslims, the sun will set at midnight, only to come back in about two hours. That means the fasting time will be as long as 22 hours, allowing for only one meal a day. No wonder this challenge has become a major point of discussion among Muslim scholars in the past few decades...

Muslim clerics at mosques from across France were quick to respond to the “manifesto,” warning that it could inflame relations between religious communities in the European nation.  Head of the Great Mosque of Bordeaux, Tareq Obrou, expressed outrage at the divisive letter, pointing out that “attributing anti-Semitism to Islam almost constitutes blasphemy, as two-thirds of the Qur'an’s prophets are Jewish". ...

 

Does Erdogan Intend To Open The Doors Of Ijtihad?
Seda Demiralp

While “reform” has been a taboo in traditional Sunni Islam, there used to be some room for change within the traditional school, through the concept of “Ijtihad” (reasoning). This mechanism allowed the uncertainty and confusion that emerged during the adaptation of Islamic teaching to law in the four centuries after the emergence of Islam to be addressed. But around the 10th century the majority of Islamic scholars concluded that no issues were left that needed further clarification and the doors of Ijtihad were essentially closed....

 

Redefining Islam for the 21st Century
Tehmina Kazi

This brings me to another unique feature of the critical Muslim movement: we are taking control of our own destiny, without allowing external forces to dictate the terms. For example, the recent "Happy Christmas 4ALL" Facebook campaign was an organic response to the frustration of seeing "Muslims ban Christmas" fabrications in the press. It turned into a celebration of the diverse ways in which people of all faiths and none mark the season. ....

 

Why Erdogan Called For Updating Islam
Mustafa Akyol

Here is the key point: These terrible views were shocking to Turkey’s secularists, almost all of whom are against Erdogan. But they were also shocking to most moderate religious conservatives, many of whom vote for Erdogan. This is the case, because as polls show, hard-core Islamists who would like to see a Sharia-based Turkey — one like Saudi Arabia, where sexes are segregated and adulterers are stoned — makes up a small minority in Turkey....

Al-Azhar Stands For Moderation of Thought
Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Many purist leaders called for changing “general principles” to the “rulings (Ahkam) of Islamic Shariah,” as they argued that general principles can refer to general values such as equality and justice in a way to avoid instituting Islamic substantive law. The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled that the state should only uphold rules that are considered apodictic with respect to both authenticity and meaning.....

Islam in the Modern Age
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Islam in the Modern Age
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Why are we so caught up in theological disputes and issues that are best left between a person and his or her God? Sure there can be guidance by religious teachers but must this result in Fatwas leading to violence and death? The Holy Quran says “there is no compulsion in religion” (Al Quran 2:256). A well known though widely disputed Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) says “My Companions are like the stars in the sky. You will find the truth no matter from whom among them you receive Hadiths.....

Al-Farabi reconciled the Prophet-Imam figure with the Philosopher, Ghazzali reconciled Sufism with orthodoxy of the day, Soharwardi reconciled Iranian-Zoroastrian and Islamic philosophies, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd reconciled science/philosophy and religion, Shah Waliullah reconciled two major Sufi schools and most importantly the paths of saints and the path of prophets, Iqbal reconciled the diverse portfolios of a philosopher, a theologian, a mystic and a poet in himself as did  many sages preceding him. These attempts may need refinement now and newer paths need to be charted in the face of ever evolving nature of challenges posed by sciences and philosophies....

 

What is clear is that the eradication of extremists and radicals who have hijacked Islam and the religious agenda in general, requires not only law-enforcement measures but the efforts of enlightened clerics supported by government reforms and, most importantly, the end of foreign occupation and domination of Muslim countries....

Turkish Scholars Aim To Modernise Islam's Hadith
Yigal Schleifer

The Hadith, which are not part of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, began as oral traditions that were only written down long after the prophet's death. Much of Islamic, or Sharia, law is derived from the Hadith. The meaning of many Hadiths has been lost and the cultural or geographical context of a text is forgotten...

 

Turkey’s Hadith Project: Turkey Presents Prophet's Sayings for the 21st Century

“We needed a new work with Islamic beliefs in the perspective of today’s culture.” The Hadiths record Mohammad’s words and acts during his life. Preachers and jurists use them to understand the Quran and support Muslim teachings and Fatwas (religious edicts) on all aspects of life, from prayer to education for women....

The Turkish Hadith Project - Part One: Revisiting Traditions and the Struggle within the Islamic World
Peter Riddell

Stereotyping the world of Islam is a fruitless task; such is its internal diversity. Nowadays sectarian conflict is tearing apart Muslim populations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. While some Muslims pursue a vision of a forward-thinking, rationalist faith, others look backwards to what they see as a pristine age when Muhammad established the first Islamic community in Medina....

 

The Islamic World Doesn't Need a Reformation
Mustafa Akyol

If the Protestant Reformation teaches us anything, it is that the road from religious fracturing to religious tolerance is long and winding. The Muslim world is somewhere on that road at the moment, and more twists and turns probably await us in the decades to come. In the meantime, it would be a mistake to look at the darkest forces within the current crisis of Islam and to arrive at pessimistic conclusions about its supposedly immutable essence....

Digests of selected Hadiths are nothing new in Islam. Scholars have produced them for centuries to help Muslims learn about the Prophet’s sayings without having to navigate through the long and sometimes confusing classical compilations. What makes this one different is that it selects and explains the Hadiths from the perspective of today’s Turkey...

The list of prohibited things inserted by Revelation later is very short and their prohibition is almost universally recognized amongst civilized people. “Say, My Lord has forbidden only shameful deeds, be they open or secret, and sin, and unjustified greed, and the association with God of that for which He has sent down no authority, and the saying against God of what you don’t know” (Quran, 7.33).  Note if the word God may be replaced by the word Reality (Al-Haqq, used for God in the Quran) every religion (and even nonreligious humanistic cultures) agrees with this list....

For an Islamic Modernity
M J Akbar

Secularism is informed with the same spirit of harmonious co-existence but has adopted variables in different cultures at different times. The Holy Quran has defined it cogently: Lakum Deenokum Wail Yadeen. No religion promotes war for the sake of war; war is valid only as self-defence. Our Indian philosophy believes in the co-existence of all faiths rather than the elimination of faith....

“Originally, individuals were free to select and follow the school of Ijtihad they preferred. They could even combine it with preferred parts of the jurisprudence of other schools. As the State grew more powerful, such choices were increasingly taken out of the hands of individuals. Ultimately, the State took choice away from Muslim citizens altogether in many areas of the law by selecting the jurisprudence of one of the schools as the law of the land.” There have been not just Fuqaha but philosophers and Sufis and poets who have engaged with the problem of law in their own way, especially in debates on principles and objectives. Iqbal dismissed tendency of legalism (that Jesus, Sufis, poets fought against) thus “Teri Tarz-E-Ada Faqeehana Ho To Kya Kahyaey.”

 

The Cultural and Intellectual Decline Destroyed the Spirit of Enquiry
Shahid M Amin

The cultural and intellectual decline was even worse. Religious orthodoxy became dominant in Muslim societies. With the loss of political power, the traditional religious leaders were left with no influence in any sphere, except religion. They became increasingly dogmatic and strict in their control of religious life. Such orthodoxy destroyed the spirit of enquiry....

 

If We Can't Criticize Islam, We Can't Reform It
Kacem El Ghazzali

It has become crystal clear that Islam needs an Enlightenment. However, initiating the Enlightenment process is a near-impossible task, so what can be done? First, it's important to agree on some basic concepts. For example, it is not "Islamophobic" for someone to criticize everyday conservative Islam generally and Islamism in particular. On the contrary, criticism is a prerequisite for any lasting reformation within Islam....

Retracing Abraham’s footsteps
Aijaz Zaka Syed

The Muslims are busy killing their fellow believers while their brothers and sisters in distant lands like Myanmar are being hunted and killed like animals. The Rohingya genocide has been unfolding on the world community’s watch for some time. But you hear no angry denunciations and threats by world powers. The silence is deafening. Why should the world cry and care for the luckless Rohingya or other Muslims for that matter when the Ummah itself has lost its voice and is preoccupied with its own petty squabbles?

 

What now that the Haj is over
Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Islam has taken an unfair pasting in much of the non-Islamic media thanks to the vicious and depraved acts of a small number of thugs and terrorists posing as Muslims going about killing and blowing up people. This has to stop, and it should start with us.

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  • Mr Arshad If Emanted from single source is right than only middle eastern and Abrhamic relgion cannot be only given ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • Gulam Mohyuddin always critisis Hatts off, but Hatts put bitter truth in bitter from. He/she/?? Who so ever Hatts off must be read and undesrtood. Mr ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • What I said is clear for everyone to see. The sole purpose of Hats Off's visits here is to create some stink.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • starving syrian kids must have plenty of food for thought. probably so do the ethiopian kids. and of course the kids in the "islamic" republic ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • In modernist Islam spousal abuse, triple talaq and bigamy must all be banned.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off comes to this forum to call God "mean and nasty"! Being insensitive and unmannerly seems to....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Good article. He has addressed a burning issue which has divided the ummah. This is a severe issue but much has not been done to ...
    ( By arshad )
  • people with full stomach do not have much to think and so say things which do not have food for thought.'
    ( By arshad )
  • a god who gets satisfaction seeing people go hungry is not just mean, he is worthless, stupid and more like....
    ( By hats off! )
  • I am afraid this is the sentence we repeat numerous times in our daily discourse. But when the issue of blasphemy....
    ( By arshad )
  • Islam gradually became a violent religion because of the interpretation of certain extremist scholars...
    ( By s. arshad )
  • Mr Aayina, it is an effort to show that all the religions emanated from a single source and had similar rituals to please...
    ( By s. arshadS )
  • Great to start new idea to saw seed of diffrence rather than diversity in the mind of people by telling the diffrence of Saum and ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Good article and very practical suggestions from Mr Shahin. He is pointed out the basis of the distortion of Quranic principles of peace and peaceful ...
    ( By s. arshad )
  • Mullahs who taught hate and supremacism stayed in Pakistan and became rich and powerful whereas scholars who endeavored to “present ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Dealing with Islamic civilizational stagnation and espousing genuine modernistic modes of thinking require more guts than most of our ulema possess. Hence ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The Furqan Force or Furqan Battalion was a uniformed fighting force of volunteers (khuddam-i-din[1]) in newly formed Pakistan, composed....
    ( By Shan94 )
  • The Crown Prince's liberalization moves seem to be phony....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The basis and inseparable principle of Islam is the followers of Non-Arabic religions are Khafirs. As long as Khafir concept is exist, No ...
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • Hats Off's venom has always been directed more at moderate Muslims...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Although we do not want to join the Ahmadi sect we should certainly try to learn what makes them better exemplars of peacefulness...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • i know. you are one of the most moderate muslims since the prophet.....
    ( By hats off! )
  • To Mohmmad Rofiq. First I wish Mr sultan Shahin forward this to you. Indonesia and Malaysia ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • Historical Krishna or Mohmmad paigamber cannot be my ideal even Swami Ramdas says. This both had gave enough blunders in human life...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Article writer hiding its identity which tells thousand word how this Abrhamic tradition is hollow of non-violence had no example to ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • Abhrahmic violence technology is best why to use Dharmic relgions Non-violence notion when Abrhamic tradition and its God had establish it'd hegemony on ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • I do not need any anti-venom to spurn your hateful activity in this forum.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • so your anti-venom is just like snake-oil.'
    ( By hats off! )
  • The venom spewers are just a distraction here. The would fit in nicely in any apostate website.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • mr ghulam mohiyuddin comes to this forum to "spew" his anti-venom?
    ( By hats off! )
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia are equally to blame for the winds of war in the Middle East. We should condemn both equally.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent article! Let us hope Malaysians heed it.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Islamophobics will always deny the existence of Islamophobia just as the worst racists deny the existence of racism. One's own....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off's bitter hate for Islam makes him blind to the whole person and the sum total of his achievements and makes him paint ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • yeah! caravan raiding is so generous. just like taking sex slaves is. also it was really generous of the prophet to to reserve....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Jehadi ideology has to be defeated. Using the holy platform of the mosque to spread such an ideology must be prohibited. Exposure...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I am hopeful Allah is with me." Zakir Musa. I would be very surprised if Allah is with you and your retrogressive ideas....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Comments of the PAS President and Hats Off are equally simplistic but the latter's comment is also mean-spirited.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • To fix the me and other you have to fix your "Quran" first which has highest notion of me and other on nearly every page.' ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • This is what happens when Urbanisim, and mordernity was imposed on the Tribal India. I am against of all this public place encroachment but we need ...
    ( By Aayina )