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Books and Documents

Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

The Quran doesn’t settle issues; it unsettles our complacency and asks us to think over issues, have a consultation or dialogue on the same and always consider the best amongst knowledgeable. In fact the Quran as discourse invites us to have a sort of Socratic dialogue with ourselves/others so that what is to be truly honoured or is just or beautiful comes to focus. We usually fail to notice why the Word or Revelation necessarily means renouncing the very desire to interpret on our part. A look at the theory of Revelation across religions clarifies the key question so that we don’t hanker after meanings but prepare for receiving all meanings that there are or become receptive to that which is – pre-linguistic suchness – and one transcends all interpretative framing.....

 

Quran Consistently Invites Human Beings to Apply Sama (Ears) and Basr (Eyes) To Acquire Knowledge
Ahmad Raza

Qawwali/Sama is yet more proof of the power of cultural transmission of spirituality and ethical life by means of organised listening. Rauscher and colleagues have reported in Neuroscience Letters that listening to Mozart’s music enhances spatial-temporal reasoning by the brain. Voisin, for example has discovered in his research that listening in silence activates auditory areas in brain. According to French psychologist Jean Piaget, active listening plays a basic role in the construction of our mental models of reality and knowledge....

 

As a matter of fact, Islamic dogmatism, orthodoxy and fundamentalism as subscribed to by many Muslim scholars, politicians, preachers and disciples of today are a fallacy bringing about a fixated culture in society. The absence of reasoning and inquiry has stagnated their minds and this has become an anathema to their progress. Preachers delving into this dogmatic approach to Islam should not be allowed to spread their influence, as this will muddle Muslim minds more and cause them to return to the obscure ages of the past....

For too long, Muslims have been imprisoned by the idea that their Present is simply the West’s Past, and that their Future can only lead to the West’s Present. To actually fulfil Tahtawi’s real vision, we must tap into the deep, rich bodies of knowledge produced by Muslims over the centuries, and unchain ourselves from Western hegemonising categories of understanding. This is how we can produce a fresh and liberating engagement with Western traditions of knowledge....

 

Islam Has the Progressive Spirit Within, It is Religious Orthodoxy Which Creates Gender Imbalance
Raza Habib Raja

I believe that Islam has that progressive spirit within. We just need to emphasise on it, so that we can come out of the current situation we are time-trapped in. I hope that this debate, which has been kicked off by this act of bravery on Beevi’s part, sets a good precedent and continues to take place. Only by debating these issues can we move forward in the right direction. For now, good luck to Jamida Beevi, and all the other valiant women who are supporting her!...

God Would Want Something Different From Us Today Than What Was Applicable In the 7th Century
Pamela K. Taylor

While this may seem like a huge departure from traditional theology and jurisprudence, the companions of the Prophet clearly saw the Qur’an and its teachings in this manner. For instance, Omar suspended punishments for theft mentioned in the Qur’an during a famine. Obviously, he understood that as circumstances change, so too should our understanding of the Qur’an. I am suggesting nothing more and nothing less....

Islam We Have Today Is Not What God Intended For Us in the 21st Century, Rather It Is a Frozen Version from More Than 1,000 Years Ago
Aidha Saleh Albreiki

The Islam we have today, he says, is not what God intended for us in the 21st century but rather a frozen version from more than 1,000 years ago. This heritage is often backward, irrational and certainly not sacred, according to his views. He contends that even the Hadiths of Prophet Mohammed are not revelations nor sacred, and that we should follow the Quran alone. This view of Hadiths is the same as that of the Quraniyoon who, as the name suggests, limit themselves to following the Quran only. But he is not considered part of this group because he has his own wide-ranging and unconventional interpretation of the Quran....

It Is a Challenging Thing In This World To Be A Muslim Reformer
Nesrine Malik

But how does one stay on the right side of the fight—rightly denouncing abuses committed in the name of Islam, such as honour killings, female genital mutilation, or the death sentence for blasphemy and apostasy—without giving ground to those who want to make those abuses about a religion or a people in a defining, essentialist way? And how does one manage this without falling into the traps of apologia or cowardice? ...

 

These include the doctrine of Al-Wala’ Wal Bara’, blasphemy laws, Hudood laws and hate rhetoric. This will be a tall order as the task is further compounded by the ongoing issue of sectarianism and inter- and intra-religious conflict. While some of these challenges are unsettling due to geo-political reasons, some are not insurmountable and can be moderated through creative and contextual interpretations – as seen from the other efforts discussed in trying to develop moderate 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....

 
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    ( By hats off! )
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    ( By hats off! )
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    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
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    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
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    ( By Joyson Duraisingh )
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    ( By Rabindra Dutta Roy )
  • Why leave the great USA.
    ( By Rabindra Dutta Roy )
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