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Books and Documents

Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

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.

Can Islam Be Reformed?
Ammar Anwer

There are so many sects and jurisprudence in Islam, each proposing a slightly different understanding of the doctrine despite the fact that Islam is a Unitarian religion: one God, one book and one Prophet. As it was possible for the Islamists, driven by the cause of Islamic revivalism, to propose a totalitarian understanding of Islam, it is also possible for progressive Muslims today, driven by their admiration for Western values, to propose a relatively liberal understanding of Islam....

’Today we are in need of modern ‘Ilm al Kalam’ by which we should refute the dogmas of modern Science or show that they are in conformity with the Islamic creeds.” According to him, whole physical universe including man is the work of God and religion is His word, so there can’t be any contradiction between the two. “The only touchstone of a real religion can be this: if it is in conformity with human nature or with nature in general, then it is true and real.”....

 

World's Largest Muslim Youth Organisation Calls for Re-Examination of Islamic Text
Amy Chew

“Civil discord, acts of terrorism, rebellion and outright warfare - all pursued in the name of Islam - will continue to plague Muslims and threaten humanity at large, until these issues are openly acknowledged and resolved,”...

Every liberal/secular voice is tacitly reduced as the voice of Jinnah and Muslim League. The sole emphasis is on redefining national consensus in Hindu cultural idioms and all parties except the diehard left seculars are playing along. We are witnessing a time when no political party is attempting to question the imagined consensus just to avoid the risk of being turned anti-Hindu. The resounding silence of so called secular parties on vigilante killings is a case point....

Indonesians Seek to Export a Modernized Vision of Islam
Joe Cochrane

The fighter’s bloodied shirt draws immediate attention — but so does a necklace dangling from the body: a Christian cross, worn by the independence martyr for the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. The 2006 painting has become the symbol of a global initiative by the Indonesian youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulema.....

Islam between Extremes:  Ijtihad Was a Vibrant Legal Process until the End of the Tenth Century
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

Ijtihad was a vibrant legal process until the end of the tenth century, by which point many doctrines were settled by jurists representing the various schools of law. Around this time, influential orthodox Sunni Ulema (Muslim clergy with several years of training) began to argue against the process of independent reasoning, claiming that it could distort Islam. .....

A Case for Moderating Islam
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

A Case for Moderating Islam
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

If Prophet Muhammad's life was revolutionary, its aftermath has seen a monological recital of Hadiths and inflexible analyses of Qur'anic verses, where historical context is taken up or ignored to suit the interpreter. Memories of early Islam have hardened into dogma, and many scholars have taken the Hadiths as tablets of stone. One of the greatest jolts to progressive thinking in Islam came from the colonial powers .The onslaught of this wave of Western wave of enlightenment and renaissance shattered the Islamic psyche.....

Moderation: The Capstone of Islam
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

Moderation: The Capstone of Islam
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

The theme of moderation in religious practice has been the leitmotif in Islamic literature from the very beginning, during the Prophet Muhammad's life in the early 7th century. In the Quran and the Prophetic traditions that amplify it, Muslim women and men are called upon to exercise moderation in all aspects of their religious life. "God desires ease for you, and desires not hardship," the Quran exhorts us, and Muhammad confirms: "Make things easy, do not make them difficult."….

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”....

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  • There is a good way to read the book and there is a Saudi/Hats-Off way to derive the worst meaning out of it. Giving vent ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off's hatefulness has blinded him to the fact that the Muslim community is not one homogenous mass. Moderate Muslims have their moderate opinions ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Muslims are not as pre-occupied with kufr as Naseer sb. thinks. Muslims hate Shias, Sunnis and Ahmadis a lot more than...
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  • Very good lecture.
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  • the saudi barbarians are merely asserting what their holy book tells...
    ( By hats off! )
  • The fight against sexual abuse necessarily entails more respect for women as equals with the same rights...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • the pretended surprise of "moderate" muslims is the grass in which the snakes of extremism hide and bite the kuffar.'
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  • As a society, we need to critically reflect on our practices that deny basic human rights to some individuals. Likewise...
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  • Rightly said, women’s right to assert themselves in matters of marriage should not be denied. These....
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  • Why is this so-called Capt. Safdar’s bigotry surprising? Replace Ahmadi with Hindu, Safdar with Jinnah and the rest of the speech ...
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  • Jai Shree Ram'
    ( By Rajkumar )
  • GM Sb says: “His claim that he is dealing a deadly blow to the extremist ideology is not only grossly exaggerated but is delusional” The definition ...
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  • Let us introduce common civil code in India, we can forget all such nonsenses.Let all married couples have two children in all let us ...
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • Sorry sisters, men do not like to self police so they do all short ps of thing with women on matter of clothing. Last peace ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • The simple answer, he was. He wanted Muslim to educate to dominate Hindus, if two nations theory cannot came into realisation.
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  • Easy way to is that called themselves as new Qadyian relgion and Gulam Mirza Ahmed as their prophet. Just start to lie like Mulism do that ...
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  • Its may be true that Muslim may not need to sexually assault. I have witnessed lots of my Muslim friends that Muslim girls are reach to ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Convertion might be not limited to bride but for kids certainly Muslim kid. Hypocrates have no answer ....
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  • a shameless member os the most persecuted sect in islam revels in his stockholm syndrome and crows about it. he never...
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  • As is typical of him, Naseer sb again resorts to abuse and insults. The fact remains that he has been trying to make a huge point ...
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  • the rag that goes by the name of "the independent" is now owned by a saudi arabian. one saudi ....
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  • All religions teach hatred and violence. Religious scrptures are full of bigotry. We should not be apologetic and there is no need to lie or, ...
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  • What Wahiduddin Khan, Javed Ghamidi and Muhammad Yunus have been saying is what Yunus sb said in his article “Hindus are Not the Mushrikin Mentioned ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • dictionaries are inherently islamophobic. and arabic does not have a word...
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  • @Manzar Khan By the way, I am not suggesting any changes in Islam. Only a new Islamic ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • @Manzar Khan Who authorised theologians to create their theology. In Islam, there is nothing between a Muslim and his...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Who authorized u Mr Shahin to suggest changes in Islam?'
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  • Dakshinamoorthi Raja Ganesan Thanks very much indeed. Regards.
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  • Sincerely congratulate on your bold call. Wish you all success in your mission.'
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  • Rafi Ahmed Don't change basic Islam, only discard its theology of hate and confrontation....
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  • How can one change basic Islam to suite present day requirements of one person.
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  • Saki Syed How can any one replace verses of the Holy Quran? Replace with what? Please try to understand Islamic theology....
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  • New Age Islam Do you want to replace the verses of the holy book ?.
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