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Books and Documents

Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

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”....

The Mantle of Religious Interpretation Needs To Be Taken Away From the Clergy
Raza Habib Raja

A common tactic used by religious rights is to discourage any critical debate, and to give a belittling reference to inadequate qualifications of those who are trying to adopt a reformist approach. What really amazes me that this reference is never made when you are supporting ultraconservative view of Islam?...

Emphasis  On  Arab  Or  Persian  Culture  Prevents  Islam’s  Acceptance As  A  World  Religion
Asif Merchant, New Age Islam

To qualify as a world religion, Islam has to be acceptable in any part of the world, with anyone being accepted as a Muslim, purely on belief, and no other criterion. This can never happen as long as we have people in authority who are not willing to consider that the Holy Prophet had something more in mind for Islam than merely the Namaaz and the Hijab which the clerics are so fond of emphasizing. Consider the so-called Islamic calendar. It only records the lunar cycle, but is useless for agriculture or travel. ...

Islam Is In Need Of a Renaissance: It Is Not Enough for Muslims to Say That Terrorists Misinterpret Islam
Saif Mahmood

Islam is in need of a Renaissance. Like every other religion that has grown by proselytisation, Islam too has had a violent history which, in those times, was defensible. However, much as the advent of Islam was all about progressivism, unlike their proselytising predecessors, Muslim theologists have failed to inform their beliefs and attitudes with contemporary standards and demands of inclusivity. There is a pressing need to present Islamic texts unambiguously and in consonance with present-day realities, leaving no room for misconstruction by anyone. ...

It Is True That ‘Terrorism Has No Religion’ but Islam Has To Embrace the Modern, Examine Its Theology Afresh
Rakesh Sinha

Two Islamic concepts, Jehad and kafir, are interpreted from an extre­mely moderate to a highly extremist manner. This is an issue Indian Muslim seminaries need to ponder on. Secular education is another solution. Common schooling creates mutual sympathy and goodwill. Many madrasa teachings lead to radicalisation....

Ijtihad, the Cornerstone of Islamic Tradition, Has Been Put in the Cold Storage, What Went Wrong
M Zeb Khan

Ijtihad, which was the cornerstone in Islamic tradition, aimed at connecting the immutable principles of Islam with changing conditions of the world, has been put in the cold storage for the last five hundred years. Instead of defending their sectarian turfs, the Ulema should have worked for unity of the Ummah and its repositioning as a global power....

Muslims Can Reinterpret Their Faith: It’s the Best Answer to ISIS
Hassan Radwan

Realising the Qur’an is fallible will not destroy Islam. It will destroy the literalists. For the rest of us it will free us and free our reason so we can take what is useful and helpful from religion and ignore what is not. Islam did not come to replace the mind God gave us and turn us into heartless robots. ..

Contradictions of Religion

However, the most conservative and radical elements of Islam are being used to rationalise, legitimise and excuse the most violent acts against states, people and societal institutions. And, regarding the role of women, so-called honour killings and the embrace of Salafist and Wahhabi ideologies, Islam is in conflict with modernity....

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NEW COMMENTS

  • GM Sb, You have a problem with the Quran. I don't have any. I find it lucid, clear, rational, just and perfect. Sort out your problem ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • جانورں کی قربانی . ثُمَّ مَحِلُّهَا إِلَى الْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ ﴿22/33﴾ اور پھر ان کو بیت العتیق کے پاس ذبح کرو- حج کا مقصد ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ جَعَلَ ...
    ( By Mubashir )
  • Question: During Hajj, does some one keep a count of how many animals have been slaughtered and is the meat shared with the people? If ...
    ( By Mubashir )
  • By focusing on differences between the Quran and the Gospels are we trying to give a unique status to our Holy Book...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • My comment was a response to your comment as well as that of GM sb. My response to you is in the first line. There was ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • While Allah may forgive anything to anyone, why should...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • what has been attempted by mr. naseer ahmed is neither here nor there. i never brought in judaic...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Dear Arshad Alam, While what you write may be true - the marginalization of and tacit...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Dear Mubashir, This is to quote from my jt publication, Essential Message of Islam to....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • If you don't find this to be one of the most damning and shameless acts in Pakistan's history,…...”
    ( By Skeptical )
  • Shaped by history is human, not divine, and can be reformed or discarded. Theology is shaped by humans and can be reformed/discarded.....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Aayina, Muslims hate the Israeli Jews because of the Palestinian issue and not because their faith teaches them. After the Spanish Inquisition, the Jews found ...
    ( By Mubashir )
  • Simple.... The presence of "Love Jihad" philosophy has been simply proved from the horse's mouth. Hindus need to be cautious on this.'
    ( By Raju )
  • Plz clarify Quranist detailed aqeeda...'
    ( By Arif Qureshi )
  • Gulam Mohiyuddin is right, unless Pakistan does not declare India as friend, Indian Muslims cannot like India with full heart ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • We have Holy Books which, if properly used, can be useful guides. But Islam, Christianity and Judaism are not really "religions...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Sad state of affairs.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This will continue as long as Pakistan and India remain enemies.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Your well-argued article situates Muslims as a community within the contemporary social and political context. How long will such discrimination and...
    ( By Meera )
  • authenticity' is not a function of being 'shaped by history.
    ( By hats off! )
  • The subject of the article is reform using the historical approach. Can the ahadith be revised/reformed using the....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • i am afraid, as is usual with you, you will never ever answer in a direct and forthright manner. you are just rambling as you ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • गाय, बकरे, भेड़, उँट, को जन्नत पोहचाने के लीये सूक्रीया. बाकी रही, ईनसानो की चालू कर दो, बजाय काफ़िर, हीन्दू के ध्धीमी केहके मारने की बजाय, ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Salam. Any subject like animal sacrifice can be open to discussion. However, when someone writes: "It is nothing but a Church/Clergy instituted con-job."...
    ( By Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq )
  • Dear hats off! You raised the following two questions to Rashid Samnasky (shown in red ink). I have seen his reply, which....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Remarkable similarities between Pakistan's Jamaat ud Dawa and India's RSS.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • a good exposition of the "no true scotsman" fallacy. no true religion etc.,
    ( By hats off! )
  • self reference belongs in a category of paradoxes. one who would depend upon self ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Dear Mubashir, Ghamidi is completely mistaken. The punishment was only to those who fought against the Muslims and broke their treaties ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The Quran says explicitly that it is produced by Allah....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Jammu and Ladak is predominantly occupied by Hindus.There is peace .However in Muslims majority area ie Kashmir unrest....
    ( By DR.A.ANBURAJ )
  • Dear Naseer, Ghamidi says that the punishment would be from...
    ( By Mubashir )
  • A picture/idol of Lord Buddha sitting in Padmasanam is always a source....
    ( By DR.A.ANBURAJ )
  • Animal slaughter is a historical custom aimed at pleasing a deity/ God or a heightened gesture of hospitality in entertaining a guest over meal. ...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • I've signed an eye-donation pledge and a body-donation pledge, too. I have...
    ( By Haan )
  • Respected Rabbi, May God bless you immensely!
    ( By ji )
  • My dear hats off, if there is no detail given for say, church services, worship/puja and their associated rituals then....
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • As far as I know, the Quran itself does not make any claim of being uncreated.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Welfare of mankind and protection of our home planet would and should figure prominently in any intelligent Muslim...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • What does historicism mean? It does not mean that the Quran is not a historical document.....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )