Radical Islamism and Jihad
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
Now the question is, how do we go forward? If we really want to make a difference, we will have to start a substantive dialogue with the ulema and make sure that they agree to:
1) open the gates of ijtihad, rethinking all tenets of Islam in the light of the situation prevailing today. As we have not done our homework for over a millennium, this will have to be pretty revolutionary.
2) declare that only constitutive and essential, not the contextual and allegorical verses of Quran, are meant to guide us today.
3) compile Qur'anic verses in the order in which they were revealed, thus restoring primacy to Meccan verses that mostly constitute the essential and universal teachings of Quran, as they can be understood without any need for knowing the context in which they were revealed.
4) declare that Ahadees cannot be considered any form of revelation from God. Islamic State’s millenarian thesis is almost entirely based on ahadees, though they use some allegorical verses of Quran as well. The claim of al-Baghdadi leading an end-time war, al-Malhama, just before the final Armageddon, has been a big draw. Some Muslims have come to think life on earth has no meaning left in the times of al-Malhama and so are rushing to join the war.
5) declare that Sharia (fiqh) is not divine. It was created over a century after the demise of the Prophet by ulema who tried to codify laws on the basis of Qur'anic postulates and Arab cultural practices.
6) declare clearly that Islam believes in co-existence with other religions, not dominion over the world.
7) re-define commonly used Islamic terms like Muslim, kafir, mushrik, ahl-e-kitab, jihad, qital, farz, sunnat, etc.
In a word, we must evolve a truly Islamic and a coherent theology of peace and co-existence, moderation and modernity, to counter the very coherent theology of violence and xenophobia, intolerance and supremacism that Jihadi ulema have created over centuries. All ulema say Islam is a religion of peace and co-existence. It's time for them to walk their talk. But if they refuse to consider change, we will need to directly reach the Muslim masses. ...
Finally, the larger Indian community too should introspect. As Daniel Pipes said in an international counter-terrorism conference in Jaipur recently, in this war of ideas, the world should not only encourage and support progressive, modern Muslims but also oppose and refrain from supporting the fundamentalists and extremists.
1) Our national leadership supported Khilafat in 1920s, considering it an essential part of Islamic theology. That was wrong. Now we must repudiate that stance and acknowledge our mistake.
2) Muslim Personal Law in India has not been reformed even to the extent it has been in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This must change. At least General Ayyub Khan’s reforms in Pakistan must be introduced and Ulema should be told to accept what their Pakistani and Bangladeshi counterparts did decades earlier. This is not a satisfactory solution but at least it will be a start and it is doable.
3) Madrasa education is a serious violation of the human rights of Muslim children. It destroys their lives and fills their minds with xenophobia and intolerance. Our government not only allows this but partly funds some madrasas. This must stop, unless, of course, madrasas actually change to become modern versions of what madrasas used to be like, in the Golden Age of Islam, and produce scientists and philosophers. A secular, democratic government should not be in the business of funding xenophobia and intolerance.