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NEW COMMENTS

  • Dear Aayina, to my view, it is good that the subject of Mahdism is now being debated and discussed all over the Muslim world and ...
    ( By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi )
  • One man comments with various names !!!!!'
    ( By Siraj )
  • Muslims and Hindus are already living with peaceful coexistence. This article is just trying to disturb the peaceful situation.........'
    ( By Ravi Kumar )
  • who the hell are who want to send Muslims to other countries. India is the land of these Muslims. It is the country of muslims ...
    ( By Ruhul )
  • India is really proud of such a devoted Muslim son.'
    ( By Pramod Kumar Jena )
  • Yes don't blame Riot wingers for targeting Muslims. Don't blame them for killing Muslim
    ( By AIMIM )
  • One very simple question i would like to ask why are thesepeople killing they own people .are they all not Muslims they...
    ( By Michel Raymond )
  • Ulemas have already denounced ISIS and terrorism.. You ignorant fool... You paid troll..
    ( By Imtiaz Hussain )
  • That time has gone, now u Will loss your complete breed. Forgot horrible end of Laden
    ( By Yagnesh Joshi )
  • the answer to the given question is a big NO
    ( By Ragit Dutta )
  • OUR MEDIA ACTING AS LIKE AS ONE EYED GOAT,THEY ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE AS MEDIA TO BE
    ( By Kishore Kumar Mohapatra )
  • Unless and untill there's reform in Islam,the muslim cannot co-exist with others....the trends of killing to kafirs will ...
    ( By Borsing Terang )
  • To Author Well this coming of Mehdi or last messenger will never stop in Abhrahmic religion, lucky we Hindu have stopped or even not care or talked ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • That is enough that you alone are maligning the whole community who know nothing about the Indian mujahideen, only the ...
    ( By Moin Barbhuiya )
  • To Sultan Shahin Well if Most ulema if say their is no freedom of relgion if person is born as Muslim, than there is no point of ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • All the religious fanatic are living a fanatic future life which nobody has ever seen. They should live one ...
    ( By Nabam Serbang )
  • Dear Gulam Ghaus, please comment with sense and how can you compare rss, bajrang dal with ISIS/Terrorists..
    ( By Satya Prakash )
  • Send all muslims to Syria or pakisthan'
    ( By Ramesh Narayani )
  • Time to ask quetions n introscopy......time to act wisely
    ( By Sudhanshu Ranjan )
  • Only Muslims can pull Muslims out of this mess. If anyone else says anything , they feel islam is in danger. ..
    ( By Vasant Kathal )
  • @Vasant Kadam One of the rapidly growing problems in India is stemming from the Media circles where people play the role of Supreme Court’s judges. The ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus غلام غوث )
  • Shame on Muslims who r defending Isis rater calling them terrorists
    ( By Ajay Sharma )
  • Nice to see some sane voices raising from among muslims, certain ppl(believe m' ...
    ( By Rajan Gopal )
  • Puhar Daimari You say "All Muslims are alike. No difference. Either ISIS or common people" I do not agree with you. According to your thought, if Muslims ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus غلام غوث )
  • Mahdaviat Doctrine is another good reason why we should not rely on the Hadiths for our theology....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • All are fanatic and cannot have different opinion if they believed that book . ISIS has correct interpretation and Islam means not peace ...
    ( By Vasant Kadam )
  • This conspirator and a player of anti-islamic forces always tries to divide Islam on Meccan Islam And Madiyan Islam . It means he is doing ...
    ( By Shahid Sayyidain )
  • Friends, I don't qualify to talk about any other religion, but I know about India-Hindustan-Bharat. Am a proud Indian & have many Muslim friends since childhood ...
    ( By Surinder Pal Singh )
  • This article points out truth, but not the genocide of Christianity in ancient cultures going back 2,000 years....
    ( By Miriam12 )
  • What confuses us within apostolic Christianity which has been here for 2,000...we appreciate those Muslims who seek to be in good will with all people ...
    ( By Miriam12 )
  • Dear Mr. Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi sb. It was a very good read and very rare piece of writing. I never found this gem of an Islamic ...
    ( By Affan Publisher )
  • All muslim r alike.no differnce.either isis or comn people.'
    ( By Puhar Daimari )
  • That is the problem. The educated and liberal thinking people from the community does not object Jihadi themes or who propagate it boldly. This is ...
    ( By Pradip Choudhuri )
  • You are lying about muslim leaders maintaining a complete silence.'
    ( By DrMuhammad Mukhtar Alam )
  • Instead of writing such pieces ,please check with people first.'
    ( By DrMuhammad Mukhtar Alam )
  • I read comments too. Not certain. Everybody talks own religion. Why argue ?'
    ( By Rajendra Prajapati )
  • simply, is it possible to force islam on others. but it is possible follow your relgion with out hurting others.islam manifestation leaves no scope for ...
    ( By Mg Omprakash )
  • Indian Mujahedeen with IS? When did they say so? Who represents them?'
    ( By Ashraf Nvk )
  • Those asking to see this fatwa or that fatwa are trying to defend indefensible as we all know this is eyewash. Listen to warning and ...
    ( By Krishna Kumar Saboo )
  • No co-existence is brooked.'
    ( By Dereck Darlong )
  • LATEST ARTICLES

    Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

    A Complete Agenda for Reform in Islamic Theology
    Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

    My articles seek to establish the truth and knock out the falsehood on which the terror mongers thrive. The problem however is that their ideology is not very different from the corrupted Islamic theology supported by the Ulema of all sects. In the past, Allah has punished entire nations for corrupting His message and scriptures and spreading mischief. If we fail to see the truth and take corrective steps, the history of other nations on which the wrath of Allah descended, will repeat for the Muslim Ummah….

     
    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    ISIS’ Millenarian Theory and its Refutation: Perspectives from Several World Religions on Mahdaviat Doctrine and its Misinterpretations (Part 3)
    Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

    Note: A large part of the attraction of ISIS for Muslim youth is its millenarian thesis. It has convinced many that end of times is at hand, that they are engaged in the end-times battle, the Malhama. This has made the war they are engaged in imperative and urgent. Millenarianism or Islamic Eschatology, Ilm-e-Aakhiruzzaman, was an inspiration behind some ideologues of al-Qaeda as well. But Osama bin Laden himself and most of his ideologues did not emphasize it much. As for ISIS, even in its previous avatar as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīdwa-al-Jihād (The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad) founded in 1999 by Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi which later pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda,several ideologues strongly believed in the apocalyptic worldview, the theory of this war being the final great war, al-Malhama al-Kubra, in which Islam will conquer the world.

    World domination has been a Muslim dream for ever. Books like Qeyamat ki Peshingoyian, or prophesies of the Prophet about the last days on earth have always been a bestseller in Muslim religious bookshops in every part of the world. No matter how irrational, Muslims of all denominations have for ever been waiting for a Mahdi or an Imam who will appear in the final days and set everything right. Indeed, this belief cuts across religious barriers. Believers in a number of religions are looking forward to the sudden appearance of a deliverer. This has made the task of ISIS easier. To help us understand this phenomenon better, New Age Islam is presenting a study by our regular columnist Mr. Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, a classical Islamic scholar who specialises in comparative religion. --- Editor

     
    Islamic World News

    500 Indians Attracted To ISIS, Being Tracked In Real Time
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    No Muslim Family Should Engage In Birth Control: Erdoğan

    Saudi-Led Coalition Sends Modern Military Equipment to Al-Qaeda in Yemen

    Bangladesh: Hezb-e-Islami Demands Schedule for Foreign Forces Exit before Peace Agreement

    Plans Found For ISIS Attack in France as England Plays Russia

    India

    Babri Mosque Demolition: Hindu, Muslim Leaders Meet For Settlement

    Mideast

    Turkish PM Urges Merkel for ‘Prudence’ On ‘Genocide’ Resolution

    Arab World

    Peshmerga Announce Killing 140 ISIL Elements in Battles Northeast of Mosul

    Hajj Spat: Saudi FM Says Iran ‘Answerable to Allah’ For Trying to Politicize Pilgrimage

    Militants in Key Town West of Damascus Agree to Surrender to Syrian Army

    South Asia

    Taliban Kill 17 Passengers after Kidnapping Around 185 in Kunduz

    Europe

    Salafists Build a Community in the Heart of Europe

    Southeast Asia

    Push For Hudud Law Raises Tensions in Malaysia

    Pakistan

    Spain Arrests Pakistani Man For 'Promotion of Militancy' Via Social Media

    Islamabad ATC Issues Arrest Warrants for Imran Khan, Tahir ul Qadri

    Africa

    Libyan Guards Battle Islamic State to Retake Town near Oil Ports

    North America

    America Must Save Muslims Facing Death by Extremists

    Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

    For Details and More Headlines from All Regions, Please click, ‘More’

     
    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Pakistani Women Give Powerful Replies to CII on Men Beating Women ‘Lightly’

    Swedish Swimming Pools Introduce Women-Only Sessions

    Ankara: Is It a Democratic Right to Interfere with Women’s Clothes?

    More Women for Higher Quality in Politics

    'Imam Khomeini and Status of Women' conference in London

    Resurrecting Century-Old Muslim Women’s Voices from Urdu Magazines

    Salma Agha to get Overseas Citizen of India card

    Two Pakistani Women Arrested For Transferring Classified Docs To ISIS In Afghanistan

    Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

     
    Islam and Politics

    Mamluks and Maliks: Why Arab Monarchies Have Survived Uprisings Better Than Republics

    Strikingly, all the Arab leaders who were overthrown in 2011 were heading republics, not monarchies. Arab presidents, it seems, are hard but brittle. Nasser’s Egypt was typical of what Jean-Pierre Filiu, a former French diplomat, calls the “Mamluk state”....

     
    Islam and the West

    When Being Curious About Islam and Muslims Was the Hip Thing to Do
    Ishaan Tharoor

    In the 19th century and into the 20th century, myriad European elites displayed a fascination with the religion, languages, and customs of Muslims they encountered in the fraying domains of the Ottoman Empire and lands further east. This interest took myriad forms...

     
    The War Within Islam

    With a few years of hindsight, it is now clear that much of this effort was built on sand, literally. It is bound to vanish, not unlike some dunes in the Sahara....

     
    Islam and the West
    London versus ISIS
    Dominique Moisi

    London versus ISIS
    Dominique Moisi

    Khan’s election contrasts sharply with dynamics that seem to be at work elsewhere in the West. European populations – in Hungary and Poland, and with a close call in Austria – are falling prey to increasingly radical, openly xenophobic populism. In the United States, Donald Trump’s bombastic bigotry has won him the Republican nomination for the presidency...

     
    Current Affairs

    Pakistan’s National Psyche: The Missing Self Esteem
    Syed Ata Hasnain

    I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be a citizen of Pakistan. I often meet the elite Pakistani citizenry which paints a picture that all is well at home. Sipping mojitos, they speak of Clifton in Karachi and high-end shopping; money seems to be oozing out of their pockets. Yet, facts give it all away....

     
    Books and Documents

    Understanding Firaq Gorakhpuri’s Pain

    He says it not in so many words but by simply recalling that Firaq had a tendency to fish for sympathy, and that Ali Sardar Jafri, of all the people, had made a documentary which was far from an accurate representation of facts in Firaq’s life, which in the last few decades, bordered on morally bankrupt...

     


    BEST OF BEFORE ARTICLES

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    From Indian Mujahidin to ISIS: What Explains the Transformation
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Merely hoping that Indian Muslim youth would not get attracted to ISIS ideology is wishful thinking or another way of saying that the problem does not exist in India. But this is hardly the case: …Waging jihad against the perceived persecution of Muslims is no longer the key tenet, rather, driving away shirk (2) and polytheism as a religious duty is what comes across in these videos. The grievance of these youths is transformed from a contextual perception of alleged violence against Muslims (as in the Indian Mujahidin email of 2008) to something which is de-contextualised and purely a scriptural command to wage war against the infidels till no Fitna (3) remains. This seems to be the contribution of Salafi ISIS ideology which they are now fully embedded into: ‘scriptures speak for themselves; they do not have a context and there is no need for a contextual reading of Islamic scripture.’

    A large part of the diatribe in this video is also reserved for the Indian Ulema. Called as Ulema e Suu (false or evil scholars), they are attacked for not telling the Muslim masses the true teachings of Islam. This true teaching of Islam, according the ISIS video is that Islam is a religion of war rather than a religion of peace. An average Indian Alim is thus held guilty for teaching that Islam is a religion of peace. … One can only hope that a response to this video will come from the Indian Muslim community, particularly the Ulema. So far their silence has only meant that perhaps they have nothing to say. Or is it that sections of the Ulema themselves are convinced of the veracity of what ISIS has to say about Islam? ...

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Will Indian Ulema Respond To The Latest ISIS Outrage? Is Islam Not A Religion Of Peace? Is Offensive Jihad An Individual Religious Duty (Farz-e-Ain)?
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    If past record is any guide, nothing much should be expected. The Ulema (clerics) kept quiet when one of them Maulana Salman Nadwi wrote a letter to the self-declared Khalifa Baghdadi, addressing him as Amir ul Momineen.  They had kept quiet earlier when Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi, of Hyderabad, the inspiration behind Indian Mujahedeen wrote and propagated: “It is the duty (of Muslims) to struggle for the domination of Islam over false religions and subdue and subjugate Ahl-e-Kufr-o-Shirk (infidels and polytheists) in the same way as it is the duty of the Muslims to proselytise and invite people to Islam. The responsibility to testify to the Truth and pronounce the Deen God has entrusted with the Muslims cannot be fulfilled merely by preaching and proselytising. If it were so there would be no need for the battles that were fought. "And fight them until there is no fitnah (mischief) and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease - then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do." Surah Anfal 8:39). ...

    I have grave doubts that Indian Ulema will respond to the Indian Mujahedeen speaking in the ISIS video in any meaningful way. However, I keep appealing to them in the hope that someday they will realise the dangers to the nation, the community and the world, and decide to take the bull by its horns, unless, of course, they themselves believe that ISIS is justified in demanding that Muslims engage in offensive Jihad against so-called infidels until the sovereignty of God is established on earth. I would appeal to Ulema to help evolve a parallel theology of peace and pluralism, harmonious co-existence with all, acceptance of all religions as based on messages from God, in keeping with the original message of Islam as revealed in Makkah to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).

    Debating Islam

    Reform Muslim Personal Law, Use Debate on Triple Talaq as an opportunity to Breach the Stagnation in Muslim Religious Thought
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Reform of Muslim personal law is the need of the hour. A demand for this has been made for decades in conferences, seminars and marches, organised by several progressive Islamic organisations including New Age Islam Foundation. These demands need to be intensified and peaceful demonstrations organised on a large scale, demanding that the government reform these laws. It will inevitably be opposed and equally inevitably expose the two-facedness of Islamic fundamentalists in the country. This would lead to a much needed debate on the hypocrisy of our ulema.

    Faced with a barrage of questions, the ulema have now decided to challenge the progressive Muslims on their theological knowledge and more importantly, the courage, to stand up to their beliefs. At the same time, they are blaming them for encouraging courts to intervene, while taking their regular subversive position that courts and government should not intervene in matters of Muslim Personal Law as it is a matter of faith.

    Rather than being cowed into silence or even dismiss this challenge as an effort to obfuscate matters, progressive Muslims should pick up the gauntlet and battle it out. This should be used as a great opportunity to breach the total stagnation that has prevailed in Islamic theological debates in the country. This will not only help the victims of our Anglo-Mohammedan Personal Law but also help open up issues related to violent extremism that is attracting our youth more and more in the absence of debate. For instance, accepting that triple talaq is not a part of Quranic teachings or even Hadith (sayings of the Prophet). A classical Muslim scholar, Hafeez Nomani, has asked if Quran alone is legitimate Islamic scripture and whether a bid’at (innovation) like triple talaq ordered by the second Caliph Hazrat Umar cannot be considered legitimate. He then goes on to ask that if triple talaq cannot be accepted, as it is a bid’at, then what about Quran, which in its present form is itself an innovation ordered by the same caliph and completed by the third Caliph Hazrat Usman.

    These are among the issues that Muslims need to debate urgently for the wider good of the community as well as the nation and the world. We must never forget the solemn warning issued by Canadian scholar Winfred Cantwell Smith in mid-20th century that a healthy, functioning Islam is crucial for world peace. Clearly, the Islam today is not healthy and functioning. So it is not only the Muslims but the nation at large that should welcome an opportunity to debate and understand Islamic theological issues.

    Islamic Society

    The Normality of Torture in Saudi Arabia: Islamic Law or the Shariah in Action?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Saudi Wahhabi regime is a regime of torture. And that torture is considered normal and even Islamic by the Wahhabi regime. Till the time we recognise this normality, we will not have an engaged discussion on what goes on in the name of Islam in that country....

     
    Islamic Ideology

    Recalling Maulana Shibli Nomani and His Religious Ideas Inspired By Ilm ul Kalam (Rational Philosophy of Islam) In an Era of Salafi Islam Which Has Outlawed Rationality
    Maulana Shibli Nomani

    Ilm ul Kalam (rational and creative interpretation of Islamic precepts) has been practically outlawed by Wahhabi/Salafi Islam on the pain of death. But it was inspired by Ilm ul Kalam that one of India’s greatest rationalist, progressive Islamic thinkers Maulana Shibli Nomani pointed out that blind faith or unchecked servitude should never be the criterion to profess and practice Islamic postulates. …

    Islamic Ideology

    What Is Kufr And Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Full and Revised Text of the New Age Islam Series on the Subject)
    Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

    The Qu’ran has been mined to understand how the words Kafir and kufr (kufr is what makes a kafir or what a kafir does) have been used. It turns out that Sunni theology has erred grievously in treating all non-Muslim as kafir because the Quran does not do so. In verses that deal with the temporal dimension or this World, the Quran uses the word in a faith-neutral way. For example, miserliness is a form of kufr which clearly is a characteristic independent of one’s faith. There are “Muslims” who are niggardly and there are non-Muslims who spend freely in charity. ...

    There is not a single verse in the entire Quran that directs the Muslims to treat people of other faiths with anything other than kindness and justice. The war is only against the Kafir among them for the exclusive Kufr of:

    Those who fight the Muslims for their faith and drive them out of their homes.

    Those who break their treaties and fight or aid other enemies of the Muslims

    There is no verse in the Quran that asks the Muslims to fight with the kafir for any other form of kufr such as: Blasphemy, ridicule, rejecting faith etc. Surah 109 Al-Kafirun is explicit about living in peace with the peaceful Kafirun and ends with “(109:6) To you be your Way/religion, and to me mine.

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    An Appeal to Sufi Divines: Please Go Beyond Clichés Like Islam Is a Religion of Peace, Refute the Generally Accepted Core Theology Which Is Helping Jihadis Lure Our Youths to Terrorism
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    Respected Sufi divines, I would, therefore, earnestly appeal to you to use the opportunity provided by the Delhi conclave to go beyond the usual shibboleths. Sufi approach of focussing on the positive features of Islam worked well at one time. There was no internet then. In the internet age everyone is a scholar. In this age of instant scholarship, nothing can be hidden or bypassed.

    It must be understood, that the radical Islamist theology and the current Islamic theology of consensus are by and large one and the same. Any differences are cosmetic. ISIS may vanish tomorrow. But the problem of radicalisation will remain. Islam supremacism, xenophobia, intolerance and exclusivism are inherent in the current Islamic, and not just Islamist theology.

    Focusing on positive features of Islam is an essential part of De-radicalisation or, more realistically, Preventing Radicalisation. But it is not bearing fruit in full measure as the core theology agreed to by nearly all Muslims militates against these positives. As briefly outlined above, this core and consensual theology nullifies the impact of all arguments made against violent extremism. It is this core theology that needs to be refuted and changed.  Let us all try and bring the core Islamic theology in line with the actual teachings of Quran and Sunnah. Let us move away from the current theology of violence and xenophobia. Let us move towards a coherent, comprehensive theology of peace and pluralism, co-existence and gender justice.

    Books and Documents

    Deoband and Theological Anti-Pluralism: A Critique of Husain Ahmad Madani’s ‘Islam and Composite Nationalism’

    In order to make this transition from plurality to pluralism, Madani would have to forgo his own notion of superiority of Islam over other religions. This he is clearly unwilling to do. Islam for him is the only true religion and it is this conviction which leads him to claim that, ‘while being aware of the truth of their (other religions’) falsehood’, Islam is ready to ‘cooperate and tolerate’ them. In other words, Madani not only disqualifies and derogates other religions as being false, he is also of the view that, ultimately, Hindustan be Islamised: that the Hindu–Muslim entente (composite nationalism) is only required till the time people of this country do not become Muslims (Jab Tak Hindustan Ke Tamam Baashinde Mussalman Nahin Ho Jate). Such a notion hardly augurs well for any kind of pluralism….

    Although, Madani accepts that Muslims in India already cooperate with ‘non-Muslims’ on a number of civic and non-religious issues, his plea is that this temporal cooperation should not be confused with any kind of religious co-operation. Even the ‘compositeness’ of his nationalism is not an end in itself. In his own words, this composite nationalism is ‘temporary and special’ and is only required till the ‘light of true religion (read Islam) dispels its (India’s) darkness’. Shedding further light on his ‘special’ and ‘temporary’ concept, Madani elucidates that ‘composite nationalism is needed only till such time different communities (Aqwaam, sng. Qaum) and different religions exist in a country. When the entire nation becomes Muslim (which is the prime real aim: Jo Ki Awwaleen Maksad Hai), where is the need for it?’ It is very clear, therefore, that for Madani, even diversity, (forget pluralism) holds no merit of its own, rather its advocacy is strategically needed only for such time till Islam becomes the sole hegemonic religion of India. ….                                                                           

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Religious and Theological Underpinning of Global Islamist Terror: Full Text of Speech at International Counter Terrorism Conference 2016 in Jaipur
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    ISIS may be militarily defeated tomorrow and even go out of existence. But this will not solve the problem of Muslim radicalisation. If our madrasas and educational institutions continue to prepare the ground for self-segregation and militancy, expounding the current theology, mixed with narratives of victimhood and marginalisation, Islam will continue to be hobbled, Muslims will continue to struggle to fit in the way of life in contemporary world.

    Moderate, progressive Muslims must urgently evolve and propagate an alternative theology of peace and pluralism, consistent in all respects with the teachings of Islam, and suitable for contemporary and future societies, while refuting the current theology of violence and supremacism.

    Unfortunately, as we have seen above, the task is not so easy. Radicalisation has not just happened overnight. Jihadi theology has evolved over hundreds of years. Major theologians who have studied Islam independently have brought to us a political version of Islam, stripping the religion of all its spirituality.

    While it is primarily the duty of Muslims to fight this ideological war within slam, this is no longer just a Muslim concern. The world too must confront Muslim scholars with the supremacism and extremism present in their theology and ask them to rethink Islam.  ProgressiveMuslims should join the rest of the world to defeat extremism in Islamic theology.

    Books and Documents

    Essential Message of Islam: A Pioneering Work by Quran Exegetes Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed (Full Text exclusively available on NewAgeIslam.com)

    Barren sandy desert, extremely hot climate, and scarcity of water resources made the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula an inhospitable abode for man since ancient times. Its original people were pagans, except for some Unitarians (ahnaf) who contemplated on the Oneness of God. In the post Judeo-Christian era, pockets of wet fertile land attracted Jewish and Christian settlers from the adjoining regions, and became isolated centres of trade and commerce. However, the vast stretches of the desert heartland that only sustained a nomadic life, remained in a primitive state until the advent of Islam. The nomadic tribes had preserved their ancestral paganism, with each tribe having its own idol; and the Ka‘ba, a cubical shrine at the heart of an ancient sanctuary (Haram) in Mecca, was the centre of idol worship. The nomadic Arabs were largely unlettered, had no notion of central state or kingdom, and their social and moral norms were based on traditions (Sunnah) and dictated by the struggle for survival. .....

    Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

    Facing The Jihadist Challenge: Muslims Need To Refute Jihadis’ Xenophobic, Supremacist, Millenarian Thesis And Focus On Islamic Pluralism, Says Sultan Shahin At UNHRC In Geneva
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Facing the brutalities of Islamist terror, while President Obama will not go beyond calling it violent extremism, the head of Sunni Islam's oldest seat of learning, Jamia al-Azhar admitted in a counter-terrorism conference in Mecca that extremism was caused by “corrupt interpretations of Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad”, and Islamic curriculums needed to change.

    This call for reform, coming from Jamia Al-Azhar, is gratifying. But a half-hearted approach to reform will not work. The problems Muslims face are very basic and cannot be solved with mere tinkering with text-books. The global Muslim community will have to introspect. One question repeatedly asked, for instance, is about the contextual verses of the holy Quran that are utilised by Jihadists to brainwash our youth. Jihadists present these contextual verses as an eternal guide for Muslims.

    One would imagine that the followers of Islam who believe, and many certainly do, that Islam is a religion of spirituality, peace, coexistence and tolerance, would be up in arms against the Islamic State. But while routine denunciations from some sections do come occasionally, there is no outrage visible in the Muslim society. The world cannot help noticing that while tens of thousands of Muslims come out on streets to demonstrate the moment there is an allegation of so-called blasphemy against any one, hardly any Muslim would protest at the myriad brutalities perpetrated by Islamist terrorists.

    Clearly there is something wrong, some disconnect, some deeper and more complex phenomenon at work than what can be understood from a superficial look at the issue. Instead of expressing outrage, we find thousands of Muslim young men and women running from their comfortable homes, private schools and cushy jobs to fight and join in the brutalities of the so-called Islamic State. Some 12,000 Muslim young men and women are said to have joined so far from 80 countries……

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Preventing Further Radicalisation Is the Challenge Muslims Must Undertake: Some Concrete Suggestions
    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.

    Islam and Politics

    Manipulative Nationalism: The Fatwa against Chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai Is an Exercise for Hegemony within Indian Muslim Society
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Considered as the most important article of the Islamic faith, Tawheed, or belief in the oneness of God, is understandably the essential component of Islamic faith. The problem, however, is that throughout the Muslim world, Tawheed is understood and expressed in different ways. For example, within many Sufi traditions, Tawheed is also understood as the link which binds human beings to the Almighty through a very complicated scared cosmology.

    The Ahle Sunnat wa Jamaat in India (popularly called the Barelwis) link the individual soul to the One through a very complex web of chains called the Silsila. So according to this rationality, bowing to the grave of a Sufi divine is not a negation of the principle of Tawheed, but its very affirmation. The act of Sajda near the grave of the Sufi is an occasion to remember the divine, to come closer to the Almighty. The act of bowing transposes the faithful into a sacred time, linking him or her to the Almighty through the grace of the Sufi.

    But alas, for the Deobandis and other purist Salafi reformists within Islam, this beautiful imagination of spiritualism must be condemned as tantamount to associating partners to Allah.

    … Thus it is important to understand that the fatwa against chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai is an exercise for hegemony within Indian Muslim society. In other words, it is more fundamentally a position within Muslim society which has the potential of erasing multiple religiosities of Muslim experience in India. As Hindutva uses the icon of Bharat Mata for its own exclusionary purpose, the reformist Islam uses the icon of Mata to extend its own hegemony through its own interpretation of Islam. What gets lost amongst this manipulative nationalism is the myriad other imaginations of the nation, which provides the real glue that binds this country together…..

    War on Terror

    This pathological denialism has infected Leftists in India as well. Those who admit that Hindu texts such as Manusmriti have inspired centuries of terror unleashed by caste Hindus on Dalits, will shy away from accepting the Quran and Hadiths' influence on Islamists. When Hindu right-wing lynch mobs murder beef-eaters in defence of the 'holy cow', Leftists correctly call it Hindutva fascism. However, an Islamist terror attack is said to have 'nothing to do with Islam'. This doublespeak has only helped Hindutva outfits gain political points among the conservative Hindu base, in the same way Trump has done with xenophobic republicans

    Islam and Pluralism

    Indian Muslim orthodoxy's response to demands of modernity: Can Muslims co-exist with other religious communities in plural societies?
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    While the evolution of this comprehensive and coherent theology of peace and pluralism will remain a continuing process, the already available essential elements of this theology should be brought to the Muslim masses. Since support for such a venture cannot be expected from clerics, of any hue,  popular acceptance of this theology should be gained through the use of media as well as genuine grassroots movements.

    Essentially, Jihadism is a Muslim problem and Muslims must tackle it. But the societies in non-Muslim majority countries can help kick-start the debate.  It must be understood that a madrasa graduate who has been brainwashed into believing, as most are, that "life begins in the grave," is a ticking time bomb that should be defused with the same urgency as other bombs are. A secular government should not allow anyone to spread the poison of intolerance and xenophobia either in mosques or in madrasas. A study of what is taught in Indian madrasas, and the content of sermons delivered in mosques, is urgently required. If found intolerant, supremacist, exclusivist and xenophobic, the ulema, madrasas and imams should be confronted with them and asked to change.

    Also, the least the government of India can do to ameliorate the plight of Muslim women today is to promulgate a law similar to Pakistan's  Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961, with just one difference, fixing the age of marriage of girls at 18, instead of 14, as in the Ordinance. This should have been done along with reforms in Hindu personal laws in the 1950s, or at least immediately after reforms in Muslim laws in Pakistan. But better half a century late than never. Male chauvinist Indian Muslim ulema will still howl in protest. But they will not have much to say as these reforms have been acceptable to their counterparts in Pakistan and Bangladesh for over half a century. ...  Muslims have to start reclaiming the Islam that the Prophet had brought and rethinking how it can be lived and practised in the vastly changed circumstances of the 21st century.



    TOP ARTICLE

    Debating Islam
    Reform Muslim Personal Law, Use Debate on Triple Talaq as an opportunity to Breach the Stagnation in Muslim Religious Thought
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Reform of Muslim personal law is the need of the hour. A demand for this has been made for decades in conferences, seminars and marches, organised by several progressive Islamic organisations including New Age Islam Foundation. These demands need to be intensified and peaceful demonstrations organised on a large scale, demanding that the government reform these laws. It will inevitably be opposed and equally inevitably expose the two-facedness of Islamic fundamentalists in the country. This would lead to a much needed debate on the hypocrisy of our ulema.

    Faced with a barrage of questions, the ulema have now decided to challenge the progressive Muslims on their theological knowledge and more importantly, the courage, to stand up to their beliefs. At the same time, they are blaming them for encouraging courts to intervene, while taking their regular subversive position that courts and government should not intervene in matters of Muslim Personal Law as it is a matter of faith.

    Rather than being cowed into silence or even dismiss this challenge as an effort to obfuscate matters, progressive Muslims should pick up the gauntlet and battle it out. This should be used as a great opportunity to breach the total stagnation that has prevailed in Islamic theological debates in the country. This will not only help the victims of our Anglo-Mohammedan Personal Law but also help open up issues related to violent extremism that is attracting our youth more and more in the absence of debate. For instance, accepting that triple talaq is not a part of Quranic teachings or even Hadith (sayings of the Prophet). A classical Muslim scholar, Hafeez Nomani, has asked if Quran alone is legitimate Islamic scripture and whether a bid’at (innovation) like triple talaq ordered by the second Caliph Hazrat Umar cannot be considered legitimate. He then goes on to ask that if triple talaq cannot be accepted, as it is a bid’at, then what about Quran, which in its present form is itself an innovation ordered by the same caliph and completed by the third Caliph Hazrat Usman.

    These are among the issues that Muslims need to debate urgently for the wider good of the community as well as the nation and the world. We must never forget the solemn warning issued by Canadian scholar Winfred Cantwell Smith in mid-20th century that a healthy, functioning Islam is crucial for world peace. Clearly, the Islam today is not healthy and functioning. So it is not only the Muslims but the nation at large that should welcome an opportunity to debate and understand Islamic theological issues.

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