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Islamic Society (24 Nov 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

How to Construct a Liberal Islam - Concluding Part

By Akbar Ganji


Justice and Equality

The Quran’s God is a just one and does not do injustice to anyone: “And your Lord is not ever unjust to [His] servants” (Fussilat, 46); “And your Lord does injustice to no one” (Al-Kahf, 49), and, “Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight” (An-Nisa, 40). God’s goal in sending the Prophet has been spreading justice: “We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice” (Al-Hadid, 25).

Prophet Muhammad also limited his mission to spreading justice, and said, “I have been commanded to do justice among you” (Ash-Shura, 15); “My Lord has ordered justice” (Al-A’raf, 29); “Indeed, Allah orders justice” (An-Nahl, 90); “O David, indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth” (Sad, 26), and, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice” (An-Nisa, 135).

The Quran has expanded the concept of justice in many ways: Witnesses (in a trial) must be fair (Al-Baqarah, 182; Al-Ma’ida, 95). There should be justice in trials (Al-An’am, 152; Al-Nissaa, 58), and people should speak justly and neutrally (Al-An’am, 152), and the entire life must be devoted to justice (Al-Ma’ida, 8). Even enemies must be treated fairly: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness” (Al-Ma’ida, 8).

Economically, the Quran is against poverty. It is said that there is a link between poverty and infidelity. Ali, the first Imam of the Shiites and the 4th Caliph wrote in Nahj al-Balagha [the Peak of Eloquence], a collection of his sermons, letters, exegesis, and narrations that “poverty is a worse death [than the physical death] (Hekmat, 163). The Quran says, “Satan threatens you with poverty” (Al-Baqarah, 268), and has many verses regarding helping the impoverished, such as, “Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you” (At-Takathur, 1), and, “And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah - give them tidings of a painful punishment” (At-Tawba, 34).

Naturally, the people and intellectual elites of any era did not have the same understanding and interpretation of justice as the contemporary one, but there is nothing that prohibits them from doing so in our era. For example, Muslims can easily interpret the Quranic justice in terms of the capabilities theory of the Indian economist Amartya Sen and the American philosopher Martha Nussbaum.

Freedom and Tolerance

According to the Quranic teachings no one should be forced to believe in Islam: “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion” (Al-Baqara, 256). Rawls considers acceptance of burdens of judgment and liberty of conscience as the two criteria for reasonableness of a comprehensive doctrine (Justice as Fairness, p. 191). The following verse from the Quran and several after it recognize liberty of conscience: “And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?” (Yunus, 99).

The Quran allows people to freely choose between guidance and straying: “And say, ‘The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve’” ( Al-Kahf, 29).

The Prophet is not the attorney for or guardian of the people to pressure them to the righteous path (Yunus, 99; Az-Zumar, 41); he does not control them: “So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller” (Al-Ghashiya, 21-22). The Prophet does not have the right to bully people and do injustice to them (Qaf, 45). His mission is to show them the righteous paths, not compelling a specific path. After this is done, people can choose their own path:

“Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion” (Al-Kafirun, 1-6).

Rawls spoke about political and comprehensive tolerance. The Quran’s comprehensive religious tolerance - including all of its constraints - endorses of Rawls’ political tolerance. Rawls refers to this as the reasoning from conjecture.

The Prophet’s First Treaty: a Path to Just Cooperation

Two-third of the Quran’s verses was revealed during the time Prophet Muhammad was living in Mecca. This type of verses expressed ethical ideals and was in search of justice. They lacked religious jurisprudence that, according to the human rights of our era, can be considered as violent and against liberalism.

After Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina, the Prophet signed off on a treaty that governed peaceful co-existence of the immigrants, his supporters, and the Jews. According to Muslim historian Muhammad ibn Ishaq the Prophet “signed a treaty with the Jews, recognizing their religion and ownership of their properties, setting some conditions for them, but also accepting some conditions [in return]” ( Al-Nabawiyya Al-sira, volume I, p. 501). The treaty stated the following about the Jews:

“Every Jewish person who follows us will be assisted, and will be equal to other Muslims. No injustice will be done to him and no help will be given to his enemy. . . All Jewish tribes will form a common front with Muslims in warfare. Also, the Jewish tribe of Bani Ouf constitutes the same community with Muslims. Jews and Muslims each have their own religion. They each have their own friends, allies, and slaves. Unless someone engages in inflicting injustice and committing sin, in which case he will have done injury to himself and his lineage alone. The same regulations that have been specified for Bani Ouf will apply to the Jews of Bani Najjar; and the same will be applicable to all Jewish tribes. No Jew will leave their assembly except by the permission of Muhammad; nobody’s blood shall be spilled and trampled upon. He whoever kills another is alone responsible [for the deed] as are his family; except in cases in which he [the perpetrator] is himself a victim of injustice and that God is satisfied with the deed. Muslims and Jews will have their own shares of expenses during times of war. Jews and Muslims will assist each other against the aggressors and their relationships are based upon good will and compassion; they are set apart from sin. Nobody is to harm an ally; all will rise together to help the oppressed.”

The treaty was against Mecca’s non-believers, which explains why it contained so much about union for war and peace: Everyone was supposed to help everyone else against the invaders of Medina; Muslims and Jews had the right to call on people to make peace with the enemy, unless the war was over religion, and Jews were not allowed to shelter the non-believers of Mecca, who were the Muslims’ enemy. According to the treaty, the Prophet was the arbiter of disputes between Muslims, and between them and the Jews.

Although the treaty had many clauses about justice, but social justice in that era did not mean equality of all, particularly men and women. In fact, we cannot even call communities of that era a society in the modern sense. There was tribal authority, but it was due to patronage and family relations, not the existence of a government which, as we understand it today, did not exist. Thus, “equal and free citizens,” a product of the modern era, was meaningless. Thus, Rawlsian concepts of fairness and free and equal citizens could not exist in that era. Thus, the treaty between the Prophet and the Jews was one of tribal communities, and possibly a good example of what Rawls names as decency (The Law of Peoples, p. 67).

Commitment to the Elite’s Rationality of the Era

The Quran calls on everyone to follow wisdom and science. In 49 verses wisdom-related words have been used. For example, “Then will you not reason? Here you are - those who have argued about that of which you have [some] knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge?” (Al-i-Imran, 65-66), and, “And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge” (Al-Isra, 36). Interpreting the latter verse, the medieval Muslim scholar, Abu al-Qasim Mahmud ibn Umar al-Zamakhshari, who was of Iranian origin, wrote in al-Kashshaaf[revealer], his book of interpreting the Quran, “The meaning of this expression is to warn the addressee against saying what one does not fully know, and doing that which is unknown. This clear principle includes all forms of imitation, because imitation entails unknowing following of edicts about the truth and falsity of which the imitator has no knowledge.”

On many occasions, the Quran has demanded reasoning for those who claim to be truthful: “Say, ‘Produce your proof, if you should be truthful’” (Al-Baqara, 111), and, “Say, ‘Produce your proof, if you should be truthful’” (An-Naml, 64). Interpreting the latter verse, Zamakhshari states, “This Quranic expression, more than any other reason, vitiates the position of the advocates of imitation, and establishes that any statement for the truth of which we lack reasonable support, is false and unjustified” (ibid.).

A Path for Constructing a Liberal Islam

In this article first I explained my reading of Rawls’ political liberalism. Then I described Rawls’ views about Islam as presented in his “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited” article, where in a famous footnote he conjectures that Taha and An-Naim’s idea of Sharia reformation is a perfect example of endorsing the political conception of justice from a comprehensive Islamic perspective. Finally, I discussed the evidence in the Quran and the Sunnah that supports constructing a liberal Islam based on Rawls’ views as plausible. There I showed that Quranic verses endorse the reality of pluralism, the inherent dignity of human beings, equality and justice, and finally tolerance and freedom. I also elaborated upon The Prophet’s first treaty as an example of decent social cooperation and co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims in early Islamic era.

To the extent that I understand Islam, there is a simple way of removing violence from contemporary Islam and making it compatible with political liberalism: The vast majority of non-worshiping Islamic laws are of ratifying type, i.e. they are the product of the culture and lore of the people of the Arabian Peninsula before the Prophet. The mission of the Prophet was not to destroy the infrastructure of the society, including its culture. He modified many of the existing laws and then ratified them.

As the Quran puts it, the Prophet is a model for all Muslims. He ratified the customs of the elites of his own era. Many Muslim scholars have misunderstood what the Quran says about this issue, interpreting it as meaning that Muslims must do what the Prophet did in his life in his own era. In fact, the Prophet taught the people to ratify the customs of the elites of their own era, not the era of the Prophet.

Rawlsian political liberalism is not the sole liberalism of our era, nor is it the custom of all the thinkers. But, it has been accepted by a large number of thinkers. At the same time, liberal interpretation of the Quran is more compatible with its spirit than any other. Thus, I believe that ratifying Rawlsian political liberalism is exactly tantamount to acting according to the Prophet’s teachings.

The Prophet is a model for the Muslims by ratifying the reasonable customs of his own era. He is not a model for terrifying people and spreading Islamophobia, which brings nothing for Muslims but losses and harms. As discussed, there are many verses in the Quran that, subject to new and modern interpretations, are completely compatible with John Rawls’ liberalism. This means that there are secular and liberal interpretations of the Islamic teachings that are more compatible with the true spirit of the, as compared to the Islam of fundamentalists.

URL of Part Two: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/akbar-ganji/how-to-construct-a-liberal-islam---part-two/d/109166

Source: huffingtonpost.com/akbar-ganji/how-to-construct-a-libera_b_12931992.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/akbar-ganji/how-to-construct-a-liberal-islam---concluding-part/d/109186


  • Thanks Akbar. It is an interesting read. In my view Liberal Islam should affirm and promote

    1.       The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

    2.       Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;

    3.       Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth among people;

    4.       A free and responsible search for truth and meanings;

    5.       The right of conscience and the use of democratic process within the adherents of Islam and in society at large;

    6.       The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;

    7.       Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which adherents of Islam are a part;

    By Royalj - 11/27/2016 2:44:11 AM

  • What is important is how to construct the real Islam - how to stop interpreting this way or that way and get to the real meaning of the Quran. Everything else is pursuing the wrong goal and amounts to shirk. If we worship Allah and Allah only, all that is important is to comprehend the true message of the Quran. The true message is bound to be the most beautiful message, the most reasonable, the most compassionate and the most in accordance with human nature.

    The Quran itself makes it possible to get the clear meaning without ambiguity and its oft repeated claim that it is a Book that makes things clear and is without crookedness and without ambiguity or discrepancy  is easy to see except by those who read with pre- conceived notions based on their knowledge of the ahadith or otherwise.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 11/27/2016 2:04:51 AM

  • The following is from my article on which Hats Off has commented and therefore has presumably read the article:

    The Misrepresentation of the Quran through Mistranslation

    The Second Major Misunderstanding

    The second major understanding comes from the following verse:

    (3:85) If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).

    Islam and Muslim however have a broader meaning and cover the righteous of every faith.

    (2:62) Those who believe (in the Qur´an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

    Anyone who believes in God and the last Day or The Day of Judgment and works righteousness is a Muslim

    (22:34) To every people did We appoint rites (of sacrifice), that they might celebrate the name of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from animals (fit for food). But your god is One God: submit then your wills to Him (in Islam): and give thou the good news to those who humble themselves,-

    The verse above refers to people of other faiths. Since there is only one God and all of them follow the rites appointed to them in submission to Allah (by whatever name), their faith is Islam.

    (27:44) She was asked to enter the lofty Palace: but when she saw it, she thought it was a lake of water, and she (tucked up her skirts), uncovering her legs. He said: "This is but a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass." She said: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul: I do (now) submit (in Islam), with Solomon, to the Lord of the Worlds."

    The above verse is about Prophet and King Solomon and Queen Sheba who preceded Jesus and their religion is Islam.

    (2:132) And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; "Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam."

    (2:136) Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma´il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)."

    Islam is the religion of every prophet and of every person who believes in God (by whatever name), and in the consequences of his deeds beyond this life, and works righteousness.

    House of God

    Monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. (22:40)

    There is, I agree, a wide gap between precept and practice and while what Hats Off says maybe true in practice, I wonder what is his motivation in projecting the practice as precept and ignoring the true message? If he was interested in playing a constructive role, he would have been pointing to the gulf between the precept and practice and shaming the Muslims into following the true Islam. However, from his behaviour, it is clear that he has no intention to play a positive role and his only purpose is to malign Islam and all Muslims. What does that make him?

    By Naseer Ahmed - 11/27/2016 1:51:31 AM

  • I do not talk about what Islam is or was. I only talk about what it should be. That is the purpose of Liberal Islam or Progressive Islam, hence it is also the purpose of this forum. Your relentless slander of Islam is being read here only by people who have never been violent, who have never killed anyone, who are critics of intolerance and who have no sympathies for either Al Qaeda or ISIS. You are trying to shake the faith of people who use it for finding peace and meaning within their lives. You should not be under the delusion that you are doing something good. You have a right to your beliefs but you are airing them in the wrong forum.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/27/2016 1:04:42 AM

  • those who go hoarse shouting about "enemies of islam" should stop for a while and think why islam made so many enemies when it is a "religion of peace". even if islam actually means submission.

    they should wonder why we do not hear about the enemies of either buddhism, hinduism or sikhism or shintoism or christism or anythingism or somethingism.

    like an old yiddish proverb says, "if one man calls you a donkey, ignore him. if two men call you a donkey ignore them. but if the third man calls you a donkey, maybe its time for you to buy a saddle"

    islam by its self-confessed raison de etre hates the idol worshippers, it destroyed the zoroastrian civiization , the incredible ethnic diversity of indonesia, it provided the basis on which pakistan was carved out, it hates the jews, it hates the christians.

    it just about hates everyone who does not recite the kalma.

    don't bother telling us "to your religion and to me mine", when in the next breath you have "if a man practices other than islam it will not be accepted in the hereafter".

    if the prophet actually believed in the freedom of conscience, how can he write such a letter to parvez khusro?

    islam entrenched itself in mecca after the demolishing of 360 statues but one.

    so friends of islam should not be lecturing on enemies of islam. they should introspect and wonder why islam managed to gather so many enemies. genuine and honest muslims should wonder why the #ExMuslim tag is trending.

    so why wonder when they hate you right back?

    obsessive compulsive maniacal monotheism has done more damage world wide that all the idol worshippers and dung worshippers together have ever managed to wreak.

    the monotheistic mania turned christians in south america into ghouls. today the hateful sign of rabia and the single raised forefinger of murderous jihadis is terrorizing the entire middle east and europe.

    with a suicide bomber blowing up himself almost everyday, the friends of islam should concentrate on other friends of islam rather than whining about the enemies of islam.

    shias cannot stand sunnis, they together cannot stand the ahmadis, threegether they cannot stand the bahais. all the four together cannot stand the hindus. all theses five togetrher cannot stand the christians. this whole rag tag bunch again cannot stand the jew.

    muslims say kayamat cannot come until the last jew has been murdered. so why wonder when you are hated right back?

    it cannot be that islam keep hating the kuffar and expect to be loved back.

    so it is entirely in the order of things that there are enemies of islam.

    just as islam is a self-proclaimed enemy of everyone else except another muslim.

    By hats off! - 11/26/2016 7:16:08 PM

  • "Pre-Islamic depravity" is a derivative concept resulting from Islam's social reforms but is otherwise not a major part of Islam's narrative. However the alleged and unproven goodness of pre-Islamic society is becoming an important part of the hate propaganda of the enemies of Islam.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/26/2016 11:19:56 AM

  • Dear hats off!
    The Qur'anic record as interwoven in glimpses in its text were, as explained in my last detailed comment to you were made in full light of history, and as further explained in my exegetic work [Ch.1.7],

    "can be used to verify the authenticity of Islamic theological records, which date at least a hundred and fifty years after the revelation, and are not always accurate because of their sole dependence on oral accounts, transmitted across the preceding generations."

    By muhammad yunus - 11/26/2016 6:36:16 AM

  • neither do the friends of islam have any corroboration of pre-islamic depravity.

    the hejaz is a living example of the relentless implementation of islam.

    so according to the friends of islam it is not islam that is practiced by the saudi arabians, the iranians, the iraquis, the indonesians, the malaysians, the maldivians, or other islamic mumalik.

    the kind of islam that is imagined by the friends of islam seems to be a product of fervent hope or fond imagination.

    By hats off! - 11/26/2016 4:41:19 AM

  • Whatever the level of acculturation of pre-Islamic Arabs was, their idealization is an additional weapon in the relentless war on Islam being waged since 9/11. For the enemies of Islam, it becomes an easy arsenal to deploy irrespective of the fact that they have no corroboration.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/25/2016 2:30:06 PM

  • Dear awaya, The answer to your question lies in the following concluding remarks of my article referenced below:
    "Muslims are rigorously and uncompromisingly maintaining their remoteness from the Qur’anic ideals (except for the pillars of faith), and seeking guidance from their secondary theological resources – the Hadith and the Classical Islamic Law. It is therefore high time – though very late in history, for the Muslim to expand the horizon from the presently narrow band of the pillars of faith to the wide and panoramic spectrum of the Qur’anic guidance – lest they reduce themselves to a cult as the Christian West openly declares and their exclusivist devotion demonstrates."

    Literalist comprehension of, and exclusivist dedication to the Pillars of Faith purports to reduce Islam to a Cult of Five Pillars.   


    By muhammad yunus - 11/25/2016 9:12:56 AM

  • Dear hats off!

    Here are my clarification in red ink to your comments (in black)

    “i know that the koran depicts the pre-islamic tribes as less than human. this has to be corroborated from other sources. in acadamic practice, only textual analysis can be done without reference to external sources. that is fine with me.content analysis can also be undertaken without reference to external sources to a certain extent, but not entirely.for example, to evaluate historical elements within a text, academic integrity demands that external references be brought in support of any historical content that you find in your target text.without secondary or supporting or corroborating references, you cannot depend upon the historicity of any document.”

    “No internationally reputed scholar or historian has referenced a source more authentic than the Qur’an on the living realities of Arabia at the time of the Prophet.  Maxime Rodinson – a world renowned biographer of the Prophet concedes: the Qur’an “does provide a firm basis of undoubted authenticity” [ Muhammad, English translation, 2nd edition, London 1996, p.x [Foreword].

    More importantly, the claim is irrefutably established by the following axiomatic argument tabled in Chap. 1.7 of my jt. :publication:

    “The Qur’anic records of the social, moral and political setting of the revelation, and its references to contemporaneous events must be necessarily true, because its verses were recorded as well as memorized during the lifetime of the Prophet. If this were not so the very premise of the Qur'an as a book of Truth and Wisdom, as it repeatedly claims (Preface), would have been challenged in the Prophet's lifetime, and Islam would never have spread out of the townships of Medina and Mecca, let alone to the farthest corners of the Arabian peninsula, in the very limited span of the last few years of his life.” As for the post Prophetic era to this day, the Qur’an is preserved as a lyrical litany through an unbroken chain of huffaz. its record of the pre-Islamic conditions must be a true reflection of what the Arabs of the era directly witnessed.,

    you have not also explained the exceptional case of the prophet's first wife.

    if the pagan arabs were anything like they are as depicted by the koran, we will have to do some explaining with respect to such a liberated and accomplished woman.

    if the hejaz failed to produce even a dozen such women over the next couple of centuries, can i not suggest that after the advent of islam in the hejaz, gender discrimination became the norm?

    You can find the names of some great women of early Islam in this link:


    Bides, Kahdija’s name is remembered as she was the wife of the Prophet. But many other ladies of her caliber may have been ignored by history for want of their husband’s status.

    if the pagan arabs were anything like they are as depicted by the koran, we will have to do some explaining with respect to such a liberated and accomplished woman.

     I am not judging the Qur’an based on historical data. Khadija is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Besides the state of jahilliyah of any society does not mean that each and every member of the society is equally afflicted by this malaise.  

     if the hejaz failed to produce even a dozen such women over the next couple of centuries, can i not suggest that after the advent of islam in the hejaz, gender discrimination became the norm?

     Yes! Gender discrimination became the norm soon after the Prophet’s death. To quote from one of my articles:

    “since early centuries of Islam, the dynastic rulers manipulated and even coerced the Ulama to obfuscate the egalitarian, humanistic, gender neutral and pluralistic message of the Qur’an. “According to a number of sources, the Imam Abu Hanifa was imprisoned by Caliph al-Mansur (754 – 775) for defying him in religion. Imam Malik ibn Anas, the founder of another school of law was also flogged during his rule” [4].  Furthermore, as Islam entered new cultures and civilizations, it encountered customs and juristic norms that contradicted the Qur’anic paradigms. To accommodate them into Islam – a historical necessity for the era, the doctors of law declared: “Any Qur’anic verse which contradicts the opinions of ‘our masters’ will be construed as having been abrogated, or the rule of preference will be applied thereto. It is better that the verse is interpreted in such a way that it conforms to their opinion” [5].

    Re: Challenging And Shed Of Its Literary Glory in Translation, the Qur'an Offers Clear Clues to Exploring Its Core Commandments - Now Obscured, Corrupted and Distorted By Secondary Theological Sources

    -          http://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/the-muslims’-ignorance-/disregard-of-the-qur’anic-guidance-and-its-colossal-and-recurring-cost/d/7795


     The Qur'anic testimony does not support the notion of any veiling of women:


    Any fatwa imposing full/face veil (burqa/niqab), headscarf on Muslim women as a religious requirement is anti-Qur’anic.


    I hope this suffices for the moment and wish you read my above referenced article closely – I bet you haven’t as yet.

    By muhammad yunus - 11/25/2016 7:56:50 AM

  • Sorry to tell you the only place where liberal, tolerant Islam exists is in blogs,books and in the minds of very few individuals....on the ground...it is hardly found...and wherever muslims are in a majority they prefer the harsher versions...sad truth...but it is so.
    By awaya - 11/25/2016 5:42:01 AM

  • dear mr muhammad yunus
    i know that the koran depicts the pre-islamic tribes as less than human. this has to be corroborated from other sources.

    in acadamic practice, only textual analysis can be done without reference to external sources. that is fine with me.

    content analysis can also be undertaken without reference to external sources to a certain extent, but not entirely.

    for example, to evaluate historical elements within a text, academic integrity demands that external references be brought in support of any historical content that you find in your target text.

    without secondary or supporting or corroborating references, you cannot depend upon the historicity of any document.

    you have not also explained the exceptional case of the prophet's first wife.

    if the pagan arabs were anything like they are as depicted by the koran, we will have to do some explaining with respect to such a liberated and accomplished woman.

    if the hejaz failed to produce even a dozen such women over the next couple of centuries, can i not suggest that after the advent of islam in the hejaz, gender discrimination became the norm?

    if not why not? i ask because some time ago there was a furor among the people in india when a prominent female politician claimed that before the advent of islam, women did not observe purdah. why is she not correct?


    By hats off! - 11/25/2016 3:50:31 AM

  • Dear hats off!
    My source of information on the social and moral degradation of pre-Islamic Arabia.

    I have the following testimony of the Qur'an which must be accurate as the Qur'an was recorded in full light of history and is preserved verbatim:

    "Arabs abhorred the birth of a female child and would rather bury it alive than bear the shame and ignominy of raising it.1 They also slaughtered their own children,2 as sacrifice to idols, or on account of poverty.3 They forbade certain crops and animals to common people, reserving them only for the priests.4 They reserved some livestock for men, but allowed the women to share only that which was born dead,5 and forbade four kinds of cattle of either sex for food.6

    The menfolk did not take any financial responsibility for their wives, and so when they were away on trading missions, their wives cohabited with other men to maintain themselves,7 and the vestiges of incest had lingered on.8

    The poor, orphans, and travelers in distress were left uncared,9 slavery was institutionalized,10 and the sick and the mendicant were ostracized.11    

    Offences against members of rival tribes were avenged by ‘like for like’ injury resulting in an unending cycle of avenge and blood vendetta often lasting for generations,12 while economic injustice and immoral commercial practices were rampant.13

    1.         16:58/59, 43:17, 81:8.

    2.         6:137, 6:140, 60:12.  

    3.         6:151, 17:31.

    4.         6:138.

    5.         6:139.

    6.         5:103, 6:143/144.   

    7.         Muhammad Husayn Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, English translation by Ismail Ragi, 8th edition, Karachi 1989, p. 319.

    8.         4:23.

    9.         2:215, 4:36, 17:26, 30:38.

    10.      2:177, 4:25, 4:92, 5:89, 9:60, 24:32/33, 58:3, 90:13. 

    11.      24:61.

    12.      2:178.

    13.      2:188, 2:275, 4:29.

    Re: Ch. 1.1 Essential Message of Islam.

    By muhammad yunus - 11/24/2016 11:02:00 PM

  • dear mr muhammad yunus

    your comment just proves my contention that unless you demonise the pre-islamic oagans, islams does not shine.

    unless you paint them as horrible people, islam does not seem to get any legitimacy.

    what are the sources from which you gathered the information that the pre-islamic arabians were so bad?

    if the pre-islamic people were so bad, how come such a society produced a khadija?

    and how come the next three or four centuries after islam never produced one woman the stature of khadija?

    this just strengthens the suspicion that to make the prophet look good and make his religion look good, you have to demonize and denigrate some people as either jahil, enemies of islam or khawarij.

    that does not at all look like either good argument or even good manners.

    why does islam always have to have some scapegoat or the other to make muslims feel good about themselves and their religion?

    can islam not shine on its own without constantly blaming islamophobes, enemies of islam, or khawarij or the jahils?

    a similar argument is given by the hindu revivalists. they say the pre-islamic india was an epitome of everything that was good, desirable and just. and that all its woes began with the arabic conquest.

    why cannot we allow them that argument if we are going to blacken rthe pre-islamic arabians so as to make islam look bright?


    By hats off! - 11/24/2016 7:50:10 PM

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