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Radical Islamism and Jihad (29 Sep 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Fundamentalism Has Transported Religion Out of Its Spiritual Realm

By Adil Rasheed

28 September 2018

It might seem ironic but religious fundamentalism is quite a modern, sui generis phenomenon. As its quest for truth is driven more by casuistry than spirituality, it strives to confute the orthodox and traditional practices of various faiths, polities and cultures.

Thus, fundamentalism is modern not merely because of its emergence in relatively recent times, but because it attempts to impose a systematic structure to dogma and is generally averse towards religion’s essentially metaphysical and esoteric dimensions.

By discarding the intricacies of the metaphorical, fundamentalism clings to a literalist defence of scripture that invariably gives its arguments a reductionist, absolutist and intolerant streak.

In its pursuance of minimalism to ostensibly achieve pristine purity of faith, it sets itself up against intellectualism, aestheticism and mysticism, and so it finds few scholars, thinkers or artists among its obscurantist following.

Metastasizing Menace

The term fundamentalism originated in late 19th century when it referred to the extremist beliefs of certain Protestant sects in Britain and the US, which insisted on the literal inerrancy of the Bible.

However, this mimetic threat soon spread to other religions including some segments of Islam, even though this trend has arguably shown signs of general regress in recent times.

Although simplistic in its vehement adherence to “the inviolable basic principles”, fundamentalism in our times is remarkably innovative in that it has transported religion out of its spiritual realm and brought its distorted version into the socio-cultural, political and even economic domains.

Surprisingly like neo-liberalism, fundamentalism rejects tradition and “cultural specificity in favor of abstract universalism”. Thus, Muslim fundamentalist movements generally reject all the orthodox schools of religious jurisprudence or doctrines. In this, they are remarkably anarchist, even post-modern.

Post-Modern Moorings

In an article titled “Post-Modern Jihad”, published in The Weekly Standard soon after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Waller Newell (Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Carleton University) wrote “the ideology by which al-Qaeda justifies its acts of terror owes as much to baleful trends in Western thoughts as it does to a perversion of religious beliefs. Osama’s doctrine of terror is partly a Western export.”

In the article, the scholar traces the influences of Nazi philosopher Heidegger and post-modern ideologues like Foucault on the Iranian Revolution and al-Qaeda.

He writes: “The relationship between postmodernist European leftism and Islamist radicalism is a two-way street: Not only have Islamists drawn on the legacy of European left, but European Marxists have taken heart from Islamist terrorists who seemed close to achieving the longed for revolution against American hegemony.”

According to noted expert on Islamist terrorism Olivier Roy, “In the 1960s, in Western Europe we had a tradition of youth radicalization from the Marxist revolution. Suddenly around the 1990s, the dream of the Marxist revolution disappeared and al-Qaeda and ISIS filled the vacuum”.

Similarly Ofri Ilani writes: “Individualism, hatred of the establishment and a cult of emotion activate the jihadists, just as they activated the anarchist assassins in the 19th century or the Red Brigades in the 1970s”.

The Loss of Meaning

Since ancient times, religion instituted meaning in human consciousness through its spiritual injunctions, ethical distinction of right from wrong as well as restrictions on the bestial and carnal instincts. With the coming of European enlightenment, rationalism and science set new standards of personal, societal and universal values.

However, with the rise of post-modern philosophies, certitude in established institutions of faith, ethics and even reason started to crumble and thereby the very construct of meaning began to blur. A similar trend is perceptible in the descent of militant fundamentalism from its avowed pursuance of essential religious truths to a near complete breakdown of any ethical construct it claimed to cling to.

Like post-modern Marxist revolutionaries, the bestial has gained pre-eminence over both the spiritual and the rational, leading to a near collapse of faith and any semblance of good sense. Borrowing ideas from their post-modern ideological mentors, groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS have violated the very basic injunctions of their avowed faith.

As Newell puts it: “For Foucault as for Fanon, Hezbollah, and the rest down to Osama, the purpose of violence is not to relieve poverty or adjust borders. Violence is an end in itself … That is how al Qaeda can ignore mainstream Islam, which prohibits the deliberate killing of non-combatants, and slaughter innocents in the name of creating a new world, the latest in a long line of grimly punitive collectivist utopias.”

One could definitely add the name of ISIS on the list of these post-modern, neo-fundamentalist purveyors of violence. Not surprisingly, militant fundamentalism strives in places of utter chaos and confusion.

The remedy to clearly lies in restoring religion to its rightful and exclusive preserve of spiritualism, while leaving socio-political issues to institutions of national and international polity. There can be no space for religion in the political domain.

Dr. Adil Rasheed is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defense and Strategic Analyses (IDSA) based in New Delhi since August 2016. For over 20 years, he has been a journalist, researcher, political commentator for various international think tanks and media organizations, both in the United Arab Emirates and India. He was Senior Research Fellow at the United Services Institution of India (USI) for two years from 2014 to 2016, where he still holds the honorary title of Distinguished Fellow. He has also worked at the Abu Dhabi-based think tank The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) for eight years (2006-14).

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/09/28/Why-militant-fundamentalism-is-post-modern-not-orthodox.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/adil-rasheed/fundamentalism-has-transported-religion-out-of-its-spiritual-realm/d/116517


  • Aren't you the literalist Village Mullah here? This is what ails Islamic scholarship in general. It is in the same stage as Biology was before Darwin. Even an educated doctor like GM sb cannot make a distinction between verses that:


    1. Lay down the law or rule which is to be strictly followed without deviation (example, law covering adultery)

    2. Lay down the law or rule that describes the maximum punishment with complete leeway even for pardon (Every other hudud law)

    3. The default rule in the absence of agreement (inheritance)

    4. Transactional verses which applied to the Prophet and his people from which the general principle maybe deduced

    5. Advisory (eg 2:282)



    If GM sb wishes to question the Quran's wisdom in advising taking two women to jointly witness a document, all that he is required to do is  to carry out a small experiment as follows to confirm whether the Quran is right or in error:


    Take a group of uneducated men and women and show them a small video clip and then ask them questions individually and separately. 


    Two persons will ask questions, the first one merely to make them accurately recall every detail of what they saw, and the second person will cross examine them trying to make them go back on what they said in the first instance. See how they perform. If it is confirmed that it is easier to confuse the women and make them go back on what they previously said, then the wisdom of the Quran in its advisory verse is proven.


    Repeat the experiment with two women now joining together and giving the evidence and facing the cross-examination. If they now perform as well as the men, then you have the proof that the Quran's advisory is full of wisdom. If you can prove that there is no difference between the men and women, then you are free to reject the verse.


    Till you have proven otherwise, do not let your inflated ego exceed your limited wisdom, in questioning the wisdom of the Quran.


    The fact is that there is no verse barring a woman signing in her individual capacity any legal instrument as a debtor, creditor, seller or buyer and therefore there cannot be a bar on her witnessing singly. Verse 2:282 is an advisory verse, that empowers every woman to participate at least as a witness in financial transactions when before, the uneducated housewives had no participation.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/16/2018 12:13:52 AM

  • You are going far from 2:282 in order to throw dust in our eyes. Your task is just to explain: 

    "And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses - so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her."

    Why two women in place of one man? Why is a woman more likely to err than a man?
    Stick to the issue.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/15/2018 1:13:18 PM

  • what makes you think that when even an oral contract is valid, a written contract without any witness or only with  a single witness male or female is invalid?

    All of the following are valid contracts:

    1. An oral contract
    2. A written contract with no witnesses
    3. A written contract with a single witness male or female
    4. A written contract with two witnesses male or female.

    Female witnesses may choose to witness jointly with another female and also give testimony when asked to do so jointly consulting and helping each other. This is a license allowed to only the women witnesses. Male witnesses are not allowed to witness/testify jointly.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/15/2018 1:19:08 AM

  • The fact that oral contracts are valid is not a justification for rating a woman's testimony as having less standing than a man's testimony. You become a master in diversion when you do not have an answer!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/14/2018 11:57:10 PM

  • Your understanding is at the same level as that of a village Mullah. Even today, nobody disputes that an oral contract is valid and most small value transactions are oral. If somebody known asks another to lend him/her even Rs hundred thousand, it is rare to enter into a written contract and it remains oral and based on trust between the parties.

    The advisory nature of the verse is therefore beyond dispute. If an oral contract is valid which indisputably it is, then it stands to reason that a written contract without witnesses is also valid, so also with one witness only whether male or female etc.

    What the advisory verse therefore establishes, is that Islam allows two females to jointly witness and give testimony helping and consulting each other, without making this a legal requirement. 

    Since GM sb who has proved that he is inherently incapable of understanding despite my best efforts, this is my last response to try and explain to him. 

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/13/2018 5:37:36 AM

  • 2:282 is not a license.  That's why I say that those words are not divine but are a 7th century Arab elaboration of a divine injunction demanding that a contract of indebtedness must be properly documented and witnessed.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/12/2018 12:50:24 PM

  • What is your objection then to verse 2:282, which gives license only to the women but not to the men, to jointly witness or jointly give testimony consulting and helping each other? 
    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/12/2018 2:38:54 AM

  • I did not say anything about "doing away" with positive discrimination but that would not stop Naseer saheb's concocting it up in his mission to keep justifying gender discrimination!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/11/2018 1:49:06 PM

  • GM sb is telling us that we should do away with positive discrimination in favour of women wherever such positive discrimination exists, because doing so violates against his concept of Gender Equality!
    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/11/2018 1:06:44 AM

  • Gender equality means equal rights and equal protections of rights. It is a goal towards which all societies should move. Historical inequalities must not be justified with the excuse of  "Will of God"

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/10/2018 9:37:34 AM

  • Gender unsameness is a fact of life that cannot be wished away. If there is gender "inequality" in the West, it is not because their laws discriminate against the women, but because the woman is more vulnerable. The inequality exists even though the law positively discriminates in their favour.


    The 'Me too' movement by the women and the fact that such a movement by men is unimaginable, underlies the inherent inequality between the sexes, as it relates to the vulnerability against coercive sex. Any laws in this regard, will perforce favour the women, and such laws cannot themselves be made out to be reinforcing or institutionalizing gender inequality. This is exactly what GM sb is doing, when he decries the licence given by the Quran to only the women, to jointly witness and testify, consulting each other in verse 2:182.


    As far as the majesty of God is concerned and ensuring Gender Equality, then I think Allah more than compensates the women for their pains. In every culture and society, the women live longer than the men and must therefore be also happier and healthier, although their bodies are far more complex, and they bear and nurse children. Longevity is an excellent parameter to judge a better, happier and more satisfying life. 



    His other comment shows that he believes that the Quran is only for the village Mullah and not for everyone. He apparently considers himself above it and therefore dismisses it and its verses as unworthy of his conception of God. Irrespective of his attitude to the Quran, it is a Book of warnings, and I would be failing in my duty, if I did not bring to his notice, what is relevant.


    (2:85) Then is it only a part of the Book that ye believe in, and do ye reject the rest? but what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life?- and on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty. For Allah is not unmindful of what ye do.


    Apparently, the demand to change or give up a part of the Book was made even to the Prophet! There is nothing new in any of the arguments and in the types of people, and their behaviours.


    (11:12) Perchance thou mayest (feel the inclination) to give up a part of what is revealed unto thee, and thy heart feeleth straitened lest they say, "Why is not a treasure sent down unto him, or why does not an angel come down with him?" But thou art there only to warn! It is Allah that arrangeth all affairs!

    Every verse of the Quran, reflects Allah's infinite all-encompassing wisdom, and is in accordance with the principle of things and the most appropriate, right and just.  

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/9/2018 11:57:12 PM

  • By trying to defend  gender inequality on grounds of "positive discrimination" and by threatening me with the wrath of God, Naseer saheb has again reverted to being a village mullah!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/9/2018 1:20:28 PM

  • What is the Quran?


    (10:37) This Qur´an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; …..


    (17:9) Verily this Qur´an doth guide to that which is most right (suitable, stable, straight) ……

    (17:105) We sent down the (Qur´an) in Truth, and in Truth has it descended:

    (25:6) Say: "The (Qur´an) was sent down by Him who knows the mystery (that is) in the heavens and the earth…."

    (41:3) A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail;- a Qur´an in Arabic, for people who understand;-


    Those who understand

    (22:54) And that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Qur´an) is the Truth from thy Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it: for verily Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the Straight Way.


    Those who will not understand


    (17:45) When thou dost recite the Qur´an, We put, between thee and those who believe not in the Hereafter, a veil invisible:

    (46) And We put coverings over their hearts (and minds) lest they should understand the Qur´an, and deafness into their ears: when thou dost commemorate thy Lord and Him alone in the Qur´an, they turn on their backs, fleeing (from the Truth).


     (25:30) Then the Messenger will say: "O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur´an for just foolish nonsense."



    The Quran is protected from any alteration:


    (69:43) (This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds.

    (44) And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name,

    (45) We should certainly seize him by his right hand,

    (46) And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart:

    (47) Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).

    (48) But verily this is a Message for the Allah-fearing.

    (49) And We certainly know that there are amongst you those that reject (it).

    (50) But truly (Revelation) is a cause of sorrow for the Unbelievers.

    (51) But verily it is Truth of assured certainty.


    The following applies to those who consider any part of it as false:


    (56:77) That this is indeed a qur´an Most Honourable,

    (78) In Book well-guarded,

    (79) Which none shall touch but those who are clean:

    (80) A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.

    (81) Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem?

    (82) And have ye made it your livelihood that ye should declare it false?



    Gender inequality exists because of which there are laws that positively discriminate to protect the interests of the women. Verse 2:182 is revealed in truth and guides to that which is most suitable, right and just as fully explained in my article:

     Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth Half That of A Man?

    You ask why men are not allowed to witness jointly consulting each other but only women. Because only women in general (not all) need such positive discrimination.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/9/2018 12:22:19 AM

  • Naseer saheb

    Are you saying that since gender inequality exists in the West also, it must be divinely ordained?

    Regarding your belief that your project is being helped by Allah, I shall leave you with that belief without any comment.

    The differences between classical scholars and neo-literalists like yourself is of no interest to me. My only purpose is to look at each verse to see if it accords with the glory and the majesty of God.  

    Your charge that my thinking is "Christian" is without any basis and is consistent with your well known trait of exalting yourself and demeaning others.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/8/2018 1:15:03 PM

  • What GM sb says is laughable. Why is there a "me too" movement by females and not by males if they are equal? He chooses to be blind and has the gall to say all others are equally blind or should be, and if they aren't, then there must be something wrong with them!

    He does not have the stuff to show either that my understanding deviates from the literal meaning or there is anything wrong with what the verse says if it means what I show its meaning to be.

    As for being Allah's assistant, yes, I am very much trying to clear the Book of Allah of all the distortions by the classical scholars and their blind followers and there is no reason to believe that such a project is not helped by Allah. There has been no question so far, for which I did not have an answer, without deviating from the literal meaning, and this is impossible, without Allah's help.

    The difference between me and others, is that I approach the Quran as sufficient by itself and others approach it as insufficient without the ahadith and numerous other sources. They can therefore never understand the Quran correctly nor are they even concerned about understanding correctly. They are happy with their distorted theology based on concocted stories. To call such people literalists, is to show how ignorant you are about the literal meaning of the Quran.

    You use the terminology of the Christians thinking the problems are similar. Your thinking is not even independent of the thinking of the Western/Christian scholars about Christianity. That is how little you understand anything. 

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/8/2018 12:57:58 AM

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