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Books and Documents

Debating Islam

The Islamic State
Zachary Laub

The self-proclaimed Islamic State is a militant movement that has conquered territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, where it has made a bid to establish a state in territories that encompass some six and a half million residents....

 

Ibn Taymiyah died in prison for teaching that the caliphate is not a military or political organization, though it is an Umma.  It is consensus of the wise persons and scholars on the meaning of justice, originating from divine revelation, natural law, and human reason to understand the first two sources....

 

While promoting her new book, Heretic, on a March 23 episode of "The Daily Show," Somali-born author and anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali made a staggering claim: “If you look at 70 percent of the violence in the world today, Muslims are responsible,” she told host Jon Stewart....

Islam is the name of a religion; by virtue of being in this category, it is thus all about the content of the Quran and the binding Hadiths from the Prophet Muhammad as well as his practices. Whatever remains outside this definition is not religion, but interpretation of the religion....

 
The Future of Islam in the Hands of Reformers
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Future of Islam in the Hands of Reformers
Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The ferment we see in the Muslim world today is not solely attributable to despotic political systems, or to failing economies and the poverty they breed. Rather, it is due largely to Islam itself and the incompatibility of that faith's key tenets with modernity....

Clearing Some Gross Misconceptions about Islam and Its Prophet
Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
Clearing Some Gross Misconceptions about Islam and Its Prophet
Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

One may quote ten, a hundred, a thousand or a million writers saying just the opposite things about Islam and its Prophet, but the truth of history is understood far more accurately by the most learned and the most scholarly who spend all their life in pursuit of knowledge and pen down what they learnt in scholarly publications that receive world recognition and shine without fading like a beacon in the night-sky. The authors quoted above are all like beacons of night-sky and not flashes in the pans of history as those clinging to pre-conceived notions and dedicating their scholarship to establish what they want to establish, like the oxen of the traditional oil mill who remain in the same position even after taking a thousand rounds of their circular path or the proverbial ass of the Prophet Jesus, who remained an ass even after crossing the seven seas…..

Related Article:

The Radical Intelligentsia of Islam and Its Orthodox Ulema Are the ‘Hypocrites’ and ‘Nomadic Arabs Intense In Kufr’ Of This Era: They Are Its Twin Internal Enemies, and Must Be Resisted

When I read about Sibley’s “false flag” operation with which he hoped to blame Muslims for his terrorist act, my mouth literally fell open. I truly couldn’t believe anyone would consider killing or injuring fellow Americans to cause a backlash versus Muslim Americans....

 

Without Hadith, we are told that the Quran would apparently be a mass of ambiguities and cannot be applied. Dr Fawad dealt with the historicity of Hadith in his article, so I will not approach this issue from that angle. Instead, I will discuss the philosophical differences between Quran and Hadith....

Should Islam even have a clergy, let alone one which should be obeyed without question? The Quran is unequivocally clear on this issue: that religious clergy can become lords besides Allah (9/31) and that most of them will distract us from the path of Allah while amassing wealth (9/34). When the Quran invites us to contemplate it (47/24), it does not mention that we need a barrage of qualifications in order to do so, nor does it ask us to consult any scholars. ...

Who Really Desecrated The Qur’an?
Abdulateef Al-Mulhim
Who Really Desecrated The Qur’an?
Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

Islam does not encourage Muslims to carry copies of the Qur’an to places where it might be desecrated due to negligence or misunderstandings. But sadly just by looking at the damages done to mosques, schools and houses in the Arab and Muslim world during the so-called Arab Spring or sectarian violence elsewhere, it could be inferred that hundreds of copies of the Qur’an must have been burned by Muslims themselves....

 

The West today confronts the implosion of an old order on its frontiers while inequality, financial crises and failed wars undermine its own legitimacy and authority. The great challenges before it are as much political, ideological, economic and legal as military. That’s why the obsession with Islam makes Western liberal democracies seem much like their present weapon of choice, the drone: programmed to find and exterminate supposed enemies but incapable of thinking imaginatively....

The question of phraseology is easily dealt with. The word “Islamic” in Arabic, and in English as well, has to do with the ideals of the Muslim religion. It is thus analogous to the word “Judaic.” We speak of “Islamic ethics” as a field of study, just as we do “Judaic ethics.” Not all Muslims or Jews conform to the ethics preached in their religious traditions. Some are even criminals. But then they are Muslim criminals and Jewish criminals. They are not Islamic criminals and Judaic criminals. Likewise in Catholicism, one speaks of Patristic theology, referring to the religious ideas of the Church fathers, but wouldn’t talk of bad priests steeped in that theology as Patristic criminals. It is because both in Arabic and in other languages “Islamic” refers to the ideals of the Muslim religion that both Muslims and people with good English diction object strenuously to a phrase such as “Islamic terrorism” or “Islamic fascism” (fascism was an invention of Christian Europe, in any case)....

 

Following the publication of his Atlantic cover story, “What ISIS Really Wants,” Graeme Wood has challenged critics who claim that he misrepresented Islamic belief, noting, “It’s instructive to see how responses to my piece reckon with or ignore this line: ‘Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do.’” But Wood’s entire essay implies that such a rejection of ISIS by other Muslims can only be hypocritical or naive, and that ISIS members and supporters follow the texts of Islam as faithfully and seriously as anyone. The main expert in Wood’s article is Princeton University professor Bernard Haykel, who “regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through Willful ignorance. … In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war....

 

Wood’s Atlantic article has some interesting details about ISIS. For example: the group’s leader believes that he is the eighth legitimate caliph, and that the apocalypse will happen during the reign of the twelfth. Wood considers a clear understanding of this apocalypticism very valuable—a primary reason that it’s worth dwelling on the group’s religious character. But you could also argue that, if something like an apocalypse is possible, putting undue emphasis on the group’s religious character could hasten it....

Is the ‘Islamic State’ Islamic?
Mustafa Akyol
Is the ‘Islamic State’ Islamic?
Mustafa Akyol

In my view, ISIL of course has something to do with Islam, in the sense its keeps referring to the Quran, the Hadiths, and the classical texts of Salafi jurisprudence. But the overwhelming majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims and all mainstream Islamic scholars see them as crazy fanatics. Even other jihadist groups see ISIL as too violent and ruthless (Alas, even al-Qaeda finds them too extreme.) It would be utterly unwise to fail to see this very wide spectrum....

 
West’s Wilful Bias against Islam
Aijaz Zaka Syed
West’s Wilful Bias against Islam
Aijaz Zaka Syed

The Atlantic article is a good example of wilful ignorance, bias and Islamophobia masquerading these days as investigative journalism and scholarly inquiry. If this is what the finest minds in the West think about the faith of one fourth of humanity, then God help us. Quoting experts like himself and nuts like Anjem Choudary, Wood goes to elaborate lengths to claim there’s really no difference between the bloodthirsty ways of IS and the teachings of Islam and its Prophet....

 
The Dangers of ‘Islamic Terror’ Talk
Richard Cohen
The Dangers of ‘Islamic Terror’ Talk
Richard Cohen

The piece, by Graeme Wood, makes two important points. The first I have already mentioned — that the horrendous practices of the Islamic State, as well as its goals, are deeply embedded in Islam. The second is that the Islamic State is just itching for combat with the U.S. “The biggest proponent of an American invasion is the Islamic State itself,” Wood writes. “The provocative videos, in which a black-hooded executioner addresses President Obama by name, are clearly made to draw America into the fight.” This is a fight the Islamic State should be denied….

 

A Hadith, or saying of the prophet Muhammad, is translated as: “The Last Hour (of history) would not come until the Romans land at (either) al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people (the Muslims) of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them).” Dabiq and al-A’maq are towns in Syria along the Turkish border. Dabiq is about an hour’s drive north of Aleppo. According to another Hadith attributed to the prophet Muhammad, this area will witness a war in which Muslims will defeat the Romans, conquer Constantinople (now Istanbul) and usher the return of Jesus, thus triggering the apocalypse....

Wood is right in pointing out that there are people in the world today — including those carrying black banners in places like Raqqa and Mosul — who take religion very seriously. But just as a failure to recognize this fact may represent the bias of a Western observer, there is also a glaring bias in dismissing or ignoring the great mass of established and recognized religious scholars of Islam in the Muslim world whose theological conclusions are starkly at odds with the radical revisionism of Islamic State....

 

Popular as it is, Wood's essay is deeply flawed and alarmingly tone-deaf – dangerously so. What is so objectionable about Wood's essay is encapsulated in his statement: “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic.” While Wood acknowledges that “nearly all” Muslims of the world reject ISIS, ultimately his thesis is that the atrocities committed by the group have a theological basis in Islam. In support of his thesis, Wood cites Princeton academic, Bernard Haykel, who not only agrees that ISIS is “very Islamic,” but even goes so far as to say that those Muslims who denounce ISIS as un-Islamic are either ignorant about Islam or are simply being politically expedient by deliberately whitewashing the legal and historical dimensions of their religion....

The Limits of the 'Islamic' Label
Fareed Zakaria
The Limits of the 'Islamic' Label
Fareed Zakaria

“The Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic,” writes Graeme Wood in an essay for The Atlantic this month. Wood’s essay is an intelligent and detailed account of the ideology that animates the Islamic State. These are not secular people with rational goals, he argues; they really do believe in their religious ideology....

Every religious group believes every other religious group is out to steal its members. The Constitution of Malaysia enshrines the paranoia of Muslims in Malaysia by providing special means for Islamic authorities to prevent Muslims from being proselytized by members of other religions….

 

So you consider it Jihad what you are doing? Isn’t it very strange that people fighting on both side of this war are Mujahideen? This is really strange that you take money from America, you take planes from America, you use the helicopters of America and often the American military personnel meet and advise your Ameer Kiyani (then head of Pakistan Army) and you are saying that you are doing Jihad! (Sarcastically) That is an excellent form of Jihad, isn’t it? No problem, carry on doing such “Jihad.”....

Taliban Scholar to Pakistan Army Official: "Only you have the experience how tasty the blood of Pakistanis might be and how tasty might be their flesh. These are your own experiences and we can see the perpetrators clearly. Regarding taking the money from banks; yes Alhamdulillah, we raid the banks openly and we consider it as an act of worship. We also consider taking Aseer for Ghanimah an act of worship. Kidnapping the children may be your own deeds but Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has never kidnapped any children nor can anybody prove or attribute such actions to us, Alhamdulillah….."

The 'Un-Islamic State'
Fakhruddin Ahmed

Confronting ISIS theologically is a waste of time.  So far they have executed soldiers who surrendered, butchered Shias, ethnically cleansed, starved and murdered minority Yazidis and Christians, kidnapped and raped women, and beheaded native and foreign civilians….

 

Basically, the argument is this: all the violence actions carried out by Muslims in the Muslim world and in Europe have absolutely nothing to do with Islam. It's all really to do with economics, colonialism, ethnic conflict, the malign influence of the West... anything as long as it isn't Islam. So why a Muslim would be saying that Islam is a mere epiphenomenon of material conditions? The answer to that is simple. A Muslim would need to say such a thing in order to excuse Islam of all the negative and violent actions done in its name…

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