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Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam (08 Dec 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

By Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

08 December 2016

Now Germany too has banned full-face veils. France had done that earlier. Switzerland banned minarets in 2010. Islamophobic politicians are gaining acceptance in most European countries. Donald Trump has already been elected President. Muslims, however, don’t get it.

They just refuse to understand why fear of Islam is deepening in every society, India being no exception.

They just take bans on veils or minarets, as attacks on their religious freedom. They never worry about the lack of religious freedom in Muslim societies, not even for Muslims from minority sects or those considered heretic.

They do not understand that religious freedom is indivisible.


Indian Muslims have just observed the 24th anniversary of the demolition of Babri mosque. But only recently so many Hindu temples were vandalised in next door Bangladesh. Hindu girls are routinely kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and raped in the name of marriage.



Hindu girls are routinely kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and raped in the name of marriage'

But one doesn’t hear a word of condemnation from ulema or Muslim institutions.

Does Islam Allow Freedom Of Religion?

Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow building of temples or churches in its land. If there is one Jihad that would be permissible according to Quran’s teachings it would be a Jihad against Saudi Arabia, forcing it to allow worship places of other religions. When Muslims were permitted to defend themselves with arms 13 years after the advent of Islam, it was to protect freedom of religion per se, not just that of Muslims. In the words of Quran (22:40): “And had it not been that Allah checks one set of people with another, the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and the mosques, in which His praise is abundantly celebrated would have been utterly destroyed.”

But how come, we feel concerned only when it is a matter concerning a mosque or a supposedly “Islamic” veil being banned and do not bother if Muslim and avowedly Islamic states do not allow religious freedom to other groups. 

Not only that. We have scholars who claim that while non-Muslims have perfect freedom to practice their religion in an Islamic state, (not quite true, of course), Muslims do not have that freedom at all. Once born to a Muslim parent, you are doomed for ever to be a Muslim or else. Well, your throat will be slit, no less. Indeed, there are “revered” ulema in various schools of thought who say that if someone is seen so much as not attending Friday prayers, his throat should be slit.


Writes Salman Tarik Kureshi, a noted Pakistani scholar: “A person greatly admires Hazrat Maulana Rashid Gangohi, the outstanding scholar who was one of the founders of the Deoband madrasa.

The gentleman to whom I refer is a kindly soul, who can be depended upon for help by others.

However, when in the course of conversation I chanced to remark that the most basic virtue lay in kindness towards others, he contradicted me. Kindness, he contended, was reserved for “pious, practicing Muslims”.


Muslim girls with Islam's holy book the Quran Koran at a Madrasa Islamic school in rural north India Uttar Pradesh India (photo for representation only)

 As for others, they should be given a chance to mend their ways, after which “they would be Wajibul Qatal (liable to be killed)”.

 Another person I chanced to meet — a finance man, no less — feels that people who do not attend Friday prayers “should simply be killed. Slit their throats!”


Denying freedom of religion to Muslims and ex-Muslims, not to speak of non-Muslims, indeed has a long and gory history.

The Quranic dictum (2: 256) la ikraha fid Deen [Let there be no compulsion in religion] did not leave an impact beyond the life of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Forcible conversions started with the first Caliph Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) fighting Ridda (apostasy) wars against the tribes who had left Islam after the demise of the Prophet. They were all brought back to the fold of Islam or killed.

Similar is the case of Khwarij in the time of the fourth caliph Hazrat Ali (RA) and beyond to neo-Khwarij today, also known as Wahhabi or Salafi. 

These groups mostly kill Muslims whom they consider “heretics” including Shias and Ahmadis.

We Muslims need to be reminded of this history to be able to understand our present. Until we start respecting and accepting other religions and the human right of someone born a Muslim to leave the faith, we should not expect respect from others. We should not confuse their magnanimity with our right. Rights always have corresponding duties. Let us Muslims discard Islam supremacism and accept for a change that Islam is a spiritual path to salvation, one of the many. I know looking within and finding out how we are contributing to the growing Islamophobia is difficult but we have no option but to do so.

This article first appeared in Mail Today, New Delhi, on 8 December 2016.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/sultan-shahin,-founding-editor,-new-age-islam/why-islam-needs-a-reformation-now/d/109325

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  • What a despicable comment from Hats Off! His hatred for Muslims and Islam is uncontainable and exceeds even the worst animus of Zionists or Sanghis! And he has to unload it on a progressive Muslin website, of all places!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/28/2016 1:13:13 PM

  • mr ghulam mohiyuddin's antisemitism is an open fly festered wound!

    he needs to get some dressing on it.

    just so the other brotherhood flies don't feed on the pus.

    get back to where you once belonged!

    By hats off! - 12/28/2016 8:25:42 AM

  • so it is the closet jihadis from the ikhwaan swamp that get to decide what connotation! excellent.
    By hats off! - 12/28/2016 1:47:01 AM

  • The word 'reform', when used with reference to a religion, should have the same connotation as in "Reform Judaism", that is an emphasis on the evolving nature of religion and on adaptation to external influences and progressive values and to a lesser stress on ritual and personal observance.

    Orthodox Judaism on the other hand  adheres to the interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/27/2016 11:35:27 PM

  • "The word reform literally means to remove faults and abuses. Therefore we cannot reform Islam"

    Dr Jamal Badawi - MAS-ICNA convention Dec 2016

    By hats off! - 12/27/2016 8:52:35 PM

  • Aisay kai firon Ake chalegaye o katham hogaye lakin ALLAH k deen wai tha wahi hai our ta qayamath thak rehega insha ALLAH
    By Nisar Ahmed - 12/24/2016 6:47:30 AM

  • @जय हनुमान जयकालाफूल U better study ur wone religion first do reforms there don't follow blind belief v Muslim don't worship what has been created v worship only the creator
    By Nisar Ahmed - 12/24/2016 6:46:59 AM

  • Though out of context but but but...... 
    Guys - be vary of everything Islam..... Protect yourself from getting islam

    By जय हनुमान जयकालाफूल - 12/24/2016 6:46:26 AM

  • No power in this entire universe has guts to make any reforms or changes in the Quran it's for all humanity study it u also love it because Quran has no errors & no reform is required but v Muslim has to b reformed according to Quran & sunha of prophet Quran will be intact till the end of this world every religious books has been curpted exept Quran
    By Nisar Ahmed - 12/24/2016 6:45:55 AM

  • Islam and Muslims are still stuck in 14th century.  😏
    By Bharat Gadhavi - 12/24/2016 6:44:55 AM

  • So time will also come for Islam as it reformed Christianity in 15 Century, Vedic Karmkand Religion in 6th Century BC.
    By Vijay Tiwari - 12/24/2016 6:44:06 AM

  •  @Syed Farid Idris Maharaj Yes ,time is greatest reformer ....
    By Mahendra Manuj - 12/24/2016 6:43:43 AM

  • If killing is the only reason than there are many societies present and past who need reform. From Gujarat to Syria from Bosnia to China from American Indians to Hiroshima the list is endless. Nitpicking will get us no where. Societies have their own dynamism and time is the greatest reformer.
    By Syed Farid Idris Maharaj - 12/24/2016 6:42:56 AM

  • Ina deen indal lahi islam.(allah ke nazdeek kabil kabool deen sirif islaam hai..
    By Bashir Ahmad - 12/24/2016 6:40:36 AM

  • @Ghulam Mohiyuddin Yes. In right earnest. If I am not more inquisitive, there must be some refueling agency like middle east royalty and their links which don't intend reform to maintain the thrones keeping others busy with the religion. Karl Marx termed religion as opium, and vast majority of populace are intoxicated with religion, which was a historical evolve as required at that time.
    By Siba Prasad Sarma - 12/24/2016 6:40:02 AM

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