By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
1 November 2015
(Co-author (Jointly with AshfaqueUllah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
This article draws on the debate whether Islam or Islamic Societies need a reform, triggered by Mehdi Hasan’s recently posted article, ‘Why Islam does not need a Reformation,’ and tables a concrete proposal to set the process of reform, as being voiced for almost two centuries, into motion.
Mehdi Hasan’s article elicited the following comments from three learned commentators, which are complimentary to each other, and drove this writer to post an exhaustive comment. The latter is now being posted as this article in order to draw the fuller attention of Muslim intelligentsia and Islamic Academies in India and abroad. The comments are:
1. "Islam does not need Reformation. Muslims indeed need reformation." – Ghulam Ghous
2. There is a need for "Islamic reformation based on common sense, learning and absorbing new and sensible ideas”–Ghulam Mohiyuddin
3. Islamic reformation needs to concentrate its efforts on the social, moral, religious and ethical revival of Muslim society and polity." Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi.
The truth is Islamic Reformation is not the same thing as a reform in Islam itself. It only means reform in Islamic societies. It has to come not by challenging the fundamental doctrine of Islam as in Christianity but by way of investigating, critiquing, restructuring, correcting, broadening, clarifying various notions, customs and popular concepts and laws in vogue today that conflict with the universal values of Islam and have combined together to create a widening social, cultural, political, educational and ideological gap within the Muslim communities at societal, national level and between Islam and the others at an international level.
The writer has done a fairly good number of articles, posted at New Age Islam over the last four years that can be used as basis to have fresh insights on a whole range of Islamic issues - all within the ambit of Islam as preserved in the Qur'an. Each article is designed to be a work of Ijtihad (fresh insight) and draws on his duly authenticated joint publication, Essential Message of Islam and there does not suffer any doctrinal vacuum. As Ghulam Mohiyuddin Sahab has correctly said, and the Qur'an encourages, he has engaged Aql (intellect), Fiqh (logical reasoning) and Tadabbur (cognitive faculty) to frame the articles, and has also delved into the secondary and external sources of knowledge – as knowledge has no religious boundary and God alone is the fountainhead of all knowledge. The relevant articles listed below can be used as a starting point for an 'Islamic Reform' in specific areas as per their captions, and all of them can be taken on board to initiate a process of all round reform.
I. Restructuring Madrasa education
1. An Open Reminder To Ulama- Rejecting Universal Knowledge As Un-Islamic Is Brazenly Un-Islamic And Kufr (Denial Of Truth).
2. RESTRUCTURING MADRASA EDUCATION: Muslim Opponents of India’s 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act' are Enemies of Indian Muslims
3. Intellectual Ambivalence of Educated Indian Muslims: the RTE versus the Ridiculous Fatwas
4. Evolution of Hadith Sciences and Need for Major Paradigm Shift in Role of Hadith Corpus and Scope of Madrasa Education
II. Correction of Gender Discriminatory Notions and Laws
1. The Medieval-Era-Rooted, Qur’an-Conflicting Muslim Personal Law (Sharia Law) Must Be Reformed To Avoid Injustices to Muslim Women – An SOS to the Indian Ulema Fraternity
2. India’s Child Marriage Act 2006 Prescribing 18 as Women’s Legal Age for Marriage Is Consistent with the Qur’an
Fatwa Imposing Full Face Veil (Burqa Niqab), Headscarf on Muslim Women as a
Religious Requirement is Anti-Qur’anic
4. Notions of Male Superiority, Domination And Beating Of Wife Stand Un-Islamic Today
5. Muslim women in the non-Muslim Western world may
relax on the symbolic veiling (head-ear-chin cover) and create a socially
interactive performance oriented identity as commanded by the Qur’an.
6. Qur’anic Sharia (Laws) On Divorce: Triple Divorce, Temporary Marriage, Halala Stand Forbidden (Haram)
7. Limiting Maintenance of Divorced Women for the Iddat Period is Brazenly Un-Islamic
8. The Qur’an Prescribes Monogamy As The Social Norm For Humanity
9. A Fresh Insight into the Qur’anic Verses Quoted to Justify Unwedded Sexual Relation with Maids, Call Girls etc
10. The Qur’an Offers Protection and Coequal Personal Rights to Women and Those Who Deny Them Such Rights Today Are the Deniers of the Message of the Qur’an – Though God Knows Best
11. Abolition of Slavery, Including Sex Slavery in Islam (The Qur’an)
III. Probing Criminal Laws
1. Blasphemy Law has NO Qur’anic Basis
2. Flogging of Women for Sex outside Marriage Stands Brutal and Un-Islamic Today
3. Any Punishment for Apostasy, Let Alone Capital Punishment, is Anti-Islamic
IV. Broadening the horizon’s of Islamic thoughts.
1. The Spiritual Genocide of a Godly people: The Case of Ahmadis in Pakistan
2. The Zakat – A Pillar Of Faith, As Actualized Today Is A Grand Mockery, If Not Fraudulent Realization Of Qur’anic Message On Wealth Distribution And Social Justice.
3. The Zakat Today Grossly Underplays the Qur’anic Emphasis on Zakat and Wealth Sharing
4. Role of Dawah in Islam: Islamic Dawah at This Moment Must Focus Inwards and Not Outwards
5. Is The Muslim Mind Anchored In The 2nd And 3rd Centuries Of Islam?
V. Expounding the different facets of the Qur’anic message beyond the Pillars of Faith
1. The Muslims’ ignorance /disregard of the Qur’anic guidance and its Colossal and Recurring Cost
2. 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
3. Tracking The Moral Trajectories Of The Juz ‘Amm (Last One Thirtieth Part) Of The Qur’an
4. Universal Dimensions of the Qur'an and Historic Specificity of Islam's Theological Sciences
5. Literalist Comprehension Of, And Exclusivist Dedication To The Pillars Of Faith Purports To Reduce Islam To A Cult Of Five Pillars
6. The Broader Notion of Din Al-Islam Is Inclusive Of All Monotheistic Faiths
7. The Qur’an’s Broader Notion Of Taqwa – An Irrefutable Testimony To Its Universalism
8. The Quran was Never Edited and any Effort to Edit the Quran will be Self-Contradictory
9. The Qur’anic Message Admits of Flexibility in the Shares of the Siblings / Heirs
10. Love, Sex and Marriage in the Qur’an
11. Darwinism is Consistent with Qur’anic Insights on Man’s Origin
12. The Qur’anic Perspective on Jihad and Greater jihad: SOS to Global Muslim Community
13. Pope Francis Touches The Soul Of The Qur’an By Seeking An “Adequate Interpretation” And Muslims And Their Ulema And Scholars Across The World Must Follow His Suggestion To Avoid Growing Confusion In Religion.
14. Muslims Must Take A Hard Look At The Popular Islamic Theology Of The Era Focus On The Essentials Of Their Din To Survive In This Progressive, Pluralistic, Humanistic And Politically Volatile Era And Avoid Suicidal Collapse
15. Blue Print For Restoring The Pristine Theology Of Islam Expounding The Huquq Al Ibad – Man’s Duty To Man And His Right To Use His Intellectual Faculties As Enshrined In The Qur’an
VI. Clarifying gross misconceptions about Islamic message and the Prophet
1. Acceptance of the Satanic Verses Episode of the Classical Sira is Shirk and Kufr
2. Closing The Episode On Satanic Verses And The Chapter On Muhammad/Islam Vilification
3. Clearing Some Gross Misconceptions about Islam and Its Prophet
4. Is Islam Incompatible with Democracy?
5. The Noble Persona of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) As Mirrored In the Qur’an
6. Indian Muslim Clerics Reduce Muslim Women To The Level Of Whore With Whom The Son, The Father, The Brother And The Friend Can Have Sex Within The Ambit Of Islamic Law
7. The Notion of Jizyah In The Light Of the Qur’an’s Holistic Message and Historical Context
8. The Benevolent Impact Of Jizyah On The Vanquished In Early Islam: A Review Of Observations By Some Of The Greatest Scholars Of Enlightenment And This Era
VII. Curbing Radicalization/ Terrorism
1. Summing Up: Refutation of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Supporting Wanton Killing of Innocent Civilians under Special Circumstances and Thus Justifying the 9/11 Attacks – Part 8 (in 8 Parts)
2. ‘Azan: A Call to Jihad - On the Road to Khilafah’: A Comprehensive and Conclusive Refutation by an Authoritative Quran Exegete
3. Call For International Fatwas To Declare The Terrorists Who Advocate Wanton Killing Of Innocent People In The Name Of Islam As ‘Terrorist Apostates’, Like The Kharijites Of Early Islam
4. Interpreting Islam’s Pillars of Faith as Symbols of Militant Jihad Is Heresy - An Intense ‘Kufr’ And Its Wilful Muslim Followers Stand as Kafirin – Let There Be No Doubt About It
5. Declare The ISIS As The Kharijites (Those Who Seceded From Islam) As This Article Demonstrates And Declares: Global SOS To The Ulama, Muftis, Intellectuals And Scholars Of Islam
6. An Open Warning of Dire Perdition to the Neo Khwarijite (Hatred Inspiring and Terror Mongering) Ulema of Pakistan – The Ideologues of TTP, Jaish e Muhammad and Their Likes
7. Historical Significance of President Barrack Obama’s Declarations at the recent Summit to combat Violent Extremism
8. What ISIS Really Wants– Point by Point Refutation of Most of the Key Assumptions, Statements, Quotations and Charges Made in Graeme Wood’s Essay
9. The Twin Growing Menace: Petrifaction And Radicalization In Islam And Islamophobia – Are They Interconnected? How Best They Can Be Diffused? An SOS to the Muslim Intelligentsia, Leadership and Ulema!
10. The ISIS And Its Likes – The Muslim Violent Extremists Of This Era Must Be Outlawed On Historical Precedent To Save The Middle East From A Tsunami Of Bloodshed And The World From A Clash Of Civilizations
11. Countering Violent Terrorism – Muslim Community Leaders Must Warn Youngsters against the Dangers of Radicalization
12. Countering Violent Extremism – Muslim Ulama And Custodians Of Faith Must Avert A Potential Holocaust
13. The Heinous Crimes That ISIS Is Perpetrating Totally Opposed To Islam And Those Killed Fighting For ISIS May Earn Divine Wrath Instead Of Paradise And ‘Hurs’ – An SOS To All Mosque Imams
14. Europe’s About Turn in Its Stance of the Muslims from Hatred and Exclusion to Mercy, Compassion and Inclusion– an SOS to the Custodians of the Sacred Mosques
15. The Shamelessness of Ulema of Islam in Bearing with the Penultimate Blasphemy by ISIS Brutes without a Thunderous Global Protest Is Despicable
VIII. Fresh Insights into Secondary Sources
1. The Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) is NOT a Word of God!
2. The Grievous Impacts Of Hadith Sciences In The Later Centuries Of Islam – A Soul Searching Exercise And A Final Call To The Muslim Ulema And Intellectual Elite.
3. ‘Bidding the Good and Forbidding the Evil’ (Amr Bil Ma‘Ruf Wa Nahi ‘Anil Munkar) By The Traditional Institution Of Religious Police Stands Un-Islamic Today
4. What Is Popularly Known As The Sharia Law Of Islam Is Actually The Cumulative Rulings Of Muslim Jurists With A Tag Of Islam, And Not Any Immutable Word Of God Or The Laws Of The Qur’an
5. Hadith Is Not a Divine Scripture of Islam – a la Qur’an
6. Defending the Hadith and Its Compilers – The Great Imams Who Are Sometimes Misunderstood and Even Reviled
7. The Classical Biography (Sira) Of the Prophet Is More of a Story than a Historical Record – It Is a Highly Embellished History
8. The Ambivalent Notion of Consensus of the Scholars (Ijma) in Islam
IX. Promoting Inter-faith relations
1. The Qur’an Espouses Harmonious Inter-Faith Relations With Christians And Jews And All Other Faith Communities
2. The Qur’an’s Regard for the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) And the Believing Humanity– A Living Testimony
3. The Hindus are not ‘the Mushrikin’ Mentioned in the Qur’an
4. Are All The Mushrikin For All Times “Spiritually Unclean” (Rijz) (Literal Reading Of The Verse 9:28 Of The Qur’an)?
5. Muslims Have NO Qur’anic Basis for Religious Supremacism
6. Human Beings Are Equal, Have the Same Rights, the Human Race Is One, and We Are All Brothers – Global Call for Improving Inter-Faith Relations and Combating Religious Supremacism and Bigotry
7. 'Qur'an Burning Scheme of a Pastor In Contrast To the Veneration of Jesus and Mary in the Qur’an'
X. Challenging the Internal Enemies of Islam
1. A Call To Global Muslim Communities – Inciters Of Sectarian Or Communal Violence May Stand 'Kafir’ In The Divine Court And Criminal On Earth.
2. 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
3. Ayaan Hirsi Ali – The Literary Queen of Reformist Islam Is Not Infallible: A Critique of Her Essay, “The Future of Islam in the Hands of Reformers”
4. Indian Muslim Ulema Who Insist On Retaining the Anti-Qur’anic Triple Talaq (Instant Divorce) In Muslim Personal Law Are Sinners, Haters of Their Women-Folk and Criminals and Must Be Resisted
It is hoped that this exposition will set the ball rolling for an all-round reform by creating a debate in the scholarly circles, such as the major Islamic Universities in India or abroad.
Tabling fresh insights in areas that fall in the domain of Islamic theology or otherwise pertain to the interpretation and application of the Qur’anic message is an immensely risky job as a single blunder in one single article out of the listed 80 can impair the credibility of the rest, let alone the risk of the author earning divine wrath for failing to capture the divine mind. Hence, it goes without saying that the author has spent long hours and drafted and redrafted each of his article several times before finalizing them. The author has also gained confidence during his active involvement with NAI for four full years by not receiving any adverse comments to his articles except on few occasions by lone commentators that he has mostly been able to refute. Despite all this, the author cannot claim to be above error, though, with an authenticated Qur’anic interpretation as his primary source material, he can assure the readers that the chances of his slipping into error remain slim. The bulk of the work can therefore be regarded as reliable as humanly possible.
Islam Doesn’t Need a Reformation
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. KhaledAbou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.