Muhammad Yunus, NewAgeIslam.com
Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009
Newt Gingrich, the Republican US Presidential candidate is reported to have said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in July 2010 “I believe Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”
The capstone of a recent article ‘The Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) is NOT a Word of God!’ declares it, in today’s context, “a threat to Islamic civilization and World peace.
The underlined remarks from totally unconnected minds are ominously identical in forewarning the dangers of the Classical Islamic Shariah in the present day world. Therefore, only the naïve will take Newt’s remark for a political rabbit out of the hat. The referred article sets out detail of arguments to substantiate its trenchant remark. It appeared in two parts just this October and received comments from only three Muslim readers. As the statement of a serious contender to the highest political and military office in the world must be taken seriously, the American Muslim leaders must bite the bullet and reflect on the following in-house remark that is complementary to that of Newt Gingrich, posted by a Muslim commentator on an international website more than a year ago. Ref: en.qantara.de/Mohammed-Yunus-12-September-2010/9446c9550i1p708/
"It is time Muslim scholarship takes cognizance of the dichotomy of Islamic faith between its primary scripture, the Koran and its theological corpus (traditions and Sharia laws): one appearing at a point in time in history as an epicenter of faith, and the other evolving in its second century onwards – as the ripples of the initial surge of faith. The former is constant, eternal and independent of history. The latter inevitably shaped by historical factors: pre-Islamic faith of the incoming converts, state of civilization, theological orientation and scholastic methods of the era. If Islam is equated with the 'religion' (or worldview) espoused by the Koran – regardless of whether it came from God or Muhammad made it up, it is universal, tolerant, balanced, gender-neutral, inclusive, non-political, pluralistic, flexible and open ended – albeit within broad boundaries, and emblematic of justice, liberty, equality, and other universal secular values.
But if this is a religion, crowned nominally by the Koran, but built around its theological resources as the classical theologians and doctors of law insist, then it can differ from and even be antithetic to the pristine Koranic model: region-era specific, intolerant, exclusive, politically oriented, gendered, and wanting in justice, liberty and equality. If the present theology oriented politicized model of Islam persists, its mullahs, ayatollahs and orthodox champions will remain committed to keeping the community in its medieval Mid-Eastern mould, and Islam will remain alien to and despised (openly or tacitly) in Europe and the West.
But if Muslim theological leadership objectively reassesses the fundamentals of the faith and homes in on the universal values of the Koran - treating the theological discourses in their historical perspective, Islam has a far better chance of secularization, globalization and broader rapport with the Western society.”
Hence, as concluded in the referenced article that only few people might have read: “It is time that the Muslim elite and leadership put their act together to achieve a gigantic paradigm leap - from the Classical Sharia Law of Islam to a Modern Islamic Law (Sharia), accommodating Western secular values - within the broader framework of the Qur’an. Their complacence and inaction may lend strong credence to Khaled Abou El Fadl’s agonizing concern: "Is it possible that the day will come when ours will be designated a "vanished civilization."