New Age Islam
Tue Dec 05 2023, 01:20 AM

Letter to the Editor ( 2 Dec 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Rational Muslims should speak against the obscurantist, medieval and irrational ideas of Zakir Naik

Ashok Sharma

It is surprising that the process of development of rational thinking among Muslims is very slow. Most middle class Muslims also treat this issue as that of identity. This is high time that educated, rational and secular Muslims should come out and speak against the obscurantist, medieval and irrational ideas being propounded by the likes of Mr. Zakir Naik. Otherwise, the hands of those anti - Islamic forces will be strengthened who treat Islam as an intolerant, dangerous and barbaric ideology out to capture and enslave the world!  It is specially important as more people are turning atheist or, non-religious and an impression has been created that people not believing in God will be killed/exterminated in Islamic societies.

This kind of Fascist and inhuman/barbaric interpretation is un-Islamic and incompatible with modern civilisation. Why should people be forced to believe in something which they do not want or, require? After all, people who do not believe in God also live happily and can be good citizens. Why should anybody force them to change their thinking and lifestyle if they are not harming others? Why should human robots be created in the name of religion who are not permitted to think or, analyse? Who gives these fanatics such authority? It is the silence of majority Muslims who do not want to confront them. Even if some fanatic interpretation provides them with such self-proclaimed authority, it has to be condemned and opposed by all rational Muslims. 

Non-Muslim intellectuals also have a role to play. They must highlight the positive aspects of Islamic ideology which was a revolutionary concept in its time and environment. Its tenets have to be interpreted in the light of the objective conditions that prevailed during that time in the Arab lands.  After-all, how did Islam become so popular in so many countries including Indian sub-continent?

Your website is providing a great service to not only the followers of Islam but to the entire humanity. Please also include articles on the rational thinking in Islam and status of human rights and minorities as early as 7th Century AD as advocated by the Prophet (PBUH). Also please explain that Islam is not incompatible with other religions and ways of life and can co-exist (and has always co-existed) in harmony with them.

--  Ashok Sharma