Posts Tagged ‘Caliphate’

Why Islam, cannot be Liberalized?

September 1, 2017
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Why Islam, cannot be Liberalized?

From the earliest time of Islam; even during the period of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH); attempts had started being made, by various groups such as Jews, Christians, and Pagans, to change/reshape Islam. God, therefore, guided Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to guard against t he temptations of such offers. Saying: “They wish that you would soften [in your position], so they would soften [in return, their position toward you], and do not obey every worthless habitual swearer, [And] scorner, going about with malicious gossip – A preventer of good, transgressing and sinful, Cruel, and an illegitimate pretender” (Surah Al Qalam 68, V 9-13) God also guided the prophet (PBUH) saying: “O Prophet, strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the destination” (Qura’an 66:98)

“Many of the People of the Scripture (including liberals and reformists) wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy on their own account [even] after the truth has become clear to them. So pardon and overlook until Allah delivers His command. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent” (Qura’an 2:109). On the other hand, God took upon Himself to protect the main source of injunctions—The Holy Qura’an— declaring–”Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qura’n and indeed, We will be its guardian” (Qura’an, 15:9). And warned (interpolator, reformists) saying: God revealed the book (Qura’an) with the truth, and those who disagree about the book (its essence or injunctions) are far out in the schism. (Qura’an 2:176) Consequently, every single word, every single consonant, every single vowel has remained intact till this day and will remain so until the end of the world. Currently, there are lots of so-called– reformists, Muslim and Non-Muslim alike, keen to reform Islam to suit their Westaphalic whims and liberal values. They perhaps liken its intended reformation to the reformation movement in Christianity. Such reformers normally are bereft of the knowledge of Islam and even if they have some, it is scanty and facile. They, however, sure have the fervor and zealotry of an extremist— defined by a great American Political theorist–Michael Walzer.

An interesting characteristic of these so-called reformers is that they want to swim along the—propaganda inflicted– liberal-mindset, by distorting Islam to conform to its modern liberal values. In Qura’an, it is stated that when it is said to them (reformers)“Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but (Musleh) reformers”, “Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not” (2:11-12)

This genre of reformist may also be traced in the cross-pollination of Martin Luther King and Rousseau.

God issued an absolute command not to accept the offer of the Jews and Christians (with their corrupted/abrogated ideas–which, by implication, also applies to so-called reformers, liberals, and modernists) in the following words. “Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you unless you follow their form of religion. Say:–Guidance of Allah is the only guidance. Were you to follow their desires after the knowledge which has reached you, then would you find neither protector nor helper against Allah” (Qura’an, 2:120). Here is yet another verse in Qura’an which forbids Muslims from wavering or taking an impermissible liberty in any field of life.”Those who believe, enter Islam completely, do not tow the lines of the Satan, who is your clear enemy” (Q 2:208) Supplemented by– “Life of this world is attractive (enticing) to nonbelievers; who ridicule those who believe—but—those who fear God(following all commands without deviation, distortion)will be successful (above disbelievers) in the hereafter” (Q 2:212)

After these absolute ordinances, no God fearing, sensible Muslim would dare accept their attenuating ideas. Recent chronology of the efforts to liberalize Islam Since the middle of the 19th century; due to the Protestant theological proliferation; a host of self-styled modernist, reformist, revivalist et al have sprouted in almost all Muslim-majority countries and in the western countries; with some concentration of Muslims. They pretend to have understood “The Real Islam” for the first time; adopting either an extremist or a liberal position, although both are untenable and in contravention of Islamic teachings of moderation. Sometimes they employ alien terms, to sound elitist and convincing, such as “religion is a matter of heart”, emotions or, a borrowed term from William James “religious experience” These pretenders, sometimes go as far as divesting Islam of its ritualistic performances; either absolutely or to a relegated level; consigning them to social exigencies or personal preferences, described as—a personal matter between man and God—-giving this deviation a flavor of Hobbesian individualism.

It is heart-wrenching to know that, Islam is being misconstrued and misrepresented in the West for a very long time, even by a leading publication such as Economist (London). “In persuading the Muslim majority countries to look upon themselves as the Eastern most part of the West, Economist argues, that Islam also implies one to one relationship between believer and the God he believes in, a direct contact without an intermediary and in this relationship, in which a single God speaks directly to the core of a single man, is the basis of individualism. The Protestant ethic is grounded on precisely the same concept” (Economist-Published on May 17-23, 1975 pg 80 Special Survey).

Tertiary guidance system in Islam The very concept of direct guidance (without an intermediary) in Islam is limited only to the first degree of guidance. (It is for every creature regardless of faith or level of comprehension) It is, however, not available, in the case of the second degree; where the intermediation of a prophet and scripture in inevitable, for it is specific to the believers to be imbued with the religious knowledge. Here is a Qura’anic verse which categorically excludes the nonbelievers (including doubters/agnostics) from the guidance of second degree; specific to Islam and a Muslims, for earlier Divine religions stand abrogated. “Whosoever believes in God, He guides his heart” (Q 64:11) also (Q47:11) & (Q 29:69) Third degree is reserved for the chosen ones such as:-“To whom God has blessed, namely, the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous” (Q 4:69) further accentuated by “not the way of those who have earned your (God’s) wrath, nor of those who have gone astray” (Q 1:6 ){nonbelievers or apostates} (Note: – In the case of a gradual progress of some from 2nd to 3rd grade, an intermediation of 2nd level may, however, be involved. Very select few, such as the prophets and the men of God, would become entitled to special guidance absolutely directly—Example being the Prophet Muhammad, PBUH). For those, interested in further details on the subject of guidance, here is the link:- https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/psychological-dimension-of-quraan/

In Qura’an an emphasis is placed on the word “Musleh” which the reformers use to disguise their activities by, using colorful phrases—as mentioned above— and the ideas of social amelioration. Allah sternly warned such people by declaring: “And Allah knows the one who makes mischief distinct from him who promotes good” & “Do you think you will be left alone, as it is? God knows what you do (Q 2:220) & (9:16) Diehard reformist; who persist in their reformation agenda; mostly to appease their western impulse of modernity or to emulate western liberal values; while still claiming to their nostrum Islamic Identity, are in fact discreetly challenging the will of God as was done by the people of the old. “Evil is that for which they have sold out their selves: that they should deny what Allah has revealed, so they came out wrath upon wrath” Q 2:90 (Jews held a grudge against God as to why an Arab, (Muhammad-PBUH), instead of a Jew was awarded prophethood—for they wanted God to have acceded to their wish/desire).

This kind of strain of thought is often exhibited in complaints, atheist hurl at God’s retributive system.

Islam, in the Qura’an, Has been specifically designated as a moderate religion. In verse 143 of Surah Baqara, it is said: “We made you a moderate Ummah” (nation/community). Here is the exegetical account of this verse. God has bestowed upon the Islamic Ummah an unparalleled distinction of being moderate, balance, central and just. Exegetists also used a synonym “Mu’tadil” to fully explain the veracity of the word “Wast” (middle, central), which means moderate, temperate just, equal. For, it is of utmost importance for the health and vibrancy of any community/body to maintain its equilibrium and temperateness, else a deterioration or illness would ensue. This concept/doctrine of Moderation has been further elaborated in another verse (Q 57: 25) by pointing towards its objective, saying: “We sent Book and the Balance, so that men might uphold justice & We sent the iron in which there is great strength—it is of many uses for men” Book here signifies the source of guidance and Balance denotes justice, equilibrium, moderation and temperateness in man’s behavior with firmness and strength of the iron. The characteristics of the “TRUTH” & “JUSTICE” are further stressed in the verse (Q 7:181) “ We have created an Ummah (Of Muslims) which guides by the truth and by doing justice with it”(dispenses the justice guided by the truth).

EXCEPTIONALISM OF ISLAM Let us be clear about Islam that; it is distinctive in its relationship to politics and public life. Islam is different from any other Divine or even Major religions. It, therefore, entails profound ramifications for the world, we all live in. We may like it or not. We may accept it or not. Despite extreme Anti-Islam, Anti-Muslim sentiments, it is an enduring reality. The world has to understand it, respect it and live with its EXCEPTIONALISM.

Another fact to be borne in mind is that; Islam’s political dimension is also distinct from the West’s politico-religious experience of Protestant Reformation; followed by Enlightenment, culminated at modern-liberalism. That was in response to the Catholic Church’s Clerical stranglehold over the Christian doctrine and practices. Islamic doctrine and Practices, fortunately, face no such stranglehold, mainly due to its exceptionalism. Islam could not and would not be pushed into the private realm as was Christianity. This fact should be imprinted upon the minds of so–called Liberals and Reformists. Islamists from 1928 to date, despite their arduous gradualistic/continual approach, are reeling from their failures. Reformists, Liberals, therefore have no choice but to come to terms with Islam’s Exceptionalism. In mainstream Islam, clerics (unlike Catholic Clerics or Shia’a Clerics in Iran) do not wield power as such but rather provide a crucial check on the ruling class against excesses.Western cultural-essentialism however, prevents these liberals, reformists, from appreciating the role Islam is playing in the Muslim world and beyond.

These so-called reformists not only advocate a “progressive” (actually confuted) interpretation of the Islamic Laws but also its basic irrelevance to the public life—on the pattern of separation of religion from the politics in the west—the foundation of a pluralistic post-enlightenment, modern liberal society. Given the Islamic historical imperatives, it is not only difficult but almost impossible. Here is an interesting and enlightening quote, from late Harvard Scholar (a reformist) Shahab Ahmed: “of the capaciousness, complexity, and often outright contradiction contained within the historical phenomenon* of what we call Islam”. He further says: “But each faith tradition is also defined by boundaries expectations, and the accumulated weight of history. What religious scholars and lay believers alike have committed themselves to for centuries” –in the case of Islam, since its very founding— its (reformation) is irrelevant, for the simple reason that if something has never been done before, then it is least likely that it will start being done all of a sudden, fourteen centuries later.

It is continuously propagandized by the antagonists of Islam that it is a retrograde, medieval, backward, fundamentalist and anti-modernity religion of antiquity. Whereas Islam is the most modern, most sophisticated religion of any major religions. This presents us with a paradox: It is precisely the Islam and Islamic Law’s modern bent that makes Islam all the more relevant and resonant in today’s politics. Within Islam’s vast legal traditions, there are a number of ideas and precedents that lend themselves to modern notions of social justice, rule of law, egalitarianism, guaranteed women’s rights to own property, make their own living, compulsory redistribution of the wealth (Zakat—a mandatory year-end deduction/payment from the wealth held by a Muslim) and social security (Baitul-Mal—a state-managed public trust-fund) for older or handicapped people.

Freedom of Choice and rule of law Lacking, church-like (or Vatican like) dominant an institution, a Pope like head-clergy, availability of several schools of thought and the instrument of Ijtihad: there is ample scope of choice and adaptability. In Islam, due to its overarching corpus juris (Shari’a), both the caliph (head of state) and the subjects are treated equally. A caliph cannot claim unlimited or absolute (king-like) authority because the sovereignty belongs to God. All these instrumentalities ensure the freedom of choice and rule of law. (under the Islamic{ shaia’a}law, as the law of the land). In nutshell, there is no logical reason for Muslims to choose either Modernity or Liberal ReformationL over already most modern Islam. One could be fully modern and yet a fully-fledged good Muslim. Muslims, therefore, had never been in need of choosing between, their own traditions and those of others. Shura (Consultation) and Ijma’a (Consensus); the precursors of modern Democracy; are in fact, updated and repackaged products, borrowed from the Islamic heritage.

Failures of liberalization experiments At the time of religious and cultural encroachment through colonial rule, the assertion of Islam became distinctly political rather than just, or primarily, theological. Given its uniqueness, those (colonial) forces could not strip Islam of its better status, vibrancy and exceptionality: reducing it to just another religion. (Like Christianity) To the extreme surprise of many, Islam happened to be the most modern of Abrahamic religions. Islamic Corpus Juris (Sharia’a) proved to be more secular than the Christian conceptions of Law and Politics. It is a kind of the point of departure, since it is, kind of, the secularity of Sharia’a, which makes it more relevant and resonant in present political landscape. Islam already embraces the concepts of pluralism, politics, consultative and consensual processes (precursors of democracy) whereas, Christianity came into conflict and lost.

Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia have a long history of reformation/liberalization of Islam as well as the Forced secularization (Westernization) experiments and their eventual failures. This trend, in the modern times, started in the 19th Century by Heavyweights such as Sayyed Qutub, Mohd Abduh, Jamal-Ud-din Afghani, Rashid Rida and Hassan Al Banna etc. This effort, despite miserable failures, is still underway owing to the current Islamists/reformers such as Ikhwan ul Muslemeen (Egypt), Erdogan (AKP), and Rached Ghannouchi (Ennahda). Ghannouchi of Tunisia tried to change Islamism and perhaps even Islam, assuming that the two are interrelated. He thought that the ideological divides somehow could be transcended by neutralizing them. The greatest failure of such Islamists/reformers is owed to their politicizing Islam; Polarization is inevitable when Islam seizes to be, as it once was, (unadulterated) the source of unity, solidarity, and consensus. The underlying reason for any such attempt’s failure is that Muslims by definition; as per the revised assessment of an Islamist Abdul Moneim Abul Futou; are Salafi, in the sense that they emulate the most pious earlier Aslaf (Prophet-PBUH, Companions, and two succeeding generations) and support the Sharia’a. Surprisingly, in most of the Muslim-majority countries and across the board, Muslims, despite all these reformation efforts, are becoming more devoutly observant.

He also confessed that the titles of liberal or Islamist/reformist are just for political exigency.
CONCLUSION Liberalism (a precursor of Atheism) and Islam cannot go together as the former fails to provide much except general disdain of religion and letting the men loose; to choose their own way of life (doing away even with the distinction between virtuousness and sinfulness); whereas later provides an affirmative vision for leading a benevolent and virtuous life in this world, as well as a blissful life in the next. (For a Muslim, it is the very foundation of his creed and purpose of being).

This is the main reason why liberals, reformists fall back on virulent anti-Islam attacks.

Islam for various cultural, historical and theological reasons is distinctive in how it relates to politics. Often recurring themes in the west such as “Islam is the Problem” and “Islam needs a reformation” are the result of liberals/reformists unwillingness and inability to understand, as to how and why Islam, in its original form, matters to so many all around the world? It is simply a modus Vivendi and raison d’etre for a Muslim.

Nation state & Islam Wael Hallaq, an Islamic Law scholar, charges Islamists being obsessed with the Modern-State. US foreign policy stalwarts such as Henry Kissinger and Dennis Ross charge them for being incompatible with the Westphalian order. It simply exposes the inherent weakness of the skewed thinking of Islamists/reformist. Nation state and Islam, despite their tenuousness, co-exist anyway!

Caliphate The concept of Caliphate, after the demise of Ottoman Empire in 1924, never died but rendered near-impossible. The emergence of Islamic State, despite its unwarranted violent behavior, colossal failures and possible annihilation, has nevertheless, resuscitated and strengthened the potential for a Pan-Islamic Caliphate on the Salafi Model (opposite to Islamic-State’s extremist model). For the West, The only long term solution (keeping up with its centuries-old traditions of inclusiveness and tolerance) is to let the Islam find its place in the western societies on the model of consensual democracy in the Western Europe. Islam for Muslims is as –non-negotiable—as the human rights are in the American Constitution and in those of many other countries. The operation of (Shari’a) courts should be allowed on the pattern of Canon Law Courts and Jewish Law Courts. West has to work around the ideological and foundational divides; which, most likely, will remain constant.

Statistical facts, validating the inexorability of Islam According to “The Almanac Book of Facts”, the population increased 137% within the past decade and the Christianity increased 46%, while Islam increased 235%. 100,000 people per year converting to Islam, only in America. For every 1 male convert to Islam 4 females convert to Islam.

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/shakir.mumtaz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Shakirmwp https://shakir2.wordpress.com/20…/…/10/disjunctive-sequel-2/

Source Material: Various Books, Qura’an, Tafseer and Shadi Hamid’s Islamic Exceptionalism.

*Much of the early Islamic history (not the religion) available today is based on the Ahadith and is challenged for lack of basis in primary source material and contradictions based on secondary material available. (History should not be confused with the actual Islam—primary source for which is, the Holy Qura’an and only authentic Ahadith as the secondary source). Italic text

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Liberalization? Not Islam.

January 14, 2017

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Shakirmwp/sandbox

“Many of the People of the Scripture (including liberals and reformists) wish they
can turn you back to disbelief, afrter you have believed.

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