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Books and Documents

Islamic Ideology

Mistranslated and Misinterpreted Verses of the Quran
S. Arshad, New Age Islam
Mistranslated and Misinterpreted Verses of the Quran
S. Arshad, New Age Islam

There are similar instances of misinterpretation and flawed translations of the Quran both in Urdu and English translations and commentaries. We can imagine that these translations and commentaries of prominent Muslim scholars might have influenced the translators of other languages and similar errors might have crept in their translations promoting un-Islamic and wrong beliefs among the followers of Islam and presenting a wrong picture among the non-believing students of Islam.....

Revisiting the Meaning of Kafir
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Revisiting the Meaning of Kafir
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

The meaning of the root word kfr is rejection, repudiating, hiding, covering up, obliterating, wiping off, blotting out. Who is rejecting and what is being rejected is not part of the meaning. Allah is a Kafir for blotting out our sins, tiller is a Kafir for covering the seeds with soil, a believer is a Kafir for rejecting false gods, a disbeliever is a Kafir for rejecting the God, Satan is a Kafir for repudiating Allah’s right for being obeyed, Moses is a Kafir for repudiating the rights of his foster father the Pharaoh for being obeyed. These are the ways in which the word has been used in the Quran. Every use of the word Kafir is consistent with the meaning of the root word kfr…..

In the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-Awwal and just one week before the Milad-un-Nabawi (celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday), a deadly terrorist attack targeting a North Sinai mosque during Friday prayers has resulted in the death of more than 300 innocent worshippers, horrifying Egyptians and people throughout the world – something anathema to the very essence of Islam. While those who have carried out this attack and others like it – whether on mosques, churches or security forces – claim to do so in the name of Islam, it is among the most sacred of Islam’s tenants that they in fact transgress.....

 

Sufism has shaped literature and art for centuries, and is associated with many of the most resonant pieces of Islam’s “golden age,” lasting from roughly the eighth through 13th centuries, including the poetry of Rumi. While some Muslims view Sufis as quirky, even eccentric, some fundamentalists and extremists see Sufism as a threat and its adherents as heretics or apostates....

      For the Greatest Master of Islamic Tradition all love is essentially holy or divine because it is really (though many are not conscious of this) directed towards God who alone is and who is the only Beloved smiling in every form. He is for progressive Platonisation of love; he is for moving from phenomena to the One which manifests yet hides in them....

 

The Sharia, then, endorses rational consideration of everything in existence, deducing what was unknown from what is known. In other words, our consideration of reality should proceed by means of what the logicians call rational syllogisms. Of the various types of syllogism, the Sharia would clearly advocate the evidential syllogism. This should be considered the most productive type because it starts from a premise certain in itself (evidence) and thus leads to conclusions that cannot be untrue….

 
Celebration of Anmbia’s Birthday
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

The sermons from the Muslim pulpits are often heard forbidding Muslim from associating with Christmas celebrations and offering greetings of the season, on the grounds that Christians worship Jesus. So what does that matters to the others? It would be denying the fact that in some Muslim communities personality cultism of the Nabi Muhammad is rife and Eid Milad un Nabi is a good example of that cultism in some gatherings. The wording of the sing songs – Na’ts and Qawwalis invoking the Nabi to help and assist are as close as one can get to placing him next to God and hence polytheism -shirk. No wonder that many scholars declare such “birthday celebration” as Bid’ah.....

Islamic Rationalism – Part One
Dr Imadaldin Al-Jubouri

In Basra, Wasil ibn Ata (699-749) founded a ‘rationalist’ school to represent Mutazilite thought and to teach Muslims new methods of thinking. He asserted that the intellect is a way to faith, to know God, a way to distinguish between good and evil, and the only criterion to understand the Sharia (Islamic law). Hence, Mutazilites said that “intellect is before quotation,” and they praised the intellect considerably. They contended with other Muslim schools, particularly the Hashawaites and Dhahirites, who believed that the intellect had no role in the Sharia. Truly, it was hard work for Mutazilite thinkers to free Muslim minds from the shackles of dogma and formal teaching methods....

 

Responsibility for the destruction of Islamist terrorist groups and jihadist ideology lies on the shoulders of the governments of Islamic states. We can say quite literally that current Islamic civilization goes through a critical and crucial point in its history and the fate of this civilization directly depends on its ability to cope with radical ideology of the ISIS, al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups....

 

Ironically, there is no dearth of “online fatwa” services and websites today that transmit the Saudi Fatwas to the non-Arab Muslim societies, particularly in the Indian subcontinent, regardless of their local contexts, customs, cultures and national ethos. Such pronouncements can be stumbled upon the online fatwa portals such as IslamQA.info, fatwa-online.com, and AskImam.org and many more. Scores of Indian Maulvis are treading the path of the Saudi-Wahhabi muftis in running the online fatwa factories. This is a daunting challenge that Indian Muslims face in the wake of every fatwa of this nature……

The Correct Understanding of the So Called ‘Sword’ Verses of Surah Taubah
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
The Correct Understanding of the So Called ‘Sword’ Verses of Surah Taubah
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

The discussion on the verses of Surah Taubah clearly establish that the above two principles, were never violated by the Prophet in his battles against the enemy, and are fundamental principles of Islam. The peaceful Mushrikin had the choice of retaining their religion and paying Jizya and the others had a choice to migrate and retain their religion.

Those who had fought against the Muslims, in violation of their treaty, were deserving of the death punishment, according to the rules of that society. Even these people were given the opportunity to migrate during the amnesty period, and save themselves. The judgment was not only in accordance with the secular law of that society, but more humane and merciful. Calling these the “sword verses” is therefore a complete misrepresentation of both the intent and the outcomes. The people to whom the key words Mushrikin, Kafirin, La Yalamun and La Yuminun apply, and therefore their meaning, is explained with the help of the verses themselves…..

Objectively speaking, the definition of any concept pertaining to socio-cultural beliefs and practices is, in most cases, problematic and may have unsettling fallout for many. It will be like stating the obvious to say that Khatam-i-Nabuwwat acquired the centrality among rest of the postulates because of Ahmadi viewpoint which was not consistent with the mainstream Muslim belief. It will be pertinent to see it in juxtaposition to the Ahmadi belief regarding Khatam-i-Nabuwwat....

The Importance of Getting the Story Right on the Divine Plan Allah
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
The Importance of Getting the Story Right on the Divine Plan Allah
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Javed Ghamidi gives the same reasons for extremism as I do but differently worded. According to Javed Ghamidi, the following are the reasons for extremism the belief that it is the rightful duty of all Muslims to mete out the punishment of death to all the Kafir – polytheists, disbelievers and the apostates.

The belief that no one except the Muslims have a right to rule the world and the Muslims are therefore religiously bound to wage war to bring all non-Muslim countries under their rule. There should be only one government in the entire world and that should be the Islamic caliphate. The modern states are an embodiment of Kufr (disbelief), and therefore can have no place in Islam.....

The Muslim of the Quran, is therefore simply anyone who submits to God (by whatever name), and is a doer of good deeds. There are therefore only two kinds of people - those who stand for justice and against oppression are the friends and helpers of God and the oppressors are the enemies of humanity and of God.  The finding of this paper needs to be leveraged to transform young minds to think in terms of objective attributes of people, rather than in terms of the narrow stereo types based on a person’s religious identity. Since our theology says otherwise, we need to work to change it according to the clear message of the Quran brought out in this paper to remove the ideological basis for extremism among the Muslims and to promote greater co-operation with all good people of other faiths….

National Seminar at Jamia Millia Islamia on Islamic Humanism
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
National Seminar at Jamia Millia Islamia on Islamic Humanism
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Professor Wasey’s key message was that the Muslims believe in the Quran but do not follow it – “Quran Ko To Maante Hain, Lekin Quran Ki Nahin Sunte” and the fact that while the Prophet formed an Ummat-e-Wahida with people of all faiths in a common cause, the Muslims of later times failed to do so. Professor Pant said that the Hindus remember their history only from the days of partition and have forgotten earlier history. He said that Islamic influence has permeated all aspects of the life of Hindus from their food and the Halwa which has become the standard offering to the deity and distributed as “Prasad”, the dress, the language, the architecture, the classical music in which many of the forms are kept alive by the Muslim artists, the arts, poetry and the culture….

There is therefore a vast gulf which is unbridgeable, unless the Muslims believe in the whole of the Quran, and discard the secondary sources for an explanation of the Book. “And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding”. There appear to be very few people of understanding across the spectrum of the “believers” and the “disbelievers”, providing proof thereby, that the playing field is very level indeed for all, and there is little difference among the people, except their deeds. False beliefs are common to all people, and the “believers” equally blaspheme God, their Prophet and their Book with their false beliefs....

Now if a Muslim person of this era quotes 8:60 or 9:5 or 9:13 in isolation disregarding consecutive reconciliatory verses (8:61, 9:6) and their context specificity (9:13) to instigate a group of his followers to commit any form of violence he is likening himself and his followers with the Prophet of Islam and his followers who were the direct recipients of the instructions of these verses. But such selective appropriation of Qur’an’s message to promote violence amounts to treacherous distortion of Qur’anic message....

Deobandis in South Asia — I
Mubashir Akram
Deobandis in South Asia — I
Mubashir Akram

The Deobandi version of Islam in Pakistan is hardly what it started out to be in 1867 in India as a revivalist movement. The seven giants of the Islamic Jurisprudence of that time who established Dar-al Uloom Deoband included names like Rashid Ahmed Gangohi, Zulfiqar Ali, Shah Rafiuddin, Muhammad Yaqub and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi. This religious seminary was once the second largest after Egypt’s Jamia Al-Azhar, and took on the tasks of spreading education, awareness and political reformation among the Muslims. This school, and school of thought gave birth to Jamiat-e-Ulmae Hind (JUH) in 1919.

 
Does The Quran Ask Us To Follow The Sunnat Of The Prophet?
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Does The Quran Ask Us To Follow The Sunnat Of The Prophet?
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

The teaching of the religion or Allah’s Deen is through revelation of the Book to the Messengers of God or the prophets. The revelations are connected with the different phases in the prophetic mission and incidents. It was also therefore experiential learning for the prophet and the people of his times. The teaching is also by way of the stories of the previous prophets and their people. The prophet is also cited as the best model to follow since he epitomizes the Book in his words and deeds in the matter of following the religion as detailed in the Scriptures or revelations. ...

The Mutashaabihat Or The Allegorical Verses Of The Quran
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
The Mutashaabihat Or The Allegorical Verses Of The Quran
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

There are therefore two types of verses – Muhkamat verses that use precise words in which we should take the literal meaning of the words and the Mutashaabihat verses that use a “tashabaha” or similitude and the similitude is not the reality itself but gives an approximate idea using what is familiar, to convey what is beyond our comprehension. While the word used is a similitude, the meaning of the verse itself is clear and never ambiguous.

The Meaning of the Quran Resonates With the Aims of Progressive Islam
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
The Meaning of the Quran Resonates With the Aims of Progressive Islam
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Islamic Shariat was influenced by the practical need to continue with the well-established laws in the conquered lands.  The Ahadith were compiled in the 9th century by At-Tirmidhi (Uzbek died 892), Imam Bukhari – (Uzbek died 870), Abu-Dawud (Persian died 889), Ibn Majah (Persian died 887), Al-Nasai (Persian died 915), Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (Persian died 875), Ibn Hanbal (Arab died 855). The books of the first six compilers form part of the Kutub Al-Sittah or the six books. The fact that all the six major compilers were contemporaries in the era of Islam’s Golden period under the Abbasid dynasty could be because the compilation may have been a political project to bend Islam to the political compulsions of the Caliph. The Ahadith contradict the Quran on every subject and if these alleged sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) are authentic, then it would appear that the Prophet spent all his life preaching against the message of the Quran!

Related Article:

Progressive Islam as Islamic Liberation Theology

Science informs us that the world and time have a beginning. Science also informs us that what originates in time and at a point in time has a cause. Nothing happens by itself. There must be a cause therefore for the creation of the universe and this cause we call the Creator. Unless there is a cause for the creation of the Creator of this Universe, the Creator is the First Principle we call God. Every being and thing has a cause and every cause has its cause and if we go back in this series which cannot be infinite, we end at a cause that has no cause which is God who is uncaused and the cause of creation. If the world itself was uncaused, then the world itself would have been the first principle, and the atheists would have been right in rejecting the notion of a God who is among other things the Creator….

Without religion, there wouldn’t have been a civilization let alone the excellence man has achieved in the sciences and man would have been just another animal living the life it lived as a primitive. This fact however gets obscured because of the visible presence of the naïve fundamentalists who oppose reason and science. The atheists see religion with disdain as some appendage from the past, unable to acknowledge its contribution and relevance. Such intellectuals deserve being called ingrate rebels against God more than any other group of people, for they can surely ascertain the truth of a revealed Book such as the Quran. On the question of evolutionary biology, there is no need to doubt either Science or the Scriptures. The question is not as it is unfortunately posed “do you believe in evolutionary biology or do you believe in religion?....

Scholars are free to hold any view but if they take to lies or half-truths to support their views, they do far greater harm to their community than any good. They become conspirators and traitors.  And as for any Muslim scholar who dreams of editing the Qur’an or dismissing it altogether, he must learn lesson from history. The Moghul Emperor Akbar the Great who styled himself a reformer of Islām - arriving almost 1,000 years after the Prophet Muḥammad, introduced a modified version of Islam, Din e Ilahi. He couldn’t make even a score of converts in his long life. Where do people like the present day proponents of a modified Qur’an stand...

Progressive Islam as Islamic Liberation Theology
Dr. Adis Duderija
Progressive Islam as Islamic Liberation Theology
Dr. Adis Duderija, New Age Islam

By definition the subscription to progressive Muslim thought also implies that the sacred scriptures cannot offer us humans an unequivocal, clearly accessible and once and for all valid understanding of God through the simple process of reading/interpretation. Instead, progressive Muslims’ consider the human interpreter and her subjectivities and contingencies as most significantly determinative of the process of interpretation envisaged as a never ending dynamic process that continually evolves with reason....

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