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NEW COMMENTS

  • As Allah accepts non-Muslims whether they are Jews or Christians or other religions as long as they ...
    ( By zuma )
  • I do not question Sharmaji's wisdom but we must be aware that he has a clearly atheistic agenda.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • While the basic Quranic ethics remain eternally valid, the legal or quasi-legal commands derived....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I fully agree.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Our goal for frequency of triple talaq must be an emphatic 0%.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Kafir most certainly does not mean either disbeliever or infidel in the sense in which the Quran uses the word....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Qazi Saheb, the term "Kafir" can also be translated as "Oppressor" or "Religious Oppressor", in view of Naseer Saheb's comprehensive delving into its ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Dear Mr. Ashok Sharma, you seem to have a much better understanding than most Muslims of what Islam's role should be in contemporary times. I ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • recent duly approved exegetic publication, Essential Message of Islam, demonstrates as below that the Qur'an recommends monogamy as the social norm:...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Polygamy negates the Constitutional principle of gender equality. It is an unfair assault on the rights ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • And how much pluralism does islam offer to atheists, agnostics, kafirs and Mushrikeen and pagans and ....
    ( By shan94 )
  • It is not surprising that the letter allegedly published some 15 years ago is not answered for it has a long list of sensitive questions. ...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Quran only promises those Muslims who do good deeds to paradise even of those who do evil deeds. The following is the extract: (سورة البقرة, ...
    ( By zuma )
  • Quran 2:62 mentions that Jews, Christians, and Sabians, who believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous deeds will have their reward with ...
    ( By zuma )
  • Inequality in what has come to be known as personal laws exists across all religious...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • "Will you then compel mankind, against their will, to believe?” (Q10:99). Words that are so clear and yet so forgotten!....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • New idea is a "bidyat," and they r kafir only No matter from where he is. This world...
    ( By Syed Javed Jafar )
  • Such atrocities only tell us how far we are from what we call 'civilisation
    ( By Meera )
  • Chapar ganju...hindu hindu karta firta hai. Khud ka dharm to pata nahi Aur Islam pe unlngli uthata hai.ek baat kah dun jispe tum ungli uthare ho ...
    ( By Tarik Ahmad )
  • Appeal Ka Asar hooga'
    ( By ASLAM QURAISHI )
  • Dear Sheik Aftar Ali, It appears to me that you have not read the article closely. I have not talked about ....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • It is true “An examination of the foundations of the Islamic faith shows respect for Christianity” Koran 5:82 states as follows “And you will find the nearest ...
    ( By Royalj )
  • This is to express ones disgust at this sordid affair generated by blasphemy law anywhere in Muslim world! Historically Muhammad the Messenger of God during his ...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • Quran 2:11 is applicable to Muslims as well as non-Muslims since it mentions that Muslims should not make mischief on ....
    ( By zuma )
  • I had meant the following comment to be posted in "Islamic World News" section. Sorry!
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Quran 2:220 demands Muslims to deal justly and instead of deceitfully. The following is the extract: (سورة البقرة, Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #220)-Mohsin ...
    ( By zuma )
  • Ok then u accept the salafi or shia ideology
    ( By Sheik Aftar Ali )
  • Respected - dear AIMPLB see how our indian muslims will think differently and identify indian muslim and how integrate all indians. any language - dress ...
    ( By Kolipaka Sudeep Kumar )
  • Proofs please. Some anonymous old man (no name), some anonymous young men (no names), police complaints withdrawn (no FIR records). The name of the....
    ( By Unmai Virumbi )
  • Quran 2:204-205 support the same that Allah dislikes Muslims to make mischief on the earth. The following are the extracts: (سورة البقرة, Al-Baqara....
    ( By zuma )
  • I completely disagree with this statement"The so called fringe is perhaps not the fringe at all; it actually tells us how the majority within this ...
    ( By awaya )
  • Does Allah loves the just? Allah certainly loves the just. Or else, Allah would not mention the phrase, Make not mischief ....
    ( By zuma )
  • Dear Muhammd Yunus, You have mentioned in your comment about Allah does not forbid Muslims to be virtuous and just to those Muslims who ...
    ( By zuma )
  • Blasphemy laws must be abolished. They are in-Islamic.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The New York Times has published one editorial, three op-eds and two news stories on Farooq Ahmed Dar's photo already!​ I am sure this does ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Rarely do we find such a beautiful piece. Many many thanks to you, Ghulam Ghaus sahab.
    ( By Akmal Raza )
  • Dear Hidayath Basha, Answer is 1 provided the triple tallaq is pronounced in a state of mental equanimity. However a tallaq pronounced 3 or 100 ...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • There is no need to prove or, deny something which is in public domain. The sight of hijab or burqa clad women with several children ...
    ( By Ashok Sharma )
  • दुबई और आबू धाबी में जुम्मे की नमाज के वक़्त खुतबे का एक-एक लफ्ज सरकार की मर्जी से तय होता है. कोई भी....
    ( By Nida Nabeel )
  • The word, fight, in the books of Hadith would have no implication in this present days due to contemporary non-Muslims are not hostile as those ...
    ( By zuma )
  • LATEST ARTICLES

    Islam and the West
    For A More Just World
    Aijaz Zaka Syed

    For A More Just World
    Aijaz Zaka Syed

    No wonder words like the UN resolutions, peace process and international community invariably evoke cynicism in the Middle East. The UN has been extraordinarily prompt and effective in dealing with the so-called rogue regimes across the Muslim world but has been totally helpless in the face of real offenders and crimes against humanity.....

     
    Islam and the West

    To think that by backing anti-Assad forces or removing him from power will lead to a flowering of democracy and peace is a fantasy. It would behoove this administration to examine the tumultuous French experience in Syria under the League of Nations mandate; we are not dealing with Anglo-Saxons. Unless the United States and the West is prepared to put troops on the ground, who would be first welcomed and then shot at, it is advisable to stay out and make them sort it out on their own...

     
    Islam and Politics

    The True Cost of Israel
    Philip Giraldi

    But even without that war, the U.S.-Israeli bilateral relationship has been an expensive proposition for Americans. Whether Israel is a strategic liability or not, or whether its complicated geostrategic situation merits virtually unquestioning support from the United States, the reality is that it has a lopsided relationship with Washington.....

    Current Affairs

    The French Disconnection
    Kamel Daud

    So why is it, finally, that Ms. Le Pen cannot become president? Because while the far right has changed its discourse, the mainstream elites still hold on to their old ways of seeing the world, or imagining what it is. Their analysis of the rise of populism is out of sync. It rests on assumptions, faulty reasoning and denial.....

     
    Urdu Section

    اسلامی قانون اسلامی معاشرہ کا امتیاز ہے، اس سے بہتر قانون پیش نہیں کیا جاسکتا ہے ، تاہم اسلامی معاشرہ کا اس سے بھی بڑا امتیاز وہ اخلاقی تعلیمات ہیں جو رب حکیم کی طرف سے قانون کے ساتھ ساتھ عطا کی گئی ہیں۔ اسلامی قانون کی ساری آب و تاب انہیں سے ہے۔ ایمان و اخلاق کا ساتھ نہ ہو تو قانون بے روح اوربے کشش ہوکر رہ جاتاہے ۔ یاد رہے صرف قانون کی حکمرانی سے اسلامی معاشرہ ایک مثالی معاشرہ نہیں بن سکتا ہے۔ ایک پرکشش مثالی اسلامی معاشرہ کے لئے قانون سے پہلے اور قانون سے کہیں زیادہ ایمان و اخلاق کی حکمرانی ضروری ہے۔

     
    Hindi Section

    Respect for Women in Islam  इस्लाम में नारी जाति का सम्मान
    Talha Haroon, New Age Islam

    इस्लाम में महिलाओं का बड़ा ऊंचा स्थान है। इस्लाम ने महिलाओं को अपने जीवन के हर भाग में महत्व प्रदान किया है। माँ के रूप में उसे सम्मान प्रदान किया है, पत्नी के रूप में उसे सम्मान प्रदान किया है, बेटी के रूप में उसे सम्मान प्रदान किया है, बहन के रूप में उसे सम्मान प्रदान किया है, विधवा के रूप में उसे सम्मान प्रदान किया है, खाला के रूप में उसे सम्मान प्रदान किया है, तात्पर्य यह कि विभिन्न परिस्थितियों में उसे सम्मान प्रदान किया है जिन्हें बयान करने का यहाँ अवसर नहीं हम तो बस उपर्युक्त कुछ स्थितियों में इस्लाम में महिलाओं के सम्मान पर संक्षिप्त में प्रकाश डालेंगे।

     
    Islamic Society
    Listen To Sonu Nigam, Please
    C. M. Naim for New Age Islam

    Listen To Sonu Nigam, Please
    C. M. Naim

    Undistorted and un-amplified, an ordinary human’s voice was perfectly able to do the task in the days when few people had alarm clocks or, for that matter, even a wristwatch. But now, even the tiny mosque in my neighborhood that can accommodate no more than 50 or 60 people has two loudspeakers tied to its minaret, and a sound system that sends its call out to a body of people 50 times larger than its capacity. But one cannot suggest a change. Apparently, the people who attend the neighborhood mosque can do perfectly well without an amplified alarm in all aspects of their daily lives except when it comes to reaching the mosque to form a congregation. Their grandfathers could do without loudspeakers but not these stalwarts of the 21st century. ….

    The War Within Islam

    The Lynching of Mashal Khan Proves Pakistan is Dystopic
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    And yet the Prophet himself gave us a very different message. One of the stories about him is that he was daily abused by a woman when he used to preach the message of Islam. The Prophet never rebuked her but actually went to her house and inquired about her health when she fell ill. That message seems to have been lost on his followers. They want to do what the Prophet never taught. Perhaps this generation of Muslims understand Islam much better than the Prophet himself. Allah definitely warns all those who insult the Prophet, but then he goes on to say that He is the only one to judge them. But today, Muslims have themselves become the judge, the jury and the executioner in cases related to blasphemy...

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Circus around Triple Talaq
    Nishat Amber

    The ambiguity in the interpretation of civil and criminal laws by clerics is also pretty evident from some of the infamous incidents in the country such as the ‘Imrana rape case’. In the said case, a woman from Uttar Pradesh who was raped by her father-in-law was asked by the local minority community Panchayat to treat her husband as her son. The local Panchayat also termed her marriage to her husband as null and void. The leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom too issued a fatwa supporting the stand taken by the local Panchayat on the issue.....

     
    Islamic World News

    Saudi Arabia to Pay Big Money for Mosques in Bangladesh

    How an ‘Islamic’ Bar Became a French Election Scandal

    Over 100 Saudi-Backed Sudanese Militias Killed in Ta'iz Province

    `Pakistan Conveniently Silent On Brutal Killing of Muslims in China's Xinjiang`

    Religion, Power and Politics in Indonesia

     

    South Asia

    US Troops Still Battling IS Near Site of Afghan Bomb Strike

    Europe

    Moroccan Students’ Questions Leave Islamic Scholar Speechless

    Arab World

    Shiite Exiled Cleric Points to Iran’s Strong Interference in Bahrain

    Pakistan

    COAS Signs Black Warrants for 30 Terrorists

    Southeast Asia

    Muslim Candidate Wins Jakarta Election

    Mideast

    Turkey Arrests Leftist Activists Over Anti-Referendum Protests

    Palestinians Slam Israel for Refusing Talks with Hunger Strikers

    North America

    Black Muslims Aim for Unity in Challenging Time for Islam

    An Island of Jewish-Muslim Friendship in New York

    India

    Bengali Muslim Intellectuals on Last Minute Signature Collection Drive against Triple Talaq

    Africa

    Nigeria's Army Launches Month-Long Operation to Stem Deadly Ethnic Violence

    Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

    For Details and More Headlines from All Regions, Please click, ‘More’

     
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    BEST OF BEFORE ARTICLES

    Islamic Society
    A Case for Dalit Muslims
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    A Case for Dalit Muslims
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Dalit Muslims are those converted to Islam from ex-untouchable castes. They constitute a third category called the Arjals (from the Arabic rizl, meaning of no use) who occupy the lowest rung of Muslim society. These castes are considered unclean even by the lower caste Ajlafs. Some of these castes are Lalbegis (scavengers), Dafalis (the drum makers), Hawari (cleaner), Dhobi (washerman), Halalkhor, Gadhedi, Bakho, Machuara, Nalband, Bhatiara, Gorkan, etc…

    Urdu Section

    Islamic Scholars Must Join Ideological War   علماء اسلام کا اسلام پسند نظریہ سازوں کے خلاف نظریاتی جنگ میں شامل ہوناضروری
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    لیکن ہندوستانی علماء کو ان کے ساتھبحث و مباحثے میں بالکل ہی مشغول نہیں دیکھا جا تا۔ انہوں نے ان کے ساتھ اس وقت بھی کوئی مکالمہ اور مباحثہ نہیں کیا جب اس نے پیغمبر اسلام صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے پورے خاندان کے قاتل’یزید‘ کو رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ کہا اوراس طرح اس پر خدا کی رحمت و برکت بھیجی۔ انہوں نے اس کے ساتھ اس وقت بھی کوئی مکالمہ اور مباحثہ نہیں کیا جب اس نے یہ کہا کہ مسلمان بھیڑ بکریوں کے ساتھ یا جنسی غلاموں کے ساتھ جنسی تعلق قائم کر سکتے ہیں۔ وہ اس کے ساتھ اس وقت بھی کوئی مکالمہ اور مباحثہ نہیں کرتے ہیں جب وہ اپنے نام نہاد پیس ٹی وی پر علیٰ الاعلان دوسرے مذاہب کی تذلیل و توہین کرتا ہے۔ وہ اس کے ساتھ اس وقت بھی کوئی مکالمہ اور مباحثہ نہیں کرتے ہیں جب اس کے ٹی وی شوز میں ہندوؤں اور عیسائیوں کے ساتھ مکالمہ اور گفتگو سے ملک میں فتنہ و فساد کا ماحول پیدا ہوتا ہے۔ واضح طور پر اس کی وجہ یہ ہے کہ اس کی باتیں ان موجودہ اصول و نظریاتپر مبنی ہیں جن پر مسلمانوں کااجماع ہے۔ ذاکر نائک پر تنقید کرنے والے علماء اپنی عادتوں کی بنیاد پر منافقانہ رویہ اختیار کر رہے ہیں۔ مثال کے طور پر جب سلفیت اور وہابیت پہلی بار ملک میں داخل ہوئی تو دار العلوم دیوبندنے اسکے خلاف فتویٰ جاری کیا تھا۔ اور جب سعودی عرب سے سلفی وہابی علماء ہندوستان آئے تو سب سے پہلے دیوبند کے رہنماؤں نے ان کا خیر مقدم کیااور وہ عظیم الشان استقبالیہ کے لیے ہمیشہ دیوبند گئے جبکہ دیوبند نے وہابیت کے خلاف اپنے فتوے سے باضابطہ طور پر رجوع نہیں کیاہے۔

     
    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Ban the Burqa, Allow the Burkini
    Daniel Pipes

    ...the Burkini poses no danger to public security. Unlike the Burqa or Niqab, it leaves the face uncovered; relatively tight-fitting, it leaves no place to hide weapons. Men cannot wear it as a disguise. Further, while there are legitimate arguments about the hygiene of large garments in pools, this is obviously not an issue on the coastal beaches of France....

    Debating Islam
    Concubines and Slavery in Islam
    The Middle East Media Research Institute

    Concubinage is allowed with two conditions if you meet the conditions as they met in the eras of Prophet [Muhammad] or of pious caliphs after him or during the caliphates after them... If you meet the conditions today you can keep concubines. "The first condition is that if during waging of jihad the women who come with the enemy forces to support them are captured and the emir of the army distributes them, it is his discretion, we can keep them as concubines. Second, if we explore and find some market where slaves and concubines are sold and the sale is established as a social institution there, the women you buy from there will be concubine....

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    The Problem with Zakir Naik: Even if he can’t be linked to Terrorism yet, he must be taken to task for Outmoded and Medieval Theological Interpretation of Islam
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    If one assumes that Islam is perfection, that Quran is the uncreated word of God, then perhaps there is no need for any introspection. Best of all, then perhaps there is no problem with Islam and by extension Muslims. In pandering to these beliefs, Zakir Naik is not engaging in any dialogue. In fact, he is not even interested in a dialogue.

    Islamic Society

    All the Messengers were monotheist and intellectual iconoclast. But old habits die hard. A little after the last Messenger’s death the roles were reversed. The so called ‘seed’ of Ibrahim, became the iconolaters and custodians of the temple who revived the ancient rituals. The common message brought by all the Apostles: Thou shall not carve graven images for worship had fallen on deaf ears. The tunes of the Pied Pipers of the ‘Hidden Church’ as Dr Rashid Shaz calls it; lure the Muslim masses to the rituals that Muhammad is falsely accused of reactivating. The Judeo-Christian history too is beset with this about-turn. ...

    Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

    Heed Pope Francis' Exhortation to Find 'Adequate Interpretation' Of Holy Quran's Contextual, Allegorical Verses, Sultan Shahin Asks the Global Muslim Community at UNHRC in Geneva
    Sultan Shahin, Editor New Age Islam

    In our search for peace and battle against Islamist terrorists, His Holiness Pope Francis has made a signal contribution. I would like to reach out to the worldwide Muslim community represented here with the submission that the Pope’s exhortation be taken seriously and acted upon as it is not only a wise counsel but also in conformity with repeated exhortations of Holy Quran itself.

    Pope Francis has described the holy Quran as a “prophetic book of peace,” and asked Muslims to seek “an adequate interpretation.”

    The Quran also asks Muslims repeatedly to reflect upon the verses and find its best meaning, as in Chapter 39: verse 55, 39: 18; 39: 55; 38: 29; 2: 121; 47: 24, etc.

    So the Quran and Pope Francis are both saying that Muslims should not follow the verses literally but seek to interpret it in the best or most adequate way possible.

    It is a literal reading of the contextual verses of the Quran that had come to guide the Prophet during the wars imposed upon him, and common belief in the divine inspiration of Ahadees or sayings of the Prophet collected decades and centuries after the demise of the Prophet, that has led us to the present crisis of terrorism, xenophobia, intolerance, fascistic supremacism and misogyny.

    It is not that Muslims have not reflected upon these verses of Quran and ahadees. But even the readings of major theologians like Imam Ghazali, Ibn-e-Taimiya, Abdul Wahhab, Shah Waliullah and Sheikh Sirhindi, etc have led us into the blind alleys of supremacism and Jihad.  Clearly the interpretation is not adequate for the needs of the present times.

    It is only with finding the best meaning and adequate interpretation that we Muslims will be able to evolve a new and coherent theology of peace and pluralism, acceptance of diversity, gender equality, religious freedom and human rights for all, consistent with the teachings of Islam, and suitable for contemporary and future societies......

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    India's First 'Jihadi Movement,' Led By Syed Ahmed Barelvi
    Tufail Ahmad

    An interesting point that emerges in the book is that Syed Ahmed Barelvi's movement, which opposed shirk (polytheism) and bid'a (innovation in Islam), and later his role in jihad, was described as a "Wahhabi movement" in the tradition of  Ibn Wahhab of Saudi Arabia – even though he himself initially belonged to the Sufi tradition.....

    Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

    The Shamelessness of Ulema of Islam in Bearing with the Penultimate Blasphemy by ISIS Brutes without a Thunderous Global Protest Is Despicable
    Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

    It is conceivable that the a terrorist who risks death any moment while spraying  shots and hurling grenades at a crowd or awaiting the moment of his explosive suicide, shouts out the Shahadah to earn divine forgiveness by dying with Allah’s name at his lips. The gravity of the crime apart, the conviction of the terrorist to indemnify himself against any divine punishment and to earn divine reward by doing something which is most vehemently forbidden by the Qur’an (which forbids killing of even one innocent person – 5:32) speaks of the distortion and dissonance of Islamic thoughts of the terror outfits of this era. ....

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    The Truth behind Triple Talaq: ‘All Unjust Personal Laws Must Go, Be They Hindu, Muslim Or Christian’
    Indira Jaising

    It is no part of the court’s role to interpret the Quran and spell out the entitlements of women from the Quran. Our constitutional entitlements as spelt out by the courts must come from the Constitution, not the Quran or the Manusmriti...

    Islamic Society

    Indian Muslims: Lopsided Priorities; Introspection and an Engagement with This World Is Missing
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    But perhaps the problem is much deeper and it has to be so with the way Islam itself is seen by its followers. For the adherents of this religion, Islamic supremacy is the norm since it believes that Islam is the most perfect and true of all religions. …

    Things can be rectified. But for that Muslims have to understand that theirs is not the only religion in the world which is divinely revealed. Moreover, they have to think anew their relationship with the nation state where they are in a minority. Islam has to take a back seat because there is nothing here which can tell them how to interact when they are in a minority situation. The only way forward is to accept the new challenges and altered realities which have come in the wake of modernity. Sadly, such introspection and an engagement with this world is missing.

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Will Indian Ulema Respond To The Latest ISIS Outrage? Is Islam Not A Religion Of Peace? Is Offensive Jihad An Individual Religious Duty (Farz-e-Ain)?
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    If past record is any guide, nothing much should be expected. The Ulema (clerics) kept quiet when one of them Maulana Salman Nadwi wrote a letter to the self-declared Khalifa Baghdadi, addressing him as Amir ul Momineen.  They had kept quiet earlier when Maulana Abdul Aleem Islahi, of Hyderabad, the inspiration behind Indian Mujahedeen wrote and propagated: “It is the duty (of Muslims) to struggle for the domination of Islam over false religions and subdue and subjugate Ahl-e-Kufr-o-Shirk (infidels and polytheists) in the same way as it is the duty of the Muslims to proselytise and invite people to Islam. The responsibility to testify to the Truth and pronounce the Deen God has entrusted with the Muslims cannot be fulfilled merely by preaching and proselytising. If it were so there would be no need for the battles that were fought. "And fight them until there is no fitnah (mischief) and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease - then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do." Surah Anfal 8:39). ...

    I have grave doubts that Indian Ulema will respond to the Indian Mujahedeen speaking in the ISIS video in any meaningful way. However, I keep appealing to them in the hope that someday they will realise the dangers to the nation, the community and the world, and decide to take the bull by its horns, unless, of course, they themselves believe that ISIS is justified in demanding that Muslims engage in offensive Jihad against so-called infidels until the sovereignty of God is established on earth. I would appeal to Ulema to help evolve a parallel theology of peace and pluralism, harmonious co-existence with all, acceptance of all religions as based on messages from God, in keeping with the original message of Islam as revealed in Makkah to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).

    Interview

    Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on Islam, Muslims, Interfaith Relations and Peace
    Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam

    Those Muslims who refer to others as Kafir or Ghair Muslim are committing a sin. This is because according to the Quran and Hadith, all persons are children of Adam, which makes all human beings blood sisters and blood brothers to each other. ...

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Preventing Further Radicalisation Is the Challenge Muslims Must Undertake: Some Concrete Suggestions
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Now the question is, how do we go forward? If we really want to make a difference, we will have to start a substantive dialogue with the ulema and make sure that they agree to:

    1) open the gates of ijtihad, rethinking all tenets of Islam in the light of the situation prevailing today. As we have not done our homework for over a millennium, this will have to be pretty revolutionary.

    2) declare that only constitutive and essential, not the contextual and allegorical verses of Quran, are meant to guide us today.

    3) compile Qur'anic verses in the order in which they were revealed, thus restoring primacy to Meccan verses that mostly constitute the essential and universal teachings of Quran, as they can be understood without any need for knowing the context in which they were revealed.

    4) declare that Ahadees cannot be considered any form of revelation from God. Islamic State’s millenarian thesis is almost entirely based on ahadees, though they use some allegorical verses of Quran as well. The claim of al-Baghdadi leading an end-time war, al-Malhama, just before the final Armageddon, has been a big draw. Some Muslims have come to think life on earth has no meaning left in the times of al-Malhama and so are rushing to join the war.

    5) declare that Sharia (fiqh) is not divine. It was created over a century after the demise of the Prophet by ulema who tried to codify laws on the basis of Qur'anic postulates and Arab cultural practices.

    6) declare clearly that Islam believes in co-existence with other religions, not dominion over the world.

    7) re-define commonly used Islamic terms like Muslim, kafir, mushrik, ahl-e-kitab, jihad, qital, farz, sunnat, etc.

    In a word, we must evolve a truly Islamic and a coherent theology of peace and co-existence, moderation and modernity, to counter the very coherent theology of violence and xenophobia, intolerance and supremacism that Jihadi ulema have created over centuries. All ulema say Islam is a religion of peace and co-existence. It's time for them to walk their talk. But if they refuse to consider change, we will need to directly reach the Muslim masses. ...

    Finally, the larger Indian community too should introspect. As Daniel Pipes said in an international counter-terrorism conference in Jaipur recently, in this war of ideas, the world should not only encourage and support progressive, modern Muslims but also oppose and refrain from supporting the fundamentalists and extremists.

    1) Our national leadership supported Khilafat in 1920s, considering it an essential part of Islamic theology. That was wrong. Now we must repudiate that stance and acknowledge our mistake.

    2) Muslim Personal Law in India has not been reformed even to the extent it has been in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This must change. At least General Ayyub Khan’s reforms in Pakistan must be introduced and Ulema should be told to accept what their Pakistani and Bangladeshi counterparts did decades earlier. This is not a satisfactory solution but at least it will be a start and it is doable.

    3) Madrasa education is a serious violation of the human rights of Muslim children. It destroys their lives and fills their minds with xenophobia and intolerance. Our government not only allows this but partly funds some madrasas. This must stop, unless, of course, madrasas actually change to become modern versions of what madrasas used to be like, in the Golden Age of Islam, and produce scientists and philosophers. A secular, democratic government should not be in the business of funding xenophobia and intolerance.

    The War Within Islam

    Why Are Indian Ulema Silent Over Islamic State’s Challenge:  Unwillingness Or Inability?
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    Ulema wield considerable influence. Their silences matter as much as their statements. Those who expect help from them in fighting Islamist terrorism are mistaken. The contempt with which neo-Salafists treat our ulema is well-deserved. Nor can one expect much from secular, liberal moderates. While they are implacably opposed to terrorism, and wary of living as a suspect as every Muslim is today, they are not willing to engage with the Islamist theology. This requires them to overcome the inevitable fear of violent death. Ask liberals of neighbouring Bangladesh. Not many have this level of motivation in spite of the chaos all around. As for political leaders, Muslim and non-Muslim, the less said the better. Politicians are called leaders but they actually follow the herd. Hardly any ‘leader’ is in sight.

    However, one must take hope from history. Extremism has always been a part of Islamic history. But Muslims have managed to defeat it. At the moment, extremism is particularly influential, radicalising almost the entire society, largely as a result of tens of billions of petrodollars having been invested in this project over the last four decades. But the essence of Islamic spirituality, peace and pluralism, will find a way of bouncing back. To help this process, concerned Muslims will have to evolve a new theology, a theology of peace and pluralism and reach the Muslim ummah directly, over the heads of the ulema. This pluralistic theology must be based on Islam as a spiritual path to salvation, rather than a totalitarian ideology of world domination, as the current consensus dictates. Merely focusing on positive features of Islam, as some suggest, will not help. This is the age of internet. Nothing can be hidden. We will have to engage with the Islamist and neo-Salafist theology, taking, as it were, the bull by its horns. There are no soft options.

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