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Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam (02 Aug 2012 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Why Are The Muslims Converting To Christianity - A Soul Searching Exercise?

 

By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009

This in response to a recent article on the theme posted on this website, re:

http://newageislam.com/muslims-and-islamophobia/by-shakeel-rasheed,-tr.-new-age-islam/muslims-need-to-reflect-why-so-many-millions-of-us-are-leaving-islam-for-christianity-or-simply-calling-ourselves-ex-muslim/d/8089

Demographic studies reveal a massive conversion of Muslims to Christianity in Africa over the past century – a phenomenon that has gained momentum in recent times. While this may be attributed to economic, military and ignorance factors as brilliantly advocated by Islamic scholar and thinker Manzoourul Huq in his erudite comment to the referred article, what is most alarming is the presence of non-Muslims among the Muslims – the insiders who ridicule their own faith and given an excuse can change faith, as well as those who constantly engage on most trivial issues and keep Islam standing at the seventh century Arabia. In historical perspective farewell to Islam is a new phenomenon and a reflection of an abysmal state of its degeneration that renders it incapable to support the 21st century educated and even uneducated people. Those who suggest lack of love for the Prophet or commitment to religion as its reason fail to understand that what they are saying is the very result of the degeneration of Islam. Unless Islam is regenerated, people will have no love for its Prophet or respect for faith and leave this faith. This essay attempts to bring across the different facets of this pernicious phenomenon, point by point, lest it may be wrongly diagnosed to grave detriment of the global Muslim community. 

1.       Islam as putatively conflated with its Classical Sharia Law is a religion that entertains, among other things, stoning to death for adultery, capital punishment for apostasy and blasphemy, punishment for homosexuality, slavery, discrimination and hatred against non-Muslims, demographic division of the world between the Muslims and non- Muslims, division of knowledge between Islamic and non-Islamic, temporary marriage, on the spot divorce, rape law, honour killing, full veiling of women, gross gender disparity, parental immunity against child abuse, and so on, that are antithetic to modern civilization as much as they stand in contradiction to the Qur’anic message [1].

2.       The contemporary Islamic theology continues to venerate and keep fully alive the Hadith corpus that contain “some accounts that sound most bizarre and purport to provoke sexuality, induce terrorism, foment inter-faith hatred, and stand deeply misogynist, scientifically untenable, self contradictory and Qur’an-incompatible” [2]. 

3.       Drawing on Islamic sources (Hadith and biography of the Prophet) Western scholarship has established Islam’s accommodation of such barbaric punishments to the vanquished people as lopping off limbs, gouging off eyes, cutting off tongues, noses, ears, fingers, hands, feet, testicles, and disembowelling not only with knives but with instruments first made red hot over fire” [3].

4.       The literary style, setting, paradigms, and dialectical constructions of the Hadith literature date back to the early medieval era and so their continued teaching and propagation in traditional religious schools (madrasas) as of this day is inevitably impacting the mental development of the students, shackling their power of reasoning and virtually freezing their intellect into the early medieval era [4].

5.       The Prophet of Islam is openly and sarcastically demonized. Islam. crtical scholarship has culled out and  pieced together elements from the Hadith and early biographic accounts to portray our noble Prophet as a man that slaughtered captives, robbed caravans, sold women and children into slavery, had sexual relations with captive women, tortured prisoners, married a nine-year-old, forced his adopted son to divorce his wife so Muhammad could have her as a wife (she was purportedly quite beautiful), mandated war against non-Muslims, and who had some of his critics and rivals assassinated [5].

6.       As Allama Iqbal puts it, “mashriq may ususle din ban jaate hain – maghrib may magar mashin ban jaate hain” [6]. What he obviously meant, which is true to this day is that in the Muslim land the focus is on the ‘masaIa’ or principle of religion and a great part of its scholarship is constantly interpreting and reinterpreting the principles of religion – an exercise that cannot conduce to a millimetre of advancement of human civilization that is otherwise advancing at kilometre pace so to say.

7.       Their obsessive and exclusivist dedication to the introductory pillars of faith obscures their comprehension of the social, moral and ethical paradigms of the Qur’an, overshadows its spirit of exploration, enterprise, curbs its urge for excellence and blocks their intellect against engaging reason (aql), fiqh (discernment or cogitation), and independent intellectual inquiry (Ijtihad). Thus, over time they have lost the Islamic intellectual heritage and enlightenment spirit, which have found their way through the crossroads of history to the Christian West. To quote Allama Iqbal again [7]:

“uthaa’aye kuch waraq laa’lay nay kuch nargis nay kuch gul nay – chaman may har taraf bikhri hui hay dastaan meri == urali qumriyon nay tootiyon nay ‘andalibon nay – chaman walon nay milkar loot li tarze foghan meri’

[Approximate trans: “Its leaves (elements of moral law) are picked up by different flowers (different communities) – my story (moral law matrix) is scattered all over the garden (permeated globally) == The singing birds have snatched away – the beautiful tone of my melody.”]      

8.       As a fallout of the foregoing (7 above), the participation of the Muslim community in academic and professional fields, cultural arenas, and prestigious and lawful avenues of livelihood in practically all Muslim minority countries as well as international level is abysmally low.

9.       The Muslims are obstinately and unlawfully projecting themselves as an exclusive community, distinctly different from the rest of humanity, and, contrary to the Qur’anic universal message, creating a global Islamic cultural ghetto. This, together with their exclusivist devotion to the pillars of faith, virtually reduces Islam to a cult of five pillars. [8]

10.     To legitimize their exclusiveness, Muslims have, in recent decades, globally standardized the Arabic verbal symbol (Allah) for the Supreme deity, in stark defiance of the Qur’anic statement that God's name is regularly proclaimed (in diverse languages, 30:22) in monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques (22:40), and that all the beautiful names belong to God (59:24). They are also creating a medieval-nun style head-ear-chin covering for Muslims women – a style that would have left Muslim women incompletely dressed in the single untailored cloak overwrapping outfit of nascent Islam, and therefore stands un-Islamic. Besides, the enunciations of each of the verses 24:32 (“to reveal what is normally apparent” except the private parts) and 33:59, “to wrap the cloak around the body (in a way) that they may be recognized” admit of a woman’s exposing her full face (including head, ear and chin) for identity.        

11.     A section of Ulama issue most preposterous fatwas drawing on the most bizarre ahadith despite clear warning of their compilers against the authenticity of many of the ahadith included in their compilation, only because they met their criteria of scrutiny (provided a chain of transmitters and narrators stretching back to the Prophet’s era) [2]. This demonizes Islam in the eyes of the world and shakes the confidence of many critical and discerning Muslims.

12.     The Muslims educated or otherwise, understand their faith by proxy through the mouths of their favorite preachers. These preachers pick conveniently from their theological sources to interpret the Qur’anic message in accordance with their own ideology, background, sectarian, divisive or supremacist views and focus on the greatness of their faith rather than the core teachings of their faith.

13.     A literalist translation of the Qur’an as read and quoted by both Muslims and non-Muslims grievously distorts its message as i) its generic Arabic term ‘Muslim’ (any believer in God) is restrictively conflated with the followers of the Prophet (Muslim as understood today), ii) vicariously swaps the Qur’an’s immediate audience (the pagan Arabs and other inveterate deniers of the revelation) with the present day non-Muslims, and iii) utterly disregards, the Qur’an’s directive to probe its verses (38:29, 47:24) focusing only on definitive verses (ayatum muhkamat) that constitute the essence of its message (3:7), approaching it with a pure heart (56:79) and seeking the best meaning in it (39:18,39:55).

14.     Despite the Qur’an’s repeated rejoinders to make no distinction between the Prophets (3:84, 2:285, 4:152), the Muslims project their Prophet singularly as the greatest among all the Prophets, and grossly underplay the unique blessings God bestowed on some other Prophets, thereby diverting the attention of the Muslim community from the message of the Qur’an to the person of the Prophet.

15.     The classical jurists of Islam together with the orthodoxy have virtually subverted the divine speech – the Qur’an by venerating the historically evolved Hadith [2] as indirect revelation [9] and privileging the opinions of scholars and jurists above the Qur’an – as and when they conflict with its dictate [10].

Conclusion: The listed realities of the present day Islam and Muslims can be extremely frustrating to many discerning Muslims who may find greater degree of rationality, generosity, fellow feeling and noble virtues in Christianity as preached by its learned, committed and enlightened clergy. The list can of course be extended, but by itself is sufficient to explain the reverse spiritual traffic of humanity from Islam to Christianity. In the divine scheme, both are scriptural religions. Notwithstanding the doctrinal differences between Islam and Christianity, Christianity as preached today is far more emblematic of the Qur’anic message than the present day Islam. Notions like justice, liberty, equity, good deeds, good neighbourly and inter-faith relations, returning evil with good, generosity, forgiveness, wealth sharing with community, fair payment for goods and services, financial support to the needy, empowerment of women, good business ethics, use of intellect, striving for excellence etc. as espoused by the Qur’an are on the lips of every enlightened evangelist.

These have far greater appeal to a discerning audience than constant claim of religious supremacy, greatness of the Prophet, scientific miracle of the Qur’an and the merits of the pillars of faith as the Muslim preachers normally do. We live in a globalized world and share place of work, offices, and neighbourhood with non-Muslims. The Qur’anic message in its conclusive non-contextual phase called for getting to know each (49:13) other and to vie with people of diverse religions in good deeds and lawful pursuits (5:48, 49:13). Today’s Mulla’s, popular TV preachers and orthodoxy are bent on defying or rather killing the pluralistic vision, the noble social, moral and ethical imperatives and the liberating spirit of Islam and reducing it to a cult of five pillars with an Arab God (Allah, 10 above) and world’s greatest man Muhammad (pbuh) as its Prophet – a cult that is rooted in the medieval theological discourses and bears all its cruel, vicious and atavistic hallmarks (2, 3 above).

The Christianity on the other hand has cut its moorings from the medieval underpinnings and restrictive customs and practices – thanks to the Reformation, and revival of a process of theological enlightenment. Islam on the other hand is only experiencing deformation as the foregoing list can amply demonstrate. Why then the Muslims should be surprised at the reversal of conversion process? Thus unless Islam delivers itself from its medieval theological prison, from the clutches its hijackers [the hadith venerating orthodoxy and the Classical Sharia law proponents - 8, 9 above] the pace of conversion to Christianity is bound to increase, even if the devout Muslims prayed fifty times a day or loved the Prophet (a hypothetical premise as the Prophet is no more with us) more than their own selves.      

1. The Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) is NOT a Word of God!

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicShariaLaws_1.aspx?ArticleID=5714

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicShariaLaws_1.aspx?ArticleID=5723

2. Defending the Hadith and its Compilers – the Great Imams who are sometimes misunderstood and even reviled 

http://newageislam.com/islamic-sharia-laws/by-muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/defending-the-hadith-and-its-compilers-–-the-great-imams-who-are-sometimes-misunderstood-and-even-reviled/d/8011

3. Benjamin Walker, Foundation of Islam, The Making of a World Faith,  Peter Owen Publishers, U.K. p. 316.

4. Muhammad Yunus and Ashfaque Ullah Syed, Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA 2009. P. 342

5. American Lawyer, Andrew J. Stunich’s posting on April 01, 2010, in Amazon.com under, John Esposito’s book, Future of Islam.

6. Bange dara, ‘zarifana’, opening verse

7. Ibid.,taswire dard, opening lines

8. Literalist comprehension of, and exclusivist dedication to the Pillars of Faith purports to reduce Islam to a Cult of Five Pillars.   

http://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/literalist-comprehension-of,-and-exclusivist-dedication-to-the-pillars-of-faith-purports-to-reduce-islam-to-a-cult-of-five-pillars/d/7771

9. Asaf A.A.Fyzee, Outlines of Muhammadan Law, 5th edition, Oxford University Press, Delhi 2005. p. 33

10.  “Any Qur’anic verse which contradicts the opinions of ‘our masters’ will be construed as having been abrogated, or the rule of preference will be applied thereto. It is better that the verse is interpreted in such a way that it conforms to their opinion.” – extracted from Doctrine of ijma in Islam, by Ahmad Hussain, New Delhi, 1992, p.16.

11. The Muslims’ ignorance /disregard of the Qur’anic guidance and its Colossal and Recurring Cost.

http://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/the-muslims’-ignorance-/disregard-of-the-qur’anic-guidance-and-its-colossal-and-recurring-cost/d/7795

August, 01, 2012.

Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.

URL: http://newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/by-muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/why-are-the-muslims-converting-to-christianity---a-soul-searching-exercise?/d/8134

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   11


  • Regarding the point number 1, I think it's a very good think to discuss the wisdom of some Islamic punishments you've mentioned in the first point. Otherwise, any ignorant reader would come to think that Islam is barbaric!!

    In addition, it's nice to point out that crime such as honor killing that done by Muslims, or some habits as full veil.... have no relevance to the teachings of Islam!

    As for the points number 3 and 5:

    Do you believe in such hadiths/narrations just because they were narrated in what YOU consider the most authentic book after the holy Qur'an? If so, then, I have some more thing to ask you later..........

    By Answer me! - 3/7/2013 5:12:05 PM



  • Dear Ashok Sharma, I as a Muslim am not supposed to decry those who believe in more than One God or a multiplicity of God or no God as long as they offer me peace (Qur'an 4:94, 6:108). I as a Muslim am required to believe that every human being is inspired by the Spirit of God (15:29, 32:7-9, 38:72). In the context of the revelation the Qur'an  unequivocally condemned idol worship and association of others with God as it connected the prevalent vices it came to eradicate with paganism. Even otherwise God is demanding of praise and glories, and I as a mortal cannot defend or answer on His behalf.  But it is for Him to judge all humanity - not for me or any Muslim for that matter. I am required to live with all humanity in peace and harmony. I can only say that I come of a very devout Muslim family - my late dad (died in 1978) had a pronounced mark of prayer on his forehead. But he never uttered one word against the Hindus or people of other faiths. The entire focus was inwards - not outwards.
    As for the Muslims' ignorance of the Qur'anic message kindly glance through my following article:
    The Muslims’ ignorance /disregard of the Qur’anic guidance and its Colossal and Recurring Cost.
    http://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/the-muslims’-ignorance-/disregard-of-the-qur’anic-guidance-and-its-colossal-and-recurring-cost/d/7795    
    Poet Iqbal said this about the Muslims:
     “The petal of a flower may pierce through the heart of a rock – but the Noble Word has no effect on the ignorant.” – Muhammad Iqbal, bale jibrail, preamble
    By muhammad yunus (1) - 8/22/2012 8:29:04 PM



  • Mr. Md. Yunus(1), thanks for your comments. However, if somebody believes in more than one God, why do you decry him. After all, no one has a proof that there is one God, many Gods or, no God at all. It is my word against your word and a mere tautology. Why do you decry the people not believing in such cooked up stories (right or, wrong) and who gives the license to the so-called faithfuls to condemn those who do not believe in these unproven concepts. Why does one presume that everybody must believe in one God (or, their Gods) and why do such people want to impose their ideas on others by brute force ? Especially, in Islamic countries, people with free thinking and reason are being persecuted which is not a civilised behaviour.
    By Ashok Sharma - 8/22/2012 12:46:37 PM



  • Dear Ashok Sharma. , There are two ways to answer your question.
    1. What Mr. Raihan Nizami said is just the opposite of what happens as you and the world knows.
    2. What he must have meant of course is that Islam a faith leaves human to chose his faith. am
    I am supposed to say the glass is half full rather than half empty.
    I wish you read my following article that expounds the universal notion of din al Islam that accommodates all monotheistic religions under its umbrella.
    http://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/by-muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/the-broader-notion-of-din-al-islam-is-inclusive-of-all-monotheistic-faiths/d/8054
    The bottom line of the article drawn entirely on the Qur'an: a good muslim (generic sense) is a believer in God - regardless of religion, race, cast, creed or affiliation with a spiritual fraternity, who is active in good deeds, is conscious of his social, moral and ethical responsibilities and preserves against all that is gross, immoral and unjust
    By muhammad yunus (1) - 8/22/2012 8:59:27 AM



  • Where are the Muslims who keep parroting "Islam is fastest growing religion in west"?
    If  jews, Christians, Hindus, Sabian and other believers can receive Allah's blessings in afterlife, why it is so serious matter. After all they are still believers in God. They are not becoming atheists. God and Allah same. Same divine msg is running through all scriptures. It is as per Quran no hadith involved.
    They may be recoded as Muslims in God's register. Jesus is most remembered prophet in Quran. He is the Aya of Allah. So what if they will start believing in Jesus.
    confused again?? It is your destiny to remain in confusion my dear yunus(2). Believers are happier than doubters.
    Be a believer and forget everything.
    By mohd yunus - 8/19/2012 4:48:06 AM



  • Islam is simple and beautiful in its entirety but many muslims who claim to be practising muslim fail to see and practice islam it its entirety. Please separate between your ethnic culture and tradition and the teaching of Islam. Many ugly points mentioned in the article which are associated to Islam really has nothing to do with the teaching of Islam. They are most the tradition, misconception and misuse of context of the verses or teaching. Noted also many non-muslim educated and professionals come to Islam and on the contrary ignorant, non educated, are the majority who easily fall into the trap of the christian preachers.

    By Jamaluddin - 8/4/2012 9:18:49 PM



  • I was a bit unnerved on seeing the compliments of a scholar like Janab Muhammad Yunus saheb,  because evidently nobody can see more clearly the fault lines of a person than the person himself. I submit that my exposure to Islam is only through  the Muslim muashra I was born in, and that way I am no scholar of Islam, and perhaps for this reason my humble plea would be not to ignore ‘the best’ of our existing muashra (In my views, ‘muashra’  is a sum total of our family and social life where the right nuances of our ideological moorings find a practical expression in conjunction with our other ideas and practices. It is a package which contains warts and all), as WE go on to build up new thoughts by rationally and COLLECTIVELY drawing principles of guidance from the holy Quran and Prophet’s Sunnah. This is going to be a long haul even as we have travelled quite a distance in a short time on the portal of New Age Islam.
    It is heartening to see that people are engaged with the subject matter. The analysis done by Janab Muhammad Yunus Sb is painstaking  and exhaustive, and should be a focus of introspection for all of us and should further lead us to actions that can circumvent the causes. We cannot wind up the whole question in one go. We need to engage with the issue again and again and again,  without any sense of shame or guilt. It is our birthright to protect our identity – we will do what all is needed to do, the prime move being to discuss and to trace causes and to find remedies for appropriate actions at appropriate levels. This process must engage us continuously.
    As my individual contribution, I would like to reiterate as under, the distant goals (ideals) for the community as a whole for each of us Muslims to understand (Can I expect some improvement or refinement of the list of goals?):
    [[Monotheism of Islam; majesty of God; piousness of prophet and leadership; loving discourse within Islam (accepting all sects as nearby points around the true pole of Islam, and conceding, Truth is humanly impossible to reach); loving discourse with those individuals, families and communities who are willing seekers of Truth; maintaining neutrality and co-existence with detractors of Islam; defending Islam from the violators of neutrality; pursuing excellence in knowledge  of science and engineering while excluding areas destructive to life property and ecology; pursuing excellence in arts and sports while also protecting woman from bodily exploitation; achieving dignity of relationship between man and man and between man and woman; pursing commerce with a human face; and finally organizing the Muslim ‘muashra’ around these core values.]]
    By Manzoorul Haque - 8/4/2012 12:20:45 AM



  • People can easily get confused when they are presented with erronous but concrete evidence of a situation. A priest friend of mine was killed in the Northern Part of Nigeria some years ago by some muslim fanatics. They plucked his two eyes, cut his tongue and hung him for not saying Allahukubar when they attacked his house. Boko Haram is unleaching mayhem on Nigerian Christians and the claim is that all Nigerians must be Muslim. The act of violence found in this religion of peace would make any reasonable adherent question it.


    By couragenigeria - 8/3/2012 11:14:36 AM



  • Mohammed Yunus has really excelled himself. He has outlined all that ails Islam today.
    I have always heard that Iblees will mislead the Muslims and take them away from Islam. Maybe this is what happened in the early days of Islam, when it was propagated that the Quran is too difficult for ordinary Muslims to understand, so the Hadith is necessary.

    By Asif Merchant - 8/3/2012 7:59:08 AM



  • Humans are humane and they need that kind of treatment. We trust, love, respect and follow those who help us in tough times. Any rational person will feel bad about his religion when his religion says to kill all those who do not believe in that religion.
    By Aiman Reyaz - 8/2/2012 9:02:40 PM



  • This is a much more relevant and sensible approach to a growing problem compared to some clerical views we have heard. Those who make Islam a parochial or cult-like faith have no business being our religious leaders. It is a universal faith in complete harmony with other universal faiths. However when we read headlines like, "Mali: Sharia Imposed In Timbuktu, Muslims Demolish Churches, Christians Flee," who in Africa can be proud to be a Muslim? 
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/2/2012 7:37:23 PM



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