Books and Documents

Islamic Society (24 Dec 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Rejoinder to Dr. Tawfik Hamid’s Article, Stop 'Islamophilia' to End Islamophobia

By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

24 December 2016

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

This is to help remove some misconceptions that the article may create in the readers’ mind regarding the contemporary Islamic scholarship, to spell out the disconnect of the Sharia Law of Islam with the faith of Islam, and to remind that blaming Islam or Islamic scholarship singularly disregarding civilisational fault-lines is too simplistic, and no solution at all to this growing menace.    

The article begins with the castigation the ‘religious ideology’ of Islam citing some of the brutal rulings of the Sharia law, such as “killing apostates, stoning women to death for sexual indiscretions, and brutally slaughtering gays, … encouraging Muslim soldiers to take female war prisoners as an ideology and instigating wars to impose its inhumane value system upon others”

While the list of brutal rulings can be extended, they do not constitute ‘Islamic religious ideology (Sharia), as they derive from the Sharia Law of Islam which is distinctly different from the Sharia of Islam. There is a subtle but irrefutable difference as explained below:

 The Qur’an represents the divine Sharia of Islam (5:48) which is preserved verbatim as revealed over fourteen centuries ago, and is not influenced by the opinion of scholars, politicians, intellectuals, philosophers or any human agency. It uses the words Shira (technically Shir’ah) and Sharia (tech. Shar’iah) synonymously with the generic notion of a system or principles of law (5:48, 45:18). It expounds fundamental universal notions for just and harmonious governance of human society. These include, among others, justice, liberty, equity, good deeds, good neighbourly and inter-faith relations, sharing of wealth with the poor, eradication of slavery, deliverance of women from various entrenched taboos, empowerment of women use of intellect (Aql) and rational logic (Fiqha) , striving for excellence – to cite some major examples.

The Sharia Law of Islam, on the other hand, is historically derived and the product of human agency - it is based on the cumulative opinions and rulings of Muslim jurists’ dating from the early centuries of Islam. The Muslim jurists also privileged their own rulings over the Qur’anic commandments by declaring: “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.” [Doctrine of Ijma in Islam, by Ahmad Hussain, New Delhi, 1992, p.16]

Hence, to conflate the Sharia Law of Islam with the Sharia of Islam or to regard it as an intrinsic component of Islamic religion is simply a blunder. 

The article then declares: “The current mainstream Islamic ideology not only promotes these atrocities, but the leading Islamic scholars are teaching it as an integral part of the Islamic religion.”

I am afraid; the author is ignorantly, if not falsely blaming the “leading Islamic scholars” for teaching a version of Sharia Law that espouses the cited brutal rulings.

In classical Islamic scholarship the Sharia law represents only the best and most appropriate rulings of the past scholars, though the rulings cited are also embedded in the labyrinthine juristic traditions that inform the Sharia law. The brilliant Islamic scholars and professors of law who teach Islamic law in elite universities in the Western world will be deeply distressed by the above sweeping remark.

Moving down the lines, the article pronounces: “Islamophilia has taken a variety of forms, such as insisting that Islam is a religion of peace, pronouncing Jihad a peaceful endeavour, and claiming that Sharia laws are compatible with the U.S. Constitution — despite overwhelming evidence against such unfounded assertions, which contradict both historical facts and current mainstream Islamic teaching.

Here, the author appears to claim that Islam is not a religion of peace and the Qur’anic word ‘jihad’ does not connote a peaceful endeavour. It appears the author ‘s remark is informed by the secondary sources of Islam, which are punctuated with apocryphal and embellished material as expounded in the following article, the title of which speaks of the contents:

The Twin Growing Menace: Petrifaction And Radicalization In Islam And Islamophobia – Are They Interconnected? How Best They Can Be Diffused? An SOS To The Muslim Intelligentsia, Leadership And Ulema!


It is conceivable,  the author has not probed the Qur’an to comprehending its message and his  knowledge about the Qur’an is based on a cursory or selective reading - disregarding its holistic message, or seeking its worst meanings (the Qur’an asks for seeking its best meaning), or on what he may have read in the text books or the secondary sources.

The following article that draws on by far the most accurate historical records (the Qur’anic verses – which, as uttered by the Prophet Muhammad, were immediately memorized and recorded and preserved verbatim to this day) demonstrates the peaceful character of Islam as preached by its Prophet:

Islam Is A Religion Of Peace And Pluralism


The extensively researched and duly authenticated (joint) exegetic work [Essential Message of Islam] by this writer– which can be accessed at the link referenced below or obtained from Amazon.com tables the following definition of ‘jihad’ based on the usage of this word across the Qur’anic text:

 “On a personal level, jihad is a struggle to face the hardships and challenges of life with patience and determination, or to constantly endeavour to accomplish a lawful goal. On a community level, it is an ongoing struggle to overcome the social, moral, material, intellectual and spiritual deprivations of the time. “

Essential Message Of Islam: A Pioneering Work By Quran Exegetes Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed (Full Text Exclusively Available On Newageislam.Com)


On the whole, this writer fully agrees with Dr. Tawfik that there are serious problems in the contemporary Islamic thoughts, populist religious notions and scholarship, but to blame all the ‘leading scholars of Islam” for preaching the brutal version of Sharia law as illustrated in the article may constitute libel, if not a hate narrative - if this writer is not mistaken.

The Muslim jurists whose cumulative opinions inform the Sharia Law were not infallible and their opinions/ rulings were conditioned by the paradigms of their civilization and prevailing political and historical factors. Thus, those Muslim scholars or spokespersons who insist to introducing the Sharia Law, disregarding the anachronistic factor are conceivably lobbyists – championing a political model of Islam that is neither consistent with the Qur’anic message nor with the modern secular values.

The truth is, as expounded in referred exegetic work of this writer, “any attempt to reintroduce any school or schools of Islamic law in these countries (where Islamic Law is not operational) would be like going in the reverse gear in civilization... Muslims, therefore, should have no aversion to abiding by such Western/ secular laws that do not contradict the Qur’an, in as much as they readily avail of all lawful things of convenience of the Western secular world.” [p. 358, 359]

Finally, it must be stressed that the statement “There is neither a single major approved Islamic theological institute nor a leading Islamic scholar who stands unambiguously against these barbaric 7th century values and teachings” is erroneous and highly misleading. We live in a world where the call by a section of lobbyists to introduce ‘Sharia Law’ Islam gets immensely more publicity than the voice of those who do not subscribe to such views. On his part, this obscure scholar has ‘unambiguously’ spoken against “these barbaric 7th century values and teachings” as the following extracts from his referenced articles demonstrate:

1] “In light of an undeniable influence of Islam’s theological discourses (including the Classical Sharia and the Sira) in the veritable petrifaction of the Islamic faith as enshrined in the Qur’an, and in feeding the twin terrible menace of this era – Radicalization of Islam and Islamophobia, it is imperative for the Muslims to treat their theological discourses in their historical perspective as classical subjects in the higher academy, as happened in the past with other major theological disciplines”


The Twin Growing Menace: Petrifaction And Radicalization In Islam And Islamophobia – Are They Interconnected? How Best They Can Be Diffused? An SOS To The Muslim Intelligentsia, Leadership And Ulema!


2]“ with an endless series of paradigm shifts in human civilization from the medieval era to this day, many of the Classical Islamic Law’s rulings stand in conflict with the modern secular values, creating a civilizational divide. Besides, its application by the Islamists and extremist Muslim outfits such as in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan is pushing those countries to anarchy and civil war. Most alarmingly, some of its preposterous rulings and notions that remain buried in its exhaustive discourses feed Islamophobia, Islamopathy, radicalization, Islamofascism, violent sectarianism and international terrorism, demonize Islam and its Prophet, and trivialize the entire global Muslim country in the eyes of the rest of the world. Thus, any perceptive mind would conclude that in the historical perspective, the domain of the Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) has run out its course.”


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


The Classical Islamic Sharia Law is NOT a Word of God! (Part II: The Way Forward)


Therefore to conclude that “not a single major approved Islamic theological institute nor a leading Islamic scholar who stands unambiguously against these barbaric 7th century values and teachings” is unfair if not unscholarly. How many ‘leading Islamic scholars' the author of the article contacted before doing this pieces is anybody’s guess.

To conclude, there is no denying the fact that the Muslim leadership made little effort to diffuse Islamophobia, such as by disowning the Sharia Law as a religious instrument, and more importantly, by failing to loudly, visibly and massively protest against the horrendous terror crimes that are perpetrated in the name of Islam. However, there are many other fault-lines to this cancerous eruption. As elaborated in the following article, some of these fault-lines lie in other’s territories. It is time, both the Muslim and Islam critical leadership put their acts together to address the fault-lines in their respective camps – rather than the stronger side blaming the weak – the unfortunate irony and bitter truth of history.       


Countering Violent Terrorism – Muslim Community Leaders Must Warn Youngsters against the Dangers of Radicalization


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://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/rejoinder-to-dr-tawfik-hamid’s-article,-stop--islamophilia--to-end-islamophobia/d/109483

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism


  • Dear Sudeep Kumar,

    Your  comment of Dec. 28 reflects a deep desire to integrate the people of diverse faith communities in the multi-religious landscape of India. I greatly appreciate it and wish if anything near what you suggest can be achieved. First, in any religion (Islam, Hinduism) with highly divergent theologies, doctrines and network of religious leaders, it is simply impossible to form any body of ‘religious leaders’ or to introduce any system of ‘religious management.’ Another major difficulty is the rising inter-faith bigotry and increasing publication of materials projecting Islam /Muslim as invaders and plunderers in stark denial of historical relativism and worst case scenarios (what the Spanish and European invaders did to the natives of the two Americas, and what if the Muslim rulers of India followed the example of their Christian counterparts of the Medieval ages). Other issues issues include i) the rising educational and wealth disparity between the two main faith-communities of India ii) the near exclusion of the Muslims  from posh Hindu localities in many of the capitals of Indian – the enduring fallout of the communal riots that punctuates India’s history, that have driven the Muslims out of the cities into the outskirts and slums iv) the  anti-progressive stance of Muslim masses – there is little urge to excel in academic  or artistic pursuits,  vi) the proliferation of traditional theology dominated curriculum in the madrassas that is a big self-imposed handicap against getting into any good profession or civil service, vii) the negative impact of Pakistani's tacit and even anti-Hindu stand viii)  …..

    But a path to peaceful co-existence without any fear, injustice, discrimination and hatred must be explored if India and Pakistan taken as whole have to emerge as allies – as both being nuclear powered neighbors with ever-rising defense spending can grievously harm themselves in the long run if they continue to remain foes – but who understand??

    I like your statemet:  Bhakti / Wisdom – Humanity / Knowledge / Ignorance  is prevalent in every religion. However, these days some religious seers & heads are giving hate / emotional speeches.  Selfish emotional propaganda is on the increase and therefore there are more religious conflicts.

    I will add: shakti bhi shanty bhi bhakton ke geet me hai – dharti ke baasyon ki mukti preet me hai,

    By muhammad yunusm - 1/2/2017 6:34:38 AM

  • Al Azhar is a prestigious university, whether you like it or not! Many of the world's most prestigious centuries old institutions have cobwebs that need to be removed. Both Princeton and Georgetown universities just recently went through the experience of  painful introspection.  And how come you have nothing good to say about this matter being discussed openly on Egyptian TV?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/2/2017 1:36:40 AM

  • do you mean any institution that has text books recommending cannibalism of murtads is somehow prestigious?
    By hats off! - 1/1/2017 9:15:12 PM

  • Hats Off will go to the ends of the earth to find some dirt. For me it is very gratifying to see an Al Azhar text  being vehemently condemned  on Egyptian television. It is however foolish to suggest that it is wrong to seek approval for one's book from a prestigious university just because some unacceptable aspect of its curriculum remains unchanged.  Such stringent criticism on public television is the best way to bring about change.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/1/2017 1:48:02 PM

  • dear mr muhammad yunus
    i request you to kindly follow the link i have provided below.
    the link leads to a twitter account embedded video clip from an egyptian tv talk show.

    the language is arabic, but subtitles in english are provided. but being an arabic scholar you should find no difficulty in understanding the conversation. i am sure you will be more than appalled.

    i could not believe my eyes about what the guest is saying of the contents of a text book used to teach students at al azhar university cairo.

    i am addressing this message to you because your short bio included on the author intro page on NAI says your exegetic work "essential message of the Qur'an" has received approval from this institution.

    if that is in fact the case i am doubly horrified as to the contents of the video clip.

    if i have not recieved a response from you, i will presume that you are busy and will myself type out the sub-title transcripts of the conversation between the tv talk show guest and host.

    excuse me for the caveat above because what the guest says with his "evidence" is simply mind boggling and absolutely terrifying.

    if the video clip is authentic (i have no reasons to believe otherwise) it makes me wonder how a scholar like would even think of approval from an institution that has such text books on its shelves.

    By hats off! - 1/1/2017 6:20:18 AM

  • I have been studying Islam for quite some time and the conclusion is that - Islam is Evil.
    By Raman - 12/31/2016 1:20:37 AM

  • @Manzar Khan Shut up you. Behave yourself. FB is not a chaupal of ignoramuses like you.
    By Mohammed Mahmood - 12/29/2016 12:50:12 PM

  •  Zionist, efforts, in erecting these (abusive word deleted..... Editor)
    By Manzar Khan - 12/29/2016 12:48:43 PM

  • There are a few major reasons for Islamophobia. One of them is spread of knowledge. And the other is empirical evidences arising out of behavjour of majority of Muslims. Though this article is good, it does not touches upon these facts. So let me elaborate here -
    1) With internet age, now the contemporary records of the brutalities of many Muslim rulers like TipuSultan, Aurangjeb, Alauddin Khilji, Gori etc are now widely known . And these rulers , who were no less worse, if not more, than ISID , predate Wahab. It is also established that their brutalities were based only on religious ground. Now blaming Wahab can not help , as these rulers predate Wahab. So, the allegations go directly towards Islam itself. 
    In this information age, the writings of Ex-Muslims are also available widely, which explains in detail the problems in Islam. 
    People are reading about 'what right hand posseses ' , 'slaughter of civilians and attrocities on women and children post wars like battle of trenches etc ' reading the meaning of words like 'Waqf', Taqiya etc. 
    And now the behaviour of majority of Muslims is coming into public observation when a Zakir Naik gets so much followers while people like Sultan Shahin and Tufail Ahmad are ridiculed by mmajority of Muslims. Social media has become an avenue to assess the general thought process of any community. 
    Relative participation of Muslims in funerals of Kalam Vs of Yakub memon has come into public galore.
    Muslim outrage against Kamalesh Tiwari is being compared with Muslim outrage against Owaisis.
    People also observe how in 30 years how only few muslims have spoken for Kashmiri Hindus and in 15 years , for the victims of Godhara train carnage. 
    People have observed how Indian Muslims shied away from standing for non-Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh, while rampaging Azad Maidan in support of another group of foreigners. 
    The observed muslim behaviour, taken into consideration with the additional benefit of information age, is the major cause of islamophobia. People are not satisfied by seeing a peaceful Muslim in neighbourhood. They also assess how across the world Muslims behave , when they are in majority. A maxim has come that 'Muslims are only afraid that they should not be treated , while being in minority, the way the Muslims treat others when the formers become majority '. 
    This article is good, but it does not touch the core reasons behind so called 'Islamophobia'

    By Ajoy Chakra - 12/29/2016 12:47:46 PM

  • @AIMIM..is it the Islam u are defending here by ur uncultured language. Can't u plead ur case in a logical and refined manner. Its people like u who compel even moderate hindus to deride Muslim psyche.

    By Akhtar Imam - 12/29/2016 12:44:31 PM

  •  @ Ojha: You are talking rubbish on Facebook
    By Mohammed Mahmood - 12/29/2016 12:39:45 PM

  • An epidemic grows faster?,
    By Sanat Sharma - 12/29/2016 12:37:18 PM

  • @AIMIM "fastest growing" should be in quality not in quantity.....
    By Abhayananda Medhi - 12/29/2016 12:33:29 PM

  • @UP Ojha How do you know that?
    May be you are also one if those terrorist.....
    Billion of ppl follow Islam... Who is shahnawaz warsi? 
    Or you are just too much blinded by your hatred of islam. Islam is r fastest growing religion .... Aur tum Muslims ko jaan se masrne ke ilawa kuch nhi karsakte.
    Tere jaise chutiye budde bus apni gand jala sakte.
    Ja bhadwe apni biwi ke pallu me ja ke baith ja....

    By AIMIM - 12/29/2016 12:24:17 PM

  • Two wrongs can't make a right
    Your book
    Your lessons
    Simply needs modern adaptation

    By Oshok Dubey - 12/29/2016 12:21:29 PM

Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.