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The War Within Islam (06 Jun 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Why Are Indian Ulema Silent Over Islamic State’s Challenge: Unwillingness Or Inability?



By Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

6 June 2016

A complete silence has greeted Islamic State’s direct challenge to Indian Ulema. “Islam has never been a religion of peace,” says an Indian Jihadi, as had his Khalifa a year ago. “Islam is a religion of permanent war: Prophet Mohammad himself spent all his life fighting.” An outright lie from ISIS, a monstrous outrage, but no response from the ulema. Contrary to ISIS position, the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, had spent his entire life seeking peace and compromise. Even after acquiring the capability to amass an army of 7,000 committed soldiers at short notice, he had agreed to a peace treaty with Meccans at Hudaibiya on seemingly humiliating terms for Muslims, preferring peace over justice. And ulema remain silent when Islam is called by the so-called Islamic State’s terrorists “a religion of permanent strife.” They remain tongue-tied even when the ISIS calls them Ulema-e-Soo (Evil scholars) and Hypocrites.

Some would say our ulema have already done enough. Why should they respond to every outrage? Didn’t 1050 Indian ulema sign a fatwa describing ISIS’ acts as against the basic tenets of Islam? Indeed they did, as did 120 ulema from around the world and even the grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. So why are they so completely ineffective? Why does ISIS continue to get recruits? 30,000 Muslims reached the Islamic State from 100 countries in one year.

The answer lies in the nature of fatwas issued against ISIS. The Indian ulema’s fatwa is basically a one-liner, depending entirely on a verse from the Holy Quran: “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (5:32). Other fatwas quote other similar verses from the Quran. There are at least 124 early verses of Meccan Quran teaching peace and pluralism, patience and perseverance in the face of adversity and persecution, to choose from. The question then is inevitable: in the face of such overwhelming evidence in favour of peace and pluralism from Islam’s foundational scripture, how can a Muslim ideologue openly preach terrorism, xenophobia, intolerance and then get a positive response from such a large number of Muslims from across the world? And how can the ulema remain completely silent? How can neo-Salafis taunt our ulema as being evil and from the Munafiqeen (Hypocrites), for whom the lowest depths of Hell are reserved in Islam, and get away without even a tepid response from our ulema?

It is these questions that our ulema are unwilling to take up. Unwilling or unable? I would say, both. Willingness would require a gigantic effort. They would need to take on almost the entire Islamic theology. They would need to argue with ideologues of such distinction as Imam Ghazali, Ibn Taymiyya, Mujaddid alf-e-Saani Shaikh Sirhindi, Shah Waliullah Dehlavi, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, Syed Qutub and Abul A'la Maududi, to name only a few.

From all these eminent theologians, the religiously inclined Muslim youth gets the same message of Islam supremacism, exclusivism, xenophobia, intolerance and his duty of Jihad in the sense of Qital (armed struggle). It was the theologian considered next only to the Prophet in his understanding of Islam, Imam Ghazali who said “Muslims should go on Jihad at least once every year.” Clearly he meant offensive Jihad for the sake of Islam’s domination. Highly revered eighteenth century Indian scholar, theologian, Muhaddis and jurist, Shah Waliullah Dehlavi had said: “It is the duty of the prophet to establish the domination of Islam over all other religions and not leave anybody outside its domination whether they accept it voluntarily or after humiliation…” Which Indian aalim today would have the guts to contradict Imam Ghazali, Ibn-e-Taimiya, Abdul Wahhab and Shah Waliullah Dehlvi?

Islamist terrorist ideology is based on rigid postulates like the following and all our ulema subscribe to them:

1.    The Quranic verses revealed in Medina permitting war, came later, so they have abrogated the earlier Quranic verses exhorting patience and perseverance, peace and pluralism that were revealed in Mecca. Our ulema do not dispute this false Doctrine of Abrogation. They do not say, without equivocation, that the verses revealed earlier at Mecca constitute the foundational text of Islam and have not been and cannot be abrogated; and that it is the war-time, contextual verses which were meant for those times alone and do not apply to us anymore. Neo-Salafists are therefore justified in calling them hypocritical.

Terror, in terms of killing of innocents, is justified, among other things, on the basis of a Hadith (saying of the Prophet). Prophet Mohammad is supposed to have ordered an attack on a small town, located southeast of Mecca, called Taif, using a catapult (manjaniq) which would inevitably result in killing of innocent civilians. On being reminded by a companion of the Quranic prohibition against killing of innocent civilians, he allegedly justified killing women and children, saying, “they are from them.” This hadith contravenes the spirit of Islam and specific dictates of Quran. But ulema believe that “hadith is akin to revelation.” Even the 120 global ulema’s over 14,000-word Open Letter to Baghdadi made this specific point. This is completely irrational. The Hadith were collected up to 300 years after his demise. The Hadith often cited by Jihadists is the following:


 “Narrated As-Sab bin Jaththama:

1.    “The Prophet (ﷺ) passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, "They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans)." 

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari Kitab ul Jihad, Hadith 3012

In-book reference: Book 56, Hadith 221

USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 256 (deprecated numbering scheme)

It seems impossible that the Prophet (pbuh) would violate specific Quranic injunctions against killings of innocent civilians and his own earlier conduct in this instance. But ulema simply say: “this hadith is found in sihah-e-sitta (all six authentic books of hadith).” No matter how much you coax them, as I have, they will say no more. The meaning is clear: “Hadith cannot be questioned, no matter how much it contradicts Quran and Prophet saw’s own previous conduct. If this particular hadith implies that the Prophet (saw) approved killings of innocent women and children, that is today regarded as the hallmark of terrorism, so be it.”

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.

A shorter version of this article appeared in The Sunday Guardian, New Delhi on 5 June 2016.

URL: http://newageislam.com/the-war-within-islam/sultan-shahin,-founding-editor,-new-age-islam/why-are-indian-ulema-silent-over-islamic-state’s-challenge---unwillingness-or-inability?/d/107548


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  • To
    Dolly passey

    Even if Jazia was taken as you mentioned.
    The source Idea comes out from Islam, secondly there is no problem any Goverment take taxes, but Jazia is sence of superiority of Islam, if those Muslim rulers were truely respecting other relgion they would have used some local term that was used by at the time local population who did not accept Islam.

    Even if Jazia is very very minimal against Jakat I will not like to give single penny, which shows sense of superiority. Every body should fight against such a superiority. It's good that this Muslim empire are finished, which were showing so much arrogance of their relgion Islam.

    No other relgion have such source of tax which come from relgion, even the worst Hindu, Christian and Pagan kings never used such taxes which is based on relgion.

    By Aayina - 6/17/2016 3:36:41 PM

  • @U.p. Ojha , Rohin Dhar have you read history. during mughal rule muslims were asked to pay ZAKAT and Non muslims not serving in army were asked to pay. Jaziya. rates of both were similar. secondly why discriminatory laws of manu in ancient india as well during peshwa rule are not condemned. isis monster are universally condemned by all mainstream muslim bodies.
    By Dolly Passey - 6/16/2016 8:22:01 PM

  • Especially when quranic verses are on ISiS Flag. A cartoonist can be slaughtered but these thugs are not harmed but admired.
    By Rohin Dhar - 6/16/2016 8:21:27 PM

  • Mr.sultan lone,
    Why keep eyes closed over the intolerance of Muslims against other faith?
    Can you tell any other religion asking for jajia tax in the name of religion.
    Kasmiri atrocities are not old things.
    If Muslims condemn ISIS be headings why they did not demonstrate on rallies?
    Your pleadings can not make you a gentle generous human and so Islam will further progress in a brutal path.

    By U.p. Ojha - 6/16/2016 8:20:59 PM

  • @Sicher HeitKeit good approach brother. I have also read Iqbal's poems english translation by Kushwant singh and others. iqbal was deeply religious no doubt about it.

    By Dolly Passey - 6/16/2016 8:20:19 PM

  • @Sicher HeitKeit,you are a bright man.
    By Bilhan Kaul - 6/16/2016 8:19:53 PM

  • @Dolly Of course there are plenty of Asiatic Hindu fanatics who will kill over the flesh of a cow. Thank God for the British who stopped Sati, but there are enough rationalists here in India who want to defeat useless Hindu chauvinism. And I enjoy pork as much as my beef steak like Jinnah, over a glass of scotch. Be Secular and let others say and do everything unlike Bangladesh and Pakistan that are hacking people to death. India must hold itself to a higher standard than some Shariat or Manu nonsense.
    By Sicher HeitKeit - 6/16/2016 8:19:16 PM

  • @Sicher HeitKeit please also make our manuvadies into rationalist .
    By Dolly Passey - 6/16/2016 8:15:03 PM

  • Religion and God do not exist. I'm a former Muslim who has become a rational atheist. Respect your motherland and people will respect you in Europe or America. Muslims are unwanted everywhere. No one loves them or even Allah, as even Iqbal wrote in "Shiqayat". Please read Iqbal's poem as I did and now I'm free.
    By Sicher HeitKeit - 6/16/2016 7:39:06 PM

  • To
    Hindu brothers 

    We Hinudus are are much better we accept what we do, unlike Muslims, their biggest idol is Kabba and funny thing Muslim also
    stone at Jamart and kissing the black stone.

    Hindu brother should not worry about the other faith, be proud of your belief and acknowledge of symbolism is the integral part of Hinduisim and we should worry about others wrong criticism but reply and our point should be wise.

    Here is one thing you can put the people who do not believe in Idol.

    Here is the biggest test of any Idolisim, is anybody like to split/piss/pouh on their books which everyone keep on thier home, swami vivekanad explain to our Hindu King(He was not believer of idol) this by saying that.

    The King dad photo was in the room and swami vivekanad said that, If I spit on your dad photo would you like it, he became angry.

    I am adding in this extremist Idelogical word piss and pouh to take to next level, people in the past was simple, they understand with simple and good hear the others point of view, but Abhrahmic faith people who had biggest business of converting so put our understanding as I said, if they argue and use degrotaty and offending behaviour.

    Also start to accept whatever is truth and bad part in Hindu society even if it said by Muslim, it should not be ignored because it said by Muslim. 

    By Aayina - 6/15/2016 4:08:30 AM

  • Atleast teach real Islam your Muslims how to live peacefully.because any bad incidents mostly Muslims are criminals.thats y all hate Islam.not Muslims.so you atleast take care.idolworshippers so better so called Muslims extremist.if you don't take action one day all Muslims kill each other name only different for killing.
    By Bharat Kumar - 6/14/2016 9:03:15 PM

  • Just because Islam was simplified to be easily practised by the nomadic tribesmen of the middle east doesn't make its followers qualified judges of Sanatan Dharma. Ridiculing idol worship or veneration of body parts have a deep philosophical import which is not covered by the newer religions.
    By Monojit Mohapatra - 6/14/2016 9:01:12 PM

  • @ Iqbal don't waste ur precious time on fools these Idol worshippers have lakhs of God including as u said some private parts
    Let pray for them..they really need sympathy as they still need liberation from backwardness.

    By GD Ahmed - 6/14/2016 8:59:51 PM

  • @Arvind Gupta there are many things in this world which are useful and beneficial. such things are in human body, plants , animals etc. but we do not worship these things . we worship our creator alone and not his creations
    By Iqbal Husain - 6/14/2016 8:57:11 PM

  • Rizvi U mean that all the raped hindu women raised their children as muslims? Dont be absurd
    By Ruquaiya Rukhsana - 6/14/2016 8:51:01 PM

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