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Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam (03 Jan 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Understanding of Religion Based On Textual Proof Is Regarded As Limiting the Freedom of Choice, Thought and Life: Quran Does Not View Reason as Antagonistic

By Dr Mohd Farid Mohd Shahran

January 1, 2019

ONE of the challenges facing the Muslim youth today is to maintain their religious identity while living in the modern world.

Although most are able to equip themselves with basic education, and some even excel in their professional life, the challenges faced by Muslim youths from the modern value system have compelled them to drift away from religious norms and principles.

Findings from recent research showed a number of Muslim youths, including those in Muslim-majority countries, are becoming more sceptical with some basic principles of belief in Islam.

London-based international magazine, The Economist, in its online publication, reported the result of the latest PEW Research Centre. The findings from the nonpartisan fact tank showed 23 per cent of Americans raised as Muslims no longer identify with the faith.

The number of American Muslims, the research said, increased by almost 50 per cent in the past decade, so too has the number of ex-Muslims.

The cause of such a dilemma is mainly connected to the current zeitgeist of the modern world, which is the rise of scientism and humanism among youths. Among the basic premises of the view is that religion is seen as inferior to science, especially in guiding human beings to interpret realities.

Since religion is strongly connected with revelation, there is a general inclination among youths to look at reason or rational inquiry as a single sufficient source of guidance for their life, including their normative and epistemological values.

On the contrary, the understanding of religion based on textual proof (Naqliyyat) is regarded as limiting the freedom of choice, thought and life.

Contrary to the above understanding, the position of reason in Islam is more complementary to revelation.

One of the meanings of “Aql” (reason/intellect), according to renowned Muslim linguist, Muhammad ‘Ali al-Jurjani, is “the light in the heart that knows what is right and wrong and prevent the possessor of reason from deviating towards false path”.

The Quran itself does not view reason as something antagonistic to religion. People of reason, in the Quran, are consistently referred to as those who are inclined towards religious values and the hereafter.

The people of true reason (Ulu Al-Bab), according to the Quran, are those who always contemplate on the lessons from the Quran as written signs of God (Ayat Maqru’ah) and from the natural world as perceived signs of God (Ayat Manzurah).

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding” [Surah Ali ‘Imran (3): 190].

Many of the arguments of the Quran are presented in a rational way. God issues challenges to non-believers to bring forward their arguments to prove their position, “Say ‘produce your proof (Burhanakum) if you are truthful’” [Surah al-Baqarah (2): 111]. The term Burhan (proof) is known in the Islamic intellectual tradition as the demonstrative argument which is based on reason and empirical evidence.

Among important arguments used by the Quran is the verse which argues on the oneness of God, “if there were in the heaven and earth, other Gods besides Allah, both will fall into ruin” [Surah al-Anbiya’ (21): 22].

The Quran, itself, is revealed to rational men. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, one of the celebrated theologians, outlined 10 rational criteria in accepting the certainty of a traditional proof.

The openness of the Quran to rational principle has influenced the development of Islamic intellectual tradition at least in two respects; first, in the discussion of Islamic epistemology, reason is regarded as one of the valid channels of knowledge apart from senses and true reports (Khabar Adiq).

Second, the willingness of Muslim scholars to accept Greek logical traditions into the Islamic tradition

Early Muslim philosophers like al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd contributed a great deal in translating and commenting and in some sense, restructuring the Greek logical literature.

The same goes for Muslim theologians (Mutakallimum) like al Baqillani, al-Ghazali and Fakhr al Din al-Razi, who appropriated logical principles into theological discussions.

Discussions such as conceptualisation (Taawwur) and assent (Tadiq), intellection (Naar) are few examples of important preliminary topics in the Muslim theological discussions which can be seen in the writings of the later Muslim theologians.

With this reception of rational methods in religion, gradually, logic became one of the important tools of knowledge in the Islamic classification of knowledge.

Since the 12th century, logic was placed hand in hand with Quranic sciences, theology and Islamic jurisprudence in the curriculum of Islamic education in many parts of the Muslim world.

Indeed, such are some of the important messages from the Quran and Islamic tradition for the Muslim youths of the modern world.

Source: nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/01/445857/quran-does-not-view-reason-antagonistic

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/dr-mohd-farid-mohd-shahran/understanding-of-religion-based-on-textual-proof-is-regarded-as-limiting-the-freedom-of-choice,-thought-and-life--quran-does-not-view-reason-as-antagonistic/d/117352


  • Hats Off,

    Nobody made Islam look arrogant. Only you did. Here is what one of the comments said, "“I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth . . .”

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/4/2019 12:59:03 PM

  • always as it should be!
    not all comments are about the articles under which they are appended. some are responses to other comments on the articles.
    hint, hint, hint!

    By hats off! - 1/4/2019 4:41:39 AM

  • "Hats Off's hate attack is totally irrelevant to what this article is all about. He probably keeps badmouthing Islam even while he is sleeping!"
    absolutely right!!

    By Sam - 1/4/2019 12:40:10 AM

  • Hats Off's hate attack is totally irrelevant to what this article is all about. He probably keeps badmouthing Islam even while he is sleeping!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/3/2019 10:47:08 PM

  • Hats off, and no one can be more ignorant than you
    By GK - 1/3/2019 7:50:01 PM

  • no one can be as arrogant as one who believes that his/her religion is the only true one and all others false.

    no one can be more arrogant than the ones who believe that the "holy" books of other religions are "corrupt" and theirs alone pure.

    no one can be more arrogant than one who claims his/her prophet to the final prophet.

    no one can be more arrogant than those who claim that their religion is the final perfected one.

    and they have the gall to talk about "arrogance"

    islam is the most arrogant religion in this context.

    By hats off! - 1/3/2019 4:59:56 PM

  • "The Quran itself does not view reason as something antagonistic to religion."
    Very true!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/3/2019 11:42:28 AM

  •  Reason is not a substitute for revelation. If we could reach the same conclusions by reason alone, there was no need for revelations.
    Revelations can be understood in hindsight using our powers of reasoning but the same is not available in foresight.
    The Quran is a Book of revelations without any doubt. Our reasoning powers  must be employed in the service of the Quran to understand it as best as we can. If something does not make sense at first sight, the problem is with us and not with the Quran. It is the Iblis like arrogant who keep trying to find fault with the Quran closing their eyes, ears and heart to all efforts to make them understand. These are the people about whom the Quran says are those who will not believe. 
    (14:27) Allah will establish in strength those who believe, with the word that stands firm, in this world and in the Hereafter; but Allah will leave, to stray, those who do wrong: Allah doeth what He willeth.
    (28) Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who have changed the favour of Allah. Into blasphemy and caused their people to descend to the House of Perdition?-
    (29) Into Hell? They will burn therein,- an evil place to stay in!
    The word that stands firm in this world and the Hereafter is the truth the believers speak and the evil word that changes Allah's favour of belief into disbelief is the evil word that emanates from the detractors of the Quran.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/3/2019 10:16:52 AM

  • Understanding, reasoning and thinking all are gained by knowledge which is necessary both for the world and the Hereafter. Those who do not acquire knowledge, their inner or outer actions may not be sound and acceptable. Their endeavours without knowledge may result into trouble and toil. For such people, it is mentioned in the Quran “He loses both the world and the Hereafter; that is indeed an evident loss” (22:11).

    The holy Prophet also said, “It is the fortunate and pious who are granted learning and the unfortunate are deprived of it”.

    It is by knowledge that one can learn how to refrain from inner vices such as anger, ostentation [Riyakari], arrogance [Kibr], jealousy [Hasad], and backbiting [Ghibat]. 

    It is by knowledge that the man learns the consequences of arrogance. He learns that it was arrogance that caused Iblis to disobey Allah’s command, thereby leading to his expulsion from Heaven [Jannat]. The Quran and Sunnah have strictly condemned arrogance and haughtiness.

    Allah Almighty says, “I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right…” (7:146),

    “Those who dispute regarding the signs of Allah without any proof having come to them; how very disgusting this is, in the sight of Allah and in the sight of the believers! This is how Allah seals the entire heart of every haughty, rebellious person.” (40:35),

    “And you will see on the Day of Resurrection the fabricators of lies against Allah, with their faces blackened; is not the destination of the haughty in hell?” (39:60), “It will be said, ‘Enter the gates of hell to remain in it forever’; so what a wretched destination for the haughty!” (39:72),

    “Verily, Allah does not love those who are proud and boastful.” (4:36,

    “Those who turn away from My service out of pride will soon enter Hell being disgraced.” (40:60).

    By Kaniz Fatma - 1/3/2019 6:59:32 AM

  • Good article! I would say that we should use our intellect and reason in right format. Not only does the Quran ask the people to use their intellect but also to use it in right format.

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 1/3/2019 6:54:27 AM

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