This is one of the best articles I have come across in recent times -both a brilliant skewering of the hypocrisy surrounding the furore by Salafists and Co. over the recent publication of ‘The Study Quran‘ as well as a brilliant rejoinder to the abuse of the Quran by both Muslims and Islamophobes to justify violence.
A must read for anyone interested in Islam and perversions thereof and a useful antidote to the vacillating and Milquetoast responsa from some of the ‘Study Quran‘ team themselves – in particular Joseph Lombard, who seems intent in Social Media such as Facebook on defending the very people who are insulting and anathematising Nasr – ‘playing nice’ at the expense of justice is a favourite game of public Muslims who are often concerned only with being able to speak in front of as many people as possible. One has to pity Nasr, assailed from without and undermined from within, so it is with genuine delight that I read this wonderful piece.
Shaykh Atabek Shukurov
The recent controversy over the release of ‘The Study Quran’ by Sayed Hossein Nasr and his team has really shown Muslims at their worst – both in their academic incompetence and in their readiness to anathematise and declare Nasr and others heretics and unbelievers based on the flimsiest, or rather no, evidence – a Godsend to Islamophobes who wish to prove that Muslims as a whole are violent and intolerant. Though legal restraints in the West have prevented Muslim groups and scholars from complementing their open or veiled declarations that Nasr is an apostate or non-believer with the violence that they would prefer to be visited upon him, it is ever present in the background of their vile ejaculations.
Perhaps even more repugnantly, many of those who have spoken on the issue or previously endorsed the book, have used the controversy and the rabid reaction of many in the Salafist establishment which is acting as a financial and ideological hydra in Islamic circles, to pose as ‘arbiters’ or ‘impartial’ judges while in fact using the issue to gain exposure and to ‘play both sides’. Numerous well-known scholars have on the one hand played to the heresy hunting gallery by claiming that the book ‘kind of, may be’ questionable or by couching their endorsements and comments in such politically expedient language that it would make most Republican Presidential candidates blush, and on the other benefited from the exposure the ‘Study Quran’ has received and tried to bask in its glow. Some of the endorsers have claimed that they were merely given ‘samples’, so didn’t in fact know what they were endorsing and any critique of the book by them would be a worthless endeavour ‘as they would never place it on the book jacket.’ The Muslim laity and intelligentsia alike have reflexly made use of phrases such as ‘perennialist’ to impugn the most outrageous enormities upon Nasr and his cohorts while at the same time never taking the trouble to define this term, except by their own unverifiable ‘definitions’, but then, who doesn’t want to argue their opponents case as well as their own, all the better to expedite victory. Thank goodness the criminal justice system doesn’t proceed in a like manner – although it in fact does in those countries or rather monarchies from whence many of these people receive or hope to receive patronage.
Neither have these individuals taken the time, nor do they seem to possess the expertise, to compare the purported errors of Nasr and his teams tafsir (commentary of the Quran) with those which one can find with ease in many of the so-called ‘authentic’ or classical ones. As a further unacademic and reactionary failsafe, they simply brand any dissenters also as ‘perennialists’ (one slur fits all in Muslim discourse nowadays) and heretics, again, never having to trouble themselves with a definition nor engagement with perennialists themselves. Examples of this can be seen in this Facebook post made on behalf of a notable scholar:
As well as this vile, ranting takfir, based on the solitary ’evidence’ of the commentators from ‘The Study Quran’ merely stating that some people (not even necessarily them) hold a controversial opinion: http://mahdinnm.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-accommodation-and-promotion-of.html.
This level of ‘academia’ will no doubt delight Islamophobes and the enemies of religion in general: merely stating that there is a view held by some, without even endorsing it, is enough for Muslims to become a lynch mob. The ease with which Muslims and their erstwhile ‘scholarly’ interlocutors declare people to be unbelievers and targets will likewise delight this contingent. Sadly they are right: the entire ‘Study Quran’ incident showed at the outset, and continues to show the lax, authoritarian, sectarian and self-interested way that Muslim discourse is conducted. It is very obviously academically degenerate and based on considerations far removed from truth and beauty of any sort.
My aim in this series of articles is to highlight the inconsistencies and errors brought to the fore by, but not limited to, the response to ‘The Study Quran’ in a way which I feel more befits the heritage of Classical Islam, which today is sold for the cheap price of endowments and chairs funded by petro- dollars or for the interests of sectarian partisans.
I make no apologies for naming offenders – just as they have made no apology for the affronts to Nasr and his faith nor for the confusion and discord they have sown amongst Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It goes without saying that I am neither particularly a supporter of Nasr nor a perennialist nor even a ‘Traditionist’ – before this incident I hardly knew who they were. But unlike the vast majority of Muslim scholars purporting to ‘refute’ them, I at least bothered to look up who they were before spewing hatred. ‘The Study Quran’, like any work of man, also contains errors. So do many of the famous commentaries of the Quran (see below) that get a ‘free pass’ from the same people who pour bile on Nasr and company, such as ‘Tafseer Ibn Katheer’ or ‘Tafsir Qurtubi’ because they serve these groups anti-rational, sectarian and authoritarian agenda. Throughout these articles, I will also endeavour to speak of the ease with which Muslims call for killing and anathematisation (which sadly are very closely related concepts in the Salafist influenced ‘mainstream’ Islam of today) and try to illustrate this with easily apprehended and contemporary examples.
You can read my students article on the ‘Study Quran’ here: https://sulaimanahmed.com/2015/11/29/the-study-quran-and-muslim-intellectualism/. Since it proved insufficient to restrain the ramblings of bloggers, scholars and organisations alike, I must endeavour to elaborate.
The Quran to Muslims is the very word of God and thus in Islam it has the foremost importance. Yet it seems that amongst Muslims today it is the least appreciated source of knowledge. The Quran has become effectively a secondary or tertiary source within the religion, easily side-lined either by the statements of scholars who state that the Hadith literature (sayings and acts attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)) can ‘abrogate’ the Quran, or more subtly when people take the statements of scholars, the Hadith or tafseer (exegesis or commentaries) over and above the Quran.
In the very first instance, one must realise that there are different levels within the mufasireen (Quranic commentators). Thus Imams such as Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi and Imam Jassas were Mujtahid (of the highest rank or learning) Mufasir scholars. Then we had people who were muqalid mufasireen (scholars not qualified to set up principles but rather those who follow the Mujtahids – at least in theory). It may surprise readers to know that even famous Imams such as Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir fall into this category. Then we have those who wrote tafseer but in fact their expertise did not lie within this field, such as the widely translated and published (especially by Salafis) Ibn Kathir. Even after all of this, a Mufassir is just a human and humans can be right or wrong about any particular matter. No one should make the monumental error, sadly widespread amongst Muslims today, of thinking that the Book of God is understood by only a few people from the past or that after this period one cannot be inspired to gain understanding from the Quran. The wisdom of the Quran is not limited to the understanding of a few scholars. Therefore having a few opinions from the scholars of the past does not exclude the possibility of them being wrong or incomplete and thus it should never block further research.
Furthermore, in many cases we may only have one opinion which has been translated into contemporary languages, but there are in reality many other opinions too, equally authoritative and equally ‘classical’ which have not been translated, or have been accidentally or deliberately ignored or have not been ‘discovered’ as they remain in manuscript form. The much berated ‘Study Quran’ was at pains to plead for this manuscript research and translation. Sadly, most Muslims are very aware of the sectarian interests and ‘state sponsored’ translation and publication that afflicts Muslim works.
Another aspect that must not be overlooked is that there are many factors that affect the statements of any scholar and human being – and make no mistake, despite the pseudo-infallibility attributed to their favourites by most Muslim groups today, scholars most avowedly are both humanly frail and fallible – and scholars were affected by things such as the political, social and economic landscape of his time, his psychological condition, his academic standard, his hidden tendencies which he may occult due to fear of punishment or death from the ruling class or the possibility that he may want to please the ruling class by providing interpretations that may support their political or social agenda. Most of us today are taught that our favourite scholars were above such considerations, but even a cursory glance at much of their output establishes otherwise – and in any case, being completely above such considerations is the province of Prophets or angels. God provided no such assurance for the scholars, not that this has stopped Muslims furnishing it regardless.
Therefore the Quran is very obviously there for humans to contemplate today as always. They will continue to reach conclusions of various degrees of veracity and utility.
Furthermore, I in no way agree with the common (mis) understanding amongst many today that the entire religion of Islam will be ‘preserved’. Rather it is the Quran alone which will be preserved because it was this and not the ‘religion’ that God assured us would be guarded against corruption. Yes, I do agree that throughout time at least some of the scholars will get issues right, but that does not mean that the opinion of that scholar will necessarily be preserved for posterity. It could have been lost, destroyed or the scholar was killed (as was the fate of many of the greatest Islamic luminaries such as Abu Hanifa and Imam Razi at the hands of their ideological enemies). So it is entirely plausible that there was disagreement between scholars, and a thousand of them stated one thing and this position was only opposed by one person and yet in fact he alone was in the right – but we do not have his book and his explanation was not preserved.
A good example of this is theological issue regarding whether practicing the religion is a part of belief. Imam Abu Hanifa was alone in opposing thousands of scholars in saying ‘no it isn’t’ and he was right. We are lucky that his opinion was preserved. Yet it is entirely possible that under different circumstances his opinion may not have reached us. This is how it is possible that there were many great scholars who we do not know of because their enemies burnt their books and erased them from history.
Consider that many scholars were killed and imprisoned, their books destroyed. We no longer have the book of Eisaa ibn Abaan on Usul (epistemic principles), though we have people such as Imam Jassas quoting from his book but the book itself has been destroyed – not lost, but destroyed. The reason for this is obvious – those in power wanted to destroy all of his works and diminish any influence his ideas and opinions had on the general public. Therefore, often, the ‘Islam’ that was preserved was that which had the backing and support of the political elite.
Today Imam Al Ghazali is famous amongst most Muslims and Orientalists, but what of the ruling made by Qadi Iyaad and his teacher Qadi Mazari which can be found in their books such as ‘The refutation of Al Ghazali’ – both widely venerated and used as ‘unimpeachable’ proofs by Muslims on issues such as the alleged necessity of killing ‘apostates’ and those who insult the Prophet (ﷺ) – that all of Ghazali’s books especially his iconic ‘Ihyaa’ be destroyed as it propagated heresy and kufr (disbelief)? Now if it had not been for the popularity, influence and following of Imam Ghazali his books may also have not been preserved. This is further compounded by the fact that we have a large number of manuscripts of the works of Ibn Taymiyyah such as his erratic and violent work ‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’, yet we are hard pressed to find the same for people such as Imam Abu Hanifa, Eisaa ibn Abban and Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi.
Let’s look at a classical text and verdict from the time of the ‘Salaf’ in ‘Muheet al-Burhani’ a foundational text in the Hanafi school, which establishes the aforementioned principle, today widely ignored, which states that a solitary scholar may be the only correct opinion and likewise, proof is based on academic rigor and not majority or a ’head count’: Volume 6, page14:
This is well known by genuine scholars but kept from the laity by Salafists – Imam Abu Hanifa holds the position that opinion of the majority of Muslims is not superior to the opinion of one person. Rather the most important determining factor in one opinion being accepted over another is the strength of the proof for the position that is held. His student Imam Muhammad disagrees and states that as long as both sides have some evidence then the opinion of the majority is taken.
This brings me nicely to the particular verse that we will be analysing as an example of what has gone before. The ultimate irony here is that this is one of verses which demands peace…and has instead somehow been used by people, including senior scholars, to support their commitment to bloodshed and war. We are seeing the regretful continuation of this wilful manipulation and exploitation of the Quran to this day.
In this verse, used to ‘refute’ Nasr and ‘perennialists’ as well as by extremists, God says;
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱدۡخُلُواْ فِى ٱلسِّلۡمِ ڪَآفَّةً۬ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَٲتِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَڪُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬
“O the ones who have believed! All of you! Enter into a treaty of peace! Do not follow the footsteps of Satan! Indeed he is an obvious enemy of yours.’’ (2:208)
The word ”Silm” here is ‘translated’ by many people, including early ones such as Ikrima, Mujahid and others as ”Islam”. They attribute this position to the companion of the Prophet (ﷺ) Ibn Abbas, therefore making their position seem stronger. Most of the Sunni Mufassireen in fact also took this position and ignored the understanding based on Arabic language – the language of the Quranic revelation. But in reality this order is basically forbidding any type of anarchy and bloodshed, be it rebellion or military methods of resolving issues between nations, tribes or families.
So on the one hand we have an understanding that says that people must enter into ‘Islam’, i.e change their religion or become Muslims. This is understandably a favourite ayat of Islamophobes and orientalists of a certain bent to try and prove that Islam demands conversion ‘by the sword’. Many Muslims backed this understanding too or provided various glosses. But linguistically none of this is called for in the very first place, since it means not ‘enter into Islam’ but ‘enter into a treaty of peace’. The difference is important, as we shall see.
The word used in this passage of the Quran ”Kaaffah” is very strong. It could be used as a Haal (description) of a command, or as a description of the ones commanded. In the first case it will mean ”Peace in all aspects”, in the second ”everyone accepting it”. There are no other licit options in the Arabic language of the Quran.
In my opinion it is the first one, because linguistically the second is mentioned by the pronoun of the command. So in the first case there is no repetition. But in the second case it will be ”Tawkeed” (emphasising) which means repeating. Those who have studied even basic Arabic grammar will know that if we have an option of repeating and not repeating, we take the first as it is the ‘Asl’ (initial condition). Thus, God is ordering the ”ones who have believed” to accept peace ”kaaffah” from all of its angles. ”All of its angles” means:
- Peace with other nations
- Peace with other races
- Peace with the members of other religions
- Peace with the people from other countries
- Peace between the citizens and government
- Peace between heads of the country and parliament
- Peace with the members of other schools of thought
- Peace with the followers of other scholars
- Peace between committee members and lay people.
- Peace with neighbours
- Peace with relatives
- Peace between parents and children
- Peace with your teachers
- Peace with your students
- Peace between the doctors and patients
- Peace between buyers and sellers
- Peace with yourself
- Peace between the brain and heart
- Peace between the intellect and emotions
And so on…
Yet God doesn’t stop on this order, but goes even further by saying: ”And do not follow the footsteps of Satan!” The reasoning which comes after the order given means that one is connected to the other by one of the means (basic level of grammar). Therefore it means that either accept peace…or you are a follower of Satan.
There is even another critical point pertaining to this verse, namely that God is attaching this order with belief. It therefore means that it has been given the utmost level of importance – according to Quranic terminology it is one of the pillars (faraidh) of Iman (belief).
Irrespective of what people may claim in Islam or any other system of thought or belief, ultimately what you choose to believe is your choice alone. Many people have clearly chosen to, as God puts it, ‘follow the footsteps of Satan’ by abusing this verse to propagate bloodshed. So Satan actually has a huge number of people who followed him, and one does not need to increase this number by causing yet more bloodshed on the Earth. My question is; where are the ‘People of God’, since the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The People of God are the People of the Quran!’’ We have ended up in the current situation as Islam has mainly been presented by people who are not qualified. Be it so – called Sufis, hadith-hurling ‘narrators’, isolationists, haters of ‘philosophy’ or mediocre Humanities graduates who have taken their entirety of their knowledge from newspapers such as “The Guardian’’ and plagiarise the Far Left and anarchists while claiming to establish a ‘Khilafa’, the most important point is that none of them are suitably qualified. As a result they will damage the real meaning of the Quran and produce a totally different religion.
To continue with the above verse and the linguistic vs. sectarian understanding of it:
According to the famous ‘Tafsir i Jalalayn’, one of the few Quranic commentaries translated into English, the following verse was revealed regarding ‘Abd Allāh b. Salām and his companions, who after converting to Islam from Judaism allegedly still observed the Sabbath with reverence and were averse to the consumption of camels:
‘’O you who believe, come, all of you, into submission [read al-salm or al-silm, that is, Islam; kāffatan is a circumstantial qualifier referring to al-silm, meaning, ‘into all of its precepts’] and follow not the steps, (the ways), of Satan, (that is, his temptations to you by way of creating divisions), he is a manifest foe to you, (one whose enmity is obvious)’’
The fabrication of this narration explaining the verse is obvious from its silly content. Apparently one of these ‘sahaba’ who wanted to continue celebrating the Sabbath was Abdullah bin Sallama, a former Rabbi. Even a muhadditheen partisan Ibn Kathir did not accept this interpretation due to the defamation attributed to this companion of the Prophet (ﷺ).
‘Silm’ and ‘Salm’ mean exactly the same thing – which is peace. One merely needs to look at the context. Sadly it was one of the interpretations of the verse which the scholars of the Umayyad Empire presented to the Umayyads so that they were given legislative permission to kill anyone and everyone they wanted to (and they wanted to kill a lot of people). During my research I checked many tafseers such as Tabari who translate ‘silm’ as Islam. But the meaning of the word never meant ‘Islam’. Can someone bring me any verse or a poem from pre-Islamic Arabia where ‘silm’ means ‘Islam’? One merely needs to read the five verses before after this verse and the meaning and context of the verse is very obvious.
Some may ask how does this differ with verse 131 in Surah Baqarah.
إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُ ۥ رَبُّهُ ۥۤ أَسۡلِمۡۖ قَالَ أَسۡلَمۡتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
‘’When his Lord said unto him: Surrender! He said: I have surrendered to the Lord of the Worlds’’. (2:131)
“Aslim” is the word in the form of a verb whose noun is “al-islam“. It means ‘submitting’, but it is not referring to the theological meaning of ‘Islam’. In clear contrast, Verse 208 of Surah Baqarah is speaking about the noun “al-silm” whose verb is “salima” and “saalama” (which is derived from analogical reasoning – qiyaas) which means ‘peace through safety’ and ‘peace treaty’.
Monopolies in Islam and ‘Quran-splaining’
Unfortunately, most Muslims seem to believe that there is a ‘monopoly’ in all Islamic subjects beginning with grammar through theology through to fiqh (jurisprudence) and the many other Islamic sciences, restricted to their favourite scholars or group of scholars – almost invariably today those who are particular to a certain ‘Salafi friendly’ hadith methodology of rather late providence. So people will bizarrely insist that maters of law and creed should be settled by hadith scholars or matters of war or killing settled again by people who are hadith experts as opposed to legists etc. This is akin to giving historians a monopoly on law, theology and metaphysics, along with language, grammar and anything else you could think of. This sort of unilateral ‘omni-competance’ and monopoly has never existed and would be laughed at in today’s academic institutions. We have discussed many such issues in Islam in the past and have been able to prove that no such monopoly exists. Here I wish to display another example using the books of Tafseer.
The following text is from ‘Tafseer Nasafi’ written by Imam Nasafi, a Hanafi Maturidi Scholar born in the middle of the eleventh century.
- (O the ones who have believed, enter in al-Silm) it is read by fathah [al-Salm] by the Hijazis and Ali (RA), it means to surrender and obey, i.e. Surrender to God and obey him.
- Or it could mean Islam, then this verse will be addressed to Ahle Kitab (people of the book), because they have believed in their Prophet and book.
- Or it addresses the hypocrites because they have believed by their tongue but not their hearts.
So Imam Nasafi gave three possible meanings for the word ‘al-Silm’ which are ‘surrender’, ‘obedience’ and ‘Islam’. The question that is brought to the fore is that if the meaning of this word contained within these three possible meanings, then is it permissible to leave two of the possible meanings? Is it possible that scholars have given even more alternative meanings? We are going to see many other interpretations when we look at the tafseer of Razi, Asbahani, Baidhawi and the many others.
The following is a text from Imam Ibn Aashur, a Maliki Ashari scholar born in the middle of the nineteenth century.
“(al-Salm) Read by Fatha on Seen and Kasrah too, by sukoon of Lam…The real meaning of al-Silm is “not fighting”, as Abbas bin Mirdaas [poet] said. The word [Silm] with kasrah and its other varieties mean “safety” from pain or being hurt or stubbornness…”
Ibn Aashur continues on the next page;
‘This is why the Imams of the Arabic Language said that all of the forms of Al-Silm – regardless if it is with fatha or kasra with sukoon of Lam or its harakah – all of them are synonymous. Some of them said that all of three forms are used for ‘Islam’ and they have attributed it to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah. They supported their position with the poem of Imri’ Qays….’’
But this meaning of the word is supported only by the writers of the books of tafseer. But Raghib and Zamakhshari and Ibn Manzoor did not even mention this. That is why this meaning is in fact not reliable.
It is easy for a layman to become confused – not knowing of the sectarian wrangling that took place between the grammarians and linguists of the Arabic language and the partisans of hadith. The hadith scholars jealously and violently [see the famous hadith scholar Ibn Hajar Haythami’s ‘Fatwaa’ p207 onwards] tried to proscribe analysis of the Quran as per the linguistic requirements of Arabic pre-Islamic poetry (as is in fact mandated by reason – since the Quran was revealed to non-Muslims who did not have a ready-made ‘glossary’ of novel Islamic terms – they understood words like ‘al Silm’ in the way that they used them before Islam. Otherwise we are faced with the bizarre scenario that the Prophet (ﷺ) had to teach the Arabs the Quran and Arabic too, which no doubt silly people will nonetheless assert).
Therefore ’Al-Silm’ is one of the words that is used for ‘Peace Treaty’ by the consensus of the Imams of Arabic – in contrast to Quranic exegetes. ‘Peace treaty’ is in fact what this verse is talking about – without any other option. As for the possibility of this word meaning ‘Islam’, if that is authentic we can consider it too: it will then have to be used as a Mushtarak (a homonym) with two meanings – which means ‘Islam’ is used to mean ‘peace treaty’ – which would be most strange!
Based on this – al-Silm meaning a peace treaty, the Arabic language necessitates that this verse means; ‘O the ones who have believed, meaning Muslims, go for peace and not for fighting’…and as I (and the consensus of the Imams of Arabic language) stated, this meaning is necessitated by the context.
Hopefully, as you can see, the most authentic position is that the meaning of the word is “peace”. But if you use it to mean “Islam” then you have to accept that “Islam” has two meanings; namely “religion” and “peace”. And therefore it is still used in this verse to mean ‘Peace’. This is according to Ibn Aashur. You also saw that Imam Nasafi gave three meanings for the word of ‘Al-Silm’, but he supported the meaning of ‘surrender’. According to both of these scholars though, the strongest opinion is that ‘al-silm’ does not mean ‘Islam’.
The following text is from Ibn Kathir, the aforementioned Shafi scholar born in the fourteenth century.
In the first and second paragraphs he supports the opinion that it means ‘Islam’. He mentions that it is narrated from several Tabein such as Ikrima, Qatada, Mujahid and Ibn Abbas. In the third paragraph he mentions a second meaning which is ‘obedience’’ and said that it is [narrated] from Dhahhak, Ibn Abbas, Abu Aaliya, and Rabea. He then mentions a third possible meaning from Qatadah where he states that it means ‘peace treaty’. In the last paragraph he mentions that a group of ex-Jewish sahabah asked the Prophet (ﷺ) if they can continue practising their Jewish rituals (as ‘Tafsir Jalalayn stated). But on the next page he emphatically states that it is not possible that Abdullah bin Sallam would make such a request.
Even those scholars such as Ibn Kathir who are ‘super followers’ of hadith narrations mentioned three possible meanings of the word ‘al-silm’ – and even they did not accept the narration about the reason of revelation of being due to the Sahabah wanting to continue their Jewish rituals. Ibn Kathir supporting the meaning of ‘Islam’ is his personal opinion. His approach is from the context of deference to Hadeeth narrations, this is why his opinion is based on the narrations, as opposed to the rules of Arabic language, which hadith scholars are wont to overrule in favour of ahad hadith. We have narrations from several Tabein (people after the time of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ)) that it means ‘Islam’, so he took the side of the majority of narrators as opposed to the Arabic language experts. However, we know with certainty that the tabein mentioned are not in fact the ‘sources’ of Arabic language – rather this is taken from Imams who are the specific experts of Arabic language.
Ibn Manzoor, born in the thirteenth century, was a lexicographer of the Arabic language and the author of the famous Arabic dictionary called ‘Lisan al-Arab’. He therefore was an expert of Arabic language.
He confirms that ‘Silm’, ‘Salm’ and ‘Salam’ all mean ‘peace’, ‘peace treaty’ and ‘safety’. He also mentions the incident of Hudaibiya (where a treaty was signed between the Prophet (ﷺ) and the pagans) where this word is used to mean ‘Peace treaty’. This opinion is also supported by Ibn Atheer, an Asharite scholar from the thirteenth century.
Baidawi, another Shafi Ashari scholar from the thirteenth century, confirms that both ‘Silm’ and ‘Salm’ mean ‘surrender’ and ‘obedience’, which is why it is used for ‘peace treaty’ and ‘Islam’. Then he gave several possible meanings of the verse.
Imam Zamakhshari a scholar from the eleventh century supports the meaning of ‘surrender’ and mentions the meaning ‘Islam’ as being a weak opinion.
Imam Razi, who came five centuries after the time of revelation gave many more possible meanings which the previous Mufassirs did not even mention (of course, he is derided and insulted by the Salafis and Muhaditheen – who may have been responsible for his assassination, as the Hanbali mob of Bagdad and elsewhere where was well known for its violence – see in English for example ‘The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in A World Civilization’, Hodgson, Marshall GS (Volume 1 Page 386-9).
Asbahani a Shafi scholar from the eleventh century confirms that ‘Silm’, ‘Salm’ mean peace:
This proves that one should not insist on the approach that we can only take what was mentioned before, that we should just follow the salaf, or that the earlier scholars did not leave any room for us to contemplate and reflect on the Quran, or that it is not permissible to bring new interpretations and understandings and the many other ‘Bedouin type’ statements that are made on behalf of Islam and the Quran nowadays.
As you can see, it is a narrow minded understanding to insist that it means ‘Islam’. To restrict your understanding only to what the muhaditheen (hadith scholars) mentioned and rejecting all other possible meanings means ignoring important Islamic sciences, in this case the Arabic language. It demonstrates a lack of academia to hold the position that there is only one legitimate ‘translation’ of Quran and to think that this contains all possible meanings and understandings.
This verse has been used to kill many people in order to make them to ‘enter into Islam’. Extremists have used the word ”Kaffah” and tried to convince everyone that it means; “O you mankind, enter in Islam, all of you” and that Muslims are responsible for the practical implementation of this verse by the sword. This interpretation is also beloved of Islamophobes. But as you see this verse is actually speaking about doing the opposite of killing or coercing, which is entering into a treaty of peace. To be clear: this verse does not mean that all people should forcibly enter the religion of Islam. This verse also is not proof for those who use it as a method of refuting the so – called ‘perennialists’. Sadly the monopoly of Islamic understanding is given to a few individuals and the scholars who come after these merely copy them. Salafis, Hanafis, Shafis, Malikis, Hanbalis and Shia give this right to a few scholars within their own school. So I have tried to give holistic examples where many renowned later scholars were able to conduct their own research.
The word of ”Islam” has two meanings, it has a linguistic definition and then a theological understanding. The Quran never uses the word ”Islam” with the second meaning – it only uses the linguistic definition. Sadly, some people who understand it to be the second meaning cannot even imagine that it could have any other. This verse has been abused by schools of thought and sects. What I mean by this is that if anyone does not agree with you then he is classed as an ‘innovator’ and this innovator is not obeying this verse because it says “kaaffah’ which according to them means that you must agree with them in each and every issue because of this word “kaaffah”. So extremists claim they are therefore responsible to apply the punishment of God on that person. The question is that opposing whom is classed as ‘innovation’? And who is responsible to apply this punishment? The answer to this question is almost always the sect or group of ‘scholars’ who are attached to the people in power. So disagreement with those in power is ‘innovation’ and ‘heresy’ and they can and will punish you for not following the scholars endorsed by the rulers.
For example, Imam Abu Hanifa was considered an innovator and ‘heretic’ when his opponents were in power. Then the Mu’tazila took power so the others became known as ‘heretics’, and then they took power back…and so on…But genuine people seeking knowledge and truth do not get distracted by such things.
My position is quite clear, analyse all verses of Quran without any preconceived prejudices. I find it immature that many people are taking two extremes, one is to assume that all classical tafseers are infallible and therefore one should follow them blindly or they tell people not to read certain works as they do not agree with certain aspects of that tafseer. Let me be clear, one would find it difficult to find any tafseer that does not contain monumental theological errors – i.e the most serious kind of error. Most of the time, these ‘scholars’ who issue dire warnings and declare people such as Nasr and Co. disbelievers and heretics are not able to differentiate between what is a theological error and what fits into the differing orthodox Sunni theological schools of the Maturidis and Asharis. And yet these same people are advising others not to read certain tafseers of the Quran.
So my question is: how come Nasr deserves such censure and a torrent of internet abuse but the errors of the previous mufasireen deserve such impunity? And is encouraging forced conversion or violence somehow more palatable than Nasr’s purported ‘deviations’? Isn’t it just sectarian insistence on turning a blind eye to the errors of our preferred authorities and reserving all of our bile for Nasr and others that we don’t ‘like’?
I don’t have a problem with ‘robust’ criticism, but the attacks on Nasr as we can all see above, go well beyond that. How would Salafis and the aforementioned scholars bathing in the limelight at the expense of Nasr react to a similarly ‘robust’ criticism of the inevitable (and serious) errors of their favourites such as Ibn Kathir, and Ibn Taymiyya – not to mention their own error-ridden publications and pronouncements? ‘Tafsir Ibn Kathir’ which has some theological issues contained within it has been translated into English and mass produced (by the Saudi Government). Do we have the same level of condemnation or warnings about mistakes contained within it? Is it that these scholars are not aware or are there other reasons for them speaking about certain tafseers in a negative manner whilst remaining quite about others?
An example of this is the story of ‘Harut and Marut’. It is found in the Quran 2:103. Here God speaks about the false accusations levelled against Solomon (who amongst other things, is accused of being an occultist). It mentions that two angels taught men dark arts or sorcery along with the warning that these arts were prohibited by God. People nonetheless paid no heed to their warnings and indulged in them. There is no mention of ‘fallen angels’ like the Bible (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6) or any mention of angels sinning or having sex etc in the Quran whatsoever.
In the ‘Tafsir’ of Ibn Kathir however, he says God sent them to earth after commanding them to avoid wine, idolatry, fornication and murder. Harut and Marut eventually succumbed to their human lusts (despite not being human) and fell into the sins of fornication, murder and even associating partners with God (very similar to the Bible, from where many Quranic exegetes would borrow egregiously and without concern for the Quran’s major differences with that book). Ibn Kathir argues that committing sins does not conflict with the infallibility of angels because the both of them were exempt from that general ruling (which begs the question of why God warned them off the sins in the first place and how come angels don’t understand theology). In one place he mentions that the relevant narrations are from Ka’b and senior sahaba such as Ali, Ibn Umar and others in authentic and inauthentic chains and confirms it, but in other places he mentions many Tabein narrated extra details which are taken from Isrealiyaat (essentially plagiarised narrations from Christians and Jews or the Bible). So Ibn Kathir does not question the so called ‘authentic’ narrations attributed to the sahabah but he does question the extra details mentioned by the Tabein. I don’t need to point out the glaring error of saying that murder and associating partners with God does nothing to scratch ones ‘infallibility’, and this is a good illustration of the kinds of contradictions a militant approach to following each and every hadith or narration can lead one into.
Other issues mentioned in Tafsir Ibn Kathir are the narration that the Earth is on the back of a whale (I am told that the Saudi publication of his works in English has curiously left this out. Let’s hope the atheists don’t notice eh?) – he narrates it from the Prophet (ﷺ) and Ibn Abbas and confirms its authenticity.
He further narrates from the scholars of Tafsir that the Earth is on top of a herd of bulls who have thousands of horns. And that these bulls are standing on top of a whale.
The reason for relaying this is not to disparage scholars such as Ibn Kathir but it is to demonstrate the double standards of contemporary scholars.
It is one of life’s great ironies that it is usually the most puritanical who usually are the most lenient when it comes to their own partisans.
Another issue that was presented to me was that some scholars illustrated mistakes within the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) that was presented in the ‘Study Quran’. Again, if the litmus test is a ‘mistake’ within a tafseer for a work to be thrown out then this means all tafseer books should be banned – never mind the more important theological mistakes that are contained within the tafseer collections. If the fall-back position is that only ‘scholars’ should have access to these tafseers, then who is categorised as a scholar? Are many of them able to ascertain mistakes made within these collections?
Recently my student presented a theological mistake in ‘Tafseer Qurtubi’, where Qurtubi (image can be found at the end of the post) attributes direction to God and then states that this was the position held by the Salaf, but some of the scholars, and others who can speak Arabic nonetheless did not have the requisite grammar skills to be able to determine the mistake and in fact were presenting the issue opposite to what was mentioned in the tafseer of Qurtubi. Each topic requires an understanding of the terminologies contained within the subject, sadly most contemporary scholars have shown a lack of ability in understanding the source texts. So does this mean only one or two people should have access to any tafseer or is it that this information should be open to all, so that there is open debate and discussion about the issues presented and strong analyses of the ideas?
It seems hypocritical to change ones principles based on whether or not we agree with a certain book of tafseer.
We have seen in the verse above how the meaning of ‘peace’ was used for the slaughter and death of many Muslims. So a person should not blindly trust any tafseer or any scholar. We have seen very clearly with the ‘Study Quran’ episode that scholars too are a sectarian and self-interested group. There are levels of survival a self-interested religious elite is prepared to accept which would nonetheless be profoundly harmful for the masses. Essentially, many scholars from all religions have a myopic and career-minded approach, which the response to Nasr brought to the fore – as long as they have someone to listen to them, pay and attend for courses, they do not really care, beyond the necessary lip service, about the wider doubts and concerns of Muslims nor the general reverses suffered by religion. We can see this with the Salafi movement in the West, which has gone from publically debating atheists and doing ‘dawah’ by using ‘science and the Quran’, into virtual hiding after suffering some embarrassing reverses, with their own little clique of fans that they have attracted. Having grabbed some supporters and subscribers, they are happy to run back to their little isolationist corner of the world or internet.
They are much like those Midwestern Preachers in the US, who are completely ignorant of having lost the ‘Culture Wars’ and in fact don’t really care – just as long as they can fill out a hall or a prayer revival. But what of wider society? The job of the Muslim scholars and intelligentsia is the service of the people, not just some of the people.
I would suggest that one should be able to read all tafseer and then use one’s God given intellect to analyse and deduce the correct understanding of the issue as best as one can. One should learn what the various theological schools mention about a particular issue and then make a judgement. All issues should be analysed based on their own merit. The Quran is a source of enlightenment. People who are misguided by it, are only so due to their own egos and their own ideology which they force into the understanding of the Quran, and as such ‘PEACE’ turns into bloodshed.
Great posts as always. Open your mind to the oblivious matters that everyone else tend to avoid. So according to the detractors of SQ, “Perennialism” is the most dangerous threat to Islam ahead of others such as secularism for example. Sigh…
I believe that Shaykh Atabek also posted a part 2 to this: on Imam Maturidi and Modernist Theologians. Post that soon and every one shall benefit in some way Insha’Allah.
That statement by Haddad shows just how much crack Muslim scholars smoke, possibly off of a concubine.
Just an absolute moronic statement. If I ever said anything that stupid I would literally kill myself and expect God to understand and give me a pass.
And Haddad is one of the better educated and a convert. A great proof of what atheists say – that religion makes people stupid. Except its ‘religion’ isn’t it?
I don’t think religion makes people stupid but makes them blind
Like they say ‘love blinds’ and research suggest so cause when you love something, u shut off. You don’t see anything wrong with the girl u love even if she was a slut and everything.
It’s the same with religion, converts are most likely to not see the faults within Islam and Muslims. There are some like Lang and others but most just fall in love so much that they are unable to see anything wrong, they are willing to argue irrationally to push for their beliefs.
This is seen in hamza yusuf and hakim murad. Although very intellectual, when it comes to Islam, critical thinking shuts off.
It’s very complex and I would say that it would be wrong to base analogies and judgements on converts. They are most likely to be biased to their sheikhs and those who led them to a spiritual and peaceful life.
I don’t think religion makes people stupid, it’s just that people retain some stupid tendencies they had before. Also, religion “expands” and “enhances” people, so some tendencies become more apparent. Finally, in our secularist society, stupidity is less noticed when coming from non-religious people. Similar to “honor killing” vs “crime of passion”
This is a superb observation/point.
I would add though that people of faith have more of a duty to be vigilant against the stupidity done in the name of religion since you are right in what you say – so greater scrutiny and supervision must lead to greater care, although it is unjust to take for example Catholic priests to task and spam movies about them but on the other hand if an atheist abuses a child then this has nothing to do with atheism etc. Rather, religious people are becoming more emboldened in their stupidity – be that Evangelicals or Salafists.
” “Perennialism” is the most dangerous threat to Islam ahead of others such as secularism for example. Sigh…”
Well, there is a grain of truth in that sentence. The problem is, most scholars refuse to distinguish between “good perennialism” and “bad perennialism”. For a variety of reasons : impatience, reluctance to deal seriously with difficult issues, fear of being misunderstood by the fan base, etc…
Typically people will group Guénon and Schuon as one single block called “perennialism”. Never mind the two expressed their disagreement publicly in the most forceful terms.
GF Haddad is making himself look very ridiculous when he writes that
“Traditionalism is a Western adaptation of Hinduism that negates claims of Truth by any religion through relativizing all of them”
What GF Haddad should have written would be something like this :
“Traditionalism is a Western adaptation of Hinduism that claims to see Truth in most or all religions. But in practice, Traditionalism negates claims of Truth by any religion through relativizing all of them, so Traditionalism is hyprocritical, to be avoided and dangerous.”
It is indeed the case that the difference between good and bad Traditionalism/Perennialism is subtle and that the latter very often hypocritically hides behind the former. I should know, since the most vocal promoters today of bad Traditionalism (aka ecumenism, syncretism, modernism) call themselves Catholics.
If anybody refuses to have any contact with Perennialism, I can only praise his or her prudence. But if the same person at the same time insists on making random accusations on “Perennialism in general”, he or she is making a very dangerous mistake, and I join Caner Dagli in urging GF Haddad to ponder the famous hadith about one of two people being a Kaafir in a takfir situation.
Haddad would probably be surprised to learn about how “Perennialist” (and Muslim, incidentally) Guénon wrote articles against syncretism, went so far as to say that “the so-called science of compared religions is a war machine against any and every
religion”. Or perhaps, more sadly, he would refuse to even hear about it.
I read Haddad’s attack on Nasr and SQ very shortly after the above article by Shukurov&Ahmed. There are two excerpts from each article that I find interesting to compare here :
In Shukurov&Ahmed’s article :
“The word of ”Islam” has two meanings, it has a linguistic definition and then a theological understanding. The Quran never uses the word ”Islam” with the second meaning – it only uses the linguistic definition. Sadly, some people who understand it to be the second meaning cannot even imagine that it could have any other. This verse has been abused by schools of thought and sects.”
In Haddad’s article :
“The editor’s underlying Perennialist bias which strives to separate the historical acception of Islam as “the religion revealed through the Prophet of Islam” from generic “submission to God in general”. In reality (…) all prophets are called Muslim with a capital from the start – and in the sense of timeless, essential Muhammadans, followers of prophet Muhammad as explicited in verse 3:81″.
Do we not have two irreconciliable views about the meaning of “Islam” and “Muslim” here ?
What Haddad calls “the historical acception of Islam” would be called “abuse by schools of thought and sects” by Shukurov&Ahmed.
I think GF didn’t read the Study Quran but was just handed a couple of excerpts from other people from which he critiqued. Joseph Lumbard provided a response to this on his Facebook page.
Others have said that he has read the whole thing. And even if he hasn’t, writing a review of a book that you haven’t read in full is irresponsible, and moreso if the review is for publication in an academic journal.
It’s always disappointing to think that the truth has been hidden for decades, if not a century or more at this point, due to funding from the crazed death cult that is Wahabism.
My old college professor is involved in The Study Qur’an, so I’ve been meaning to pick it up. I’ve seen Seyyed Nasr’s work promoted on here before; is he fair to the Sunni side, even though he is Shi`i? Just curious before I make the investment.
I don’t think religion makes people blind at all, except in exactly the same way that people will generally show bias towards what appears to favour their own identity group. I generally find secular liberals to be the worst for this by far. Most of them (and they are generally well educated in a formal sense) haven’t got a clue about the intolerant and belligerent aspects of liberalism from its founding fathers, and will generally use the no true scotsman fallacy when confronted with any atrocities carried out by secularists. They’ll also get really emotional and try to claim that the only alternative to their views is a theocracy.
Yea, obviously Muslims are quite good at that too; but IMO this is pretty constant with all identity groups, except that secular and atheistic ones get away with it because people are dumb enough to give credence to their soundbites of OMG ITS NOT A BELIEF SYSTEM, UNLESS BALD IS A HAIR COLOUR, when in every other aspect of their life, they flaunt their secularism as militantly if not more so then religious persons do.
Claiming that critical thinking ‘shuts off’ in Tim Winter and Hamza Yusuf sounds quite pretentious to me. I don’t agree with everything they say, and I also believe that they might (perhaps Hamza more so) toe the ‘orthodox’ *cough* *salafist* line too closely, whereas the aforementioned brilliant Dr Lang doesn’t, and the likes of Sheikh Atabek certainly don’t. Nonetheless, I think they’re far less delusional and overemotional then many other converts to and from various religions and especially many ‘converts’ to atheism.
Good one, but what you are saying re: Hamza and Tim is that in the country of the blind…
“I don’t think religion makes people stupid but makes them blind”
So it’s great that you cleared that up. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ didn’t convey Islam to make people stupid, he did it to make them blind! I did tell you previously not to make comments like this. I know you like to discuss contemporary issues which is great but please try and evaluate beforehand what you say.
The reality is that is down to the believer how they interpret the religion. If they are violently inspired before reading a text, they are likely to read the texts and look for stuff that can justify their aggressions. This applies to other people too like those heavily interested in spirituality and that will impact how they interpret texts.
Thus the religion remains a religion. A believer on the other hand can change in many ways.
I’m not sure what you just said there but let me clarify what I said above cause my English is bad enough that nobody here seems to understand what I’m talking about
So, when I said religion blinds, what I meant is that believers normally base things on presuppositions, I will give you some examples
Salafis as they believe to be on the right path would consider everybody sinners. They would call out music, pictures and art in general haram because that’s what they learnt to do so it becomes a habit not to think and challenge past scholars.
Ahmadis would consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be the best man that walked this earth after Muhammad. Although nobody knows about him, they still hold him in high respect and talk fake stuff about him being amazing in Arabic and knowledgeable in nature.
As Zakir Naik believes that Adam and Eve fell from the sky, he tries to disapprove human evolution based on nothing where the opposition evidence would be clear.
Sorry got cut
The general muslim as he believes Islam to be true believes that Islam is the fastest growing religion because its true.
And all the false belief that come out of ignorant people who choose not to use logic.
Same with Hamza Yusuf, because he loves Islam and muslims so much, he hides truths, can’t see faults and argues blindly with atheists.
I’ve argued with people of many sects and I can tell you that whatever they are brought up to believe in, they are moved so quickly to defend it. Sometimes they fight for stuff unconsciously because they believe the end product is that what they believe is the only true thing. In cults like Ahmadiyyat, it is so bad because the truth is so clear yet the denial is just peak.
You can blame that on ignorance which is where I agree with Adil but I still do think that love has to do with it a lot.
For someone to leave a group, they would have to first hate them, an agnostic might sit around believers for a long time and not have trouble but when he hates that particular group, he finds every reason to prove them wrong which is why I think atheism has sprung up.
I don’t know where I am going with this, but I do find it stupid of muslims to not realise the wrongs in our society and our people. As muslims, we would rather side with Hamas than Israel which tells a lot.
I have not seen an honest Muslim who criticises our vision of Islam and goes about correcting it. I don’t know why, like, are they that blind not to see that the problem lies within us.
U would believe that if you love someone or something, you would wish the best for it. Like, if a mullah talks crap about science in the quran or spreads extremist ideas, shouldn’t we be the first to correct him as he ruins the very most important thing dear to us. I don’t get muslim logic
And just cause I’m young, doesn’t mean I’m stupid, I love learning more and I would love to contribute to muslims and the world as a whole. Sometimes I say odd stuff, it’s just because I think a lot. I am very religious but I try to be as logical and objective as I can.
Salaam. If you don’t mind I do have some question;
Where does Hamza Yusuf hide the truth? Could you elaborate on that? I mean he has his bias’s but doesn’t every body have that? Have you ever spotted him lying before?
Isn’t what you were referring to in your replies about religion making people blind applicable to every one from Atheists to Agnostics to Marxists? Don’t get me wrong you are right on that mark but I see that description in every body, people breaking up into sects and factions is a very natural thing and as long as people respect other people (not their ideas, but the right for them to hold those ideas) isn’t that fine? Why should we all have the same opinions about everything?
Why should we side with Israel over Hamas?
Where do you study about Islam, how long have you studied?
Sorry if I come off as strong, I’m just curious and wanted to know most peoples opinion since you seem to come from a different perspective than most people here. I do agree with you on the reevaluation of the deen, where most scholars need to swallow their egos and think deeply on the state of the ummah both on an intellectual and a spiritual level.
Jazaks and thanks for clearing up issues.
Sorry, I was stupid enough to say hamza yusuf rather than hamza tzorsis (yes, can’t spell his name).
Tzorsis, he does hide truths. U could see it in his debate with professor Krauss. And other videos I watched.
Look, Muslims scholars have shamed us, they use old arguments that are just not working anymore, a lot of Muslims are confused and I feel sorry for them. I think such a beautiful religion has been disrespected by the sheer stupidity of Muslim scholars. This is what is scaring me, I love Islam, but the way we portray it has so much hypocrisy, lying and ignorance that the logical mind can’t handle it. That’s what I’m really pissed off about.
Yes, everybody has biases, the new atheists have mastered that very well. But from my experiences, love does blind and when it comes down to it, they can’t objectively analyse things. Ur right, I see it in everybody, but it pisses me off when it comes from Muslims because I take Islam and belief very seriously.
I almost feel like there is no place for thinkers in Islam anymore, people just repeat stuff to pleas others.
Why can’t we be honest, get people from different madahib and look at what’s wrong with us. We are so quickly to talk about the west and Israel, but we seem to never criticise ourselves. There is so much moral corruption within us, it’s crazy. I brought up Hamas because I know what happens in Palestine and Israel very well, and I can tell u, if the prophet was not an Arab, I would be ashamed of dreaming of that word in my head. Muslims have disappointed me very much, and if u can’t see that then…..
At the end of the day, I’m a concerned Muslim that actually cares about Islam. But it seems as if they are throwing us out, there is no space for someone like me, if u criticise scholars, then U will be shut down. I just don’t get it, Islam is heading down a dangerous road and Muslims are still fast asleep.
I’m actually 18 years old, I haven’t studied Islam but I have years of experience from talking to Muslims, and it’s not hard to understand there is something wrong with Islam as we know it today.
And I like your name, I used to call myself Abu hazm cause I like him.
I definitely agree with a lot you have to say, I’m an Arab my self and I am ashamed on a daily basis on the actions of my people, doubly so with my Muslim brothers and sisters. I think I understand your point, we act like we follow the truth, but end up acting like everybody else. One thing I have to comment on is that this Ummah is made up of human beings in a pretty terrible situation, we have failing economies all over with corrupt or lazy governments (usually both) and peoples still reeling from the many wars and occupations that we have survived. On the scholars, you have to remember that in the past the best and brightest students were sent to the religious schools, people were wise enough to know that you didn’t stupid people leading you. That’s why we had so many greats in the past, after secularization set in, the best and brightest were sent to universities and business schools, and the failures and the dropouts were sent to the religious schools, and to make matters worse religious schools were only allowed to teach religious matters not mathematics or biology. There were exceptions to the rule of course (Muhammad Ghazzali and Bin Bayah) but for the most part you have people of average intelligence or in worst case scenarios the patients running the asylum giving out dangerous and illogical fatwas. We are currently in a dark age intellectually and economically, I do honestly believe we can get out of this, but it will take a few generations. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened (Mongol invasion, Yazid, Khawarij) but it is certainly a bad situation. All I can say is good luck in your endeavors brother, and may god give you patience and keep your heart firm in Islam. Jazakallah for your reply.
U just gave me the biggest smile bro honestly, ur right, secularism has hit the arab world hard and the only people that end up learning shariah are depressed high school drop-outs. And thanks for your encouragement, I don’t get that a lot.
May Allah keep us on the straight path
Pingback: The Truth About ‘The Study Quran’ Part 2: Al-Maturidi and Who Are The Theological Modernists? | Asharis: Assemble
Islam is dead. Time to face up to that fact. Islam was a faith that thrived academically, it relied on class of intellectual trained scholars to safe guard it. Today they have either been shoved aside, turned into an arm of various power brokers or just died out. ‘Classical Islam’ has collapsed, been shattered into tiny pieces waiting to be glued back together. All those who ramble on about a need for an ‘Islamic reformation’ a ‘Muslim Martin Luther’ don’t seem to have realised, the reformation is here and happening right now. We live in a world of Protestant Islam, where anyone can twist the Quran any way they like from Irshad Manji to Osama Bin Laden. The Quran and Hadith can now be misused and abused to justify anything from murder to sexual hedonism. In response to that we have puritanism, traditionalism, Islamism etc. all of which are mired in the very modernism they set out to criticise. The rich tradition of classical Islam is dead, and it’s a death to be mourned, a tragic end to one of the world’s great traditions.
Haddad is not only a convert, but owes his conversion to a “perennialist” author (Martin Lings). I learnt that today in a Haddad article where among other things he exchanges insults with a lunatic who claimed that Haddad’s conversion to Islam was invalid as it was caused the reading of a “perennialist” book!
It seems that Haddad learnt the wrong lesson from this episode.
This is very sad …
To say that we had a tradition of scholarly work that embodied everything in life and suddenly was taken away from us; a thing to mourn about is something I wouldn’t really agree with. The sectarianism that was founded on these mathahib is extraordinary, only recently, everybody in Mecca prayed together on Hajj, but before (less than 50 years ago), the 4 madahib would pray separately. Is this such a thing to be proud of?
I think its about time for people to think of the Quran in the modern context, to use logic to understand the Quran. ofcource it would first lead to divisions, extremities and lost people but I hope it will lead to something great. Holding 2 or 3 guys in-charge of jurisprudence is silly and unprogressive especially in the modern context. And our past generation have failed us as they kept us jahil of theological sources, therefore having complete control over us. So classical work? good, but its time to move on as I would say