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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Problem With Islam & Muslims [by MMughal]

Some explanation as to why islam is what it is and why we have difficulty in trying to help muslims reform.

Here are some rules for information.

1)Islam is limited to the quran and the hadith.
2)The quran and the hadith are fixed texts.
3)The interpretation of the text is limited by the text itself, for language does have limitation on meanings of words and phrases or sentences.
4)The interpretation is further limited by the foremost inventor and user of the text ie muhammad set out what he meant by various texts of the quran.
5)It is further limited by his companions and the generations after them.
6)It is limited by rule that earlier accepted interpretations cannot be over ruled nor lower authority in islam can over rule the higher. Muhammad cannot over rule allah and his companions cannot over rule him. His later followers cannot put aside what his earlier so claimed rightly guided followers decided regarding a matter.
7)It is limited by rule of analogy and unanimity. That is no opinion has any weight unless it is accepted by all ulema=scholars of the ummah.
8)Another important rule is called abrogation. It applies where commands and practices show clash between them. By this rule later texts in the quran and the hadith cancel the earlier.
9)In islam all is lawful unless it is made clear that something is unlawful. In other words one needs to prove something is unlawful rather than prove something is lawful. The proof of lawfulness of something is that it cannot be proven unlawful.
10)In islam reason is subordinate to revelation. A muslim is not allowed to take rationality as above or equal to islam. In short a muslim is not allowed to question religion for its truth based upon rationality, logic or evidence.

Unless this criterion is met or followed no interpretation of islam is valid as far as islamic ummah is concerned. This does not mean individuals do not try and interpret islam differently but that their interpretations are rejected by the islamic ummah because they are baseless and confusing. Do not forget that islam is based on concepts and contexts. The concept of ummah is the proper context of Islam wherein individual is given a limited space to function as told by islamic texts in the quran and the hadith.

The purpose or objectivity of islam limits what muslims can make of islam ie islam is what it is and what it is, is set forth by rules as explained. Anything outside these rules is not islam and this is why over last 1400 years there have been very limited number of sects in islam. If islam could be interpreted any way one likes then there ought to be as many sects in islam as many people who claim to follow islam.

In short there is no sectarianism in islam in fundamentals of islam eg five pillars of islam is religion of all muslims. Differences are in things other than fundamentals of islam.

The contexts and concepts of islam become very clear from the verses of the quran when they are read properly. What is proper reading of the quran? To get all the related verses of the quran regarding a subject matter and then interpret them so that no verse opposes any other.

One can try that on discovering the proper concept of jihad in its proper context from the quran for example.

If one says, islam is religion of peace then see if any verse in the quran opposes this idea. If there are verses that talk about fighting and wars then obviously islam is not religion of peace. However if islam is not religion of peace then what are other possibilities? They are fighting in self defense or waging a just or unjust war.

If we take that islam only allows war in defense than we find that there are verses in the quran that do not fit in this context eg the concept of 4 sacred months during which muslims are not only allowed to defend themselves but also commanded to destroy the attackers unless the attackers submit to islam. This therefore cannot be a war for self defense only because it goes well beyond that. Likewise islamic concept of justice is quranic justice not universal concept of justice and fairness. Just like the quran commands muslims to enforce good and stop evil. This good and evil is islamically defined good and evil not a universally accepted sense of good and evil. So any war is just in islam so long as it is according to the quran and the hadith.

This is why one cannot interpret the quran out of context even if one wants to do so. This is why islam cannot be reformed that easily and at best we can only hope that muslims become relaxed in their acceptance and following of islam. So if any muslims become enlightened they deserve our support but the ones who cling to islam even more, there is little hope for them and we should not give such people any support rather we should fight hard against such people by all means appropriate or necessary.

When it comes to people discussing islam I try to discuss it from a multifacet approach. At the moment I was explaining islam as it is because that is what one can prove from the quran and the hadith beyond any reasonable doubt.

Islam is basically divided into two things USOOL=ROOT/foundation and FOROO=BRANCH/detail. This is also rule of fiqh. Root is that concept in context of the quran upon which it is impossible for anyone to disagree with proof regardless one is a muslim or nonmuslim because there is clear proof about it in the quran. Detail is that wherein it is possible to give the same text different meanings ie there is no clear proof about it in the quran as to what it exactly means. This is why there are only five schools of fiqh in islam. Four of them are sunni and the fifth is shia. All these schools agree on fundamentals but differ in detail of islam.

As for the point that anyone can make anything of the quran and that some muslims are doing that. I want to make that clear also. There is no possibility for disagreement on fundamental islam but free minded people,are doing things to confuse islam in muslim heads so that they could have their own way. I am in two minds on this idea so some times I oppose it but at other times I do not oppose it because this is the only way to move muslims away from islam bit by bit. In short if I start proving what islam is and what it is not then I can but I deliberately stay put at times letting such people have their way because it works to some degree on some people. For example some people claim the quran contains scientific miracles. I some time do not oppose this idea because it leads muslims to take part in discussions with nonmuslims. During discussions penny drops in some heads and they realise how fake islam is.

At other times it becomes necessary for me to oppose the same thing because it also leads some people to islam and some muslims become more committed to islam thinking islam really is the truth from allah.

In my view anything that helps us move muslims away from islam is welcome and anything that helps them stick to islam or moves them towards it must be done something against for the good of all of us.

As I see things objectivity is vitally important rather than arguing for sake of arguing. I am not in favour of any religion and I do not think any religion is great. In my view all religions are damaging for humanity but I argue that some are worse than others for various reasons.

Also if we are standing for freedom, secularism, democracy, human rights and separation between religion and state then what is point of fighting between ourselves and thereby wasting our time and energy rather than battling with those with whom we have problem.

Even if we must fight between ourselves then we must fight against bad element amongst us who are giving bad name to our concepts of freedom, secularism, democracy, human rights and separation between religion and state. However one thing is certain that if we used all our energy and time on ourselves then others who want us out of business will succeed against us. When two birds fight each other and neglect the cat lying in wait the cat has them both for breakfast.

As regard islam and muslims, my point is not that people do not try and interpret islam as they like but that there are clear rules to prove which interpretation is actually provably true. This is why differences between muslims about their religion are so limited.

There are two rules regarding IJTIHAD=formation of opinion a)analogy=qayas b)IJMA=unanimity
Ijma is a necessity in validation of an opinion based on analogy or to set a precedent.

This is why no matter what individual opinions have no weight in islam as regard islam because islam is an ummatic religion and not a matter of individuals' personal faith.

So any interpretation of islam is valid that meets the criterion set up by islamic ummah.

It is therefore impossible to reform islam because you cannot change islamic texts and their valid interpretations.

What is possible in my view is reformation of muslims but it is an utmost difficult task the way islam is. It puts so many obstacles in the way of a muslims to see things any other way or to be any other way.

This is why islam is so successful in holding onto its followers. Death penalty for apostasy or blasphemy, ostracism from family and community, loss of status or respect and ownership of property, full scale persecution etc etc are great deterrents against thinking against what is acceptable amongst muslims as an ummah.

Muslims must enforce good ie keep each other from going against islam. Nonmulims are therefore not allowed to preach their religion in a muslim state because they are not allowed to try and convert people out of islam.

This is why the main question is, how to break this control system to free muslims from its shackles.

This is where people are divided into at least three camps.
1)who rather use sledge hammer to crack islam. (this is a stick only approach)
2)who rather be so nice to muslims that they themselves end up strangled by islam and muslims. (this is a carrot only approach)
3)The mixed approach ie carrot and stick approach.

So people should use a mixed approach ie use whatever works to help muslims move away from islam as much as it is possible on one hand and absolutely necessary on the other so that we have peace in the world so that we could make progress and have some prosperity.

So it is not a good idea to fight between ourselves and waste our energy and time rather we each should do whatever we think works and get on with things.

This is necessary because not all muslims are at the same level of knowledge about islam nor all are equally committed to islam to the same degree. So what works for some muslims may not necessarily work for others. Therefore each of us can try what works in his or her opinion in the situation one is faced with.

Some need to be educated others need to be persuaded yet others need to be isolated and deindoctrinated or reconditioned in order to prevent bigger problems etc etc.

As for people who claim to be muslims, I do not accept they are all the same. Why? Because all people are different from each other. We all see things from our individual points of views. However some views are more acceptable to others as well than some other views. This is what brings us together into groups.

Islam is about loving and respecting muhammad more than anything and anyone in one's life. Anyone who does not love and respect muhammad that way is no muslim according to muhammad. This is why the worldwide protests when anyone says anything about muhammad that muslims do not like.

As for hatred against muslims, muslims were welcome everywhere this is why they are everywhere, however they started misbehaving once they became settled in their new countries. Their this misbehaviour slowly turned them against the very countries that gave them a life better than what they left behind.

From economic migrants they turned missionaries for islam. The hate rose in them for all things unislamic and so they took steps to remove them and that is when trouble started because nonmuslims realised what was really going on. Now the nonmuslims want muslims to reform and learn to live like other people in the country accepting nonmuslims as equal citizens and forget about fascist aspects of islam.

Islam is more dangerous than other fascist ideologies because muslims follow their religion thinking it is a good thing. This side steps the actual fascist dictator who leads people because he tells them I am only a man of god telling you what god demands of you. So people are fooled into believing that they are doing what god demands of them.

I hope one can see very clearly the difference between islam and fascism. In islam people do things for god where as in fascist states people do things for worldly reasons.

Muslims are humans like everyone else and so they are also divided like everyone else along their personal or subgroup interests eg they are divided on basis of tribal connections, on basis of linguistic connection, on basis of regional connections, on basis of classes and castes etc etc. So like all other people, muslim unity or division is also objective ie for some reasons it suits them to show unity whereas for other reasons it suit s them to divide. Not all divisions are purposeful rather some times divisions just happen due to negligence of the community and at other times their enemies succeed in dividing the people from within or outside. It should be noted that just as there are people who try to unite a people so there are people who try and divide them. Divisions also happen because individuals have personal interests or stakes so when one thing serves purpose of only some people in the group others go and form their own separate group based on their own interest. It is like separation of people in groups of meat eaters and vegetarians.

It should now make a lot of sense why muslim appear united to some and divided to others all at the same time. It is because it depends on the objectivity of the observer as well as the objectivity of the muslims. Bigger objectives need bigger groups and smaller objectives need smaller groups for their accomplishment. For example, if muslims need to or want to bring world under Islamic rule then the more support they have the better it is for them. So they must unite against the world full of infidels. It is likewise in the interest of the infidels to divide the Islamic ummah so that they are unable to take on the world. Beside this there are divisions based on political ambitions, social ambitions, cultural ambition, economic ambitions and so on and so forth.

All this needs to be understood in the form of large, medium and small picture of things as well as in short, medium and long term as objectives within objectives.

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