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Towards a liberation of Islam

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    (Original post by mariachi)
    Because I'm catching up. A couple of years ago, I realized that I knew very little about what millions of my co-citizens thought about life, society, family,morals, politics etc etc

    It's strange : many Muslims repeat all the time that we're ignorant, brainwashed by the media, full of misconceptions about Islam

    Then, when we show interest, we are told that it's none of our business.

    OK, you would perhaps like to interact with some enthusiastic non-Muslims, who would spend their time exclaiming "Islam : how wonderful !" "how extraordinary!" "you cleared up my misconceptions !" "how wrong was I !" etc

    well, I'm sorry to be such a disappointment
    Its refreshing to see that someone taking interest in something like religion.

    And you disagree with it. Thats fine.

    If you think that theres another way of life you can live that you prefer, that is completely ok. I force you to do otherwise. Nor will anyone else.
    But after all, why cant you just accept that we are happy with Islam? We dont need you, nor anyone else to 'liberate our beliefs'.

    You say that you show interest, but all you're doing is causing friction by saying what Islam should be. Trying to rewrite the rules that we follow is not showing interest. Its downright arrogance, ignorance and reeks of a 'holier than thou' attitude.
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    (Original post by harmony_01)
    You've got your whole discussion wrong. Movements itself cannot succeed without being backed up by people. Hence, why talking about liberation of Islam is useless if the Muslim-majority do not share your view.
    I don't expect Muslims to read this thread and go off on a new, "Islamic spring" of reform inspired by my manifesto

    However, I was curious to hear some ideas about this issue : there seems to be a very strong taboo among Muslims on the idea of reforming Islam and yet, in the past, it wasn't always like that

    (Original post by harmony_01)
    The fact it is becoming increasingly evident, that this "debate" has entirely ignored the wealth of history and sits in bias that every non-Western culture that ever existed automatically assumes the position of being ''oppressive''/ ''backward'' [whatever inferior label you want to attach to it]. Civilisations begin and end.
    you are saying : why do you take a "superior viewpoint" and try to judge Islam as if it were a"backward" civilization ?

    this is a good point. I am personally convinced that Muslims want, in majority-Muslim States, more democracy and more human rights for themselves. Islam, in a sense, is their common language, the mold in which they cast any serious reflection about life and society. We, from the outside, can follow what happens, but it is difficult or even counterproductive to intervene.

    On the other hand, we non-Muslim "Westerners" have to engage seriously Muslims living in the "West" on the issue of reconciliation of Islam with what we consider our core values. It is absolutely out of the question for us to abandon certain values which we consider , by now, as essential to our societies; but neither can we ignore millions of persons born here and living here for generations.

    So, identifying the issues, exploring the solutions, trying out different approaches is the only way forward.

    How do you see Muslims living in the West in, say, 50 years' time ? as some sort of strangers, as an isolated minority living in "cocoons" and "bubbles" or as fully-integrated citizens ?
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    (Original post by NuckingFut)
    You say that you show interest, but all you're doing is causing friction by saying what Islam should be. Trying to rewrite the rules that we follow is not showing interest. Its downright arrogance, ignorance and reeks of a 'holier than thou' attitude.
    I am under no illusion that I could rewrite the rules of Islam

    I don't think that all Muslims are perfectly happy with the kind of rigid orthodoxy which is, at the moment, prevailing. I would like to hear what other sources have to say, and how they see the future : is there any sign of movements towards "Islamic reform" ?

    If this is of no interest to you, then that's just too bad

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    (Original post by IdeasForLife)
    It's not the fact you dont say its great etc...
    In this thread your basically telling us to disobey a number of teachings in the Qur'an, and carry out the "solutions" you made. That is the problem. Why would we disobey and ignore the teachings of the Qur'an(word of allah) to make a group of disbelievers happy?
    No, I am telling you to think about your religion

    I have indicated a series of issues, where I (and not only I) consider that Islamic orthodoxy seriously clashes with more universally accepted values and principles

    Muslims don't live in outer space : you live in societies with other people. You cannot simply ignore these conflicts

    We are not like christians who would sell out their religion to make some non-believer happy.
    this is very, very disingenuous

    Christians have adapted, with some difficulty, to losing their paramount place in our societies, This is all to their credit.

    rubbishing Christianity is slightly ridiculous on your part

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    (Original post by mariachi)
    I am under no illusion that I could rewrite the rules of Islam

    I don't think that all Muslims are perfectly happy with the kind of rigid orthodoxy which is, at the moment, prevailing. I would like to hear what other sources have to say, and how they see the future : is there any sign of movements towards "Islamic reform" ?

    If this is of no interest to you, then that's just too bad

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    Oh really?
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    (Original post by IdeasForLife)
    It's not the fact you dont say its great etc...
    In this thread your basically telling us to disobey a number of teachings in the Qur'an, and carry out the "solutions" you made. That is the problem. Why would we disobey and ignore the teachings of the Qur'an(word of allah) to make a group of disbelievers happy?

    We are not like christians who would sell out their religion to make some non-believer happy.
    Also Christians are not even able to believe in the same thing that's why many different versions of the Bible in English. Muslims have the Qur'an and only one version of the Qur'an which has been kept unchanged since it was first revealed
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    (Original post by mariachi)
    So, I will now produce a "modest proposal" for a "liberated Islam"

    1. absolute equality of rights for men and women in society, and in particular in the family. This applies to :

    -marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance. Both spouses are equal partners, none of this "obedience" stuff, and neither are "light taps" of any sort allowed. Marriage is based on the entirely free choice by the two equal partners

    2. no need for imposition of "sexual segregation" of any kind. People who want to move around in full body armour or to spend their life in their cellars are free to do so, but this should be based on a free choice.

    3. believers and unbelievers are both "the best of creation". There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, a white over a non-white, a kafir (unbeliever) over a non-kafir (non-unbeliever)

    3. religion and State are, each in its own sphere, autonomous and avoid like the plague meddling with each other, provided that the law of the land and public order are respected

    4. physical punishments are entirely abolished. Anyone imposing a physical punishment will receive a severe flogging (doesn't sound right for some reason, but I'll think about that later)

    5. there is no compulsion in matters of religion, and religious freedom is absolute. People can adhere to whatever religion they wish, proselytize, convert, divert, revert and subvert their religious belief. However, religions have to abide by the law as any other organization, and shall receive no tax breaks or privileges whatsoever

    6. people can marry without any limitation based on race, nationality, or religious allegiance. Any discrimination on the basis of religion , previous "chastity" or "unchastity", is severely prohibited

    7. slavery is definitely abolished, both in the dunya (this world) and in the akhirah (hereafter) The "true believer" is a friend of Allah, not his slave.

    8. the kafir (unbeliever) who behaves even half-way decently will receive his reward from the all-mercyful, and neither shall he grieve

    9.there is no need for believers to "make the law of Allah reign supreme" in the world. If Allah so wishes, he can provide for that all on his own

    OK, this is a possible basis for discussion. If Islam adopted these rules, it would gain some of the respect that unfortunately, for the moment, I cannot afford it.

    Hope this helps.

    Sorry to say but in all sincerity i think your completely missing the point. Our purpose in life is to worship Allah alone and follow the laws set out by him. If we are to change the laws and make them what we wish, we are not following the laws that God has set but we are following our own desires and what we wish.

    What you are proposing is a new religion in itself. I say you take a real rethink in what you are saying and study Islam from scratch. The only reason you are stating these changes is that you may believe that these laws and rulings are wrong or 'backward'. I say learn the theory and understanding behind this and Insha'allah you will understand that the laws and teaching of Islam are actually the only laws that work to build a progressive and stable society.
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    Islam is what... 700 years behind Christianity? So that's another 200 years or so before Muslims start reforming their religion, give or take?

    I don't think there's much question as to whether Islam needs reform. I'd say that the entire miracle that Christianity has been able to survive this long is because it can adapt. Sure, it may be far from the monopoly on society it was a few hundred years ago, but it's survived. Which is miraculous considering the plethora of evidence that goes against religion.

    If Islam needs to survive in the West, it must surely need a reformation too. People have learnt from Christianity that you can't expect to go about perpetrating your ridiculous beliefs without some form of compromise forever.
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    (Original post by mariachi)
    Thank you for your opinion on this question.

    I agree with you that FGM is not a specifically "Islamic" tradition, and for this reason I didn't include it in my "manifesto" for the liberation of Islam.

    The issue, however, is much more complex, and we cannot simply and bluntly state that FGM "has no link with any religion".

    The first problem is one of definition : FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is somehow related to so-called "female circumcision". It is debatable at exactly which point a circumcision would become a mutilation : there is a complex discussion on this.

    The WHO (World Health Organization) considers that FGM comprises "all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons" http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publication...596442_eng.pdf. It then classifies FGM in 4 main categories and several subcategories (details here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_...h_consequences

    Type I of FGM (removal of clitoral hood and partial or total clitoridectomy) would include therefore also what is known as "female circumcision", which does have a (rather controversial) tradition in Islam.

    As you will know, there are some well-known ahadith dealing with this . A popular Islamic website, to which many Muslims refer for advice (a rather conservative one, I must say), Islamic Questions and Answers http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/427 summarizes the issue in these terms :

    Of course, the ahadith involved are considered "daif" (weak), and there are other views which consider that FGM is forbidden in Islam. The Fatwas you quoted are a clear indication of this.

    The legislative initiative taken in Egypt (following a strong engagement by Suzanne Mubarak, btw), on the basis of the Al-Azhar statement, shows also that awareness about this issue is growing

    However, it is not correct to simply state that there is no link between FGM and Islam.

    Best

    On the contrary, FGM has nothing to do with Islam, as reflected by major Islamic centres issuing fatwas banning the practice.

    Female circumcision actually falls under the category of FGM. All of the statistics/ evidence/ fatwa I quoted are from western sources, they deal with both female genital mutilation and female circumcision as a whole. I see no difference between the two, but even the sources I quote refer to them both.

    Weak hadith are not accepted or followed by Muslims, nor can Islamic jurisprudence be based on them. There are three levels of Hadith in Islam;

    -Sahih - almost certainly correct, still small chance of it being not correct.
    -Hasan - split 50-50, may be true, may not be true, but it's advisable to follow it just in case, and if it doesn't contradict anything else.
    -Weak - almost certainly incorrect, not said by the Prophet at all, but narrated by a string of unknowns or by untrustworthy people.

    It has been known for certain tradesmen to have fabricated hadith to benefit their trade. For example, an eggplant seller makes up a hadith on the benefits of eating eggplant.

    On that website, the Islamic scholar duly mentioned all Islamic references to female circumcision/ FGM. No surprise, all of them are weak and come from little-known hadith books -(al-Mawsu‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah) and (al-Mughni). Even if you were to go by them, they allege that the Prophet is telling these female circumcisers to go easy on the process of circumcision and keep it as minimal as possible. This certainly isn't condoning/ encouraging the practice, nor giving instructions on how it should be done. But as I said, weak hadith are not relevant, and are duly mentioned on the Islamic website as being weak.

    Once again, the majority of the top FGM - practising countries are non-Muslim. The practice has cultural roots going as far back as the time of Ancient Greece. People today do not do it for religious reasons but for cultural/ social ones, for e.g. because the husband will prefer it, or because in some traditions the woman isn't considered "pure" without having undergone FGM.

    Actually, your manifesto for liberation of Islam does mention Female Genital Mutilation as if it were something to do with Islam -

    eliminate practices, such as female circumcision
    ... it's already been done by proper Islamic legislation without your help.
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    (Original post by navarre)
    Islam is what... 700 years behind Christianity? So that's another 200 years or so before Muslims start reforming their religion, give or take?

    I don't think there's much question as to whether Islam needs reform. I'd say that the entire miracle that Christianity has been able to survive this long is because it can adapt. Sure, it may be far from the monopoly on society it was a few hundred years ago, but it's survived. Which is miraculous considering the plethora of evidence that goes against religion.

    If Islam needs to survive in the West, it must surely need a reformation too. People have learnt from Christianity that you can't expect to go about perpetrating your ridiculous beliefs without some form of compromise forever.
    No it doesn't, Islam will prevail in the future with more and more Western people converting. After all Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West.. you never know one day you could become a Muslim... hate us or love us we will always be here.. amongst you... mwahaha
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    (Original post by ALII)
    No it doesn't, Islam will prevail in the future with more and more Western people converting. After all Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West.. you never know one day you could become a Muslim... hate us or love us we will always be here.. amongst you... mwahaha
    Actually, Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the West. But that's beside the point.

    I have no doubt you will always be there- but if Islam is to be integrated fully into society, it needs a reformation. It needs to be modified. Look at Roman Catholics and Jews, and how successful they are in a country that once went out of its way to persecute both of them. It's because both communities have integrated fully in British society.
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    (Original post by mariachi)
    fine. So that already gets those practices out of the way.

    What I am saying is this :

    -if executions of apostates, amputations, stonings, go against your conscience, you should not accept them, whatever any Holy Book may say

    -wife-beating, limitations to the rights of women, of non-muslims, confusion between State and religion might also go against your conscience.
    Why on Earth should you go against your conscience ?

    When I talk of "you" and "your", it is an impersonal "you". I have no idea about your views.

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    alright, big Bertha, you have made us all aware of the level of ignorance that you are at. Mission accomplished.
    Now go away.
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    (Original post by navarre)
    Islam is what... 700 years behind Christianity? So that's another 200 years or so before Muslims start reforming their religion, give or take?
    Actually, Islam is 200 years ahead of Christianity. The first Islamic university was established in 859 AD whereas the first Christian university was established in 1088 AD.

    The University of Al Karaouine in Fez, Morocco is thus recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest degree-granting university in the world with its founding in 859 by woman called Fatima al-Fihri.

    Whereas the first Christian or the first university in Europe with a form of corporate/guild structure was the University of Bologna in 1088.
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    (Original post by mariachi)
    I don't expect Muslims to read this thread and go off on a new, "Islamic spring" of reform inspired by my manifesto

    However, I was curious to hear some ideas about this issue : there seems to be a very strong taboo among Muslims on the idea of reforming Islam and yet, in the past, it wasn't always like that
    This is because of the perceived blind aggression towards Islam has propelled Muslims' adherence to their Islamic identity as a source of comfort.

    you are saying : why do you take a "superior viewpoint" and try to judge Islam as if it were a"backward" civilization ?

    this is a good point. I am personally convinced that Muslims want, in majority-Muslim States, more democracy and more human rights for themselves. Islam, in a sense, is their common language, the mold in which they cast any serious reflection about life and society. We, from the outside, can follow what happens, but it is difficult or even counterproductive to intervene.

    On the other hand, we non-Muslim "Westerners" have to engage seriously Muslims living in the "West" on the issue of reconciliation of Islam with what we consider our core values. It is absolutely out of the question for us to abandon certain values which we consider , by now, as essential to our societies; but neither can we ignore millions of persons born here and living here for generations.

    So, identifying the issues, exploring the solutions, trying out different approaches is the only way forward.

    How do you see Muslims living in the West in, say, 50 years' time ? as some sort of strangers, as an isolated minority living in "cocoons" and "bubbles" or as fully-integrated citizens ?
    You are way off the mark if you believe that Muslims share a desire in rejecting and secluding themselves from non-Muslims (especially from those that the Quran identifies as 'People of the Book).

    Whilst I can concede that this "collective" identity can lead to destructive scenarios, it is equally if not more importantly capable of immense constructive contributions to a society. For example, one thing that I have always admired about the Jewish community, particularly that in Prestwich, is that they are exceptionally supportive of one another in all aspects of life in supporting one another's through providing financial assistance or having 3-4 mothers taking a whole 30-strong class of young Jewish girls to school.

    This does not mean that aspiring for a community means wanting an inclusive segregated community nor does it mean that those in it are destined to care little of those outside it. I can refer to an example where the prophet Muhammad (saw) shed tears during a funeral procession of one of the local Jewish members and when asked why he was crying, he answered that he felt that he failed that deceased man by not telling of God's message.

    Without appearing egotistical, Muslims/Jews/Christians essentially believe they are living a better life than everyone else and to transform that into an idea that you are better than that person would be contradictory to one of the key aspirations of religion; to inspire others. After all, you will never leave a positive impression if you walk with a heightened chin.
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    (Original post by navarre)
    Islam is what... 700 years behind Christianity? So that's another 200 years or so before Muslims start reforming their religion, give or take?

    I don't think there's much question as to whether Islam needs reform. I'd say that the entire miracle that Christianity has been able to survive this long is because it can adapt. Sure, it may be far from the monopoly on society it was a few hundred years ago, but it's survived. Which is miraculous considering the plethora of evidence that goes against religion.

    If Islam needs to survive in the West, it must surely need a reformation too. People have learnt from Christianity that you can't expect to go about perpetrating your ridiculous beliefs without some form of compromise forever.
    Does Islam have a place in the 21st century? According to the King of kings - Allah? Yes.
    ""It (the Qur'an) is but a reminder to the worlds, and you shall certainly know the truth of it after a while."" [37:87-88]
    I hope this was of benefit to you
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    (Original post by navarre)
    Actually, Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the West. But that's beside the point.

    I have no doubt you will always be there- but if Islam is to be integrated fully into society, it needs a reformation. It needs to be modified. Look at Roman Catholics and Jews, and how successful they are in a country that once went out of its way to persecute both of them. It's because both communities have integrated fully in British society.
    Many would argue Buddhism is not a religion. Anyway why would Muslims tweak their religion to please anyone? We're here to worship God and to please Him.
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    (Original post by naiadania)
    Actually, Islam is 200 years ahead of Christianity. The first Islamic university was established in 859 AD whereas the first Christian university was established in 1088 AD.

    The University of Al Karaouine in Fez, Morocco is thus recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest degree-granting university in the world with its founding in 859 by woman called Fatima al-Fihri.

    Whereas the first Christian or the first university in Europe with a form of corporate/guild structure was the University of Bologna in 1088.
    Did I mention anything about universities?

    Besides, the age of universities are not a telling indicator of anything.
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    (Original post by ALII)
    Many would argue Buddhism is not a religion. Anyway why would Muslims tweak their religion to please anyone? We're here to worship God and to please Him.
    Many would argue that Christianity is not a religion. You know what? It doesn't mean anything. Buddhism is still defined as a religion, whatever 'many' argue to the contrary.

    Why would Muslims tweak their religion? To save it from extinction. Heck, if Christians had any choice we'd still be being stoned to death for adultery, homosexuality would be outlawed and church attendance would be compulsory. However, when you enforce such silly beliefs without compromise, you must be prepared for a major backlash.
    History has shown us that.
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    What's more is that Christianity and Islam don't share the same history. You can draw the comparison by the treatment of Jews since they existed in both Islamic empires and Christian Europe. The former generally tolerated them whereas the latter can be described as "veritable hell" by a Jewish Israeli historian Nissim Rejwan.
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    (Original post by navarre)
    Many would argue that Christianity is not a religion. You know what? It doesn't mean anything. Buddhism is still defined as a religion, whatever 'many' argue to the contrary.

    Why would Muslims tweak their religion? To save it from extinction. Heck, if Christians had any choice we'd still be being stoned to death for adultery, homosexuality would be outlawed and church attendance would be compulsory. However, when you enforce such silly beliefs without compromise, you must be prepared for a major backlash.
    History has shown us that.
    Hahaha that's the first time I heard that some people don't class Christianity as a religion. Also you first say you have no doubt Islam will always be here, now you're saying it may become extinct if it's not tweaked .. make your mind up.

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