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Visited Badaun's Asim Siddiqui Memorial College, and Aligarh Muslim University.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Congratulations to Aligarh Muslim University for the job well done

www.WorldMuslimCongress.com | Congratulations to Aligarh Muslim University  

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY 

Congratulations to the Management, staff and volunteers of AMU - Aligarh Muslim University. It is perhaps the first Muslim institution in the world to rope the Muslims into the critical thinking.

AMU is a 150 year old University founded by the visionary Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to uplift the lot of Muslims, he was opposed, and fatwas were issued that learning English and Science was un-Islamic. Even today, and even in the United States we do find individuals who have not freed themselves from that mindset. http://www.amu.ac.in/

Pulling Muslims together to think critically was the vision of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Allama Iqbal and other great reformers in Islam.

I am pleased to report that a revival of that tradition is on the horizon. The AMU just concluded a two day's international conference, "Intellectual Crises of the Muslim Ummah: Rethinking Traditional Solutions" between April 6-7, 2015. 

The following individuals are deeply committed to revive the tradition of Sir Syed.

Vice Chancellor Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah - an incredible man determined to forge ahead. I met with him and spent an hour and was moved by his commitment to the change.. 

Pro Vice Chancellor Brigadier Syed Ahmad Ali, who is pushing this mission forward. 

Professor Dr. Rashid Shaz, a pioneering Islamic thinker heads this project and may become a catalyst in leading this movement.

On my part, I'm humbled to make that commitment to support this initiative and stand with them. 

It was an incredible line up of speakers who shared precisely the need for us to rethink all that we do. Inshallah, a link to full report from AMU will be shared. This is the first time I'm unable to put together a report myself.  And hope to put together a report in the near future.

It was an honor to speak at the plenary as well as the valedictory sessions, chair two discussion panels on women's rights and if Muslims can be united, and presented a paper on if Muslims can lead the world for common good. It was a big boost when the Pro-VC and other speakers referenced my work and expanded on my thoughts.

Inshallah AMU will once again become a beacon of learning and add the feather of critical thinking onto our hats.

Abstract of my presentation at:http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/03/mike-ghouse-of-world-muslim-congress-to.html


Thank you.


Mike Ghouse, President
Foundation for Pluralism | Pluralism Center
Research Studies in Pluralism in Public Space,  Religion, Politics, Culture and Society.
2665 Villa Creek Dr, Suite 206, Dallas, TX 75234 | Washington DC
(214) 325-1916 text/talk | Mike@FoundationforPluralism.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Aurangzeb, Sikhs and Hindus

Aurangzeb, Sikhs and Hindus | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Personally, I have repeatedly condemned Aurangzeb’s forcible conversions of Hindus.  Even though he was famous for his justice, but he fell short on it, when he forced conversions on his subjects.

The author writes about the conflict between Sikhs and Aurangzeb as political, indeed it is so similar to the deeply embedded hatred of Jews– as Christ Killers, which is dumb, Jesus did not preach Christianity when he was persecuted, he taught reformed version of the old testament which was not liked by the establishment and thus punished him as a rebellious heretic Jew, and not as a Christian. 

Dr. Harbans Lal also has talked about  the conflict between Aurangzeb and Guru Gobind Singh as political and not religious, he is planning to write an article about it.

There is a lot of gossip material out there on every one; hence I am seeking the source of this information. I don’t have anything but the name of the author on it.

I know one thing for sure, with a few exception, a majority of the Kings were greedy men focused on taking over the next door kingdom, looting their wealth, collecting lagan etc etc.  Kings from all religions were the same. If there was a Muslim ass, you will find a Hindu, Christian and Buddhist ass.  Men were bad and not their religions.

The acts were their own.

Mike Ghouse

http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com


The truth about Sultan Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
by:
Abid Mohammed

The Emperor Aurangzeb, who rose to the throne in the 17th Century as the sixth Mughal ruler over “India”, is often painted as a vicious, religiously intolerant, minority-suppressing fanatic, whose only job was to demolish temples in favour of mosques, antagonise his father and brothers, and single-handedly bring down the once magnificent Mughal Empire. And yet, the reality of the situation is that this could not be further from the truth.  Aurangzeb would often say about himself, “This weak old man, this shrunken helpless creature, is afflicted with a hundred maladies besides anxiety, but he has made patience his habit”. Once, when one of Aurangzeb’s servants stumbled against him and knocked him down accidentally, the servant collapsed in fright for fear of retribution. The Mughal emperor spoke to him kindly, however, saying “Why do you fear a created being, one like myself? […] Rise and do not be afraid.”

Even the Italian historian Manucci who was present during Aurangzeb’s rule, despite loathing him and preferring his far less religious brother Dara Shikoh (many question whether he was a Muslim at all due to the fact that he tried to create a hybrid religion between Hinduism and Islam), said that Aurangzeb

“…assumes always great humility of attitude”. Even when one of his officers disobeys him, he betrays no anger. All he says is, (and that in the softest voice) that he is only a miserable sinner, that there is no reason for astonishment if his orders are disregarded, since every day those of God Himself are neglected and repudiated. He does not forget, however, to repeat his orders and adopt every exact means of getting them executed.”

In one of his letters, Aurangzeb said, We must put up with every class of people, what is to be done with them? They are also people and Do you know who a brave man is? A brave man is he who puts up with his enemies.

Writing to his father, Shah Jahan of the famous Taj Mahal (incidentally the name “Taj Mahal” is a corruption of the “Mumtaz Mahal” – the name of Shah Jahan’s beloved wife, and for whom the tomb was built for) Aurangzeb insightfully said, "I wish you to recollect that the greatest conquerors are not always the greatest Kings. The nations of the earth have often been subjugated by mere uncivilised barbarians, and the most extensive conquests have, in a few short years, crumbled to pieces. He is the truly great King who makes it the chief business of his life to govern his subjects with equity."

To his son, Prince Azam, Aurangzeb wrote,

I have heard that in your heart Jagir districts oppression is practiced openly […] Fear the sighs of the oppressed.

Modern historians love to paint Aurangzeb as a villain. And yet, even they admit their double standards towards him. Abraham Early writes,

Later historians saw Aurangzeb in an altogether different light. As the passage of time faded the memory of his innumerable small acts of everyday kindness, but magnified his few notable misdeeds, such as his religious intolerance, his ruthlessness as a conqueror, his use of tactics to get the better of others, and more than anything else, his harsh treatment of his father, brothers and sons. But his predecessors too were guilty of similar acts – Jahangir and Shah Jahan had rebelled against their fathers; Jahangir had imprisoned and blinded and even thought of executing one of his sons; Shah Jahan was guilty of liquidating his brothers and nephews, and had also swerved from Akbar’s liberal religious policy; as aggressors, none of them, not even Akbar was much different from Aurangzeb.

Of course the religious intolerance being pointed to here is in comparison to Akbar’s “religious tolerance” – the latter’s included the banning of facial hair for Muslims, declaring it unlawful to believe in Angels, banning the slaughter of cows for Muslims, persecution of scholars and so on. Aurangzeb merely enabled Muslims to practice their religion freely. Any persecution of minorities that did take place was not general, but specific, nor was it religious in nature, but rather political in aim. There are many claims of Aurangzeb “oppressing the Sikhs and their Gurus” when history shows us that there were some Sikh communities who rebelled against Aurangzeb and so, as a ruler, he dealt with them as a ruler deals with his people, not as a Muslim seeking to oppress non-Muslims. Even the Wikipedia page on Aurangzeb states the well-known fact that just as he demolished some (maximum 80 in a country 20 times the size of the UK) temples, which served as political centres for rebellion, he also financed the building of many temples and Gurdwaras which posed no threat to the Mughal rule.

And as for the harsh treatment of his father, brothers and sons – Shah Jahan wanted Aurangzeb’s elder brother, Dara Shikoh to be the next emperor even though Dara Shikoh was a terrible leader and someone who very much wanted to reinstate Akbar’s persecutory laws towards Muslims. Aurangzeb’s other brothers were less exciting – they simply wanted to be emperors. Aurangzeb was the only one who realised that power was a responsibility not an opportunity to exercise one’s desires, and so he was forced to battle his brothers and imprison his father who only wanted power for the sake of power, in a palace, with each and every one of his needs being seen to.

Aurangzeb, unlike many of his predecessors, viewed being a ruler as a sacred duty rather than something to enjoy. He therefore spent every waking moment striving to discharge his responsibilities, lest he be held culpable on the Day of Judgement for not having done so. Once, one of his well-intentioned advisers suggested that Aurangzeb should lighten his workload, but the Emperor would hear none of it.

He (the adviser) seems not to consider that, being born the son of a King, and placed on a throne, I was sent into the world by Providence to live and labour, not for myself, but for others; that it is my duty not to think of my own happiness except so far as it is inseparably connected with the happiness of my people. It is the repose and prosperity of my subjects that it behoves me to consult; nor are these to be sacrificed to anything besides the demands of justice, the maintenance of royal authority, and the security of the State.
This desire to serve God, something which was equally as manifest in his great, great, great grandfather Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, was apparent to all those around Him. The British Ambassador Norris reports that he used to see Aurangzeb, even during battle,
surrounded by greate numbers of Horse & vast numbers of people crowding to see Him […] he himselfe tho’ carryd openly saw nobody, having his eyes always affixed upon a Booke he carryd in his hands & reading all ye way he went without ever divertinge to any other object.

This book was the Qur’ān. Aurangzeb had memorised it completely. And he would constantly recite it. Abdul Aziz, the chief of the Uzbegs who had rebelled against Aurangzeb, famously noted that even during their famous battle, Aurangzeb would calmly spread his prayer mat on the field, kneeling down to say the evening prayers in the midst of the furore that was taking place around him. “To fight with such a man,” he said, “is to court one’s own destruction.” In fact, the Qur’ān was his sole means of finance. Though he presided over the richest empire in the world at the time (Shah Jahan’s famous peacock throne made from pure gold is in today’s terms worth more than $804 million), he refused to take any money from the treasury. Instead, he would earn his living by producing handwritten copies of the Qur’ān, using the beautiful calligraphy he had mastered as a child.
“His vest did not cost above 8 Rupees, and his outer garments, less. Whatever Aurangzeb needed for his own use he always paid for, never accepting presents from others,” continued Norris.

Even the shroud he was buried in was bought using this same source of revenue. Towards the end of his life, having taken the Mughal Empire to the peak of its existence (henceforth it would plummet into its abolition in 1857) the Alamgir (“Conqueror of the World” – a title he adopted in ascending to the throne) would often recite:

In a twinkle, in a minute, in a breath,
The condition of the world changes.
In a final letter to his sons, he said,

I brought nothing with me into this world and am carrying with me the fruits of my sins. I know not what punishment will fall on me […] Whatever the wind may be, I am launching my boat on the water.

And to his Vizier, Asad Khan, he wrote,
Praise be to God, that in whatever place and abode I have been, I have been passing through it, withdrawn my heart from all things connected with it, and made death easy for myself.

Aurangzeb, may God be pleased with him, passed away during the dawn prayers. Even as he lost consciousness, says Mustaid Khan,

the force of habit prevailed, and the fingers of the dying King continued mechanically to tell the beads of the Tasbih they held.

And what was his funeral like? In accordance with his will: “Three hundred and five rupees, from the wages of copying the Qur’ān, are in my purse for personal expenses. Distribute them to the poor and needy on the day of my death […] do not spend it on my shroud and other necessitates.” He stated elsewhere that this was “in case I had made a mistake in copying the Qur’ān, as I will be answerable to that” “Bury this wanderer […] with his head bare, because every ruined sinner who is conducted bare headed before the Grand Emperor (God), is sure to be an object of mercy [...]”

May God have mercy on you, Sultan Aurangzeb! He used you as a means of preserving His faith and His justice in the subcontinent, and as a result, I was able to be born into His faith. You are an example for all leaders to come, an inspiration for all those who believe in Him and a reminder for us all of the responsibilities we must discharge as believers in Him. May God forgive you and gift you with the companionship of your beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in the hereafter.

Originally, the grave of Sultan Aurangzeb only consisted of a wooden slab with an inscription in Farsi which said, “No marble sheets should shield me from the sky as I lie there one with the earth.” But it was later embellished and renovated with marble by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Notes:
[1] Nadwi, A. Saviours of the Islamic Spirit. India: Academy of Islamic Research.
[2] Early, A. The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India’s Great Emperors. London: Phoenix, 2004
[3] Eaton, R. Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States. Oxford: Journal of Islamic studies, 11:3 (2000) pp. 283 – 319.

[4] Siddiqui, H. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History? (http://www.albalagh.net/general/0093.shtml)

[5] Sarkar, J. A life of Aurangzib and Historical notes: An English translation of Ahkam-i- Alamgiri ascribed to Hamid-ud-din Khan Bahadur. Calcutta: Sarkar and Sons, 1925. (https://archive.org/stream/AnecdotesOfAurangzeb/AnecdotesOfAurangzib_djvu.txt)

[6] Currim, M., Mitchell, G. Dargahs – Abodes of the Saints. Mumbai: Marg Publications, 2004.


Al-Azhar Fatwas on Shia Muslims

The following piece is good but not sure if it is authentic. I have conducted many dialogues between Shia and Sunni and have spoken about it, here is a new approach to the same at - http://www.worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/03/is-united-islam-possible-international.html

I welcome this conversation.

Mike Ghouse
# # # 


Al-Azhar’s fatwa on Shias.
https://zjeddy.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/al-azhar-fatwa-on-shias

Statements about Shias by the Chancellor of al-Azhar University, Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib. In an interview to Egyptian Al Neel Channel, Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib, the Chancellor of Al-Azhar University (Egypt)


Q. In your opinion, isn’t there any problem in Shia Beliefs?.
A. Never, 50 years ago Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot, the then Chancellor of Al Azhar, had issued a fatwa that Shia School is the fifth Islamic School and as like as the other schools.

Q. Our children are embracing Shia Islam, what should we do?
A. Let them convert and to embrace Shia School. If someone leaves Maliki or Hanafi Sect, do we criticize him? These children are just leaving fourth school and join the fifth.

Q. The Shias are becoming relatives with us and they are getting married with our children!
A. What is wrong with this, marriage between religions is allowed.

Q. It is said that the Shias have a different Quran!
A. These are the myths and superstitions of the elderly women. Shia Quran has no any difference with ours, and even the script of their Quran is like our alphabet.

Q. 23 clerics of a country (Saudi Arabia) issued a fatwa that the Shia are infidels, heretics (Kafirs)!!
A. Al-Azhar is the only authority to issue fatwa for Muslims; therefore the above said fatwa is invalid and unreliable.

Q. So what does the difference – being raised between the Shia and the Sunni – mean?
A. These differences are the part of the policies of foreign powers who seek conflict between The Shia and the Sunni.

Q. I have a very serious question that “the Shia do not accept Abu Bakr and Umar, how you can say they are Muslims?“

A. Yes, they do not accept them. But is the belief in Abu Bakr and Umar a part of the principles of Islam? The story of Abu Bakr and Umar is historic and history has nothing to do with fundamentals of the beliefs.

Q. (The reporter surprised by the response, asks) Shia has a fundamental problem and that is “they say that their Imam the time (امام العصر) is still alive after 1,000 years!“

A. He may be alive, why is it not possible? But there is no reason that we – as Sunni – should believe just like them.

Q. (Referring to Imam Mohammad Taqi al-Jawad AS, (the 9th Imam of Shias) the reporter asked) The Shias believe that one of their Imams was just eight-year old when he became Imam; is it possible that an eight-year-old child be the Imam?

A. If an infant in a cradle can be a prophet (Issa AS), then why an eight-year-old child can not be the Imam? It is not strange. Although we may not accept this belief as we are Sunni. However, this belief does not harm their Islam, and they are Muslims.

Translated by F.H.Mahdavimy

#habibali

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Surah Taubah - chapter 9 verses 20-28 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

www.WorldMuslimcongress.com | www.QuraanToday.com 

The clarity of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's tafseer is incredible. Those of you who may not know the Maulana – he was born and raised in Madinah and moved back to India - his ancestral land. He was a nationalist leader for all of Indians, the Hindu Majority and all minorities, and was the first education minister of independent India and laid the foundation for the educational institutions like IIT’s that rival MIT’s.  I believe Muhammad Yunus, a member and a Muslim scholar listed in the emails is a member of IIT.

Maulana was a pluralist, and an inclusivist, as is Islam  – the phrases like Rabbul Aalameen, Rahmatul Aalameen should lead us to become Mukhlooqul Aalameen. We need to consciously pull us out of the path of political Islam of self-interest and restore it to Islam for common good.
It is in the same line of thinking, I believe the purpose of Islam is to build cohesive societies where no human has to live in fear of the other but God (deviation from truth). Islam is about restoring harmonious, peaceful and a well-functioning cohesive world, God had created.

Some of the statements that jumped at me are:

“It states that they rank the highest who have sacrificed everything in the path of truth and endure steadfastly the trials and tribulations that befell them on the way of truth. That is the criterion of goodness.” – and I will add to this from Sura Hujurat “the best ones among you are those who learn about each other – for knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of another point of view.

In Hindu scriptures there is a powerful phrase “Satyamev Jayate - Truth alone triumphs” and Mahatma Gandhi popularized it, and now it is the national symbol of India... The Maulana has clearly distinguished the purpose of war was not victory or the conquest but bringing forth sustainable peace for “all”.

He pulled out the essence of the Sura – that is the truth alone triumphs and gives examples, “It therefore behooved the followers of the faith that they should have nothing to do with even their parents and brothers if they belonged to the enemy camp.” And elsewhere in Quran It lays down that you have to tell the truth even it goes against you or your interests. Indeed, there is no 5th in Islam; truth is given the highest value.

I am presenting the following papers at Aligarh Muslim University:

1. http://www.worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/03/mike-ghouse-of-world-muslim-congress-to.html
Mike Ghouse, committed to cohesive societies.
www.MikeGhouse.net
.
Mike Ghouse, committed to cohesive societies.
www.MikeGhouse.net

# # # 

Shared by Rafiq Lodhia

SURAH: AL-TAWBAH ( THE REPENTANCE) – CHAPTER: 9 – VERSES: 20-28

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad – The Tarjuman al-Qur’an – Year: 1968

The criterion of superiority of one over another in the sight of God is indicated in
verse 20. It states that they rank the highest who have sacrificed everything in
the path of truth and endure steadfastly the trials and tribulations that befell them
on the way of truth. That is the criterion of goodness. It is a lesson for the present
day Muslims who have developed an outlook on life and follow a way of living so
alien to the teachings of Islam. Even like the pagan Arabs of the Prophet’s time,
they prefer the traditional way as against the way of life laid down for them by
Islam. Whenever a rich man living a thoroughly un-Islamic life provides booths
(sabil) of cool drinks during the days of Muharram and arranges the celebration
of the Prophet’s Day (mawlud) on a lavish scale or pays for lightning a mosque
or a dargah on a particular day, the entire Muslim community exultingly applauds
him, and no one cares to know whether what he did was for the sake of God.
One should remember that such deeds do not constitute righteousness in the sight
of God. Goodness lies only in the purity of belief in God and sincerity in action and
steadfast endurance of trials in the way of God. That is the criterion of goodness
sponsored by the Qur’an.

It has been pointed out above that this chapter was revealed in the ninth year of
Hijra and that the earlier verses of it were publicly announced during the period
of Hajj that year. This was the time when Mecca had already been conquered
and strength of the enemies put down for ever on the field of Hunain. For the
expedition to Tabuk as many as thirty thousand Muslims, had assembled, so much
so that there remained no party in the Arabian peninsula to challenge the supremacy
of the followers of the Prophet. Still there lurked in the situation a few weaknesses.

Point A: A large number of Meccans who had opposed the Prophet but had been
pardoned by him at the time of his victorious entry into Mecca had joined the Muslim
fold. Being new converts to Islam, they could not fit into its way of life quickly. So
when war was declared on those who were still opposed to the Prophet in the
country and were giving no rest to its followers, a number of new Meccan converts
began to feel concerned about their relations who were in the enemy camps. In fact,
they could not rise above their sense of kinship with them or their tribal prejudices,
and so formed but a weak wing of the Muslim camp.

Point B: There were also in the Muslim camp quite a number of hypocrites and
timid people. They raised the cry that now that much had been gained for the
Muslims, there was no longer any need for them to engage themselves in further
warfare.

Point C: The victories which the Muslims had won on the battlefield had developed
in them a general sense of indifference to any possible danger lying ahead of them.
The majority of them thought that now that the Arab land had nearly yielded to the
call of Truth and that there was left no strength among those who had not yet
chosen to yield to the call, there was no imperative need to be on the alert. They
hardly could realize at the moment the height of power and influence that destiny
had marked them to reach. This development in the situation was clearly a source
of danger to the security of the Muslims not only at this hour but in the days to
follow as well.

The necessity therefore was felt to revive in the Muslims the spirit of sincere
attachment to their faith and bring home to them once again the high purpose for
which they were to live and work as earnestly as ever before. They were to be told
that the period of trials was not yet over and that on the other hand it was just to
begin. Of the task lying ahead of them, what was of primary importance at the
moment was the liquidating of whatever opposition that there still was to the
mission of the Prophet and to establish perfect peace and order in the land.

It is why verse 16 calls upon the Muslims to reflect over the situation and realize,
that that was not the hour when they should relax their efforts to reach their goal.
It states that the faith which they professed had yet to be tested in full. So in the
succeeding verses after drawing attention to the character that should distinguish
the Muslims, a significant observation is made in verse 23 that the sense of sincere
attachment to one’s faith and the sense of loyalty to those who were opposed to
the faith could not subsist together or felt simultaneously in one’s mind. It therefore
behooved the followers of the faith that they should have nothing to do with even
their parents and brothers if they belonged to the enemy camp.

Verse 24 is emphatic in asserting that in a conflict between faith and denial of faith,
he alone will be regarded as a man of faith or faithful whom nothing in the world,
and even one’s love for those near and dear to him, should weaken his attachment
or devotion to his faith. It is on this basis that the edifice of a civilized society can
be raised. It refers to all the essential ties which one has necessarily to respect in
life. But the principle of devotion to an ideology such as that which function for the
security and welfare of a society as a whole, demands from everyone professing
faith in his ideology that he should rise far above every other form of attachment
and let nothing detract him from serving whole-heartedly the cause of truth which
that ideology upholds.

The Qur’an also draws particular attention to the attachment one feels to one’s
worldly comfort in life and so might like one’s country not to involve itself in any
war. For instance, one might be gaining wealth by pursuing the avocation of
commerce. In a state of war, opportunities for commerce may be lessened. That
is a fear which is bound to stare in the face of every one living on commerce.
Further, in a state of war one stands the risk of losing one’s possessions. The
thought of the risk will naturally disturb one immensely. Before such as these who
are moved by considerations of this nature, the Qur’an places an abiding truth of
life and asks them seriously to reflect over it. The truth is this. When a people are
called upon by the force of circumstances to defend the cause of truth and uphold
it for the good of men, it should behoove everyone who sincerely believes in the
truth to be prepared to sacrifice everything dear to him, so that truth might prevail
and bring happiness to one and all.  The Qur’an gives the tiding to such devotees
of truth that whatever they might lose in the struggle would be repaid to them
manifold when truth shall triumph and bring peace and prosperity to one and all.
“Indeed with God lies the great reward,” says the Qur’an.

History has recorded for all times the glorious manner in which the companion of
the Prophet stood the test of devotion to their faith in God. It may be asserted
without exaggeration that there are few parallels in the annals of man to the
devoted support that they offered to the Prophet in his struggle in the cause of
truth. They sacrificed all that they had for the love of God, with the result that
they reaped in return what the pursuit of goodness always offers for the benefit
of man.

But what is our position today? Are we prepared to scrutinize our lives in the light
of this verse of the Qur’an.

Verse 26 refers to the battle of Hunain in eight year of the Hijra, when soon after
the conquest of Mecca, the tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif in co-operation with the
tribes of Bani Nadir and Bani Hilal attacked the Muslims. The Prophet issued forth
from Mecca into the valley of Hunain. In this engagement, the Muslims were thrice
in number. Naturally, therefore, they felt confident of success. But when the hour
of trial arrived, their superiority in numbers could not avail. It was only a handful
of staunch adherents of the Prophet, who, inspired by the example of their leader,
saved the situation and won the victory for the Muslims.

The Muslim force had to proceed through a narrow pass. The enemy force lay in
ambush awaiting the Muslims to enter this pass. They knew that among the Muslims
nearly as many as two thousand were new converts from Mecca. A good many of
these were allies of the enemy. The moment the Muslims moved into the narrow
defile, the enemy force showered arrows over them from their bows. It was a
sudden attack. A large section of the Muslim army took to their heels in a state of
alarm. The situation seemed clearly to go against the Muslims. It was at this juncture
that the Prophet ask, ‘Abbas, his uncle, to cry out to his old comrades of Samra who
had sworn allegiance to him at the time of the treaty of Hudaibiya to steady themselves.
The cry inspired a new courage in the hearts of the staunch among them who forthwith
returned to the Prophet and gave so stiff a fight to the enemy that they had to suffer
a defeat at the hands of the Muslims.

This incident was a great eye-opener for the followers of the Faith. It brought home
to them that mere numbers do not bring victory. The strength of numbers does
contribute to success in warfare. But success does not always depend upon numbers.
It is the strength of will and the determination not to yield which ultimately count and
help even a small band of determined fighters to rout a force many times strong in
numbers. The Qur’an addressing the Muslims points out that there were occasions in
the past when though they were few in numbers they had achieved victory over the
enemy. But that now at this hour in Hunain when they prided themselves over the
largeness of their numbers, mere numbers did not avail. That was a matter for them
to reflect over.

In verse 28 the Quran reverts to the order issued in an earlier verse of this chapter
prohibiting the polytheists to enter the Ka’ba any further. That House of Prayer had
been raised by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ismail for the worship of God, the
One, and was meant to serve as a center of spiritual activity for those who believed
in the unity of God.

In this verse the reference to the uncleanliness of the polytheists is not to their
physical condition but to the uncleanliness of their hearts. Islam does not regard the
person or the body of anyone as unclean. Every man as man stands on the same
footing as every other human being. It is why it has prohibited untouchability and
does not single out any section of humanity as untouchable. In fact, it is clear from
the recorded history of the Prophet that the Prophet maintained social relationships
with not only the People of the Book, the Jews, but with the polytheists of his time.
He used to dine with them and accept their invitations and also offer invitations to
them. History has recorded that he at times had allowed them to stay in his own
mosque at Madina.

The verse under reference has a limited application. It applies to the seat of Ka’ba
along and not to any other Muslim place of worship. In fact, after the issuing of
this order, the Prophet had allowed the Christians of Yemen, and the polytheists
from Ta’if to stay in his mosque.

Surah: 20 – They who have believed in God and abandoned their homes for the
sake of God and striven with their possessions and their persons in the way of
God, shall rank high in the estimation of God. These are they who shall attain
success (in life).

Surah: 21 – Tidings of mercy doth their Lord send them and of His good pleasure
and also of gardens in which lasting joy shall be theirs.

Surah: 22 – Therein shall they abide for ever. Surely (for such people) there is a
great reward from their Lord.

Surah: 23 – O Muslims! Do not take your fathers or brothers for friends if they
prefer unbelief to belief; and whoso of you shall take them for friends they shall
be regarded as those who have been unjust to themselves.

Surah: 24 – Say (to the Muslims, O Prophet!): If your fathers and your sons and
your brothers and your wives, and your kith and kin and the wealth that you have
acquired and the merchandise which ye fear may not have a proper sale, and the
dwellings of which you are very don, be dearer to you than God and His Apostle and
striving in the way of God, then, wait until God disclose what He wills to do. And it is
not in the manner of God to guide the impious.

Surah: 25 – (O Muslims!) This is a fact that God had helped you on many a previous
occasion (when you were few in number) and on the day of Hunain, when despite
the strength over which you had exulted availed you not, and the earth with all its
vastness had straitened on your and you to turn back in fight.

Surah: 26 – It was then, God infused into the Prophet and those faithful (to him)
the spirit of steadiness and self-assurance and succoured them with unseen hosts
and defeated the unbelievers, and that is what the unbelievers deserved.

Surah: 27 – Yet after this, God will turn in mercy towards whomsoever He pleaseth;
for indeed God is Forgiving, Merciful.

Surah: 28 – O ye Muslims! Surely those who ascribe partners to God are an unclean
lot. Let them not after this year approach the Holy Place of Prayer, and if (due to
lack of opportunity to profit by trading with them at the time of Hajj) you apprehend
poverty, (then, do not lose heart for), God, if He please, will soon give you riches
out of His abundance. Verily, God knows (your needs) and He will in His Wisdom
compensate you for your loss.
 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving (And the Imam Who Has To Tolerate It)

Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving -
Link - http://dallasmuslimcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/anti-muslim-sentiment-in-irving-and.html


It is waste of public funds and public time, what a husband and wife decide between them is their business and not the GD business of the legislators. They don't believe in life liberty and pursuit of happiness, damned traitors of our constitution.

Look for a few other articles on this site about the topic


Please check this seminal piece on Sharia 101, everything you want to know about Sharia and more. http://sharialaws.blogspot.com/2013/02/genesis-of-sharia-law.html

Mike Ghouse
# # # 


Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving (And the Imam Who Has To Tolerate It)
http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2015/03/20/anti-muslim-sentiment-bubbles-up-in-irving-and-the-imam-who-has-to-tolerate-it/



Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh: "we always seem to take one step forward, two steps back." Photo by Justin Clemons
Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh: “We always seem to take one step forward, two steps back.” Photo by Justin Clemons


In the paper today, Avi Selk has a lengthy story about some anti-Muslim foolishness going on in Irving. It centers on a religious tribunal that is supposedly going to usurp the U.S. Constitution and ruin America. (I’m exaggerating only a little bit.) Last night, the City Council voted 5-4 to support a bill authored by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) that would forbid such tribunals from using foreign law in their rulings (which is already illegal).

I wrote about all this for the April issue of D Magazine, which won’t mail to subscribers for another three days. So I’m posting the article here. Before I wrote my story, I spent some time with Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh, the head of the Islamic Center of Irving and a man who has far more patience and compassion than I do. For your edification:
***
The first thing you notice at the Islamic Center of Irving is its large green dome, or qubba. Representing the vault of heaven, it seems to shine in the afternoon sun atop the center’s bright white mosque, or masjid. The 37,000-square-foot center — a complex that includes the mosque, a school, and a multi-use hall, all currently undergoing expansion — offers an impressive picture in this drab corner of northwest Irving.

When you enter the complex through the Islamic School of Irving (adjacent to the mosque) after early afternoon prayer, the tranquility of the center is broken, if only slightly. The hallway floods with men, many still wearing the traditional cap for prayer, the taqiyah. Most are smiling and shaking hands and offering best wishes and praise for Allah. Many reflexively say hello to the non-Muslim stranger standing in the hallway, looking confused, asking for the man who has led the prayer: Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh.
Imam Zia directs me to his office, wasting no time with small talk. He is a busy man, leading five prayers a day — Friday’s midday prayer can draw as many as 2,000 members. He is also an author (Addressing the Taboos: Love, Marriage and Sex in Islam and Islam: Silencing the Critics) and a lecturer (he speaks five languages).

“This all happened very quickly,” he says. His smile suggests weary bemusement over a social-media firestorm that recently engulfed Imam Zia and the Islamic Center. “It started with the right-wing website story. Then suddenly the mayor [of Irving, Beth Van Duyne] is posting on her Facebook page. From that, hatred and misinformation filled her site and others. And, of course, she had never even spoken with us.”

The website was Breitbart.com, and the post was titled “Islamic Tribunal Confirmed in Texas.” The headline suggested this was something new, even though the tribunal — a panel of four who mediate or arbitrate disputes — had been a registered nonprofit in Texas since 2012. In fact, the 25 or so cases the tribunal hears a year are the sort of family law (divorce proceedings) or business disputes (whether remodeling work was done right) that secular mediators often hear; this tribunal is merely guided by Islamic religious principles.

The day the post went up, it was debunked by Snopes.com, which found its claims “false,” concluding: “[T]he tribunal neither possessed nor claimed any ability to supersede extant laws in its jurisdiction, either civil or criminal. Parties are not obligated to participate in the mediation it offers, nor does the center have any power to operate outside the law.”

Other faiths have similar religious arbitration or mediation groups, such as the Christian Peacemaker Ministries and the Jewish Beth Din. In Dallas, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas has a tribunal. Few consider this unusual—until Muslims are involved.

This certainly seems to have been Van Duyne’s major concern. On February 6, she took to Facebook to express her concern about the Breitbart story and let the world know “Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving.” (No one had suggested it was.) She continued for a few paragraphs, concluding: “While I am working to better understand how this ‘court’ will function and whom will be subject to its decisions, please know if it is determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action. Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own. The American Constitution and our guaranteed rights reigns [sic] supreme in our nation and may that ever be the case.”

The post was shared more than 700 times and elicited commentary ranging from confused (“How did this even come about this is are country”) to hostile (“Those who don’t like it here are welcome to leave.and immigrate any country that will accept you”). In an effort to better understand the theological and cultural underpinnings of the tribunal, Van Duyne appeared on The Glenn Beck Program and proclaimed, “This is not city-sanctioned, we weren’t given an opportunity even to pass anything, and we’re not supportive of it. … I think you need to put your foot down and say this is America, we have laws here already.”
A few facts worth noting:

Most important, the tribunal is not affiliated with the Islamic Center. Imam Zia is one of four members who constitute the tribunal. Its official address is in North Dallas, but the tribunal meets about twice a month for hearings wherever they can find a suitable office (usually in Arlington).

Second: despite Van Duyne’s claims, the city of Irving has taken no stance on the center or the tribunal (which, again, isn’t even in Irving). It did issue a statement saying that the city wants residents to obey the law and that Irving “is proud to have one of the most diverse ZIP codes in the United States.”

Third: Van Duyne’s confusion is one of willful ignorance. All of the foregoing information is available online. If you want to know what the tribunal is and what it does, it has a website. If you want to learn about the Islamic Center — about its history (started in an apartment in Irving in 1989, became an official nonprofit in 1991, current complex opened in 2004), or its education services (a recent sensitivity training workshop: “What Our Neighbors Think of Us and Why”), or its members — it’s all online.

Better yet, show up for the weekly open house on Sundays at 2:30 pm for a tour of the Islamic Center. You should do so, if for no other reason than to meet Imam Zia, something of a hero to the Muslim community. He was born in a mountainous region known as Azad Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. When he was 4, his family moved to England. At 13, he began 12 years of study in a theology program at an Islamic institute. By 16, he had memorized the Quran. In 1994 he completed his master’s (a doctorate in theological foundation followed). Two years later, he took a job at a mosque in Virginia, eventually making his way to Irving, in 2005, because of the Islamic Center’s expansion plans.

After 10 years in his post, Imam Zia has become a leader outside the church as well. He is part of a regular gathering of community activists, including black pastors, who work to see caring leaders elected to the City Council and the school board. He holds meetings at the mosque with local officials (fire chief, police chief, city department heads) so he can relay relevant issues and concerns to his congregation. He makes aiding all the poor in Irving a priority for his mosque. In the past year alone, the center has given more than $50,000 to various causes to help the needy.

“Imam Zia has been a constant source of help for those in need in our community,” says Anthony Emanuel Bond, founder of the Irving NAACP. “He and all the Muslim brothers and sisters that I have met and worked with are so loving and giving. They truly desire nothing more than to serve God and live in peace.”

Having been in Irving for a decade, Imam Zia has grown accustomed to the small-town grandstanding. Although careful not to be too critical of Van Duyne directly, he says the ignorance she displayed is something Muslim-Americans must face in today’s climate, whether that be in Irving (where emails with subject lines like “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM” make news) or elsewhere (the recent “cartoon contest of the Prophet Muhammad” held in Garland).

“Unfortunately, in terms of understanding, we always seem to take one step forward, two steps back,” Imam Zia says. “But we will continue to do our level best to educate people.”

Three weeks after her Facebok post, Van Duyne finally met with Imam Zia. She told him that she said nothing wrong in her post or on The Glenn Beck Program, so no apology on her part was needed. Imam Zia told me he was disappointed but held no ill will toward her. All of which you could have guessed without my telling you.

Why Islam Needs a Reformation

Published at www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
Link- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/03/why-islam-needs-reformation.html


I am pleased to respond to this piece.


The 5 points Ms. Ali  has raised have been raised by many Muslims in the last decade, and I have written extensively on each one of the five items.

 This article is a progress for Ayan Hirsi Ali, for the first time she has shown the signs of moving towards the center from the extreme right position she had taken all these years and I welcome it.  Her tone is reflective and not accusatory.

A few positions she has expressed are not based on a thorough study, but her bad experience growing up. Her community should be blamed for it and not Islam.  As a former Muslims she knows the difference, and she cannot blame the principles for the wrong practices.  800 people are murdered in New York every year; do you blame all the New Yorkers for the murderers or blame the murderers for the murder? You cannot blame a religion or law books for the rapes and murder that happen daily.

Here are a few items;

“What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses, including but not limited to apostasy, adultery, blasphemy and even something as vague as threats to family honor or to the honor of Islam itself.

Societies have always punished the wrong doers; we still give lethal injection in Texas. Shame on us, we should not be deliberately killing people like they do in Saudi Arabia.  We cannot justify that ours is not as cruel as theirs, both are murders.   All nations need to do away with capital punishment.

Bad practices make you perfect in badness.  She needs to get out of what is fed to her. Quran does no prescribe punishment for apostasy, adultery, blasphemy as practiced in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somali and Afghanistan.  It is not an Islamic practice but has been instituted by the Kings and dictators to protect their own tails.

Unlike the United States, no other Muslim nation or other nations had the option to govern themselves, indeed, almost all democracies are less than 70 years old and most of them are still maturing.  After the first four rightly guided caliphs for a period of 30 years after the death of the prophet, Muslim did not have a say in the governance, they were always ruled by dictators or monarchs who instituted such policies to protect their rule.  We still have not evolved out of that mind set to look things afresh, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, we also need to get out of that mold.  What is dished out to us is corrupted and we need to reject it.  

Mike Ghouse
# # # 


Why Islam Needs a Reformation
To defeat the extremists for good, Muslims must reject those aspects of their tradition that prompt some believers to resort to oppression and holy war

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal
By AYAAN HIRSI ALI
Updated March 20, 2015 10:00 a.m. ET



“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.
Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.
When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent. This is manifestly not the case: There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses, including but not limited to apostasy, adultery, blasphemy and even something as vague as threats to family honor or to the honor of Islam itself.
It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labeled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.”
As I see it, the fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts. It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been “hijacked” by extremists. The killers of Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram cite the same religious texts that every other Muslim in the world considers sacrosanct.
Instead of letting Islam off the hook with bland clichés about the religion of peace, we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.
As it turns out, the West has some experience with this sort of reformist project. It is precisely what took place in Judaism and Christianity over the centuries, as both traditions gradually consigned the violent passages of their own sacred texts to the past. Many parts of the Bible and the Talmud reflect patriarchal norms, and both also contain many stories of harsh human and divine retribution. As President Barack Obama said in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, “Remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

Yet today, because their faiths went through a long, meaningful process of Reformation and Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jews and Christians have come to dismiss religious scripture that urges intolerance or violence. There are literalist fringes in both religions, but they are true fringes. Regrettably, in Islam, it is the other way around: It is those seeking religious reform who are the fringe element.
Any serious discussion of Islam must begin with its core creed, which is based on the Quran (the words said to have been revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad) and the hadith (the accompanying works that detail Muhammad’s life and words). Despite some sectarian differences, this creed unites all Muslims. All, without exception, know by heart these words: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is His messenger.” This is the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith.
The Shahada might seem to be a declaration of belief no different from any other. But the reality is that the Shahada is both a religious and a political symbol.
In the early days of Islam, when Muhammad was going from door to door in Mecca trying to persuade the polytheists to abandon their idols of worship, he was inviting them to accept that there was no god but Allah and that he was Allah’s messenger.
After 10 years of trying this kind of persuasion, however, he and his small band of believers went to Medina, and from that moment, Muhammad’s mission took on a political dimension. Unbelievers were still invited to submit to Allah, but after Medina, they were attacked if they refused. If defeated, they were given the option to convert or to die. (Jews and Christians could retain their faith if they submitted to paying a special tax.)
No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad’s years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.
The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: “We must live by the strict letter of our creed.” They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.
I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad’s teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it.
It is Medina Muslims who call Jews and Christians “pigs and monkeys.” It is Medina Muslims who prescribe death for the crime of apostasy, death by stoning for adultery and hanging for homosexuality. It is Medina Muslims who put women in burqas and beat them if they leave their homes alone or if they are improperly veiled.

The second group—and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world—consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence. I call them Mecca Muslims. Like devout Christians or Jews who attend religious services every day and abide by religious rules in what they eat and wear, Mecca Muslims focus on religious observance. I was born in Somalia and raised as a Mecca Muslim. So were the majority of Muslims from Casablanca to Jakarta.
Yet the Mecca Muslims have a problem: Their religious beliefs exist in an uneasy tension with modernity—the complex of economic, cultural and political innovations that not only reshaped the Western world but also dramatically transformed the developing world as the West exported it. The rational, secular and individualistic values of modernity are fundamentally corrosive of traditional societies, especially hierarchies based on gender, age and inherited status.
Trapped between two worlds of belief and experience, these Muslims are engaged in a daily struggle to adhere to Islam in the context of a society that challenges their values and beliefs at every turn. Many are able to resolve this tension only by withdrawing into self-enclosed (and increasingly self-governing) enclaves. This is called cocooning, a practice whereby Muslim immigrants attempt to wall off outside influences, permitting only an Islamic education for their children and disengaging from the wider non-Muslim community.
It is my hope to engage this second group of Muslims—those closer to Mecca than to Medina—in a dialogue about the meaning and practice of their faith. I recognize that these Muslims are not likely to heed a call for doctrinal reformation from someone they regard as an apostate and infidel. But they may reconsider if I can persuade them to think of me not as an apostate but as a heretic: one of a growing number of people born into Islam who have sought to think critically about the faith we were raised in. It is with this third group—only a few of whom have left Islam altogether—that I would now identify myself.
These are the Muslim dissidents. A few of us have been forced by experience to conclude that we could not continue to be believers; yet we remain deeply engaged in the debate about Islam’s future. The majority of dissidents are reforming believers—among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.
How many Muslims belong to each group? Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that only 3% of the world’s Muslims understand Islam in the militant terms I associate with Muhammad’s time in Medina. But out of well over 1.6 billion believers, or 23% of the globe’s population, that 48 million seems to be more than enough. (I would put the number significantly higher, based on survey data on attitudes toward Shariah in Muslim countries.)
In any case, regardless of the numbers, it is the Medina Muslims who have captured the world’s attention on the airwaves, over social media, in far too many mosques and, of course, on the battlefield.
The Medina Muslims pose a threat not just to non-Muslims. They also undermine the position of those Mecca Muslims attempting to lead a quiet life in their cultural cocoons throughout the Western world. But those under the greatest threat are the dissidents and reformers within Islam, who face ostracism and rejection, who must brave all manner of insults, who must deal with the death threats—or face death itself.
For the world at large, the only viable strategy for containing the threat posed by the Medina Muslims is to side with the dissidents and reformers and to help them to do two things: first, identify and repudiate those parts of Muhammad’s legacy that summon Muslims to intolerance and war, and second, persuade the great majority of believers—the Mecca Muslims—to accept this change.
Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims need to make a conscious decision to confront, debate and ultimately reject the violent elements within their religion. To some extent—not least because of widespread revulsion at the atrocities of Islamic State, al Qaeda and the rest—this process has already begun. But it needs leadership from the dissidents, and they in turn stand no chance without support from the West.
What needs to happen for us to defeat the extremists for good? Economic, political, judicial and military tools have been proposed and some of them deployed. But I believe that these will have little effect unless Islam itself is reformed.
Such a reformation has been called for repeatedly at least since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent abolition of the caliphate. But I would like to specify precisely what needs to be reformed.
I have identified five precepts central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and adaptation. Only when the harmfulness of these ideas are recognized and they are repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation have been achieved.
Here are the five areas that require amendment:
1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.
2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.
3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.
4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.
5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.
I know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to silence me.
But this is not a work of theology. It is more in the nature of a public intervention in the debate about the future of Islam. The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here. If my proposal for reform helps to spark a serious discussion of these issues among Muslims themselves, I will consider it a success.
Let me make two things clear. I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of “Islamophobe.” At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan.
For me, there seemed no way to reconcile my faith with the freedoms I came to the West to embrace. I left the faith, despite the threat of the death penalty prescribed by Shariah for apostates. Future generations of Muslims deserve better, safer options. Muslims should be able to welcome modernity, not be forced to wall themselves off, or live in a state of cognitive dissonance, or lash out in violent rejection.
But it is not only Muslims who would benefit from a reformation of Islam. We in the West have an enormous stake in how the struggle over Islam plays out. We cannot remain on the sidelines, as though the outcome has nothing to do with us. For if the Medina Muslims win and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price—not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost.
This essay is adapted from Ms. Hirsi Ali’s new book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” to be published Tuesday by HarperCollins (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp). Her previous books include “Infidel” and “Nomad: From Islam to America, A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.”