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Eternal path or habitual submissiveness?

Sana Saleem


Every now and then the west brings up a new or lets say “reformed” image of Islam, starting from Salman Rushdie to Irshad Manji we have all known read trough or at least heard about the respective ideologies of such intellectuals who proclaim to still be Muslims and show their desire to reform Islam as they say is the NEED OF TODAYS MUSLIMS. I don’t consider myself in anyway adequate to insult or analyze or defame ones ideology of life or the way one’s perception goes about things especially in matters concerning religion. But on the other hand the human mind is free to wander and grow and this is but natural especially when one comes across the polemics of individuals who stand out to become the reformers of Islam. During the whole process of my self struggle with in my mind to portray and reflect what comes across every now and then I have somehow learnt to read beyond the lines or at least give it a vague try. Perhaps what am going to state here is just a reflection or a mere lot of questions that storm my mind every time I come across a statement and a counter statement to it, the question I ask myself everyday every single time I come across articles and books being published about reforming Islamic ideologies and various others on the faults and flaws of the Islamic scholars today’s or the failure of a certain group of Muslims to be able to reflect the true or lets say as such people quote the true and more applicable face of Islam , for me the question remains is it Islam that need reformation?? . Am not going to go ahead using flowery words describing how sacred Allah’s word is to us as I don’t think words bring justice and I believe that when we have the ability to refute statements issued against Islamic principles by logic why then take assistance of the sacredness or the high level prestige bestowed on it. I believe that if nothing Muslims today should learn to live with patience and logic, whether its salman rushdie or any other so called reformer of Islam we need not create a havoc as an answer to the questions put up by such people, after all it is the havoc the inability of a certain group of Ulemas to be able to deal with the approach of such people calmly with logic, that we have given birth to such a wide branch of Muslims ending up with the theologies they have. I believe that the rejoinder of certain Ulemas towards questions billed to them, which are not the traditional usual ones and reflect inquisitiveness about basics has led to further confusions in the end plunging into ignorance. Here is an account of irshad manji’s experience

I couldn’t quite reconcile the open and tolerant world of my public school with the rigid and bigoted world inside my madressa. But I had enough faith to ask questions — plenty of them.

My first question for my madressa teacher was, “Why can’t girls lead prayer?” I graduated to asking more nuanced questions, such as, “If the Quran came to Prophet Muhammad as a message of compassion, why did he command his army to banish an entire Jewish tribe?”

You can imagine that such questions irritated the hell out of my madressa teacher, who routinely put down women and trashed the Jews. …. Out of fairness to my faith, I gave Islam another chance. And another. And another. For the past 20 years, I’ve been educating myself about Islam. As a result, I’ve discovered an enlightened side of my religion — in theory.

My question to anyone who has just finished reading the above quote will be if Islam is the perfect religion, the code of life that we believe it is, why then being a Muslim is our self esteem and confidence in our abilities to answer everything and anything related to Islam so low? Why the irritability when such questions are asked? Is the presence of such mere curiosity in certain minds more insulting or damaging to Islam then our inabilities to answer these questions with logic? Is it way too hard for us to answer the above question asked with reference to the situations at that point and time do we all not know about the numerous number of peace treaties being signed by our prophet at that point and time with the Jews and the violations brought up by them. Could a reference of the capture of Mecca and how Muslims were ordered to behave with kindness and generosity towards the war prisoners a reference to counterfeit the thought?

Being a Muslim even though not a very well versed one I believe that my faith lies in being strong open and calm to such queries after all do we not believe in the word of Allah? And if one does there is no room for anger or irritation, didn’t the prophet of ALLAH live through the reformation of one of the most ignorant of people in Arabia at that time? If not anything else for my minimal knowledge in Islam I at least get my ideologies from the body language of my prophet (pbuh) his way of teaching and foremost his ideal way of tackling with queries. When I come across people who loose their patience over such queries I cant help but make them ponder over the fact that Muslims today need self confidence patience and their faith in ALLAH to be at their outmost peak today if not in the past .its time we learn how to stand for what we believe like an intellectual and not driven by mere emotions, by far to my best possible knowledge I believe it is not Islam that needs reformation but Muslims, it is not the ideologies given in QURAN that need considerable analysis t is but the mind of Muslims today , the state in which they have put themselves and for which someone like me believe they themselves are solely responsible .

For those who are not very well aware or unless otherwise smartly over look the fact that Islam is a complete code of life and thereby shariah if not implemented completely is by default handicapped. Therefore as an example for those who debate about hijab not being a way to prevent men in to being lewd should also very well not over look the fact that this is not the only way, for those who give the explanation of men staring at them more when they wear hijab am sure this should also acknowledge that Quran first advices the man to lower his gaze and the tells the woman the same and then proceeds to hijab, so for a man who doesn’t lower his gaze in the first place, wearing or not wearing the hijab will not be an issue .this however doest not suggest that taking the hijab isn’t Islamic or isn’t the right way but for me or for certain other individuals covering myself is my option to refrain a certain category men from the privacy I want to keep guarded for my husband and I don’t find any debatable or argumentative issues in something I choose to do for my own body. Muslims today need awakening a more deep analytical and logical approach to the QURAN without obviously changing the basic context of it. I believe if I strongly have faith in something I will have all my explanations and counter statements to at least satisfy myself if not the world as to the path I choose is the right one therefore my sincere request to people who come across queries about Islam that might sound insulting and would cause hurt and provoke anger is that by acting the way we do about being defensive about Islam we don’t bring about any significant change rather we jus reflect the portrayal of the west about the typical helplessness of Muslims today who have no analytical approach to their religion and the Quran and rather fall “into mindless submission and habitual submissiveness.” I believe the word of ALALH is true and I believe he also taught us patience and the is the tool needed for Muslims today, our assets are the answers to life’s questions in the QURAN and our strong faith in ALLAH s word, if we know we are possessed with both there is no room left for us to not stay calm at smile away the ignorance by flaunting our confidence in Islam knowing that no matter what your question is ALLAH has the answer. It is always right that a man should be able to render a reason for the faith that is within him and the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds. As the practical effect, of a belief is the real test of its soundness. We need to give ourselves a clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for, because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything. It is faith among men that holds the moral elements of society together, as it is faith in God that binds the world to his throne, and a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. We as muslins have enough evidence to support our conviction, as faith is a higher faculty than reason.


This entry was posted on March 8, 2008 at 10:10 pm and is filed under hijab, irshad manji, islam, quran, reformation, religion, salman rushdie . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. 

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