Reinventing and Redefining Islam
By Abul Kasem
There is a new breed of Islamic writers gracing the Internet with
their new brand of a tolerant and companionate Islam. These new writers
are mostly western educated, live in western societies, work in western
countries, and raise their children in the West. They are sophisticated,
articulate, smart and knowledgeable. However, they are quite fiercely
Islam minded. They write extremely lengthy essays on Islam and spare no
pain to portray Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance, mercy,
compassion, justice, humane and what not? You just name the good
adjective and it is there in Islam. Reading such prolix essays could be
strenuous and tiring, to say the least. However, if you have the
patience to go through these enormous writings, you may be confused to
think that these writers sound almost like secularists and freethinkers!
In fact, if they did not include the lengthy quotes from the holy books
we might even think that they are not really Islamists. Some of these
Islamists even blame the Hadiths for such a sordid state of affairs in
Islam by saying that it is the creation of human whereas, Qur'an is the
creation of Supreme Lord. Thus, according to these writers not all
Hadiths are authentic. How outrageous! Have they forgotten that
rejecting a single word of Qur'an and Hadith is an act of apostasy and
punishable by death?
So, why these new writers are so desperate to show to the world how
beautiful the religion of Islam is? Their background answers the
question. You see, by living in secular and freethinking western
countries, they really wished that their religion conformed to the
principles of secularism, democracy and freethinking. Alas! That is not
an easy thing to expect from Islam. When they see how much inhumanity,
bigotry, irrationality and tyranny is there in Islam, they simply feel
ashamed of their religion. They know very well that those images of
Islam cannot simply be refuted. They have only two choices, agree with
these practices of Islam and turn into an Islamic fundamentalist or
defend Islam by whatever means. They have very little courage to be a
fundamentalist/ Jehadis because they like the creature comfort of this
western lifestyle. At the same time, they are afraid to go against their
faith. Therefore, they start to reinvent their faith. While they are at
it, they reinvent many things in their religion. They will quote those
verses from the holy books that are benign, tolerant, merciful, etc.
These verses of the Qur'an were actually from that period when Islam was
weak and had a handful of followers. The Muslims were then dependent
upon the mercy of the non-believers. And that is what is reflected in
these rather tame verses. When Islam became a bit stronger and the
Prophet (pbuh) found that his dogma can really be forced upon people
through fear, intimidation and slaughter, the verses of Qur'an became
fiercer and frightening with no tone of mercy and compassion,
whatsoever. However, these new writers will never tell this truth to the
readers. If we quote those violent and cruel verses of Quran and seek an
explanation on them, these Islamists simply keep quiet or just ignore
the questions. But they do not fail to give their own interpretation
many other issues. An example is the case of Hila marriage. Readers have
learnt plenty about the Hila marriage by now through various sources and
from the fundamentalists. However, these neo-Islamists have come to
their own conclusions on this matter by saying that Hila marriage is not
Islamic. What a joke! Another issue is the death penalty for apostates.
These writers are really ashamed of this provision in Islam.
Nonetheless, to save face they simply ignore this issue and write that
changing one's faith is not an act of apostasy. The examples are
communists, secularists, atheists, etc. They even let you have the
impression that a Muslim is free to choose any religion. Of course, they
are dead wrong on both these matters. Any person who spends a little
time searching the web (for example www.golshan.com) will find out how
wrong these new inventors of Islam are. In essence, these re-inventors
of Islam are actually issuing fatwas that suit their purposes. If this
trend continues, then there will be as many brands of Islam as there are
Muslims in the world! This is not an understatement either.
If we ask these scribes who are the true Islamists and where can we
find them, we get strange answers. Is Golam Azam, a true Islamist? No.
Saddam Hussein? Rubbish. Talibans? Of course, not. Ayatollah? Hell, no!
Maulana Azizul Haq? What the hell you're talking about? . Maulana Fazlul
Haq Amini? Are you out of your mind? Is Saudi Arabia a true Islamic
country? How absurd? How about Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan? No.
No. No. True Islam has not yet been invented! After the Prophet it seems
that there were no true followers of Islam and so far no true Islamic
country have been established. What these writers really want to say is
that only they (the writers) are the true followers of Islam. The rest
are not. How do the readers feel with this attitude of these new
pundits? I can tell one truth, though. The truth is that these
professors of Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic history should consider
themselves very lucky indeed for residing and writing in a secular
country. If they happen to be in any Islamic country, they will surely
have trouble with the Islamic authorities for interpreting the religion
in their own way and possibly face harsh sentences.
Let us not be fooled by these writers. They try to confuse those
believers of Islam who had no opportunity to learn the bitter truth
about Islam and still believe in the purity and the divinity of the
religion. These writers try to blur people's eyes from their
twenty-twenty vision. They try to give a mystic and kind image of Islam,
which is non-existent, so that innocent gullible people still cling to
their age-old faith.
How absurd it is that the neo-Islamists have recently coined a new
term. It is 'secular fundamentalism.' What a great display of
intellectual apathy! To be a fundamentalist one must be a strict
follower of a Scripture be that holy or unholy. I would like to ask
these Islamists what is the Scripture that the secularists hold as pure
and holy? They have also invented a new term called 'religious (Islamic)
science'. Oh my! What a great compliment to science! After failing to
defend the so-called scientific truths in Qur'an and Hadiths, they had
no other choice but to invent their own brand of science (read voodoo
science). They want to give the impression that the rigid methodologies
used by modern science to verify facts and to establish scientific
principles and laws are not Islamic. I would like to ask them a simple
question. Please tell us just one scientific principle that is disclosed
in Qur'an. Please do not use mumbo jumbo words and threadbare boring
tricks of difficulty with translation of Qur'an. We are fed up with
these flimsy excuses. Tell us please where in the Qur'an we can find the
laws of gravitation, laws of planetary rotation, principle of atomic
structure of matters, the periodic table of elements, principles of
relativity, geological science and the modern science of space/rocket
technology and inter-planetary travel, and elucidation of genetic code.
Readers, have you noticed that these Islamists often resort to
personal attacks and flimsy pretexts when they cannot refute an argument
by rational thinking? Very often they will find spelling errors,
grammatical mistakes, punctuation errors and will delve in dictionary
meanings of many words used by the secularist writers. This had really
happened to some of my essays. One Islamist wrote to me that I had very
little education since I made errors in spelling the word 'hypocrate'.
These people will not accept that typing errors are very common. As for
grammar, even Shakespeare made plenty of errors. How about Qur'an? Are
there any grammatical and/or spelling errors in the Qur'an? I am not an
expert in Arabic. So, I shall refrain from making any comment on this.
But I would like to have an answer to this question, if I may.
Let us now turn to the other group of Islamists, that is the
fundamentalist Islamists. I hardly need elaboration on this because the
whole world is familiar with them. Humanity recognises them as the
ultimate symbol of backwardness, misogynist, intolerance, bigotry,
terror and oppression. But I must admit that these fundamentalists are
absolutely honest in what they preach and what they want to achieve.
They do not deviate from the source of all their actions, that is Qur'an
and Sunnah (Hadith). In fact, these fundamentalists have shown the truth
about Islam without any pretext or using intellectual summersault. They
have exposed Islam plain and simple without any apology. Amongst many
other things, they have demonstrated that:
- A mosque is really a place for murder, execution and a depot for
hoarding arms and ammunition (Pakistan and Bangladesh)
- Women are nothing but child making machines (Taliban)
- Changing one's mind on Islam invokes death sentence (Iran, Taliban,
- Stoning to death for adultery (Iran, Taliban)
- Cutting off hands and feet for petty thieves (Taliban)
- Possession of Bible invites death sentence (Saudi Arabia)
- Premarital sex between Muslim couple is punishable with lashes,
but having sex with infidel women is okay
- Toilet paper is haram (don't laugh) even though our prophet used
stones for the same purpose. This is the recent fatwa from the
One can extend the above list to include more absurdities. There are
many more. It is quite easy to see why it becomes simple to deal with
the fundamentalists. Their thoughts and actions are very straight
forward just like the Sirat-ul-Mustaqim. They have no pretence of
decency and smooth talk. Their actions have produced worldwide
condemnation. But they don't care. They are blind to their faith and
carry out their actions to the letter of their Holy Scriptures. They are
not wolves in sheep's skin. They are out and wolves and it is quite
simple to identify them and take necessary steps to counter them. In a
way these fundamentalists make the job of the secularists and
freethinkers simple and straightforward.
But the neo-Islamists are different breed altogether. They really
hate the fundamentalists for tarnishing the beautiful image of Islam.
They are desperate to prove to the world that Islam is not what the
fundamentalists project to the civilised world. The neo-Islamists are
absolutely bent upon proving that Islam is in sympathy with secular
thoughts. Thus, the fight to free humanity from the clutches of Islamic
slavery becomes difficult with the presence of these Islamists. Many
people may think that there may still be a true Islam somewhere, which
is not as savage as the fundamentalists demonstrate. Clearly, these neo
Islamists try to put a coloured glass in the eyes of the ordinary
Muslims to obscure their views from the clear and true picture of Islam.
Qur'an and Hadiths are so ambiguous that it is quite possible to
prove anything and possibly every thing by quoting from them. If you
have time to search, you can really find whatever you want from these
sources. I do not want to burden the readers by quoting endlessly from
Qur'an and Hadiths about the various issues I have raised in this essay.
However, I cannot help but to quote the following Hadith for the readers
to judge the quality of mercy and compassion practiced in Islam.
Sunan Abu-Dawud Book38, Number 4348
"Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (p.b.u.h)
and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her
but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the
Prophet (p.b.u.h) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her
belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was
smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the
prophet (p.b.u.h) was informed about it.
He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man has done
this action and adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up.
Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up. He
sat before the prophet (p.b.u.h) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am here
master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her but she
did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I
have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night
she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it at her
belly and pressed it till I killed her.
Thereupon the prophet (p.b.u.h) said:Oh be witness, no retaliation is
payable for her blood".
A few weeks ago, I met a friend of mine who had spent a lengthy
period in Saudi Arabia. Although not a fundamentalist Islamist, he is
quite a religious person. He told me that recently he went to Bangladesh
and got his daughter married there. Now he is trying to bring his brand
new son-in-law to Australia as a spouse of his daughter. I was very
curious to know why is it that her daughter did not follow her husband
to Bangladesh so that the new couple could raise a family in a proper
Islamic environment. His answer was quite interesting. He said,
"When we are in an Islamic society (like Bangladesh or Saudi
Arabia), we do not like Islam. We like Islam when we are in a
non-Islamic society (like Australia)". I must appreciate his
honesty in telling his inner feelings about Islam. Is not his statement
a great tribute to all the secularists and the freethinkers of the
E mail : [email protected]