Why Islam Cannot be Reformed
by Junaid A. Malik
Being a student of Islamic theology for last two decades, I can categorically tell you that ideology (Islam) cannot be amended or reformed. The only way of securing the world and our societies from radical or extremist version of Islam is to dis-empower the clergy, promote and strengthen secular values.
I have heard several statements from Majid Nawaz and after evaluating those statements on the basis of my personal research, I consider him nothing but an apologist. His stance is quite apparent when he says; criticism on Islam (being violent and discriminatory) is half truth. Isn’t this what apologists usually say?
I can conveniently reject this argument that criticism on Islam being violent is half truth.
No sir it is not.
As a matter of fact, I have discussed it with several students, intellectuals and scholars of Islam and most of them clearly admit that whatever has been recorded in books of Hadith and Seerah is true. They defend those acts through various absurd justifications, but they never deny it.
I am ready to discuss this directly on any forum anywhere in the world with anyone who claims that violence and jihad is half truth. Whether it’s Majid Nawaz or anyone else.
I will use Quran, Hadith and Seerah (Life of Prophet) to prove that this is not half truth rather a harsh reality from the past, defining the roots of Islam, which some of these apologists find hard to swallow.
This is not reformation, rather this is denial.
The truth is, that Islam in it’s true spirit has no room for any reformation. In retrospect, Muslims have always responded negatively to core changes. They adjusted to the political re-structuring during Umayyad era, then Abbasid era, followed by a renaissance age which transformed the secondary values to a greater extent (albeit the transformation defined the clear boundaries and distinctions regarding the possibility and extent of the change).
Muslims adapted to the new laws and ideas during the same Abbasid era, yet they showed staunch resistance when core values were touched. For example the incident of “Mutazillah” where masses reacted strongly on the issue of Quran being infallible. Please note; that Ijtehad is limited to adjustment with the new development, without touching the core values, and this door was closed after the Mutazillah incident.
When we talk about reformation, we are talking about the same issue i.e. reinterpretation of Quran, asking Muslims to discard what they believed for the last 1400 years, as well as to change the basic ideology of struggle to impose supremacy of Divine Laws through Jihad and tableegh. In short, to give up the idea of monotheism and submit to a man-made ideology, for example secularism. Logically speaking, such reformation is primarily linked with the idea of discarding History and Hadith, which has been a part of Islam, since last 1200 years. This, according to my meager understanding, is not possible and will unleash a new monster of resistance, probably even more dangerous than militancy.
People can think of reformation though re-interpretation while sitting in the West but when it comes to Islamic countries, such ideas would cause a huge resistance from masses, eventually creating further rift between Western and Eastern civilization. No one can dare to stand up and deliver a speech, telling Muslims that their core values are flawed or obsolete and requires an overall transformation.
This reality has already been explained by Ibn e Khaldun (a famous amazigh historiographer and historian) in his book “Muqaddimah”. He said;
(Unlike Muslims), the other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defence… They are merely required to establish their religion among their own people. This is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority for about four hundred years. Their only concern was to establish their religion…
I think people should stop following these apologists and try to understand the difference between Islam and other religions.
As far as ISIS is concerned, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the caliph of IS holds doctorate in Islamic studies from Baghdad University. His understanding of true Islam is far more better than that of Majid Nawaz or any other apologist. He and his people are doing everything which has been recorded in books of seerah and hadith. They are following Islam in it’s true spirit.