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Irshad Manji's Inconsistencies...

Reader comment on item: A Muslim reformation?

Submitted by Richard (United States), Feb 9, 2004 at 18:13

I listened carefully to Irshad Manji last night speaking about her book, 'The
Trouble with Islam', on C-Span. She is very articulate, and certainly
courageous. One could almost say that, as a Muslimah, she is playing with fire!

Irshad Manji knows her subject. Of this there is no doubt. One cannot help but
feel, however, that many things she states are based on hope rather than
reality. She answered one person's question about the pitiful state of Muslim
women in the Koran. On the one hand she stated that there are indeed many verses
in the Koran stating categorically the inferior status of women; yet on the
other, she referred to other verses which venerate women. One cannot help but
feel that if the Koran really were to be God's final revelation to humankind, as
Muslims profess it to be, then He would surely have 'ironed out' these
inconsistencies before revealing it to His 'final' Messenger!

Irshad Manji is obviously, very obviously, aware of such inconsistencies. She
also goes so far as to bring into question whether the Koran is indeed God's
final revelation! Yet she stubbornly fights her way forward as a Muslimah -- a
very unconvinced Muslimah if you ask me!

Her basic premise, as I understand it, is that Islam needs to reform in order to
come into the twenty-first century. It needs to metamorphosize. It needs to
catch up. It needs to become more open and more pluralistic. These are wonderful
hopes for the future of Islam, to be sure. They are hardly likely to be realized
given the nature of Islam itself, though.

Mark Alexander's book, 'The Dawning of a New Dark Age', takes a different tack. In this book, he argues that it will be difficult indeed to reform Islam, simply because Islam
has been 'written in stone', so to speak. Muslims boast that not one word or
syllable of the Koran have been changed in more than fourteen hundred years.
They consider this to be one of Islam's great strengths, of course.

How, then, are we to be optimistic and expect, after centuries of no change or
re-interpretation of the religion, that somehow, miraculously, Muslims are to
'see the light', so to speak, and change anything in Allah's final revelation?

It seems to me that Irshad Manji is hoping against hope that Islam will change
its very nature. Hoping, too, that lesbianism will one day become acceptable to
mainstream Islam. Hoping, too, that terrorism will just go away.

Her sentiments may be noble. One cannot help but feel that she is living in a
world of make-believe

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