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Re: Regarding the Debate

Reader comment on item: Moderate Islam: Western Ally or Western Myth?

Submitted by Sudad Jawad (United Kingdom), Dec 31, 2009 at 08:12

I read with interest a summary of the debate between Dr Daniel Pipes and Dr Wafa Sultan focusing on Radical Islam and Moderate Islam. Mainstream Islam has been in a state of Stagnation since the thirteenth century largely influenced by the birth of Radical Islam, created by Ibn Taymiyyah (d.1328). He tied Islam to Politics, prohibited free-thinking, and promoted elimination of "non believers". His political and religious theories were later taken up by Muhammad Ibn Abd Al Wahab who led the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and eventually the proliferation of Radical Islam across the Globe after the political and economic domination of the Kingdom on the Islamic institutions.

However that process of stagnation was not as prominent in areas dominated by Shia Islam and there have been several attempts to modernise Islamic political and social dimensions. One extreme example was the birth of a prominent feminist movement led by Kurt Al Ain (b. 1841) who disseminated her views across Iran and Iraq and allied with the Bahai movement, which was viewed as a subsect of Shia Islam until recently. Modernisation in the predominantly Sunni countries was not infrequent in the Twentieth century, but was suppressed by the mid-1970s with the pre-eminence of Radical Islam.

Dr Sultan referred to the Sira as proof of the irreversible stagnation of Islam, and referred to the marriage of Muhammad to Aisha who is commonly known as the Mother of Believers. The Sira is unreliable and fictional in its contents including that of Aisha. The age of Aisha often quoted as nine years of age when she married Muhammad meant that she was younger than his youngest daughter Fatima who died aged 27, and it would not have been possible for him to have a wife 10 years younger than his daughter who was living with him at the time. Aisha's canonisation by Arabs was primarily political following the massacre of his household and descendants of his daughter Fatima in 680 CE. This was followed by gradual denigration of Muhammad's character based largely on stories referred indirectly to Aisha: these accounts are mostly tabloid in nature.

The Muslims need to rewrite their history using scientific and critical thinking, and divorce politics from religion as it was prior to the days of Ibn Taymiyyah.


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