69 million page views

Islam and its future

Reader comment on item: Moderate Islam: Western Ally or Western Myth?
in response to reader comment: Re: Regarding the Debate

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Jan 3, 2010 at 09:12

Thank Sudad and a very interesting blog

>I read with interest a summary of the debate between Dr Daniel Pipes and Dr Wafa Sultan focusing on Radical Islam and Moderate Islam.

So what is the difference betweem radical Islam and the so called moderate Islam?

>Mainstream Islam

And what is really mainstream islam?

>has been in a state of Stagnation

Stagnation? you mean in theology? I would very much argue that islam as a religion and theology and the imperialism of the Arabs (the Arab polity) began their great decline as early as the 3Abassid revolution in 750CE and the defeat of the al-mu3taziluun. And yes Patrica Crone is correct that at the end of the day orthodoxy always wins so the rise of ideas by the likes of ibn Taymiyya should not be surprising

I also believe that if the Persians and their Ulama did not adopt islam and made it what it is, we would not have had Islam by now (see Ali Dashti: 23 years)

>since the thirteenth century largely influenced by the birth of Radical Islam,

You must define radical Islam. The way I see it again I agree with Patricia Crone that it was a matter of time before orthodoxy winning or in other words there must be "radical" doctrines in Islam that were waiting to be discovered by Ibn Taymiyya and in this case Ibn Taymiyya is just a confounding variable and not the cause of such change

>created by Ibn Taymiyyah (d.1328).

I disagree with you. Ibn Taymiyya did not create anything that did not exist in Islamic theology, he only followed an orthodox view of Islam and even his definitions (eg: who is really a kafir? the answer here are non Muslims and under certain conditions the Imam and you can read this as the khalifa if he helps the enemies of islam and Muslims that celebrate mulid al-nabi) have foundations in the Qur'an and the sira and the hadith so he was not making anything up

>He tied Islam to Politics,

No you are giving him too much credit. And I suspect that you might be reversing cause for effect.

Well like it or not Islam has been tied to politics from the moment go. Even if we are to assume that there was indeed separate Arab polity that invaded the Middle East starting in 633CE and this polity adopted Islam as their religion which was still emerging from (as was suggested by Wansbrough) debates in a Judeo-Christian sectarian milieu, nontheless Islam became part of the foundation of such polity

Early on the Khalifa was called khalifat Allah and later on when the ulama wanted part of the action they changed it to khalifat rasul Allah (see God's Caliph) and al-deen became the foundation of al-dawla (read this as the umma) and vice versa

>prohibited free-thinking, and promoted elimination of "non believers".

The source here is Quranic and Ibn Taymiyya was only telling us what the Qur'an really says. He did not make anything up. He only told us about ayat al-sayf or the infamous Q9:5 and ayat al-jizya and again you are reversing cause for effect

> 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.

Well you can also argue that this was the time of what Albert Hourani called "The Liberal Age" where we had the likes of Shiekh Tahtawi and Sheikh Mohamed Abdou in Egypt that wanted to see a much more liberal Islam. But again "orthodoxy" always wins because Ibn Taymiyya's reading of the sources is a valid reading of what islam is all about

>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.

I should know more about Shi3a Islam. However, I have always been impressed by Shi3a thinking and if shi3a Islam can produce the likes of Ali Dashti then there must be some hope. And how many suicide bombers did Iran produce? Not a single one

> 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.

Well Sunni Muslims had the likes of Huda Sha3rawi in Egypt that demanded the equality of women and got rid of the hijab and the niqab and all those symbols of the suppression of women by islam and by the Turks

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.

Islam has always been "radical" and what happened in the 1970's is that in the Sunni Arabic speaking world where every ideology was tried (to solve the economic and social problems) from the liberal age of Albert Hourani to Nasser's socialism to pan-Arab nationalism and nothing worked it was time to give islam a chance to solve such problems and this is the way I see it. And I believe that the worst enemy of islam is islam itself and we are seeing this in the Islamic Republic of Iran where many Iranians are saying enough with this nonsesne

>Dr Sultan referred to the Sira as proof of the irreversible stagnation of Islam,

She is correct here but i would also add the hadith and I'm sure you are aware of the recent debate in Egypt about the so called hadith rida3at al-kabeer or the breast feeding of the adult. Here is a country where most young people are either unemployed or under employed and the biggest debate is about how and when a woman is to breast feed an adult so they can have a platonic relationship! Very much similar to the debates in Europe in the Middle Ages about how many angles would stand on the tip of a pin or something. This is what stagnation is all about

> and referred to the marriage of Muhammad to Aisha who is commonly known as the Mother of Believers.

Well the sources of such fiction are non Arabs. I suspect that even the Umayyads did not know very much about Muhammad

>The Sira is unreliable and fictional in its contents including that of Aisha.

Very true. Wansbrough did not even try to reconstruct the life of Muhammad and regarded all of it as slavation history (read this as fiction)

>The age of Aisha often quoted as nine years of age when she married Muhammad

No al-Tabati tells us that she was 6 years old when she married Muhammad and they had sex when she was nine

> 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.

How could you reach any valid conclusions when you just admitted that all the sira is no more than fiction?

I think you also need to read Henri Lammens' "Fatima and the daughters of Muhammad" (and yes he had no like for islam but nontheless no one has been able to refute his valid conclusions about the fact that the sira is 100% bogus) and you will discover that it is all fiction including the stories about Muhammad and his daughters

What is even more surprising is the fact that we are told that Muhammad had a son from Mariyya al-Qibtiyya and his name was Ibrahim! Nontheless this son disappears in thin air or dies or god knows what. Oh his name Qutham (this is Muhammad's name) or his Kunya Abul Qasim (and who on earth was his son Qasim?) we will never know because all of his sira is no more than a qissa (read this as a story of fiction)

>Aisha's canonisation by Arabs was primarily political following the massacre of his household and descendants of his daughter Fatima in 680 CE.

No I disagree. 3A'isha's significance in Islam is that she is the source of much the isnads of the hadith and the ulama were always ready to quote her when faced with any problems in the Qur'an as in the case of the many mistakes in grammar and syntax in the Quran where in this case she was quoted as saying: hadha 3amal al-kuttab akhtauu fi al-kitab where she blames the scribes for the Quranic mistakes

>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.

Again, I doubt that 3Ai'sha even existed. If you read the sira and the maghazi (by al-Waqidi) the Muhammad that emerges is a nasty man and you can even read that he might have been homosexual. Now the author of the sira Ibn Ishaq was the grandson of a Syrian who was Christian and the redaction of the sira we have now was written by an Egyptian born man and that is Ibn Hisham and the authors of the great books of the hadith and tarikh and al-ansab were all Persians and let us not foeget that the Persians were dragged into islam and this could be the revenge of the peoples of the civilized Middle East again Arabian imperialism. Can I prove this? No I cannot

>The Muslims need to rewrite their history using scientific and critical thinking,

I agree

>and divorce politics from religion as it was prior to the days of Ibn Taymiyyah.

And what do you suggest?

I think that iran is a case in point. If we have an islamic republic Muslims will see for themselves that islam does not solve anything in the realm of the profane


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)