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Some comments to "Moderate muslim's test":

Reader comment on item: [Finding Moderate Muslims:] Do you believe in modernity?

Submitted by LK (Lithuania), Jan 10, 2005 at 06:04

Some comments to "Moderate muslim's test":

[Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam?]

This is quite problematic question. Western scholars have their right to delve into origins of Islam, even if their way of doing so is not very sympathetic to Islam, and Muslims have no right to threaten them or intimidate, let alone attempt to their lives, yet Muslims are not bound to acept their findings and are free to disagree with them. Muslims are also not obliged to believe in the validity of the scientific methods used by Western scholars. They have right to think that the traditional methods used by their scholars are more valid than Western one's. On the other hand, Muslim could never expect that Western scolars would agree in everything with Muslims concerning Islamic history, even Muslim not always agree(eg. differing historical vision by Sunnis and Shias).

The Western work on the origins of Islam have very unequal value, there are such collection of fairy tales as "Hagarism" of Crone and Cook, yet even in this book there are very interesting chapters especially those which do not deal directly with the origins of Islam. There are interesting studies by Gerald Hawting and Christoph Luxenberg, worthy of serious attention by Muslims. There are some another books of the same Crone and Cook, which I also consider worthy of a serious interest by Muslims. There is interesting research work on old Quranic manuscripts by Gerhard Puin and other scholars. In some cases, Muslims can expand their own knowledge of Islam from such books. In other cases, if they reject their findings using the language of arguments they can expand and strengthen the Islamic philosophical thought. But in any case it should be the language of arguments, not threats and curses.

Another problem is, that certain media present some doubtful and tentative findings of Western scholars as certainties. These media have full right to do so, and Muslims again have no right to threaten or intimidate them, yet Muslims have right vigorously protest against such things using legitimate forms of protest allowed by the law. In the Western society which is scientolatric, when some newspaper says that "the science has proven that Islam appeared not in Mekka" or that "Qur'an was not written down in the time of Umar" it carries very much weight, and Muslims should try to show that these are merely guesses and conjectures based on very limited data which allows all sorts of interpretations. But for protesting it is not enough to cry and shout, one has to present at least some arguments.

I would rephrase the article from the test so:
[Do you accept that Western scholars have the right of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam, even if it is unsympathetic to Islam, without being killed, threatened, molested, intimidated, pressured by Muslims?Do you accept that Western media have the right to make even unsympathetic presentations on Islam within the limits established by the Western law?]

[When Islamic customs conflict with secular laws (e.g., covering the face for drivers' license pictures), which should give way?]

In principle even the traditional fiqh tells that Muslim should obey even to unjust authority except the cases when this authority forbids Muslims cult, or forcibly attempts to life, health and ownership of Muslims, which is obviously not the case in the case of driver's licence. Yet I see here a problem from the human right view - making uncover one's face to a believing Muslim woman is equivalent to make a demand to a Western woman to uncover her breasts, so this would be a violation of the bodily integrity. So Western authorities should reconsider whether such demands do not violate their own principles. But as long as such laws are valid, Muslim women should comply, although they have full right to show their disagreement in a civilised form acceptable in the countries where they live.

[Do you accept the laws of a majority non-Muslim government and unreservedly pledge allegiance to that government?]
Muslim shall acept the laws of al-Sultaan whether the latter is islamic or non-islamic, pious or tyrannic or corrupt etc. with the limitations outlined above. Since Western authorities allow Muslim cult and protect their life and property as that of other citizens, Muslims have no right to rebel. Yet to pledge UNRESERVED allegiance to the government is not only unislamic, it is also undemocratic. Should democratically minded people UNRESERVEDLY pledge allegiance to a government which makes blatant human right violations? I think not. I think that Islamic Sharia accepted even much greater degree of allegiance to governments than democratic practice does.

I think the word "unreservedly" should be deleted.
I think there should be another point - Whether you accept that Wahhabism, Salafism, Ikhwanism, Mawdoodism are illegitimate forms of Islam even if they outwardly pretend to be moderate?(because inwardly they as little can be moderate as Nazis and Communist can)

[Do you accept the validity of other religions?]
It would be rephrased so:
Whether you accept that your fellow citizens of other religions have right to their own belief and worship unmolested and unhindered by you, even you may believe that their belief and worship are metaphysically wrong?

The point about "equal rights of Muslim women" should be deleted. It would only alienate many potential moderate Muslims at the same time having nothing to do with real security issues, as many non violent traditionalists would answer NOT to this point, while many Ikhwanis(even such as Tourabi) would hypocritically agree.

Concerning Sheikh Yousouf Hamza
It is very painful to see how this person who proclaimed himself a champion of traditional Islam with a goal to restore traditional scholarship, has sold his soul to Wahhabis and participate in their meetings. What is it - a "critical dialog" or the outright treason to his own ideals? I must remind a good proverb "do not go to gather apples together with the devil - you will lose your apples and your basket". It is seems this is happening to Sheykh Yousouf. May the Allmighty bring him back from the brink.

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