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Islam cannot be reformed

Reader comment on item: Can Islam Be Reformed?

Submitted by Amil Imani (United States), Jul 2, 2013 at 01:00

The idea of reforming Islam is not new. Islam cannot be reformed. Let us keep in mind that Islam claims that it is the perfect eternal faith for mankind. Splits have occurred and will continue to occur in Islam. Yet, reformation has not happened in nearly 1400 years and is not going to happen. Islam is carved in granite, just the way it is. No change. Allah's book is sealed.

About the only universal agreement that exists among Islamic authorities is that every word of the Qur'an is the word of Allah and is not subject to human modification, ever. The 'Hadith' also enjoys a similar sacrosanct standing. And of course, the faithful Muhammad's conduct as recorded in the Sunna is the model to be emulated. Hence, one can pick and choose, but one cannot discard or revise any part of the scripture. For this reason a Martin Luther type reformation has not happened and will not likely ever happen within Islam.

Numerous people have tried it in every imaginable way. The Mu'tazelis tried it, the Sufis tried it and hundreds of old and new schools tried it and they all failed. Islam is not reformable for at least the following reasons:

* At the heart of the problem is the Quran, Islam's sacred book, considered as a literally perfect and the immutable words of Allah.

* Islam is a perfect religion:

Quran.5:3 : Today have I perfected your religious law for you, and have bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that self-surrender unto Me shall be your religion.

How can fallible limited humans possibly reform or improve the handiwork of the all-knowing, all-wise author of the universe?

* Freedoms of all forms are anathema to Islam that is squarely based on total submission to the dictates and will of Allah. Muslims must obey Allah and His Messenger:

Quran.33:36: And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying.

* Violence is part and parcel of Islam.

Quran 2: 216: Fighting is ordained for you, even though it be hateful to you; but it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know.

* Reforming Islam requires discarding Shari'a, but also purging the Quran itself from enormous suras that are not only patently false, but totally repugnant to a civilized humanity. This line of thinking, to sanitize Islam is explicitly forbidden in the Quran:

Quran 2:85: Do you, then, believe in some parts of the divine writ and deny the truth of other parts? What, then, could be the reward of those among you who do such things but ignominy in the life of this world and, on the Day of Resurrection; they will be consigned to most grievous suffering? For God is not unmindful of what you do.

www.amilimani.com

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Daniel Pipes replies:

How amusing to write that Islam cannot be reduced to the Koran, and then to have Koranic verses hurled at me.

However central the Koran and Hadith may be, they are not the totality of the Muslim experience; the accumulated experience of Muslim peoples from Morocco to Indonesia and beyond matters no less. To dwell on Islam's scriptures is akin to interpreting the United States solely through the lens of the Constitution; ignoring the country's history would lead to a distorted understanding.

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