Resolution On Being Faithful Muslims and Loyal Americans


#1

Resolution of the Fiqh Council of North America

Adopted in its General Body Meeting held in Virginia on September 24-25, 2011

On Being Faithful Muslims and Loyal Americans
....
Contrary to erroneous perceptions and Islamophobic propaganda of political extremists from various backgrounds, the true and authentic teachings of Islam promote the sanctity of human life, dignity of all humans, and respect of human, civil and political rights. Islamic teachings uphold religious freedom and adherence to the same universal moral values which are accepted by the majority of people of all backgrounds and upon which the US Constitution was established and according to which the Bill of Rights was enunciated.

The Qur’an speaks explicitly about the imperative of just and peaceful co-existence, and the rights of legitimate self-defense against aggression and oppression that pose threats to freedom and security, provided that, a strict code of behavior is adhered to, including the protection of innocent non-combatants.

The foregoing values and teachings can be amply documented from the two primary sources of Islamic jurisprudence – the Qur’an and authentic Hadith. These values are rooted, not in political correctness or pretense, but on the universally accepted supreme objectives of Islamic Shari’ah, which is to protect religious liberty, life, reason, family and property of all. The Shari’ah, contrary to misrepresentations, is a comprehensive and broad guidance for all aspects of a Muslim’s life – spiritual, moral, social and legal. Secular legal systems in Western democracies generally share the same supreme objectives, and are generally compatible with Islamic Shari’ah.


#2

As a learned former Muslim, I believe it can be categorically stated that it is impossible for a practicing Muslim, according to any of the four schools of Sunni thought, to be loyal to a government that does not implement the Shariah. This is stated in no uncertain terms in the Shafi’i’s “Umdat al Salik”, translated in to English as “Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper: the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law” by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. This is not an unreliable or extremist book: it’s as mainstream as it gets. It was granted the al Azhar “imprimatur” as “accurately representing the faith and practice of the orthodox Sunni community”.

“Islamophobia” itself is a false concept and a slur. It’s a word used to indict anyone who contradicts the orthodox Sunni position on anything, ranging from the Shariah to the perfection of Muhammad, disagrees with the religion, or disagrees with the fallacious interpretation of it given by Islamist apologist organizations.

Indeed, the Fiqh Council of North America itself - along with many of its sister organizations - was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial of 2008, which discovered that virtually every well-funded or public Muslim group in America - the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Society of North America, etc. - are Muslim Brotherhood front groups (the Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of both Hamas and al-Qaeda).

A rapprochement of secular, egalitarian society that includes liberal democracy and religious freedom with orthodox Islam is impossible. The two concepts are irreconcilable. Islam has shown no effort or proclivity to reform (where are all of the “moderate Muslims” that hate terrorism? Usually arguing with Christians about why Islam is a religion of peace, instead of trying to reform the views of their co-religionists), but, the only hope for Muslim-World peace (without even mentioning the rabid anti-semitism and the ridiculous victim complex partially derived from the thesis of Said’s “Orientalism”) is a reform or secularization of Islam.

An Islam that follows the traditions of Muhammad (the ahadith) and the Shariah (Islamic law) based on them is, by its own venerable law, taught unanimously by all of the great doctors of Shariah from the 8th-9th century to the present day, must always be at war with the non-Islamic world, to impose upon it domination and “dhimmitude”: that is, the triple choice of Muhammad: “convert, pay the poll-tax and accept subjugation, or die”, due to the division of the world in Islamic theology to “dar al Islam” - the domain of Islam - and “dar al Harb” - the domain of War, which must be conquered by Islam, and have the Shariah imposed on it, as Islamic theology teaches that all of the world was given by Allah to the Muslims as booty (khabar), and is only illicitly held by Jews, Christians, and Secularists, waiting until the time is right to impose the Shariah on it in the name of Allah.

(Continued in second post below)


#3

(continued from above post)

The peaceful misinterpretations come from one of three sources:

1) A denial or the ignorance of the fundamental concept of "naskh", or Koranic abrogation, which is used to make sense of contradictory verses in the Koran by chronological order. The peaceful verses were revealed early in Muhammad's career, when the Muslim community was small. As he grew in power, violent verses began to be revealed, culminating in either the 9th or 5th surah, as the last to be revealed - also the most violent in the Koran. Ibn Kathir (a famous Koranic exegete) held that verses 9:5 and 9:29 together abrogated (nullified) over 120 peaceful verses, and demanded a state of never-ending war of territorial expansion and imposition of the Shariah by the faithful, making war the natural state, and not peace.

2) The dishonest Islamic adoption of the Sufi distinction (remember, that Sufis are often considered heretics or even non-Muslims by orthodox Sunnis) of the "greater jihad" and the "lesser jihad", by which verses in the Koran were interpreted in an allegorical manner to redefine jihad as meaning "a struggle against sin in the self", which is a definition commonly spouted by Islamic apologists today. However, this interpretation has no grounds or history in orthodox Islam - only in the mystical Sufism - and is specifically denounced in the Shariah and several ahadith. This exegesis obviously doesn't convince the violent terrorists that jihad means "striving to perfect oneself".

3) Straight lies under the Islamic theological concepts of taqiyya (mental reservation) and kitman (lip service). Taqiyya is actually commanded by the Shariah if speaking the truth would reflect poorly upon Islam or the believers, as it is a much greater sin to speak against the ummah (community of believers) than it is to lie. The greatest "taqiyya" of all is when Sunnis claim that only Shi'ites practice it: both do freely, albeit in different situations.

That many average Muslims seem both pious and patriotic, or observant and peaceful, comes not from the nature of Islam that's been supposedly "hijacked" by extremists: it comes from an ignorance of the law of Islam (the Shariah) itself on the matters of peace, war, jihad, abrogation, lawful authority, etc.

A Muslim in the West, not wanting to critically evaluate his religion, but believing in liberal democracy and all of its benefits, and not wanting to go to war, might read the Koran and see both peaceful and violent verses, and then personally decide in a manner similar to Protestant "private interpretation" that he likes the peaceful verses, so he will ignore the violent ones, just because of their contents. However, this decision has no religious validity according to the Islamic religious law, as all of the ulema (Muslim doctors of law) throughout history have interpreted it oppositely, based on an external consideration (chronology), that the violent verses supersede the peaceful ones, and, according to the same laws of the Shariah, have formed a binding opinion based on the concept of "ijma" or consensus, which is now unalterable, playing a similar role to an infallible decree ex Cathedra in Catholicism.

Even George W Bush's "Imam of Peace" al Tantawi of the most prestigious Islamic university al Azhar interprets in such a way: and, insofar as the learned theological/jurisprudent opinions on such matters go, he is a moderate. However, it doesn't matter, without a massive grassroots movement, if a single, or even many, theologians try to erase jihad ideology, as when they deny it, it is considered grounds for apostasy - as it has become an integral part of Islamic law, ratified for all eternity by the ijma of ulema some 1200 years ago - and apostasy demands execution: they are considered to have gone beyond the pale of Islam once physical jihad ideology is denied.

Thus, a Western Muslim might believe that the Koran can be interpreted in a peaceful way, and do so personally, but the doctors of law for the past 1400 years have interpreted it oppositely: it is from an ignorance of the Shariah that it is peacefully interpreted, not out of an ignorance of the "true Islam" that it is made violent. It's much like someone "privately interpreting" the Bible to be supportive of homosexual rights and "premarital sex"/fornication, but it doesn't lend validity to the private interpretation - the traditional interpretation is still the religiously-valid one.

The legal opinions expressed in the foregoing post align with those of the mainstream Shafi'i madhhab (school) of Islamic law, not the "extremist" schools such as Wahhabism, which are much, much more strict in interpretation and violent.


#4

quote="Khalid, post:3, topic:259972"

The peaceful misinterpretations come from one of three sources:

1) A denial or the ignorance of the fundamental concept of "naskh", or Koranic abrogation, which is used to make sense of contradictory verses in the Koran by chronological order. The peaceful verses were revealed early in Muhammad's career, when the Muslim community was small. As he grew in power, violent verses began to be revealed, culminating in either the 9th or 5th surah, as the last to be revealed - also the most violent in the Koran. Ibn Kathir (a famous Koranic exegete) held that verses 9:5 and 9:29 together abrogated (nullified) over 120 peaceful verses, and demanded a state of never-ending war of territorial expansion and imposition of the Shariah by the faithful, making war the natural state, and not peace.

2) The dishonest Islamic adoption rd of the Sufi distinction (remember, that Sufis are often considered heretics or even non-Muslims by orthodox Sunnis) of the "greater jihad" and the "lesser jihad", by which verses in the Koran were interpreted in an allegorical manner to redefine jihad as meaning "a struggle against sin in the self", which is a definition commonly spouted by Islamic apologists today. However, this interpretation has no grounds or history in orthodox Islam - only in the mystical Sufism - and is specifically denounced in the Shariah and several ahadith. This exegesis obviously doesn't convince the violent terrorists that jihad means "striving to perfect oneself".

3) Straight lies under the Islamic theological concepts of taqiyya (mental reservation) and kitman (lip service). Taqiyya is actually commanded by the Shariah if speaking the truth would reflect poorly upon Islam or the believers, as it is a much greater sin to speak against the ummah (community of believers) than it is to lie. The greatest "taqiyya" of all is when Sunnis claim that only Shi'ites practice it: both do freely, albeit in different situations.

That many average Muslims seem both pious and patriotic, or observant and peaceful, comes not from the nature of Islam that's been supposedly "hijacked" by extremists: it comes from an ignorance of the law of Islam (the Shariah) itself on the matters of peace, war, jihad, abrogation, lawful authority, etc.

A Muslim in the West, not wanting to critically evaluate his religion, but believing in liberal democracy and all of its benefits, and not wanting to go to war, might read the Koran and see both peaceful and violent verses, and then personally decide in a manner similar to Protestant "private interpretation" that he likes the peaceful verses, so he will ignore the violent ones, just because of their contents. However, this decision has no religious validity according to the Islamic religious law, as all of the ulema (Muslim doctors of law) throughout history have interpreted it oppositely, based on an external consideration (chronology), that the violent verses supersede the peaceful ones, and, according to the same laws of the Shariah, have formed a binding opinion based on the concept of "ijma" or consensus, which is now unalterable, playing a similar role to an infallible decree ex Cathedra in Catholicism.

Even George W Bush's "Imam of Peace" al Tantawi of the most prestigious Islamic university al Azhar interprets in such a way: and, insofar as the learned theological/jurisprudent opinions on such matters go, he is a moderate. However, it doesn't matter, without a massive grassroots movement, if a single, or even many, theologians try to erase jihad ideology, as when they deny it, it is considered grounds for apostasy - as it has become an integral part of Islamic law, ratified for all eternity by the ijma of ulema some 1200 years ago - and apostasy demands execution: they are considered to have gone beyond the pale of Islam once physical jihad ideology is denied.

Thus, a Western Muslim might believe that the Koran can be interpreted in a peaceful way, and do so personally, but the doctors of law for the past 1400 years have interpreted it oppositely: it is from an ignorance of the Shariah that it is peacefully interpreted, not out of an ignorance of the "true Islam" that it is made violent. It's much like someone "privately interpreting" the Bible to be supportive of homosexual rights and "premarital sex"/fornication, but it doesn't lend validity to the private interpretation - the traditional interpretation is still the religiously-valid one.

The legal opinions expressed in the foregoing post align with those of the mainstream Shafi'i madhhab (school) of Islamic law, not the "extremist" schools such as Wahhabism, which are much, much more strict in interpretation and violent.

[/quote]

One of the most eye-popping and astounding couple of posts I've read on the forums. Thank you for your frank, candid, and excellent rebuttals.


#5

one of the most eye-popping couple of posts I've ever read in the forums. Thank you for taking the time to reply to the original post. Incredibly informative. I've studied Islam over the past several years and your two posts packed more info than many books I must admit. Much appreciated.


#6

[quote="Khalid, post:2, topic:259972"]
As a learned former Muslim

[/quote]

Your learning I respect--your status as a former Muslim probably makes it harder, not easier, for you to understand Islam. Certainly ex-Catholics typically show more of a tendency to caricature Catholicism than other non-Catholics. The same seems to be true across the board for people who have abandoned a religious tradition.

I believe it can be categorically stated that it is impossible for a practicing Muslim, according to any of the four schools of Sunni thought, to be loyal to a government that does not implement the Shariah. This is stated in no uncertain terms in the Shafi'i's "Umdat al Salik", translated in to English as "Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper: the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law" by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. This is not an unreliable or extremist book: it's as mainstream as it gets. It was granted the al Azhar "imprimatur" as "accurately representing the faith and practice of the orthodox Sunni community".

The Shafi'i school is certainly mainstream, but I understand that the Hanafi school takes more liberal positions on many issues. I'm not claiming that this is one of them, but I question whether one can take one influential late medieval Shafi'i work as speaking for all four schools.

Can you point me to the specific passage in Reliance of the Traveller dealing with this issue?

"Islamophobia" itself is a false concept and a slur. It's a word used to indict anyone who contradicts the orthodox Sunni position on anything, ranging from the Shariah to the perfection of Muhammad, disagrees with the religion, or disagrees with the fallacious interpretation of it given by Islamist apologist organizations.

I myself dislike the coinage of words ending in "phobia." However, I have encountered a level of fear and hatred and irrationality among many Americans speaking of Islam that certainly seems pathological to me.

Indeed, the Fiqh Council of North America itself - along with many of its sister organizations - was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial of 2008, which discovered that virtually every well-funded or public Muslim group in America - the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Society of North America, etc. - are Muslim Brotherhood front groups (the Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of both Hamas and al-Qaeda).

To substantiate this, you would need to define "front groups" and give some documentation for your claim.

A rapprochement of secular, egalitarian society that includes liberal democracy and religious freedom with orthodox Islam is impossible.

I think it is odd, and probably unwise, for someone not a member of a religious tradition (even someone such as yourself who used to be a member) to make a claim about what is or is not "orthodox" within that tradition. That is for Muslims to decide. I have no interest in maintaining Islamic orthodoxy--surely you don't either? So why raise this point at all? There are Muslims who consider themselves to be orthodox who argue that a democratic country that does not persecute Muslims is not to be regarded as part of the "house of war" (Tariq Ramadan is one particularly well-known proponent of this view). Now maybe in your view this isn't "orthodox" Islam. But with all due respect, who cares? You aren't Muslim anymore, so your view on what is "orthodox Islam" is irrelevant, just as mine is.

You also ignore the widespread calls within Islam for "reopening the gates of ijtihad" and rejecting the traditional four-schools approach. This certainly has its dangers for us non-Muslims as well as its promise, since it may give rein to fundamentalist as well as liberal reinterpretations of Islam (indeed, to judge from John Esposito's work on the subject, it appears that the two have often been closely connected).

The two concepts are irreconcilable. Islam has shown no effort or proclivity to reform

There has been a good deal of reform in Islam in the past century. Again, John Esposito has written quite a bit about this in his book Islam: The Straight Path. and as I said, this is not unequivocally a good thing--many radical Muslims are "reformers." Indeed, the Wahhabi movement of the late eighteenth century was a major reform movement within Islam. I see no historical basis for your claim whatsoever.

(where are all of the "moderate Muslims" that hate terrorism? Usually arguing with Christians about why Islam is a religion of peace, instead of trying to reform the views of their co-religionists)

Certainly the Sunni emphasis on Muslim solidarity hinders the response of moderate Muslims to radicalism. But I would like to hear from someone with well-established credentials in the study of modern Islam before accepting the claim that "moderate Muslims" are doing nothing to resist radicalism.

but, the only hope for Muslim-World peace (without even mentioning the rabid anti-semitism and the ridiculous victim complex partially derived from the thesis of Said's "Orientalism") is a reform or secularization of Islam.

The two aren't necessarily the same--again, I refer you to Esposito's work. Islamic "modernism" was an alternative to secularization, and led in both liberal and fundamentalist directions.

Edwin


#7

quote="Khalid, post:3, topic:259972"

The peaceful misinterpretations come from one of three sources:

1) A denial or the ignorance of the fundamental concept of "naskh", or Koranic abrogation . . . . Ibn Kathir (a famous Koranic exegete) held that verses 9:5 and 9:29 together abrogated (nullified) over 120 peaceful verses, and demanded a state of never-ending war of territorial expansion and imposition of the Shariah by the faithful, making war the natural state, and not peace.

[/quote]

Again, I note that you are citing a 14th-century Shafi'i scholar. I certainly accept that this is a mainstream, traditional Islamic position. But to support your sweeping generalizations you need a broader range of sources.

You are being insulting when you assume that either Muslims or non-Muslims who believe there can be a peaceful Islam are "ignorant" of naskh. You assume that Muslims cannot reinterpret their own tradition--yet many do this. Again, this may not be "orthodox," but I fail to see why that is a matter of importance to non-Muslims.

2) The dishonest Islamic adoption of the Sufi distinction (remember, that Sufis are often considered heretics or even non-Muslims by orthodox Sunnis) of the "greater jihad" and the "lesser jihad",

First of all, the source you yourself cited,Reliance of the Traveller, Book 0, sect. 9.0, reproduces this distinction. Also, the translator of Reliance is himself a Sufi according to this website. (The more I look at the text of Reliance available online, the more confused I get as to which parts are by al-Misri, which by the translator, and which by other Islamic scholars. . . . ) You can't simultaneously tout Reliance as a good representative of mainstream Islamic thought and dismiss Sufism as marginal to Islam.

Now it's clear that Reliance doesn't use the distinction to undercut the need for the "lesser jihad." Certainly the view that the greater jihad is the only real jihad is not the mainstream, traditional Islamic view. We have no disagreement there.

This exegesis obviously doesn't convince the violent terrorists that jihad means "striving to perfect oneself".

Again, that seems irrelevant. Supposedly we are discussing mainstream Islam that follows the four schools of fiqh. The radicals typically follow ibn-Taymiyya, I believe, who is a particularly radical offshoot of the Hanbali school.


#8

3) Straight lies under the Islamic theological concepts of taqiyya (mental reservation) and kitman (lip service). Taqiyya is actually commanded by the Shariah if speaking the truth would reflect poorly upon Islam or the believers, as it is a much greater sin to speak against the ummah (community of believers) than it is to lie. The greatest "taqiyya" of all is when Sunnis claim that only Shi'ites practice it: both do freely, albeit in different situations.

Mental reservation and straight lies are generally not the same thing. Your claims here lack substantiation.

There is also some allowance for mental reservation in the Catholic ethical tradition, and this has historically been exploited by anti-Catholics in precisely the same way that the concept of taqiyya is exploited by anti-Muslims today. It astounds me that conservative Catholics on this forum are so oblivious to the parallels between their accusations against Islam and traditional Protestant accusations against Catholicism.

To claim that any time a Muslim says something that doesn't square with your interpretation of "orthodox" Islam that Muslim must either be ignorant or lying is simply unjust. It is quite possible that the Muslim in question simply interprets Islam differently from you! Again, whether this is "orthodox" or not is not really a relevant question for non-Muslims. Since Islam is itself best seen as a Christian heresy, it seems ridiculous to me to fret ourselves over whether Muslims are being "orthodox' by the standards of their own heretical tradition:D

A Muslim in the West, not wanting to critically evaluate his religion, but believing in liberal democracy and all of its benefits, and not wanting to go to war, might read the Koran and see both peaceful and violent verses, and then personally decide in a manner similar to Protestant "private interpretation" that he likes the peaceful verses, so he will ignore the violent ones, just because of their contents. However, this decision has no religious validity according to the Islamic religious law, as all of the ulema (Muslim doctors of law) throughout history have interpreted it oppositely

Even if you're right--why should we care?

Even George W Bush's "Imam of Peace" al Tantawi of the most prestigious Islamic university al Azhar interprets in such a way

In what way exactly?

Although I have challenged many of your claims, I want to thank you for your substantive discussion and particularly for pointing me to *Reliance. *I've read a bit more online about it since responding to your first post, and it appears that you were right in taking it to be a central text for folks who are trying to maintain "traditional" Islam over against both Wahhabism and modernism.

I continue to wish that a manual from the Hanafi school was equally accessible to those of us who do not read Arabic. And I continue to question whether 14th-century scholarship should be taken as representative of all Islamic scholarship. I have encountered the claim that post-Crusade Islamic scholars interpreted jihad much more rigorously than earlier scholars. This may be one of those overly generous claims made by self-deprecating Westerners:D, but certainly it is not a claim that can be refuted by citing 14th-century texts.

Edwin


#9

Khaled,

Welcome and thank you for your contribution in exposing certain Muslim fronts that are working to change our country.

What is also disturbing is that these same organizations refuse the same rights to non-Muslims in nations of their origin, and are filing lawsuits to get their way. The other, as is now being revealed on Fox News is a Muslim girl wanting to wear her head scarf in ROTC. Then Christians should be allowed to wear symbols of faith on their uniforms. Actions such as these are as well as the information you have shared are being noted by citizens across the country.

We also know there are areas within European countries that are becoming Muslim only and Sharia being implemented. Such information is not being brought forth by by the major communication networks except the vilified Fox News, -- that also supports Pro Life causes.


#10

Wow, this pool is deep! :)

I myself often wonder what to think about the Islamic rate of immigration in this country. I mosque and residence boys school has gone up not 2 miles from my house and I drive past it every day. They've been model neighbors and I've no complaints about anything substantial. Edwin is right on in noting the danger of potentially committing the same sorts of bigotry and discrimination today against muslims that catholics suffered just 100 years ago.

But I also wonder where the truth really lies. The Know-Nothings simply lied about catholicism and made things up helter skelter to defame catholicism. CAF readers today still hear the LOL accusations those guys first made up (Jesuits killing Lincoln, etc).

Muslims are human and humans, by nature are generally good, but fallen. No surprise then that an Abrahamic religion would produce generally good, but fallen people. But unlike Edwin, I think it DOES matter what the plain message of the Koran is, not just the prevailing muslim interpretation of it. Jesus provided an unambiguous and clear teaching of love, forgiveness and redemption and christians STILL 2,000 years later have made paltry progress stamping out our inherent cultural defects.

I can't help but be worried about an influx of Muslims who hold such an imperfect and flawed man as Muhammed up as the example of human perfection. As an analogy, many people who shoot for straight As in school get a few Bs anyway, are disappointed at first, but eventually realize they did pretty well. But people who attend school never aiming for higher than Cs generally don't get them, do they? In this sense, the plain teaching (without nuancing and spinning) of Muhammed and the authoritative interpretations of the early muslims MATTER.

Humans have a nasty fallen tendency towards violence, grudges and rationalizing harm done to others. Christians have managed it in spite of Christ's clear teaching, example and Grace all as aids in opposing it. I have serious concerns about the prospects for a religious system that unchangeably contains so many openings for rationalizing fallen human appetites.


#11

[quote="Contarini, post:8, topic:259972"]
Mental reservation and straight lies are generally not the same thing. Your claims here lack substantiation.

There is also some allowance for mental reservation in the Catholic ethical tradition, and this has historically been exploited by anti-Catholics in precisely the same way that the concept of taqiyya is exploited by anti-Muslims today. It astounds me that conservative Catholics on this forum are so oblivious to the parallels between their accusations against Islam and traditional Protestant accusations against Catholicism.

Even if you're right--why should we care?

Edwin

[/quote]

Edwin, where do I begin. To equate taqiyya with catholic mental reservation is either being dishonest, or shows an abject lack of understanding of the subject matter. Have you even picked up a Qu'ran and read it? I'm not talking about googling your subject matter, finding a few choice quotes, and reading a few articles in wikipedia. I'm talking about actually studying your subject. Confirming as you graciously did that the Traveler is in fact a standard work to an Alim comes off as being incredibly arrogant. You made a statement earlier in your commentary that it should be left up to those who belong to their particular faith to determine what that faith believes, and yet contradict your own rule when it comes to catholicism and Islam even in the above quote, and have done so in many other posts outside of this particular thread. Contradicting a hafidh (look it up) as Khaled was, and wondering why standard Islamic works are not in any other language than Arabic makes me laugh.

Why should we care? Tell that to the families of the CIA agents killed not too long ago by an al qaida operative who engaged in taqiyya to gain their trust before he blew them up. Tell that to the soldiers families who were killed when Ibn Awlaki who publicly condemned the attacks on 9/11 while encouraging the deaths of Americans and whose direction had a direct impact in the deaths of the soldiers at Fort Hood. Please educate yourself before making rank ignorant comments.


#12

Taqiyya doesn't translate perfectly as mental reservation (if one didn't notice, I was trying to draw parallels between Catholic articles of faith and Islam, to make it easier for one without a background in Islam to understand) but is somewhat equivalent to it. It has more of a connotation of this: "lying for the religious, social, or political benefit of Islam or the Islamic community or a Muslim, or in order to not harm the Islamic community or Islam or a Muslim with uncomfortable truth". (In Islam, if one tells the truth and it is harmful to a fellow believer, the truth is considered slander in any circumstance, and is a grave sin; to tell a lie [what we consider 'slander'] that has the same effect is calumny, and a greater sin).

Islamic ethics is heavily utilitarian ("ends justify means"): if something is good for the Muslims, it should be obtained, even if dishonesty or violence is required; likewise, if something is bad for the Muslims, it must be avoided at all costs. Islamic ethics is that: "What is good for the Muslims is what is right and good; what is not good for the Muslims is what is wrong and evil".

And, as far as taqiyya goes, I believe I pointed out that many Muslims are completely unaware of it, or unaware of it beyond, "Shi'ites did that to avoid Sunni persecution back in the Abbasid days" - just as many Muslims are unaware of the groundwork of the understanding of the Shariah (usul al fiqh) and/or are not very observant of it beyond the minimum "five pillars" of individual obligation (the fardh ayn) if that, i.e. doing Hajj once, giving only 2.5% zakat, praying only the minimum number of rakat in each salaat, etc., without engaging in the highly recommended emulation of the superogatory example of Muhammad (the "sunnah muakkadah" or "greater sunnah").

Just as Hanafis are not allowed to eat shellfish by their school of law, and must pray a sixth prayer (witr or night vigil) each day as a wajib (another word for mandatory; has a shade of meaning in difference, but not in practice, from fardh) prayer, for a total of six prayers a day: now, I would say about 50% of Muslims or more are Hanafi. How many pray the witr in the middle of the night? The Hanafis also have difference categories of ahkam (i.e. levels of righteousness in action), dividing "makruh" (abominations, but not haraam) in to "prohibitively disliked" and "merely disliked" based on the preponderance of evidence; "prohibitively disliked" is in effect equivalent to haraam, so, albeit that the Hanafi school seems to have more fine-grained distinction between good and bad (fardh, wajib, sunnah muakkadah, sunnah, mubah, makruh, makruh tahriman, haraam), fardh and wajib both collapse well in to fardh, and makruh tahriman and haraam are both in effect haraam, leaving the standard five-level ahkan of the other three madhhab.

It is undoubted that the Hanafi are the most rationalist of the bunch of Sunni schools, but "rationalist" or "liberal" as descriptors lose the meaning we attach to them in the West when used to describe differences in Islam. Shi'a are technically even more rational, as one of the bases of Shi'a usul is pure reason (aql, which translates slightly differently from "reason" in the sense of Aristotle); however, some rulings of the Shi'a seem to be much more over-traditionalist than even Hanbali interpretations, and some Hanafi interpretations are more strict that Shafi'i ones, and vice verse. One can not classify the schools as "more" or "less" traditional or conservative, except for the possible exception of the Hanbali (which is much less conservative when it comes to prayer and dispensations, but generally, much more conservative). Note how it is impossible to speak of the matter in any more than generalizations.

A "pseudo-school" called the Salafi or Wahhabi has sprung up as well, and is rapidly gaining adherents due to it being heavily funded by the KSA, which funds much if not most Western Islamic activity. It eschews the traditional interpretations in favor of a "hadith-only" approach, and ends up much more insanely traditionalist - more traditional than possibly has ever existed in history - as a result. The above poster was right in saying that most Salafis probably trace their intellectual and exegetical ancestry to Ibn Taymiyyah, who was famous for declaring that Muslims who did not practice Islam perfectly by his definition were not Muslims, but apostates (a position earlier held by the Khawarij [meaning "the leavers" or "those who left", essentially turncoats, who held mainly political opinions, but the theological opinion that capital sin made you an apostate instead of a sinful Muslim] in the reign of Ali, but never "Sunnified" until Taymiyyah), thus opening the door for the killing of other Muslims (in contravention of specific commands in both the Koran and Hadith that a Muslim is never to shed the blood of another Muslim - the Shi'a and Sunni have rarely considered each other "true Muslims") even of the same branch, who interpreted Islam differently or weren't his definition of pious (thus allowing a pretext for one Sunni ruler to attack another Sunni ruler): this made him very popular with rulers who could use this to gain political power, and rulers love to gain power due to fallen nature.

(Continued below)


#13

(Continued from above)

The closest one can come to classifying different schools as "more" or "less" is "reliant on the ahadith", being that the Hanbali are most reliant on the ahadith, and the Hanafi least; in some matters, this makes Hanbali rulings stricter. In some matters, it makes them less. In matters of war and peace, since it's not very possible to get more intolerant than the sahih sittah, the Hanafi will generally have a more "enlightened" view; but, when it comes to the strictness of prayer, and how perfectly it must be executed, and how many rakat must be prayed, the Hanafi become more strict.

For example, in Islam, it is considered of the most great merit to perform all of the actions that the Prophet did, as the Prophet did them as handed down in the traditions to the best of one's ability. Due to different interpretations, at zuhr/dhuhr (prayer immediately after noon), always consists of a kernel of four rakat, or cycles of prayer, but for a Shafi'i, to do two rakat before the salaah fulfills the sunnah muakkadah for "Prophetic rakat before dhuhr", whereas to do two rakat before dhuhr for a Hanafi would be worthless, as it isn't considered Prophetic example; four rakat must be performed instead. This makes a full Shafi'i dhuhr include eight rakat (2+4+2), but a full Hanafi dhuhr consist of ten (4+4+2). A similar situation arises in witr (night vigil prayer): for the Hanafi, it is mandatory to do what the Shafi'i consider a minimum witr, that is, two rakat followed by the witr itself (2+1), whereas, for the Shafi'i, it's considered optional but recommended to do the witr, but if one does perform it, it is disliked to only do the minimum; a Shafi'i witr is generally 11 rakat (2+2+2+2+2+1), or five sets of two rakat followed by the witr. This is true under ideal conditions; in the Shafi'i school, depending on different circumstances, the entire prayer-law changes.

I give these examples to try to give an example of the Byzantine nature of Islamic law to Muslims, even of a single school. The unity of the details of Islamic law is much exaggerated by non-Muslims, and the disunity of essentials (such as the five pillars, physical jihad ideology, and dress code) is likewise exaggerated.

I believe the above to be accurate, but I am not and was not a scholar of the Hanafi school. The portions relating to the Shafi'i school are accurate.

Note: just because I had memorized the Koran doesn't make me an authority on any part of Islam; there are likely several million hafidh alive today, not to mention that most of Islam (including the five pillars, even the shahadah, which is nowhere in the Koran itself) is not derived from the Koran, but from the hadith, of which I had memorized very few; however, I had the sets of books and the commentaries (such as the massive nineteen-volume "Grant of the Creator" commentary on al-Bukhari) and had to look them up.

Very few books are translated out of or in to Arabic. Those Islamic texts that ever are translated out of Arabic generally end up in Urdu, if anything, not a Western language. Hardly any English texts on Islamic law are extant; however, for general Islamic writing, the "Brigham Young University - Islamic Translation Series" is most excellent in my experience.

I found - heretically, apostatically, blasphemously - that the best part of having memorized the Koran and having a good grip of classical Arabic is that I can take up Muhammad's challenge of 2:22 successfully:

"If you [the reader/hearer] disbelieve the things which we [Allah] have revealed to our slave [Muhammad], then produce a surah like unto it, and call on your intercessor, if you [think that it is possible to] have one besides Allah [to intercede on your behalf], if you are of truth." (Author's translation)

I have indeed written false surat that many of the irreligious find entertaining, and that are as pleasant to the ear or more so than the actual Koran (which is undoubtedly true, albeit that a good one ayah in ten is incomprehensible in the original tongue, and several contain errors, which are glossed in translation).

I will later take the time to rebut or reply to (note that I did not necessarily say rebut exclusively, as some good points have been made) those things brought in to the conversation, those assertions of John Esposito (at least he's somewhat reliable, albeit heavily clouded and interfered with by the American academic consensus on Oriental studies, hindered by the "intellectual terrorism" of Professor Edward Said's book, "Orientalism", which is a subject for book-length "Refuting Orientalism" and "Rebuttal of Said's Orientalism" essays, as have been published). At least it seems that you can see through the more transparent Islamapologists such as Karen Armstrong.

Tariq Ramadan, by the way, is the son of Said Ramadan, who was the son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al Banna (he married al Banna's daughter). I've read some of his writings, and I find him to be like the "Dinesh d'Souza"-cum-"Oprah Winfrey" of Islam.

When I said "front group" in my original post, what I meant by a front is an organization that funnels funding to the Muslim Brotherhood and operates to further its interests in a non-transparent manner. This, I believe, is the definition used in the Holy Land Foundation trial, when these organizations were listed as unindicted co-conspirators. See secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Holy_Land_Foundation_for_Relief_and_Development


#14

quote="Khalid, post:3, topic:259972"

The peaceful misinterpretations come from one of three sources:

1) A denial or the ignorance of the fundamental concept of "naskh", or Koranic abrogation, which is used to make sense of contradictory verses in the Koran by chronological order. The peaceful verses were revealed early in Muhammad's career, when the Muslim community was small. As he grew in power, violent verses began to be revealed, culminating in either the 9th or 5th surah, as the last to be revealed - also the most violent in the Koran. Ibn Kathir (a famous Koranic exegete) held that verses 9:5 and 9:29 together abrogated (nullified) over 120 peaceful verses, and demanded a state of never-ending war of territorial expansion and imposition of the Shariah by the faithful, making war the natural state, and not peace.

2) The dishonest Islamic adoption of the Sufi distinction (remember, that Sufis are often considered heretics or even non-Muslims by orthodox Sunnis) of the "greater jihad" and the "lesser jihad", by which verses in the Koran were interpreted in an allegorical manner to redefine jihad as meaning "a struggle against sin in the self", which is a definition commonly spouted by Islamic apologists today. However, this interpretation has no grounds or history in orthodox Islam - only in the mystical Sufism - and is specifically denounced in the Shariah and several ahadith. This exegesis obviously doesn't convince the violent terrorists that jihad means "striving to perfect oneself".

3) Straight lies under the Islamic theological concepts of taqiyya (mental reservation) and kitman (lip service). Taqiyya is actually commanded by the Shariah if speaking the truth would reflect poorly upon Islam or the believers, as it is a much greater sin to speak against the ummah (community of believers) than it is to lie. The greatest "taqiyya" of all is when Sunnis claim that only Shi'ites practice it: both do freely, albeit in different situations.

That many average Muslims seem both pious and patriotic, or observant and peaceful, comes not from the nature of Islam that's been supposedly "hijacked" by extremists: it comes from an ignorance of the law of Islam (the Shariah) itself on the matters of peace, war, jihad, abrogation, lawful authority, etc.

A Muslim in the West, not wanting to critically evaluate his religion, but believing in liberal democracy and all of its benefits, and not wanting to go to war, might read the Koran and see both peaceful and violent verses, and then personally decide in a manner similar to Protestant "private interpretation" that he likes the peaceful verses, so he will ignore the violent ones, just because of their contents. However, this decision has no religious validity according to the Islamic religious law, as all of the ulema (Muslim doctors of law) throughout history have interpreted it oppositely, based on an external consideration (chronology), that the violent verses supersede the peaceful ones, and, according to the same laws of the Shariah, have formed a binding opinion based on the concept of "ijma" or consensus, which is now unalterable, playing a similar role to an infallible decree ex Cathedra in Catholicism.

Even George W Bush's "Imam of Peace" al Tantawi of the most prestigious Islamic university al Azhar interprets in such a way: and, insofar as the learned theological/jurisprudent opinions on such matters go, he is a moderate. However, it doesn't matter, without a massive grassroots movement, if a single, or even many, theologians try to erase jihad ideology, as when they deny it, it is considered grounds for apostasy - as it has become an integral part of Islamic law, ratified for all eternity by the ijma of ulema some 1200 years ago - and apostasy demands execution: they are considered to have gone beyond the pale of Islam once physical jihad ideology is denied.

Thus, a Western Muslim might believe that the Koran can be interpreted in a peaceful way, and do so personally, but the doctors of law for the past 1400 years have interpreted it oppositely: it is from an ignorance of the Shariah that it is peacefully interpreted, not out of an ignorance of the "true Islam" that it is made violent. It's much like someone "privately interpreting" the Bible to be supportive of homosexual rights and "premarital sex"/fornication, but it doesn't lend validity to the private interpretation - the traditional interpretation is still the religiously-valid one.

The legal opinions expressed in the foregoing post align with those of the mainstream Shafi'i madhhab (school) of Islamic law, not the "extremist" schools such as Wahhabism, which are much, much more strict in interpretation and violent.

[/quote]

interesting stuff here... Both in the positive and the negative sense. I must admit that I haven't kept up with all that you've written - do you think you could minimise things to one post / topic at a time :thumbsup:
Perhaps you'd like to tell us a bit more about yourself. I've been told off for not making clear that my comments are my own opinions etc you may wish to do the same?
Generally - as a student of Islam myself - I'd say that you've papered over quite a bit and made some broad and bold statements which are contentious.
Again forgive me for not going through everything, but I have a few questions about the first couple of posts. The first one is why have you said Sunni Muslims view Sufis as heterodox when the mainstay of Sunni Islam has been the turuq (mystical orders)? This is especially important when you give Sh Nuh Keller as an example of Sunni Islam when he is the spiritual guide of the Shadhiliyyah tariqa!?!
Also I would say your comments on taqiyyah are really 'innovative' and sound nothing like Sunni Islam's understanding, from say Ghazali's works.
Thanks


#15

[quote="jbeck43, post:11, topic:259972"]
Edwin, where do I begin.

[/quote]

How about sound reason, leavened with a little courtesy.

To equate taqiyya with catholic mental reservation is either being dishonest, or shows an abject lack of understanding of the subject matter.

Insults are not arguments. As Khalid admits, he is the one who made the analogy--from the little I know on the subject, it seemed like a fairly reasonable one. I take the point that of course the two concepts are not exactly the same--no two concepts in different cultures/religions are.

I'm talking about actually studying your subject. Confirming as you graciously did that the Traveler is in fact a standard work to an Alim comes off as being incredibly arrogant.

I'm not sure how. I did not "confirm that it was a standard work to an Alim"--I never claimed to know that one way or the other. I found a website that seemed to confirm that the work has gained acceptance among contemporary Muslims, especially in the West, who are trying to maintain a traditional Islam against both liberals and radicals. That eased the fears I had earlier had that Khalid might be taking one particular late medieval work and treating it as more standard than it is. (It is, of course, still possible that even what passes for "traditional" Islam is still based on a particular, relatively narrow slice of Sunni tradition.)

I'm not sure what sort of approach, other than uncritical acceptance of Khalid's claims, you would fail to find "arrogant."

I confess that I have only a general knowledge of Islam--I do not know Arabic, for instance. However, that does not mean that I'm going to abdicate my responsibility to think critically about claims made on a discussion forum.

You made a statement earlier in your commentary that it should be left up to those who belong to their particular faith to determine what that faith believes, and yet contradict your own rule when it comes to catholicism and Islam even in the above quote, and have done so in many other posts outside of this particular thread.

And yet you give not one single example of these supposed contradictions. Allegations without evidence are just a waste of both our time. Why bother?

Contradicting a hafidh (look it up) as Khaled was

I'm sorry, but I have heard far too many ex-Catholics brag about their deep expertise in their former faith to be impressed by such claims coming from an ex-Muslim. The fact that Khaled has memorized the Qur'an is certainly impressive, but doesn't mean that his generalizations about Islam are to be preferred to those of Western scholars who may have a broader perspective on Islam as a whole.

I don't mean any insult to Khalid by saying this--I have found his posts substantive and informative. But members of a religious tradition often mistake their own segment of that tradition for the whole. Ex-members are in a particularly disadvantaged position, lacking both the relatively "objective" perspective of an outside scholar and the sympathetic perspective of the insider.

and wondering why standard Islamic works are not in any other language than Arabic makes me laugh.

I didn't wonder anything of the sort. I expressed the wish for it to be otherwise. Your malicious misrepresentation of what I am saying does you no credit.

Why should we care? Tell that to the families of the CIA agents killed not too long ago by an al qaida operative who engaged in taqiyya to gain their trust before he blew them up.

So you're somehow suggesting that using deceit to infiltrate the enemy in guerrilla warfare is a practice peculiar to Islam:confused:

Tell that to the soldiers families who were killed when Ibn Awlaki who publicly condemned the attacks on 9/11 while encouraging the deaths of Americans and whose direction had a direct impact in the deaths of the soldiers at Fort Hood. Please educate yourself before making rank ignorant comments.

These tragic events do not answer my question: why should we care whether those Muslims who reject violence are "orthodox" or not? Certainly if they have trouble defending their position from orthodox Islamic sources, their prospects of success may be less rosy than we might like. If that's all Khalid is saying--that we should be aware of the difficulties faced by liberal Muslims in reinterpreting the harsh aspects of their tradition--then I entirely agree with him. But Khalid seems to be saying that such Muslims are "ignorant."

Is someone like Muhammad Talbi ignorant?

Edwin


#16

[quote="manualman, post:10, topic:259972"]
Wow, this pool is deep! :)

I myself often wonder what to think about the Islamic rate of immigration in this country. I mosque and residence boys school has gone up not 2 miles from my house and I drive past it every day. They've been model neighbors and I've no complaints about anything substantial. Edwin is right on in noting the danger of potentially committing the same sorts of bigotry and discrimination today against muslims that catholics suffered just 100 years ago.

But I also wonder where the truth really lies. The Know-Nothings simply lied about catholicism and made things up helter skelter to defame catholicism. CAF readers today still hear the LOL accusations those guys first made up (Jesuits killing Lincoln, etc).

[/quote]

I'm not sure that sheer fabrication was as common as you imply. The idea that Jesuits killed Lincoln was paranoid speculation rather than fabrication, rooted in the fact that John Wilkes Booth was a convert to Catholicism.

Muslims are human and humans, by nature are generally good, but fallen. No surprise then that an Abrahamic religion would produce generally good, but fallen people. But unlike Edwin, I think it DOES matter what the plain message of the Koran is, not just the prevailing muslim interpretation of it. Jesus provided an unambiguous and clear teaching of love, forgiveness and redemption and christians STILL 2,000 years later have made paltry progress stamping out our inherent cultural defects.

I agree that the flaws in the Qur'an make that job much harder for Muslims.

I dispute the notion of a "plain message of the Qur'an" just as I dispute the notion of a "plain message of Scripture." There are certainly valid historical theories about the original meaning and context of the Qur'an, but these are of little relevance for Muslims--far less, at least unless/until Islam changes in a much more modernist direction, than the relevance of "historical Jesus" theories for Christians--a relevance that is itself rather limited.

What Khalid is speaking of is not the "plain message" of the Qur'an, but the meaning of the Qur'an as traditionally interpreted in the four schools of fiqh--particularly the Shafi'i school, it would appear.

And certainly that's highly relevant. I think Khalid's absolutely right to point out that Islam will not suddenly become nice and fuzzy and peaceful if the more traditional Muslims reassert themselves over against the modern fundamentalist groups.

I can't help but be worried about an influx of Muslims who hold such an imperfect and flawed man as Muhammed up as the example of human perfection.

I think this is a valid point--one that I tried to make, in fact (with regard to violence) to my Sufi-convert relatives some years ago (in the only lengthy religious conversation I've had with them--they live in Britain and I live in the U.S.).

I have a lot of concerns about the spread of Islam as well.

Edwin


#17

[quote="Khalid, post:12, topic:259972"]
Taqiyya doesn't translate perfectly as mental reservation

[/quote]

Point taken.

Islamic ethics is heavily utilitarian ("ends justify means")

I have noticed, and been disturbed by, this tendency. I want to be careful overgeneralizing, however.

It is undoubted that the Hanafi are the most rationalist of the bunch of Sunni schools, but "rationalist" or "liberal" as descriptors lose the meaning we attach to them in the West when used to describe differences in Islam. Shi'a are technically even more rational, as one of the bases of Shi'a usul is pure reason (aql, which translates slightly differently from "reason" in the sense of Aristotle); however, some rulings of the Shi'a seem to be much more over-traditionalist than even Hanbali interpretations, and some Hanafi interpretations are more strict that Shafi'i ones, and vice verse. One can not classify the schools as "more" or "less" traditional or conservative, except for the possible exception of the Hanbali (which is much less conservative when it comes to prayer and dispensations, but generally, much more conservative).

That's an excellent point. I would make one qualification, though--you are defining "conservative" with regard to prayer as "adding more obligations." However, there's a sense in which "sticking to the basic requirements" could be seen as conservative, isn't there? I've come across [Wahhabi?] websites that refer to some of these extra prayer practices as "bidah."

Again, I take your point that "conservative" and "liberal" are not always helpful categorizations.

A "pseudo-school" called the Salafi or Wahhabi has sprung up as well, and is rapidly gaining adherents due to it being heavily funded by the KSA, which funds much if not most Western Islamic activity. It eschews the traditional interpretations in favor of a "hadith-only" approach, and ends up much more insanely traditionalist - more traditional than possibly has ever existed in history - as a result. The above poster was right in saying that most Salafis probably trace their intellectual and exegetical ancestry to Ibn Taymiyyah

Ibn Taymiyyah was a Hanbali, wasn't he?

Edwin


#18

[quote="Khalid, post:13, topic:259972"]

The closest one can come to classifying different schools as "more" or "less" is "reliant on the ahadith"

[/quote]

Yes, that makes sense.

I give these examples to try to give an example of the Byzantine nature of Islamic law to Muslims, even of a single school.

Yes, I have run into this before!

Very few books are translated out of or in to Arabic. Those Islamic texts that ever are translated out of Arabic generally end up in Urdu, if anything, not a Western language. Hardly any English texts on Islamic law are extant

Yes, I'd noticed that. It makes trying to form a fair judgment of these things very hard for someone who doesn't know Arabic. I would like to learn Arabic, but I already have too many irons in the fire. . . . Also, I have trouble getting really excited about learning something that I find unappealing, and the truth is that I have never found Islam very appealing (except for Sufism).

I will later take the time to rebut or reply to (note that I did not necessarily say rebut exclusively, as some good points have been made) those things brought in to the conversation, those assertions of John Esposito (at least he's somewhat reliable, albeit heavily clouded and interfered with by the American academic consensus on Oriental studies, hindered by the "intellectual terrorism" of Professor Edward Said's book, "Orientalism", which is a subject for book-length "Refuting Orientalism" and "Rebuttal of Said's Orientalism" essays, as have been published).

I'd like to hear more about this. Said was certainly a name much thrown around when I was in grad school. I think it's certainly true that Westerners did (and to some extent still do) have a generalized conception of the "Orient" that blurred and distorted the way they viewed Asian cultures (and which was cleverly exploited by Swami Vivekenanda in his claim that since he was an Oriental and Jesus was an Oriental, he understood Jesus better than European Christians did, thus assimilating Jesus to Advaita Vedanta Hinduism!). But I certainly don't take Said as Gospel. He appears to have been particularly unfair to traditional European scholars, who really did care about understanding Asian culture even if they naturally had a good deal of cultural bias.

How exactly do you think Said adversely affects Western scholarship on Islam in particular? Do you just mean that they are afraid of criticizing it for fear of being "Orientalists"?

At least it seems that you can see through the more transparent Islamapologists such as Karen Armstrong.

When dealing with fields outside my expertise (primarily in sixteenth-century Western European theology, but more broadly in the history of Christianity as a whole--I did quite a bit of work in medieval philosophy and early Christianity also, but the only non-Christian religion I studied in grad school was Judaism), I generally rely on credentialed scholars. This certainly isn't a perfect approach--I'm well aware that professional academics can be biased and that people without formal credentials can have much of value to say--but when first becoming acquainted with a field it's the best way to avoid being hopelessly misled.

Armstrong is an excellent writer, but her treatment of the history of Christianity is sufficiently inaccurate that I don't trust her too far when she talks about things I know less about! (Also, she's an ex-Catholic--and as I said earlier, I have a prima facie suspicion of ex-anythings, though not an insuperable prejudice against them!) I have not read her book on Muhammad.

What do you think of Marshall Hodgson's three-volume Venture of Islam?

Tariq Ramadan, by the way, is the son of Said Ramadan, who was the son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al Banna (he married al Banna's daughter). I've read some of his writings, and I find him to be like the "Dinesh d'Souza"-cum-"Oprah Winfrey" of Islam.

Dare I ask how you would characterize Reza Aslan?:p

When I said "front group" in my original post, what I meant by a front is an organization that funnels funding to the Muslim Brotherhood and operates to further its interests in a non-transparent manner. This, I believe, is the definition used in the Holy Land Foundation trial, when these organizations were listed as unindicted co-conspirators. See secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Holy_Land_Foundation_for_Relief_and_Development

Thanks for the documentation, and for the substantive and informative posts generally. You have raised the level of discussion of this subject considerably.

I have no desire to whitewash Islam, but I have an even greater concern not to caricature it. I teach a survey course in Religions of the World at an evangelical college in the Midwest, and I find the section on Islam one of the most challenging, because I don't want to exacerbate my students' prejudices, but I also don't want to participate in the inane "religion of peace" rhetoric that glosses over the darker side of Islam.

Edwin


#19

Islamic ethics is heavily utilitarian ("ends justify means")

It's a bit tricky to keep up... Anyway, just noticed this.
hmm... Can't say this sounds like classical Islamic 'ethics' infact I'd say it was the polar opposite. Maybe if were talking about modern Islamicised Marxism and the writings of say Qutb then fine, but not Sunni Islam :confused: why would you guys say that?
Thanks


#20

[quote="Peace_of_cake, post:19, topic:259972"]
It's a bit tricky to keep up... Anyway, just noticed this.
hmm... Can't say this sounds like classical Islamic 'ethics' infact I'd say it was the polar opposite. Maybe if were talking about modern Islamicised Marxism and the writings of say Qutb then fine, but not Sunni Islam :confused: why would you guys say that?
Thanks

[/quote]

Well, it depends on the issue. Obviously on matters seen to pertain to the honor of God Islamic ethics aren't utilitarian. But it seems to me that Khalid has a point that interpersonal ethics are seen in quite relativistic terms. Some of this may simply be due to the casuistic, highly specific nature of Islamic law.

I'd be happy to see specific examples cited on either side. That way I can learn:D

Edwin


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