Who Will Reform Islam?

“There are genuine moderate Muslim organizations in the U.S. (the Clarion Project maintains a list of them), but they are mostly ignored by our government and by the media. If our establishment paid more attention to them and less to the stealth jihadists, moderation might have a better chance of success. The same is true on the international level.”

However, it does not seem that Islam can reform itself without help from the outside.

Who Will Reform Islam?

Pray the Rosary every day as the Bishop of Nigeria has asked us to do. God Bless, Memaw

The overall question is actually pretty interesting to me. When you think about it, Islam is roughly 550 years younger than Christianity.

Christianity 550 years ago had a few schisms (the biggest being the Great Schism between east and west which came to a head in 1054 but had been developing for centuries beforehand). And had a few break offs prior to the Great Schism with the Assyrian Church breaking from the rest of Christianity in 431 and the Oriental Orthodox church breaking in 451. But other than these breaks, the Christian Church was still fairly monolithic with the two main players being the west (largest) and east (roughly 25% the size of the western church). Enter Luther and his contemporaries with the Reformation, and the subsequent Counter-Reformation and Christianity found itself with many different voices and in some ways found itself better off, in other ways not as well off, but undoubtedly changed irrevocably even if everyone was still unified in worship of Christ if nothing else.

Looking at Islam today compared to Christianity it is still fairly monolithic even if not a centralized as Christianity was 550 years ago. There’s obviously the two big groups the Sunni and Shia, with the latter being about 15% the size of the former. And a few others who have broken away at various times such as the Sufi and Ibadi. But Islam has yet to really have an analogue to the Protestant Reformation. Makes me wonder if with this radicalization, that the majority of Muslims don’t agree with but that is being perpetrated by people who claim to be of some of the most devout followers of Islam (from the Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam), if it wouldn’t eventually spur on some form of Protestant style reformation within Islam.

The mystics will do it, just as they have done it in the past (through guys like Abdul Qadir Jilani, Imam Rabbani, Imam al-Ghazali and others). Once you cry out to Allah to make you into the muslim He wants you to be, the ego is minimized. Frankly, there are too many muslims who speak and act from their egoes alone, which is why our spirituality is very low in quality.

The Theology has to be balanced and if there’s one thing that is true about Isam today, most of our theology lacks balance. We have leaders that focus too much on outward expressions of Islam and not enough on inward practices (like being humble, forgiving someone who wronged you, weeping over your sin, viewing everything in life as a means to grow closer to Allah, etc).

When the Islamic community has both their inward and outward expression of their faith moving, change will start.

Well, what’s going on right now is a battle over reforming Islam. The warring factions are seeking to reform and purify it. Unfortunately, reforms don’t always go the way you want them to.

Also something to consider. I mean ISIL and like minded people are not just attacking non-Muslims. They just as often, if not more often, attack their fellow Muslims, just ones that don’t necessarily subscribe to their extreme regressive interpretation of Sunni Islam.

Luther kind of showed up out of right field…at a time when the rulers of his day needed a rallying point…a “synchronicity” of sorts too place. People were questioning…

A few years later the Radical Reformation was also underway …it needed to be answered…even though it was by force I think the Anabaptists caused a greater focus on Luther, Zwingly and Calvin as the movement was spreading the established church was going to loose a lot of power and influence if the Radical Reformation took hold. I Men as Menno Simons and Conrad Grebel spurred on the Reformation to break with the Rad. Reform. before too much "reform"occured…

The RR was a people’s movement, men and women wanted more than was being offered. The RR gave them that…no longer was the Church “other”, Now the Church was defined not as having membership…but if one lived as a Christian, not professed it only, one was a Christiaan, if one did not live a radical Christian life…they were still “in their sins”…Luther and the German Princes had to work together…

So in Islqm, “someone” will need to come out of right field to quay the fears that the “radical” group inspire…how Islamic reform takes place is still up for grabs I think.

Yeah obviously it’ll be somewhat different. Christianity at the time of the Reformation was a far more centralized religion than Islam is today, so it was easier for those opposed to the Catholic Church to have a single entity to rally against even if they eventually had different ideas about how to rally against them. Islam doesn’t really have that central authority perpetuating abuses like the Renaissance Popes and the Catholic Church to target.


I have heard that Islam essentially is about converting others. And if they don’t, they are forced, or are killed. And those whose lives are spared, are then to be subjugated and taxed.

How many Muslims believe this? I have read that one poll stated that a sizable percentage of Muslims want Sharia Law in America. Is Sharia Law connected to these former concepts?

Are these the concepts of the House of War? If so, then why doesn’t Islam remove the House of War in their beliefs?

How many Muslims, even families, would kill a family member for leaving Islam?

I saw a program on Iran, and I was very shocked to find out that most of them like Americans, and looked like peaceful kind people, not the stereotype we see of those protesting America.

Thank you for inquiring.

Islam is primarily about believing in the Oneness of Allah, angels, the Prophets, Judgment Day, books of revelation, predestination and Heaven & Hell. Faith in those things comes before anything else. After that, there are certain obligations that are incumbent like prayer, fasting during Ramadan and such.

Having a tax on non-muslims is a way to keep society moving. You have to pay taxes in order for the community around you to be even semi functionable. Muslims already pay a tax called Zakat, which is given to the poor. What’s interesting about people who are critical about Islam is that they have no problem paying taxes to their government, but all of a sudden, paying taxes under an Islamic government is somehow bad. We have to take care of each other and taxes are part and parcel of how we do that.

Every single muslims follows what is known as “Sharia Law”; it consists of the Qur’anic teachings and, secondarily, oral Traditions (‘hadiths’]. Some of it is spiritual; for example, you’re not supposed to worship an idol. Some of it applies to family members, like treating your parents right. What warfare is, what its limitations are and who/when it applies to are talked about in the Qur’an, primarily.

I’ve never heard the term “House of War” before, so I can’t comment on that.

sigh …yeah, unfortunately, many muslims believe in executing someone for leaving Islam. That belief is so widespread that I sometimes feel like I’m the loneliest person in the world. Salafis are generally the ones who hold to that belief. It has been my experience that, when challenged, all they present as evidence is what some Scholar has said or what one, maybe two hadiths say. “If anyone changes his religion, kill him”-- something to that effect.

If executing someone for apostasy was so unanimous and clear, why do these people only quote one or two hadith? there are thousands upon thousands of ahadith in total, but you can only present one or two in favour of it? it’s ridiculous. What I hear God saying to Muhammad in the Qur’an, over and over, is to withdraw your company from hypocrites or apostates. In other words, if someone leaves Islam, you are not held responsible for their spiritual nourishment.

I find the punishment of execution, solely on the basis of apsotasy to be both weak and unscriptural. All throughout the Qur’an, life is sacred and is not taken lightly. For this reason, I’m often called liberal by my Islamic peers, but I don’t care. Truth doesn’t depend on numbers.

I’m surprised no on here has mentioned Maajid Nawaz……especially from the folks who are from the UK.

A little about the Man -> youtube.com/watch?v=8oPz9E559To

Collection of Clips of Debates

Charlie Hebdo Cartoon Debate: youtube.com/watch?v=6YEw95-BlU0


Debate against Anjem Chowdry (he’s a Terrorist): youtube.com/watch?v=2BrueU4xd2w

And for those who might be interested in what’s happening on this subject matter Outside of Europe and the Americas… here’s a little something from my homeland.

Its an NDTV interview (In English…) of a panel of famous/(infamous?) Muslims in India including the King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan …and also Dr. Zakir Naik (the closest thing you’ll see to a Political Islamist televangelist).

The panel is given a question about the portrayal of Muslims in Cinema and media in India…but eventually slides into a conversation of what it means to be a Muslim with many of the panel members having varying interpretations.

(Some see it Cultural, some see it as a full on socio-political system, some see it as simply a personal faith) etc.


She might be referring to Dar al-Islam and its relationship with the Dar al Harb which does have a relationship of war or at least “not peace.”

sigh …yeah, unfortunately, many muslims believe in executing someone for leaving Islam. That belief is so widespread that I sometimes feel like I’m the loneliest person in the world.

Allow me to unburden you of your Loneliness then. :wink:


There have been minority rulings in the past in favor of not executing an apostate.

They have not however, been rather popular since the predominance of the Ashari school.

Thanks, Drac for explaining my questions and the one regarding those who kill using one or two hadiths out of so many was most helpful.

the one on paying taxes if not Muslim…I thought only non Muslims paid a heavy tax that kept them from advancing economically in Muslim society…any more clarification?

I read braggadoccios about the Golden Age of Islam when in fact Spanish Catholics and Jews were dhimmi, had to wear badges, etc. to identify them as non Muslim and were in essence second class citizens.

I’m glad I could help.

Well yeah, the Jizya tax is strictly for non-muslims who live in a society governed by Islamic law. You get, in return, the Government’s protection if there’s a war (you’re entitled to be protected and you’re exempt from fighting if there arises the need for it). Think of it as comparable to police protection and firemen and paramedics; tax payers are entitled to their services if the need arises.

The scholar Yusuf Ali says, in his commentary of the Qur’an, page 445 [of the pocket edition], footnote 1281, that there is no fixed amount for Jizya. There’s no specific price for how much Jizya is, which I suppose means that it’s up to the Government’s discretion.

The Zakat that muslims pay is comparable to alms giving (don’t christians do that, too?). Prophet Muhammad would collect alms from his followers from time to time; you have to pay Zakat once a year (It’s 2.5% of your excess income, so it’s 2.5% of what you have left after you’ve paid your bills, food and so on). I suppose it’s possible that the Zakat that a muslim has to give is more money than what Jizya is for the non-muslim.

I don’t know much about Islamic history, so I don’t think I can add any insight into what happened with the Spanish Empire. Sorry.

Thanks very much. I will definitely check out that site. Much respect. :slight_smile:

The process to reform Islam is the same process that will reform the entire planet and mankind as a whole. It is Biblical and there is not a thing in the Bible that has and will not be fulfilled. It is also enshrined within many other religious scriptures of the past.

Change can not always be seen, but it is happening, the antidote has been given and it is pulsating through the Body of mankind as we speak.

All that is now unfolding in the world is already written, it is there for all to read.

God Bless all with our next important milestone “Unity”, the antidote that will soon defeat the poison of disunity that has permeated mankind.

Gods way not our way!

Regards Tony

Yes…recall seeing them and yes, they are not given the attention they deserve.

My bet is on Ahmadi Islam, specifically in Africa. Nigeria as a whole may be especially key to the whole thing.

First, Ahmadi Islam. It originated in Pakistan (in the 19th century, so at the time the whole subcontinent was India) and its founder claimed to be a “non-law-bearing prophet” and, essentially, the Messiah. That’s the main reason why most Muslims (especially in Pakistan) don’t acknowledge them as actual Muslims and don’t permit them to claim the name of Islam within Pakistan.

There are some other things that make Ahmadiyya very attractive to Westerners, though. Ahmadi Muslims are opposed to religious states, they have always been 100% in favor of secular governance and of love and peace for all. And that means right now, not waiting until after you’ve forced certain people to submit. It’s also far more effective with evangelism than the rest of Islam (and conventional evangelism is the exact extent to which they choose to understand jihad), they don’t lose their minds when people leave the Ahmadi faith, and although it continues to be a small community, it is the fastest growing sect of Islam as a percentage of itself, if you choose to call it a part of Islam.

In most of the countries in the world, Ahmadi Muslims make up less than 1% of a nation’s population and well under 5% of the Muslim population, with the exception of a handful of tiny islands to which Ahmadi missionaries have gone and no other type of Muslim has ever been. (They have at least been very effective in establishing a minimal presence of some kind everywhere, you have to give them that). Africa is a little different, though. Excluding tiny countries and countries with barely any Muslim population at all, Ghana, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and Liberia all clock in with Muslim populations somewhere between 10 and 20% Ahmadi. Niger, a mostly Muslim country, is another one to keep an eye on as Ahmadiyya claims 6% of its population and is approaching the million mark there, and Nigeria’s Muslim population is 3% Ahmadi, but that accounts for nearly 3 million and is the single largest confirmed number for Ahmadis in any country (except maybe Pakistan, where the estimates are all over the place).

Basically, Ahmadiyya is going to continue its quiet growth, mostly in Africa and mostly by converting existing Muslims to this particular form of Islam. African Muslims will be a lot more tolerant of this group than Pakistanis or Persians or Arabians or the rest of the Middle East, and much of the rest of Islam in Africa will come around to a greater show of support for secular governance while rejecting the idea of a religious state, even among those who choose not to convert to the Ahmadi side of things but simply live in peace with them.

This is something to keep an eye on, and Africa is the main place where it’s happening. It will take awhile, but 20 or 30 years from now we’re going to look up and realize Africa is the most populous continent on the planet, Nigeria has overtaken the US as the third-most-populous nation in the world, and these Muslims in Africa are a whole different breed of Ahmadi, Sunni and Sufi, and non-denominational (yes that is a thing in Islam) compared to Muslims in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan, or Indonesia.

I also want to point out Nigeria in particular for a couple of reasons. Nigeria is split very nearly 50-50 between Christians (mostly Protestant) and Muslims (mostly Sunni). There is a bit of an uneasy cooperation between them when it comes to overall governance, and most of those Sunni Muslims do belong to the Maliki school which favors Sharia law. At this time, however, Nigeria is the principle nation fighting against Boko Haram, which uses the ISIS flag, pledges its allegiance to ISIS, and is attempting to set up a caliphate in Africa, terrorizing four different countries in the process (the other three are mostly Muslim and mostly Sufi). A Muslim president won the most recent election and Nigeria appears to be just as committed to defeating this “black ISIS” group as ever, it might even happen on his watch.

At this point, it’s worth pointing out that Boko Haram, month over month for the past couple of years, has claimed more lives than any other terror group in the world. ISIS is number two to them in that category, not by much but Boko Haram has been killing slightly more people than ISIS in every month going back that far.

Anyway, Nigeria is increasingly being looked to as the richest, most populous, and most important country in Africa. In the short term, things are a little dicey, and they really need to take care of the Boko Haram situation. But in the medium to long term, I am pretty hopeful that Nigeria can establish a greater sense of peace and stability, and that these Sunni Muslims will increasingly back off from the Sharia law thing and make a secular society work with the Protestants and the Ahmadis. If they do pretty much go in this direction, much of the rest of Africa will more than most likely lean that way right along with them, and it’s even possible that the particular stance of Nigerian Muslims will one day mean something to Muslims well outside of their immediate region.

The Theology has to be balanced and if there’s one thing that is true about Isam today, most of our theology lacks balance. We have leaders that focus too much on outward expressions of Islam and not enough on inward practices (like being humble, forgiving someone who wronged you, weeping over your sin, viewing everything in life as a means to grow closer to Allah, etc).

To add to the OP’s question of " Who will reform Islam?", What in Islam is in need of reforming? Is it Islam’s theology and spiritual practices? or is it Islam’s political side of it’s theology?

History reveals that it is always a danger to any society, when secular politics and secular Government powers mixes itself with a religion to govern it’s people.

If we look to “Who” will reform Islam? This subject appears to keep the status quo of Islam in a conjugal relationship with secular powers governing Islam and Muslims holding to governing authority.

If we look to What in Islam needs reforming? This subject can get to the core of the multiple conflicts and contradictions stemming from the multiple interpretations of Islam.

Just a thought; If Islam can move to remove or reform it’s political secular powers authority from it’s theology and faith practices, could Islam have a successful reform without changing it’s monotheistic faith?

The problem in Islam is not necessarily it’s monotheistic faith in need of reforming. It is Islam’s secular powers that govern it’s populace in the name of religion (Islam). Human history reveals a mixing of secular powers with religion is never without war, conflict, genocide, murder of innocence.

All secular governments are always in need of reforming in every age. Islam is no different.

Peace be with you

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