The last few centuries bear witness to a sharp decline in the individual as well as the collective affairs of the Muslims. All over the globe, they seem to have lost their identity. They appear to be dispossessed of the real spirit of Islam, and have been stripped of the position of esteem they once held in the comity of nations. Though they have with them the last and final word of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, yet it no longer plays a vibrant role in their lives.
One very significant reason for this sorry state of affairs is the intellectual stagnation, which generally exists about religion. Two root causes of this intellectual decadence and backwardness are apparent to every keen eye:
1. The ailment of Taqlid (blind following), both at the level of the religious scholars as well as at that of the masses.
2. A complete disregard of the role of human intellect in matters of religion.
An elaboration of these two points, which are actually the two sides of the same coin, follows:
Our religious institutes all over the Ummah, which produce religious scholars, are actually the source of this Taqlid syndrome. Here, a student from the very first day is labeled as an orthodox follower of a particular sect. His destiny seems to be carved out beforehand as a devout denouncer of every other sect and an ardent acclaimer of his own. He is made to believe that only his brand of beliefs is in direct conformity with the Qur'an and Sunnah. He is brainwashed with the notion that only his sect has been divinely blessed with the true version of Islam. An inference attributed to a highly revered scholar of his sect stands supreme until the Day of Judgment. That it can be challenged by explicit reasoning derived from the Qur'an and Sunnah cannot be dared thought of. On the contrary, it becomes part of his faith that such a scholar cannot falter.
It is this superhuman veneration that has actually given rise to the menace of religious sectarianism. Differences in opinion have often developed into severe conflicts. An atmosphere charged with lightning and resounding with thunder prevails amongst the religious circles. Every now and then, a new episode of defamation erupts form our mosques, which are unfortunately being used for these malignant offensives. The intense disregard the various sects have for one another has led them to violate all norms of decency. Even unethical tactics are employed to safeguard their own views and interests. Like nations at war, they continue their crusades against each other -- while, very close to them, the forces of evil mock at them and continue to flourish.
With this concept of Taqlid prevailing among the religious scholars, the common man also has been led to associate himself with the scholars of a particular sect. Instead of weighing the opinions of various scholars and accepting the one which is the most convincing to their intellect they blindly follow an imam's directive however much they may be convinced against it. The greatest ill effect of this approach is that following religion becomes a mechanical process; it does not flow out from one's heart and does not bring about a change in one's character and behavior. Since using one's intellect in understanding religion has long been done away with, the Qur'an is read but not understood. Its greatest utility was providing guidance to mankind; now it is mainly used for reciting for the dead.
If the above mentioned thesis is correct, then there is a need to bring about an intellectual awakening in the Muslims. The most effective way to do this perhaps is to produce highly competent scholars of Islam who are able to directly access and interpret the sources of Islam and thus are able to break the shackles of Taqlid. They should be groomed in a manner that they can face the challenge of the modern era.
Until and unless efforts are made to produce such scholars, there is a very little chance that the Ummah can come out of its current state of deterioration.
Author Shehzad Saleem resides in Pakistan and is a writer for Renaissance Islamic Journal. This article was first published in 1998.
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullah
I am deeply moved by this noble concern, which is currently affecting the Muslim Ummah. I want to extend my heart felt gratitudes for your wonderful job of acquainting us with this problems. May Allah gives us success in all endeavours. I am firmly convinced that solution to this problem is to constantly remind the Muslims about the fundamental teachings of islam with reference to the Qur'an and Sunnah.Not withstanding , make known to the Muslim generation the distinction between Islam proper and innovations. This could be effectively executed through Da'wah, just as you are doing.More so may I know whether you offer corespondent courses in Islamic Studies so that we would have the opportunity to study our Din and actively participate in its propagation.
I can't seem to figure that ....I would be gratefull to u if u could let me know the possible reasons .
ALHAMDULILLAH, THANK YOU FOR DELIVERING THE THOUGHT PROVOKING ARTICLE REGARDING MAKING ISLAMIC JUDGEMENTS. IT IS HEARTENING TO KNOW THAT WITH YOUR LARGE AUDIENCE, MANY PEOPLE MAY TAKE THE WISE STEP OF BEING DISCERNING IN THEIR JUDGMENTS AND NOT IMMITATE ONE PERSON'S VIEW TO ISLAM'S DETRIMENT.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK. I ENJOY YOUR WEBSITE VERY MUCH. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK INSHA'ALLAH.
Sadly I have no answer either.
It is clear that she has a comprehensive grasp of Islam as a theology and as a way of life. Moreover, she understands the Islamic worldview and as a force in the lives of the people.
Above all, I strongly endorse her powerful appeal to the male-dominated ulamaa' that women at all level must not be excluded from the affairs of the nation and the state, beginning with education ...
This is especially true, for no nation can succeed if half of the population is excluded and subjugated.
Further, we would embrace taqlid one way or the other even if we are not from any of the widely accepted fiqhas ie hanafi, shafi, hambli, maliki. In my 7 years interaction with followers of all these fiqhs, I never found myself in trouble, contradiction etc. even though i am strong follower of the hanafi fiqh.
The author has made a very valid argument to quote Mohammad H Khan in his book "The Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence"With the demise of Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, the period of independent exposition of Islamic law came to an end and jurists subsequent to this perios have been engaged within the limits of each school to develop teh work of its founders. Thus commenced the period which may be called the period of Taqlid and it is said that it coninued since then and have not come to an end even to this day. After the third period of the history of Islamic jurisprudence no one has succeeded in obtaining the recognition of the Muslim world as an independent thinker in the science of law. The jurists of the later periods applied themselves to the task of completing the work done by the founders of the schools and there developed a notion that hence forward there has been no further exposition of Islamic law, the ancient doctors having anticipated every question and laid down a rule for its solution. Such a notion is baseless and untenable and is not found either in Qur'an or Sunna or in writings of great jurists of the 2nd century Hijria.'There is nothing'as Abdur Rahim has remarked 'in the theory of Islam to force the principle of of BLIND IMITATION on the Muslims' and in this regard the suggestions of the great thinker and poet Dr.Muhammad Iqbal, in his book The Reconstructio of Religous Thought in Islam seems to be appropriate that ' the principle of of Ijma shoudl be applied and that the power of Ijtihad should not reside on one individual,but with a body of learned Muslims scholars of adavanced views, who may interpret the law so that it falls in line, as far as possible, with modern legal and social ideas.'as the Prophet said'the difference of opinion in my community is (a sign of divine mercy)'but this in not the root of our problem see an earlier post for 6342 for more reasons for our current condition.
As Salaamu Alaikum
I applaud the article, "Intellectual Stagnation," by Shehzad Saleem. However, his analysis and prescription is rather too simplistic, and it failed to identify the root causes for Muslims' malaise and intellectual paralysis over the past centuries.
The issue of Muslim decadence and backwardness is far more complex and deep rooted than mere attribution to taqlid (blind following of Mullahs) and its related sectarianism, as practiced in South Asia--India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Mid East and Africa.
The fact is that Islam as a civilization has been in decline for some 400 years (or more), a period during which the backward Europeans read and studied translated works produced by Arabic and Muslim scholars (many originating from the Greeks and Romans), and the latter never looked back since...
On the other hand, Muslim nations thereafter became fragmented and divided through wars and internecine warfare. They withdrew into themselves and became quite isolated, with little contact from the outside world.
This was the beginning of political tyranny, repression of individual freedom, and suffocation of the intellectual disciplines--arts, sciences, letters, etc, in the Muslim nations; and all of which ills exist to this very day, in the 21st century!
The primary cause of our malaise and servitude can undoubtedly be laid at the feet of our poor and miserable political leaders--our caliphs, Sultans, and Shaykhs, etc. Bad leaders, with no knowledge and vision of Islam's central tenets, suppressing free thinking and scientific inquiry, results in a laity, who cannot achieve excellence in anything.
Failed leaders coupled with armies of half-educated mullahs and maulanas, married to the sectarian schools of thought, result in nothing but abject failure, not only in arts and sciences, but in basic standard of living, leading to naked poverty, disease, illiteracy...
We need freedom and better leaders to produce
I would like to present a quote from an excellent book on the subject of Islamic Law "The Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence" by Mohammad H. Kahn. "With the demise of Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, the period of independant exposition of Islamic Law came to an end and jurists subsequent to this period have been engaged within the limits of each school to develop the work of its founders. Thus commenced the fourth period which may be called the period of Taqlid and its said that it continued since then and not come to and end even to this day. After the third period of the history of Islamic Jurisprudence no one has succeeded in obtgaining the recognition of the Muslim world as an independant thinker in the science of law. The jursits of the later periods applied thenselves to the task of completing the work done by the founders of the schools and there developed the notion that hence forward there has been NO further exposition of Islamic Law, the ancient doctors having anticipated every question and laid down a rule for its solution. Such a notion is baseless and untenable and is not found either in Qur'an or Sunna or in writings of the great jurists of the 2nd century Hijira. There is nothing as Abdur Rahim has remarked in the theory of Islam to force the principle of "BLIND IMITATION" on the Muslims and in this regard the great thinker and poet Muhammad Iqbal, in the book 'The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam' seems to be appropriate that 'the principle of Ijma shoud be applied and that the power of Ijtihad should not reside on one individual but in a body of learned Muslims scholars of advanced views, who may interpret the law so that it falls in line as far as possible with modern legal and social ideas'".
The Qur'an constantly tells us to "ponder and reflect. Blind following is just one of the problems however, see my earlier post # 6342 for the real problem with our Ummah. Peace and Blessings to you all.
I am glad to see that so many us want to get out of our intellectual stagnation. Lets also include our women: our sisters, mothers, wives and daughters in this endeavor. I urge all Muslim sisters who participate in Islam revival to make sure that they are doing so independently and to question the testosterone-driven beliefs of a lot of our "religious" men. In the 21st century, Islam has to move beyond the laws, attitudes and beliefs which prevent our women from developing intellectually and leading a emotionally and sexually fulfilling life.
Lets steer ourselves and our children (boys AND GIRLS) to the path of education both of the Islamic and secular kind, lets nurture our intellect so that we may grow into a intelligent Ummah capable of shaking out of the darkness we have immersed ourselves into.
I was in August in a muslim country and I was shocked to notice the lack of Iman in people's behavior. The example of that country can be extended to a lot of others.
Let's hope those that God "HADA" will awake the others.And let's not forget this about the prophet Mohamed (sala Allah allaih wa salam) " Laou kounta ghalida al kalbi and fada al alfazi lama nafadou minhawlak" .Love ,compassion,understanding and patience for each others will help us to reignite the flame of islam .
It's quite commendable that the writer has such an honest concern for the Muslim Ummah. But the problem is each and everything can not be just brushed aside as blind following(Taqlid). To say everything as blind taqlid and think that by changing what ever is done by a particular school of thought, hanafi, maliki and so on, will do any help to muslims and Islam is wrong. Just like you can not try to change the language spoken by different groups of muslims and make them speak single language-Arabic, we can not make all muslims to follow in all the affairs of religion. Because opinion differs in any given matter. This happened in the olden days when there were more learned people and high ranking scholars among muslims.
Moreover, the salafis or the ahle hadiths always have this wrong notion about others being the taqlidis. For example when you sit in a taxi and when you want to reach some place, you have to bear with the driver, until he is taking you to your destination. Some time may be he is taking a little bit different route which he is familiar with and fearing that the street is congested due to the timing of your travel and other factors (accidents etc) but any how he is taking you exactly where you wanted. Moreover another driver may follow another route, to the same destination and not necessary that he should practice as what the first driver did.
Ahle hadiths are also taqlidis, in the sense, one leader says some thing and others follow his words blindly. (how many people among them have the same capacity or more than their leader who tells them such and such things and criticises the other schools of thought and how many people have read and fully understood the Quran Tafsir, Bukhari, Muslim and other hadees books? Salafis change and deviate from other muslims to the extent that they have introduced new things, like for Allah, they write : Allaah, for Islam, Islaam etc. Solution: Dear with major taqlids which are not as per Book n su
I bare witness of those who will read this mail that "La Illa-ha Ilallah hu muham-ma-dur rasul-ullah (S:)".
May Allah help us all with our tests of faith.
p.s. why would islamicity post something like this which in its skeleton form would dismantle the who traditional islamic education system. You can't learn directly from books, you need the ilm and wisdom of teachers, especially scholars who's IJAZA in teaching ilm can be traced back to the Prophet(sas).
and mind, and thy neighbor as thyself" What does this mean?
It is true that we need scholars who do research and interpret various things in religion. But most concepts are clearly outlined in the Quran. A impartial reading of Islamic history will give the muslim an clear idea of how muslim thought and action was based in Islam and how much was based in based in local cultures. There is plenty of litrature available both muslim as well as non-muslim which will give much insight into the history of mulsims and application or non-application of Islam by muslims throught time.
Thus all muslims must take religion and its application in their own hands and not leave it to third parties. Take a look at all shades of opinion there is no harm in it but make the decision yourself. When you do this there is very little likelyhood that you will stray away from the path outlined in the Quran.
The present scenario where the persons who never have to deal with modern life are advising the muslims on how to live the Islamic way is the problem. One who never experiences the problems cannot guide you on how solve them. For all solutions the Quran is the ultimate guidance.
History, among other things, proves you wrong. Muslims have always followed madhhabs. The great scholars of the periods which you might hold in contrast to today all followed a madhhab. History challenges you to name a scholar of the golden ages of Islamic scholarship who did not follow a madhhab. Taqlid is not the cause of our problems. Had it been, there wouldn't be any age of prosperity to look back upon.
And the attempt to defame taqlid by defining it as blind following fails; laymen are all blind followers. Blindness in this case is the lack of the knowledge of ijtihad, which a laymen is not required to have. Ijtihad is the work of Mujtahid Imams. Or should we believe that you know all the Qur'anic verses and ahadith pertaining to every act of worship you perform? You are a blind follower, if you do not.
See Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's excellent article http://www.sunnah.org/aqida/unity_through_schools_of_thought.htm
Is Allah not perfect? Is Allah's word not good enough for man?
The answer is NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Allah is all these things. So why do we as a human race find Allah's word insufficient.
Tha hadiths are continually changed to suit the powerful's needs. If closely examined the Quran preaches Democracy, the unity of mankind, no matter what race,creed or religion you may be.
The Quran promotes the use of a human mind. If Allah didn't want us to use our minds then we would have all been born as apes who mimmick, animals who don't show intelligence. We have a brain for a reason, to form our OWN views and opinions. That is my God given right, free will, and I will not let anyone but Allah take that away from me. I do not even consider orthodox muslims as muslims, to me they are the non-believers because they are too stupid to see Iblis' lies and tricks. They neglect God's words.
Please keep in mind it has long been predicted that a very hard time is going to come on the MUSLIMS, which is one of the steps which ensure the NOZOOL of HAZRAT EESA ALIHUS SALAM etc.
The ONLY way out in my opinion is the very firm belief in the AHKAMAAT OF QURAN, and strict followance.
Excellent analysis of the cause of muslim Ummahs stagnation. Reforming our current state of affairs is however a daunting task. I use to think that this reform movement will start from North America, since mostof us supposedly have open mind and objective. Unfortunately such is not the case. We cant even agree on when to start ramadan and how best to resolve this. I pray to AllahSWT to bless us with a Mjaddid who can unite us all.
Intellectual stagnation is encouraged in the home before anywhere else, and each Muslim family either contributes or combats it. While we want our children to follow our deen, we must teach the critical thinking skills to analyze EVERYTHING...from Qur'an to Oprah, from Teletubbies to theories taught in school. We must talk our kids through reflecting on the messages and theories embedded in all of these things, in a way that's age-appropriate of course, such that close scrutiny and analysis become a habit. We have nothing to fear from training our children to THINK, because the truth will prevail.
Intellectual thought takes proactivity, time, and patience that blind following does not. Teaching it to children is a huge investment of time and effort, but this is the foundation of bringing about a generation that will follow its deen because of KNOWLEDGE through reflection and therefore sincere implementation, not through blind acceptance and trepidation about questioning what Mommy and Daddy or scholar A or B declared to be true, wa salam.
You are so right that unless this Ummah does not break the shackles of taqleed and continues its its blind faith in the ignorant "leaders" or so-called Aleems this Ummah is doomed to fall over the cliff like the blind leading the blind.
The fact is even big scholars qoute and follow people other than Rasulullah saw. and stick to their fikr creating sects.
The Qur'an and sunnah are the original scources, instead people rely on literature. This way intelectual stagnation creeps in, because any literature[even tafseer of qur'an] has the effect the era of its author which may have been relevent in that particular circumstances.
While the holy Qur'an is a living miracle and gives fresh guidance to the one who seeks it according to the prevailing circumstances.
So the only way to comeout of this intelectual stagnation is to popularise independant reading and understanding of Qur'an and referring tafaaseer only in case of difficult aayaah.
The muhkamaat are plain in meaning and sufficient for building the imaan & aqeedah,and guiding about the way of life.
About the Thakhleed, it is a scholarly subject. However the new breed of Ulema from Nadwa, and other schools in India are competent enough to meet the demands of this modern age. Alhamudllillah. What is needed is we should encourage such activities. May Allah guide us and help us. Jazakallahu Khairan.
Go to any city ask how many Moslem there and count how many of them go to Mosque for Friday prayer! Many of them consider dunya is above everything.
The remedy is simple, visit a Moslem you knew and invite him and his relatives to the mosque. OK?
So what is the solution? I believe pursuit of theology should be given a respectability at the social level. Why is it that educated and well to do families do not encourage their children to pursue religious studies? The answer to this and the consequent solution will raise a new genre of scholars who will then be able to profess religion from an enlightened and elevated platform which will be intellectually stimulating thereby changing the way Islam is perceived.
i have directly experienced this sec oriented attitude among many muslims who were generally very pious but very much keen to their sect. as a revert to Islam i have the opportunity to examine many of the informational sources regarding sects with an open mind without choosing one or the other. but having seen hostility ( to a point of declaring one non muslim ) esp between sunni and shiite has made me very sad and eager to patch this difference. i am often asked wether i am a sunni or a shiite and people dont want to let go of the subject till they make sure i belong to certain sect. i guess it is not enough to say i am a muslim.
Thank you for read my commets
The article by Br. Shahzad Saleem, addresses the grand problem of Muslim Ummah by simplistically blaming on Taqlid. In this letter I'm only concentrating on the term Taqlid in a limited way for lack of space. The word Taqlid indicates, blindly following the learned scholars in the matters of Religious fulfilments. Nobody, not a single school of Madhhab (out of the 4) ever said they are better than others. On the contrary Imam Shafii learned at the hands of Imam Muhammad of Hanafi school.There are many examples of healthy charing and difference of opinions. It is well known amongst the four schools of thought that in order to derive the verdicts (hukm) from Quran and Sunnah one needs to study quite a few sciences (Hadith, Usul Ul Fiqh, Nahwu(grammer) etc.) Taqlid is not blindness at all, but a matter of following the standardized way of understanding the Quran and Sunnah.
Western Society also does Taqlid in terms of sciences, arts, etc. yet you see them flourishing in sciences and medicine! How many times the author himself visits a doctor in his country and ask him for evidence from Materia Medica? I bet zero! He is doing Taqlid by following doctor in his qualified verdict on author's own ailment! So in a nutshell, Taqlid is not a detrimental methodology! What is detrimental is the misuse of Taqlid! The collective Ijtehad (independent reasoning) is done by the Ulema (call them Scientists of Religion) to come to a rational conclusion, such as the verdict on issues like, blood donation, organ transplantation, etc. A lay man cannot go to Quran and Sunnah (which book? so many books and opinion on a single hadith will throw the lay man off balance!) derive his own verdict according to his own methodology and arrive at a wrong conclusion! Taqlid does not mean lack of Intellectual exercise but a responsible way of acquring Intellectual decisions which otherwise are difficult to arrive at by a lay man.
The shakles of taqlid are not easy to break. The entire Ummah is firmly bind to one sect/fiqqha or the other. Inspite of all their internal differences and vilificatin of each other, once they get to know that Taqlid is being declared against the spirit of Qur'an and Sunnah, then they instantly forget their differences, get united and speak with one voice against the free-thinking scholars by declaring them stooge and agents of the enemies of Islam.
Once they(Muqqalladin)lable them as such, it becomes herculean job to get followers. This enormous challange cannot be faced just by producing competent scholars but also a well planned program of action to approach common man in the streets. However a word of caution. Such efforts should not create an impression that Islam is being modified and brought in line with science and technology or westren culture.Rather it should deliver a message that over the centuries Muslims have deviated from Qur'an and Sunnah , adopted alien cultures and mixed up local customs and rites with true Islamic traditions. So they have fallen from grace.
p.s. let me add that I am not a scholar in any sense.
So, what is the downfall of this Ummah? Simply, those who fail to learn from history usually end up becoming history. What is the difference between the Muslims of today and the Muslims who lived in the golden era of Islam? The Answer: They obeyed Allah, his prophet and carried out Dawa amongst the non-Muslims and they reminded each other - simply they were Muslims by action. There are many Ahadeeth with strong reproches for giving these four actions up.
We see an Ummah in which easily 90% don't pray - and we want Allah to give us the keys to the White House. If Allah gave us dominance now we would distroy the world.
We can talk and talk but we will never rule until we ourselves show Allah that we are truly his Khulafaa on earth.
Pursuant to the article, it is hitting on some good points about the need for sound scholars. There are also much more to needed in efforts to reform the condition the ummah is in today. Personally speaking, it is my humble opinion that the common folk of the muslim population has been totally neglected in terms of protection from the influences of the strong satanic scemes that provail within the population. Allah (swt) has indeed provided our ummah with the khowledge and means to confront satan and his dupes, be they kufr, kafir or munafiq. We as believers are obligated to confront these unislamic forces by enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong in all levels of our daily affairs. Consiquently to do much of this is to have financial, material and military backing, however, the problem is this, if you don't have this backing then you are subject to the attacks of evil without any help from those who Allah has blessed with the means to establish such. Allah has provided everything that we need to enforce what is right and prohibit what is wrong globally, however, these Muslims with the means is hoarding these means all for themselves. I live here in the USA and I witness brothers and sisters come over here from other countrys and they have a certain discipline about themselves and before you know it they are overpowered by the evil influences of this society. They even change their virtuous names to slave names. Therefore, the knowledge that they have that we thirst for isn't really effective. There are issues surrounding revolution that must be addressed in more than just one aspect of deen.There are little things that satan is busy distracting us with to take us away from unity in all aspects, especially knowledge. We must realize that if we don't carrie out our affairs according to the example of Prophet Muhammad we will never get anywhere.
May Allah bless us all to love the truth and liv
These thinkers interpreted Islam through the lense of rationalism. Their works shaped Jewish and Christian philosophy up to the modern period. Many Muslims are not aware of Ibn Rushd's importance and influence in Western Philosphy. It is because of his intellectual effort that Europe had Enlightenment in the 18th cent.
Asst. Professor of Religion
University of Nebraska at Omaha
It is an excellent article Shehzad Sahib. unfortunately, there is too much of illiteracy in the muslim ummah and the masses have to follow blindly the ill informed ulema who are also following their ill-informed ulema. please keep up the good work.
What is the main reason why you call your self a muslim? I Know. Because your parents are muslim and raised you up with there traditions.If someone is sincere God trully guide them.But our ummah is hard to be said the worst peolpe.Look how we suffer and treat each other,look to our peolpe and you will know that is the reason why we are so stupid and ignored like Quaresh during Prohet Muhammed time.The lost like we lost.
Sheik Ahmed Dahaar
From TAHA Mosqeu in Paris
May he guide us all.
AOA.To me TAQLID is very essential for us especialy for muslim.Because to understand the HOLY QURAN is much difficult,so we TAQLID our ULLMA in this regard. What we need is to make a
scholar of such a kind that can moderate a society.A scholar must be like a society serving
doctor which cure a man not to harm him.
please have a sight of prejudice scholar not a simple man.
To the contrary Taqlid is to take your knowledge through a teacher who has been given an authority by his teacher to teach a science without ascertaining explicit, total proof or evidence in relation to the rules. Taqlid does not hinder ones ability to accept difference of opinion & is not 'blind following' as your article suggests & is in fact a means by which one learns knowledge. For example, a student who studies Maths & the topic he is studying is 'Simultaneous Equations'. The teacher explains that they are a number of rules which have to be followed vigorously. The student 'follows' without question these rules & hey presto he solves the equation.
Points to remember from the above example is that the teacher did not teach 'why' you have to follow these rules, & 'why' these rules are in this particular order & 'why' you have to do this & 'why' you have to do that etc etc, instead the teacher gave the student a means by which he can solve the equation. The 'why' question follows much later...
The means by which one may solve a problem are many the outcome is the same.
The term 'blind following' was originally introduced to our discourse by those sects who believe that one may derive their own 'ruling' from the Quran & Sunnat, & the ijma (consensus) of the scholars is not required or accepted & anybody can pick up a Quran or a Hadith and interpret it in any manner which suits him regardless of their academic or religious expertise. For your information, the most vocal sects who adhere to this understanding are the Salafi, Wahhabi, and Najdis sects. All 3 sects are the same in their understanding & differ only in name.
Another point to consider is taqlid cannot be used under circumstances relating to the teaching of aqeedah, which is another essay as such. This is my understanding of taqlid as taught to me by my teacher.
Respond at [email protected] This is a very simple response & this is due to the limitations
May Almighty Allah grant your and our wishes, Amen.
Dear Writer, As salaamu alaikum. Thank you for your comments and permission to respond. I believe that the solution proposed is valid, and I do hope to see our Ummat go in that direction. If we could just find a way to get all muslims to study the (Quranic) Arabic language, that would be a grand personal spiritual achievement on each learner's account. Allah SWT enjoins on us to study and teach, serve only Him and obey. To do this on an individual level will align each of us and bring a unity that will transcend division and sectism, insha-Allah. I am trying to find my way to balance working for my family and my own livlihood and doing the above. If you have any suggestions I welcome them. May Allah make us all successful in reaching the believer's true goal, insha-Allah. Your sister, Naimah Belay, aka Marva Abu Ali
I am perfectly comfortable with drawing my own conclusions from Ayat and then sharing my conclusions with my imam or other Islamic authority (and with no one else by the way). Please note that before asking for my imam's time, I first attempt to validate (or to more precisely find something I can see for myself that invalidates) my personal conclusions - using other Ayat or ahadith, other books (Gospels, Psalms, etc.) and whatever religious rulings I can find - for example by searching sites such as IslamiCity.
Also, I tend to search "Fatwa sites" that consistently appear to discourage material indulgences. That way I trust them more to tell me "no" about theology when I might feel better about their decisions if they instead told me "yes" about pleasurable pursuits. I also try to make du'a (Insha'Allah) that I will not trip up my beloved imam with some sort of unwitting intrigue. My objective is to personalize (or at least improve) my understanding of the Suwar I am committing to memory - Insha'Allah.
Salam Alaikum. Allah is alone worthy of worship.
My wife, who by the way exercises her complete authority over my children's exposure to religion, refuses to embrace Islam on account of the same prohibitions just mentioned above. Incidentally, my wife's reasoning (regarding my children's exposure to Islam) goes something like, "If they won't allow me in the building, then why should I allow my children in there?"
Allah help me if I encourage my wife to read the Quran for herself - and she does this and then refuses to carry the burden that would be assigned her. If one of us must pay for it, better chastisement for me than fire for her. I shall simply have to consider it my cross to bear.
On reflection, I would rather satisfy any urges I feel for "religious innovation" by tinkering with Christianity rather than Islam. I believe it would be better for me in the long run to try eliminating shirk in my old religion (Christianity) than to risk introducing shirk into my new religion (Islam).
How about inspiring the formation (yet) another Christian denomination, perhaps with a name like "The Church That Never Says Trinity?" For those reformed crusaders and missionaries who simply can't resist the call of jihad how about a rallying cry of "Bismillah Vinces?"
Salam Alaikum. Allah is alone worthy of worship.
modren statehood and they want to treasure the entire
natural resources wealth within their Famalies.
They finance the sectarain activists to ditch the entire muslim world live with internal conflicts.Get rid of the present Arabs influences
in our society and including mullaism. Arabs have financed building thousand of mosques all over the world even the number of converted muslims is on increase but there is no real revival of islam
except going down ward. Before in history there was a Chengaze khan now the whole world is set against muslims but muslim is still living in fools paradise.
I think the common man must learn to put doubts to DIFFERENT scholars, until it is finally removed.If there is something which you are unable to understand finally you had better admit your own short coming and then trust and follow the ulema who are really experts in their own field.
As far as Shehzad's article is concerned, I think writers and intellectuals of his callibre should compile from the writings of atheists and critics of Islam all those objections and doubts that are based on the confrontation between Islam on the one hand, and science or the new principles introducd by western civilization on the other, and then write a detailed refutation.Such a work would genuinly start the intellectual reawakening of Muslims and deserve the name of a new "Ilm-ul kalam"
Maybe, you don't know that certain sects are helped and financed by other interest groups and it is such groups that want to make the divide bigger. In several cases they are involved in the killings on both sides only to act as a catalyst to promote further blood-shed. Thanks to Allah that it has not happened.
The matter is not as simple as stated. Our leadeers are not truly our leaders. There is a conspiracy going on against all the muslims in all the muslim states. The crusade has not ended but it is now done from a position of hiding.
Our worst enemies are our own brothers who continue to reap the benefits for themselves at the cost of all the muslim brotherhood. They continue to supply the inside information and guidance against us to the foreign powers while posing as very pious and devout muslim. Our laeders are selected on the basis of how well they manage to decieve us by giving us false hopes and promises. Our second biggest enemy is that we have left the task of cleansing our society on others ( unknown persons or groups ). The good amongst us don't want to pick up arms against the bad whereas the bad ones are always ready to use arms against us.
The solution is that we have to cleanse our society by first cleansing ourselves and then our family and now to allow the corrupt and the decievers get away. Be ready to pay the price for standing against and exposing such unscrupulous members of our own. The preachers in many cases get fundings from abroad. We know it and see it too. Members of such groups manage to get visas to European countries without any difficulty whereas others don't. How can they differentiate between us. This is because they ( The jews and the christians ) know what they are doing and how they can reward those who serve their interests.
In short we have failed individually and collectively because we are asleep and conspracie
I find it interesting that this article was published in the "Renaissance Islamic Journal" because its author takes on the oft-repeated anti-orthodoxy slogans that was popular of European reformers during the 15th century Renaissance whose main work has produced nothing but the cause of endless sects who never cease giving birth to more as well as making religion nothing more than a 'personal' religion where each person is their own theologian.
And now in this 15th century hijra, in absolute confirmaton of the Prophetic prophecy of following the footsteps of the Christians and Jews exactly, Muslim "intellectuals" are now calling for the removal of Taqleed correctly translated as 'following qualified scholarship' not as Shehzad Saleem and other similar thinkers horribly translated as 'blind following' (not recognizing that their own nafs have blinded them from recognizing any scholar of being above them).
Claiming that the four schools of thought are deviding the Ummah (despite the fact that their has never been any Hanafi/Maliki or Shafa'i/Hanbali conflicts (or any other combination for that matter). Although scholars have differed and debated they always recognized the validity of the other Madhhab rulings. Those that call for the illimination of the four madhabs for following the "Qur'an and Sunnah" only have in fact created real divisions where we have gone from a Ummah united on four madhabs to a Ummah divided on thousands of madhabs. It is not the differences of schools of jurisprudence that are dividing the Ummah, on the contrary most conflicts in the Masjids are caused by those who don't follow any of the four Madahib but instead follow their nafs, like Iblees who refused to bow to Adam out of pride they to refuse to submit to what the Ummah had agreed upon for centuries, even though the Prophet (Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salim) has promised us that the Ummah would never agree upon error.
1- We don't renew ourselves to fit the time we live in. our great religion fits for all times and at all places that's from the scholars side who think we should live and dress like the first Hijrii century.We can't do things that the great generation of the first century of our great religion history did.
2- the ignorance of the masses towards the beauty of our great Islam that makes them try to act like non Muslims or pretend they are not because they don't know and if they knew the right things from the right people I bet they would rather have it written on their forheads "I am Muslim and Proud of it" they totally ignorant of the facts that the only religion that acceps the others as separate identity with full rights and respect is Islam, they don't know that the only religign that asks its followers to work their minds is Islam, they don't know that our great religion orders us to seek knowledge and technology and be fruitful humans till we die.the Prophet says "If the Judgemnt day occurrs and a baby plant is on someone's hand so he/she should plant it if he/she can so" I ask God for forgivness for the poor translation of one of the most beautiful Hadiths of our beloved Messenger of God.
May God have mercy on all of us.
Our consolations go to the families of September 11 attacks victims
thank you for your patience
I agree with the writer about the need to revive the intellect and to gain a better understanding of what Islam truly represents. But taqlid is necessary in certain aspects such as following the opinions of the Imams of Fiqh (Malaki, Hanafi, Hanbabli, Shafii) because our intellects will never compare to theirs as well as other sciences. I think it is more important to revive the Tradition of Islam instead of following every arab speaking person who has read a couple of books or studied a few years and feels that they can give fatawas. With all due respect. I am sure that there is much we can benefit from such people but we must realize our limits and also realize our history and learn from our great scholars as they are living within our tradition.
To address the concern of this essay, Insha Allah, one must take into consideration the Islamic Conventions recently held in the USA on the same weekend, yet only one was mentioned and covered in this forum. Why is that? One Arab, and one African American. Seemingly knowing the apparent snub given the African American convention would appear that there is more to it then the eye can see. Laillahah Illillah. We all say it verbally. We are also one Creation. There is no room for nationalism in Islam. The performance of Hajj indicates this. One must disrobe from their national dress to come before Allah and perform ones pilgrimage. Think about what this jesture means. Allah SWAT say in Qu'ran that He will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in their hearts. Alhamdullillah Rabbiyallamin.
Ever since I was subscribed to Islamicity, this is one the most need meeting newsletters I have gotten from this organisation. I believe the problem of Taqlid is that which has brought about the deterioration of the Ummah. That of inadequte knowledge of Islam comes after it because, as you have rightly pionted out, some scholars imbibe their Doctrines into innocent students who assimilates such doctrines with blindness that could not be logically concieved. This problem is more rampant in Muslim west Africa, more especially among the Sufis, who take to hero worship. I have once heared a student who believed that the Rasul is God (wal iya Zu bi Llah) and His Sheik would intercede for him on the day of Judgement and could even forgive his sins. It is that bad here.
The solution I beleive is to follow the advice of the holy Qur'an which states that "call to the path of Allah with wisdom (truth) and good words" rather than condemnation and apostetisation of other Muslims. Though some peoples actions are apostatic, or even Shrik. May Allah help us all and guide us to the right path.
I have read many of your article among them this is the most imported article as per mine concern that whatever you writen in these article,100% truth nobody can deny this fact, hereby I request you to do something to stop this immediately,thank you
"If the above mentioned thesis is correct, then there is a need to bring about an intellectual awakening in the Muslims. The most effective way to do this perhaps is to produce highly competent scholars of Islam who are able to directly access and interpret the sources of Islam and thus are able to break the shackles of Taqlid."
Where are these wonderful Scholars ??? When will we see our Muslim Sisters & Brothers take these roles ??
I would love to learn more about Islam yet too afraid I may end up brainwashed by the current "Islamic" education system...
As for the lines that"Quran is read just for reciting & not understood",I too belong to that group.I like to Thank the author & islamicity.com for opening my eyes.I hope that this Article brings about a change in my Character.AMEEN
Your author's article on Taqlid is just baseless. Without following any of the 4 Imams, how can 1 understand our Religion? 1 has to seek help of these Imams in order to correctly follow The Glorious Quran & The Sunnah. According to the author, Taqlid has no significant in our Religion! If this is so, then this is totally contradicting the Hadith, when a Sahabi informed Rasulullah Swallallahu ALaihi Wasallam that if he misses a point in Quran, Hadith; then he would assume such a matter being forwarded to Prophet & how would The Prophet have responded it? This is Taqlid, & the Prophet was happy with that Sahabi. Taqlid is the other name following ALL Sunnah as different Muslims follow different Imams.
People that have a strong relationship with Allah Taala can be said to be INTELLECTUALLY AWAKENED. If Allah wills these people can cause an intellectual awakening that will have a tremendous effect on our society.
"intellectual Stagnation" by pakistani author is a very good article. This stagnation and indoctrination is what is killing us.
It is the duty of Muslim Intellectuals to rise up and say "this is wrong".
Besides this another aspect that is realy hurting us is using the religion of Islam to further our own interests at a country or personal level with utter disregard to Quranic and Sunnah Teachings. Like Pakistan calling brutal killing of innocents in kashmir as "jihad", A secular palestinian authority calling its campaign of terror against innocent civilians as "jihad". Muslim intellectuals have a responsibility and that is to come out and denounce these acts of terror.
We have to stop saving the Religion of Allah from its enemies. Because it is not our responsibility . Out responsibility is to follow and get the message across and each sole after that is responsible for its own fate. Allah is enough to save His religion and He does not need us to do so.
Lastly Islam is not a religion of words it is religion of action. This a massive rebuilding process. But we have to do it on individual level and then automatically it progresses to level of society with out us knowing it and using any alternative means it will help us florish and prosper. Islam needs to be followed not implemented. The major difference between the Islamic law and modern law is tha islamic law is followed not implemented.
But if there has to be taqlid of anything that is the method of Prophet Mohammad (pbhu) not the taqlid of the actions but the reasoning behind those actions.
Kashmir Ibn Muslim
I ask myself, what is the solution? The answer is, advancement in S & T. Why the total GDP of all Muslim countries is less than a single country Japan is that we are tilling the land, we are extracting buckets of raw oil from the earth, we are good labourers, all we are not, is good number of scientists, technologists. A microcontroller occupying a space of just one square centimeter is worth more than ploughing thousands acres of land whole the years.
Producing a critical mass of scientists and engineers is absolutely essential. Although this requires an overall uplift in educational standards which encompasses your point but I think that by creating awareness in the already potential community will also change the condition positively. What I mean is that those young students which have come successfully through early education, they should have information about such places where higher scientific education can be obtained with minimal resources. One of such oppurtunities exist in Europe where in many countries university education is free.
With this objective in mind a group website has been created with webaddress
where all oppurtunities of higher education are posted (for BS, MS and PhD). Most of these oppurtunities do not require tuition fee. I hope that dissemination of this information will help many young students who have constarined resources but are otherwise eligible to get higher scientific education.
thank you and good luck
in Quran to weight every matter with the frame
of quran and sunna with open mind, not to forget
all others are just people too.
--Amir Ehsan Mohammadi
so you will end up looking to what others have said, it is hard to be docter or pilot or farmer and at the same time a scholar.
Any way those scholar who have the schools of thought named after them DID not meant to establish one, and they made it clear that if their openion contradict the Quran or the Sunna their openion is to be ignored.
So yes we clearly and urgently need to go back and follow the Quran and Sunna in our life, but again nothing wrong in following one sector or another as long it does not contradict the Quran and Sunna.
now, if we can only get the mullahs and scholars to give it serious consideration, insha-Allah, leave alone their agreement.
knd rgd&God bls
i agree with your thesis but we have to remember a great verse in the quraan in which God is teeling his prophet and all muslims after him :"say this my way i invite unto allah with sure knowledge ,i and whosoever follows me"
so the first condition is to have knowledge, and i don't expect any one who didn't read any of the major texts in the religion to come and say i aggree or disagree with what taht person is saying. in so many other verses in quraan God is always telling us not to judge things according to opinions not depending on knowledge.
again God urges us to think in everything (the universe ,our bodies etc. ) because the more we know the creature the more we know the creator.
thanks alot and i wish you all the best
taqlid is a sign of a far greater disease that afflicts the entire Ummah. Taqlid would not be possible if our masses were educated. And she mentions the role of human intellect in the matters of religion. Unfortunately, when
the masses are not educated, there is no intellect available that can be applied to the matters of religion. Our masses are not educated - not in the matters of deen, and not in the matters of dunya. And that is the real
problem. If our masses were educated we would be able to not blindly follow, and we would be able to apply our intellects to our religion.
When I say educated, I do not mean being doctors or computer scientists. These are not true educations, they are merely skills that do not challenge the intellect. To be aware of your world from an intellectual perspective,
you have to be a student of the arts, history, humanities, cultures, religions, etc. Unfortunately, these fields are widely ignored and discouraged in our society. To cure the problem of an uneducated mass, we need more people who are intellectuals. And while I agree with her, I have to reiterate that this is merely a symptom of a more widespread fitna that
our Ummah is facing - lack of education.
Dear Brother in islam
I read your reason which you presented for the decadence of ummah. In your view the taqlid has been the only cause for our damned fall.
but i think Taqlid is one of the causes and not the only cause. other causes being the indulgenge in wordly pleasure, neglect of concepts of Akhrah and mahsher, ignorance, rise of other nations and their inluence on ummah, lack of amr bin maroof and nahi anil munkar etc.
We have been told that we should think about our death atleast 25 times in a day, the angle of death looks at us everyday and see If our names are on his list. The worldy material and our single minded pursuit has emptied our hearts and minds of the greatness of Allah.
How much of our time in going after worldly things and how much time do we spend in preparing for the life to come, which we are told and belive that it has a beginning but not an end. Should we not be spending just that much time in what is necessary and the rest in the preparation of the hereafter.
Today we have lost all direction, but In my opion there is a way out of this. Let us all take it upon ourselves that we must prepare for the hereafter. Let uas all make such an effort that Allah becomes happy with us. Let us start calling our brothers and sisters in putting into practice what our dear and beloved Messenger taught us. Let us all understand the basics about Islam and try and go forward. By doing so, we will get help from Allah. May Allah accept our efforts.
Salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah;
Return to the Qur'an and Sunnah.
once such a great religion, but now the struggle commences.....
I liked your writing on intellectual stagnation. Just wanted to say that you could mentioned some more points so that it were more comprehensive.
1. We can only blindly follow the commands of Quran and the teachings of the prophet (SAW) and his interpretations of the Quran.
2. If somebody follows some imam blindly then he is misguided because Imam might be wrong in a certain matter.
3. If in a certain matter I blindly follow a scholar, the act which is being followed should directly relate to the Quran and Sunnah, otherwise my judgment is flawed and my vision is corrupt and needs ratification.
4.In a matter that have been well understood and settled, there is nothing wrong with blind following that matter as long as it derives from the Quran and the Sunnah or there exists a link towards the two.
5. In matters of practice, there may be different opinions on a particular issue. Usually they are minor and even the impact is minor. (For example saying ameen loud or not in the prayer) In those matters there is no point to blind following or insisting that one opinion is absolutely correct or absolutely wrong.
(The trend is that those issues become basis for distance between muslim groups. which stems from short sightedness)
6. There should be regular intra-group dialog and conferences on reforming masses and adopting a corrective approach especially on faith (Aqeedah) issues and one group should be open minded in correcting themselves if their stance is found wrong in the light of Quran and the Sunnah. The correction of that group should be relayed to every individual person through Islamic common media and through national and local Imams.
If there is an error, its due to my mistakes. Any good mentioned above is from Allah. I beg forgiveness for direct and implied and hidden mistakes or misleads. May Allah guide all of us.
There are multiple ways in which the Prophet (SAW) used to perform the Salat. This has been recorded in the Ahadith. However if one were to stick to the method, which the prophet observed the most, then we would have lost the other ways. It might be that Allah wanted to preserve all the 4 approaches which prophet observed. This might be one of the many reasons for the creation of schools of thought.
If people misuse a particular object, then the fault lies with the user and not the Object.
Having said this, I would like to elucidate one thing. There are numerous Islamic Madaaris (Deoband, Nadwa for instance), which impart quality and impartial education to their pupils.
Last but not the least. The Schools of thought have prevailed over the 1000 years. If they were incorrect then Allah would have surely affected an Intellectual awakening.
There is one more request. I would like you to print a god comprehensive article on Talaaq. I am certainly looking forward to it.
Isn't it time for us to think collectively as an UMMA and start exercising our voting rights?
What are you doing about it?
Islam in fact is true about Islam itself Vis-a-Vis
other religions,beliefs and faith.That is why it
is being isolated and targeted.It will prevail and
conquer all if it becomes less arrogant,less dog-
matic. The day it becomes less critical and skept-ical about people of other faiths. The day it stop
treating people of other faith with indignation.
The day it stops calling and branding its opponents as infidels,Kafirs,Munafiqs etc,etc.
It will prevail the day it will become more humble
and tollerant. The day it will come out of its
superiority complex ! and show respect towards
books,beliefs,scholars of other religions.It is
this super veneration ofitself that it is inviting
enemity and violence against itself.You will never
accept this neither will any Muslim of average
intellect,and in this and only in this lies the
seeds of decline of Islam ! You will never accept
this opinion ! and see! here is the Intellecual
stagnation !You will have to accept and respect
this view if you are tollerant otherwise you will
be intellectually stagnated!
>Instead of weighing the opinions of various
>scholars and accepting the one which is the most
>convincing to their intellect they blindly
>follow an imam's directive however much they may
>be convinced against it.
I believe the criteria for accepting something where the scholars differ is not to solely use intellect, but to look at the references (daleel) put forth by these scholars first. After weighing all these references, one could then select among these the view with which his heart is most comofrtable.
I would like to relay the hadith of Ali ibn Abi Talib radiallahu anhu about intellect (rough meaning): If the religion were to be based on logic/intellect, then wiping under the socks would make more sense than ovber it (as prescribed).
So, in my opinion, it's not just pure intellect.. but intellect in the light of Qur'an and Sunnah.
Jazakallah khair wa salaam,
I believe in what you've said in your article on stagnation. As far as we Muslims will not reason as such and put aside those ideas of sticking to Imams or so call leaders we will never progrss.
Allah has said it,ignorance is not an excuse. One has to wake up and stipe for Islam.
May Allah guide us all on the the straight path.
The writer is correct. We need to raise the intellectual level of the Ummah. In order to do so requires a focus. That focus should incorporate the missing element in the lives of muslims and what the muslims as a wajib need to address. That being the re-establishment of the Islamic State (mother of all Fariid).
There are other points in the article which highlight Islamic Sects and Taqleed as being a major factor of decline. However there seems to be a lapse in understanding of sects, jam'aa and Hizb's (parties) in Islam. These are related to differently in the evidences. One can't just bundle these three into one and say that only one will enter Jannath, as much propaganda from short sighted muslims seems to highlight today. Surely muslims need a party(s) even to account the Khalif in a Khilafah, and do I hear any voices saying we don't have a Khaleefa ? So I wonder could the muslims pray salat without an Imam and how many Imams can lead the salat ? I think the answer is obvious on the question of the incumbency of having the pledge of Bay'ah on the neck of the muslims.
Right, now to the point about Taqleed. The solution to this is not in the manufacture of scholars. One is again being short sighted, in thinking that one can produce and adhere to the sincere scholars under the authority of corrupt leaders in muslim lands. They would not be allowed to come to light given the western backed opressive regime in muslim lands.
Certainly muslims are in dire circumstances today and the solution to this firstly is not to look down on our brothers and sisters where ever they are. This can only help to breed an insecurity complex in the minds of the muslims. So my point is that the pressing issues need to be addressed and to realise that we are submerged in Kuffr everywhere on earth and the way to surface is to understand Islam as an ideology and as a system that can provide solutions to all life's affairs. Therefore we should perform Daw'ah accordin
May Allah guide all of us to the right path.
Jazak Allah Khair.
1) can you help the poor Muslim Brothers and the poor muslim sisters by financing in their education, either Islamic accademy or educatoinal accademy. I mean to give them some money for scholling because A great number of them can not provide themself with money for schooling. well you know their education will upgrace Islam and make them to understand the modern world with respect to Al-Quraan.Reply in earnest.
I completely disagree with your article. It is because people have left qualified scholarship and instead chosen to interpret the Qur'an and Sunnah "according to their understanding and intellect" that we have people like Osama bin Laden bombing the World Trade Center and killing thousands of innocent civilians. In addition we see that these people who call themselves "salafis/ Wahabbis" are constantly engaged in in-fighting never agreeing amongst themselves, accusing each other of Shirk and of leaving Ahlus Sunnah was Jamaah. These people are quick to make takfir on other individuals and have no concept of ethics of diagreement. Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) mentioned the danger of ta'weel in a hadith narrated on the authority of Hazrat Syedena Ibn 'Abbas (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) who said:
The Holy Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said "Whoever interprets the Qur'an according to his own opinion(ra'yah), let him seek his abode in the hell fire." (Tirmidhi)
Additionally, Hazrat Syedah A'isha as-Siddiqah (Radhi Allahu ta'ala Anhaa) reported that the Holy Last Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) recited this, the 7th ayat of Surah Aali 'Imran-
It is He(Allah) Who sent down the Book (al-Qur'an al-Majid). In it are verses with clear and established meaning (Muhkamaat), these are the the Mother (foundation) of the Book. Other verses are allegorical in their meaning (Mutashaabiha). Those who's hearts are perverted follow the allegorical verses seeking to cause confusion and discord (fitna) by attempting to seek a hidden meaning (ta'weel). None knows the interpretations (ta'weel) of these verses except Allah and those who are firm and deeply grounded in Ilm. [Holy Qur'an 3:7]
After reciting this Ayat, the Holy Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said "When you see those who practice Islam by using (interpreting) the allegorical verses of the Quran know that theh have gone astray (sahih Musl
Wa laikum as sallam
The propagators of Taqlid proclaim that you need to understand nine subjects, before you attempt to understand the Book. So, don't understand it, just read it blindly and this is enough for you to attain heaven, and that is your goal, not this world. And the whispers that are bandied about against each other group, the die is cast.
Therefore, let me add, that all awakening and every and any attempt to remedy intellectual stagnation of Muslim masses, should start from here. The BOOK should be made understandable. Just teach Arabic and its grammer. Once he/she begins to understand, free him/her to pursue any other subject to his/her limits. There are answers in this Book to every problem humankind today suffers. Real time massive problems- Water, Energy, Urban, Transport and Pollution. Let Muslims undertake to set these problems right for the entire humankind. The stagnation will disappear.
After Salaam and Dua let me say that the views expressed in the article is the view of many scholars of today by and large. However it will also be pertinent to reflect on the specific issues/ areas of the Deen or say the Holy Quraan
on which application of the intellect is necessary
in as far as the deductions are concerned.I feel
that most scholars agree to the fact that any human being other than the Prophets are fallible
and one's rank depends on how he or she makes a fall and how much he or she spends the life.
Application of the intellact is encouraged strongly by Allah according to the Holy Quraan.For discipline and uniformity within the Sect and to protect from aberrations of the evil design restrictions may also be necessary to some extent.Lest we know what happened to the Banee Israaels and the present day Christians.
I as a layman feel that our religious scholars should be competent to examine and analyse the present day events in the light of the Sciences
of the Holy Book and the Hadeethes.A background
of modern sciences and societies will be necessary to comment on the verses of the Holy Book.
we cannot have and we do not need any new verses
and for that matter any new creed as for the Deen
but we may need new methods of deductions to apply to the social systems starting from the
subject of ILM.Incorporation of sufficient materials in the syllabi of the Deeni Institutions
may be the first step.The affluent Islamic Countries can help more to the poorer Nations
for Literacy, General Awareness Programmes and Scientific and Technological Education nevertheless with Deeni Education.
This article gives me a great hope that good debate within the Muslim community would take islam to its true hights. We in India have seen the beauty of Islamic architecture, music, artisans and very importantly the classcial Indian music has been revived by great muslim artist like Ustad Allahrakah Khan etc.
Despite a lot of probelms in India muslims are not profiled and infact the most important defence position in India is held by muslim Abdul Kalam Azad. Hopefully India will solve its problems.
I hope and pray that Islam gets out of the grip of some misguided ulema and reach it rightful place in the pantheon of Human history.
Please also advise on the view of Islamic scholars on Indian religions like HInduisn, Buddhism and Sikhs and how it proposes to work with these faiths.
This is a sensational site undertaking a wonderful service fro islam.
It is niceto present the Koran into your web of the internet. But no once is wishing to buy.Do you know why?? you could double your sales, and trible your sales twice and more.
Here is a word of wisdome.
You can not buy a fish in the Ocean. You have to see with your own eyes the mechandise. Pardon me brothers and sisters.
If you could kindly show us the inside of the Koran how is the printing!! is every Sourat or chapter printed not connected to each other for example for educational purposes.. If the Language that is used in English is the Old language of English where no one knows thou and halth. or is it modern english..
and so on.
Please show us how does it look inside. Every library is selling the Koran, but what do you have special so that we place our orders.
Please show us how does it look inside. I need a koran that every Soura is printed alone and not connected to the nedt sora so that i can teach it to my french wife. (She is Muslim from Quebec) . I need a koran that is not written in the Old English where the langauge is so much complicated. I need a Koran that does not look like spagetti where every thing is printed connected together in a way that makes it so difficult to study and read?? We are in Canada, where no one can talk arabic except us.
I am sure that lots of brothers and sisters allover Europ, Americas, Australia, Newsland, South East Asia, China, India, they have the same problem as Arabic language is not their mother tongue and lots are willing to study the Koran but not like that,We can not buy a folder blind without seeing what is inside, so please try to understand our difficulties of reading the koran and present us something that is easty to read and understand. Wa laked Yeserna Al Koran lelthekr Fahal Men Muthakero. Please help us to find what we need so that we buy in return. The folder means to us nothing.
May Allah help us help ourselves.
May be it is our problem that we did not find them. May be we have fixed beliefs that makes us avoid certain scholars as a whole without knowing much about them just because they belong to a certain sect or country that we declared unauthentical without really studying it carefully with a pure sincere heart.
So may be it is the replacement of our pure, safe sincere loving hearts with hearts filled with bad doubts, suspicions and prejudice that made our eyes not see the scholars that the writer would like to see.
I pray that Allah blesses this umma with pure safe hearts filled with love and respect to each other even if there appears to be differences among ourselves. Only then will we all be able to see the right path and follow the righteous scholars.
We have no one to blame but ourselves for the mess we are in. This is fortunate because we hold the key to our success but also unfortunate that those around us see our failure as a weakness of Islam and our faith.
We have to get rid of the extra baggage that has accumulated in our religion and reform our doctrines to become more realistic, open and forward looking. It would be a lot more respectful to accomplish this ourselves rather than be forced upon us.
I just read your article and wanted to say that although you pointed on a very real problem in Ummah (Taqlid or blind following), yet you have ignored a very historical existence of Taqlid in Islam.
Quran is a great book and words of Almighty. I don't think that there is any Muslim that would disagree with that. However, understanding Quran has always been a problem. In early Islam, there was only one or two copies of Quran that people did not have access and only the leaders and head of states had access to it. Because there was not copying technology it would take a long time to copy Quran and give it to others. Even when they did copy Quran, they would send it to other Islamic states and other areas. When they wanted to distribute within cities, they would send it to the Masjids in that city.
In other points, it was really hard for an individual to access Quran. That is when a concept such as concept of Taqlid (or Following an Imam) was needed.
That is why Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) appointed His Ahlulbait as the leaders of Muslims but due to greed of some Khalifs, Ahlulbait were rejected and ever since Muslims have bought themselves a great misleading way.
This argument is in no way promoting sectarians beliefs but it is to remind you of the historical facts and realities.
In conclusion, following one is important fundamental in Islam (Called Imamah). It is matter of whom you follow. I agree that one needs to make sure that hisher Imam (Spiritual Leader) is a trust worthy, God-fearing, well-rounded Islamic intellectual who recognizes today's realities and modern world and could relate it directly to Islam. Average intellectual is not high enough to understand Quran fully and follow it. If understanding Quran is left up to individuals, Quran could have over 1 billion interpretations therefore thousands of sects would be created in Islam. As we see that in Christianity there is such division is now happening because of lack of central
For years I had this debate of taqlid.I was frowned upon and treated as a outcast.
In my youth I spend my time with the so-called Tabligh Jamaat ALGAMDOELILLAH there I got my grounding in my deen (the basics if you will) after years I became aware that I had to move on spiritualy .
I was then guided to the so-called Sunni waljammaat where I became a murid of the Qadiri Silsila Order.
What saddens me deeply is the conflict between the above groups and I was caught in the middle.
I on the otherhand benefitted spiritualy (INSHA-ALLAH)
I allways since I can remember wanted to became an Alim.But the opportunity never came because of my weakness.
Something that I will achieve (INSHA-ALLAH) is to learn the language of the QURAAN and that of my RASOOL (SAW) AMEEN!!
Keep up the sterling work
Your article "Intellectual Stagnation" was excellent. In the 70s and the 80s I worked with the late Dr. M. T. Mehdi as he crossed America telling the story of Palestine when no one else was taking up their cause. In private, we would talk about the current state of the Ummah and why America is in reality must more Muslims than any Muslim country. In fact Rose Wilder Lane wrote a book in the forties which suggest that the American ideas about freedon, justice and equality are Muslim ideas that were picked up by the English during the Crusades 700 years later give birth to the United States. There is great hope when people like you realize that there is hope for the Muslim Ummah, but first we must climb out of our intellectual stagnation. The Muslim world must return to an open society. When we have Muslims that feel it is their duty to challenged the religious scholars who have produced no new ideas in almost a thousand years. Until Muslims start to live by the spirit of Muhammad's teaching they shall we chained by the letter of Muhammad's teachings as interpreted by our brainashed orthodox scholars. Thanks for giving this Muslim hope.
MUSLIMS ARE ALSO IN NEED TO MAKE THEIR LIVING , SO THEY ARE DRIVEN INTO THAT COMPETITION. UNLESS A MUSLIM IS A TRUE MUSLIM, WHO KNOWS THAT VALUES AND ETHICS ARE ABOVE MATERIALISM, HE OR SHE LOSES HIMSELF OR HERSELF TO FIT IN THE GAME.
We have this dilemma in the Muslim Ummah today: When an Imam is open and compatable "with the time", the 1st to attack him is his own community. This is especially true, if he is being paid by them, because the people, who he is serving, are coming from a different background. Until we have Imams or Ulema, who are independent and are able to say what needs to be said, "whether the people like or not," we will continue to suffer.
Do you know that Imam Al Shafe'i was kiled by his own community? His rival of scholors did not like much of what he used to say. Then he became Imam of a mazhab that during his time was not followed, but after his death was.
May Allah help the Imam or A'lem to be patient, when his own muslim community is against him.
Looking forward ot your response, so I know that some one read what I have said
May Allah bless your efforts, and jazakumullahu Kahyran
Mohamad B. Arafat
If we could chalk out a system to appoint our Imam from within the society, who poses best talents, well educated, well paid, prestigious enough to guide the rest fellows accordingly and locally. The Islamic factual literatures should be available easily to all, which than will safe guard us not to get misguided by any ill vested interests. Islamic Educations should be designed to fit the present needs of the society for their livelihood and modern technological needs.
As a whole the Education is the key of all lapses within the Ummah. The education itself is good enough to compete all challenges but the tutors, way of teachings and tuition receivers should be reconsidered to come up successfully. And this could be achieved if the Islamic teachings and the teaching system etc. are introduced to the society again.
We don't need more scholars, we need more faith that each ordinary Muslim is capable of seeing and thinking for him/herself. Taqid will be a thing of the past when each member of the Ummah is allowed the use of its eyes and brain. The reformation was an essential step in the west and a natural outcome of the religious texts being made available, in a form that could be read and understood by the ordinary person.
This has yet to happen in Islam. I live in Malaysia and the vast majority of Muslims don't read Arabic so the message of the Qur'an is only available through the interpretations of others. I am better off because I speak English and there are five interpretations of the Qur'an in English so I can compare them all and, perhaps, get closer to the original.
I was lucky to have five translations to compare. The ordinary Malaysian Muslim only has one Malay translation. Is it the best? Until there are others they won't be able to make up their minds.
So I see the way out of the blind following that is hindering our walking the way of Allah to be a matter of encouraging the scholars we have to interpret and translate the Qur'an so that the members of the Ummah can use their brains as Allah encouraged. We need at least three versions in every language spoken by Muslims. When we have these the Ummah will be poised for the Islamic reformation and perhaps an Islamic renaissance will follow. The Ummah will be able to make up their own minds instead of having to blindly follow the scholars.
This is not just a problem for Islam but for all the world. Religion the source for all well being has been chnaged by some who love power more then the All Powerful. Islam is from God not from man
Let us reclaim the radio waves,
How could this be possible? I believe we should have a strong committee of scholars who represent us and our interests. Like the United Nations, we should have one strong and common word that we could all look up to instead of having different views from different imams and scholars who may corrupt the word and the religion.
I also agree with brother Ali Muhammad. We should encourage our muslim brothers and sisters to major in political science and/or law so we could have strong representation in the local and state and federal government. It is our responsibilty to think for ourselves and make our own decisions and not let others make decisions for us. This is why I have tremendous respect for reverts. Asalamu aleykum.
very good article. The author has correctly diagnosed what is sadly a very real problem among Muslims, especially now even in the Western countries - Europe, north america.
However, 2 more suggestions that the writer might consider:
1. We as Muslims must learn to hold so-called leaders -- be they sheikhs, maulvis, or politicians -- accountable. We have a right as Muslims to demand evidence and proof from Quran and Sunnah for these acts or pronouncements that they claim are "islamic". If evidence is not provided than that person should be shunned or exposed for being what they are. The evidence and the argument calling for it is what should be given precedence, not someones prestige or standing in society.
2. The level of discourse must be cleaned up and elevated so that the Quran and Sunnah is looked at as a real furqan or criterion of judgement. That is, instead of a dead set of rituals or do's and don'ts that it has sadly become today. That is, Islam's opinion on democracy, free markets, nationalism, tribalism, should be expounded upon and be the subjects of vigorous discussion among Muslims, rather than rote, mechanized or preachy sermons.
s. kashif haque
To Ali Mohammad:
I agree with you and the author. Many of us born muslims take things for granted without reasoning while Allah SWT had repeatedly commanded us to reason, reflect and ponder. On the other hand you find that new converts were accepting Islam out of inner-conviction and the desire to seek the Truth.
Taqlid is not a problem if it is in an area that you lack the relevant knowledge but, even then you are expected to reason. The ability to reason is one of the blessings of Allah SWT on us and it is what distinguishes us with animals.
May Allah increase us in knowledge and guide us onto the Straight Path.
As Salaamu Aliakum
brother in islam,
i was born in a mission hospital,brought up in amissionary school,beenthrough all religious institutions,worked with bedion arabs najd.
your assessment is correct, i reliased this when christains started degrading islam,i started reading about islam,the Quran with tafseer with many many writers,than sahee bukari (all nine volumes) than islamic history than the bible for camparision studies.know allamdulillah. i feel i am amuslim can stand any ungrded missiles and i am taking the same route for my children.i did not belong to any group,just follows the Quran and sunna of the prophet mohammed pbuh.
As an African American convert,I am tired of
being asked,"are you muslim?" By those born into the religion. Hint??? Niquab,albaya, and hijab.
Mainly by those who are not covering. I'm not
BATMAN. My blue chevrolet...the bat-moblie ?
this wahabi-salafi rubbish about taqlid must be refuted....please go to www.masud.co.uk on shaykh Nuh's articles.
As a convert and mostly isolated from other muslims, I'v had the privledge to learn the deen without predjudice or biase. Hamdullah. We should be all concerned with only seeking Allah's pleasure and not the person sitting next to us. Inshallah May Allah make us keep our eyes only on Him in this life and the next. Very good artical
I have gone through many trials and tribulations purely for the sake of Allah. I'm also getting married to a Muslim woman in December, alhamdulilah. On the topic of marriage, I listened to another Muslim who thought it acceptable that a Christian man marry a Muslim woman. I asked him on what he based his view. When I told him that the Quran forbids this type of arrangement, he was amazed. "Really?" he said to me. You mean you can't do that?
To me, it's ironic that a recent revert to Islam has to teach born Muslims the absolute fundamentals--and in very, very simple terms--of Islam. I love teaching them, but literally the experience has been: great, you're a new Muslim; now, can you do everything because we don't want to or don't know how. If the umma is functioning correctly, they should be the scaffolds for my growth into Islam.
I know this may hurt some born Muslims feelings, but I feel I have an obligation to say it: you're not doing enough. Stop relying on the reverts for knowledge, stop assuming that you are automatically going to heaven just because you're born into a Muslim family, stop assuming that we'll take care of everything, stop adopting American popular culture--A Muslim listening to rap artist Eminem?--encourage brothers to major in something besides mathematics or engineering, and, for Allah's sake, pray five times a day with the utmost intention.
I couldn't believe it, but the other day a brother at the masjid asked me: who are you and what are you doing here? I told him that I'm a new Muslim (I'm a white man), and he replied, "Well, why would you want to do that?" For his information, a masjid is not an exclusive gentlemen's club for brothers from just a particular country. Parents, it's your job to educate your kids on Islam. Their lack of knowledge reflects o