Intellectual Stagnation

Category: World Affairs Topics: Ulama Views: 4728

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.


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  198 Comments   Comment

  1. Azizi Salum from Tanzania

    Really I appreciate your lessons for they truly reflect the current situation of islamic societies. This to me will consequently join the intellectual hands and form islamic unity as a whole in the long run. So I strongly encourage you to write as much as possible these sort of lessons. However, you may wish to use even another forms such as magazines and bulleins to pass your messages so that they reach a good number of people.

  2. Haneef Abdul Rahman from Usa

    Salaam Alaikum I think you are so correct my thing is I would like to go away some where and get the knowledge should I look here at home or go abroad. I notice most student's go away to study because maybe they feel they will be less distracted some where else or maybe the Imam's arent so knowledgeble them selves if you have any good school's of choice please email them to inshaalah Salaam Alaikum.

  3. adigun noheemdeen from Nigeria

    ait ssalam alykum itisabout 4week ago that ihad receive bullettin in my inbox hope no problem

  4. Hussein Sesay from The Gambia

    In the name of Allah

    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.

  5. abu from u.s

    I agree with the sentiments expressed in this article. But, then I have a q. The thing I do not understand is that why has there been such a level of degradation in the morals of the muslims over the past few decades, when compared to any other sections or religions of the society ? Is it poverty ? oppression ? survival or what ?

    I can't seem to figure that ....I would be gratefull to u if u could let me know the possible reasons .

    khudaffiz

  6. s a muhammad from usa

    This is a very good article I do hope that as many Muslims as possible read this article. I will be promoting it to other Muslims. Allah-u-Akbar

  7. S HARRIS from GB

    RE: ARTICLE ON INTELLECTUAL STAGNATION, 21 SEPT. '02

    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.

  8. Waqar Hussain from UK

    what we are lacking is a framework. What are the outer bounds of intellectual curiosity. Where is it safe to tread? When have you travelled too far in your intellectual questioning? Who defines the boundries. The author has correctly diagnosed the illness, the challenge is the cure.

    Sadly I have no answer either.

  9. zilzaal azzizi from Washington, DC/USA

    I concur with Sameena (India/USA) in her two-part comments on 'Intellectual Stagnation.'

    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.

  10. Amjad from Pakistan

    I dont see how taqlid inteferes with the role that Quran should have in our lives. Taqlid is to do with fiqh rather than broader principle of Islam: submission. No scholar of Islam has ever propogated non-submission to Allah and taqlid nowehere teaches non-submission. For example, whereas taqlid would ask us to pray in a certain way, it wouldnt stop us from praying anywhere. However, todays 95% muslims dont even attend mosques, let alone talking about the intricacies of the salat that could be a topic of taqlid.

    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.

  11. Abdul Wadoud from USA

    As Salaamu Alaikum

    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

  12. zilzaal azzizi from Washington,DC/USA

    Editor/IslamiCity:

    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

  13. Abdul Wadoud from USA

    As Salaamu Aliakum

    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.

    Ma Salaam.

  14. Sameena from US/India

    ...Continued... In Islam there is no concept of a "chosen people", "pure race", "seeds should not be mixed" or "twiceborns". There is no clergy in Islam; Islam is about having a direct relationship with God. Islam is meant is to be interpreted individually. Unlike some ancient religions, the Koran is accessible to everybody not just the clergy. Most Muslim rituals like standing shoulder to shoulder in the mosque and in Hajj (wearing white at prayer meetings, mosque etc.) are meant to remind us that we are all equal in the eyes of God. God distinguishes us not by our gender or class or race but by our values and our virtues. These are the strengths of Islam that our religious schools need to emphasize.

    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.

  15. Sameena from US/originally India

    Interesting article, thanks. To contribute intellectually to this world, we need to understand it first and this understanding will only come when we expose ourselves to the world. We need both Deen (Faith) and Duniya (World). We need an understanding of Islam as well as this world we live in. Unfortunately in many Islamic countries, our religous leaders do not emphasize education or the need for us Muslims to broaden our understanding of the world outside our Islamic community. In India, where I come from, this attitude of Muslim religious leaders leaves the weak and impoverished Muslims there even more vulnerable to Hindu exploitation. Islam is not a faith meant to be practiced in isolation. Its influence can be felt in every corner of the globe. We need to ask ourselves what are the principles of Islam which allowed it to spread as far as it did? Without my education, I would not have been able to appreciate Islam as I do now. In India, Islam liberated the people from a race-obsessed and exploitive society. In Persia, it liberated people from a similarly exploitive feudal system. While both Hinduism and Zoroastranism are great religions with much ancient wisdom, both failed (in Hinduism's case, miserably) in upholding the basic human dignity of the masses. In Arab countries, unfortunately, Muslim quibble too much about the little things: hijab etc.. We forget the big ideas and focus on petty religious disputes. I hate to hop on the Arab-bashing bandwagon, but Arab Islam is essentially a religion of & by people unfamiliar with the modern world. Unfortunately, its only the Arabs (especially Saudis) who have the financial resources to fund their brand of Islam around the globe.(Continued)

  16. Mohamed Zeroual from USA

    Yes , the Islamic world lives an intellectual stagnation. I'm sad to notice how little a majority of muslims know about their religion and even though they proclame themselves competent in religious matter.

    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 .

    Assalamou aalaimkoum

    Mohamed

  17. abdulghafoor from India

    Assalam Alaikum

    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

  18. Bayized from U.S.

    There is no doubt on my mind anymore about this matter. But the real challange is to change my mind and do the correct deed. So, that i may overcome my previous sins. The ultimalte challange is to defeat my freewill through Islam, yet such acheivement can't be any subject to moke about.

    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.

  19. Zakariya Mosadiq from USA

    The article mentions something which is very dangerous for the masses of muslims worldwide, this notion of trying to discredit the great scholars of islam is quite horrific and dubious. Taqlid for the common muslim who has no access to more than the basics is something which saves him/her from innovations and other grievous things which his/her intellect can lead them to. We need to be aware of what we are calling for, the great scholars were specialists in their fields and have come up with credible and accurate solutions to problems, we can't put them aside and start to re-interpret and re evaluate all the hadiths etc...that would be re-inventing the wheel. The best generations of the muslims were the first three, all the scholars close to them are far better than any scholar we can have today.

    wsalaamu alaikum

    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).

  20. muryumZ Kazmi from USA

    This is an interesting article; but unfortunately based on what it claims to redress! The genteman, Mr. Shazad Salem, himself is a prey of the so called "Taqleed" that he argues is the cause of, both, "Intllectual Stagnation" as well as "Sectarianism". Without truly understanding what entails "Taqleed", and how and when Islam was infested by "Sectarianism", and what were the causes of such sectarianism, he jupms to conclusoins. I suggest that he do a thorough research with an "OPEN MIND" (and not a mind confined by its pre-conceived notions) before jmping to such conclusions!!

  21. jim banks from usa

    Thou shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart and soul

    and mind, and thy neighbor as thyself" What does this mean?

  22. Parvez from India

    What the author said is true. There is no role for priests in Islam. The Ulema , Maulanas etc under the guise of scholarships are performing these roles now. It all started with good intentions after the prophets time with the purpose of collection of hadiths. Now the Ulema, Maulana, Imams etc ride a thin line between studying the religon and giving leadership and performing priest like duties. They are in large helped by the almost complete abdication of religon and its interpetation by the common muslim.

    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.

  23. Mujib from USA

    As-Salamu `alaykum

    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

  24. shisu seidu edie from ghana

    Assallamunalaikum.... I am a presenter on VIBE FM in accra Ghana and I always read your news bulletin to my listeners during my programs on radio. I strongly agree with you that the deffernt sects that we have in islam today is what is dividing us. Pettiness,greed,opportunist,selfishness and lark of faith is the problem of the moslem today. The more we follow these things,the more we divid our selves.We need to unite and fight against our oppressers.If we are so united under the umbrellar of''LAA ILAA HA INLALA MUHAMMEDAN RASSULLUNLA''countres like America and Britain can never fight against the islamic states like Iraq and Afganistan.The earlia we forget about those sects and come toghether, the better it will be for the strenth islam in the whole world. ASSALAMUNALLAIKUM.

  25. Emre from Australia

    You must also add in that the Hadiths are a sin as well.

    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.

  26. Sofia Shums from USA

    Your solution ( Islamic scholars with a different bent of mind) to the problem of taqlid in the Muslim ummah reminds me of the other attitude held by many Muslims, namely that the only valid reading of the Qur'an is in Arabic and all attempts to read the translation of the meaning of the Qur'an in any other language is not a religious endeavor. Imagine a scenerio where "other than Arabic-speaking" individuals convert to Islam. Must they hold off their conversion/reversion until such time as they have mastered the Arabic language as expert native users? Your proposition for a certain type of Islamic scholars to redeem us all from taqlid is as impractical as this stance of some Arabs. Scholarhip is within the reach of all those who attempt to educate themselves. Yes, each and everyone of us in the ummah must strive toward that end. We cannot afford this waiting game any longer. We have waited for over a thousand years it seems. How much longer do you want us to wait for this new breed of scholars? Let's get rid of this unhealthy attitude of depending on others to help us do the right thing in our lives.

  27. Viqar Usmani from PAKISTAN

    I fully agree with the article, but the point is who is going to begin the process, and from where?

    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.

  28. Mohammad Ansar Ansari from USA

    assalam u alaikum

    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.

  29. saadiqah from USA

    AsSalaamu 'Alaikum ~ I agree that our scholars must avoid taqlid in order to lead with a dynamism that will influence the masses. Its avoidance is encumbent on all Muslims, however; the Qur'an doesn't distinguish between scholars and non-scholars in its criticism of those who follow the ways of their fathers without thought or reason.

    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.

  30. mahmoud khan from Australia.

    to the point and how right you are.!All we have to do is ask ourselves what are our deficiencies.what are our in inadequacies , what faults do others perceive in us.We nneed to change .Because if we dont vhange we will remian the same (stubborn and blind) We have an opinion and we Need to respect the others opinion. We need to to agree to disagree. But we all have one common thread i.e. our profound belief in the Almighty,our belief in His Prophets (on whom be peace)our belief in The Books of Allah and the final Testament - The Holy Quran,we believe in the Last Hour and in the Angels .Yet we are engaged in nit picking and in overbearing.

    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.

  31. Mohammed Noor Desmukh from india

    Very rightly said. Except the personality of Muhammed rasulullah saw. no other personality should be taken as guide.

    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.

  32. mohammed ali from Saudi Arabia

    The scenario is changing now. Especially in the asian subcontinent. We can not totally blame the scholars for this stagnation. It is the responsibility of every individual in every capacity to understand his faith, its demands and the intricacies in it. Not only he should practice it but also popularise the practices. Islam is very natural religion and very simple. The holy Qura'an can be explefied like a manual. Unless u follow the manual u cannot operate any instrument perfectly. Similarly unless one follows the Qura'an and sayings of the holy Prophet, he is bound to go astray. It is most unfortunate that we have time to read, understand and follow strictly every scholarly (worldly)matter, except the holy Qura'an. The month of holy Ramadhan is coming near. Let us take this opportunity and start from now at least to read the holy book and put in practice.

    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.

  33. Abdurahman from USA

    The main point is NOT taqlid or not. Taqlod is matter of fiqh realm NOT faith. The main poinr is now so many Moslems did not make salat, zakat, and did not know taharah.

    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?

    AR

  34. Rashiq Sufi from Singapore

    A very profound point has been made. Supporting this view is the fact that the preachers of Islam from the pulpit of mosques are basically from illiterate backgrounds which per se is not the issue; it is the lack of education and knowledge and its application to understanding Islam which is the main problem. Coming from such a background learning the Quran by rote and some Hadiths entitles them to become preachers which is essentially a means of livelihood.From this platform they become the so-called experts on matters of religion.

    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.

  35. nur from usa

    salam alaykum rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuh

    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.

    salam

  36. gail from USA

    I thought this was an excellent article. Keep up the good work. Thank You

  37. syedmanzooralan from usa

    I aapreciate your ideas.The magnitude of the problem is vast and manifold.I pray and hope that people like you shod come forward to cure the preent ills.

  38. Misbau Hameed from London

    This article has rightly highlighted the real bane of Islam and has by the same token proferred the right solution. Is anyone listening? Jazaaka Allahu khairan Jazaan.

  39. Asim Malik from Canada

    This is our falt of not educating our children about Islam. Imams of today say what they like and disregard what they don't like! They teach quran, but they don't teach the meaning of the word they are teaching. Our teachers are corrupt and should be corrected. Non-Muslim aren't to blame! Non-Muslim's intension are to hurt us, but who are leading them to our distruction. Let me guess, "IMAMS".

    Thank you for read my commets

    Allah-Hafiz...........

  40. Jaffar Shaikh from Canada

    As Salaam Alaiqum Rehmatullahe Wa Barakatahu,

    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.

  41. F.RAHIM from PAKISTAN

    THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN TRULY IDENTIFIED AND WELL HIGHLIGHTED BY THE WRITER. YOU HAVE BLISSFULLY SPONSORED IT. MY THANKS AND APPRECIATION TO BOTH.

    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.

  42. FARIDAH MAT ALI from TERENGGANU

    I think that blind taqlid was found spreadly but here,we as a Muslim should take care about it b'coz it will be effected to our belief.the most important, we must learn and practice the islamic teachings as we can as possible to lack of blind following.

  43. Mohammed El-leissy from Australia

    I cannot whole-heartedly agree with the mistaken veiws of the author. If Taqleed has been the cause of the downfall of this (later part of the) Ummah then we have none to blame but ourselves. It is the sickness of our hearts and not Taqleed.

    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.

  44. Faez from UK.

    This is spot on. I was listening to the Nigeria 'Stoning Sentence' radio story: It's strange that this is just what I was thinking. It's sites like these and the 'new muslims' from non-asian origins with their 'fresh' Imaan outlook which forebode well for the future of Islam .

  45. Khalid from India

    I fully concur with your views on the intellectual stagnation of the Muslim Ummah the world over.A short of Rennaissance is required amongst us to understand the realities and complexities of fast changing Modern world.A quest for knowledge amongst all of us is required and for this we got to make the Quranic studies complementary as well as supplementary to the modern secular studies of the time.

  46. Mahmood Ahmad from USA

    I am hundred percent in agreement with what has been written in this thesis. We definitely need to produce the able and learned scholars, who can address these issues and take our masses out of the prevailing circumsatances, which are tarnising the name Islam. May Allah Pak give us courage and means to address theses issues. Ameen!

  47. nouroudeen assaf from canada

    I believe at the time of the prophet(pbuh) who raised the best men in the history of this universe his followers had to follow him and make Taqlid and still respect each others different opinion. So all we need is a spiritual leader with the REAL knowledge of quran and sunnah, a leader we love and respect as a man, not because he has a scholarship of fiqh in his hand and because he is an imam of a masjid. we must respect scholars and leaders as men first then we may preform the task of taqlid so that are hearts are full of iman

  48. Luqman Abdul-Hakeem from USA

    IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL

    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

  49. Guy Matalon from USA

    As a student of Islamic philosophy and theology (though a non-Muslim)I would stronly urge muslims to go back to the Giants of Islamic rationalism: Alfarabi,Ibn Sina, Ibn Bajja, Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Rushd. They are springs that will help renew the intellectual aspect of Islam that has taken a back seat since the death of Ibn Rushd.

    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.

    In peace

    Guy Matalon

    Asst. Professor of Religion

    University of Nebraska at Omaha

  50. Tayyaba qidwai from Oman

    I am absolutely amazed by the overwhelming response to this article from all over the world.Mr. Shehzad Saleem is to be congratulated for creating ripples in the stagnant pool of intellectualism!Of course congratulations also to Islamicity for posting this article and providing a dignified forum for people to let their voices be heard.I am delighted and proud to read comments both praising and differing with the views of the writer.This is the voice of no "Blind" Ummah!Muslims of today ARE thinking with their soul about their religion, independent of any conditioning by society or scholars or intellectuals.May Allah make this step drive away the darkness, distress and troubles which we face today and bring to us the countless graces and the deep wisdom of religion.

  51. Zeeshan Rahat Kureshi from USA/Pakistan

    Assalam-u-laikum

    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.

  52. Omar Abdul Rakeeb from usa

    This has been my feeling for quite sometime,I am gratified to see that there are others who have this form of thinking and are willing to speak out.The big question is"who is qualified to instruct others in this fashion?"my opinion is not many the only alternative is for individuals to study Quraan for themselves and ask Allah To guide them,ask questions when confused,from scholars that they respect and trust.Another observation is the convert here in America that goes to middleeast to study he just discovered Islam and he starts providing the answers based on the knowledge that was pumped into him from that particular school of thought.

  53. Sheik Ahmed Dahaar from France

    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.

    Ma salaam

    Sheik Ahmed Dahaar

    From TAHA Mosqeu in Paris

  54. Helena Saladeen from Queens , USA

    Very well said, we read and do not understand,we need to be educated with explanation on the Glorious Quran

  55. Ummu from U.S.A

    I am sooo gratefull for this article.It was right to the point.I am actually trying to contact my brother-in-law and i'm going to e-mail this article to him.You will always find a self proclaimed scholar who thinks he knows whats right and they'll even try to impose they're belief of what islam is supposed to be like or of what the Quran's real interpretation is.Unfortunately there are always going to be people like that. The way to battle this would be to teach our children and communities that being a muslim does'nt mean that you're always right and you have all the answers.Aterall there is only ONE being that is allknowing and allwise.

    May he guide us all.

  56. S Abdul from UK

    I agree that quite often now, the followers of Islam (and if we notice, also of other religions)do exactly that - follow (blindly). We should if our conscienc says that certain thing is not right, challenge it. Is it in accordance to the teaching of Islam/guidance from Allah - which we can find in the Qur'an?

  57. N-AKUL GBENE SULEMAN from GHANA

    The idea is laudable. The problem however is how to come out with people of such a calibre who will be so calm and patient enough to accommodate the criticisms likely to arise.I believe this problem needs all hands to give it a permanent touch.I There4 suggest that the MUSLEM NGOS will of much aid.So some special programme be set for selected scholars to give it a trial.

  58. Laila Suraj from Ghana

    This was an excellent, well thought out and timely essay. Jazak Allahu khair for publishing it.

  59. saleem raza from pakistan

    DEAR SIR,

    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.

    SIMPLE READER

    SALEEM RAZA

  60. Sarah from Canada

    MashaAllah, this is so true. May we realize our mistakes and correct them before its too late.

  61. Mohammed Fiaz from United Kingdom

    Salam,

    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

  62. Abdul Aziz from Australia

    I agree with you. No proper study has been done. In some Muslim countries, the religious preachers are not appropriately educated. They interpret Islam without having done any research work on it.

    May Almighty Allah grant your and our wishes, Amen.

    Thank you,

    abdul aziz

    Best wishes

  63. Marva Abu Ali from China at present

    Bismillah Ar Rahman, Ar Raheem

    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

  64. mohammed mustapha from Ghana

    i firmly believe that engaging in ratonal discourse among different sects is the best way of promoting a better understanding in the UMMAH.For ordinary moslems who depend on scholars to enrich their understanding of ISLAM ,be guided by the principle that any saying and conduct that defies rationality,peace and logic is most likely to be contrary to the supreme teachings of ISLAM.

  65. Yahya Bergum from USA

    I was amazed by the number of Muslims who responded to this article - Masha'Allah! I don't wish to unwittingly protest the resolution of something so many of those born to Islam consider a very real problem. My point is that the correct solution to a problem among Muslims is not necessarily to attempt a revision of Islam.

    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.

  66. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Alhamdulliah, this article made me realize I would rather be considered stagnant than blasphemous! As a fairly recent convert to Islam, I (still) feel safer about forcing my belief to match to my religion rather than the other way around. I have instead decided to resolve myself to accept prohibitions against congregational recitation (like singing hymns in church but without instrumental accompaniment) and against worshipping Allah in public alongside my wife.

    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.

  67. Shaukat Ali Lodhi from USA

    Civilized methods or intellectual interacation, and scientific thinking has failed to awaken muslims from deep slumber. They fight among them selves even in dreams.Muslim world is lead by Arab World becuase they have wealth. They hate science, research and progress. They are afraid of

    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.

  68. Viola Gary from usa

    As Salaamul Alaykum, This is a powerful and all real thesis and I thank Allah much for His guidance through brothers and sisters who are of the rightly thinking. This is true of the Muslims and has been predicted by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saaw) that Islam started strange and will end strange. May you forgive me and the Most Merciful forgive me if my words are not entirely true. If not please correct me. Thank you for the thought provoking information.

  69. Raj from UK

    A major point has been discussed, can we have the courage to read AND understand the Qur'an AND THEN do our best to follow those rules in our lives. NOT VERY EASY but CAN make the difference.

  70. Tayyaba qidwai from Oman

    Intellectual stagnation is evident not only by blind Taqlid but also by the other extreme; of habitual intellectual reluctance to follow any religious authority.Experts in other field who have no or very little religious knowledge pry into the explanations, reasons and arguments of everything, while the truth is that one who is not an expert cannot at all do without accepting the authority of an expert.This does not mean that the scholars of Shariah do not possess any reasons or arguments.They do possess all that. But many things are beyond the understanding of the common man.Just at it is very difficult to explain a theorem of Euclid to a man who is ignorant of the first principles of geometry, in the same way there are certain sciences which serve as instruments and elementary principles for a study of the injunctions of the Sharah. Any one who wishes to understand them fully must necessarily acquire a knowledge of these sciences to begin with. But today's man does not have the time or the inclination to do this. So he either "blindly" follows the religious scholars or "blindly" intellectually boycots the ulema.

    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"

  71. Rafat Malik Jamal from Pakistan

    Why produce new tailor-made scholars, why can't we ourselves do it if it is our desire.

    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

  72. Zahir Shamsery from Bangladesh

    This is wonderful.There should more writings on the issue.

  73. Besim Bruncaj from USA

    In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

    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.

    was

  74. mohammed hussein from USA

    I totally agree with every line in this article, we have two problems:

    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

  75. Nedal Haddad from Canada

    As salaam u alaikum

    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.

    wasalaam

    Nedal

  76. S. Rasheeda Rabb from usa

    In the Name of Allah, The Gracious, the Compassionate.

    Assalaam Ailaikum

    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.

  77. Sulaiman Sa'ad Abubakar from Nigeria

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    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.

    Ma-as-Salaam

    Sulaiman

  78. Ali Beha from U.S.A.

    It's interesting the way the author points to taqlid as one of the causes of intellectual stagnation. It could be argued that taqlid by the uneducated masses in matters of jurisprudence is desirable. One of the causes of intellectual stagnation (that was not mentioned in the abtract) has been that in colonial times, Muslim institutions of education were marginalized and discredited, while Western institutions were given direct access to the public forum. Thus, an intellectual class emerged which had no formal Islamic education beyond elementary school but which was expected to voice its opinions on Islamic issues. So, these societies were faced with the problem of two classes of intellectuals: the Western educated, which lacked a deep understanding of Islam and were thus alienated from the masses, and the traditional Islamic scholars who were cut off from the modern institutions of government, but with whom the masses could identify. If a traditional scholar voiced an opinion contrary to what a modern intellectual would say, he would be denouced as being backward. If a modern intellectual voiced an opinion contrary to what the traditional scholars were saying, he would be denounced as a heretic. The result was intellectual stagnation. (This is just one aspect of the issue, but it deserves to be mentioned.)

  79. G.M. Abdul Hafeez from India

    Dear Sir Assalamu Alaikum

    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

    Hafeez

  80. Asif from Canada

    That article "Intellectual Stagnation, by Shehzad Saleem " I find is indeed, very true. A very good article to write about towards the Muslim Ummah. I am going through the same thing which that article is talking about. Lately I have gone thru so much confusion that I nearly have cried my eyes out. All I want is for Allah, The Almighty to guide me to Siratul Mustaqeem. And I know I must use my 'aql, but it is not that easy. There are so many different opinions on things related to Deen. I have heard so many sides, but I just don't know which is right. I hear two voices in my head, but I don't know which one is Shaytaan and which is the Angel. I think the Muslims need someone to stand up, and bring out all the facts to clear up all this confusion...or better yet, the Muslims need a Khalifah.

  81. Ali Abbas from Australia

    With regard to your articale "The ailment of Taqlid (blind following)" not sure about your real intention weather to attack the Shia school of thought or seek an intelectual and logical reasoning for this belief. Shia believe that every one is encouraged to study and research Quarn and the prophet's tradition until you can distinguish between 'haq' and 'batil' and to get to the origin of all 'ahkaam' in Islam but as you are very well aware that not every body has the capacity and the time to get to that level of religious studies and thats why you have experts in a field and people refer to the experts for advice in their day to day issues. This is just a simple reason behind taqleed but if you contact a Shia scholar they will provide the quranic and the prophets tradition that led to taqleed. As Muslims are always emotional towards their belief I suggest you orchestrate your articale in a more costructive way in order to have a united Muslim ummah.

  82. Arooj from USA

    I think this article tells the truth about the muslims of today..some people just dont want to understand things and their parents force it on them or their family...they should on their own want to understand the Quran and Islamic teachings.

  83. Muhammad A.Omar from Saudi Arabia

    What Shehzad has mentioned in this article is absolutely correct,unfortunately,the Muslim ummah is now in the dark and it will take a lot of effort for most of us to get back on track.

  84. Yinusa Idris from Nigeria

    This account to the decline of younger muslim scholars and Imams.

  85. Jamil Sewanyana from Uganda

    I have read your article and it is a true description of the situation in the Umma today.The current "touch bearers" in our Umma are propagating Islam in a Christian way i.e evangelism . The approach is Islam Vs Xtianity.So the Umma is left out on the true virtues of Islam.Its high time we groomed scholars to rid the Umma of Intellectual Stagnation.

  86. suleman dangor from south africa

    The author is absolutely right. This phenomenon is universal. There has to be a concerted effort by scholars to reverse this trend. A Muslim is expected to "belong" to a madhhab (from which he may not deviate), then to a jama`at (Tabligh, Sufi, etc) which determines his social circle, then to a school of thought (Deobandi, Barelwi, Salafi), that manifests his ideological orientation, etc, etc. It seems that outside these "categories" one has no identity! While I am sure that many of the leaders of these various groups are well-meaning, and that there is some merit in identifying with or belonging to them, the fact is that in most instances they have become divisive. Rather than being seen as a means to an end (which is what they are in essence), they are regarded as ultimate objectives in themselves. This is, I believe, the fundamental problem : confusing means with ends Futhermore, we often take interpretations of scholars as absolutes. This leads to intolerance of divergent views and, consequently, to hostility and even conflict (verbal and sometimes physical). This is a result either of ignorance or of manipulation by scholars who wield teremendous influence in communities throughout the Muslim World. The enlightened scholars, for better or worse, do not enjoy thsi popularity and are thus unable to impact on their societies. Nonetheless, a start has to be made. Perhaps a meeting of like minds over a few days could facilitate the process of "restoring the true balance". Education is the key to the success of this mission. Seminars, workshops and conferences in addition to publications should be facilitated.The future of the ummah - if it is to survive, never mind contribute, in the New Global World - depends on its ability and willingness to identify its priorities (economic, political and social) and work toward their fulfilment in a collaborative effort.

  87. Muslimah from UK

    This is a great article, discussing the real problems of the Muslim Ummah, today.

    "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...

    Wasalam

  88. Moinpasha from India

    First & foremost I would like to Thank Islamicity.com for sending me such a wonderful article.According to me the theseis mentioned by the author is almost correct.I am saying almost, because I have met many people who don't believe blindly or by just hearing their Imam's words.They ask for reference of the QURAN.If this few number increases then I think that the UMMAH will be able to make mark in the world once again.

    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

    ALLAH HAFIZ

    From,

    Moinpasha

  89. Judy Nelson-eldawy from American living in Egypt

    I must say that I agree with this article.However,perhaps such blind adherence to one madhab&the ensuing intellectual stagnation has a deeper root.I am referring to the lamentable tendency of all Muslims to "stick with their own kind"ie.Egyptians stick with Egyptians,Jordanians with Jordanians,etc....instead of us all just being Muslims and brethren for the sake of Allah.Such cliqueish and clannish behavior is what keeps Muslims from uniting and becoming a powerful socio-economic and intellectual force in the world community.We could apply lawful and non-violent methods to stop the atrocities against the Palestianians,the Turkish Muslims,the Bosnians Muslims,the Indian Muslims and all who are being oppressed for the sake of Allah.Afghanistan wanted to be an Islamically oriented country.Just think what might have been accomplished if the other Muslims communities had given them support in the form of guidance-teachers,mentors&social support as well as monetary and technical support to rebuild their infrastructure after the years of violence.They could have developed a society where women were a vital part of the community&where Islamic Shariah was implemented correctly.Perhaps the recent tragedy would never have happened.According to Eriksens Hierarchy of Needs,one needs to have their basic needs for safety,food,ect... met before one can attend to higher ego functions,like intellectual development.Perhaps if the Ummah were to act like brethen,the religious schools of thought would not be so rigid.After all,the scholars and leaders are only human and are shaped by their enviroment as much as the next person.As the old adage states,"United we stand,divided we fall".

  90. Muhammad Khatri from Tanzania

    Salaams

    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.

    Thanks.

  91. Zafar ul Hassan from Pakistan

    Intellectual awakening will not come by just studying all the sources of Islam by "groomed" individuals. It requires what you have studied to be reflected in actions. It is only then ones intellect is awakened by experiences that have never been experienced before.

    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.

  92. Kashmir Ibn Muslim from India

    Dear Friends

    Asalamualikum,

    "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.

    sincerely

    Kashmir Ibn Muslim

  93. Muhammad Amin from PAKISTAN

    You are right about this stagnation. This is one of the dominant reasons but my point is the following. Let us not be burried in the grave this and other reasons of the same kind so deep that instead of arguing on solutions of the problem we keep giving justification of the problems, of decadence, of stagnation in the Muslim world.

    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

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/saatfase

    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.

    Amin

  94. safeena raagil from usa

    All Praises due Allah(SWT), This article hits the root of our problems in this society. It leaks out of most places of prayer. It can only be looked at with sadness, the roots have taken hold and the concern is, can we turn the thing around?

  95. monief from usa

    unfortunatly u are correct the times have led to what we see today with muslims submitting themselves but instead of allah they submitt themselves to the dunya and what the dunya has to offer. In life we learn what to trust when to be objective and when to be subjective but unfortunatly we are not taught when to be active and when to be submisive my question to you than becomes a rather comlicated one. We know and accept the Quran as 1 regardless of weather u are shitte or sunni and our differences reside in the hadeeth we accept. Now in order to unite our selves as muslims how do we go about the idea of impleminting the unification of islam as an ummah that nourishes and defends its muslim and nonmuslim constituents all throughout the globe? How do we establish the path that will guide all muslims to the goal of unification. after the fire comes the rain but this fire just seems to engulf more and more as if it were just getting started maybe i am a student who had too much coffee and does not like what he see's? maybe i might have tumbled upon the idea that i would dedicate my lifes energy to. only allah knows

    thank you and good luck

    monief

  96. ahmed m nada from U.S.A

    It is so true that my heart is achaing,but we need to know why, please find out why. We as muslims like to be tought as it is mentioned

    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.

  97. William Keitz from USA

    I have only been a Muslim since September of last year. A hard time to convert from a Catholic to Islam especially after the 911 and being an American. I took my shahada in Vienna last year in front of a Muslim woman who was kind enough to chat with me online about Islam and bought me a copy of the Qur-an which I have read through twice. I do not have a teacher, I do not have access to a Mosque, I am not (in my opinion) a good Muslim, yet I find time to pray and to thank Allah for my many blessings every day. I find time to read the Qur-an every day, my family thinks I will convert back, but I won't. They fail to understand and I feel so badly for them. But I also feel so badly for the many Muslims who fight amongst themselves, kill each other in the name of God because of their sects. I know that I am a novice and I fully do not understand everything, yet, I do find times while I am reading the Qur-an that tears fall from my eyes at the words placed before me. I have no mosque in which to pray in as the nearest one is over 30 miles away. Yet, there are times when I feel that Allah and I are so very close. We all need to remember that it is Allah who will be the judge of us all. Whether we be the leader of a country or a sect, we all must one day answer to Allah for what we do and say, here and now. I am very grateful to the Muslim woman who bought this ex-Catholic a copy of the Qur-an, I am also very grateful to the Muslim man I met at the Memphis Airport in Feb of 2001 who took the time to talk with me about Islam. If we all just took the time regardless of sects or other religious beliefs, to be brothers to one another, perhaps the Islamic faith could once again be the leader of all the peoples. But the hate and the distrust tha permeats the world (in regards to religous teachings) must end so that what was handed down to Mohammed (PBUH) can be spread throughout the world without the distrust caused by 911 and other political situations.

  98. Zakir from Canada

    Answer this: does education guarantee taqwa? The problem is NOT education, it is the Western mindset - something that your ideas will only strengthen.

  99. Amir Ehsan Mohammadi from USA

    Beautifully said brother. The intellect in regards to religion, life, universe, academics and sciences, and current events are lacking in the Islamic ummah. The current decline in this area and its reversal must be on the forefront of Islamic issues.

    --Amir Ehsan Mohammadi

  100. Mahmud Elbackush from USA

    No I think the thesis is not correct, the problem I think is being muslim by name only, but nothing wrong if you followed one sector or the other "as long as you did not raise your sord or gun against the other sectors" because all of them are correct, simply there is more than one way to skin a cat, not every body would have to have the prerequisite to be scholar like fluncy in Arabic, knowledge in Hadeet, Fighah etc.

    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.

  101. Ali from Tajikistan

    I completely agree witht the author of this article. Low standards of education in Islamic countries create the problems of blind following. We also have to think about what will be the education standards for the next generation of Muslims. Yes we say that there are more than 1 billion Muslims but we do not share common goals (even the ethnical traditions vary from place to place) and depend on the opinion of knowledge of the West, which has used effectively the products of the early Islamic culture. Islam must the the way to creat a new approach to globalization in its new unique approach but not the approach which has been developed by the West, which is based on culture of consumerism and only consumerism. So the question is: Is Muslim a consumer? If yes, what are the differences with the West? If no, why? Can we answer this questions. There is a war in the world for resources. Do Muslims need these resources and how we can use them? Do we have to think about the world in Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb way or do we have to accept some sort of new vision? So as you see I have more questions than answers.

    Salam,

    Ali

    Dushanbe

    Tajikistan

  102. J.Aziz Ahmed from Germany

    Assalamu-Alikum, It really pains to read that rather than addressing the pressing problems of this bleeding Ummah you have rather spent time on Taqleed. If what you have said is true then we would not have some school of thought as some were students and themselves Muqallid. As for the matter what you have addressed is ceratainly true in certain Madarsaa's. Why didnt you rather address the Unity of Muslims and the notion of single Islamic state when we are divided into 50 and odd nations. I feel the degradation of the Islamic intellectual has brought this downfall. The word and Hudood of Allah(SWT) has been replaced by Kufr not only by Kafir but by so called Muslims rulers. Muslims are facing oppression and torture not only by the Kafirs but more at the hands of the so called Muslim Rulers. Iam eagrly awaiting to see your article regarding this problem with its analysis and a solution to this problem from an Islamic perspective.

    Wassalam

    Aziz

  103. Mahin Jung from UK

    FABULOUS ANALYSIS, masha'Allah!

    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

    mahin

  104. omar from australia

    dear all

    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

    yours'

    omar

  105. Mudashiru A Gbadamosi from Kuwait

    Your article on the above topic has again demonstrates your ability to enlighten the Muslim ummah on the problem at hand.We can change the situation by educating the populace as regard what is the ideal muslim should understand in his religion.The blind adherence has cause many to fall out of Islam and this call to your summary of educated ones that can lead the jihad in this technological age of ours.Allah said "We would never change the conditon of a people untill they change it themself" so your call is a guidance in the rigth direction.

    Ma salaam.

  106. Paul J Thomas from UnitedStates

    Thank you for this excellent article. One of the most refreshing and optomistic reflections I've read of late. Seems you have identified a problem that is all too often responsible for the stagnation of every religion. Certainly the renewal of God given intellect in our faith would be a great gateway into a more vibrant spirituality from the heart.

  107. Junaid Wajid from USA

    I believe this article is very accurate, but unfortunately only seems to point to the symptoms of the problem and not actually the disease. We always seem to want to cure the symptoms, never the disease. The symptom of

    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.

  108. Anonymous from United States

    The author blames the scholars of the Ummah for all the problems. I appreciate the author's effort, but I did not find the article useful at all. It is an attack on scholars who in my opinion, are a major reason why this Ummah is still holding on together. I do not believe that we are brainwashed by scholars. I respectfully disagree with the brother who wrote this article.

  109. Helena Nelson from United States

    The article "Intellectual Stagnation" is a potent piece of writing, full of truth and meaning. Author Saleem makes this searing statement so profoundly, so eloquently, there is nothing left to add. My only comment is in sharing the fact these words struck a chord of recognition and total agreement within myself. A question: How to produce the type of scholars Islam so desperatly needs at this time? Realistically speaking, in what manner may the common individual initiate change of this magnitude? As western converts of two years, people like my husband and I aren't really recognized or accepted by Muslims in the community. To an uninvolved newcomer, it appears many people are perfectly content with the 'shackles of Taqlid' they've forged willingly around their hearts and minds. This realization proved so disillusioning and at times, so heart breaking we have stepped away from the Ummah (but not our faith or desire to continue learning and evolving into better Msulims)for the time being. Also, I am interested in the Renaissance Islamic Journal. Is it still in publication, and where may I find copies?

  110. Mohd Shukri Hajinoor from Canada and Malaysia

    I disagree with your blaming the Ulama. Ulama(s) from whatever background have only one mission: to lead us to the light (nur) of Al-Islam. Never have Ulama(s) claimed that any particular interpretion of Islam is the only correct one. Ulama(s) often offer discourses and alternatives we can use in a particular situation. The onus is on us to seek knowledge.

  111. ROBINA from canada

    Well, finally someone has written an article that hits home. I had the same belief for fews years now myself and have somewhat being struggling with my innerself because I thought maybe the Imams (of today) are right over what my heart and mind tells me what islam is when I read Koran or Sunnah. The reason being is that I am no scholar just your average muslim, so I used to think that maybe the scholars are better knowledgable than I am. I truly believe anybody can understand the Koran if we put some real effort into.

  112. Sameena Parvez from USA

    You are absolutely right, we all need to desperately look into our intellectual potential and see and bring the change first in ourselves where we are going wrong and mend our mental capabilities to do the righteous thing rather than following blindly. We have the Quran and Sunnah to use for the complete submission of our will and desires to the WILL of our CREATOR. "Our Lord, Grant us WISDOM and join us in the company of the righteous ones".Ameen

  113. Saif from England

    Assalamualaikum all muslims and hurry up and embrace Islam to all non-muslim readers. There seems to be a great many opinions out there with some following the thread and some loosing it completely and trying to call for reform of Islam. I would say those who base their ideas on classical texts are on a safe path as Islam is complete. 'Ijtihadi' issues need scholars with a good understanding of reality, is true, thus needs intellect. The tools for jurisprudence still exist so whats the problem. I can see one clearly. How is it that a superpower in the world is calling the shots namely. America? What is it that the muslims have lost which prevents them from becoming a superpower again, and returning the rule back to the One who deserves it. I would say from numerous evidences that it is the One Leader or Successor and a 'Single' State which when it has the Bay'ah under 'One' leader can iron out the problems. The sahaba stopped everything in order to do this when the Prophet (SAW) died, even to delaying his burial, because they understood the importance of this matter. So why all this commontion in here? Why is everyone trying to become a leader? The criteria for such a man is already set. Islamic Group(s) are working towards this goal, but the matter hasn't been resolved so more people need to get out and work for this cause. And if any group were to do it, it should be according to the method of the Prophet (SAW) in founding the first Islamic State. So we must work towards it. Why is everyone here bickering about the symptoms of the main problem, which has the greatest sin associated with it. The whole Ummah remains in jahiliyah (situation of ignorance), and I stress 'ignorance' until the Bay'ah to a khaleefa is re-issued on the muslims at large. This is from a transmission of hadeeth from Umar (RA)

  114. Asad Raza from India

    In the name of Allah

    Assalaam Alaikum

    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.

  115. Umm Muhammad from America

    I find articles like Mr. Saleems very negative. I would like some positivity about Muslims. I keep reading articles like this that whine and complain!! Don't complain if you are not going to take action!!

  116. mossaddeq ali shah from saudi arabia

    the weakness of the ummah lies in non adherence of the principles and canons of allah,and not on taqlid,as u think we have many incompatibilities and confusions as it is . so there is no need to comment on taqlid.try to move as one ummah instead of pointing a finger at other sects.

  117. Yunus Badat from UK

    We all agree, that Allah, sent Prophet Muhammad(SAW)to this world, so that we could follow his example. Are we as Muslims doing so? What percentage of muslims today perform thr five compulsory prayers? I have been told that maybe it would be in the region of 5-10% of the total muslim population on this planet. Let us not forget that the first and foremost question will be about our salah. If our salah is accepted, than we are told in the hadith that we have a chance of success in the Hereafter, We are told that salah is the key to paradise. Salah will help us in this world as well as the hereafter, just as it helped the illustrious Shahaba. They were able to rule with justice. Why, than and not now. To day we have forgotten Allah, we have forgotten the promises of Allah. Why has this happened? Today we are so busy in going after worldly, material things that we have forgotten that one day I will die. We have forgotten death,

    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.

  118. Shamsuddeen from USA

    Al-Hamdulillah wa salatu wa salamu ala Muhammad.

    Salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah;

    Return to the Qur'an and Sunnah.

  119. Mark Obenauer from United States

    This viewpoint has it's parrallel in the Christian Protestant reformation where influential scholars (ie Luther,Calvin and others) attempted to take there faith back from the shackles of an entrenched orthodoxy. I worry that if a reformation within Islam is under foot, that there will be many martyrs as there were protestants under the Catholic inquisition. My prayers go out for you.

  120. Wali Abdul Rasheed from USA

    I feel this is the result of not following the instructions of the Prophet (PBUH), which was to follow the Quran and his family. The so-called sunni world does not use reason.

  121. David Lyon-Buchanan from USA

    I agree completely. There are brilliant scholars at work. Ones that I have read recently include Fatima Mernissi, Mohammad Arkoun, Fazlur Rahman(no longer with us, but left a number of useful, well-known books), inter alia. The best work will be done by scholars in various fields, theology, like Riffat Hassan and Amnina Wadud, sociologists like Arkoun and Mernissi, legal scholars, historians etc. Many will be believers, some perhaps will not be. A believer who holds progressive views with regard to women's rights and economic development, problems of contemporary life, the impowerment of the powerless, and who is also a scholar with the scholar's respect for truth and factual accuracy, will do the best work. Mernissi's The Veil and the Male Elite (Harem Politique) is a model of how to bring a careful reading of primary sources, the Qur'an and elements of the sunnah, to bear on ossified religious ideologies and the misogyny that frequently accompanies such thinking. As a Muslim I am always grateful for our legacy, but much of it must be taken critically. There are many aspects of Islam that will serve this new century well, and they will be developed by thinkers of the new generation, thinkers who have no use for sectarian labels. They will come out of cultures where there are stong cross culteral currents, North Africa, The USA, Europe, where Islam continues to grow in importance. Insha'allah we will witness an awakening that will blow away the cobwebs in the minds of the so-called "scholars."

  122. Waris E. Warsi from USA

    A concise but excellent analysis. Indeed the Ummah needs to be liberated from Mullahs with one-track minds. Nevertheless, that is only a part of the problem being faced by the Ummah. The hope is that a reform will unite the Ummah so we can face and fight external challeges!!!! Once again my hats off to the author.

  123. Farid from USA

    The "Enlightenment" destroyed Christian morality, but, instead of learning how destructive such ideas are and avoiding them, we want to adopt them ourselves.

  124. charles holcomb (jackson) from usa

    You have accurately described 'the state of Islam'-

    once such a great religion, but now the struggle commences.....

  125. IRFAN from U.K.

    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)

  126. Ammar from USA

    Assalam-o-alaikum,

    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.

    Salam-o-alaikum

  127. Mohammed Abrar Parvez from India

    I think that the article is a bit harsh in labeling the 4 schools of thought as the bane of community problems. As with any other thing, the 4 schools of thought also has it's own distinct advantage.

    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.

    Allah hafiz

    Parvez

  128. Yusuf Musaji from USA

    We muslims in the USA who are US Citizens should start thinking how we are going to elect these leaders who have been treating muslims in these inhumane ways.

    Isn't it time for us to think collectively as an UMMA and start exercising our voting rights?

    What are you doing about it?

  129. Naseem Ahmed from Oman

    What you have said about the different sects of

    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!

  130. Khalid Ansari from USA

    Assalaamu' alaikum:

    >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,

    Khalid Ansari

    Austin, TX

  131. Habib Khan from US

    I love how the author of this article comes up with the root cause of all the problems of this ummah to be 'Taqlid', basically he's saying let's reinvent the wheel...Huh?? Let me see here, we should get more people out there to come up with their own formulation based on their own research, which by the way is being done 1400 years post the source eg. Prophet(SAS), Sahabah(ra), Tabieen(rah), Tabi Tabieen(rah)because we in this day and age need to consult the Quran on how to use a Microwave(new tech)...yeh cuz the Taqleedi scholars have declared it haram to use or discern its use(Pleezzz). Come on my brothers and sisters in deen, get real and address real issues. We got people running around with chicken head issues. They really have no idea what they are talking about cuz they didn't put in the time to go study the very reason why they are muslims today. They should know better then to write such articles...and address real issues. This should be a title to consider, moral degredation and its reason;Fake Intellectualism in todays society. How we come up with new ways to further confuse the ummah from what the message of ISLAM really is, which by the way has been transmitted from generation to generation of scholars and like, who have Alhamdulilah preserved this great message, making ammendments within the boundries of shariah according to the circumstances so (our deen is up to date). The reason that ISLAM exists in its true form is due the fact we did Taqlid of our pious predecessors. What we are discussing in this article is, how we can destroy this link!! Use ur heads people, cuz you claim that is what is needed for this ummah, To Think!! but belie the very concept based on the majority of responses to this article. Some of you have the insight already and have made great replies. If what I have said offends any of you I ask for your forgivness in advance, for we need someone to state the obvious. Point out what is blind following in its essence.....Wasalam

  132. Al-Amin Musa from Nigeria

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    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.

  133. Saif from England

    Assalamualaikum.

    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

  134. Tabaruk from Bangladesh

    Excellent article!!

    May Allah guide all of us to the right path.

    Jazak Allah Khair.

  135. Abdullahi Makinde from Nigeria

    What are you doing to upgrace Islam?

    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.

    Ma-salam.

  136. Irfan from U.K.

    Assalamu alaikum

    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

  137. F

    As sallamu alaikum. We have to becareful that we don't go about accepting the un-Islamic beliefs of radical sects who profess Islam. There will only be one sect amongst the 72 Muslim sects which will be true. i think it's not easy to decide which one that will be, we can see that the Ulemah of the past followed the "true sect" like the 4 Imams (abu Haneefa etc) and yet they differed. so there can be a kind of balance there. i hope i made sense.

    Wa laikum as sallam

  138. Faiyaz Muhammed Pasha from India

    This is very true and the propagators of 'Taqlid' to-day rule the masses, their everyday thought and action. But how did the author, myself and others who agree with him arrive at this conclusion. It is very simple. We have studied the Book of Allah, alhamdullillah, understand it, again and again have sought answers in the Book, not only for personal problems but as well for the problems that afflict not only the community but as well the entire humankind. It is the greatest goldmine available to every Muslim not only for success in this world but as well in the hereafter. Material success! yes, in the greatest abundance and a blissful life in the hereafter, both are equally available here. You have to only sit down, accept the cleansing of the soul and of the mind it relentlessly hammers down, like a Goldsmith or a Blacksmith, and fashions out each and everyone according to his/her destiny and sets the criteria. But precisely, it is from this goldmine that the masses have been kept out, deliberately and with deceptive ease.

    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.

  139. peter from hong kong

    The author is right on when he talks abou brainwashing. Jihadists are brainwashed at a young age that there are 72 dar-eyed virgins waiting for them in Paradise. So they can't wait to blow themselves up in marketplaces in order to get to those . They never stops to think why would Allah want to bury a Muslims in a mountain of delicious female flesh, which would never allow that lucky guy time to do anything else, like playing the piano or talking with other devout Muslims. See what I mean? So non-Muslims have a biased view of Muslims as crazy or nutty jihadists.

  140. peace from east africa

    I'm one of those young muslims in confusion, and I assure you the most problablity of youth muslims are in my case.Especially with today's world where Islam is being associated to evil actions by whoever.what i've been taught so far and still believe is that Islam is an exemple for peace, love, and sharing.Islam asks you to assist anyone in distress or pain no matter his religion or race.Now what I'll propose the Muslims is to unite in order to show the real face of Islam. And this has not to be shown only to other non-muslim but also young muslims who are as I think cause i'm an exemple, in deep confusion and incertainty, we need guidings.A return to Quran real interpretation is the only way.Since the youth of today will be the decisions makers of tomorrow they should be on the right path.

    Thank you.

  141. Abdur Rahman Khan from INDIA

    Dear Sir,

    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.

    Wassalaam.

    Khuda Haafiz.

  142. Mirza Nasrullah Baig from saudi Arabia

    Very correct analysis of present situation. But to note any other group coming up against Taqlid later on follow the Taqlid of their Ulema, so any efforts to join the Ummah with Quran, Hadith & Ijma-e-sahaba will bring them out of this situation Insha-Allah, best wishes for the author from me.

  143. Ahmad Kabuli from Canada

    To the author of this article and to Islamicity.com: I would suggest that you read the work of Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani, titled "The Legal Status of Following a madhhab" for a more comprehensive and thorough analysis of the issue of taqleed. This book is a must for those interested in the subject of taqleed. Justice Taqi Usmani has been teaching fiqh and hadith for 39 years and has authored more than 50 books in Arabic, Urdu, and English. He is currently a judge on the Shariat Appellate bench in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has been since 1982.

  144. Ahmad from Canada

    The rhetoric of following the shari'a without following a particular madhhab is like a person going down to a car dealer to buy a car, but insisting it not be any known make--neither a Volkswagen nor Rolls-Royce nor Chevrolet--but rather "a car, pure and simple". Such a person does not really know what he wants; the cars on the lot do not come like that, but only in kinds. The salesman may be forgiven a slight smile, and can only point out that sophisticated products come from sophisticated means of production, from factories with a division of labor among those who test, produce, and assemble the many parts of the finished product. It is the nature of such collective human efforts to produce something far better than any of us alone could produce from scratch, even if given a forge and tools, and fifty years, or even a thousand. And so it is with the shari'a, which is more complex than any car because it deals with the universe of human actions and a wide interpretative range of sacred texts. This is why discarding the monumental scholarship of the madhhabs in operationalizing the Qur'an and sunna in order to adopt the understanding of a contemporary sheikh is not just a mistaken opinion. It is scrapping a Mercedes for a go-cart.

  145. Ahmad Kabuli from Canada

    The slogans we hear today about following the Qur'an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs" are wide of the mark, for everyone agrees that we must follow the Qur'an and the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The point is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is no longer alive to personally teach us, and everything we have from him, whether the hadith or the Qur'an, has been conveyed to us through Islamic scholars. So it is not a question of whether or not to take our din from scholars, but rather, from which scholars. And this is the reason we have madhhabs in Islam: because the excellence and superiority of the scholarship of the mujtahid Imams--together with the traditional scholars who followed in each of their schools and evaluated and upgraded their work after them--have met the test of scholarly investigation and won the confidence of thinking and practicing Muslims for all the centuries of Islamic greatness. The reason why madhhabs exist, the benefit of them, past, present, and future, is that they furnish thousands of sound, knowledge-based answers to Muslims questions on how to obey Allah. Muslims have realized that to follow a madhhab means to follow a super scholar who not only had a comprehensive knowledge of the Qur'an and hadith texts relating to each issue he gave judgements on, but also lived in an age a millennium closer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his Companions, when taqwa or "godfearingness" was the norm--both of which conditions are in striking contrast to the scholarship available today."

  146. Murtaza H. Saeed from Pakistan

    I agree very much with what the author has to say. As a young man growing up in Pakistan especially I find these words could not more true. Though it is important to agree with what the author has to say I must also ask what the author feels is the reason why people attach so much importance with their version of islam. Is it not because they feel passionately about their version? And if so, how can their ever be compromise on issues of passionate belief. It will take real hear to meet some unified vision, without which there will be no progress in Islam. The author's article should hopefully reach a large audience, it certainly deserves much attention

  147. Manjit Singh from India

    Dear Sir,

    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.

  148. ather from usa

    It is high time we stop putting the words of mortals as divine revelation not to be challenged. It is another form of terrorism "Intelectual Terrorism". Good article.

    AQ

  149. Salah Eldin Abdel Kereim, B.com.,Cim., from British Columbia,Canada

    Dear Friends,Brothers, and sisters.

    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.

    Brothers:

    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.

    Best regards

  150. Faisal Azeem from Pakistan

    Very true. I strongly agree that this is the reason of our deterioration.

    May Allah help us help ourselves.

  151. Donald T. Bradshaw from USA

    As a Christian I am disillusioned with religion but even more so with Islam. This article in my opinion is on target. There is enough "stupid" to go around for all of us.

  152. Mohamed elhawary from usa

    I think these intellectual reasoning and knowledgeable scholars do exist and have existed in this umma at every time.

    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.

  153. Alex Nodopaka from World Citizen

    I suggest the Arabs and the Moslem world in general spend their billions on their own people. That spending is overdue and is needed to reeducate the Moslems in regards to technological and cultural progress as they go hand in hand. The Moslem world has misspent billions in the last 50 years towards the wrong ends on the massive building of religious 'teaching centers' instead of the building up of technology within their own countries.

  154. Tariq Masood from USA

    Living in a non-muslim country, I have felt that fact that I question, debate and discuss religious issues, makes me stronger and more focused in my faith. Islam lately has become more of a traditional and inherited phenomena than an intellectual and resilient one. Islam has also been twisted by our religious leaders to become intolerant, narrow minded and unforgiving. We have failed to realize that the recent downslide in our intellectual, political and military strength is not because of rise of powers against us but because of our own inability to provide justice, equality and freedom in muslim countries.

    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.

    peace!

  155. Mir A. Zahir from US

    I have observed that the ulema today lack diversity and are out of touch with the real issues and, they most ofter do not appeal to a hardworking professional muslims. Ulema do have expertise in hadith, Quran, Arabic grammer earned over a number of years,but do not have the real life experience of a succesful enterpreneur, scientist, Doctor, Engineer or a teacher or other professionals. As such, they seem to be out of touch and sometime impractical in their views on current issues being faced by a common man. I believe ulema should come from different walks of lives instead of just traditional schools with no real experience. They should be real people first to qualify for the status of Islamic scholar or mufti!

  156. Aiman Abdullah from Malaysia

    Shehzad Saleem has certainly nailed down the biggest problem in Islam today. Belief without knowledge, faith without understanding, are the leading factors in nations of sheep, who follow off to the slaughter, to do or to be, as their leaders direct. The first thing the brainwashed lose is the knowledge that there free will and powers of reason have been stolen and replaced with someone else's set of cooked books.

  157. A devout muslim from U.S.

    The author has spoken the truth. We were left with a sacred book and an important task but we failed to understand the book and to carry the task. Now we are suffering, just like our children will suffer. And in the meantime, we will continue to attend Friday Sermons, listening to "Imams" preaching their nonsense. Their Friday sermons have become an insult to our reason and to this deen!

  158. Alireza Taleghani from United States

    Salamun Alaikom,

    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

  159. Moegamat Yaaseen Dreyer from South Africa

    ALGAMDOELILLAH!!!

    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!!

    ASSALAAM

    Keep up the sterling work

  160. Terry Muhammad Tahir from United States of America

    Asalamu-alaikum.

    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.

  161. Faizel from UK

    The proposals laid out in this article will create Protestant anarchy among Muslims.

  162. LOUBNA NASSER from U.S.

    EVERYWHERE ON EARTH MUSLIMS ARE INFLUENCED BY THE WEST, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO LIVE IN THE WEST. THE MAJOR RELIGION IN THE WEST IS CHRISTIANITY. CHRISTIANS AND JEWS HAVE AN INTERDEPENDANT RELATIONSHIP DUE TO THE COMMON INTERESTS THAT THEY SHARE. THEY ARE TWO FACES FOR THE SAME COIN. FOR BOTH OF THEM PROFIT IS ABOVE RELIGION. THEY SET THAT COMPETITION AMONG PEOPLE TO STRUGGLE FOR MAKING THEIR LIVING. THE MAIN BENEFICIARIES ARE THE INDIVIDUALS WHO CONTROL THE WORLDS ECONOMY. WE BOTH KNOW WHO ARE THESE INDIVIDUALS.

    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.

  163. mohamad B. Arafat from baltimore, MD

    Assalamu Alaikum:

    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

    Yours,

    Mohamad B. Arafat

  164. HAZEM ADEL ASHMAWI from Brazil

    Extremely important text. It needs to be sent to the highest number oj muslims.

    Assalamo Alaikom

  165. ah from Canada

    good article but I would just like to point out that not ALL scholars teach these things. We can also learn from these scholars on how to undergo the process of taqlid.

  166. Prof. Dr. Ali A. Hossaini, Sr from USA

    I have read you r article with thorough interest and agree with the contents of the article describing what has befell the Ummah as a result of blind Taqlid of an individual and making him the know it all, forgetting that the Supreme Guide of Muslims is the Quran. That it is the one that taught us to think for ourselves, to be tolerant of others and other religions. Baraka'llahu feek

  167. Cliff Smith from UK

    It's not just the Islamic world that is suffering from 'Taqlid'. I fear it is a world-wide epidemic. Our children are no longer taught to think for themselves, and the result is a generation of blind drones, easily led and believing every lie they are told.

  168. mohamed abdul raoof from Saudi arabia

    We have already fought a lot for Taqlid and Ghair-Taqlid there is no use of engaing ourselves in such aurguements, this has made enough problems between us and no solution even fourteen centuries passed. The actual problem is lack of TAQWA among muslims, they claim they are followers of Hadith and Sunnah but never follow it, they use Hadith for their arguements only when the matter of adopting the teachings of Islam comes they neglect it and follow their Nafas. If a muslim live with fear of Allah he tolarates, he cooperates even having differences in opinion. The time is needed more unity and cooperation among muslims. We required now broad mindedness and a big cooperation among us - WE HAVE ALREADY WASTED THE VERY IMPORTANT TIME OF OUR LIFE AND THE TIME OF UMMAH IN ARGUING TAQLID AND GHAIR-TAQLID. Being you are talking under the banner of ISLAMIC CITY avoid narrow mindedness - if you invite people for a narrow object it never success. Try to bring fear of Allah among our brothers, it is the need of our time, then only they follow the correct way of Islam - Allah will help those who are having TAQWA in them whatever they are Muqallids or Ghair-Muqallids. May Allah help us to understand the actual problems of our time and unite us for the sake of Islam and bring love and affection between us. May Allah guide us the way through which we can get his RIZA.

    WASSALAAM.

    M.A.RAOOF

  169. Shawkat Ali Khan from India

    The backbone of Islamic faith is based upon its system of awareness / education among the community, which was centerlized / controlled from the Mosques. Now the Mosques system is totally destroyed and kept aside from the rest society, which in turn keeps the Ummah free from religious responsibilities but to appoint a low paid clerik / Imam what ever education / talent he have, who than misguides the Ummah from there [may be for temprorary personal benefits or for revenge from the society].

    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.

  170. Fadzil Mohd Taib from Singapore

    One way of staying united is to restore the Khilafah (Caliphate). Put aside our differences and concentrate on our similarities. We have to do it before it is too late.

  171. Gregory Shahid Moohn from USA

    My Brother, these words speak to my heart more than any commentary I can recall regarding the state of affairs of Islam and the fact that while it is growing all around the worlds at an alarming rate there is a dearth of scholarly leadership to help define and explore the outer reaches of this dynamic religion that can not be relagated merely in a historical context because it is a living document, and we know that living things are constantly evolving at some level in some form. I am a convert to Islam and have been a ardent follower for more than 20 years but I dont and can not let others define for me what Islam is because I live and breath it every day of my life. I pray for guidance and understanding when reading the scripture and Allah has open the mysterious window of revelation to me on countless occasions so, I am a witness that if you are sincere in your deen and want to know and be acquainted with a more fuller truth, this path is one of discovery and many things that were once thought to be true are found to be otherwise.

  172. Zurina Susan bt Abdullah from Malaysia

    "[Muslims] appear to be dispossessed of the real spirit of Islam", Brother Shehzad Saleem writes and I agree. I also agree with him about why this has happened: because of Taqlid (blind following). What I don't agree with his prescription to remedy this. Will more scholars heal our Taqlid?

    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.

  173. Jeannie from USA

    There is another way and that is to simply introduce new people to Islam who will learn the faith from the Quran and the many sources on the Internet as I did. They will not belong to any Sect. There minds will be open to the truth because they are searching for the truth as I was.

  174. Phillip E Ramsey from USA

    May this message find you and your family in the shelding brach of God.

    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

  175. ali hamoudi from United States of America

    One remedy of intellectual stagnation is to reclaim islamic media. The radio show "Radio Free America" also named "legalize Islam" does exactly that. Listen to this show Mondays 7-8 pm EDT (-5:00 GMT) anywhere in the world over the internet at http://wsrn.swarthmore.edu

    Let us reclaim the radio waves,

    wasalam,

    ali

  176. MIKAIL MOHAMMED ISHMAEL from USA

    ASALAAM ALAIKUM RAMATULA. HONESTLY, I FEEL THAT OUR FIRST PATH SHOULD BE ISLAM ALONE. THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SECTS IS RIDICULOUS BECAUSE THIS SEPARATES US A MUSLIMS. WE ALL BELIEVE IN ALLAH AND THE QURAN WE ALSO BELIEVE IN SHARIA. WE ALSO PROCLAIM SHAHADA. THAT'S OUR UNITY. IF WE DON'T UNITE AS MUSLIMS WE WILL ALWAYS BE BEHIND IN THE WORLD AND OUR ENEMIES WILL USE US AGAINST ONE ANOTHER. WE ALL KNOW ITS A SIN FOR MUSLIM TO FIGHT ONE ANOTHER WELL THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING. THAT'S WHAT THE SHAYTAN AND THE KAFURS WANT. SO I SAY, WE SHOULD REMOVE THE BARRIERS BETWEEN US WHICH IS SECT DIFFERENTIAL. AND UNITE AS ONE UMMAH UNDER ISLAM!

  177. Abdullah from USA

    I agree with the author. Even though our imams are knowledgable, some tend to focus more on politics, bash other sects, religions and people instead of focusing more on the Quran, the Sunnah, and what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did. With the correct teachings, our children will have the right and strong foundation, have iman and respect for other muslims, other religions, people, animals etc.

    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.

    Abdullah

  178. s. kashif haque from usa

    salaam aleikum,

    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.

    Salaam aleikum,

    s. kashif haque

  179. Ashraf Kandil from USA

    aawaw. I liked the article but there seems to be a catch-22 effect to it. How will we be able to produce these high quality scholars when their teachers, the ones who are the head of teaching institutions at the moment, are as you have described. Thanks for your patience with my question.wawaw.

  180. Salim Malik from USA

    I couldnt agree more with the writer about intellectual stagnation of the muslims. Its important to understand that intellctual tagnation leads to petty, opinionated minds, which breed bigotry on the the thorn of violence and fundatmentalism grows rapidly. This is what we are seeing now. We should remember all human beings acre created equal and ALL paths and religions are legitimate and real ways to God who is not the monopoly of the muslims.

  181. NURU MUHAMMAD from NIGERIA

    Assalamu alaikum,

    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.

    Bissalam

  182. Brother Dion from Thailand, moving to the USA

    I'm a recent convert as well. I am also an ex-Theravada Buddhist monk. Most people know that in Buddhism, the intellectual tradition exists. I am seeking the intellectual experience in Islam. I think had I not read Surah 4, vs 82, (and the entire Qu'ran before I became a monk) I would not have converted. I pondered the oneness of Allah during those many days alone in the cave, and the first book I read after the monkhhod was the Qu'ran again. Having pondered the Holy Qu'ran most earnestly, most diligently, as well as the Abhidhamma as mentioned by Buddha, a respected teacher in his own ways...I can develop my intellectual ability to further push the word of Allah to those people around me. With Allah's devine will, and with the help of my Muslim brothers and sisters, hopefully we can shed the evilness that society encases us in. The article brings up some good issues, but we should see the root meaning behind this... What is the author trying to accomplish? ...and since I am a new Muslim, I welcome the feedback and seek a bit of guidance since I am not in an Islamic community yet.

  183. Abdul Wadoud from USA

    The author is on point. This blind following plus the fact that we are taught rules before we aquire faith. The Muslims at the time of the Prophet(PBUH)spent thirteen years aquiring faith and understanding of "La illaha illAllah" before rules or prayer was placed upon them. Now we become Muslims(not believers for the faith is on our tounges and not in our hearts) on Monday and we are scholars on Tuesday already discussing issues far beyond our capacity to understand. Look at the behaviour of those in the Ummah who "call themselfs" scholars how many of them have the behaviour of the Prophet(PBUH)? Very few for if they did they would discourage rather than encourage Taqlid. The Prophet(PBUH) said that"the difference of opinon in my community (is a sign of divine)mercy". So in this blind following we have bound ourselfs to the past and comdemed our future. Islam is about expanding the human potential and growth. We our told to consider,ponder and reflect that we might grow and becomme all the beauty that Allah put into his creation. We must first all of us aquire true faith and yaqeen in "La illaha illAllah" and then live as Muslims and Believers to the best of our abilities. Some will be able to do more than others but rather than berate them help to make them stronger, be gentle with your brothers and sistes and remember the best teacher is a good example

    As Salaamu Aliakum

  184. sardar qamar khan afridi from sydney,australia

    assalamualiakum,

    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.

    walekumsalam

  185. leyla from USA

    As-salaam 'alaikam. Ameen,sister and brothers.

    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 ?

  186. Omar

    whats taqlid got to do with it, muslims have been doing taqlid for thousand years and they were great....its nothing to with fiqh ...that is our problem...our problem is our spritual state...our love for the world, our in fighting, its complusory to do taqlid of the four schools of thought, because not every one can become scholars....taqlid means to follow scholars without asking for proof...the fiqh system is a complex ocean those ignorant people who have no knowledge start to derive rulings directly from he Quran and sunnah will be drowned....

    this wahabi-salafi rubbish about taqlid must be refuted....please go to http://www.masud.co.uk on shaykh Nuh's articles.

  187. sister noor from USA

    As salam allaikum

    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

  188. Ali Mohammad from USA

    I couldn't agree more with the author's viewpoints on the stagnation of Islam. Alhamdulilah, I said my shahahada four months ago on Islamicity.com.

    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

  189. Asif Huseni from USA

    Our Ummah is in disarray and Shehzad Saleem rightly hit at the cause of it. If the problem of Taqlid is resolved there will be another renaissance in the Islamic world which will not only deal heavy blow to repression in Islamic world but also to Atheism and Materialism.