Bismillahi ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem
الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم وبارك على نبينا محمد وعلى آله
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركات
Before I embark on addressing the many contentions of modernist and progressive thought against Islam, or as they like to say “your version of Islam”, it is incumbent on me to highlight the essential platitude of theoretical and interpretative gymnastics performed by progressives and modernist alike. I will have to highlight this beacon of darkness in two modalities. The first representation will come from two fundamental or classical sources on the nature of modernist practice, and the second being a modern overview of modernist religious (mal)practice God Willing.
Imam Al-Baihaqi reported: “Isma’eel Al Qadi said:
‘One day I entered to Al Mu’tadid, one of the Abbasid Khaleefahs, and immediately he showed me a book to read. I found that the author had compiled in it, the strange sayings of every ‘Alim. So I told the Khaleefah that the author of this book is a heretic. The Khaleefah asked why this was so, and I told him that those sayings were not presented by the scholars as they are presented in this book. He who legalized the Mu’tah marriage did not legalize singing, while he who legalized one action would not legalize another action. Additionally, each ‘Alim has strange opinions, so if one would compile the pitfalls of all the Imams, and adopt them, then the Deen would be lost. The Khaleefah then ordered the book to be burned.”
Imam Al-Awza’i said:
“He who traces the strange opinions of the scholars is out of Islam. You would find a scholar with a lot of knowledge and value, and also with a pitfall. So if a person was to collect the pitfalls of all the scholars and form a new Madhab, then what kind of ‘Ilm would you have?’”
These are two precious jewels of the Imaams on the misshape of heresy, particularly the heresy of legalizing everything they want to and prohibiting everything they find problematic that Allah allowed that seems to be a fundamental characteristic and trait of all modernist and progressives.
1. The idea that established religious facts, due to their crystallization, actually is the mode of the suppression of thought. In simple terminology, thought becomes frozen. This is the first fallacy of modernist thought by which everything else, including attempts to research the most awkward scholastic opinions i.e. the erroneous judgments of classical scholars in order to legalize the illegal and vice versa, and other feats they perform.
2. That subjects that do not have the basic properties of change, are in fact changeable, and when someone merely highlights this logical fact, they are labeled as being regressive and do not allow progression of thought to take place.
3. That rationality is contrary to orthodoxy. And this fallacy represents a major portion in your entire ideological deduction of our religion because our religion is fundamentally opposite to the said religions in question. I highlighted this fact in another article of mine. The basic gist of what I said was that when westerners view our religion, they view it with their own historical prism of their own respective religion. The subject I was discussing was technological advancements. In Christendom, when people adhered to their religion, science, advancement, and progression were always opposite to Christian doctrine. Science, advancement, and the likes only happened once Christians left their religion OR they had to reform it.
IN OUR case, in Islam, our history has proven to be OPPOSITE of that, and to that extension, other religions, for our technological advancements, progression, and the likes, took place WHEN WE ADHERED to orthodoxy. Likewise, concerning the opposite, when we left our religion, backwardness, degradation, and regression became our plight. In other words, advancement came in hand in hand with the implementation of our orthodoxy that was never the case for Christianity or any other religion. That is what makes Islam unique in contrast with the rest.
From a theological aspect, the point is to show that all of human reason is inherent in the orthodoxy of Islam. WHY? because The One who gave us the faculty of reason and intelligence, the basis for HIS legislation was revealed to BE IN ACCORD with that reason and intelligence. IN other words, the laws of Islam were put there because they MATCH with human rationale and are the most reasonable of all viewpoints. Thus, for someone to say that there is a variant between what the law is and what human rationality is, is claiming that a mistake was done on part of the Law giver (God) for stating such a law, OR the One who granted us our faculty of human reasoning (God).
so in conclusion, these are the basic three fundamental ideological aspects that totally obstruct your ability to truly understand Islam in light of Islam
Sometimes when certain Muslims are given Islamic proofs for the mandatory nature of a matter or the prohibitive nature of a matter, one of the modernist response can be summed up with
Contention 1: Actually not all Muslims believe that.
Islamic positions are not determined on what Muslims believe; Islamic positions are determined on the dictates of the Qur’an, Sunnah, and the overall ijmaa of the companions and the understanding of the texts that they had full stop.
The argument that “not all Muslims believe in such and such” to be VALID can only apply if Islamic belief IS DERIVED from the thoughts of Muslims, however the Islamic belief and implementation system is not based on what Muslims conjure up, it is based on revelation. That argument could therefore apply only in a man-made legislative system, it has no basis in a divinely legislative system where the methodology of this system is based on the following Islamic trademark
“Upon Allah is the Message, Upon the Messenger is the conveyance, and upon the people is the submission”
This formula is the basic trademark of our Islamic shariah and overall belief. Anything outside of that is useless within the Islamic context.
Contention 2: Forcing people to be consistent with the commands of Islam when it does not harm others seems oppressive and unfair
1.EVERY command that goes unfulfilled IS harm to others. That is one of the main reasons for the laws of Islam; they were given to us for
A. A mass benefit
B. To avert a greater harm
and the unfulfillment of a mass benefit EQUALS heading towards a greater harm, and the unfulfillment of averting a greater harm does not lead to a mass benefit.
2. The issue of the niqaab being negated is the first harm, because Iblees operates in stages. WHY? Because in Islamic history, this was never an opinion. ONCE the idea of non-obligation of niqaab was opened, then the door to greater fasaad (harms) was as well opened. Once we saw the niqaab negated, it gave way for questioning the hijaab, and once the hijaab was negated by modern thinkers, then came the license to other illicit ideas.
UNLIKE western ideology, Islamic laws and ideals are geared towards cutting off the harms from its root through the shariah principle of “sadd ad-dhari”. Contrary to the Islamic model, the western model simply allows the freedom of choice and then punishes the people after the fact rather than blocking the means, because blocking the means in their view entails suppression of choice or what have you.
Contention 3: Not to mention it completely takes away the freewill of the woman to make a conscious choice as to whether she wants to wear a face-veil
That’s like saying
“it takes away the free will of men to make a conscious choice as to whether he wants to cover his awrah properly”
NO, that is fundamentally wrong, because he has no choice in the matter. When Allah or His Messenger has decided on a matter, it is not up for discussion for anyone who believes in Allah or the last day.
And if people are going to argue over interpretation, then the ONLY interpretation acceptable in the sight of Allah is one that accords to the basis of the companions, and all of the women companions literally took a giant cloth of some kind and merely cut ONE hole for one eye to see.
Where not saying revert back to that cloth with one whole, but merely revert back to their practice of covering the entirety.
However, all of that does not matter when it concerns the state, because If the state adopts a valid Islamic position, then the people are to submit point blank, And if that is viewed as oppression, then we can likewise apply and analyse any other law where states mandated punishments for a breach in the law. Our dislike of a law does not matter,
Contention 4: Is it right that there should be a reformation or is Islam with all it’s nuances the correct way to follow?
a reformation only made sense with other religions like Christianity because progress, peace, and justice and the advancement of the sciences went hand in hand with the implementation of our religion. Other religions do not have this historical fact as a luxury for them. Whenever their religion is practiced, darkness, tyranny, and a halt on advancement and progression is performed. So the problem in modern times that we have is when people generally tend to judge our religion based on their respective religions which is a theological and historical fallacy
Our tyranny, backwardness, darkness and humiliation stems from the result of NOT implementing Islam and the abandonment of Islam.
What further confuses the problem is that because the great portion of our Ummah has abandoned Islam, the extremist army of Satan among the progressives utilizes this humiliation of ours in order to market the idea that the product of our humiliation is Islam itself (its laws) when in reality the product of our humiliation is the product of our LACK of implementing Islam in its entirety. And this is how such progressive and modernist views tries to befuddle the truth because they are deceptively using our weakness and backwardness to blame our preservation of Islam as the cause for this backwardness, hence the call for reform. The basic essence of reform is to basically render null and void everything that Islam came with that does not accord to western sentiments. If tomorrow the west deems marriage itself as against morality, then likewise the progressives and modernist would as well deem marriage itself as problematic in Islam.
Contention 5: for any subject to stay alive it must develop and as far as I can see from what you say Islam is fully developed and you are locked into the past and cannot move beyond it, you are unable or unwilling to reconsider even though the facts might have changed and might be different again tomorrow.
1. Islam stayed alive and is more than actively keeping its heartbeat after 14 centuries. Therefore there must be something illogical about this deduction here.
2. If something is perfect, there is no need for changes, and if the basic nature of whom the law was revealed about has not changed, then there is no need for change in the law. No one claims that the American constitution is obsolete and unfit for our times, of course except for those who wish to alter the very basis of American legal theory and law.
3. Lastly, facts have not changed. The homosexual is still doing an immorality whether yesterday, today, or tomorrow. The crime of promiscuity will remain a crime as it was yesterday, likewise it is today, and it will remain a crime tomorrow. What Islamic law addresses is the basis for human interaction, and all of these basic interactions do not change or alter to a new state thereby justifying the abolishment of these laws. That is one of the biggest fallacies of the entire progressive theoretical paradigm.
Contention 6: Ijtihad (اجتهاد) is a technical term of Islamic law that describes the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of the legal sources, the Qur’an and the Sunnah. By the end of the 10th century theologians decided that debate on such matters would be closed and Muslim theology and law were frozen. It means that one cannot use Ijtihad to gain a new thought, one cannot arrive if you like at a new theory so by implication there is no original thinking in Islam now and all one does is revisit what the Salaf’s have said.
The following statement was provided from Islamicsystemblogspot and I quote it as it is most relevant to this very contention
Unfortunately due to the influence of the Western ideology and the resultant defeatist mindset, we now see the incorrect usage of the term ‘Ijtihad’ to mean ‘Islah’ (reform).
The reason why this was pointed out is because ijtihaad in the Islamic context means the scholarly effort of deducing or extracting a decision BASED ON THE RULES THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN LAID OUT.
And this is why I fundamentally see that the reason why you have misconstrued this subject is because you have psychologically understood ijtihaad for reform, and that is simply not the case.
Secondly, there is truth to this, but it is not as simplified as modernists have made it.
What the tenth century scholars did was to CODIFY the BASICS of Islamic legal theory. On that basis, everyone understood that the meaning of “The doors to ijtihaad are closed” TOO MEAN that the basic fundamentals of the deduction of law were codified. The purpose of a school of thought is to BUILD upon and progress in the jurisprudence pertaining to that school of thought. When people decide to re-open the door, it destroys the product of built legal theory. It seems that generally, modernist are not to well grounded various systems of legal theory, but usually, in the world of legal theory, the judicial hierarchy of various political systems usually reply upon previous legal theories and then build upon that and to progress it further which is substantially different from philosophical thought in spite of the fact that the basics of legal theory actually derive from philosophers. In legal theory, it makes no sense for a judge to start back from scratch and relay the foundations again if the foundations have already been laid.
Allow me to interpret for the reader, what progressives, modernist, and certain non-muslims alike wish for us to do in the western paradigm. In computer programming, in modern recent times, most of the basics of programming have already been laid. So students who learn and go to computer programming do not start back into the beginning of what computer programming was when it first came out, which was understanding the binary codes. Now, computer programming students in the beginning learn things beyond that scope because the basics have already been established thereby rendering the approach of going back to the basics not only irrelevant, but obsolete. As one person who was taking computer science told me, to start back from scratch to learn everything makes no sense.
This, in essence, is what we are trying to get modernist and the antagonist of Islam in general to understand. For someone to come and re-invent a new fiqh of the modern era is illogical for several reasons
1. ALL OF the madhaabs have already taken into account new situations which would REQUIRE the ijtihaad of a scholar. Thus the claim that “the door to ijtihaad is closed” is not to be understood the way many modernist understand it
2. What the shariah provides is the basis. When something does actually pop up that is new, it is viewed under the basis of the shariah. This is equal to any modern nation state that has a constitution. The US constitution is over 200 years old. So why is not any rational American calling for a restructuring of the constitution? The reason why Americans are not calling for a re-inventing of a new constitution “for modern times” as they say, is because everyone with some intelligence knows that the constitution serves as a BASIS for judgment, a structural framework, as you will, FROM WHICH and BY WHICH judges of the United States of America can resort back to
So when someone claims that we need to re-invent a new fiqh and legal theory fit for our times, it is tantamount to someone telling an American that they need to bring forth a new constitution fit for our times when the average American sees their constitution as the beacon of justice for all of time due to their belief that it is the very source of human universal principles.
That is where we stand with the Qur’an and our Sunnah and the madhaahib (schools of thought) in Islam who expounded on Islamic legal theory.
Contention 7: What usually happens is that one identifies an irreducible minimum of what it means to be a Christian or a Muslim etc and then one uses rational thought to work out what is acceptable now.
This is essentially absurd because this very framework or mode of thinking stems from the logic that God’s ordainments were not wise enough to consider future outcomes. No, the definition of a Muslim will always remain the definition of a Muslim and the definition of disbelief will always remain the definition of disbelief because the very essence of these concepts are BEYOND the ideological properties of change. I don’t know how else I can drill this in the thought pattern of modernist. Many of these things that they consider needs to be changed not only fall outside of change, they just simple are not even inherent with the properties of change to begin with. It’s like saying, we need to change our nutritional intake with chemical intake from Mars. Well, that theory makes no sense if the basic physiological aspects of humans have not changed. The same happens to be the case with our Islamic concepts. And this is why people of sane and rationale mind are viewing this reformative call as a call to lunacy from its basis.