Would a reformed Islam be a tolerable Islam? 9

An Imam who wants to reform Islam speaks to Tommy Robinson:

He is self-contradictory on the main issue, saying both that Islam will “never” be reformed, and that preparation should be made now for it’s reformation some centuries hence.

But he says quite a lot that explains why Tommy Robinson and he can discuss Islam amicably with each other. This Shi’a Imam wants the sharia courts of Britain to be abolished. He wants the Saudis and other Arab leaders to stop pouring money into institutions for indoctrination, such as university colleges and professorial chairs. He wants the madrassas to be done away with. He opposes the failed policies of Saddiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London, pointing out that London has lost respect among many Arab Muslims for electing the Pakistani. He puts heavy blame on the Left, calling Leftists “the real bigots”. He declares that to be against ISIS is a humanitarian position, not a political one.

Our British associate Chauncey Tinker, editor of The Participator, writes an interesting critique of the interview at Altnewsmedia. We quote it in part: :

About half way through the interview the imam reveals his views on the Koran and the Hadith (he doesn’t mention the Sira but I think we can assume his remarks about the Hadith can probably be taken to include the Sira as well). He says that in order to reform Islam, violent passages should be removed from the Hadith, but not the Koran – the Koran cannot be altered in the imam’s view. From what he says here I infer that he is what is called a Koranist (or Quranist), or at least he is something very similar – he speaks of throwing the Hadiths out of the window. A Koranist is a Muslim who rejects the Hadith and Sira and believes only what is written in the Koran.

Incidentally at one point Tommy and the imam discuss the question of Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha when she was only 6. The imam gives quite an astonishing explanation for this which I have never heard before, Tommy was equally surprised …

Tawhidi maintains that Aisha was actually 21 when Muhammad married her, but it was so important to Islam that Muhammad’s wife be a virgin that they reduced her to infancy to ensure that she could not be suspected of being unchaste. Islam holds virginity to be a much higher virtue, apparently, than refraining from pedophilia. What the Imam seems to have forgotten, is that Muhammad’s first wife (according to all the accepted records of his life such as they are) was a widow!

Unfortunately there is a fundamental problem with the Koranist viewpoint in general, which has been identified by Islamic scholars. According to verse 33:21 of the Koran, Mohammed’s life is a most beautiful example for Muslims to follow, but the Koran contains only a tiny number of fleeting mentions of Mohammed, there is simply not enough information in the Koran for Muslims to learn very much at all about Mohammed’s life. It is only by studying the Hadith and Sira that Muslims can learn much about Mohammed’s life, and thus learn properly about this “beautiful example” that they are supposed to follow. Perhaps it is not surprising then that the Koranist movement is relatively only a tiny movement, because their beliefs simply don’t make sense. As he states in the interview, there are probably only a few million Koranists worldwide. The exact numbers are hard to know as the Koranists are regarded as apostates by many mainstream Muslims and therefore tend not to be open about their beliefs. …

The imam speaks of the existence of many different interpretations of the Koran in the interview …

There are, he says, “hundreds of thousands of interpretations” …

… and asks why he should not be able to reform the religion by making his own interpretation. He suggests that the violent passages (for example verse 8:12 that speaks of striking terror into the hearts of the disbelievers) can be interpreted as only applying in the time and place of Mohammed’s battles. Of course if we only refer to the Koran there is somewhat less certainty about everything, because the Koran is much less explicit than the Hadiths. If we look again at verse 33:21 of the Koran though, this  context interpretation is hard to take seriously – Mohammed waged wars against the disbelievers to propagate his religion, so surely the Koran at the very least condones this kind of behavior. In fact, violent acts of war are one of the few things about Mohammed’s life that actually are mentioned in the Koran. What’s more, verse 33:21 that states that Mohammed’s life is a “beautiful example” comes right in the midst of other verses describing a very violent period, including the reference at verse 33:26 to what is either the Banu Qurayza massacre or a very similar event:

And He brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts [so that] a party you killed, and you took captive a party.

Finally on this question of context, there is nothing in the passages that explicitly states that the violence is only justified in the particular context. The references are for example to “the disbelievers” rather than to “the disbelievers in this particular settlement at this particular time”. For example Koran 8:55 says that:

The disbelievers are the vilest of animals … 

Even if we were to accept this context-driven interpretation of the Koran alone though … there is still a huge and inescapable problem with all attempts at a peaceful reformation of Islam. Let us imagine for a moment that at some point far into the future the majority of Muslims worldwide eventually accepted the imam’s interpretation of the Koran, and rejected the Hadith. As long as there are significant numbers of people in the world who believe that the Koran is the unquestionable word of Allah and that Mohammed was his last prophet, the door will be left ajar for any other interpretations of the Koran to return to prominence – including of course the violent interpretations. This is the reason I say that a peaceful reformation of Islam is not even a desirable goal,  the religion must be rejected altogether.

We strongly agree!

There is simply nothing worth reforming or preserving about this religion, it is a belief system that must be defeated so that freedom of speech can flourish and human thought can progress unhampered by threats of violence.  As the imam rightly points out, the texts cannot be physically destroyed, but there are many means available that should be used to persuade Muslims to reject their religion including reason and debate, economic pressure and social ostracism.

At one point the imam says to Tommy that we will never be able to stop the growth of Islam in the UK.  He cites the demographic trend, which is indeed suggestive of the continuing growth of the Islamic population if all else stays the same.  However, Tommy responds with some perfectly plausible suggestions about government policy changes that would in fact help to slow (and possibly even halt) the growth of Islam in the UK.

In particular he points out that if the British tax-payer were no longer to provide Muslim immigrant families (sometimes consisting of multiple wives and their children) with social security, free schooling, free health care, housing and legal defense, they would be less eager to come to Britain, or to stay in it.

… Beliefs can change, they are not a fixed aspect of a human being.

We are also in a new age of mass communication now, a point that the imam may not have properly considered. Never before has this religion (or any other) been subjected to such an enormous amount of scrutiny all around the world. The internet is enabling a revolution in human thought, and I truly believe we are only just seeing the beginnings of this revolution today. We simply don’t know the full impact that this degree of almost instantaneous around the world communication, exchange and clashing of ideas will have in the longer term.

While it is indeed refreshing to come across an imam who has the courage to so frankly discuss all these issues with an unrestrained critic of Islam such as Tommy Robinson (others could take note), I feel it necessary to point out all these problems with his belief system nonetheless. What we certainly don’t want to do is start moderating our criticisms of Islam for fear of upsetting this and other (probably well-meaning) reform attempts. Let us boldly speak the truth as we see it, and may the best argument win – if the imam’s interpretation cannot stand up to rational scrutiny then it is unlikely to catch on in any case.

… [M]y highest regard will continue to be reserved for those Muslims who, as it were, “go the whole hog” and throw not just the Hadith and Sira but also the Koran out of the window as well, and become EX Muslims.

A preference we echo.

Oh for a god-free world!

Posted under Islam, jihad, Muslims, Religion general, Videos by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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