The “Democratization” of Islamic knowledge, and the emergence of extremes

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

A little while after publishing my article “The Enlightenment and modern-day ‘Islamic Terror’”, someone asked me why I did not provide any specific examples to show how extremist attacks may have been stopped by consultation with traditional Muslim scholars.

From that time up to now, I saw the occurrence of a number of events: On the one hand, I saw on one of the forums I normally visit, an upsurge of certain nominal Muslims questioning a number of well-established Islamic practices and beliefs. On the other hand, we all heard the news about the Woolwich attacks, where an off-duty British soldier was hacked to death by two Muslim “radicals”. Continue reading

Brief comment: Does the adoption of conspiracy theories by many Muslims lead some of them to discard the Ahadith and the Sharia?

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

Many times in the discussions I have seen taking place between my Muslim brothers and sisters, I have noticed many of them clinging on to what can only be described as conspiracy theories. We Muslims live in a difficult time in our history as an Ummah, and I can easily see that there are very many pressures on the modern Muslim person, and one might many times feel victimized and may also feel that Muslims at large are the target of non-Islamic forces swarming the Muslim world right and left. Continue reading

The Enlightenment and modern-day “Islamic terror”

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

I decided to write a few brief comments about the topic of the Enlightenment and the topic of so-called “Islamic terrorism”, even though the connection between the Enlightenment and what is termed as “Islamic terror” may not even occur to most people.

The reason why I believe this topic is important is because the enlightenment and its secularist offspring intervened in the Muslim world in a manner that cannot merely be cast aside when mentioning anything about “Islamic terrorism”.

In order to understand this issue, we have to understand that Islam is a system of life where its teachings are passed from chest-to-chest. The books written by the scholars have their relevance, but we cannot say that the primary means of transmitting knowledge in Islam is through the written material. Thus, the teacher-student relationship is paramount in traditional Islamic scholarship. Continue reading

Lawrence Krauss, iERA, and secular assumptions and prerequisites

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

This post is about a row that transpired some weeks ago, when the atheist professor Lawrence Krauss stormed out of a debate hosted by the Islamic Education and Research Academy due to a voluntary gender-segregation arrangement made by the iERA. (The news article describing this row has been archived here).

Now, I really do not think highly of public debates, for the simple reason that there are too many factors at play other than the content of the debate in deciding which side has taken the upper hand in debates – and this incident was a very good example of how such factors are used to skew the debates on topics not centrally related to the topic at hand. Continue reading

Islam, Early Marriage, and the “Morning-After” Pill

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

I recently saw the news about the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval for the availability of the “Plan B” contraception pill without a prescription for women 15 or older (archived article available here). In the same vein, I read another article about the expansion of the program of a health council in California, through which free condoms are provided to boys as young as 12 years of age (archived article available here). Continue reading

Some comments on an article about the mother of the Boston bomb suspects

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

I came across a report concerning the mother (her name is given as Zubeidat) of those accused of the Boston bombings (the article may be accessed here) [1]. There are a number of things that caught my attention concerning the manner in which the report was presented, and I thought that instead of inserting this article as a link in a footnote of some larger work, it was better to see exactly what is going on in a report on Muslims in the West. I will not really mention the “investigation-related” excerpts in here, since there is no direct relevance to this discussion, and since there is still a lot in this respect that is ongoing. Continue reading

Evolution, “Conservatives”, and Modern Western Society

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

At times and in certain instances, we hear “conservative” politicians from Western countries saying that the “controversy regarding evolution should be taught”. The former President of the United States, George W. Bush was a famous proponent of such a position, and it is still propounded by certain other public figures and politicians. Of course, this is mostly met by ridicule and sarcasm from the formal science field, who outright reject such proposals as quackery.

As a Muslim, I can see why such a request or suggestion would be met with such scorn: These “conservatives” are, at the end of the day, “conservatives” only in their perception of what should be done within the confines of one’s home (i.e. what religion one should adhere to, what standards of morality one should adopt, and so on). Continue reading

Secondary discussions and the lamentable ignorance of Muslims

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

When I see the huge amount of discussions about the actions of this or that Muslim, or about the specifics of this or that Islamic rule, I feel bad that most of the discussions are being carried out on matters of secondary or even tertiary importance as far as Islam is concerned. Sometimes, one might go on for pages at a time on some Islamic discussion boards without there being even one matter being discussed with a non-Muslim that is tied to a central aspect of the Islamic faith.

As a rule of efficiency, we should only discuss the main issues, establish them with certainty, then whatever certainty is reached there, take that as a definite basis for talking about everything else. I think that most Muslims have unfortunately just lost this broad picture, and the truth is that it comes down to the ignorance of what constitutes an “indubitable proof” versus “secondary evidence”. And lamentably, I see this ignorance only getting worse with each passing day.  Continue reading

On Facebook, Twitter, and Atheism

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

The title of this post may take many by surprise. Outside of facebook pages and tweets promoting atheism and belittling religions, what could possibly be the relation between social media and atheistic beliefs? What could simple tweets and posting of pictures have to do with rejecting the existence of God? Continue reading

Muslims, Terrorism, and “Overarching Allegiances”

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

Recently, I happened to come across the quote, oft-repeated in our days, that “all Muslims are terrorists”. I do not wish to take the normal route and say that “No, Muslims are not terrorists” or “there are always bad apples in every bushel”, since such lines of defense are not relevant to many of those who hear it. Continue reading