The idea of reforming Islam is not new. Islam cannot be reformed. Keep in mind that Islam claims that it is the perfect eternal faith for mankind. Splits have occurred and will continue to occur in Islam. Yet, reformation has not happened in nearly 1400 years and is not going to happen. Islam is carved in granite, just the way it is. No change. Allah’s book is sealed.
About the only universal agreement that exists among Islamic authorities is that every word of the Qur’an is the word of God and is not subject to human modification, ever. The ‘Hadith’ also enjoys a similar sacrosanct standing. And of course, the faithful Muhammad’s conduct as recorded in the Sunna is the model to be emulated. Hence, one can pick and choose, but one cannot discard or revise any part of the scripture. For this reason a Martin Luther type reformation has not happened and will not likely ever happen within Islam.
Numerous people have tried it in every imaginable way. The Mu’tazelis
tried it, the Sufis tried it, hundreds of old and new schools tried it and they all failed. Islam is not reform-able for at least the following reasons:
* At the heart of the problem is the Quran, Islam’s sacred book, considered as a literal perfect and immutable words of Allah.
* Islam is a perfect religion:
Quran.5:3 : Today have I perfected your religious law for you, and have bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that self-surrender unto Me shall be your religion.
How can fallible limited humans possibly reform or improve the handiwork of the all-knowing, all-wise author of the universe?
* Freedoms of all forms are anathema to Islam which is squarely-based on total submission to the dictates and will of Allah. Muslims must obey Allah and His Messenger:
Quran.33:36: And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying.
* Violence is part and parcel of Islam.
Quran 2: 216: Fighting is ordained for you, even though it be hateful to you; but it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know.
* Reforming Islam requires discarding Shari’a, but also purging the Quran itself from enormous suras that are not only patently false, but totally repugnant to a civilized humanity. This line of thinking, to sanitize Islam is explicitly forbidden in the Quran.
Quran 2:85: Do you, then, believe in some parts of the divine writ and deny the truth of other parts? What, then, could be the reward of those among you who do such things but ignominy in the life of this world and, on the Day of Resurrection; they will be consigned to most grievous suffering? For God is not unmindful of what you do.
* Islam is a super religion:
Muslims consider Islam, a super-religion and final religion of Allah. Judaism and Christianity are the only other two religions that are granted a grudging minimal recognition by Islam. All other religions and those without religion are blasphemy and blasphemous. In short, Islam is not reform-able.
Reforming Islam requires purging of its sacred book, the Quran. By so doing, then, we have a different religion, not Islam.
Let us look at some other points by explicit provisions of the Quran:
* Islam is misogynist. Men are superior to women. Women are to obey men and are to be beaten when disobey or misbehave.
* Islam is racists. The Quran stipulates that the Arabs are superior to all others and it clearly condones slavery. It explicitly stipulates discriminatory laws for slaves.
* Islam denounces other belief systems and marginally recognizes the validity of only two religions, Judaism and Christianity.
* Islam is violent. It not only condones jihad, it recommends it and promises great reward for the jihadist.
* Islam is already splintered in a number of major sects and innumerable numbers of secondary sects that harbor huge disagreement and animosity toward one another as well as toward all infidels.
* Those who claim that they want to reform Islam, in fact, they want to transform it by stripping it from a great many provisions that are anathema to civilized humanity. These people are in fact trying to make a new religion out of the old with no divine authority that supposedly bestowed Muhammad to form launch his religion.
Religious high authorities play a critical role in steering the masses toward or away from hate. The late Pope’s public pronouncement, for instance, absolving the Jews as the Christ killers has reduced anti-Semitism among the rank and file Christians. Fatwas—religious decrees—by Islamic Moftis and Ayatollahs carry considerable weight with their respective followers. Sadly, most decrees and adjudications of these high Islamic authorities are exclusionary and even hostile toward the out-groups.
These high divines are the suppliers of opinions as well as the teachers of the rank and file clergy who take the same ideas to the masses in villages and cities. Madresehs in Pakistan, schools in Saudi Arabia and Maktabs—religious schools—in Iran, as well as numberless mosques serve as places where the disease of hate can be transmitted with considerable success to the just too willing believers.
In Islam’s theocracy, religious authority is conferred by an informal consensus of the peer group. One becomes an Ayatollah, for instance, by demonstrating to other ayatollahs his undeviating devotion to the dogma they hold. If one deviates from the accepted line, he is not likely to make a village mullah, much less an Ayatollah. This is a systemic problem that is not amenable to change. It is a pathological theological inbreeding.
Islam or religions in general are sources of energy. The energy can achieve magnificent things or destroy anything. It is up to us to put religion to good use, as people have done for millennia, and to avoid using it as a weapon of death and destruction—again, as people have done so for millennia.
In conclusion, Islam is not only divided, it is shattered. It is in shambles, long past fixing itself, much less ruling the rest of the world. It is time that Muslims, those who consider themselves good and peaceful, as well as those who want us to accept their ideology of barbarism at the point of the sword, to take the fateful step and join the free and emancipated family of humanity. There is no going back. Barbarism is in our past.