Sunday, February 9, 2014

Open the Gates of Ijtihad, Closed Since 1258: Egyptian Leader Calls For Reformation in Islam By Claude Salhani - New Age Islam

The head of the military government that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammad Morsi from power in Cairo has taken the highly unusual step of calling for the reformation of Islam.
Such actions have in the past brought down the wrath of Islamists who typically label anyone calling for reform an apostate.
First, a quick look back: On September 11, 2001, the world awoke to two terrible tragedies; the one that was seen by millions of people on live television as Muslim extremists crashed passenger planes into the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, just outside Washington, D.C. and in a field in rural Pennsylvania.
The other reality was far more complex than and not as visible as jetliners slamming into sky scrapers. That was the fact that there was something terribly wrong within the House of Islam.
If the first issue, that of terrorism, was addressed by military force, as was the U.S. reply to 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan and ultimately, of Iraq, the second issue, that afflicting the followers of one of the great religions, Islam, had to be addressed from within.
This is an extremely sensitive topic. Due to the very nature of militant Muslims who have quite literally hijacked the religion to suit their political objectives, projecting an image of violence and non-tolerance of anyone not accepting their medieval views of the world. All experts who followed the debate were quite adamant in their prognostics of what was the solution to the crisis tearing Islam apart: that a solution had to come from within Islam.
In no manner could it be imported from the West. The problem was that no one leader in the Arab and/or Muslim world dared speak up, lest they be accused of apostasy. That is until now.
In an extremely rare display of courage and bravery by a leader in the Arab world General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces and current head of state, spoke out for the need of reformation in Islam. During a speech, which went unreported by the Western media, General El-Sisi delivered at the Armed Forces' Department of Moral Affairs in Cairo, the general stated: "Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people, pointing to the need for a new vision and a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam-rather than relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years."
Coming from the current ruler and very possibly the next president of Egypt, this statement carries great importance and must not be underestimated by any means.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But Anas, The gate of ijtihad so called closed was never closed. You can read it in Wael B Hallaq's paper "Is the Gate of Ijtihad closed?" even if you read books by Khaled Abou El Fadl "Islamic Laws of rebellion and violence" you can see the religious leader of the age have grappled, transform and discuss, and mediate many different forces at different era and age. With the result of having the most humanistic treatment towards rebels that even western world could not offer in this modern world. There is a problem with a muslim and the muslim scholars but I don't think the gate of ijtihad is the problem. I come to believe that the main problem of the muslim are those who doesn't even care the islamic tradition that they have sought not look at it and there is another group that portray themselves are holding the tradition but have respect to engage with it. God gave the muslim the one book which gave birth to thousands of book, but muslim today forsake those book for the only the one book without realizing that the thousands book is result of 1400 years worth of research. As such, needs to be respect, engage, and mediate and add on.