Is there any scope for change and reform in Islam?

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(This article was originally published in Tehelka Hindi Magazine, Issue 5, Vol 4, Dated 28 February 2013)

By Arif Mohammad Khan, senior politician and Islamic Affairs expert

Photo: Shailendra Pandey

The questions related to reform and change in Islam can be answered in two parts. One part is related to the basic and abiding principles of Islam and the other to the subsidiary issues. 

As far as basic principles are concerned which are everlasting according to the Quran and are common in all religious traditions, they are clearly beyond the scope of change, or any alteration. The Quran says “The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah (prophet) – the which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham (prophet), Moses and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein.” (Quran 42.13) 

Maulana Azad in his commentary on Quran titled as Tarjuman-ul-Quran, asserts that “the Quran came to distinguish religion from its outward observance. The former is called Deen and the later is called Shar’a or Minhaaj. Deen was but one and the same everywhere and at all times and was vouchsafed to one and all without discrimination. In respect of outward observances of Deen, there was variation and it was inevitable. It varied from time to time and people to people, as seemed pertinent to every situation. Variation of this nature could not alter the character of Deen or the basis of religion. The Urdu term that Maulana has used for this one and same spiritual order is ‘Mushtarak Haq’.

Elsewhere Maulana holds that the teaching of a religion is two fold. One constitutes its spirit; the other is its outward manifestation. The former is primary in importance and the later is secondary. The first is called Deen (religion); the second is Shar’a, which has come to mean the law prescribed by religion. 

So it is clear that the basic principles of religion are of abiding value but the laws that have a particular social, economic or political context become redundant when the context itself undergoes a change. Quran itself describes changes like alteration of day and night, changes that occur in human body as a result of advanced age, variations of the color of skins and languages etc. as signs of God, and emphasizes the need to apply mind to understand this phenomenon. 

The call to study this process of change makes one thing abundantly clear; the Quran wants us to comprehend this process of change to enable us to prepare ourselves to face the new situations and challenges arising on account of emerging changes. It says: ‘Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.’ (Quran 9.39) 

Constant change is a fact of our lives. If a non-living thing, like a stone, is protected from the environmental impact, then it is possible that even after a thousand years it will stay the same. But anything, that has life, whether human, animal or vegetation, would either grow or diminish by the day. It cannot stay the same. Famous Muslim scholar Ibn Khandun writes in his book ‘Muqaddimah’, “The situation of the world and the habits of various countries are not always the same. The world is the name of the story of change of civilizations. Similarly these changes take place in humans, times and cities; in the same manner it happens throughout the world, through different ages and regimes. This process of change is the way of God which is not subject to change.” 

Dr Sabhi Mahmasani, an expert in Islamic law, writes in his book, ‘Falsafa Shariat e Islam’, “There is no doubt that as a result of this variability of the world, man’s lifestyle changes, so does the paradigm of his welfare. Because the foundations of law are based on welfare of man, therefore it is imperative that along with the changes of time and society, there should also be suitable and necessary changes in the law and it should take cognizance of its surroundings.” 

Another Islamic scholar, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyah has underscored this point in unequivocal terms, “Changes in the law are associated with changes in time and era, changing situations and the change in human behavior.” He says that:“there is a relationship between mankind and law. A lack of appreciation of this basic principle has given rise to a misunderstanding that has resulted in limiting the scope of Islamic laws”. Ibn Qayyim further says that “the Islamic law has attached highest priority to Masaleh Insaani (public welfare) and it has no place for such narrow viewpoint.” 

It is important to keep in mind, that the nexus, between law and public welfare was highlighted by Ibn Khaldoon about 800 years ago and 400 years later, Ibn Qayyim had forcefully reiterated the same principle. 

This argument is embodied in Article 39 of Mujallatul Ahkamul Adaliya (Islamic law rules). It sates: “la yunkir taghayyuril ahkam bit taghayyuruzzaman,” meaning it cannot be denied that with the changing times, laws also change. Others Muslim jurists commenting on this legal maxim have suggested to add: “wabittaghayyural Askana wal ahwaal” (the rules change as a result of change of residence and change of circumstances). In this respect the observation of Maulana Alai, a leading jurist is equally important. He says that the laws have a context and if the context undergoes change then the law is automatically terminated. 

When we look at the history of Islamic laws, we come across several instances where with the change in the context, necessary changes were effected in the provisions of the law. There are several examples: 

Khiraj is a tax that farmers had to pay. Its rates were fixed in the time of Hazrat Umar (the second caliph of Islam), but later Imam Abu Yusuf reduced these rates with the change of times. 

Imam Shafi’i is one of the four Imams whose names are associated with the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence. He was an erudite scholar and travelled extensively. As a result of his travels he gave up several of his old beliefs (known as Iraqi Mazhab) and adopted new beliefs known as Egyptian School (Misri Mazhab). 

During the initial days of the Muslim rule, the Ulemas (clerics) who taught in schools (Madrasas) were granted large estates and stipend by the rulers. Imam Abu Hanifa and his colleagues took cognizance of this fact and prescribed that that the teachers of Quran and other religious books are not permitted to receive any salary for their teaching job. Later when grants and stipends were suspended, the Ulema of standing argued that this rule is no longer enforceable due to change in circumstances and issued necessary fatwa to remove the ban imposed by Imam Abu Hanifa. 

The principle of changing laws due to the changing times and era is given full recognition in Islamic jurisprudence. But the examples cited above relate to laws based on the opinions and fatwas of juri-consults (Ulemas and Muftis). In addition to this there are laws, which are based on the provisions of Quran and prophetic traditions. Since Quran and prophetic traditions are the primary sources, it is believed that any law based on these two sources is unalterable. 

However, we have several documented instances in history particularly during the reign of second Caliph Hazrat Umar when changes were made in the laws based on Quran and prophetic traditions. Famous Muslim scholar Shah Waliullah in his book ‘Fiqhae Umar’ has discussed this subject in detail and some of the cases he has cited are given below: 

There is a clear provision in the Quran about charity (Sadaqah): ‘Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. (Quran 9.60) 

As stated in the above verse, the Prophet himself used to provide financial assistance to the new converts of Islam. Islamic commentator Behiqui writes that in spite of this explicit provision of the Quran, Hazrat Umar stopped the payment and said that the Prophet provided this financial assistance to help you to stand by Islam at a time, when it was being attacked and persecuted. But now Islam is strong and there is no fear of persecution and therefore there is no need to continue these payments. 

According to Sahih Muslim, (a compilation of prophetic traditions), “Abu al-Sahba’ said to Ibn ‘Abbas: Enlighten us with your information whether the three divorces (pronounced at one and the same time) were not treated as one during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr. He said: It was in fact so, but when during the caliphate of ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) people began to pronounce divorce frequently, he allowed them to do so (to treat pronouncements of three divorces in a single breath as one).” – Sahih Muslim Book 009, Hadith Number 3493

Considering the conditions and requirements of his time, Hazrat Umar implemented the views he deemed fit, but it is also true that a good number of Ulemas did not agree with this view and even now in several branches of Islamic law, the three divorces pronounced in one sitting are treated as one. Sheikh Ahmed Mohammad Shakir in his book ‘Nizam e talaq fi Islam’ wrote that this decision of Hazrat Umar was based on the political exigencies of the time.

In Islamic law, the hand of the thief is cut off as punishment, as provided in the Quran: ‘as to the thief Male or Female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime.’ (Quran 5.38)

Prophet Mohammad had himself given this punishment for theft under this provision, but Hazrat Umar, during the time of famine, had suspended this punishment in the public interest. And this was widely accepted.

According to Islamic law if an unmarried person commits adultery, then he is punished with 100 lashes and is banished for one year from that place. It is reported about Hazrat Umar that when he banished Rabia bin Umaiya, he went and joined the Roman forces that were fighting the Muslims at the time. On this Hazrat Umar said: that “from now onwards I will not banish any person from the city”. Hazrat Umar had effected this change in the rule in the interest of the state as the times and context had changed greatly.

Islamic law gives authority to the ruler to decide the punishment if there are no clear provisions in the law. But in one hadith it is clarified that in such cases, the punishment should not exceed 10 lashes. But Hazrat Umar punished a man, who had made a fake seal of the state treasury with 100 lashes. Imam Malik, the first compiler of hadith, said that the punishment of 10 lashes was specific to the times of Prophet Mohammad and it is not applicable to later times.

In cases of murder Islamic law stipulates the provision of ‘khoon baha’. According to this the murderer or the people of his tribe were required to give a specific amount to the family of the murdered. But Hazrat Umar changed this provision. The reason was that when he organised the government and the army for the first time, the collective power shifted from the tribes to the government.

Imam Sarkhasi while praising this decision said it cannot be said that Hazrat Umar’s decision deviated from the traditions of Prophet Mohammad. Actually, it was in accordance with the same tradition because he knew that Prophet Mohammad had devolved this responsibility on the tribes, as at that time, they were the basic units of governance and power. But with the creation of the army, the power shifted to the armed forces and many a time the soldiers fought against their own tribe. On the other hand Imam Shafi’i rejected this logic saying it was against the Prophet’s traditions.

One thing is clear from this argument that in Islamic tradition, the law is not a rigid institution but is very sensitive to the prevailing context. Historically it can be said that Islamic law has displayed dynamic elasticity that it can positively face the demands and challenges of the changing times.

In this context, the argument given by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) is very interesting and lucid. According to him the Quran is the word of God and everything that we see in the world is the work of God. He said it is impossible to imagine any contradiction between divine word and divine work. If we perceive any contradiction then it means that we have failed to understand the word of God. In such cases, we need to review our own understanding of the word of God and strive for a meaning that will establish total harmony between the two.

The Quran appreciates the endeavor for establishing harmony and finding a solution to new circumstances and challenges and says, ‘And those who strive in Our (cause), – We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For Verily Allah is with those who do right (Quran 29.69)

(During the conversation with Arif Mohammad Khan, Atul Chaurasia came across some more points related to this article.)

Why is there an illusion of radicalism?
All the examples that I have given in this article are from early period of Muslim state i.e. seventh century to tenth century. This period of three centuries is known in Muslim history as the ‘golden period’, especially the eighth and the ninth centuries when Indian and Greek books were translated into Arabic.

‘Surya Siddhant’ was the first Indian book that was translated into Arabic by Fazari in 771 AD, with the title ‘Sind-Hind’. Later this book reached Europe through Spain and Fazari came to be known as the father of Arab astronomy.

But it is true that in 10th century, there emerged new trends, which were inimical to the study of philosophy and science. This was mainly on account of Asha’ri movement that muddied the intellectual environment and placed restrictions on any kind of research and inquiry. This trend became more entrenched after the Mangol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, when the doors of intellectual reasoning and inquiry (Ijtihaad) were closed and blind emulation of the old was prescribed as the religious norm.

Justice Amir Amir Ali in his classic ‘The Spirit of Islam’ quotes an Arab editor who says: “but for Asha’ri and Ghazali, the Arabs might have been a nation of Galileos, Keplers and Newtons. By their denunciations of science and philosophy, by their exhortations that besides theology and law no other knowledge was worth acquiring, they did more to stop the progress of the Muslim world than most other Muslim scholiasts. And up to this day their example is held forth as a reason for ignorance and stagnation.”

But this does not mean total absence of movement in Muslim societies. They are availing the benefits of the progress as consumers and unlike the first three centuries, they failed to act as agents of change and progress. However with new awakening and spread of modern education one can hope for more positive changes in near future. Still there is a section of the Muslim clergy who are stuck in the old rut and that erroneously creates the impression that Muslims are generally averse to change and reform.

Historically speaking, the traditional Muslim scholars have belonged to two categories. First, the Ulemae Haq, the scholars including Sufi Masters, who devoted their lives to worship God and serve God’s creation. To them any discrimination based on religion was a taboo. In fact the best example is the provision of langar (public dining) in Sufi centers, where only vegetarian food was served so that anyone and everyone could eat there without any reservation.

The other category of the scholars, were known as Ulemae Soo, who acquired great proficiency in legal quiddities. They served the Emperors and Kings and employed their legal skills to justify every royal action through the instrumentality of the fatwas. Right from the Umayyad period when fatwas were given to support military action against the grandson of the Holy Prophet, who had refused to endorse conversion of Islamic caliphate into dictatorial monarchy. Imam Husain was martyred at Karbala and the number of fatwas justifying this barbarian act runs into hundreds. Similarly great Sufi Sarmad and his disciple Prince Dara Shikoh, were put to death on the strength of the fatwas of the leading clerics of the Aurangzeb era. It can be said that the pens of these Ulema have always aided and abetted the bloodthirsty swords of the wielders of power. It is this record, which prompted Maulana Azad to say that “our history is replete with the doings of Ulema who have brought humiliation and disgrace to Islam in every age”.

The role of Politics
To understand why the perception about Muslims and Islam in India is that they are stuck in the past, we have to understand Indian politics. Here, those who claim to represent the Muslims, for political reasons, publicly act in a manner that contradicts their private conduct and possibly personal belief. This trend started with Jinnah. Though born in a Muslim family, his reported conduct and behavior did not conform to Muslim standards. In fact many of his personal friends have described him as a non-practicing Muslim. Still he felt no hesitation to don the cap of “sole spokesman” of Indian Muslims and demand partition of India. He himself was modern and liberal but to achieve his political ambitions he promoted orthodoxy and conservatism to the hilt. Similarly in Shah Bano case, we saw support for ‘communal identity’ (Milli Tashakhus) coming from politicians who otherwise swear by secularism. Why this happens? It is because power seekers realise that it is not secularism but divisive slogans that yield political dividends.

When political establishment feels no hesitation in making deals with the advocates of separatist and communal demands, the message is absolutely clear: If you belong to a religious minority and you have political aspirations, then act in conjunction with the protagonists of ‘separate identity’ and you will be suitably rewarded.

If you compare the pre- and post-Shah Bano situation, then you will realize the difference. The government action strengthened the communal and separatist voices and the damage has not repaired fully even after two and half decades.

Mufti-e-Azam in Kashmir and Owaisi
It is true that right from the beginning there have been differences between Muslim scholars on the question of permissibility of music. The case against Hazrat Nizamuddin that I have previously referred to was related to music. A section of the clerics have strong opinion that music is not allowed. On the other hand, there are scholars, including Sufis, who believe that music is a medium that helps spiritual growth. In our own tradition, Amir Khusrau was an accomplished poet, a gifted musician, who invented several musical instruments. Maulana Azad was a great lover of music and countered all claims that, music is not permitted in Islam.

In Islamic Arab, the history of songs and music can be found in the famous book ‘Kitab al-Aghna’ written by Abu l-Faraj al-Isfahani (897-966). The book describes in detail male and female musicians. The prominent names among women musicians are ‘Azza al-Maila’ and ‘Jamila’. Both these women musicians were skilled in their art and lived in Medina.

About the fatwa of Kashmir’s Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmed, all I can say is that this fatwa could be the opinion of one section of Muslims, but it cannot be called Islamic. When this fatwa comes from Kashmir, which is the birthplace of famous Sufi Lalla Arifa and Nooruddin (Nund Rishi), it sounds paradoxical. Nowhere in the world, devotional songs in regional language are sung in any mosque except in Kashmir where, the devotees sing Aurade Fathiya in groups after offering their Namaaz. This is considered part of their formal worship.

The controversy surrounding the speech of Akbaruddin Owaisi comes as no surprise. Owaisi belongs to Majlis, which was the political organ of the Razakar organization of old Hyderabad. This is the same organization, which opposed Hyderabad merger with India, which led to police action and the people of Hyderabad had to face a great tragedy. It is the same party whose leader Kasim Rizvi had no qualms in fleeing to Pakistan after asking the youth of Hyderabad to recite Kalima and jump before Indian tanks. Now if an inexperienced leader of the same party insults the religious traditions of his compatriots in his speeches, it does not surprise me. The Congress should be questioned in this case, as to why they included the Majlis in the UPA. Owaisi probably does not know that the Quran says, “Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their Ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall tell them the truth of all that they did. (Quran 6.108)

Not only the Majlis, from nationalist angle, the presence of Muslim League in UPA is equally unacceptable. This party led the movement for the partition of India, which resulted in death of and uprooting of lakhs of people, and now the same Muslim League is part of the government with the Congress. I concede that the Muslim League of Kerala is different from the old Muslim league but the name Muslim League in itself is anathema and they can be influenced to change it. Maulana Azad in his speech, on 23 October 1947, in front of Jama Majid in Delhi had said, “now that the Indian politics has taken a new direction, there is no place in it for Muslim League”.

52 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for the enlightening perspective.

    There is no place for “laws” in any religion that govern anything more than the personal behavior of the follower of the faith they choose to believe in. There is also no place for judgement and punishment/reward from anyone other than God (whatever be the name given to it/him/her). Otherwise, the religion is nothing but a tool in the hands of flawed humans with power, looking to abuse that power and wreak misery upon other fellow humans. Religion is for private peace and spiritual health. It is not a means to “organize and control” society or judge others.

    Perhaps because Mohammed had to fight battles, he expressed his belief system in particular manner that was suitable for his context. Islamic scholars need to analyse and dissect all the possible interpretations and nuances and biases that may underlie the Quran. It will help Islam reform and become more complete as a religion and philosophy. In a sense, mystical Islam in the sufi tradition was an attempt to move forward, but the regressive elements in Islam still wield too much influence and will end up harming the faith irreparably.

    The truth underlying all religions is the same and ultimate. Any religion that claims otherwise is a cult, not a religion.

  2. Besides, there is no such thing as the “word of God”. You may choose to believe that something is the word of God, but you have no way to justify this to others who disagree. They may as well write their own “word of God” and argue theirs is the real one, and yours is false.

    All the religious texts of the world were written by flawed humans, and are inherently flawed – all of them. There have been humans who have thought deeply and long about life and the universe and everything in our reality. These great thinkers are what we call ‘saints’ ‘prophets’ ‘rishi’. Some of them wrote down their thoughts, and their views have survived the test of time.

    When a religion uses fear to deny the right of its followers to ask questions to verify the truth or logic behind its religious texts, it ceases to have credibility among the intelligent. The human race is where it is today by dint of the intelligent humans who turned us from apes to civilized beings.

    • We claim that religious text that we have is flawless and we just dont keep mum after saying this. We call up on for Open discussions, debates etc., to prove the same. Now with my minimal knowledge I call upon you too brother for a open discussion on so called flaws that you see in Islam and Quran as a Human being, Atheist and sociologist. Please let me know your interest to proceed further.

        • Precisely Islam’s basic belief is AFTER LIFE and to succeed in the same we have to struggle in this life and struggle takes many forms out of which suffering is also one kind.
          “We will test you to some extent by fear, hunger, and loss of wealth, lives and benefits. Give good news to those who bear it with patience”[Quran 2:155]
          Moreover see almighty’s grace in having these differences.
          If every one of us are healthy there will be no health care and no medicines.
          If every one of us are wealthy no one will be ready to work under any one.
          Precisely the world is running by these differences.

          • So how does God decide who is born with a disability and who is born with good health? Why does a disabled child have to suffer more than the other child in this world? Is God partial? And in the after-life, will the disabled person have the same happiness as a normal person? If that is the case, then God has not been fair and equal with the disabled person. Who would want to believe in a God who doesn’t treat his children equally?

          • So how does God decide..?
            1. Whom to make poor and whom to make rich.
            2. Whom to be born in dry hard village and let suffer and whom to be born in city and let enjoy life.
            3. Whom to be born as insect which just lives 3-5 days and whom to be born as turtle which lives 300 years….
            The questions go on brother. Let us presume we don’t have an answer for these questions. Does that mean this exclusively tremendous universe and its creatures which undergoes mind blowing calculations to a level that it took almost millions of years even for the intelligent human kind to find out only part of those calculations has come accidentally and there is no creator beside it?
            Basically my suggestion to you is to
            1. Believe in a creator first without whom the mathematically splendid universe won’t exist, as or more than you believe in a very nominal human being without whom any after all products that you use would not be in existence.
            2. Explore the concept of theologies before you and see which stands up the test of time.
            BTW my Islamic answer to your questions is
            1. For any suffering [including a thorn that pricks the leg] a human being faces in this world he/she is equally rewarded in the AFTER LIFE.
            2. God executes this world with his own discretion and he has given us a boundary in which we are supposed to perform as best as prescribed by almighty.

          • This “After Life” business is the cause of all backwardness and destruction of the muslim community all over the world.

            It is so convenient to say that you will attain paradise after your death.
            Something like an astrologer telling a man “i can guarantee you that your wife will die before you” knowing that if the man dies he won’t come back asking.

            Nobody knows what will happen after death. Just because a book says that there is paradise is no proof of “after life”

          • Iliyas said: “God executes this world with his own discretion and he has given us a boundary in which we are supposed to perform as best as prescribed by almighty”.

            If that’s the case then the God you describe is an arbitary, whimsical God for whom I have no use of. I believe in a God who is just, fair and loving. And He does not treat any creature with His own discretion. He is a ruler of the Universe which follows the Natural Law. Not even God can circumvent this Natural Law.

          • @ Eskay – Thanks for your care on the muslim world brother.
            I will be pleased if you can list the so called backwardness in the Muslim world so that I can be aware of or make you aware is that a real backwardness. In fact the downfall of the Muslim world is because of the deficit in the true teachings of Quran and Sayings of Muhammad[SAW]
            Of course it is convenient to say that we can get paradise after death. But is it easy to live?
            Islam doesn’t say that just by being a Muslim in census book will take anyone to Paradise. It has its own rules and regulations abiding by which that can be attained. Let me not enter into those if you are interested.
            Of course just because a book says we cannot believe in AFTER LIFE. But what if that book stands test of time and what if the book possesses a quality to a level that it cannot be written by a human being. Let me dwell into that if you are interested in knowing.

          • @ Penn temp – Good brother.
            Even when he has created you at his own discretion you are bestowed with infinite amount of just fair and love around you. You don’t want to see that. But you comment the almighty as whimsical.
            Natural Law – Who devised this law. God should be the one who controls everything in the universe. If some one cannot circumvent some law then that someone is not God. The Natural Law is the God. In that case Natural law is also being unjust, unfair and hatred to many in your perspective. So that implies you don’t believe in Nature too..
            Naturally there cannot be a law by itself and if you say there is a law it should be devised by someone. Everybody except Atheist call that someone as God. Now with that in mind explore the theological concepts before you which describe God and his prescriptions. See what stands up as the best in test of time.
            If you are interested I can help you in exploring Islam, the least I can do.

  3. The assumption of flawlessness is a flawed foundation from which to begin an inquiry. You state you have minimal knowledge, yet you claim flawlessness?

    Engage your own self in debate first. Then engage those from within your faith. If you still do not find the answers, seek other faiths out. The market for religion and philosophy is rich with options – you have a divine right to choose your own.

    • To be frank I have engaged myself in debate as much as I can and only then I have put forth the question. The reason for me saying having minimal knowledge is just because my engagement with the debate can be meagre and your questions can enlighten me further or vice versa.

      Of course the market is big and my call to you is also a way to explore the market.

      • Well, in my explorations, I have found the Abrahamic faiths (all of them – Judaism, Christianity and Islam) to be very limiting. I have a voraciously curious and probing attitude to everything, so I do not say this superficially. Hinduism has its own issues, but as a faith, it is just so much more flexible and thus will survive the test of time. As for my own faith – its extremely personal – and I don’t like to put a label on it.

        Any time a faith claims that there is only one path to reach a destination, it loses credibility instantly. There are an infinite paths to God, one infinity for each of us. That makes it an infinity of infinities, if you assume that over the age of the universe, there will be an infinite lives brought into this world. If you are a student of maths, you will appreciate the beauty in this realization. Of course, if you believe some theoretical physicists, there are an infinite number of parallel universes, in which case, the market explodes to infinity to the power of three. Faced with such overwhelming logical arguments, the Abrahamic faiths just crumble. Hinduism, on the other hand, sputters along, surviving to fight another day.

        When we buy a product, do we like it if a company forces us to buy it, or criticizes us for not choosing to buy it, or calls us ‘non-believers’? No, we feel angry at such a company. The same applies to the market for ideas and faith – in fact much more strongly, because unlike a product, our ideas and faith are our very identity.

        This is the achilles heel of Islam, and if left unreformed, will cause its downfall. Other religions need not attack Islam at all, it has plenty of its own contradictions, and a stubborn refusal of many followers and opinion-makers to accept these as problems. When the patient is in denial about his own disease, what can any doctor do? The patient needs to help himself first.

        • Hope your steps towards having that attitude on Abrahamic faiths are after hitting right sources.
          Precisely you claim that a religion should be flexible. Your claim of a religion having flexibility may sound good if you believe a religion is an innovation of Human being .But if you believe it is by God then it shouldn’t be flexible. If you believe something is from GOD then it should stand the test of time. If it doesn’t then it is not from GOD.
          We believe Islam is from Almighty and hence if you don’t believe it you are a disbeliever (of Islam). It implies to everything and everybody. If you believe in Hinduism you are a hindu and if you don’t you are a disbeliever (of Hinduism). If we have to explain your way we work in an organization and doesn’t abide or believe in the policies of the same. Will the organization accept you. Religion at least is not being that strong and hence we see numerous sects in religion including Islam.
          The infinite sects that you see should be because of people and not because of Almighty. Precisely again if a religion or religious text doesn’t stand test of time then it cannot be from GOD who will and always stand test of time.
          With regard to Muslims though they have number of ways to follow, Quran by itself proclaims that only Quran and Hadeeth(Authentic Sayings of Muhammad(SAW) which doesn’t contradict Quran) should be only source of Islam. With that said I see Islam being perfectly healthy so far but if you see still see me as a patient I request you to advise me with the few of diseases/plenty of its own contradictions that you see in Quran and Hadeeth.

          • Well, you cannot even prove the existence of God to your own child without corrupting their thinking, let alone a grown up with a thinking mind, so to use a derivative concept that sits on top of a God assumption (eg God’s word, God’s will, God’s book, God’s messenger, etc) is an utterly futile argument.

            Let me be clear, I believe in God, but I cannot prove God, not even to myself. The whole notion of God may well be a human creation in itself, and I see more evidence to back that claim up, than of the natural existence of God. The existence of God may well be a statistical Type II error by humanity. Yet, I choose to believe in God, because it gives me emotional comfort, it’s like a frame of reference, one answer to infinite questions. The truth is unknown and unknowable.

            We cannot even communicate a word to each other as humans without information being lost in translation. Any concept, thing or idea cannot be encapsulated by a sequence of shapes on a screen/paper in its full meaning and complexity. String a series of such words together, and the uncertainty in meaning intended by the speaker, and meaning understood by the listener grows exponentially. Then add preexisting biases of the listener. Then add the context and emotional state. My basic point is – EVEN IF you somehow magically prove the existence of God, which in itself is impossible, how can you possibly claim that you or any human scholar perfectly understood God’s word? Wouldn’t it be more optimal for God to skip the verbal step (skip the messenger, book, scholars, etc.) and go straight to our minds? God is “almighty”, it can do that surely. So, by contradiction, how can a true religion be based on

            Note that, to your benefit, I took several leaps of faith. I could write paragraphs on the unprovability of God’s desire to communicate verbally, on the existence of an intermediary messenger, on the identity of the messenger, on the purported existence of any book, on the true authorship of that book, on the timeless validity of those ideas, etc. etc. etc. My friend, I can argue that the largest possible number of uncertainties underlie “unshakeable” beliefs. Infinity to the exponential power of infinity.

            Abrahamic religions don’t have a leg to stand on. The whole edifice is built on assumptions on top of assumptions on top of assumptions. They are a house of cards. One little puff, and fooo…just like that – gone.

        • Even after science throwing so much light on existence of a super power or an intellect design behind the creation of universe [Reference can be provided if needed] you are not ready to believe the Super power but believing in something called God for your emotional comfort. Probably people needing this sort of emotional comfort are those who believe anything as God. Stone, Sand, Animal, Human being etc..,
          I appreciate your expertise in going leaps on faith. But my request is don’t get into Islamic beliefs of “There was a Prophet who received messages from God and gave a book called Quran which is Word of God”. Rather you see Quran as a book which was given by an illiterate person called Mohammed who lived 1400 years ago whose verses have not been altered ever since then and it is preserved. I hope you will not have any problem in doing this(If you are doing this then probably you are not ready to believe in proven history too). With that belief read the book and raise questions on its vulnerability in Test of time with respect to its laws, quality, scientific facts etc…, If it passes the litmus test then it obviously should raise many questions. I will throw more light on those questions based on your acknowledgment for the approach.
          Leave about children who most of the times get influenced by the environment they have been brought up until they give due respect to their intellectual thinking. What answers do you have on some grown up who converts from one belief to other especially Islam. To your benefit some notable converts like Musician Cat Stevens, French rap singer
          At last at least with respect to Islam the one that I want you to throw me light on is atleast one “fooo” to see how Islam goes off just like that.

        • I’ve seen enough excerpts from this book you’re referring to to judge it appropriately. It mixes up spirituality, politics, justice, and ethics. I wouldn’t call it a religious book at all – its a politico-religious mind-control treatise. As I mentioned earlier, the most dangerous and harmful form of religion is that which mixes up personal and interpersonal matters. As long as religion is personal, it is harmless, but as soon as it starts invoking ‘scholars’, ‘social laws’, ‘punishment’, etc. it becomes a tool for oppression in the hands of whoever has political power.

          Mohammed’s personal history says a lot about his book. His carnal relations with a pre-pubescent child, and his political and military battles while claiming to be a spiritual leader are two personal characteristics that make it self-evident that this man was no great human, let alone his claims of being a prophet. Books written by such people should be viewed with extreme suspicion, not venerated. Look at the damage he has wreaked on society. How many humans have suffered at the hands of his followers? How many people have had their freedom of thought and action stolen from them? How many women and girls have been abused? How much falsehood and deceit has been perpetrated? Look even at your own self – can you claim with confidence that you are on the right path, a positive influence on society?

          How, in good conscience, can you follow this belief system? How can you ask others to join you in such primitive beliefs? Leave Islam, and join the free, good people. We will welcome you. Our ancestors have entrusted us with the responsibility to save humanity from all its bad creations, and Islam most certainly, is among the worst.

          • You have tagged yourself in the name “Wisdom” but your comments don’t even reflect a bit of its meaning especially the last one. Let me explain how.
            1. A person with good wisdom will explore for correctness in anything that he sees. For example if a person with Wisdom sees a book with spirituality, politics, punishments etc he will explore whether the facts that has been told are correct or not and not bluntly say that if it is a politico-religious and if it is getting involved in both personal and inter-personal then it cannot be correct. Who gave you the definition of religious book and through which law you are saying that a religious book cannot have spirituality, politics and justice?
            2. A person with good wisdom would say that for running any country some rules is needed. If that rules comes from religion and it aptly suits to the world for all times, then he would appreciate it. According to your logic anybody who runs a country without any religious rules should not oppress people. Then why for example atheist ruling CHINA has faced so many oppressions.
            3. A person with even the least wisdom would comment on a person’s personal life, that too a person who is being considered as the most influential person in the world so far in the history even by the historians [go through Michael Harts book The 100] would check the history correctly before commenting on him. On what basis you say Muhammad [SAW] had a carnal relation with pre-pubescent child. Do you have proof for it? I know you are mentioning about Ayesha (RA) but I challenge your claim of having relation at pre-pubescent stage.
            4. A person with good wisdom would check whether what history or a person himself has told about him before commenting on him. When did Muhammad [SAW] claimed he is a spiritual leader. He claimed himself as only Prophet of God who can have any number of roles. Again who gave you the definition of Spiritual leader and who told you a spiritual leader cannot marry and rule a country and do battles to defend his country.
            5. I can show thousands of historical proofs to prove the piousness of Muhammad[SAW]. But even not doing that a person with good wisdom would see the correctness of the news told by the person and not his character. In your logic if the worst person comes and tells you that your vehicle’s tyre is punctured will you check it and believe or will not believe just because a worst person has told.
            6. A person with good wisdom would put forth some facts especially if he has great hatred towards it. You have told many “HOW MUCH’s” but what is the proof for the same. If you are going to publish please do ensure that you prove that it is only because of Islam.
            I can claim with 100% confidence that I am on the right path and trying to influence the society as much as possible positively.
            Again height of the wisdom less comment of yours is calling Islam as the worst creation. A human being with a good conscience and hawk eye perception would definitely be attracted towards Islam. Lakhs of people reverting to it especially when it is being intentionally maligned by the so called rulers of the world is itself an on-going proof for the same.
            After all this I have to say it. You have great hatred towards Islam. You have the right. You happily hate it. But your hatred is baseless, proof less and besides all Wisdom less.

          • 1. religion can have anything in it (after all, anyone with a half-brain can invent their own religion, it is the opiate of fools), but politics cannot have any religion, period.

            2. you evidently cannot comprehend English arguments, and unfortunately I cannot write in Arabic, or whatever you speak fluently. read wisdom’s posts again and again, use a dictionary.

            3. everyone in the world knows that mohammed’s personal peccadillos, but you’re welcome to believe whatever makes you rationalize his sins away.

            4. i also claim to be prophet of God, now disprove it

            5. your point 5 is internally inconsistent with your point 3 if the same rules apply to you and me.

            6. ignoramuses need to read history books (or just wikipedia) instead of showing their delusional thinking by questioning widely observable and known facts.

            7. “human being with a good conscience and hawk eye perception would definitely be attracted towards Islam”
            umm, yeah, right, whatever. i suppose i should also find the same girls pretty that you find pretty, and like the same food that you like, and the same car that you like, and so on…

            go read the koran one more time, maybe you will find the ‘original, pure’ meaning this time around, but don’t hold your breath.

  4. islamic laws i.e.Shariah derived from the Quran & Sunnah can never be altered. The entire Islamic Nation knows it.The quotations & references marshalled by the writer are out of context altogether.Islam is not just a religion as these people think about rather it is a system of life, a code of conduct which governs all sectors of human life whether it be private, social, economic or political.No Muslim is going to compromise over it.

    • You’ve just summarized why people all over the world look down on Muslims. The broader muslim community has suffered ignominy and persecution because the rigid ones among them do not understand their own religion, and practice it as if it was a cult. The people of the world (including true Muslims who interpret their religion properly) will work together to erase these regressive ideas.

      Cult: great devotion to a person, idea, movement, or work (such as a book); especially when such devotion is dogmatic and without reason or balance.

      Your pact with God is to ensure peaceful coexistence on this planet with all your fellow travelers through life. If you cannot even compromise, you will lead a miserable life, and be despised by others around you. It’s our life, your choice.

  5. Humanist
    I think Islam has suffered more because of the anxiety that other people have towards it. People of “convenience” can never fathom how Muslims can follow their religion even today, the so-called ‘modern’ world. Islam is modern. Modernist. Already.
    Look at the media reports. They target and tarnish their image, yet it is the fastest growing religion in the world. I am a convert myself. And these media reports pushed me to study the religion more deeply.

    • Islam is ‘modern’, oh really?

      By allowing its men to keep 4 wives like yourself, while you can get thrown out of the house and divorced by any one of those 4 men when they say one word three times. By telling other muslims to kill you if you happen to choose another faith? By destroying girls schools? By putting women under burqa to erase their identity? By slowly bleeding animals to death so their muscles relax as they die painfully, so the meat you eat is softer? By issuing extra-judicial ‘fatwas’ that make a mockery of the laws followed by all citizens? By stuffing religious dogma down every young child’s throat instead of letting them think and decide for themselves?

      You say its the fastest growing cult on earth – sure, but among who? The educated, or among the illiterates? If all you needed was a rule-book to bring order to your life, you should have just written your own, and memorized it, instead of joining a cult.

      Islam is ‘modern’, umm, yeah, right.

  6. For Halal and Haram please go by the Quran, Sunnah and the Scholars who mastered both and know how to ‘contemplate’ the current issues with Shari’a Law. Islam is not based on individual sentiments and ‘What I am thinking….’ or ‘In my opinion…’. Islam is based on the laws of God almighty and preached by his messenger(SAW). It has to be interpreted according the teachings of prophet (SAW). Don’t try to flex the laws of God almighty for your own benefit. If someone want to do such an act which is against the laws of God…you have a choice of get out and doing it.

    “Al-Quran – 2..256: There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût and believes in Allâh, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower. ”

    “Al-Quran – 2..257″ Allâh is the Walî (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliyâ (supporters and helpers) are Tâghût [false deities and false leaders, etc.], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever. ”

    Already the right and the wrong paths are clearly defined. If someone is not clear, they have to make themself clear with scholars.
    Still they want to do; they can get out and go according to their own will.

    • Well it is certainly good to know that Muslims are free to leave their faith if they choose to. You should publicize this liberal interpretation, so people are not intimidated into living life against their will, minds wanting to be free, but trapped by fear of violence.

      There have been many other claimants to the title ‘messenger of God’ and all, including Mohammed, are just unproven and unprovable claimants, because maybe God doesn’t want it/him/her self to be misrepresented by a flawed human, whatever title they confer on themselves (prophet, saint, rishi-muni, guru etc.). Maybe God only intended for the word of God only to be experienced directly by each of our minds. Maybe we all are individual cells inside a great big body called the ‘universe’ and that universe is what we call ‘God’. Who knows what the truth is? If you claim your hypothesis to be true, there are millions who can do an even better job inventing their own religion. Until the truth is determined, if it ever can be, peaceful coexistence is the only path. I find that Hinduism gives me the greatest number of tools to undertake this journey to the infinite horizon. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t claim perfection either, unlike Abrahamic religions.

      Even if one religion converted everyone on earth to their views, divisions would bubble afresh within that religion and the cycle would begin anew. Humans are flawed, they have ego, and that is the reason there never was, and never will be, a messenger of God, or the word of God. The only thing you experience is the will of God, although I could just as well argue against that was well by using Chaos Theory: maybe everything was decided at the Big Bang, ie the initial condition.

      These scholars you refer to – they humans with flaws and biases of their own? So, what makes their interpretation more valid than your own? Do they depend on patronage from some political leader? If so, how does that affect their interpretation? How many people can have access to a truly knowledgeable (an oxymoron if their ever was one – because the real truth is unknowable) scholar when they need good interpretation? The whole structure on which your system is built is flawed – the assumption of accessibility to unbiased scholars.

      Islam unfortunately is practiced by many with this disturbingly unquestioning, blind-faith approach. It makes the mind small, and extinguishes your curiosity and courage. In the end, you are left a half a human, with the other half left completely unexplored because you were so busy following rules written in some book a long time ago, and harassing others to follow YOUR interpretation of those rules. Think for yourself, and don’t rationalize (seek only confirming information), actively seek counter-evidence to improve your hypotheses, and relentlessly assume your knowledge is incomplete.

      As a famous musician once wrote: we don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control. To that, I may add: I can find my own way to God, thank you very much for offering to help.

      • Well, if the Ulemas and mullahs publicize the fact that a muslim cam leave his religion as per the Quran then people will leave in droves.
        That is why Islamic countries have strict laws against proselytizing with respect to other religions.

        With all due respect, If Allah wants humans to follow and pray to him then why did Allah not create humans in that way?
        Surely it is child’s play for Allah; he who created this world?
        Does it not smack of narcissism, ego etc to want everybody to pray to him/her.
        If that was the case Allah could have done that easily.
        or is it because of an experiment that went wrong? a la frankenstein? 🙂

        • Leave Islamic countries. India is the world’s second largest muslim populated country. What stops them from leaving in droves.
          Just because one person has not implemented a thing it doesn’t mean that he is not able to. The reason God didn’t make that way is it is a test to your intellect because of which you are the best creature in Universe.
          What right does a father have over his son. Will he accept his Son to call some one else as his Father. If after all a Father has a right over his son why cant the creator have a right over the creatures.

          • Illiyas,

            Islam has reduced God to a very low level. It is a pity that you do not see it.
            Islam has ascribed human emotions of anger, jealousy, ego etc to God.
            God is not like a father. He is very much above that.
            A father has no control over his children. If a father has 2 sons then one can be a policeman and the other a rowdy.
            But God is supposed to be somebody who created this world.
            To compare him with a human being his foolishness.

            It is 1400 years since Islam came. But only 1 in 6 in this world are muslims.
            Why?
            Human beings are killing each other in the name of religion.
            What is Allah doing?
            Can’t Allah reveal himself and say “Oh children stop fighting, I am Allah and Islam is the true religion”…. wouldn’t everybody including me convert to Islam then and there?
            Why does not Allah appear?
            That is why i said that this “After life” business is a fraud.

          • What stops them is your violent brothers and mullahs, who have ensured the following legal penalties for apostasy in Islamic nations:

            In some countries apostasy from the religion supported by the state is explicitly forbidden. This is largely the case in some states where Islam is the state religion; conversion to Islam is encouraged, conversion from Islam penalised.

            Iran – illegal (death penalty)[7][8][9]
            Egypt – illegal (3 years’ imprisonment)[9]
            Pakistan – illegal (death penalty[9] since 2007)
            United Arab Emirates – illegal (3 years’ imprisonment, flogging)[10]
            Somalia – illegal (death penalty)[11]
            Afghanistan – illegal (death penalty, although the U.S. and other coalition members have put pressure that has prevented recent executions[12][13])
            Saudi Arabia – illegal (death penalty, although there have been no recently reported executions)[9][14]
            Sudan – illegal (death penalty, although there have only been recent reports of torture, and not of execution[15][16])
            Qatar – illegal (death penalty)[17]
            Yemen – illegal (death penalty)[17]
            Malaysia – illegal in five of 13 states (fine, imprisonment, and flogging)[18][19]
            Mauritania – illegal (death penalty if still apostate after 3 days) [20]
            Morocco – illegal to proselytise conversion (15 years’ imprisonment)[21]
            Jordan – possibly illegal (fine, jail, child custody loss, marriage annulment)

            Strange free religion you have – where the poor follower cannot even leave the cult without being killed.

          • Eskay,
            Probably I have to pity you since you don’t see Almighty in the way he has to be seen.
            You have told God is not like Father and very much above that. Definitely yes but very much above in what attribute?
            Let us take the instance of your explanation. A son of a father becomes police and other becomes rowdy. But both will call him Father. If they don’t then there is a problem.
            Similarly (Sorry very much above that) Almighty has created you with such a mind blowing technology in every aspect of yours and has a minimal obligation of believing him without attributing partners to him doesn’t seem to be an attribute of Almighty to you.
            Well then I have to pity you coz not knowing that attribute is the main reason people make anything as God. A stone, An animal, A human being etc. etc.., and besides all not knowing this attribute makes people reject the creator too.
            I am not being foolish by comparing human being with God but explaining the power of God. For example if I say “If you believe a simple Laptop before you cannot come on its own and it needs a human being then imagine about this universe. It should have come from a creator and that is God” then will you say I have compared God to human being.
            Islam is latest entry into the world as a religion (not as concept) and it is the second largest religion in the World doesn’t seem to be exclaim you but degrade by itself shows you are being biased.
            Well again the same song. Human beings are not killing each other in the name of religion but for everything. Does that mean Almighty should come down and say to every body “don’t do this I am God”. If Almighty needs to appear then even an Animal would believe.
            Use your intellect and analyse and believe.

          • It is the Funniest comment brother. Which Mullah, which omar can stop a muslim leaving in India, America etc.., to convert. In fact that happens then you are questioning against the constitution’s weakness.
            True. Some countries have this law. Does that mean Islam is reason for that.
            Islam forbids getting Interest. Except Saudi Arabia all countries listed by you doesn’t forbid.
            Islam forbids Alcohol. All countries listed by you doesn’t forbid. In fact few of the countries listed by you are joining the Sin city list.
            If you can show me a verse from Quran or Authenticated saying of Prophet Muhammad[SAW] that conversion from Islam to other religion is forbidden then you blame Islam.
            I strongly believe you have taken the list from Wikipedia. The same site has the List of converts from Islam to other religions and vice versa too. Didn’t your eyes grace through it? It won’t because your intention is to blame Islam for everything and not understanding the truth

  7. writing an article like this,reflects the limited knowledge of the author.islamic laws need no reform.we need to understand that the example of punishments ,which have been given,lie to the respective contexts.those who dont have proper knowledge , beleive islamic laws to be brutal and harsh.but after the delhi gang rape case the whole nation was demanding to send the culprits for better punishment. my appeal to all, that just for a change, observe a day based on islamic shariah.u will see all the evil of the society removed

    • I feed sad for Arif ji that he has you lot to contend with. It must be a horrible burden to lead and give direction to a crowd of blind people who live entire lives without using their full brains – whole subcortexes left unexercised. What’s worse, they are like snake oil salesmen looking to score a cheap sale, even though they don’t understand their own product. Some of them don’t even realize it, but their frustration with other religions is because of their own unhappiness in their own, because they totally misinterpreted it.

      An analogy comes to mind for these kinds of Muslims.

      There’s a crab on the edge of a bucket, asking all passers by to take his claw and climb up to enjoy the view. The poor sods who fall for this huckster (slimy salesman) soon realize that inside the bucket there are countless other victims like him. These crabs soon pull both the huckster and the victim down into the bucket of crabs. They crawl over each other, stop each other from getting out, pull down those who try. Soon, everyone has forgotten what the free world outside looks like. Then, one of them thinks, this is the way the world should be for everyone, because its the only reality I know, so it must be right. He climbs up over the others, reaches the edge, while still being held by a line of crabs below him so he doesn’t escape. He starts huckstering for a new victim, and the cycle goes on.

      That in a crab shell, is the sorry tale of misinterpreted Islam. Pity the shriveled brains that know not what it means to be free.

  8. Not much of a debate here. The motion for reform is so persuasively argued. The motion against reform just has empty statements of unyielding personal opinion. Its almost as if the anti-reform side has no real ideas, so they parrot back answers they memorized from one ‘kunji’ to pass some test, instead of exploring and searching elsewhere for true understanding. Dr. Arif Mohd. Khan, we wish there were more scholars like you, the Muslim community needs curious and open minds like you.

    • All of Arif khan’s arguments are instances which shows how Islamic rulers after Prophet tried to change the laws or reform the laws for whatever reason it may be. The question is Is that really needed? when the laws prescribed by Prophet Muhammad[SAW] is still sufficing by all means.
      Opening this door is what led to 100’s of sects in Islam and now let you and your Arif saab form a seperate sect.

      • It is a sign of maturity in Islam that there are many sects now. May Allah save Islam from muslims like you, who live in an imaginary world where unless everyone’s spinal cord emerges from the same brain stem (translation – one brain, no diversity of thought, everyone is a robot under central control), you will keep killing people or forcibly converting them to make all of humanity miserable. May a million sects bloom in Islam, so it can finally grow up and be a real religion.

  9. Islam can reform only by questioning its very foundations: unquestioned assumptions about their founder, his possible flaws, his book, that book’s possible flaws, and so on. Question everything from first principles. Accept no assumptions, absolutely nothing should be outside the limits of inquiry. Such a course of inquiry scares the daylights out of many Muslims, but they must confront their biggest fears if they want to progress spiritually.

    Almost all arguments related to Islam quote the Quran. For someone who doesn’t believe in the Quran, that’s a useless reference point. If you want to have a meaningful discussion with non-Muslims, use general reasoning and logic instead.

  10. A nice article. Being an athetist i believe Religion has been one of the biggest reasons of turmoil and bloodshed on planet earth. If no such thing as religion existed and we all obeyed the laws of the land, it would have been a more peaceful place to live in. Today when thousands are dying due to religious wars, what is God doing? Smiling somewhere on top.Seems like religion has become like a account on twitter. Gods having a fight who has the most followers. There are loop holes in all religions. Nothing is perfect. If we see god as merciful then why would he make rules which are inhuman. Cutting of hands for a theft, women in burqa or parda, lower caste and upper caste. Its just utter nonsense. Be an atheist and you would enjoy life!!!

  11. Well researched and well written article. I have no knowledge of Islam.. but have seen humanity very closely, and I think purpose of any religion is to teach a person how to live life purposefully and make him understand true meaning of life!! Islam is a rigid religion and I find Muslims most religious (I don’t mean it is wrong, I am just stating a fact).. They keep religion above themselves and their family.. In no other religion one can find so many people willing to give their life for religion!! So, they keep religion above nation too.. and this creates some problem in present era!! BTW because they are strong believer they become more vulnerable for political manipulation and are easily misguided by sly and cunning politicians!! Change is the law of nature.. anything that is static, cant survive.. motion is life!! I think it is about time when intelligent and educated Muslim , especially those who have deep knowledge of religion should come together and bring some changes which is pertinent with present era.. and especially guard the young generation from being misguided by Politicians and terrorist organization!

  12. This article talks about religion but not what it title says. Extremly boring when quran glossary is used. Article shud show common sense.

  13. Mr. Arif Khan sb. had been member of BJP, so one can understand his thinking & his point od view, it wd never be inclined towards Islam, its simply opportunistic & appeasing article ! it had nothing in its content other then manipulation

  14. The Holy Qur’an, Ayah 2:120

    “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) till you follow their religion. Say: ‘Verily, the Guidance of Allâh (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad Peace be upon him ) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’ân), then you would have against Allâh neither any Walî (protector or guardian) nor any helper. (Al-Baqara 2:120)”

  15. It is strange that for many of you, your ability to debate and think is so limited by what you can copy, paste from one book. You quote from that book to other people, as if just because some book says something, so it must be true.

    Iliyas has made a sincere attempt to debate and think for himself. I credit him with that, although I disagree with his blind belief in that book, I commend him for at least arguing in his own words.

    Iliyas – you claim the Quran has stood the test of time – how does compare to the Gita, the Upanishads, the Vedas, the Bible, the Testaments, Torah, Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Triptaka, etc. They are all much older and have stood an even greater test of time.

    • Excellent answer “Humanist”. The vedas have stood the test of time even without forced conversions to Hinduism unlike other religions.
      Even without conversions, Hinduism is the 3rd biggest religion in the world if you discount atheists.

      Islam, which is allegedly the word of God comes around 20%. How poor is that!!!

      What “stood the test of time” is Illyas talking about?

  16. Dear Bharth Hindusthani…..just look at Indian history…maximum attack conducted by Hindu militant group….so here I can say all Hindus are not terrorists but in India maximum terrorists are Hindus….…. so don’t fool people….

  17. They all know their holy books has been changed completely not only books their laws n even whole religion has been changed they even dont remember their prophet. They feel jelous n they feel like someone is rubbing chilli n salt in their fresh wound when they see whole Quran is been memorized by millions of Mislims n they find no way to change or reform it like they did with previous holy books, n start this kind of worthless discussion. They must know universe will finish itself before they try to fabricate the words of Allah.

    • One thing I am convinced about after reading this comments section is that the average Muslim analytical and intelligence standards have plummeted to abysmal levels. Thank goodness for people like Arif ji and Iliyas, the rest of you are like stubborn, angry parrots. Whether your religion’s limitations have anything to do with your limitations is an open research question.

  18. Why don’t the religious fundamentalist, religious pacifist, religious reformist and all sort of religious preachers/spreaders/scholars take their god with them and go to Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and leave the Earth for humans and free from religion. I just don’t understand a simple phenomenon, if I tell you today that GOD doesn’t exist, will you believe me? You won’t. Then how come you believe in some scriptures or books, that too written some thousands years ago? Why don’t you accept the fact that you were told to believe in those scriptures since childhood. Why don’t you say that you find numerous contradictions in those scriptures (even when you are a completely illiterate in science) but still keep silence just because the scriptures say you cannot oppose it? Why don’t you just admit that the scriptures instill fears in you and that you are so terrified and afraid to raise a voice because the scripture says that you must be punished if you dare to disagree with some imaginary thesis?

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