The true Islam…..

Reza has some interesting things to say about Islam:

The foundation of Islamic pluralism can be summed up in one
indisputable verse: "There can be no compulsion in religion." That
means that the antiquated partitioning of the world into spheres of
belief (dar al-Islam) and unbelief (dar al-Harb), which
was first developed during the Crusades but which still maintains its
grasp on the imaginations of traditionalist theologians, is utterly
unjustifiable. It also means that the ideology of those Wahhabists who
wish to return Islam to some imaginary ideal of original purity must be
once and for all abandoned. Islam is and has always been a religion of
diversity. The notion that there was once an original, unadulterated
Islam that was shattered into heretical sects and schisms is a
historical fiction. Both Shiism and Sufism in all their wonderful
manifestations represent trends of thought that have existed from the
very beginning of Islam, and both find their inspiration in the words
and deeds of the Prophet. God may be One, but Islam most definitely is

Nevertheless, the Islamic vision of human rights is not a prescription
for moral relativism. Nor does it imply freedom from ethical restraint.
Islam’s quintessentially communal character necessitates that any
human-rights policy take into consideration the protection of the
community over the autonomy of the individual. And while there may be
some circumstances in which Islamic morality may force the rights of
the community to prevail over the rights of the individual — for
instance, with regard to Quranic commandments forbidding drinking or
gambling — those and all other ethical issues must constantly be
re-evaluated so as to conform to the will of the community.

2 thoughts on “The true Islam…..

  1. Reza’s a good guy, and I’m glad he’s getting this coverage. He’s a great writer with a good understanding of the traditions of Islam.

  2. The book is winging its way to me from Amazon. I’m particularly interested in the book for any understanding that much of Islamic fiqh was formulated for what we today would describe as political purposes. Let’s not forget (as if we could) that Islam is not only a spiritual tradition, but was also an Empire. It’s not at all surprising that precepts were developed like Dar-al Islam and Dar al-Harb which establish distinctions to serve a political purpose, regardless of its claimed religious significance. Distinguishing the two, i.e. state and religion, sacred and profane, in Islamic history is not easy to do where religion was often intertwined with the state.
    I just started a book, “The Closing of the Western Mind” which purports to describe the transition from rationalism to religious hegemony in the early centuries of Christian Europe. Even in the opening pages, the discussion on early Church writings about the Rule of God on Earth, God’s law, and Revelation as the only real source of truth, echo similar arguments in Islamic history and today.

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