Ilmul-Kalaam (argumentation based on Greek philosophy) is among such innovations in the religion that created intellectual schisms in the Muslim nation and initiated deviant trends. One of the sects that indulged in Ilmul-Kalaam were the Mu’tazilah. They gave precedence to intellect over the revealed texts of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah – when they perceived the two conflicted. This attitude set an evil precedent for all later groups who sought to make intellect and desire decisive over the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. In this book, we shall critique such modernist groups that attempt to impose novel interpretations upon Islamic teachings.
The Two Modernist Trends
One trend of Modernists are the self-proclaimed ‘Islam-experts’ and ‘Muslim-reformers’ that we see all to often paraded on major media outlets. They openly demand reformation in Islam and call for a ‘progressive’ interpretation of Islamic values. Their catch phrases are “humane Islam”, “gender-friendly Islam”, “Islam 2.0”, “Progressive Islam” and the like.
Their newly-found activity gained momentum with the emergence of violent extremist elements that misinterpret Islam to create chaos and cause hardship for Muslims. This began a search for an alternate, sensible and moderate voice – a voice that can expect state funding and favors.
The lucrative opportunity thus created has attracted an assembly-line of individuals with a history of apathy for Islam and Muslims, to masquerade as champions of the ‘oppressed Muslim woman’, good-governance for Muslim nations, human rights, etc. They claim to be the moderate voice and speak in a language that the media, especially the western media, likes to hear. They persist in this even if it alienates Muslims and reinforces biased stereotypes about Islam. In the name of ‘progressive thinking’, they organize campaigns against the head-covering for women, for women to pray in mosques alongside men, for the acceptance of lewdness, and other similar issues. They seek to misinterpret Islamic texts in light of rational thought, modern values and even feelings and desires for, they consider the rational (Aql) and desires decisive over the revealed texts (Naql).
Another group that is an equally staunch patron of free-thinking and modernist interpretations is that of the so-called ‘Islamic-thinkers’ and activists. Their primary goal is political power and thus, their novel interpretations are aimed at supporting their revolutionary goals and undermining genuine priorities of Islamic Dawah that they see as a hurdle or a distraction from their primary goal.
Politically, the two modernist groups are poles apart. The ‘progressive thinkers’ are extreme secularist while the ‘Islamic-thinkers’ are ardent callers to the Khilafah – however distorted their views may be about it. But the two are similar in making Aql decisive over Naql, in their apathy towards Hadeeth, in their emphasis on modernistic interpretations of the Qur’aan, and in their unjustified toughening or lightening of Islamic regulations for the achievement of political/organizational goals.
We shall see in this booklet the close resemblance between Christian and Jewish Modernists on one hand, and the ‘Muslim’ modernist and progressives on the other. We shall analyze the views that have become the hallmark of the Modernist call and expose their remoteness from Islam.
Lastly, we shall comment on the most outrageous antics of present-day ‘progressives’, expose their hatred for Islamic teachings and report on the complete failure of their call.
The second section of this booklet deals with the misguidance of rejecting Hadeeth as this is another malady afflicting all Mu’tazili influenced groups whether the Modernists, the Progressives, the Secularists or the pseudo-Islamists. The refutation focuses upon analyzing the views of three prominent rejecters of Hadeeth; Rashad Khalifah, Ghulam Parvez and Amin Ahsan Islahi.