In the Name of God بسم الله
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Assalamun alaykum, I do not know if this is the correct forum for this thread, so if the mods think it would be better to move it to some other forum, I request them to do so. The thing is, I want some books/articles in English which contain good, academic criticisms of 'liberal' or 'reformist' Islam, from a traditional Islamic perspective. Are there any which are available? Apart from this, if the brothers/sisters wish to share their own view points, or some scholarly opinions, they are most welcome to do so. Any and every kind of feedback, given that it is reasonable and logically sound, is also welcome. Thanks in advance. Stay blessed.
This is something i've been thinking about and interested in for quite some time. First of all i made a poll, so, you might like to answer (totally anonymous) that if you hold strong views and have a good backing of information already. If you don't you might like to read some of the things i linked to get a general idea or some of the things that will (hopefully) be posted by other people. Liberal Islam is really a huge umbrella term though, ranging from those who favour relatively minor, mostly sensible and uncontriversial positions like slavery should not be practiced today, all the way to the quranists and things like that. So, its really hard to generalise things as "Liberal Islam". One thing i've noticed though is a distinct lack or low number of what you would call alternative interpretations or positions, compared to the diversity within Christianity or Judaism. Christianity has a very rich tradition of splintering into different schools of belief over theological issues (eg the protestant reformation). I've also noticed a strong tendancy towards these movements in Judaism with Progressive , Liberal , Reform and Conservative as some noted examples of varying from the orthodox positions. The amount of major differing schools of thought in Islam seems to be very small as compared to that of Christianity. Granted Christianity is older but i think there are other reasons (which i will mention below). Within Judaism, i notice a lot of jews follow schools outside the orthodox whereas in comparison, most muslims seem to be within schools that could be classified as tradition or orthodox. That got me thinking, Why? One of the reasons, i believe, is of scripture. The Jewish and Christian scriptures are usually claimed to be written by humans inspired by God, recounting stories and events. I think this fact allows for significantly different interpretations because for one, humans do make errors and if you think there is such an error, maybe its the result of a human or the times and you can reform around that. There has also been errors in translation and cultural factors that heavily influence the practice of Christianity throughout time, since christian culture became blended with that of the state. You are not going directly against God in your reform efforts in this way either and there is significantly more leeway for interpretation. My understanding of the quran is that it is not like the Christian scriptures. It is not mere inspired by God and written by humans. It is the word of God just simply scribed and recorded by humans. The direct word of God handed down. So, you can't really claim theres error and interpret around it. It can't be the error of humans. Either you need to admit there is somehow an error in the quran or the error or wrongness you percieve isn't really there or that it is meant to be and you simply have to accept it, no matter what you feel. I also think that opposed to the blending of Christian and Local culture to a certain extent, Islam became the culture, due to the nature of Islam. So, it would be hard to argue against in that fashion as well. Also, any kind of reform or re-interpretation would seem to some people as almost going against God and the words he handed down and i can understand the considerable difficulties that this would cause. Another reason i think is the political enviroment surrounding muslim majority countries. Many do not do so well on indicies of freedom or democracy (https://en.wikipedia...x#2010_rankings https://en.wikipedia...ountry_rankings (lower is better) ). In some of these places access to information is severely limited. In other cases a certain version of Islam is preferred by the state and if you don't follow this you could be outcast socially, attacked violently or other things like this (eg saudi arabia, afghanistan under the taliban). Some muslim countries are less educated or less developed than their counterparts as well and this would also reduce access to information about issues like this. This lack of education and in some countries not yet reached by western ideals of freedom and democracy would also have an impact. It would lead to not fully appreciating the alternatives or your rights. I think in countries like this as well the significant local thoughts would seem to be Islamic or take a certain interpretation (misguided or not) and make everyone follow that. Think along the lines of honour killings or some of the things that went on in afghanistan. I'd like to see how everone answers the poll and if you have some times, maybe your thoughts on why liberal islam originated, why liberal movements in Islam aren't all that prevalent (or so as far as i can tell), whether you think its good or bad, whether you think the future of Islam will look like that and why some of my reasons may be right or wrong. Feel free to mention anything regarding the topic in general, i'm very interested in your responses. I'll link some information about Liberal Islam below: https://en.wikipedia...i/Liberal_islam http://studyofislam....iberalIslam.pdf (Good academic paper summarising liberal islam as a whole and the differing variations, origins, and reasons for why it hasn't been more successful or prevalent (eg dictatorships ect) ) http://www.liberalislam.net/ - Some essays by a man who supposedly studied at harvard theological college and holds liberal islam views.
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