Reforming Islam: Dialogue with a Convert Islamist, Part 1
08 April, 2007
- Subject: Leaving Islam?
- Greetings Abul Kasem,
I just read your article at Islam Watch entitled "On the Making of an Unbeliever". I have read some of your other articles and find you articulate and persuasive. I am Muslim, a convert. I do not wish to leave Islam, although I do wish Muslims would debate the issue your site discusses. I note that you are Bangladeshi, my friend and associate Fatemollah or Hasan Mahud has written extensively on the Islamic situation there.
But as I read your article, I found that almost none of the situations applied to me. I have never felt pressure to stop drinking, sure my imam has advised me to stop, but I hardly believe I'm going to hell. (I have a background in usul al fiqh from Al Azhar). I cant always find halal food, but it doesnt break me up if I have to eat anything else. You cite a number of instances where sharia'h is being implemented, which is indeed reprehensible, particularly the legal rules around rape, but the argument has also been made by scholars like Mohammed Taha and Abdullahi Na'im that the application of these rules is wrong and not required under Islam. The state of Islam is not as black and white as you make it seem in your article. There are reformers who have presented cogent arguments on why and how Islam can be reformed. And it can be, but in order for that to happen there needs to be a critical re evaluation of all of Islam's texts, especially (in my view) the Sunnah.
I havent shared your experiences with Islam. Nonetheless I know Islam is problematic on many levels. I wont get into this because I know where you stand on this, but a number of us are working towards reformation. Its a massive process, but we support the St Petersburg Declaration.
I wish you well. I normally live in Wellington and have a pretty good understanding of the radical Muslim community in Sydney.
You wrote: "I normally live in Wellington and have a pretty good understanding of the radical Muslim community in Sydney."
Here is the catch. Is New
Zealand an Islamic State? Of course, it is not. That is why you
have no idea about the real, breathing Islam, practiced in most of
the Islamic Paradises. My request will be: please take a break for
a couple of years and try out real Islam in an Islamic Paradise,
such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Egypt, Iran...and so on.
Please do this. I urge you.
Living in democratic societies such as USA or New Zealand, it is quite fashionable to criticise and yearn for a reformation in Islamic laws (Sharia) and hoping that somewhere there is a good brand of Islam. Most of these reformers presume that Islam is reformable similar to Christianity, Hinduism...
This is nothing new. The Mutazillites have tried this, without any success. Many others have also tried, all with failures.
What does this teach us? This simply tells us that Islam is not reformable.
I would like you to show me where this reformed brand of Islam, if there is any, is preached and practiced.
All most all the reformers you have mentioned live and work in infidel lands. If they are really serious about reforming Islam they should go to the Islamic lands and practice what they preach. I would be interested in knowing what fate awaits them there.
Finally, I will tell you that whatever I have written in my essay/s are not from the dead pages of Islamic law books. Those barbaric practices of Islam, I have personally experienced. Nothing I have written are exaggerated or taken out of context.
I would like you to prove from authentic Islamic sources that what I have written about are un‑Islamic and are not practiced in Islamic countries.
Thank you for reading my essay/s and I would like to have a fruitful discussion with you about real Islam (not the New Zealand Islam). Please tell me what practices in Islam, you consider, are good and what are bad or barbaric.
Please be honest.
Sincerely, Abul Kasem