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Presently the societies are in a state of ideological confusion and flux. Materialism, terrorism, ignorance and intolera...

23.7.17

Rise and fall of Nations - Law of Quran:


Everything that happens in this world is controlled by the well-known Laws of Nature. The same is true of the rise and fall of a nation. The Quran in one of its chapters gives substance to this law thus: 

God does not change the condition of a people’s lot, unless they change what is in their hearts. (13:11)

Keep Reading  >> http://peace-forum.blogspot.com/2017/07/rise-and-fall-of-nations-law-of-quran.html
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The Failed Rationalist


The growing religious-ideological discord and presence of an assortment of religiously inspired extremist movements and groups in Pakistan have complex socio-political implications. Where these processes of negative social change will lead Pakistan is a worrying prognosis.

The religious discourse in the country, though diverse in sectarian terms, is largely monolithic intellectually. Even ideological diversity is rare; historically two trends have remained dominant, ie a traditional religious-political discourse, and Islamisation.

Although the two trends have some common violent and non-violent expressions, Islamist movements have also nurtured certain rational tendencies. These rational tendencies acted as a catalyst for overall religious trends in the country. On the one hand, rationalists shaped their own movements and established their institutions and on the other, under their influence — or in reaction — the traditionalists and Islamists tried to amend their strategies. However, the rationalists have failed to completely transform the religious discourse in the country. Their desire to become distinguished among the religious discourse would be a reason for this failure. This is strange, that in South Asian intellectual discourse leading Muslim scholars, rather than contributing, established their own movements while being part of the mainstream tradition.

An examination of why post-Islamist movements are unable to transform into populist social movements

Scholar, researcher and professor Dr Husnul Amin argues in his doctoral thesis about why the rationalists could not develop a populist approach. He counts many reasons, including the country’s peculiar societal structures, rationalists’ comfortable relationship with the power elites and — most importantly — the rationalists’ larger focus on the middle classes and special interest in academic issues. These findings give an impression that the rationalists failed on a strategic level, but one can argue about their whole intellectual paradigm, which may be borrowed from the West and influenced by contemporary socio-political environments rather than be linked with philosophical tradition or evolution of Islamic thought.

In pursuit of alternative modernity, the rationalists are developing compatibility with Islamic text and democratisation. Amin has tried to understand the dynamics of this process in his book Post-Islamism: Pakistan in the Era of Neoliberal Globalisation. This is indeed an important contribution to understanding the construct of Muslim intellectual movements in contemporary societies. He takes Javed Ahmed Ghamidi’s blueprint as a case study to comprehend the phenomenon, but uses the term post-Islamism for Muslim rationalism.

Post-Islamism is not a new term. French scholar Olivier Roy, as well as Iranian Asef Bayat, have mainly constructed the framework of post-Islamism, which is taken as a transformative form of Islamist movements of post-world wars that emerged in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Bayat contributed more in shaping the conceptual framework of Amin’s thesis, as he has acknowledged, but Amin applied this framework in a different context and with some variation. Amin believes post-Islamism is not the dead end of Islamism. It may not be dubbed anti-Islamic or secular, but secularisation of state/society. Post-Islamism proffers a framework where political reform is linked to religious reform. The Islamist parties have shifted their focus to minorities, youth and gender concerns and adopted a rights-based approach — this is a practical manifestation of post-Islamism.

As far as Islamism is concerned, Amin considers it a revivalist movement and lists three factors that contributed to the conceptualisation of Islamism: 1. Political interpretation of religious text and thus blurring of categories of collective obligation and personal obligation. 2. Socio-political struggle to enforce Sharia, pursuance of an Islamisation programme through the institutional arrangement of the state and re-affirmation of Islam as a ‘blueprint’ of socio-economic order. 3. Islamists’ openness to adopt and deploy all modern means of propaganda machinery, technology, print, electronic and social media.


In that context, he distinguishes post-Islamism as a social movement with a retreat from the idea of creating an Islamic state and an outcome of neo-liberal globalisation inspirations on modern Muslim minds. The Ghamidi movement is a perfect manifestation of this phenomenon as it has succeeded in creating an interpretive community in Pakistan that engages with liberalism and democracy.

It is interesting that Ghamidi thought was promoted by military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf as his top-down project of ‘enlightened moderation.’ It could be conceived as an enforced moderation project, that was part of a political tool and foreign policy agenda of the military government. Amin rightly argues, “Ghamidi and his close associates received disproportionate media coverage on newly liberated private television channels. He became a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology in 2006 and remained in this position for two consecutive years. Despite an overwhelming emphasis on the status of democracy in their [Ghamidi movement’s] religious discourse, Ghamidi has hardly directly questioned the legitimacy of the system in place in which he gained the opportunity to flourish.”

It is also interesting that Ghamidi does not subscribe to major Islamic schools of thought in the Indian subcontinent and places himself in a self-constructed category, Dabistan-i-Shibli. Amin believes that this imaginary school of thought has served the Ghamidi movement in multiple ways. “It enables them to place themselves in the middle of two popularly known opposite poles, namely Deoband’s conservatism and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s rationalism.” As a post-Islamist, Ghamidi has challenged the notion of the Islamic state projected by the Islamists including Maulana Maududi, who believes in the supremacy of Sharia over all aspects of social, political and religious life.

Amin also examines existing religious political movements in the country in the third chapter ‘Islamism Without Fear.’ He argues that though the Jamaat-i-Islami is a well-structured and organised party in Pakistan and played a leading role in shaping the Islamism discourse in the country, compared to the Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), which is a loosely connected party, the latter remains more accommodative to religious minorities and in its political approaches. It can be assumed that despite its conventional credentials, the JUI-F has more flexibility to accommodate post-Islamism concepts of a social life.

Despite making some visible intellectual contribution, post-Islamist movements have failed to transform their ideas into a popular social movement. Amin is not hopeless and he agrees with Bayat that post-Islamism is an evolving concept and a conscious attempt to conceptualise and strategise the rationale and modalities of transcending Islamism in social, political and intellectual domains. Most importantly it provides an inward-looking approach, which may have a slow impact.

Amin is a fine scholar with exposure to the best international academic forums and his attempt will provoke healthy academic debate in Pakistan.

NON-FICTION: THE FAILED RATIONALIST
Muhammad Amir Rana, The reviewer is a security analyst and director of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, Islamabad
Book: 
Post-Islamism: Pakistan in the Era of Neoliberal Globalisation, By Husnul Amin
International Islamic University, Islamabad.  ISBN: 978-9697576050  , 198pp.
Published in Dawn, Books & Authors, July 23rd, 2017
https://www.dawn.com/news/1347016/non-fiction-the-failed-rationalist
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20.7.17

Islam and the Trap of Bigotry


In recent times, the topics ‘modern Islam’ and ‘Islam and modernism’ have been frequently discussed in the Islamic world. When people examine them more closely, it becomes very apparent that Islam, both historically and in the future, presents us with an understanding of the most modern way of life and the perfect social model for all people. However, at this point it is useful to clarify what the expression ‘modern Islam’ really means, which is often misunderstood or distorted by some people.

First of all, ‘modern Islam’ is not the adaptation of Islam to the mentality, lifestyle nor to the understanding of morality and accepted social values of the period. Neither does it mean diverting morals from the essence of the religion of Islam.

Modern Islam is not the wannabe interpretation of Islam through superstitious philosophies such as socialism, communism, materialism, or Darwinism by people with inferiority complex who cannot properly comprehend the greatness of Islam. Also, ‘modern Islam’ is not at all an effort to integrate various degenerate cultural concepts and twisted moral values, such as homosexuality, into Islam by labeling these perversions as modern.

Modern Islam defines the fact that the Islam based only on the Qur’an, free from superstition and bigotry, teaches a concept of modernity that is far beyond the perception and comprehension of what most people or societies understand. Modern Islam is the perfect system that will emerge when people live in the sincerest after having understood the Qur’an in the most correct way. It is the true application of democracy and freedom.

Modern Islam is the Islam our Prophet (pbuh) and his companions lived by. The period in which these blessed people lived was a period where liberty, freedom of thought, democracy, justice and human rights were practiced perfectly. It was a time when happiness, comfort, honesty and sincerity prevailed, and Islam in its true sense was the most comfortable, easy and enjoyable way to live. If the Messenger of God had lived in this period, there is no doubt that he would be the most modern man of our time, the most beautiful example of modern religiosity.

Being the most modern is not a material concept. Modernity means being the most decent, the most imitated, the most loved and liked person in every respect such as morality, reason, culture, understanding, consciousness, attention, depth, status, attitude, manners, behavior, personality, fashion, art and the sense of love.

It is obvious that the understanding of religion, mode of thought and lifestyle prevailing in the overwhelming part of the Islamic world today, is unfortunately not at all related to the model described above. In fact, when Islam is mentioned, a system that is entirely against modernity, quality, aesthetics, art, science and freedom comes to mind in the Western world.

The only reason for this negative perception is because the majority of the Muslims are not following the Islam mentioned in the Quran but rather a religion of “bigotry”, filled with superstitions and dated practices far removed from the Qur’an, yet practiced in the name of Islam. The beliefs, rules, customs and traditions of the tribal culture of the past periods define the social, cultural and moral basis of this fanatic system. This superstitious system, which can also be referred to as the “religion of the ancestors” and severely condemned in many verses of the Qur’an, is unfortunately recognized as the “religion of Islam” among the majority of Muslims, and also in the Western world today.

Women are the greatest victims of tribal cultures, and have been subjects to the strongest sanctions, oppression, prohibitions and the hardships stemming from this bigotry. The fact that women are considered as second-class human beings, subjects to domestic and external violence, excluded from the social life, considered as the property of her husband or family, forced into marriage as a commodity, deprived of many humanitarian rights and freedoms like education and travel and rendered victims of honor or lapidation killings are all products of a twisted mindset that is inherited from male-dominated tribal order, all of which go against the Qur’an, and are inhumane, brutal practices.

Honor killings, which are committed every 90 minutes in the Islamic world, are considered to be a just act and are not subjected to legal sanctions. In some countries where honor killings are the most prevalent and considered virtually legal, more than 1000 honor killings are covered up and left unpunished every year.

While a bigoted understanding of Islam considers making women similar to men by leaving them neglected and unhealthy as acceptable, the Messenger of God has strongly banned women becoming similar to men and men becoming similar to women, and has always advised women to be well-groomed. At that time, Muslim women dyed their hair and used make-up, from materials such as henna and hail.

The only reason that some Muslims today are so removed from the possibilities and beauties that a contemporary civilization presents is because of the fact that they abandoned the Qur’an and fell into the grip of bigotry. Living according to an artificial representation of Islam, these people turned their backs on modernity, freedom, prosperity, quality, science, art and aesthetics, painting, music, sculpture, and furthermore became subject to all kinds of exploitations, suffering, poverty, and disaster

The greatest underlying reason for the Western world and the global powers to consider Islam as a threat to their own culture and civilization is because of the bigoted system that goes against the Qur’an. The reason for the emergence of concepts like ‘Islamophobia’ is due to the fear and horror of radicalism, primitiveness and violence, which again are a product of the bigoted system.


Returning to the true essence of Islam, that is, to a pure and true religion based solely on the Qur’an, will be the key not only for the salvation, peace, happiness and security of the Islamic world, but also for the whole world. This is only possible through education. To accomplish this, it is important that the education based on the essence of Qur’an is strengthened. Good sensible Muslims must also put their efforts into scientific works educating people. This is the only way to end the bigotry, anger and the brutality that arises from radicalism.

BY HARUN YAHYA
https://egyptianstreets.com/2017/07/19/islam-and-the-trap-of-bigotry/

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Humanity, Knowledge, Religion, Culture, Tolerance, Peace
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