Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

Location: London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Free And Equal Under The Quran

I recommend that people read the excellent piece by Havva G. Guney-Ruebenacker over at altmuslim. Her argument is that while the Quran contains 'universal humanist principles', the 'frozen-in-time' approach to Sharia has meant a shift from the Quran advancing women's and human rights to becoming a tool for misogynistm.

This argument rests upon the view which I agree with that the Quran provides a moral framework from which we can create legal codes based on the challenges that we face and the context that we live in. At the same time there is also an important critique of the likes of Irshad Manji who falsely launch attacks on the Quran rather than on how a time-specific interpretation of the Quran has come to be wrongly accepted as Sharia.

While I'm not sure how strongly proposals for the Iraqi constitution such as
'the legislator may make laws based on Islamic law, only to the extent that these laws do not contradict the principle of equality of all citizens before law and do not violate any of the fundamental rights protected in the Constitution' will resonate with Muslims, it is an interesting and innovative approach which has a fighting chance of gaining widespread acceptance amongst the Muslim population.

To finish, here's a snippet from the article which I think provides a coherent justification for 'reformist' readings of Islam.

'We need to admit that the early Muslims were human generations, who had their own faithful heroes and hypocrites, their good and bad, ugly and beautiful, glorious and flawed aspects. We need to openly reject the wrong Qur'anic interpretations of our past scholars, in the same way we proudly embrace and praise their great achievements and contributions to humanity in all fields of human development.'


Anonymous bananabrain said...

it's interesting to see calls like this being made. do you think that salman rushdie's recent call for a "reformed islam" has any merit?

from my perspective, reform of judaism caused many problems just as it thought it was solving them (rather like protestantism, in fact) and with the passage of time, looks increasingly vulnerable in the face of a resurgent orthodoxy. does shari'a allow for reinterpretation beyond the four main schools?

if you're interested in how this issue has affected judaism, i recommend r. jonathan sacks' book, "one people?" which is a masterful examination of the subject.



2:45 pm, November 17, 2005  
Blogger reformist_muslim said...

Thanks again for your comments bananabrain. The problem with Rushdie is that he lacks credibility with most muslims.

This allows those resistant to change to attack with some success the man rather than his ideas. Whether or not his ideas are good or bad is therefore moot, and if he does come up with some good ones then I think he only damages those with more credibility making similar points.

As for whether Islam can be reinterpreted, my own view agrees with much of Havva's argument in that the four jurists were humans who were codifying law based on islamic principles and while the principles remain unchanged, many of the rules have become obsolete- the quran was not a legal code just as it isn't a textbook on science.

I'll definitely check out jonathan sacks book - it definitely seems interesting and pertinent to this discussion.

4:48 pm, November 18, 2005  
Anonymous bananabrain said...

well, let me know what you think when you've had a read of it.



3:04 pm, November 22, 2005  

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