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Why Islam needs a reformation, explains writer Ayan Hirsi Ali in her book

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ms Hirsi Ali’s new book, “Heretic”: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” poses a contemporary question of need of  a reformation in the practice and interpretation of the Islamic faith.

Ali’s previous books : “Infidel” and “Nomad: From Islam to America, A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations ” talked about her personal journey and the problems that she faced due to her rational thinking.

While talking about her new book she said that any serious discussion of Islam must begin with its core creed, which is based on the Quran (the words said to have been revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad) and the hadith (the accompanying works that detail Muhammad’s life and words), reported Wall Street journal.

“Despite some sectarian differences, this creed unites all Muslims. All, without exception, now by heart these words: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is His messenger.” This is the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith,” Hirsi said.

Five areas in which the Islamic faith needs reformation To Control Terrorism

Hirsi has identified five precepts central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and adaptation in her book. “Only when the harmfulness of these ideas are recognized and they are repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation have been achieved.”

Here are the five areas that require amendment To Control Terrorism:

  1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.

Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a pre-modern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. Although, Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.

  1. The supremacy of life after death.

The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.

  1. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.

Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.

  1. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.

There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.

  1. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.

Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.

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“It is more in the nature of a public intervention in the debate about the future of Islam. The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here. If my proposal for reform helps to spark a serious discussion of these issues among Muslims themselves, I will consider it a success.’’

“Let me make two things clear. I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of “Islamophobe.” At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan.’’ Ali adds to elaborate her standpoint.

The author considers her book is not a work of theology.

Note: Ms. Hirsi Ali’s new book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” is going to be published on Tuesday by HarperCollins.

Next Story

Calls for Quran Test of Indonesian Presidential Candidates Faces Criticism By Muslim Scholars

The invitation that was sent to both presidential candidates asks them to read Al-Fatiha (the first surah in Quran) and then another surah that will be determined by the organizer.

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Indonesia, quran
A man reads the Koran at Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta, July 24, 2012. VOA

A recent call for a Quran test in Aceh province for Indonesian presidential candidates is facing strong criticism by Muslim scholars, who say the move would undermine racial unity.

On Saturday, the Council of Preachers Association in Aceh sent an invitation to both presidential candidates in the April 2019 vote — incumbent Joko Widodo and opponent Prabowo Subianto — to attend a Quran recitation test in the capital of Aceh province on January 15. The chairman of that council, Marsyuddin Ishak, told VOA that the test is important to reveal the true image of the presidential candidates as well as continue a tradition in their province, the only one that implement the Sharia-law in Indonesia.

Quran recitation is a requirement to compete in local elections in Aceh.

” Our leaders in here — the governor, the member of parliament and other councils — are all tested to read the Quran. The next president will be our leader too, so we want to know their capability in reading Quran as our local leaders in here,” said Marsyuddin.

Indonesia, quran
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center right, walks and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin during a ceremony marking the kick off of the campaign period for next year’s election in Jakarta, Sept. 23, 2018. VOA

However, former president of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, Dr. Komaruddin Hidayat, told VOA that the test is unnecessary and exaggerates the importance of religion.

“I really regret it. Our lives must be based on a constitution. Understanding and learning more about our religion is important, but it doesn’t mean that we fail our live if we can’t read the Quran,” he said.

“Religion never became the standard to graduate from school or to get a job. I give you another example : if we want to test an airplane pilot, we test his knowledge on the airplane not about his ability to read the Quran. The same case with the presidential election.”

He adds that it’s better if any test was based on the candidates’ sensitivity to people of different religions and how will he fight for the rights of minorities.

Dr. Rumadi Ahmad, an official with the country’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, told VOA that the Quran recitation test is a clear example of politicizing religion.

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A worker looks checks printing paper for the Koran near the Sunan Ampel mosque in Surabaya, Indonesia East Java province, July 27, 2011. VOA

“This is an exaggeration of religion in politics. We don’t have to use the capability to read the Quran as an issue in the coming election. This is a clear tendency to politicize religion. It’s dangerous and will arouse hatred among people of various races and religions in the country,” said Rumadi.

Also Read: Earthquake Measuring 6.1 Strikes Indonesia

The invitation that was sent to both presidential candidates asks them to read Al-Fatiha (the first surah in Quran) and then another surah that will be determined by the organizer.

According to Marsyuddin Ishak, Joko Widodo’s team has replied to the invitation by saying that they will consider it and discuss it further. Prabowo has not replied. (VOA)