UI – Part 128 – Allah, Liberty and Love (2)
“Is there more than one correct answer for any given question?”
This is a continuation of a review and response to Irshad Manji’s. [first piece at UI – Part 125 – Allah, Liberty and Love (1)] [Irshad Manji’s (IM) book, Allah, Liberty and Love. ] Her quotes are italicized.
Occupy Islam Square
I have great respect for Irshad. I agree with her feelings, her philosophy and her zeal. Many Muslims are opening up to her, but her voice needs to be more than solo. She needs a choir, and then a Tabernacle Choir (or would that be a Mosque Choir – do they sing in Mosques?) There needs to be the Occupy Medina, Occupy Mecca, Occupy Baghdad, Occupy Tehran, Occupy Tripoli, Occupy Tunis, Occupy Tarir Square crowd, and more, carrying placards, signs calling for freedom in all the Muslim world (the umma) to the Coptics, to all Christians and Jews, and a humane and equitable society for all Muslims, men and women. There needs to be an outcry to open church doors, even build churches and allow the apostates of Islam to release themselves from the shackles that bind so they may worship as they like. Allow the individual to find happiness by a reasoned approach to a relationship with the Devine.
The call that must be heard is for a Constitution in Muslim areas that considers with fairness all people, all religions, and all disciplines. Human rights must be a primary consideration. Such a Constitution would not be based on Sharia Law, but on modernity and civil laws that make sense for all people, protecting them from harm from others, neighbors, other countries, and those whose religious beliefs may not be the same.
1311 solution to 911
She has a 1311 solution to 911. She interprets Sura 13:11 as people needing to change their hearts for one another, accepting all mankind. It reads (The Holy Quran – with English Translation and Commentary, Maulana Muhammad Ali English translation – 2002 edition) “…Surely Allah changes not the condition of a people, until they change their own condition….” She suggests when Muslims are free of their culture, family and ulema and think for themselves, their condition thus changed from the ritualistic, Islamic rules controlled constraints, they will view the world differently. They will see without bitterness, without feelings of persecution at the drop of a hat, with love and with a positive outlook on the work of our Creator and his love for everyone, regardless of tribe or religion.
IM sees a need for Muslims, everyone, to be honest with themselves and to themselves. She goes again to the Quran, Sura 4:135; where she suggests this passage might read, “Beware! Conduct yourselves with justice and bear true witness before God, even if it be against yourselves, your parents or your relatives.” Maintain justice according to what is right, correct, or just. Speak out.
There are the more fundamental Muslims that interpret Sura 4:135 in a somewhat different light. “Speak the truth. Bear witness to Allah. Even if you disagree. Follow not your desires – such as jealousy of the rich, or partiality towards the rich, or be less than truthful about or kind to a poor man, lest you deviate from Islam. Know Allah is aware of what you do, if you distort or turn away.”
The subsequent Sura 4:136 puts the position of Islam to bed, “….whoever disbelieves in Allah and His Angels and His Books and His messengers and the Last Day, he indeed strays far away.” The Quran goes on to state, ‘do not take disbelievers as friends’ (Sura 4:139), ‘those that vacillate will never be forgiven by Allah’ (Sura 4:138), and ‘do not listen to non-believers or doubters’, “sit not with them” ‘as not to be like them, as you too will be gathered by Allah in hell together with the hypocrites.’
By IM being proactive in inducing moderates to speak out for a modern, pluralistic, free society she is called a hypocrite. She attempts to alter the truth as revealed by Allah. This is not my view, but that of the more extreme, to include many of the Ulema, except for those with Mu’talizite leanings.
“In an open society, the individual matters. So do her choices.”
It suggests to me IM believes as I do – The final judge is God. His judgment is made not on earth but in His kingdom. A strict interpretation of the Quran is wrong. The literalists (The Salafis) are improper guides. She answers her own question presented at the start of this piece:
‘There is more than one correct answer to a question raised.’
Man can interpret but does not have the final say. Anyone so doing would be self-righteous and deny God’s will in the process.
Suggesting that universalism, only one way of seeing Allah, as many Muslim scholars insist, is wrong, IM is of the opinion, “universalists are abject hypocrites.” Everything cannot be all the same. The unity principle requires uniformity, which if debated creates differences or division leading in turn to heresy. The call for Muslim solidarity is to engender the All-for-Allah limitation within the constraints of Sharia Law. The fundamentalists have declared ‘Group Identity’ (group think) is necessary and ‘Dissent’ is treasonous. Thinking is not allowed in this group model.
She goes so far as to aver:
“The truth is, Islam is whatever we Muslims make of it.”
That is her ‘truth.’
We pray for her independence and objective view of the world.
Grace and Peace
(more in response to her excellent book will be presented in another Blog.)
Note: Irshad informed me after the previous blog, #126, on this topic that she is Canadian, but now resides in NYC.
 Allah, Liberty and Love, by Irshad Manji, Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., NY, NY, 2011.