UI – Part 129 – Salafi
Divisions of Islam
The divisions of Islam, especially in the Arab world, are primarily Sunni and Shiite. With the uprisings in Egypt the term Salafi has been used in conjunction with the more fundamental Muslims, those most active and apparent, to those watching changes taking place, who support the radical elements, Sharia Law, and extreme jihad. Salafism has become associated with literalist and puritanical approaches to Islamic theology. From our perspective in America, or the West, the term Salafi is associated with Muslim’s that call-out for terrorist-like actions against non-Muslims, even civilians, as a legitimate expression of Islam. The jihadists are in favor of violent change to the world in an effort to enforce All-for-Allah and Islamic Law as the final outcome for mankind on earth.
Salafi are adherents of the Asharite interpretation of the Quran. The alternative is the Mu’tazilite, or more reasoned (I suggest rational), approach to Allah and the Quran.
The Silence of the Moderates
Philosophical or interpretive divisions exist as to how the Quran is to be understood? Is it to be literal or is it to be adaptive to modernity and/or subject to reason. One side is Asharite, the other Mu’talizite. Many people with whom I speak feel strongly that there is a large moderate Muslim community, not only in America, but in the entire world. They may be in the more rational camp. However this moderate Muslim community is silent. I saw a recent cartoon, interestingly enough, that depicted a podium with microphone and Teleprompters on either side, the banner on the face of the podium read “Moderate Muslim Leader”. Behind the podium stood no one. The essence of the cartoon was that there may be moderates out there but they say little, or nothing, and certainly don’t speak out for an approach to interpreting the Quran that differs with the most fundamental.
The moderates, be it their culture, their family, their peer influence, will not express what everybody thinks the moderates think. What people would like to think, they think, is they support a pluralistic world, freedom of all religions, freedom of speech, human rights for everybody, equality between man and women, and free elections, in addition to loving God. Secular governance would be preferred with laws established for the common good, based on what is right for each person, and not based on Islamic Law.
The moderates, loving Allah, they submit to Allah, but they also submit to or fear the Salafi’s. They submit to peer pressure of those that support a literal interpretation of the Quran. They are afraid to speak out objecting the stricter interpretation and isolationist attitude of Islam for fear, of their lives or their status in their community (umma).
The literal interpretation was explained to me by another writer, apologist for Christianity, critic of Islam, as the only expression of the “original intent” of the Quran. That is significant. It is the Ash’arite view.
The moderates do not want to be criticized for misinterpreting the Quran. Many are inherently aware their views are reasonable and rational. They even question the ulema and their statements of Quranic fact. They differ from the fundamentalists. They were taught and told not to think about it – Allah has revealed all you need. What are they to do? They, for the most part, will not rise-up and defend freedom (they have been brainwashed that freedom corrupts their ideology). They wish to remain in the good graces of their fellow Muslims, being loyal. They resist being classified as Muslims in name only, or non-Muslims, and infidels each (the Kafir). Apostasy is not an option, as condemnation for their conversion, the threat of death or retribution of some form, is more than they desire.
In recent blogs I discussed Irshad Manji’s book, Allah, Liberty and Love – she is a moderate that is not afraid to speak. She may be a Mu’tazilite.
Jihad Will Continue
Jihad will continue. Ijtihad is only a peaceful jihad until the time is right for a more violent jihad to take hold and cause significant change. Islam must be contained. It is not a faith; it is not a religion, it is a way-of-life, as was communism and fascism, it is Salafism, or the foundational ideology, the intent, of Islam.
I enjoy social networking, both Twitter and Facebook. A Muslim (female) that tweets on topics related to Islam states in her bio her mantra, what would, or should be, a concern to all infidels. “Motivated by Hate, Inspired by Love.” That could be the theme of the Ideology of Asharite Islam (Salafism) and an Imperialistic nature to conquer the world for totalitarian leaders and the ulema using the name of Allah, as God the Creator, to inspire and instill followers. But the Love is a love of a contrived, useful, Allah, not a love of mankind; the hate is for all who do not love, believe or accept Allah. It is blasphemy and not truth.
God Loves Unconditionally
Allah only loves if you love him. Line up and be forced to love Allah. God loves unconditionally. The unconditional love of the true God is a threat to Islam. Those who love God, the loving God, do so voluntarily. Who is the father of all lies, the Best of Deceivers? Who would you follow?
Salafis – Ash’arite – Amman Message
You now know what those embracing the ideology of Islam in its most fundamental form are called – Salafi’s. They are Sunni. They are Wahhabi. They are Shiite. Also they subscribe to the Amman Message, a part of which is noted in the following (note the 8 schools):
Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunii schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali), the two Shi‘i schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Ja‘fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Shaykh Al-Azhar’s fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash‘ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate.
… No one may claim to do unlimited Ijtihad and create a new opinion or issue unacceptable fatwas that take Muslims out of the principles and certainties of the Shari‘ah and what has been established in respect of its schools of jurisprudence.
Arab Spring For Sharia
The youth that caused Arab Spring by seeing freedom and sensing an opportunity for themselves, especially free elections and a voice, are being high-jacked by the Salafi. Those educated in the 8 schools that comprise Salafism or Ash’arite interpretations of the Quran are surreptitiously using the movement to return areas to being more Sharia compliant. The Muslim Brotherhood exemplifies Salafi thought. Attending a recent speech on the subject Iran, the speaker noted the Salafis make the Muslim Brotherhood look like Boy Scouts.
It is Complicated
I pray that those who read this and understand Islam understand it is complicated, but also understand that it is more ideology than religion. If you limit understanding Islam to embracing the creator, a loving God, then it may be easier to accept. However they look at Allah, their God, as exclusive, and that the world order must be for Allah alone, voluntarily or not. Government, religion, civil laws, the economy, and how people live must be structured based on what Muhammad and his Associates saw as the structure for this monotheistic ideology, founded on God, but interpreted by man, united in an establishment method for living. The interpretation imposed by the Salafis’ is Ash’arite thinking and the Amman Message for all.
Where are all the Mu’tazilites? I asked a correspondent in Yemen about Mu’tazilites. Yemenis where texts from Adb al-Jabbar ibn Ahmed were unearthed. He lived in the late 10th early 11th Century but his writings were found in the 20th Century. He expressed that the Quran and God are not co-eternal. Mu’tazilite thought summarized as follows. The Quran has not always existed. It was created. Knowledge derived from reason. Reason is the means to truth. Questions need to raised and addressed. Doubts can be explored. The final answers decide right and wrong. God is accessible to a rational mind and inquiry. What is required in religion is by virtue of reason alone. The response: “The Islamic scholars have an objection to … Mu’tazilites (who) believe that God has to be known through thinking and following a faith has to be through searching and reasoning. So according to their base every mindful person is demanded with what his effort and search lead to in the foundations of religion.”
That is not Salafi thinking. Moderates – what do you believe?
Has Islam been sidetracked by the Asharite expression of intent of the Quran. Should the Mu’tazilite expression of reason be restored to greater prominence? What makes sense?
The Grace of God be with all readers.
Grace and Peace
 The Amman Message started as a detailed statement released the eve of the 27th of Ramadan 1425 AH / 9th November 2004 CE by H.M. King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein inAmman,Jordan. It sought to declare what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not. Its goal was to clarify to the modern world the true nature of Islam and the nature of true Islam.