UI – Part 131 – A New Agreement With Allah
Individuality – Think for Yourself
Not allowing thinking is preposterous.
This could be a quote from Irshad Manji (‘IM’) and her book – Allah, Liberty and Love. This is the third commentary I have presented on her eye-opening and encouraging book for all Muslims. It encourages non-Muslims too.
What is universal, she states, is individuality. It will take individual moral courage and the willingness to pierce the group think, in Islam and beyond. [see UI – Part 127 – Allah, Liberty, and Love (2)]
Her position is clear. Muslims are to think. Allah permits it. Muslims must be empowered and emboldened to question the Quran.
Group Identity – Do Not Think
The controversy is clear. Many Muslims know and believe that thinking as applied to Allah is not permitted (neither doubt nor questioning).
Reference several Suras:
Sura 4:167 says – “disbelieve and hinder (others) from Allah’s way, they indeed have erred, going far astray.”
Sura 5:101 says – “you who believe, ASK NOT about things which if made known to you would give you trouble….”
Maulana Muhammad Ali notes (The Holy Quran…) (pg 278): “The Hadith shows that the Prophet discouraged questions on details in which a Muslim could choose a way for himself (B. 3:28, 29)”
Sura 7:40 reads – “Those who reject our messages and turn away from them haughtily, the doors of heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter… (Paradise)”
Has IM strayed from Islam?
IM will have to respond. Her open-mindedness and encouragement to all Muslims to be independent and embrace love of neighbors, their fellow-man, and those of other faiths is a breath of fresh air every Muslim must take in. But note that love of neighbor is not written as such in the Quran. [UI – Part 41 – Love Neighbor as Self] Sura 4:36 references neighbor, being charitable (or nice) even to an alien (non-Muslim), but love is not suggested.
The impediments seem real. The threats seem Quranic. Who wears the arm bracelet with the acronym WWAS? What Would Allah Say? The ulema love to answer inquiries with a question, “Do you believe the Will of Allah?” Or “Do you believe Allah is just?” How can a Muslim answer that question with anything other than, “Yes?” IM agrees, but suggests those ulema, and others claiming to be scholars are held to the highest standards of Islam, they are the ones that are wrong in their interpretation. The Allah the fundamentalists describe and reference as the ruler and regulator is wrong. They are wrong; man is wrong.
When writing this I received a daily Bible verse from Zondervan. How appropriate and timely. Psalm 37:4 (NIV84) – “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
This is IM’s desire, I would guess. She remains a Muslim and loves Allah, but is she mistaken in her heart for the true God. She knows the true God, but is it Allah as the Islamists proclaim? Is Allah a more moderate divine influence, or is God as the Christian’s proclaim, ‘a merciful and saving Lord.’
While I am not suggesting she (IM) convert to another faith, it appears that the alterations she suggests to the application and interpretation of the Quran as written imply seriously high obstacles for an observant practicing Muslim to overcome.
Consider the chronological order of the Quran and that which was abrogated (superseding that which came prior) by the later periods of Muhammad’s revelations. Much of that which is peaceful is changed. For instance, Sura 2:256 is the referenced verse suggesting ‘freedom of religion’. The language used, “There is no compulsion in religion….” This was revealed to Muhammad in the early Medina Period, the earliest Medina revelations. Sura 8 follows after the battle of Badr, which introduced beheading (12) the infidels, fighting the infidels “until there is no more persecution, and all religions are for Allah”(39), and denial of access to the Kaaba by non-Muslims. Sura 5 notes never doubting the ideology (101) and not taking Christians or Jews as friends (51). Sura 9 says “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (5), and fight the non-believers in Allah (29) unless they recognize the ‘superiority’ of Muslims. (both 5 and 9 chronologically near the end of Muhammad’s life)
Suras 8, 5, and 9, followed 2, abrogating the very suggestion of religious freedom in Islam.
Suras 96, 68, and 73 were the earliest (from Mecca Period), and 5, 9,and 110 were the last Suras in the late Medinah period just before Muhammad’s death.
The Next Chapter – Book
I constantly ask the more moderate Muslims with whom I communicate, “Is it time for a New Furqan?” If they answered ‘yes’, then the dilemma is who delivers this word. There would be struggle within the culture, I contend, the clans and the tribes and many Muslims would die, especially those more moderate and open in their desire for change.
For the Christian a New Agreement came from God, God’s personal presence on earth, when the sins of man (or the weakness of man and his ease of accepting temptation resulting in a less than perfect life) were punished and forgiven.
God himself accepted the punishment, all to restore man’s spiritual life. Overcoming sin and death, man was freed to voluntarily follow God, obey God and live for Him. Independence (IM’s desire) was assured and the final decision to choose a loving God, a saving God, was a personal choice. The wrath of God, spelled out and demonstrated in the Old Testament, the Old Agreement, would no longer apply to the believer. God’s judgment would occur on the Last Day. Man’s judgment would NOT substitute for God. Judgment, Biblical judgment, is God’s alone.
The Bible is unique as to an Old and New Testament. The New is the game changer (as a New Furqan would be). The Old provides in detail God’s abilities, his vengeance and wrath. It made known man’s weakness and the free-will disobedience causing a fall from Grace, removal from Paradise, and a spiritual death. It outlines a way to live a good life, to live in peace and to respect neighbors – and the outcomes for not doing so. It recognizes too a pluralistic world, a world with pagan as well as faithful persons. It is made clear that vengeance is God’s alone. It makes clear the preferred life God wants mankind to live and how to live it. Knowing the Old, humans are made aware of God’s wrath and His Judgment on the Last Day.
A New Agreement
The New Agreement (the New Testament) releases man from the immediacy of God’s wrath as believers in the man-God Christ. Live for Him, make adjustments daily to stay the course and focus on the prize. There is no mystery. Love prevails. Know the past, respect the sacrificial substitution, choose your world, His or this world, honor him in all you do, love your neighbor, and leave the vengeance to God. Man – stand aside. Heaven on earth is possible.
Islam needs a New Furqan – a New Agreement with Allah. I have said this before. Think. Consider this. Has it already been provided in the New Testament? Has it existed for centuries? Is the New Testament the New Furqan for all of mankind? The New Agreement was written before the Quran and has never been abrogated. Not one verse.
May the Grace of the Lord, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and yours.
Grace and Peace
 Allah, Liberty and Love, by Irshad Manji, Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., NY, NY, 2011.