Islamic and Western Values[Foreign Affairs article published in 1997]

Islamic and Western Values

By Ali A. Mazrui

DEMOCRACY AND THE HUMANE LIFE

Westerners tend to think of Islamic societies as backward- looking, oppressed by religion, and inhumanely governed, comparing them to their own enlightened, secular democracies. But measurement of the cultural distance between the West and Islam is a complex undertaking, and that distance is narrower than they assume. Islam is not just a religion, and certainly not just a fundamentalist political movement. It is a civilization, and a way of life that varies from one Muslim country to another but is animated by a common spirit far more humane than most Westerners realize. Nor do those in the West always recognize how their own societies have failed to live up to their liberal mythology. Moreover, aspects of Islamic culture that Westerners regard as medieval may have prevailed in their own culture until fairly recently; in many cases, Islamic societies may be only a few decades behind socially and technologically advanced Western ones. In the end, the question is what path leads to the highest quality of life for the average citizen, while avoiding the worst abuses. The path of the West does not provide all the answers; Islamic values deserve serious consideration.

THE WAY IT RECENTLY WAS

Mores and values have changed rapidly in the West in the last several decades as revolutions in technology and society progressed. Islamic countries, which are now experiencing many of the same changes, may well follow suit. Premarital sex, for example, was strongly disapproved of in the West until after World War II. There were laws against sex outside marriage, some of which are still on the books, if rarely enforced. Today sex before marriage, with parental consent, is common.

Homosexual acts between males were a crime in Great Britain until the 1960s (although lesbianism was not outlawed). Now such acts between consenting adults, male or female, are legal in much of the West, although they remain illegal in most other countries. Half the Western world, in fact, would say that laws against homosexual sex are a violation of gays’ and lesbians’ human rights.

Even within the West, one sees cultural lag. Although capital punishment has been abolished almost everywhere in the Western world, the United States is currently increasing the number of capital offenses and executing more death row inmates than it has in years. But death penalty opponents, including Human Rights Watch and the Roman Catholic Church, continue to protest the practice in the United States, and one day capital punishment will almost certainly be regarded in America as a violation of human rights.

Westerners regard Muslim societies as unenlightened when it comes to the status of women, and it is true that the gender question is still troublesome in Muslim countries. Islamic rules on sexual modesty have often resulted in excessive segregation of the sexes in public places, sometimes bringing about the marginalization of women in public affairs more generally. British women, however, were granted the right to own property independent of their husbands only in 1870, while Muslim women have always had that right. Indeed, Islam is the only world religion founded by a businessman in commercial partnership with his wife. While in many Western cultures daughters could not inherit anything if there were sons in the family, Islamic law has always allocated shares from every inheritance to both daughters and sons. Primogeniture has been illegal under the sharia for 14 centuries.

The historical distance between the West and Islam in the treatment of women may be a matter of decades rather than centuries. Recall that in almost all Western countries except for New Zealand, women did not gain the right to vote until the twentieth century. Great Britain extended the vote to women in two stages, in 1918 and 1928, and the United States enfranchised them by constitutional amendment in 1920. France followed as recently as 1944. Switzerland did not permit women to vote in national elections until 1971 — decades after Muslim women in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan had been casting ballots.

Furthermore, the United States, the largest and most influential Western nation, has never had a female president. In contrast, two of the most populous Muslim countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have had women prime ministers: Benazir Bhutto headed two governments in Pakistan, and Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed served consecutively in Bangladesh. Turkey has had Prime Minister Tansu Ciller. Muslim countries are ahead in female empowerment, though still behind in female liberation.

CONCEPTS OF THE SACRED

Shared by Tahir Mahmood

To read the full article, please click the hyper-link below:

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1997-09-01/islamic-and-western-values

 I hope TF USA affiliates will read this article and it will be critically analyzed by the affiliates.

nSalik [Noor Salik]

Editor of the Month – 06/08/2015

 

 

26 thoughts on “Islamic and Western Values[Foreign Affairs article published in 1997]

  1. I am subscribed to the magazine Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy since 1992. I read this article when it first appeared in its Sep-Oct issue of 1997. I have written and posted on my page https://independent.academia.edu/MirzaAshraf eleven essays on contemporary Islam. In the article post here, the author has not touched the core issue that confronts Islam’s quest for modern liberal democracy, which Divine Sovereignty versus People’s Sovereignty. Since the Prophet of Islam was taken as mouthpiece of Divine order, his immediate successors sticking to the Sunna of the Prophet were able to carry on the way of Islam successfully until political rift arose which resulted in the murder of the third caliph followed by the civil war. The Umayyad and the Abbaside compromised this question of Divine sovereignty by adopting an arbitrary ruler ship as caliphs with greater worldly powers to decide matters by their own rational. Some followed the Mu’tazilists, Ash’arists, Tahawists, Zahirists, Shiites and Sufi ways, as they needed to escape strict Divine sovereignty. Since they were not responsible to the people, for them appearing as Zil-e-Ilahi was enough to satisfy the masses. Today the masses as democrats cannot be befooled by the rulers—which a dictator like Gen Zia tried and Muslims are paying the price today. Islamic civilization is at a cross road, confused and indecisive. It is important to educate people, which we can easily do even remaining with the main course of Islam, as I have pointed out in my article on Democracy and Islam. I quote here from the same article:

    “Political dimension is most important today, which is founded on four universal liberties. These liberties are already an essential part of Islamic discipline: liberty of worship, liberty of speech, liberty from poverty, and liberty from tyranny. Islam’s interpretation of human rights and liberty are clearly reflected by its greater emphasis of Haquq-ul-Abad—rights of the people—which is over and above Haquq Allah—rights of God. Islam’s concept of Haquq-ul-Abad is egalitarian and a close interpretation of the Islamic view of humanism that began in late ninth century. Islamic humanism attempts to reconcile individuality with community, responsibility with liberty, originality with tradition, art with experience, knowledge with understanding. To resolve the economic, cultural, and political crisis in Islam, an awakening, a renewal, and a rejuvenation both in literal sense and in the way of thinking is the need of the hour.”

    Unfortunately, whenever an article on Islam is posted here, we get lost in the discussion of God, Prophet and the Book, without trying to find out, how we can resolve our problems remaining within the Islamic Civilization—a civilization we can neither discard, nor escape out of it. Those who are bold enough to declare themselves atheists, they still are caught in Islamic system, customs, traditions, and rituals.

    MIRZA ASHRAF

    • After reading Mirza Ashraf Sahib’s comment, I need to ask a question based on this statement from his above comment:
      …….
      “the author has not touched the core issue that confronts Islam’s quest for modern liberal democracy, which Divine Sovereignty versus People’s Sovereignty”.
      …….

      In Islam “Divine Sovereignty” or “Sovereignty of God” is established based on some Qura’nic injunctions or Qura’nic scholarship of jurists.

      By Qura’nic injunction I mean that there is any surah from Qur’an which clearly states that Sovereignty belongs to God.

      Or it is the juristic opinion of subsequent Islamic/Qura’nic scholars that Sovereignty belongs to God.

      An answer to this question will help me to clarify my own thoughts about this complex question.

      Noor Salik

      • First of all a correction in the statement: In the article post here, the author has not touched the core issue that confronts Islam’s quest for modern liberal democracy, which is Divine Sovereignty versus People’s Sovereignty. [ is missing].

        There are more than one Qur’anic injunctions regarding Divine Sovereignty as here [Old English by Pickthall]:

        1. “Knowst thou not that it is Allah unot who belongth the
        Sovereignty of the heavens and earth: and ye have not, beside Allah, any friend or helper? (al-Baqarah 2:107)

        2. Unto Allah belongth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. Allah is able to do all things.” ( al-Imran, 3:189)

        3. Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Allah ever surroundeth all things. (an-Nisa, 4:126)

        4. “. . . Allah is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things. (al-Maidah, 5:40)

        5. “Knowst thou not that it is Allah unot who belongth the
        Sovereignty of the heavens and earth? He punisheth whom He will, and forgiveth whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things. (al-Maidah, 5:40)

        6. “Lo! Allah! Unto Him belongth the Sovereignty of the heavens and earth. He quickeneth and He giveth death. And ye have, instead of Allah, no protecting friend nor helper. (Taubah, 9:116)

        7. He unto Whom belongeth the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure.” (al-Furqan, 25:2)

        8. And in whatsoever ye differ, the verdict therein belongeth to Allah. Such is my Lord, in Whom I put my trust, and unto Whom I return. ( ash-Shura, 42:10)

        9. And He it is Who in the heaven is God, and in the earth God, He is Wise, the Knower. And blessed be He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heaves and the earth, and all that is between them, and with Whom is knowledge of the Hour, and unto Whom ye will be returned. (az-Zukhruf, 43:84-85)

        10. His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and unto Allah [all] things are brought back.” (al-Hadid, 57:5)

        11. He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the superb, Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him) ! (al-Hashr, 59:23)

        12. Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and He is Able to do all things. (al-Mulk, 67:1)

        MAN VICEROY OF GOD ON EARTH:

        1. “. . . Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth. .. Surely I know that which ye know not.” (al-Baqarah, 2:30)

        2. He it is who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you. Lo! Thy Lord is swift in persecution, and lo! He is Forgiving, Merciful.” (al-An’am, 6:165)

        3. “Then We appointed you viceroys in the earth after them, that We might see how ye behave.” (Yunus, 10:14)

        4. But they denied him, so We saved him and those with him in the ship, and made them viceroys (9n the earth), while We drowned those who denied Our revelations. See then the nature of the consequence for those who had been warned.” (Yunus 10:73)

        5. “o David! Lo! We have set thee as a viceroy in the earth: therefore judge aright between mankind, and follow not desire that it beguile thee the way of Allah. …” (Sad, 38:26)

        There are numerous references and explanations in the Qur’an regarding Divine Sovereignty and the Ruler as Allah’s viceroy on earth. . . . MIRZA ASHRAF

        • The Qur’anic verses provided by me are in response to Noor Sahib’s desire and can be a source of knowledge for every one of us. The most important question before us today is, “Why Islam, the only one of the three great monotheistic religions did not go through the Enlightenment?” I would humbly ask friends to think and provide suggestions as how to change the minds of billions of believers in Islam without confronting them atheistically. Just raising the sword and killing the belief of God, Prophets, Scriptures, will not help. Humanity has experienced godless ideologies, as of Nazism’s “Superman” and God is Dead, and Communism’s godless system. Hitler and Stalin have killed more human beings than God fearing Muslims. In our legacy, we have two great Muslim scholars, ibn-Rushd and al-Farabi, who in their times were the protagonists of traditional Enlightenment. Today we are experiencing a Scientific Enlightenment, which undoubtedly can give Muslims better answers and greater guidance. . . . MIRZA ASHRAF

        • Mirza Ashraf Sahib:

          Based on your response, I was reading Qura’nic references you quoted.
          Please see below your first two references:

          1. “Knowst thou not that it is Allah unot who belongth the
          Sovereignty of the heavens and earth: and ye have not, beside Allah, any friend or helper? (al-Baqarah 2:107)

          2. Unto Allah belongth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. Allah is able to do all things.” ( al-Imran, 2:189)

          I think the number of sura in 2nd reference is not correct.
          (al-Baqarah 2:107) and ( al-Imran, 2:189)

          Please correct the Sura # for al-Imran.
          Editor will correct it after your response.

          I was reading your references.
          We will discuss the concept of “Sovereignty” later on.
          Right now I have to ask you one question.
          What is Arabic word for “Sovereignty” in Qura’n you are referring to?
          You are deriving the meaning “sovereignty” from Qura’n explicitly or implicitly.
          The meaning is contextual or literal?

          Please note that “Sovereignty” is a modern political concept.
          We will look into it as we move forward in this discussion.

          nSalik (Noor Salik)

      • My two bits :

        “Say: O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty! You give sovereignty unto whom You will, and You snatch sovereignty from whom You will. You exalt whom You will, and You abase whom You will. In Your hand is the good. Lo! You are able to do all things. You cause the night to pass into the day, and You cause the day to pass into the night. And You bring forth the living from the dead, and You bring forth the dead from the living. And You give sustenance to whom You choose, without measure.” [Sūrah Āl ‘Imrān: 26-27]

        Say: O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty!” [Sūrah Āl `Imrān: 26] Allah is “the owner of sovereignty”

        “Blessed is He for whom sovereignty is in His hand.” [Sūrah al-Mulk: 1]

        Qur’ān and Sunnah are, according to its scripture, the primary sources of Islamic law. Islam provides the principles of Shura (consultation), which can be construed to mean democracy, Ijma (consensus built after debate in Shura concluded by count of ‘Ayes” & ‘Nays’) and Ijtihad (legally opined, independent interpretation of problems not precisely covered in the Qur’ān), as secondary sources of Islamic law. Sovereignty is Allah’s alone and a Muslim ruler has to govern within the limits set by Allah and examples demonstrated by the Prophet.

        Wequar Azeem

        • References from scriptures are abundant and Wequar Sahib has added a few more and unlike Mirza Sahib has made an effort to make an argument based on these scriptures. Scriptures might have a meaning for those who follow faith blindly (actually the way believers quote scriptures there is no need of any meanings for them, for them it is what it is) but for those who are not satisfied with orders and seek rationality, scriptures carry no weight at all, when instead of one scripture ten are presented, it is just the same as zero multiplied ten times. Believers will do a favor not only to non-believers but fellow believers as well if they explained the great wisdom hidden in the scriptures and open their eyes instead of letting them follow something blindly.
          So what is God’s sovereignty, I repeat my question and since I was asked by Mirza Sahib to post my question on the TF I was expecting an answer from him but nothing yet. Wequar Sahib has posited that since God can not directly do anything to establish or maintain his own sovereignty, a Shura’s collective decision is God’s decision and whatever Shura does to maintain sovereignty of “their” territory, of borders, or morality and justice, according to them is to be taken as God’s will.
          This is unbelievable – am I to assume in current situation that a gang of illiterate thugs like Mulla Omar (his Shura) is fighting for almighty Allah’s sovereignty?

          Is Baghdadi and his pointer dogs sniffing out Shias to kill, are fighting to reclaim all powerful God’s sovereignty?

          I had stated the legal position of scriptures as plainly as I could and will state it again; Prophet Mohammad said that Quran is the God’s word and Quran was revealed to none other than him, without any witness, in a cave. This fact does not verify or give legitimacy to any such scriptures and Christians don’t even hesitate mentioning who actually wrote which version of Bible.
          I also gave examples of atrocities of rulers but I suppose if Hitler was defeated by some Muslim Caliph then believers could boast that God’s sovereignty was maintained by the God through the Caliph (have no idea which Muslim ruler was even close to a position to threaten Hitler) and though Churchill was a Christian, we Muslims will not accept that God this time used him instead to establish his sovereignty.
          I expect an answer and no scripture, specially from Mirza Ashraf Sahib.

          What is God’s Sovereignty? …that Mirza Sahib claimed was the “core” difference between the West and Islam.

          Babar

  2. I agree with Mirza Sahib’s comments about Divine Sovereignty Vs Peoples ‘ Sovereignty.
    Below are the views by Professor Khaled and Prof. An-Naim and how they resolve this issue. These are excerpts from my article presented in initial meetings of TFUSA.

    Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, Law professor and Islamic scholar at UCLA, writes in one of his essay in Boston Review;
    “Although Muslim jurists debated political systems; the Qur’an itself did not specify a particular form of government. But it did identify a set of social and political values that are central to a Muslim polity. Three values are of particular importance: pursuing justice through social cooperation and mutual assistance (Qur’an 49:13; 11:119); establishing a non-autocratic, consultative method of governance; and institutionalizing mercy and compassion in social interactions (6:12, 54; 21:107; 27:77; 29:51; 45.20). So, all else equal, Muslims today ought to endorse the form of government that is most effective in helping them promote these values. Several considerations suggest that democracy—and especially a constitutional democracy that protects basic individual rights—is that form. My central argument (others will emerge later) is that democracy—by assigning equal rights of speech, association, and suffrage to all—offers the greatest potential for promoting justice and protecting human dignity, without making God responsible for human injustice or the degradation of human beings by one another.”

    Prof. An-Naim, Emory University Law professor and Islamic scholar, advocates religion as a personal matter and believes only human beings can have a religion and not states. The term “Islamic/Christian State” is a fallacy.

    Fayyaz

  3. “Values of the West and Islam” is a wrong comparison to start with. What is meant here by West is modern world and not the religion of the majority of the West i.e. Christianity. As the author has himself pointed out that some centuries ago Christians or Jews were not much different than Muslims and values were similar as well. The values by the religious views are still the same of the Christians of the West and Muslims of the East.
    The correct comparison in my view here is between the modern world and the Middle Ages. The values are more related to the cultures and less to the religion any way. Generally all humans have the same values with different shades of the cultures and regional traditions. Values also change or evolve with education and since the West is generally more educated hence human rights are appreciated more and there is more tolerance and less discrimination of all kinds – gender, race, sexual orientation etc.
    Being tolerant of certain behavior of others does not mean the values are different. It is wrong to assume that West approves of homosexuality if gay marriages are accepted and I am sure there are equal numbers of gays among Muslims too but they, for fear of their lives, don’t come out of the closet.
    The “way of life” of Islam or Islamic civilization is a bogus slogan of Muslims, the way of life of early Christians and Jews was just the same as Muslims – the church and state were not separate any where and this change has come in the West in modern times due to education and having been there and done that. Muslims had a 600 years late start and will get there too in time and actually will close the gap faster thanks to the inter connected world via technology now. Divine Sovereignty is a term coined to impose control on others by invoking God’s word as interpreted by clergy otherwise its a meaningless term.

    Babar

  4. Mankind has always struggled between the appeals of religion and secular thought. Religion connects to the greater whole and its mysteries and defines our place in the cosmic scheme and its deity. Secular thought attends to the wordly things. Modern western socieities have arrived at a balance where the secular principles run the states and religion may form a guide but not the driver for daily governance and human interactions. Muslims have yet to find that balance. One reason has been that Islam has a robust history of governance guided by the Sunnah. The literalist interpretations brook no changes because they define all such guidance, koranic or sunnah, as divine. Such conflation makes virtually every human act pre-ordained by the almighty. It has infused muslim thought and action with a fatalism that curtails practical responsibilities. The result is a bevy of Islamic states, from the orthodox to the so-called democratic, that are teetering on the edge and rocked by the violent ultrareligious minorities. It is a struggle bathed in blood and the Islam that will emerge in the next few decades will hopefully be an inclusive balance of the human, humane and the divine.

    • Nasik Sahib’s remarks are very logical and reasonable. This is the way to look at the socio-political problems. Though, Nasik Sahib’s last words are prophetic rather than what we see and being planned in current situation, but it is a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

      MIRZA ASHRAF

  5. The references quoted above by Mirza Sahib might be satisfactory for Noor Sahib but I am still at a loss to understand how God maintains his so called sovereignty. The quotes above elaborate that God’s appointed viceroys from among the mankind maintain God’s sovereignty. What exactly the viceroys among men do which can be seen as upholding of God’s sovereignty and how can men see that yes, this or that person is guiding or commanding on behalf of the God – no idea. Any one can declare that he is the prophet or viceroy and what he says goes. Prophet Mohammad said that he was the messenger of God and how is that certified – through Quran which is revealed to none other than himself. This might be enough for some, rather billions, but is this a kind of proof that, if presented in a court of law, will be accepted – never. Before prophet Mohammad, Jesus called himself, or his followers called him not only a prophet but the son of God. Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (spirit) and how this claim is backed up is by Jesus getting nailed to the cross – not very convincing for me. Before Jesus, Moses and Abraham and Noah all self proclaimed viceroys! What have they all to show for preserved sovereignty of their God? What about the viceroys after the death of “last prophet” – the leaders chosen by the elders, by the people, not by God were at the helm. In the rest of the world – kings became kings by having been born heirs or by killing a king and declaring themselves kings and most of them were tyrants. Then there were tyrants like Stalin or Hitler, so was such leadership a breach of God’s sovereignty and if Hitler was stopped then Churchill might be a candidate for viceroy’s title and those Japanese must have been annihilated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the blessing of God perhaps. What is God’s sovereignty??

    Babar

    P.S. I had fired a response to Mirza Sahib’s answer loaded with scriptures in an email but have changed my response in respect of the TF affiliates after a careful second reading but generally my reservations or objections are the same.

  6. In response to Babar Mustafa’s question about How Christianity and Judaism or Hinduism is compatible with Western Democratic system or values? ? —A: I would remark, Christians and Jews never had any illusion that Bible and Torah were dictated word by word by Jesus and Moses. Since the Qur’an was revealed in the wake of history, Muslims believe that it was dictated by their Prophet Muhammad word by word and each word was documented by writing as well as memorized by the hafizs. Though Jewish Prophet David had received a book namely Zabur which has left no traces, King Solomon ruled guided by Torah [I am not sure about this whether had direct revelation or it was Torah]. Since Jesus never got a chance to rule or form a society of his believers, Christianity appeared a couple of centuries after passing away of Jesus. Neither Bible, nor Jesus explained any political system. Christianity adopted by the Roman Emperors became a state religion but the political and legal system was on based on Roman moral and political law, which gradually became an integral part of Christianity. Bible was compiled in the light Greek-o-Roman philosophies and it is hard to explain what came exactly from the mouth of Jesus. Therefore it is difficult to assert that one part of Bible is original or superior to another. Since Bible and Torah did not define any political system nor their Prophets ever established states it was easy for the Christians to separate political system from religion. On the other hand Muhammad was a Prophet, a politician, a soldier, a field marshal, a moralist, a thinker, and he in his life time successfully established a state and a concept of dar-al-Islam. He had set up a political system based on the secular charter of Medina, the first written constitution in the history of the world. Thus, it has become very difficult for the Muslims to change their course when a template of Political Islam is available to them, which has remained in force for at least thirteen centuries.

    —A: Babar Mustafa’s whole comment is an extreme form of Skepticism. Declaring there is no God, is much easier than believing in Him. This is the biggest misconception of the non-believers that religious faith is blind and that religion is dogma. History is full of great intellectuals who have been and are believers. I would say that believing in an unseen God, needs greater intellectualism, imagination and consciousness than just saying no to everything. That is the only reason that modern science is still engaged in probing the mysteries of creation and trying to reach the source of creation. Darwin was a born Christian, baptized in 1809, and when he unveiled the first draft of his theory, nobody believed him and his scientific reasoning was taken as a dogma. Even in modern times, the number of Darwin’s followers is far less than the believers in religion, which has been discussed in this Forum many times before.

    — Q: What exactly the viceroys among men do which can be seen as upholding of God’s sovereignty and how can men see that yes, this or that person is guiding or commanding on behalf of the God – no idea. Anyone can declare that he is the prophet or viceroy and what he says goes?

    —A: Men in the past had declared themselves gods, but failed to convince the masses. Abrahamic prophets, as well as Buddha, Hinduism, Guru Nanak and more have left a system in the form of a religion as great as a civilization. Everyone cannot declare to be a prophet. Prophets are super intelligent, exceptionally genius, and are far above the normal level of human intellectualism. Their authenticity and truthfulness is proved by the acceptance of whatever they preach. How can we say the famous companions of Prophet Muhammad were devoid of reason, when in their time they changed the course of history. How can we denounce a long list of European and Eastern thinkers and philosophers–say Russell who pronounced that Muhammad created a civilization. I cannot imagine that thinkers like Newton, Tagore, Einstein [believed in God only], Iqbal, and Dr. Salam were following blindly; they were intellectuals and believers in God.

    — Q: Prophet Mohammad said that he was the messenger of God and how is that certified – through Quran which is revealed to none other than himself?
    —A: I say poetry, which is intuited to me the way I say, and none other. These represent my thought, and if I could reveal an ideology like Karl Marx, it would be my ideology, which if appeals to the masses, they would accept it and follow it. Even great scientists, say Darwin, Newton, Einstein and many more, presented their theories based on scientific reasoning and when accepted as truth, no one asked why the theories they present is only intuited to them not others. The prophets are exceptionally geniuses, their IQ is much higher than those who research with scientific reasoning. Their genius and intellectual level reflects in their successes. Since whatever they say is far and above the normal standard of human beings, their saying is accepted as revelation from a source beyond human imagination; and that source is taken as God. Billions follow them, worship and lay their lives for them. Billions of people are not idiots, and millions of great thinkers of Islam or other religions are not blind as to have followed a prophet blindly.

    — Q: This might be enough for some, rather billions, but is this a kind of proof that, if presented in a court of law, will be accepted – never?
    —A: What an innocent argument. However, in this free country you can try and knock the door of the supreme court or the International court and file before them that there is no sufficient proof for men to declare themselves prophets. But the law of the court is also man-made law; there must be someone or a group who made laws. In the same way a self-declared prophet can also make laws. For your information, a case was brought in the USA Supreme Court, that Islam is not a religion but a cult. After many debates and discussion it was declared that Islam is a revealed religion. It gave Islam more authenticity in this country and the seal of Muhammad’s prophet hood was rather legalized in America. Please take the matter to the court–maybe Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins would be glad to help you. But I know what the courts would decide, the Prophet-hood of Muhammad would be blessed with more authenticity, that is why this group of atheists would never dare.

    — Q: Before prophet Mohammad, Jesus called himself, or his followers called him not only a prophet but the son of God. Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (spirit) and how this claim is backed up is by Jesus getting nailed to the cross – not very convincing for me. Before Jesus, Moses and Abraham and Noah all self proclaimed viceroys! What have they all to show for preserved sovereignty of their God?
    —A: Since you do not believe in God, you are bound with materialistic achievements. Whatever you are arguing is based on your self-produced views. Look around yourself, and see how many of your friends, relatives, or neighbors believe in you. They may not be acting honestly upon the teaching of the Qur’an, but it is not the fault of the religion; it is their own misdeeds. Sovereignty of God is same as the sovereignty of nature in general. Nature’s way is universal which has been documented into scriptures as a divine law according to the needs of the humanity. In an atheist’s view there might be many flaws in divine laws, but as I have emphasized this many times before, unless atheism just like Nietzscheism or Marxism presents a system or a social order, or a way of life superseding religious ways of life, it is possible religions might die: But believe me even then GOD WILL NEVER DIE, because both Nazism and Communism have died while God is still alive. In fact it is science which is and which will keep God alive.

    — Q: What about the viceroys after the death of “last prophet” – the leaders chosen by the elders, by the people, not by God were at the helm?
    —A: Muhammad had left a system, a secular constitution of Medina, plus his Sunnah or his way, a book the Qur’an, and his followers followed those rules. The Caliphs always advised their governors to follow the ways of the Prophet and seek guidance from the Qur’an. If there are different situations and they don’t find any reference or a precedence they can use their own wit and understanding to solve the problems. I have hundreds of references and incidents, when Muslim Generals and Governors solved problems based on reason. We know the decision of Hz. Abu Bakar who suspended the Qur’anic order of amputation of a thief’s hand which was based on reason and demand of the situation. Since we do not study the political and social history of Islam, but believe what a Mulla says, we get easily perverted. For the last thirteen centuries Muslims rulers were not like today’s Mullas or grass-cutters turned maulvis. My humble suggestion to Babar Sahib and like minded friends is to study Qur’an thoroughly and understand it with reason and rational outlook. Those who have studied Qur’an, like Leo Wiese, Pickhtall, and hundreds of other Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh thinkers, have embraced Islam not blindly, nor because of parental or socio-political pressure, but have been convinced by the truthfulness and perfection of the Qur’an.

    — Q: In the rest of the world – kings became kings by having been born heirs or by killing a king and declaring themselves kings and most of them were tyrants. Then there were tyrants like Stalin or Hitler, so was such leadership a breach of God’s sovereignty and if Hitler was stopped then Churchill might be a candidate for viceroy’s title?
    —A: Churchill succeeded in winning the war, but afterward failed to win the confidence of the people. A Prophet never fails, nor his set course fails. He always wins and leaves an ideology, a legacy, a system, a way of life in the form of a religion which is carried forward by his followers only if they see truth in the Prophet’s teaching. Churchill was a politician, not ideologist like Karl Marx. I believe, if Marx had not subtracted God from his ideology, his Marxism would have been a religion and could have been as great as a prophet.

    — Q: and those Japanese must have been annihilated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the blessing of God perhaps. What is God’s sovereignty?? ?
    —A: Man annihilated them not God. If the American President had said that it was revealed to him by God or Jesus to annihilate the masses, the burden would have been on God. God has given man free will, intelligence and the power to think and act right. It is man’s fault if he thinks and acts wrong.

    P.S. I had fired a response to Mirza Sahib’s answer loaded with scriptures in an email but have changed my response in respect of the TF affiliates after a careful second reading but generally my reservations or objections are the same?
    —A: Since Noor Sahib wanted to know the scriptural quotes, I provided them without my interpretation or any comment. I have here provided Babar Sahib enough material to differ because this is the only subject which is debated in this Forum.

    MIRZA ASHRAF

  7. In defense of the TF, I would say this is not the only debate that goes on here, it is rather true that you and I usually lock horns on this subject. Your response to the question of sovereignty of God is that it is like nature – meaning that whatever happens is by virtue of its natural causes and I can not disagree with it as far as only nature is being discussed but to equate it to the free will of the people, people imposing laws as divine will and some claiming territory as promised land to them by God is rather a long stretch.

    Since the topic of the existence of God is not under discussion I will only briefly comment in response to some of your comments;

    1). Einstein very clearly rejected the God the way religious believe – he called your God “personal God”, a God that is monitoring your deeds and will give you reward or punishment on the so called day of judgment. I am sure you know that but will ignore it while continuing talking about your God. You could clarify that Einstein stopped short of denying that an unknown “power” might exist but he very clearly rejected the personal God you believe in.

    2). I am sure that Russell, with his analogy of the existence of a “tea pot” to the existence of God clarified that it is not possible to “prove” that God did not exist – he must have been replying to the theist’s challenge for a proof of God’s non-existence. That gives me an idea what he thought of the God and I must confine my knowledge about Russell’s thoughts to this as I haven’t read his books.

    3). No one is saying that all believers are “idiots” — please don’t try to rally believers against non-believers by putting this word in atheist’s mouth. I personally strongly believe most people don’t seriously think about this and my whole purpose of bringing this up is make them think – I wish every one should at least seriously ponder about it and afterwards they can choose whatever they think is right.

    In the end I would take up your challenge to go to the court if you are paying the cost of it; No court will accept an argument similar to prophet Mohammad’s claim that he was the messenger of God on the basis of revelations to him alone. You can’t compare this to court upholding Islam as a religion – of course it is a religion.

    I will appreciate if you could give some examples of God’s sovereignty in the past 100 years that shows this is how Islam is different from Christianity and Judaism and non compatible with the modern world.

    Babar

    • If an atheist can conceptualize antithesis then why he pretends, not accepting the thesis of belief in God, it is shrewdness not an incapacity.

      Who the believer can satiate one’s curiosity, of unraveling the enigma of the Being of God, sort of futile effort, encompassing infinity. Shrewdness is intentional it is not mechanical or spontaneous , one improvises on this fallacy.

      It is absurd to see a God enthroned, literally, governing like a roman who is pulling the reigns of horses in front of his chariot.

      Einstein never rejected the idea of God, he remained cautious and sensible, Einstein was reasonable in saying that God was personal. But why we need to ask him about God, the man who conceptualized the theory of mass and energy was unable to undertake his own marital life, a skill that most common men can manage effortlessly.
      If you want to learn about God read the revealed scriptures.

      The default position lies with you, if you think burden of proof lies with a believer to prove his claim, what if a believer considers your stance a fallacy and he asks you to disprove that.

      Is there any compulsion, believing in God?
      If one doesn’t want to, then he doesn’t have to.
      “Let him who will, believe; and let him who will, disbelieve” [18:29]

      Saeed

      • This comment by Saeed Sahib is an interesting comment.
        He entered this comment in reference to Babar Mustafa’s comment.
        It is a brief but complex statement.
        At this stage part of it is beyond my comprehension. But I will keep reflecting on it.
        In due course I am sure Babar Mustafa will respond to this comment and other may join as well.
        Saeed Sahib has used Thesis and Antithesis which are philosophical concepts, prominently used by Hegel.

        Saeed Sahib has also used the concept of Infinity.

        He also mentioned Einstein – his theory of Mass and Energy, most probably he means Theory of Relitivity.
        Einstein’s views about personal God.
        He also mentioned about Einstein’s matrimonial dilemmas.
        Then he offered an advice that if one wants to learn about God, read the revealed scriptures.

        There is lot of stuff to cover in this brief comment.

        My personal point of view is that the discussion between Mirza Ashraf and Babar Mustafa has been taken to higher level by Saeed Sahib.

        All valid intellectual discussions are rational and logical.

        If you bring scriptures in the discussion, the discussion becomes to a screeching halt.
        Revealed scriptures are not inherently rational statements. They are communications between God and his chosen prophets.

        Believers try to find rationality in scripture but prophets never claimed that scriptures are their rational statements.

        Monotheistic believers are the least rational individuals among all other groups of human beings.
        I will elaborate if you challenge this statement.

        Let me state two points to start with.
        1. Only Monotheistic believers believe that this universe was created by God.
        This belief results into infinite regress, pointed out by Aristotle 2,300 years ago.
        But a Monotheistic believer in 21st century still cannot see it.
        Logical contradictions are abstract concepts.
        If you cannot see it. Nobody can make you see it.
        Infinite regress is a logical contradiction.
        Therefore, Aristotle stated long time ago that the universe if it exists, it exists eternally. Philosophically and logically, universe exists eternally – no beginning, no end. It just changes its forms which we observe all the time. It is an infinite process which will go on forever.

        Most of the modern cosmologists favor this concept that this universe does not need a creator.
        THE GRAND DESIGN by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.
        No introduction necessary
        ENDLESS UNIVERSE by
        Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok
        One professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton, the other at Cambridge.

        2. Most Monotheistic Believers believe that God is infinite and God is one.
        Did you see the contradiction?
        If not then nobody can make you see it.

        If the discussion progresses, I am open and willing to learn from others.

        Marwan

      • I welcome participation of Saeed Sahib in this discussion.
        Quest for knowledge based on logic and rationality can’t be doubted as shrewdness (leaving mechanical or spontaneous shrewdness to research later).
        This is also not the incapacity if one doesn’t agree with the hypothesis of God – Antithesis would be if atheists came up with their own God with a prophet and a book to counter believer’s God.

        I am afraid it is the incapacity of believers who do not have the curiosity to find out how things work and if they do, they do not question what does not fit with their knowledge.

        I do not wish to deviate from the topic of why Islam could not be compatible with the West or modern world and since Mirza Sahib argued that the concept of God’s sovereignty was a factor, we got dragged into the question of God’s existence so I am trying to respond very briefly on God.

        Saeed Sahib, neither theists nor atheists consider God like a human king sitting on a throne.
        I am willing to take your concept of God, whatever it may be, and interested in knowing how God maintains His sovereignty.

        About Einstein, only because you and Mirza Sahib mention him;
        What I understand is that he rejected a “personal God” who is concerned with mankind’s personal matters like wickedness and way of life.

        I am not sure if you think he meant to say that God was a personal matter of individuals, please check that out.

        Talking about his marital life and judging his character is totally uncalled for (and not hard to understand how much attention such a busy mind could give to his spouse anyway).
        Make up your mind first if you wish to boast what Einstein said about God being a genius or you wish to laugh at him for his unhappy marital life and hence not worthy of presenting any opinion on God.

        Babar

  8. Most of your answer is same which has been discussed many times before, and I see nothing new for me to answer. However, I would post a separate article on the subject of God’s Sovereignty as held by political Islam or the rulers in Islam. I would also give my own opinion, how Muslims can compromise with this issue, remaining within the jurisdiction of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of their Prophet. . . . MIRZA ASHRAF

  9. Unfortunately, the discussion as usual is getting focused on a many times repeated issue of God or no-God. Is this issue helping us to resolve the problems of the Muslims as well as the whole mankind. Those who believe in God will keep on believing whether they are Jewish, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and those who don’t believe in God are not going to believe. Today, we are stepping into the third phase of mankind’s Enlightenment, which is known to everyone as the Super-tech Enlightenment. Everyone knows that we are living in an era of incredibly instantaneous technological change, which is changing everything in our life except our wisdom. At this point, past decades of digital era, has produced great comforts of life. Today, there is an alarming call, “The Robots are coming! Artificial Intelligence is coming!” But the important point is that science produces greater knowledge, enhancing our understanding of the natural world, does it help enhance our wisdom, intellectualism, and imagination which is more important than knowledge? We know that before the appearance of modern scientific enlightenment our emphasis to wisdom did not matter, our religious beliefs also did not matter, because we were not overloaded with modern scientific means to create many problems for ourselves and do greater damage to ourselves and our planet. But today, we possess unprecedented powers bestowed to us by science which can create a new crisis of our times if we have science without wisdom or without spiritualism. Our social progress depends upon our cognitive power and our moral life on our wisdom. The irony is that our wisdom is being prevailed upon by artificial intelligence and super-tech gadgets are posing a threat to our existence as humans. The crucial questions before us are: Can science help us to become wiser? Can artificial intelligence provoke wisdom? Can future super-computer be equipped with a wisdom chip to think and act spontaneously and wisely at the call of an unpredictable situation? And above, as we see from a young child to an old man, everyone is connected with everyone, is this going to create a new humanity? We have many problems to discuss, which we can help solve only if we burry the unending controversy of God or no-God. … MIRZA ASHRAF

    • This comment is in reference to Mirza Ashraf’s latest comment.
      Actually he brought God and sovereignty of God into the discussion about Foreign Affairs article sent by Tahir Mahmood.
      The article states that there is not big gap between Western civilization and Muslim civilization.

      This statement or the crux of the Foreign Affairs 1997 article needs in depth analysis by TF USA affiliates.

      I disagree with Mirza Ashraf that discussion about God and no God is irrelevant.
      TF USA affiliates should talk about 3rd Information Technology revolution – Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Technology, Super Computers etc etc.
      I agree with him 100%.

      But God and no God discussion is also important for Muslim intellectuals.

      All others major groups have gone beyond God and no God discussion except muslims.

      Hindus never killed any human being in the name of God.
      Buddhism and Janism are atheistic religions.
      They believe in moral code but not necessarily in God. In Buddhism belief in God is optional.

      Jews kill Palestinians now but the reasons are political, territorial not religious.
      Jews never killed people in the name of God.
      Historically only Christians and Muslims kill
      non – believers in the name of God.
      Christians in the past only.
      Only Muslims killed non – Muslims in the past as well as now.
      Because of the religious frenzy Muslims are killing Muslims at present, right in front of our eyes.
      Why Muslims are doing it?
      It is a complex question with definite reasons.
      Only Muslim intellectuals can sort it out if they muster the courage.
      Jewish and Christian intellectuals were brave and courageous. They suffered and gave their lives but spoke truth. Hence their subsequent generations are living in freedom.
      Historically Muslims never killed their intellectuals, therefore, present generation intellectuals are timid and subdued.
      They are scared to speak the truth.

      Here is the dillema.

      Masses always need dogma to survive.
      Majority of non-muslim thinkers have achieved freedom from dogma.
      Majority of Muslim thinkers are still trapped in the firm clutches of dogma.
      This is the tragedy.

      If you disagree with me, then say it.
      I want to listen your point of view. I may change my point of view, if you have a valid argument.

      Mirza Ashraf Sahib.
      I respect you. You are an enlightened and learned believer.
      But Muslims need some extra dosage of logic, in my view.

      Look at Jews how they evolved with time.
      Don’t look at Christians, look at and towards Jews.
      Islam is an extension of Abrahamic teaditions.
      Most Christian intellectuals had to abandon Christianity.
      Christians don’t identify themselves now with Christianity – they are Germans, French etc etc

      Only Jews and Muslims establish their identity even at present time with the religion they are born in.

      Majority of Jews are secular Jews.
      Orthodoxy in Judaism is in minority.
      Orthodoxy in Islam is in majority.
      Most Muslim intellectuals are still dangerously orthodox.

      Why?

      You tell me the reason if you agree with my premise.

      Marwan

      • Marwan Sahib has pointed out something that I feel very strongly – that Muslim intellectuals lack courage.
        He also wrote that,”Most Christian intellectuals had to abandon Christianity“; This remark reminded me that a long time ago I had bought Bertrand Russell’s book “Why I am not a Christian”, a book that I had never finished reading. Since Mirza Sahib has praised Russell many times and quoted him recently also I had to find it today and as I wrote earlier that I did have some idea what Russell might have thought about God from his famous analogy of “tea pot”, and now simply reading the back cover my guess is confirmed and here is the quote, ” I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue”.

        Most respectfully, I would like Mirza Sahib to explain me:

        1). How come you pick Russell’s quote where he praises prophet Mohammed but never ever tell your readers what he said about religions (I am sure this is not a new knowledge for you as it is for me)?
        2). Why do you refer to Einstein and only choose to tell your readers what he said about there being a possibility of some kind of power which might be called God and totally disregard what he said about a “personal God” – which he meant exactly as the God of Abraham (and Moses and Mohammad)?

        It is very disturbing for me when I find such omissions by our learned elders and intellectuals.

        Babar

        • 1). How come you pick Russell’s quote where he praises prophet Mohammed but never ever tell your readers what he said about religions (I am sure this is not a new knowledge for you as it is for me)?

          I have never said that Russell believed in religion. He in his book History of Western Philosophy, chapter X, Mohammedan Culture and Philosophy he writes: “Mohammedans, who did not become Christians after conquests but developed an important civilization of their own. … The religion of the Prophet was a simple monotheism, uncomplicated by the theology of the Trinity and Incarnation. The Prophet made no claim to be divine, nor did his followers make a claim on his behalf. He revived the Jewish prohibition of graven images, and forbade the use of wine. It was the duty of the faithful to conquer as much od the world as possible for Islam, but there was to be no persecution of Christians, Jews, or Zoroastrians–the ‘people of the Book’, as the Koran calls them, i.e. those who followed the teachings of a Scriptures.” In Russell on Religion, he is quoted, “Historical facts prove that Muhammad the Prophet of Islam, created a civilization single handedly within the span of a decade, inspired and guided by the Koran.” In the same book on page 2, it is quoted, “Yet many students of Russell’s life and works agree with Russell’s daughter Katherine Tait, who in her splendid memoir says, “He was by temperament a profoundly religious man, the sort of passionate moralist who would have been a saint in a more believing age.” Anthony Grayling affirms that, “Although Russell was hostile to religion he was nevertheless a religious man.” However, he later on declared that he is an ‘Agnostic’ and admits, “I consider some form of personal religion highly desirable and feel that many people are unsatisfactory through lack of it.” It is true also that Russell went through many transformation in his life, starting as a Christian, then following the religion of reason and eventually rejected the religion of reason, and thus stood firmly in his skepticism concerning whether reason could direct us to any sort of Divinity. He thus finally remained an agnostic.

          2). Why do you refer to Einstein and only choose to tell your readers what he said about there being a possibility of some kind of power which might be called God and totally disregard what he said about a “personal God” – which he meant exactly as the God of Abraham (and Moses and Mohammad)?

          EINSTEIN & FAITH by Walter Isaacson:
          In his fifties when he settled into deism based on what he called the “spirit manifest in the laws of the universe” and a sincere belief in a “God who reveals Himself in the harmony of all that exists.” He put it, “The religious inclination lies in the dim consciousness that dwells in humans that all nature, including the humans in it, is in no way an accidental game, but a work of lawfulness that there is a fundamental cause of all existence.” “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secret of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious.” “Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are causally bound as the stars in their motions,” (p.391). Statement to Spinoza Society of America, Sept. 22, 1932.
          “We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws,” (p.386). “I am a determinist. I do not believe in free will. Jews believe in free will. They believe that man shapes his own life. I reject that doctrine. In that respect I am not a Jew,” (p.387). … Expressing what he meant when he called himself religious Einstein said, “The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man,” (387). From Einstein’s “What I Believe,” originally written in 1930.

          Answering the question whether he believed in God he said, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.” (p.388-89) Einstein to Herbert S. Goldstein, April 5, 1929. … ‘Einstein explained his view of the relationship between science and religion at a conference at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, he said, that the realm of science was to ascertain what was the case but not evaluate human thoughts and actions about what should be the case. Religion had the reverse mandate. Yet the endeavors worked together. He said, “Science can be created only by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion,” (p. 390). His pithy conclusion became famous. “The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind,” (p. 390). But there was one religious concept, Einstein went on to say, that science could not accept: a deity who could meddle at whim in the events of his creation. “The main source of present-day conflicts between the spheres of the religion and of the science lies in this concept of a personal God.” Scientists aim to uncover the immutable laws that govern reality, and in doing so they must reject the notion that divine will, or for that matter human will, plays a role that would violate this cosmic reality,’ (p. 391). Einstein’s speech to the Symposium on Science, Philosophy and Religion, Sept. 10, 1941. He declared in a statement to Spinoza Society 1932, “Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions,” (p. 391). He read this from Schopenhauer who held that “everything acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. . . . A man can do as he wills, but not will as he wills.” The foundation of morality is rising above the “merely personal” to live in a way that benefited humanity.

          ‘Do you believe, Einstein was once asked, that humans are free agents? “No, I am a determinist,” he replied. “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.”’ (p. 391-92).

          It is getting very long response. What I have learnt from Russell and Einstein, that religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural system, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Religion began in fear and philosophy began in wonder about various natural phenomena that human beings found mysterious and surprising. . . . MIRZA ASHRAF

          • I appreciate the effort Mirza Sahib has put in, for answering my question.
            My question has not been addressed though; I do not doubt what Mirza Sahib presents as quotes of Russell and Einstein, what I question is the “omissions”, what he does NOT quote or disclose!

            The whole purpose of referring to a great philosopher and a great genius while arguing in favor of religion and the God (as perceived by all the three major religions) is to put their weight in favor of one’s argument. While making a case for religion and God, why would someone quote Russell who clearly says religions are harmful and untrue and Einstein who clearly rejects the God as perceived by these religions?

            It would have been intellectually honest if Russell’s conclusion about religions was disclosed while quoting his remarks favorable to prophet’s accomplishments. It would be intellectually honest if Einstein’s conclusion about the “personal God” (the God we usually debate) was disclosed and explained that the God Einstein contemplates is not at all the God under discussion.

            Even in the response above, Mirza Sahib at the end, while concluding, draws a meaning of religion like a diplomat – without any slightest mention of true thoughts of the two giants he quoted at great length.

            Babar

  10. Learned discussions on religion become childish exercises when the various researched references are thrown at each other like bricks. It is not enough to show how much we know if we have not learned to iluminate and respect each others points of view.

  11. My humble suggestion is that we should stop discussing Islam, which is not possible without references to God, Qur’an and Prophet. For those who do not believe in God, even a reference is like a poisonous arrow has been shot. It is my way of expression that I do not judge others by my standards, nor judge myself by other’s standard. I present literary, scientific, philosophic, and historic achievements of the Muslims from the advent
    of Islam until today. I DO PRESENT my own views regarding ideas for the future of the Muslim world, but the whole discussion is derailed as if I have committed a great moral crime by mentioning God and His prophets. . . . I repeat here the last paragraph of my response which should have been discussed, critically examined and provided with better or new suggestion so that Islamic society should learn how to exist in modern times.

    MY PERSONAL VIEWS: “Political dimension is most important today, which is founded on four universal liberties. These liberties are already an essential part of Islamic discipline: liberty of worship, liberty of speech, liberty from poverty, and liberty from tyranny. Islam’s interpretation of human rights and liberty are clearly reflected by its greater emphasis of Haquq-ul-Abad—rights of the people—which is over and above Haquq Allah—rights of God. Islam’s concept of Haquq-ul-Abad is egalitarian and a close interpretation of the Islamic view of humanism that began in late ninth century. Islamic humanism attempts to reconcile individuality with community, responsibility with liberty, originality with tradition, art with experience, knowledge with understanding. To resolve the economic, cultural, and political crisis in Islam, an awakening, a renewal, and a rejuvenation both in literal sense and in the way of thinking is the need of the hour.”

    MIRZA ASHRAF

  12. Since there are many questions, I have sorted them out as below. I intend to take each question and would like to explain in a separate article for discussion. Give me couple of days. In the meantime I would appreciate if Marwan Majzoob Sahib would introduce himself. Since I haven’t met him, as a teacher I recognize from his style that he is a friend amongst us writing in the guise of this name.

    MARWAN MAJZOOB on June 17, 2015 at 4:47 am Asked:
    (a) The article states that there is not big gap between Western civilization and Muslim civilization. This statement or the crux of the Foreign Affairs 1997 article needs in depth analysis by TF USA affiliates.
    (b) I disagree with Mirza Ashraf that discussion about God and no God is irrelevant.
    But God and no God discussion is also important for Muslim intellectuals. All others major groups have gone beyond God and no God discussion except Muslims.
    (c)Hindus never killed any human being in the name of God. Buddhism and Jainism are atheistic religions. They believe in moral code but not necessarily in God. In Buddhism belief in God is optional.
    (d) Because of the religious frenzy Muslims are killing Muslims at present, right in front of our eyes. Why Muslims are doing it?
    (e) Masses always need dogma to survive.
    (f) Orthodoxy in Islam is in majority.
    (g) Muslims need some extra dosage of logic, in my view.
    ********************************************************************************************
    Questions by BABAR SAHIB: I would like Mirza Sahib to explain me:
    1). How come you pick Russell’s quote where he praises prophet Mohammed but never ever tell your readers what he said about religions (I am sure this is not a new knowledge for you as it is for me)?

    2). Why do you refer to Einstein and only choose to tell your readers what he said about there being a possibility of some kind of power which might be called God and totally disregard what he said about a “personal God” – which he meant exactly as the God of Abraham (and Moses and Mohammad)?

    MIRZA ASHRAF

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