Is being ‘Moderate’ always the best thing ? Does it really hold the key to our problems and does maintaining the balance is always the right way to go ? The voice of Moderate Islam or Moderate Muslims as they like to call themselves is on the rise as more and more people who find them unable reconcile their sense of belonging to the faith they are born into with the Ground Realities around them. But how much their voice makes sense and how much it is actually helping to reduce Extremism in Muslim Societies ?
I just came across an article by Sana A Siddiqui “Islam: Problem or solution?” and it immediately reminded me some of the friends on Facebook that I’ve had regular conversations with. There are some common arguments that most of the Moderate Muslims are raising, I’ll try to answer each argument in detail and then we’ll look at the question asked by Sana in her Nation’s article.
1. Moderate Islam is caught between Extremist Islam and Liberal: This is their main complaint, they feel that their voice is not heard properly because the Extremist Islam gets much more attention than these Moderate Muslims are able to attract. These people also complain about the growing criticism of Liberals (and increasing Atheist community) on Islam where Islam is seen as the actually root problem rather than solution.
Liberal critiques of Islam are often labelled as “Liberal Fascists”, as if you’re raising voice against the Extremism and Hatred with the same intensity as the Extremism itself then you’re seen one of them. Its like if you hate the hatred you are hater yourself or you refuse to tolerate the intolerance you’re an intolerant person yourself. It doesn’t even matter how much rational or articulated you have tried to be while raising your voice, you’re still classified as a Left-wing Extremist as soon as you disagree with Islam being a remote possibility as a Solution
If you always have to reinterpret the scripture according to the new observations of modern times, isn’t it a failure of the scripture itself which came from a divine source as a Guide for you.
2. Lets focus on Good side of Islam: Moderate Muslims insist that we need to ignore or brush off the side of Islam that is anything but Peaceful, we should rather look at the good sides only. This is an argument full of Logical Fallacy, if you’ve to pick and choose Moral Lessons from the ideology that should have responsible to teach you Morality then you are already much more Moral than the Ideology itself. Question that these Moderate Muslims never ask themselves is that why these not-so-peaceful messages have been part of Islam for so long ?
3. Mullahs have distorted Islam: Playing a victim card is usually the fist form of Denial which is part of the Defense Mechanism. Believing that the ideology itself is fine but the Mullahs have been involved in the corruption clearly contradicts with the actual teaching of this particular ideology in the first instance. Islam claims to be the Final Religion by God that provides solution for each and every problem you may have had in life. Islam also claims that the previous messages / religions sent by God were manipulated by People and then God decided to send one last final message. Now, if Mullahs have managed to manipulate God’s one last final message to human-kind where do we go from here ? Secondly what guarantee we have that lets say 50 or 100 years from now, our next generations wouldn’t be debating on the same lines and blaming today’s Moderate Followers and / or Quranists screwed the whole message of Islam during early 21st century and the real Islam was in fact something else.
Islam claims that previous messages by God were manipulated by people. Now, if Mullahs have managed to manipulate God’s one last final message to human-kind where do we go from here ?
4. Reformation, not Rejection: For how many times really ? Since the 8th century or so we have had calls for Reformation in Islam. It was Mutazilla who called for Reformation, their voices were finally crushed in 12 century by a movement lead by Imam Ghazali and then in every age we have had calls for the Reformation in form or another. Ahmadiyya Sect is itself a product of this so-called Reformation call and today those same Ahmedis are considered Heretic by not only Conservative Muslims but also by these same Moderate Followers as well.
Point is that if are have to keep reconciling our faith with the challenges of current times and if you always have to reinterpret the scripture according to the new observations of modern times, isn’t it a failure of the scripture itself which came from a divine source as a Guide for you.
5. No more Hadith please: The growing dislike and frustration of Moderate Muslims with Ahadith is quite understandable and fits in quite well with the “The Great Muslim Apostasy” view I described in my previous post. Ahadith and Seerah books clearly depicts Islam and Prophet Muhammad as a person which was anything but Peaceful and anything but a wise man to look forward to as a role model (unless you go cherry picking the selective ahadith). With Quran however, its much easier to play around because of its language and style we can literally translate any verse as we like it.
Are you denying the Ahadith because they contradict with the view or model you have developed for Islam and Prophet Muhammad ?
Some Quranists believe that Islam Critics love to bring in the Ahadith because it makes Islam look really bad. I really doubt that is the case, problem is that Quranists simply fail to convince through their argument that why Ahadith cant be true or why it couldn’t have happened ? Are you denying the Ahadith because they contradict with the view or model you have developed for Islam and Prophet Muhammad in your mind or do you reject it because of the fact that these were orally transmitted years of Prophet Muhammad’s death ? If oral transmission if your problem then what makes Quran so divine in your view, wasn’t it orally transmitted, don’t you think there couldn’t have been a chance of mistake in that transmission ?
Where is the powerful movement that we should see coming from the Moderate Voices that should challenge, fight and then finally over-take the Extremist Elements in Muslim World ?
Besides the points I mentioned above, I would like to ask my Moderate Muslim friends as what exactly they are doing to help reduce the current wave of Extremism ? Where is the powerful movement that we should see coming from the Moderate Voices that should challenge, fight and then finally over-take the Extremist Elements in Muslim World ? Why do we see more and more youngsters drifting towards the Extremist Islam in Western countries than going towards the Moderate version of same ideology ? Why do you find it offensive when you see Islam Critics using Islamic History in order to make a point that Islam is a violent ideology but you are never seen as jumping up and down when the Islamist are using same history to make their point ?
In terms of the answer to Sana’s question regarding whether Islam is a problem or solution, I’ll let my readers decide what they think about it …