Islamic Reform


H/T: Kumitonttu
An editorial Introduction.

To ask such a question, shows the speaker to have accepted five myths concerning the history of Christianity, Islam and the Middle Ages.
Theses are that:
1.Medieval Christianity was barbarous, while Islam was refined.
2. Medieval women were oppressed.
3. Medieval culture was crude and ignorant.
4. Medieval politics were despotic.
5. The Middle Ages were uniquely violent.
H. W. Crocker III challenges these myths in the following.
Not unless you think it would benefit from additional dollops of Puritanism; further encouragement to smash altars, stained glass, and other forms of “idolatry”; prodding to ban riotous celebrations like Christmas and Easter; and support for fundamentalist Islamic schools that insist on sola Korana and sola Sunnah.
Indeed, it would seem that Islam has already had its reformers. Railing against the corruption of the West (let’s call it “Rome” for short) have been such modern Islamic Luthers as the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the cave-dwelling Osama bin Laden, the voice of young Islam — the Taliban (literally, the Islamic students) — and the puritanical Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia, which is most assuredly modern as it was not even founded until the 18th century, the age of the Enlightenment.
What would a Reformation bring to Islam that it does not already have? The Calvinists imposed stiff penalties for infringements of dress codes and behavior, but these rules don’t go beyond the sharia law of Saudi Arabia. Luther denied the divine right of the pope and affirmed the divine right of princes (uniting church and state, which were previously separate), but that doctrine is already well established in Islam, where mosque and state are meant to be united.
The Protestant reformers repudiated the Catholic Church for dallying too much with classical thinkers and decadent artists (like Raphael); many of them condemned the Catholic doctrine of free will (believing, as do the Muslims, in a kind of fatalism); and they damned Catholics for putting too much emphasis on Thomistic logic and reason, and not enough on the literal interpretation of the Scriptures.
No one accuses Islam of such sins. When it comes to taking Islam back to its pure, uncorrupted form, as embodied by the Prophet himself – an assassination – approving, polygamous leader of jihad – it would be hard to outdo bin Laden and his fellow reformers. [The original “assassins” were dissident Shiites; the word is Arabic; Mohammed himself urged his followers to “kill any Jew that falls into your power.”].
Granted, the West is not what it was. Rather than Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, we have Andres Serrano and his infamous Piss Christ, Instead of the optimism of the renaissance, we have the modern (pagan) pessimism that sees nature’s gods plotting their revenge on over-populating, polluting humanity.
Instead of a confident West sizing its imperial mission to spread peace, commerce, and Christian charity and morality, the modern West is ambivalent about asserting its own values. There are even some in the West – including its Muslim converts – who think the Mohammedan’s stronger strictures against abortion, homosexuality, and secularism (if not Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, et al.) give them a certain moral superiority over such as the Dutch and liberals everywhere. Still, this remains I trust, a minority view.

Read the rest here.

2 Responses

  1. If by reformation you mean identical repetition of Christian reformation in the Islamic context, then yes, it is indeed unlikely. As someone who has studied Arabic and Islamic history, I would argue that change is possible. It is silly to argue that change is not possible, as that will negate the – classical liberal – idea of free will. Islam might be stagnant, but Muslims are not. If you accept the notion that Muslims are human beings then you need to accept the idea of free will. However, Islam will not change unless it is forced to change. I doubt that real change will take place organically.

  2. Hi Dennis, I agree with you, by I must include a caveat.

    Change in Islam is indeed possible, but it will only occur in the West and at the grass roots level, and only in conjuction with Western resolve that's committed to backing the right set of horses.

    These "horses" are the westernized "Modernist/Mild" Muslims that back the "golen rule" in treating others. They have be counted on to reject political Islam in every respect, meaning sharia, and denounce the Islamic violent and soft concepts of the Jihad, thereby rendering it exclusively to the realm of the spiritual.

    Then, and only then, can we talk about Islam being changed.

    If it's to happen, then it's only going to happen in the West, through political force and pressure, which will lead to Westernized Muslim leaders issuing fatwas against the traditional preaching of traditional Islam.

    What's going to have to take place is a full line in the sand being drawn, where there's a clear break between Islamic learning centers.

    Only when the Islamic East is effectively challenged by Muslims living in the West, will there be something to choose from…then watch the numbers fall from the ranks where ever they may be.

    It might result in Muslims defecting from the ranks of Islam or switching allegiances to the Westernized version.

    Rendering Mohamed's lifestyle to the history books, as well as the hateful antisemitic passages in the Koran, Sira and Hadiths has to be done, saying that it will be done is another thing altogether.

    I personally don't hold out too much hope for that happening, but then again, anything is possible, no matter how improbable.


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