By Bassam Madany
Al-Awan is a liberal/reformist online journal that calls for the de-coupling of the Islamic faith
from the Public Square, via a process of radical reforms in the interpretation of the Qur’an. On
two previous occasions, I had translated and commented on thi s topic: “Modernity and theQur’an,” and “What is the Qur’an?”
Many reformist intellectuals have concluded that any genuine reformation in the Islamic religionmust start with the adoption of a new hermeneutic that takes into consideration and critiques the time and circumstances for the “descent” of each Qur’anic Surah.
Such an approach runs counter to the historic Muslim belief that the sacred text is “uncreated,” and remains normative for all time, and in all places! Notwithstanding this belief, liberal Muslims are working hard to initiate radical reforms, realizing that unless these changes take place, the exodus from Islam will only accelerate among future generations.i
The following excerpts from the Arabic on-line article present the case for such a radicalhermeneutical venture:
“The Qur’an declares that, the only acceptable religion to Allah is Islam (3:19) This Ayah implies that Islam is the most complete and worthy faith to follow. Islamists, most Muslims,even so- called ‘Moderates,’ regard all other
religions as false.
“Can we claim then that Islam is a tolerant religion; or, are its detractors right, when they assert
that Islam, is the most intolerant faith? When Muslim radicals commit crimes against humanity,the conclusion is obvious: Islam is a violent and belligerent religion.
“On the other hand, when we study the early chapters of the Qur’an (the Meccan
Surahs 610-622,) we encounter Ayas that breathe a tolerant faith, with emphasis on freedom and mercy toward all human beings.
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
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