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Thread: Muslim vs. Jewish interpretations of holy books

  1. #11
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    There are a few accusations of "literal" interpretations of the Quran---but this has little to do with law---rather, it concerns the issue of anthropomorphism of God....
    Or the thirst for world domination.

    VIDEO 1000 Muslims block London streets chanting Allahu Akbar to demand Islamic caliphate


    The street outside the empty embassy in Belgrave Square, London, was closed off as it filled with protestors and Islamic leaders chanting loudly and calling for America to be punished over Aleppo.

    The demonstration became an alternative to an official rally calling for an end to the bloodshed in Syria outside Downing Street.

    During the speeches which lasted almost an hour the crowd chanted Allahu Akbar 'God is the greatest' and cheered for those calling for a global caliphate.

    A poet invited to talk shouted: "We need a Caliph who will clean up these streets. Who will smack up armies and who will back beef [fighting].

    "Backhand your missiles back to your land, thatís the plan.

    "World domination at hand. We can expand and take out these fools."

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  2. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
  3. #12
    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meh Gerbil View Post
    I just hate to see nutty right wing rhetoric make it into your otherwise thoughtful offerings.
    I don't see why you need to call it "nutty right wing" rhetoric when progressitards are just as good, if not better at utilizing the same sort of rhetoric.

  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by robrecht View Post
    When an iman issues a fatwa about jihad and killing people, is that based on British law? Siam, would you be willing to personally tell the leaders of ISIL, ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other militant Muslims that their interpretations of Islam are wrong and that they should not be killing all these people in the name of Islam?
    ----Yes.

    to clarify some terms---Imam/Sheikh is a scholar (both of jurisprudence and theology), Fatwa is a non-binding legal opinion. (since the Islamic legal tradition is pluralistic---there are many opinions even within a particular school of law.) A Faqih is an Islamic jurist (one who has studied Fiqh/jurisprudence) and Usul is the methodology at arriving at law.

    Some violent extremist groups are clearly criminals/criminal gangs abusing religion as a legitimizing tool for greed, power, or ego. Which is why I disagree with the use of the term "Jihad" when referring to such people because Jihad is essentially a struggle for Justice---and the misuse of the term can validate the criminal activities of the extremists as done "for justice".
    Yet, there are Muslim groups who have legitimately taken up arms "for justice" in opposition to oppression. Consider, the Rohingya (Muslims) of Burma are facing persecution and genocide, they have tried to find asylum in other countries but are being refused---if they take up arms against the government of Burma in self-defense---are they violent extremists/terrorist? Should I condemn them? There are tensions in China between the Uyghur (Muslims) and the Han Chinese. The Chinese government calls a few of the Uyghurs as extremist/terrorist---are they? or are they activists/freedom fighters?---or are some activists and others criminals?

    Even more troubling (for me) are the non-violent extremists. These are people who hold extreme exclusivist views and while they may not necessary have/use weapons, they can cause much strife and discord ...and even terror (extreme harassment). Such people want to divest Islam of its diversity and insist on a monoculture---that only their way/view is right. To say to such people that their views are "unislamic" is to fall into the same trap of making a particular view dominant (mine not theirs)....which endangers that Islam becomes more of a monolith than it already is...

    So the problem (for the Muslim community/Ummah) is two-fold 1) to confront violent/criminal behavior 2) to confront extremist ideas/ideology. The first should ideally be tackled using law, the other has to be challenged using philosophy/principles of ethics. The 2nd part is already being done by both Muslim scholars and young Muslims. The implementation of law to deter criminal behavior can only occur once violence has stopped and order is restored. In a vacuum where there is no authority---there will not be means to have a fair and equitable system of justice. However, small independent communities in unstable regions may be able to set up their own systems so as to create order and peace, at least within their communities...?.....it is not necessary that a legal system always be state-controlled....?...

    On the other side is state violence and oppression. When states are in control of law---the violence and oppression can become "legitimate" (lawful) and since states have power---oppression can also become systemic/normative. As a Muslim---but also as a human being what are the best ways to confront and change such a situation? It is more difficult (for me) to answer this question when the "state" is secular/non-Muslim---because, if it is a Muslim-Majority state, at least there is a possibility that Muslims can use the legitimacy and authority of the Quran and Islamic tradition to persuade people to return to Justice, Compassion and Mercy, Equality and Human dignity. This is one reason why I think that there must be more dialogue/conversations with religious philosophies, particularly with the ethical/moral dimensions so that people and communities (globally) have a reference point. (religious philosophies = ideas about the "way of life", its meaning and purpose)

  5. #14
    tWebber Meh Gerbil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrawnus View Post
    I don't see why you need to call it "nutty right wing" rhetoric when progressitards are just as good, if not better at utilizing the same sort of rhetoric.
    Because it was a case of 'nutty right wing' rhetoric.
    If it was a case of 'progress moon bat babbling' I would have called it out as such.

    Also, the right wingers are more likely to say nutty things whereas the left wingers are more likely to be nutty things.
    Actually YOU put Trump in the White House. He wouldn't have gotten 1% of the vote if it wasn't for the widespread spiritual and cultural devastation caused by progressive policies. There's no "this country" left with your immigration policies, your "allies" are worthless and even more suicidal than you are and democracy is a sick joke that I hope nobody ever thinks about repeating when the current order collapses. - Darth_Executor striking a conciliatory note in Civics 101

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    ----Yes.
    Yes, in answer to which question?

    1. Yes, when an iman issues a fatwa about jihad and killing people, that is based on British law?

    2. Yes, you personally would be willing to tell the leaders of ISIL, ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other militant Muslims that their interpretations of Islam are wrong and that they should not be killing all these people in the name of Islam?

    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    to clarify some terms---Imam/Sheikh is a scholar (both of jurisprudence and theology), Fatwa is a non-binding legal opinion. (since the Islamic legal tradition is pluralistic---there are many opinions even within a particular school of law.) A Faqih is an Islamic jurist (one who has studied Fiqh/jurisprudence) and Usul is the methodology at arriving at law.

    Some violent extremist groups are clearly criminals/criminal gangs abusing religion as a legitimizing tool for greed, power, or ego. Which is why I disagree with the use of the term "Jihad" when referring to such people because Jihad is essentially a struggle for Justice---and the misuse of the term can validate the criminal activities of the extremists as done "for justice".
    What, if anything, can Muslims do to bring these criminals/criminal gangs to justice? If they are abusing Islam, is there any authority within Islam that can be helpful here?

    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    Yet, there are Muslim groups who have legitimately taken up arms "for justice" in opposition to oppression. Consider, the Rohingya (Muslims) of Burma are facing persecution and genocide, they have tried to find asylum in other countries but are being refused---if they take up arms against the government of Burma in self-defense---are they violent extremists/terrorist? Should I condemn them? There are tensions in China between the Uyghur (Muslims) and the Han Chinese. The Chinese government calls a few of the Uyghurs as extremist/terrorist---are they? or are they activists/freedom fighters?---or are some activists and others criminals?

    Even more troubling (for me) are the non-violent extremists. These are people who hold extreme exclusivist views and while they may not necessary have/use weapons, they can cause much strife and discord ...and even terror (extreme harassment). Such people want to divest Islam of its diversity and insist on a monoculture---that only their way/view is right. To say to such people that their views are "unislamic" is to fall into the same trap of making a particular view dominant (mine not theirs)....which endangers that Islam becomes more of a monolith than it already is...

    So the problem (for the Muslim community/Ummah) is two-fold 1) to confront violent/criminal behavior 2) to confront extremist ideas/ideology. The first should ideally be tackled using law, the other has to be challenged using philosophy/principles of ethics. The 2nd part is already being done by both Muslim scholars and young Muslims. The implementation of law to deter criminal behavior can only occur once violence has stopped and order is restored. In a vacuum where there is no authority---there will not be means to have a fair and equitable system of justice. However, small independent communities in unstable regions may be able to set up their own systems so as to create order and peace, at least within their communities...?.....it is not necessary that a legal system always be state-controlled....?...

    On the other side is state violence and oppression. When states are in control of law---the violence and oppression can become "legitimate" (lawful) and since states have power---oppression can also become systemic/normative. As a Muslim---but also as a human being what are the best ways to confront and change such a situation? It is more difficult (for me) to answer this question when the "state" is secular/non-Muslim---because, if it is a Muslim-Majority state, at least there is a possibility that Muslims can use the legitimacy and authority of the Quran and Islamic tradition to persuade people to return to Justice, Compassion and Mercy, Equality and Human dignity. This is one reason why I think that there must be more dialogue/conversations with religious philosophies, particularly with the ethical/moral dimensions so that people and communities (globally) have a reference point. (religious philosophies = ideas about the "way of life", its meaning and purpose)
    I think I understand your concerns about making Islam more monolithic than it already is, but are nonviolent extremists really more troubling for you than violent extremists? Really? While I am certainly no expert, it seems to me the violent extremists also have a monolithic view of what constitutes true Islam and they add violence on top of that.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον∑
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meh Gerbil View Post
    ... I just hate to see nutty right wing rhetoric make it into your otherwise thoughtful offerings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Meh Gerbil View Post
    Because it was a case of 'nutty right wing' rhetoric.
    If it was a case of 'progress moon bat babbling' I would have called it out as such.

    Also, the right wingers are more likely to say nutty things whereas the left wingers are more likely to be nutty things.
    I also thank you, Meh Gerbil, for the 'accusation' (?) of my supposedly using 'nutty right wing rhetoric' here. There's a first time for everything, I guess. But there are indeed left wingers like comedian Bill Maher who also seek to call out Islamic scholars, celebrities, communities, and countries for implicit acceptance and even complicity in not opposing some of the more violent interpretations of Islam.
    Last edited by robrecht; 12-17-2016 at 08:16 PM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον∑
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

  8. #17
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    ----Yes.

    to clarify some terms---Imam/Sheikh is a scholar (both of jurisprudence and theology), Fatwa is a non-binding legal opinion. (since the Islamic legal tradition is pluralistic---there are many opinions even within a particular school of law.) A Faqih is an Islamic jurist (one who has studied Fiqh/jurisprudence) and Usul is the methodology at arriving at law.

    Some violent extremist groups are clearly criminals/criminal gangs abusing religion as a legitimizing tool for greed, power, or ego. Which is why I disagree with the use of the term "Jihad" when referring to such people because Jihad is essentially a struggle for Justice---and the misuse of the term can validate the criminal activities of the extremists as done "for justice".
    Yet, there are Muslim groups who have legitimately taken up arms "for justice" in opposition to oppression. Consider, the Rohingya (Muslims) of Burma are facing persecution and genocide, they have tried to find asylum in other countries but are being refused---if they take up arms against the government of Burma in self-defense---are they violent extremists/terrorist? Should I condemn them? There are tensions in China between the Uyghur (Muslims) and the Han Chinese. The Chinese government calls a few of the Uyghurs as extremist/terrorist---are they? or are they activists/freedom fighters?---or are some activists and others criminals?

    Even more troubling (for me) are the non-violent extremists. These are people who hold extreme exclusivist views and while they may not necessary have/use weapons, they can cause much strife and discord ...and even terror (extreme harassment). Such people want to divest Islam of its diversity and insist on a monoculture---that only their way/view is right. To say to such people that their views are "unislamic" is to fall into the same trap of making a particular view dominant (mine not theirs)....which endangers that Islam becomes more of a monolith than it already is...

    So the problem (for the Muslim community/Ummah) is two-fold 1) to confront violent/criminal behavior 2) to confront extremist ideas/ideology. The first should ideally be tackled using law, the other has to be challenged using philosophy/principles of ethics. The 2nd part is already being done by both Muslim scholars and young Muslims. The implementation of law to deter criminal behavior can only occur once violence has stopped and order is restored. In a vacuum where there is no authority---there will not be means to have a fair and equitable system of justice. However, small independent communities in unstable regions may be able to set up their own systems so as to create order and peace, at least within their communities...?.....it is not necessary that a legal system always be state-controlled....?...

    On the other side is state violence and oppression. When states are in control of law---the violence and oppression can become "legitimate" (lawful) and since states have power---oppression can also become systemic/normative. As a Muslim---but also as a human being what are the best ways to confront and change such a situation? It is more difficult (for me) to answer this question when the "state" is secular/non-Muslim---because, if it is a Muslim-Majority state, at least there is a possibility that Muslims can use the legitimacy and authority of the Quran and Islamic tradition to persuade people to return to Justice, Compassion and Mercy, Equality and Human dignity. This is one reason why I think that there must be more dialogue/conversations with religious philosophies, particularly with the ethical/moral dimensions so that people and communities (globally) have a reference point. (religious philosophies = ideas about the "way of life", its meaning and purpose)
    Centralizing on the comment you made, "The first should ideally be tackled using law, the other has to be challenged using philosophy/principles of ethics. The 2nd part is already being done by both Muslim scholars and young Muslims. The implementation of law to deter criminal behavior can only occur once violence has stopped and order is restored. In a vacuum where there is no authority"

    What authority will they listen too? You saw Egypt and the election along with who took over the power in this country from the last authority figure. Plus on top of everything else, the authority figures were expelled or killed. Can you have a democracy and still maintain Shia law? The two are conflicting each other.

    One theory holds that democracy requires three fundamental principles: (1) upward control, i.e. sovereignty residing at the lowest levels of authority, (2) political equality, and (3) social norms by which individuals and institutions only consider acceptable acts that reflect the first two principles of upward control and political equality.

  9. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    -On the other side is state violence and oppression. When states are in control of law---the violence and oppression can become "legitimate" (lawful) and since states have power---oppression can also become systemic/normative. As a Muslim---but also as a human being what are the best ways to confront and change such a situation? It is more difficult (for me) to answer this question when the "state" is secular/non-Muslim---because, if it is a Muslim-Majority state, at least there is a possibility that Muslims can use the legitimacy and authority of the Quran and Islamic tradition to persuade people to return to Justice, Compassion and Mercy, Equality and Human dignity. This is one reason why I think that there must be more dialogue/conversations with religious philosophies, particularly with the ethical/moral dimensions so that people and communities (globally) have a reference point. (religious philosophies = ideas about the "way of life", its meaning and purpose)

    That answered my last question - good answer!

  10. #19
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    @ robrecht, Marta

    Both raised some good points about authority---and here are some of my thoughts....
    (these are not answers---just some thoughts)

    Can an Imam/Sheikh (Scholar) or Jurist (Faqih) have an opinion about laws not derived from Quran/Sunnah?
    Usul al-Fiqh (methodology at arriving at law) has several sources/tools---The Quran and Sunnah ofcourse---but there are other sources that can be used in the construction of law---Al-urf (customs) is a source from which the customary/normative practices of a (pre-Islamic) community were incorporated into Islamic law. This community could have been Byzantine, Persian, or other. So, if a practice has become customary and normative---it can be "Islamic law" provided it does not contradict the ethico-moral principles of the primary sources....Therefore, a Jurist or Scholar can have opinions on the Laws of the land as it is practiced in that country.
    Other tools that are used in Usul al-Fiqh are Al-Istislah (public Interest), Qiyas (analogical reasoning), ijma (consensus)...etc...
    Both Islam and Judaism are religions of Law---but Judaism (as I understand it) has about 613 commandments/Mitzvot. Islam is different--in that, the Quran is not really a book of law.

    Authority and justice in an environment of failed/unstable states---Without a mechanism that can establish equitable justice, particularly if these communities were multi-religious, the situation would be very difficult...but... perhaps, the community could establish a Shura (consultation) system? The larger community could choose a group of people who warrant their respect and who could arbitrate by mutual consultation to arrive at the most equitable and just solutions?....
    Consider, when we think about "authority figures" in our own lives, parents, teachers, peers we might respect, mentors---and other such people come to mind. Therefore, it seems to me that even in a political power vacuum, there may be a possibility of some degree of restorative justice?

    Sharia (law) and State (in the context of Authority)---Power corrupts. Laws can be an instrument to gain power. So the mixing of two areas of power--that of the state apparatus and lawmaking is not the most brilliant idea...?...It might be better to have these areas of power independent, and competing so that both are kept in check by the other? So, Sharia might work better if the Scholars and Jurists are independent of the State/government...thus, corruption and abuse of one institution can be addressed by appeal to the other?

    Democracy---I don't have any particular preference on labels of political systems. Perhaps there may be some criteria that leads towards good governance regardless of the label? for example, diffusion of power in such a way that communities have the "authority" to help themselves---that is, find solutions to the particularities of their situation/environment. Systems that support transparency and accountability so that corruption can be deterred or at least speedily dealt with at all levels and the division of responsibility and authority is clear. Fostering charity as an obligation in the communities so that all members are responsible for the well-being of everyone in their community...and the government is responsible for safeguarding the well-being of all its members/citizens....and such?... I do not have a clear idea of what type of governance/political structure I prefer but considering that democracies can "elect" bad people...I am still reflecting on how large group systems could best be structured for the maximum benefit of all.....particularly in the context of globalization....

  11. #20
    tWebber stfoskey15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    "interpret Quran literally"---probably does not actually mean what the literal words say---it most likely means--interpret "law" "literally" (which in this context means harshly).
    ...for example, in some (muslim-majority) countries---the anti-blasphemy laws actually comes from British law--which was put in place as a protection of religion---but is now being abused.....(but abuse of law also occurs with modern (mis) interpretations and (mis) applications of Sharia.) My own opinion on this matter is that Modern law is formulated as a basis of punishment (retributive justice)---that is, law is to be used to punish a human beings for crimes. But "Law"(fiqh) was used (in Islamic history) mainly as a mechanism to settle disputes equitably. Thus the bulk of dispute resolutions concerned civil/commercial matters.... The Quran does deal with some issues that could be considered "crimes" (within Islam) such as adultury, theft, treason...etc.

    The Quran does not approve of (male) homosexuality but does not give any punishment for homosexuality so generally the verse about adultery is used---but this verse is interpreted to apply to public adultery. (4 witnesses required).

    Sharia is for Muslims only---but Modern law practices are not very amenable to legal pluralism within a geographical territory---Modernity prefers that one law applies to all. This distorts the classical practice of Islamic jurisprudence which was meant to be plural. Islamic jurisprudence has a purpose and a methodology. The Quran is a Guide---but it is not a textbook of law, and there are other sources besides the Quran in the formation of Jurists opinions.

    Generally, (classical)Muslim jurists understood that Justice must be balanced with compassion and mercy so, although criminal punishments seemed harsh (Deterrent justice) the harsh law was meant as a preventive and not to be applied. The principle was that the judge must use his/her discretionary power to bend towards compassion and mercy as much as possible.

    There are a few accusations of "literal" interpretations of the Quran---but this has little to do with law---rather, it concerns the issue of anthropomorphism of God. for example ---if the Quran mentions the "right hand" of God---is it referring to what we human beings see as the shape of the human hand or is it metaphorical---or something in-between....etc...and other such contentions/disputes....
    So you're saying that the worst offenses in predominantly Islamic countries are not the fault of Islam but the fault of the governments there?
    Find my speling strange? I'm trying this out: Simplified Speling. Feel free to join me.

    "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do."-Jeremy Bentham

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