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Thread: The Future of Islam

  1. #21
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    ---My opinion is that the type of government makes little difference, theocracy, monarchy, democracy or any other organization of government (government = the management/administration of an organized society). What is more important is how does the "system" balance power---because without a balance of power, there will be a tendency/inevitability of an abuse of power which will lead to oppression....
    ---Most systems of law in Muslim-majority countries are hybrid systems because colonization destroyed the infrastructures of the "Islamic" system and replaced it with European ones....
    ---"Modern international law" or what passes as one---is inconsistent
    International Law is far more consistent an relevant today then any of the varied versions of Shiria. An important issue in the problem is Laws dealing with those outside Islam. In almost all Islamic countries it is punishable by death to convert to any other religions. and other religions are persecuted like the Baha'i Faith.

    The system of government is indeed the problem. The basic belief in Islam is a theocracy. You cannot blame the problems at present in Islamic countries, and claiming hybrid law does not apply, unless the Muslims wish this. In today's world Muslims rule Muslims in Islamic countries, The countries that claim pure Shiria are the countries that have the most problems relating to those outside the faithful individually or internationally outside Islam.

    It is past time for you to stop scapegoating foreign countries and colonialism for the failure of Islam to effectively and equitably govern in most Islamic countries.

    If Bahai religion is "Modern" then it is doomed because "Modernity" is not in balance and harmony. The reason for that is because it is not a wholistic paradigm based on Unity (Tawheed) rather it is a divided world view that attempts to separate various aspects of life and living---Modernity has aspects that lean towards "Shirk"/Division. Contemporary religions (way of life)/spiritualities are not wrong, only, the default standard of comparison should not be "Modernity".
    You are using modernity in a different way. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are divided, contradictory, and in conflict, which is sufficient to consider them impotent when dealing with the world we know today.

    Your posts remain rambling, inconsistent and hard to respond to.
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  2. #22
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    International Law is far more consistent an relevant today then any of the varied versions of Shiria. An important issue in the problem is Laws dealing with those outside Islam. In almost all Islamic countries it is punishable by death to convert to any other religions. and other religions are persecuted like the Baha'i Faith.

    The system of government is indeed the problem. The basic belief in Islam is a theocracy. You cannot blame the problems at present in Islamic countries, and claiming hybrid law does not apply, unless the Muslims wish this. In today's world Muslims rule Muslims in Islamic countries, The countries that claim pure Shiria are the countries that have the most problems relating to those outside the faithful individually or internationally outside Islam.

    It is past time for you to stop scapegoating foreign countries and colonialism for the failure of Islam to effectively and equitably govern in most Islamic countries.



    You are using modernity in a different way. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are divided, contradictory, and in conflict, which is sufficient to consider them impotent when dealing with the world we know today.

    Your posts remain rambling, inconsistent and hard to respond to.
    Posts hard to respond to---apologies, I am not sure how serious our discussion is...if we are just passing time on an interesting topic, I won't make an effort to go in-depth...but if there is serious interest in knowing about the various voices within Islam that are talking about the future--then we could go more in-depth, and I could bring up articles whose views I may or may not agree with....

    Modernity---the heritage of the values and philosophies articulated by Enlightenment philosophers that are being played out in the present day. (my definition---sort of)

    Diversity in religion---I am not in favor of a "universal religion" or a universal jurisprudence. The freedom of conscience (..and religion/way of life) would dictate that there be diversity within humanity. Without this we will be living under oppression. It is only the fact of having choices that guarantees our freedom.

    Tawheed (Unity) does not imply nor force "sameness"---If God had intended sameness---he would have made us clones of each other---but he intended diversity. Therefore, humanity has to strive towards Unity within the framework of the diversity God intended. This means that human beings can experiment with multiple systems and use the one that suits them best.

    This means that groups can choose to live under the leadership of theocrats, or monarchs, or philosophers, or even idiots if they so choose . But for this to work...choices must be available. If there is only one economic system, or political system, or judicial system...imposed by force onto everyone---this will lead to a lack of choices---and to oppression.

    For us Muslims---in our history, we have a long period of time to look back on and to evaluate and analyze what systems worked and why--and what did not and why....so in contemplating our future we have the luxury of adapting successful "systems" to the new needs and environment we may find ourselves in. Modernization has been tried and it has not worked well. You too agree that Modern Islam is not working well----it is precisely the reason we Muslims need to find another way. Wahabism and ISIS is what we got with Modernity!!!

    I am not scapegoating about law---this historical fact has been pointed out and verified by scholars who have done research---for example---Blasphemy law used in some Modern Muslim countries came from British law---not Sharia----though it is true Muslims now claim it. (Such laws are approx 18th century laws which were misogynist and unfair though at that time were the norm for the West---Also the Tanzimat "modernization project" of the Ottomans hybridized laws and some were inherited by Muslim countries) The study of law is founded on an education system and during colonization this was destroyed and often Christian schools and Western education replaced the original systems. In spite of this, Muslims adapted and moved forward---but now, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate....

    Countries that claim Sharia---In modern nation-state systems---regardless of religion or no-religion---the state makes and/or approves the laws. Sharia (law) was not meant to be used/abused by state power---it was meant as a means to balance state power. Without a balance of power---abuse of power will occur ---and this is a point even enlightenment thinkers agreed with....which is why---in order to create this balance they came up with various degrees of secularism. This created a separation of powers between state and religion---but in classical Islam---this separation already existed and it was Modernity that unbalanced this power dynamic.

  3. #23
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    Posts hard to respond to---apologies, I am not sure how serious our discussion is...if we are just passing time on an interesting topic, I won't make an effort to go in-depth...but if there is serious interest in knowing about the various voices within Islam that are talking about the future--then we could go more in-depth, and I could bring up articles whose views I may or may not agree with....
    I consider the discussion serious and not casual.

    Modernity---the heritage of the values and philosophies articulated by Enlightenment philosophers that are being played out in the present day. (my definition---sort of)
    This really is only a partial definition, and not adequate to find any fault in. The contribution of Enlightenment philosophers is indeed positive in the heritage of Western law today. The evolution of Constitutional Law and the separation of religion and state are also indeed positive contributions to modern international law.

    Diversity in religion---I am not in favor of a "universal religion" or a universal jurisprudence. The freedom of conscience (..and religion/way of life) would dictate that there be diversity within humanity. Without this we will be living under oppression. It is only the fact of having choices that guarantees our freedom.
    This is admirable from your perspective, but it is a primarily Baha'i view of religion and the relationship with the diverse world beyond the Baha'i Faith, but unfortunately the diversity of religion and universal jurisprudence is not accepted in Islamic countries. The current Sharia Law does not acknowledge freedom of individual choice, and guarantees of freedom on the individual level.

    Tawheed (Unity) does not imply nor force "sameness"---If God had intended sameness---he would have made us clones of each other---but he intended diversity. Therefore, humanity has to strive towards Unity within the framework of the diversity God intended. This means that human beings can experiment with multiple systems and use the one that suits them best.
    Agreed from a Baha'i perspective, but not apparent in the Islamic world.

    This means that groups can choose to live under the leadership of theocrats, or monarchs, or philosophers, or even idiots if they so choose . But for this to work...choices must be available. If there is only one economic system, or political system, or judicial system...imposed by force onto everyone---this will lead to a lack of choices---and to oppression.
    Again I agree, but but not apparent in the Islamic world. Individuals and groups are not allowed to choose anything outside Sharia Law.

    For us Muslims---in our history, we have a long period of time to look back on and to evaluate and analyze what systems worked and why--and what did not and why....so in contemplating our future we have the luxury of adapting successful "systems" to the new needs and environment we may find ourselves in. Modernization has been tried and it has not worked well. You too agree that Modern Islam is not working well----it is precisely the reason we Muslims need to find another way. Wahabism and ISIS is what we got with Modernity!!!
    This is most definitely an unfortunate scapegoat of the negative view you have of 'modernity,' which by the way does not reflect the somewhat vague definition you previously gave.

    I am not scapegoating about law---this historical fact has been pointed out and verified by scholars who have done research---for example---Blasphemy law used in some Modern Muslim countries came from British law---not Sharia----though it is true Muslims now claim it. (Such laws are approx 18th century laws which were misogynist and unfair though at that time were the norm for the West---Also the Tanzimat "modernization project" of the Ottomans hybridized laws and some were inherited by Muslim countries) The study of law is founded on an education system and during colonization this was destroyed and often Christian schools and Western education replaced the original systems. In spite of this, Muslims adapted and moved forward---but now, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate....
    You most definitely are scapegoating the west and past history, and ignoring the fact that today Islamic countries are governed by Muslims and Shiria Law, and not Western Law. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Western education either, which evolved in large part from Islamic universities in Spain.

    Countries that claim Sharia---In modern nation-state systems---regardless of religion or no-religion---the state makes and/or approves the laws. Sharia (law) was not meant to be used/abused by state power---it was meant as a means to balance state power. Without a balance of power---abuse of power will occur ---and this is a point even enlightenment thinkers agreed with....which is why---in order to create this balance they came up with various degrees of secularism. This created a separation of powers between state and religion---but in classical Islam---this separation already existed and it was Modernity that unbalanced this power dynamic.
    You will have to document this separation from religion and state, because based on scripture and history Islam is a theocracy and Sharia is the Law.

    You have also failed to justify the repression under Islamic Law, which does not exist under Western and International Law. There is no western country that has a law where one may not convert to another religion under penalty of death. There is no western country where the Baha'i Faith is forbidden by Law.

    Please respond where you have failed to do so . . . still waiting.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 04-02-2016 at 08:03 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
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    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    I consider the discussion serious and not casual.

    This really is only a partial definition, and not adequate to find any fault in. The contribution of Enlightenment philosophers is indeed positive in the heritage of Western law today. The evolution of Constitutional Law and the separation of religion and state are also indeed positive contributions to modern international law.

    This is admirable from your perspective, but it is a primarily Baha'i view of religion and the relationship with the diverse world beyond the Baha'i Faith, but unfortunately the diversity of religion and universal jurisprudence is not accepted in Islamic countries. The current Sharia Law does not acknowledge freedom of individual choice, and guarantees of freedom on the individual level.

    Agreed from a Baha'i perspective, but not apparent in the Islamic world.
    Again I agree, but but not apparent in the Islamic world. Individuals and groups are not allowed to choose anything outside Sharia Law.

    This is most definitely an unfortunate scapegoat of the negative view you have of 'modernity,' which by the way does not reflect the somewhat vague definition you previously gave.
    You most definitely are scapegoating the west and past history, and ignoring the fact that today Islamic countries are governed by Muslims and Shiria Law, and not Western Law. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Western education either, which evolved in large part from Islamic universities in Spain.

    You will have to document this separation from religion and state, because based on scripture and history Islam is a theocracy and Sharia is the Law.

    You have also failed to justify the repression under Islamic Law, which does not exist under Western and International Law. There is no western country that has a law where one may not convert to another religion under penalty of death. There is no western country where the Baha'i Faith is forbidden by Law.

    Please respond where you have failed to do so . . . still waiting.
    Serious---If there is real interest---I will give lots of links---Some of these links are for Muslims, so there may be some questions, if so, please ask....
    partial definition---Maybe so, but this seems to be the general understanding among scholars in their articles and talks so I will be going with it for now---if you want to add something to it please suggest...

    (Agreements---nice to know that our aspirations for the future are similar)

    Western Education---Yes there is good in Western/Modern Education, but they do not teach Islamic philosophy or Islamic Jurisprudence and without these two branches of knowledge, one should not expect it to re-produce the classical Sharia jurisprudence....The Enlightenment thinkers/philosophers borrowed from Islamic philosophy so their concerns and articulations have some similarities but they did not fully understand Tawheed and its ramifications so there are imbalances.

    (Hybridization of law---will give link)

    Separation of Church and State---You are probably familiar with this---but let me re-state it---neither Church (organized Islam) nor "State" (Modern nation-state based on artificially drawn territories) existed during pre-Modern times. Identity was based on tribal affiliations or cultural/ethnic ties, thus, the fluctuating boundaries of empires did not effect identity-constructs as much. So when we talk about "balance of power"---we need to consider these different constructs. However, for convenience many simply use the terms Church/Mosque and State....(Which technically was Law and State in Islamic empires)....

    During the time of the Prophet, some feel it may have been a theocracy because the Prophet was head of both religious and state affairs (the Queen also heads both in Britian...)....Yet, the Prophet was elected by the majority of the population of Medina to lead them and the Jews of Medina could follow their own customs and laws (religious freedom) according to the provisions of the Constitution of Medina....Later, During the 4 Caliph period, these elected Caliphs lead by a Shura (consultation) system (committee)...then came the Ummayads (661-750)---and they were not particularly religious---so the Ulama (scholars)could function as caretakers of religion/Sharia and the Islamic legal schools developed into sophisticated systems starting from around the 8th century and by the time of the Abbasids, the Fuquha (Jurists) and Ulama (scholars) were already functioning as a balance to the power of the Caliphs. (In part, this was thanks to the Ummayads who were prejudiced against non-Arabs which went against the principles of the Quran in its conceptions of equality and justice.) As the power of the Ulama became more established the Abbasid Caliph persecuted some over a dispute over the status of the Quran...but this did not last and the balance of power remained...though in tension...until the Tanzimat reforms.

    "The formative period of Islamic jurisprudence stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory. Progress in theory began to develop with the coming of the early Muslim jurist Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i (767–820), who codified the basic principles of Islamic jurisprudence in his book ar-Risālah. The book details the four roots of law (Qur'an, Sunnah, ijma, and qiyas) while specifying that the primary Islamic texts (the Qur'an and the hadith) must be understood according to objective rules of interpretation derived from scientific study of the Arabic language.

    According to scholar Noah Feldman, under many Muslim caliphate states and later states ruled by sultans, the Ulema were regarded as the guardians of Islamic law and prevented the Caliph from dictating legal results, with the ruler and ulama forming a sort of "separation of powers" in government. Laws were decided based on the Ijma (consensus) of the Ummah (community), which was most often represented by the legal scholars.In order to qualify as a legal scholar, it was necessary obtain a doctorate known as the ijazat attadris wa 'l-ifttd ("license to teach and issue legal opinions") from a Madrasah. In many ways, classical Islamic law functioned like a constitutional law."---https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulama

    This balance of power has been noted by Scholars who have studied Islamic law such as Dr Tariq Ramadan and Sh. Hamza Yusuf, as well as others (Dr. Badawi...etc...also by J Cesari--linked previously---but can search her other talks too)
    here is another opinion:-
    http://abuaminaelias.com/separation-...tate-in-islam/

    Religious freedom:-
    http://karamah.org/wp-content/upload...onference1.pdf (Charter of Medina)
    http://karamah.org/wp-content/upload...ians-final.pdf (Protection of Christians)

    Hybrid laws:-
    legal systems of the world---sorry, a bit difficult to see
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...world_(en).png
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...elds/2100.html

    other links:- (some voices of Muslims scholars)
    http://tariqramadan.com/english/isla...nity-in-islam/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAgGB407FHs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnwR5rhtgqQ

    I gave links on the principle of religious diversity---however, as you mentioned, some Muslim-majority countries have tensions or persecutions of minorities. I will give links, in the next response, of voices of Muslim scholars considering this issue....

  5. #25
    tWebber
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    Minorities and Equality
    This is a complex topic because various countries have their own mix of socio-political dynamics---I previously touched on this issue in specific contexts---this time, will be Bahai and Iran---which also has its own context...

    Firstly though, if there is any assumption that the West has been a paragon of virtue or that Islam is unique in its "xyz" ---this would be an incorrect assumption. Hate/prejudice are a universal human problem. Nevertheless, the universality of tribalism does not make it less wrong. If degrees of tribalism (hate/prejudice) is a human tendency, then expecting to eliminate it completely may be an utopian fantasy. Human diversity will create tensions. But when hate/prejudice is wielded by power, the degree of harm increases so much so that it becomes imperative to tackle such toxicity. (power = nation-state, judiciary, law enforcers, privileged elites...etc) Ethno-cultural tribalism existed in pre-modern times and its legacy still continues today but there are also "Modern" prejudices such as racism and nationalism, and other identity-constructs. (such as LGBT...etc) Both pre-Modern and Modern societies (Eastern and Western) have suffered and continue to suffer from prejudice. In the case of Iran, the State is involved in allowing prejudice against the Bahai.

    Iran and Bahai---In Iran, some minorities are protected (in theory) by the constitution but both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities suffer from prejudice. Some minorities such as Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians have a reserved seat in parliament, others such as Mandeans, Bahai, Sufi...etc do not. In particular, Bahai are not considered a minority religion but a "heresy" of the particular school of Shia Islam practiced in Iran. (Twelvers). They are thus perceived (propaganda) as not loyal to Iran, making it easy to disguise the prejudice as a "National Security" issue. (...a common phenomenon of "Modernity").

    Some voices of Muslims regarding this issue:-
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...ives-hope-iran
    http://www.bahairights.org/about/

    Minority rights and Equality (General) ---Tawheed emphasizes unity, therefore, when we think about rights and responsibilities in a Tawhidic framework, it needs to be wholistic. The West/Modernity does not do this. There is a prevalence to divide issues of justice into groups such as Womens rights (Feminism) or Black Womens rights (Black Feminism), or Civil rights (Black men and womens rights) or LGBT rights, or minority rights or religious freedom issues or poverty...etc. The result, IMO, is that you get peicemeal/band-aid solutions to issues of justice and equality rather than systemic long-term solutions. It also does not confront the underlying philosophy and value systems that enable such injustice and inequality.

    When tackling rights and responsibilities as a systemic issue, we need to consider the power dynamics effecting the systems and make provisions that will keep it in balance so that abuses will be minimized. But a wholistic system of balance of power requires consideration of many elements such as independent education institutes, independent judiciary, decentralized political systems, and ethical economics. Also---all of these systems should be in the framework of plurality so that people have choices.

    These elements existed in what is called "Islamic civilization" to various degrees and so, what worked or did not can be evaluated....

    Each region has its own specificity but here are some voices on the subject
    http://tariqramadan.com/english/plur...anka-18092015/
    http://karamah.org/wp-content/upload...Pluralism1.pdf
    Marina Mahathir and her organization Sisters-in-Islam have also worked on "Minority rights" in S.E.A.

  6. #26
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    Minorities and Equality
    This is a complex topic because various countries have their own mix of socio-political dynamics---I previously touched on this issue in specific contexts---this time, will be Bahai and Iran---which also has its own context...

    Firstly though, if there is any assumption that the West has been a paragon of virtue or that Islam is unique in its "xyz" ---this would be an incorrect assumption. Hate/prejudice are a universal human problem.
    Careful pleading an illusive 'complexity,' the problems are matter of fact what Shiria Law is and how it functions in the real world, and not how one idealistically believes it should be.

    I never described anything that must be 'a paragon of virtue' including Islam. No system religious nor secular will ever reach any such standard. The problem is how well Islam and Shiria functions in the real world. Too many of your sources describe academic apologist idealism, and this fails where the rubber meets road, the real Islam in today's world. You have failed to address the the fractious often bloody and violent division of Islam into Shia and Sunni that makes Islam impotent today for international leadership.

    Nevertheless, the universality of tribalism does not make it less wrong. If degrees of tribalism (hate/prejudice) is a human tendency, then expecting to eliminate it completely may be an utopian fantasy. Human diversity will create tensions. But when hate/prejudice is wielded by power, the degree of harm increases so much so that it becomes imperative to tackle such toxicity. (power = nation-state, judiciary, law enforcers, privileged elites...etc) Ethno-cultural tribalism existed in pre-modern times and its legacy still continues today but there are also "Modern" prejudices such as racism and nationalism, and other identity-constructs. (such as LGBT...etc) Both pre-Modern and Modern societies (Eastern and Western) have suffered and continue to suffer from prejudice. In the case of Iran, the State is involved in allowing prejudice against the Bahai.
    Your undercurrent of the scapegoat of the vague illusive "modernism." This does not address the question of Islam in today's world. It is not a matter of Iran, the State, allowing 'presecution' not just prejudice. The cause is Islam, NOT the state. As a matter of fact in Iran the state and Islam are one, and this is nothing new, persecution of the Baha'is has a long history. Under International Law the rights of the Baha'is are protected not in most Islamic countries, not just a few.

    Iran and Bahai---In Iran, some minorities are protected (in theory) by the constitution but both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities suffer from prejudice. Some minorities such as Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians have a reserved seat in parliament, others such as Mandeans, Bahai, Sufi...etc do not. In particular, Bahai are not considered a minority religion but a "heresy" of the particular school of Shia Islam practiced in Iran. (Twelvers). They are thus perceived (propaganda) as not loyal to Iran, making it easy to disguise the prejudice as a "National Security" issue. (...a common phenomenon of "Modernity").
    The consideration of what is 'heresy' and how this is treated in Islamic countries is the problem that makes Islam disfunctional in the modern world. In Judaism Christianity is a heresy, and in Christianity Islam is a heresy. Under International Law persecution and prejudice and judicial nor religious punishment for accusations of 'heresy' are forbidden as it should be. In ALL but a few Islamic countries the Baha'i is forbidden, and conversion by Muslims to another religion, including Judaism and Christianity, is against the law and in many countries punishable by death if not recanted, by Shiria Law.
    [quote]

    'Some voices' fail to justify your case, when considering the matter of fact of what happens in the real world in Islamic countries. Baha'is are still being put in prison and persecuted NOW.

    Minority rights and Equality (General) ---Tawheed emphasizes unity, therefore, when we think about rights and responsibilities in a Tawhidic framework, it needs to be wholistic. The West/Modernity does not do this. There is a prevalence to divide issues of justice into groups such as Womens rights (Feminism) or Black Womens rights (Black Feminism), or Civil rights (Black men and womens rights) or LGBT rights, or minority rights or religious freedom issues or poverty...etc. The result, IMO, is that you get piecemeal/band-aid solutions to issues of justice and equality rather than systemic long-term solutions. It also does not confront the underlying philosophy and value systems that enable such injustice and inequality.
    You have failed to demonstrate any 'systemic long term solutions' in Islamic countries. International Law matter of fact addresses these issues specifically, in most Islamic countries this is not being addressed at all.

    When tackling rights and responsibilities as a systemic issue, we need to consider the power dynamics effecting the systems and make provisions that will keep it in balance so that abuses will be minimized. But a wholistic system of balance of power requires consideration of many elements such as independent education institutes, independent judiciary, decentralized political systems, and ethical economics. Also---all of these systems should be in the framework of plurality so that people have choices.
    Not meaningful, the systemic issue in Islamic countries is disfunctional Islamic Shiria Law. Under International Law, which you object to, people have well defined choices and freedoms.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 04-10-2016 at 04:57 PM.
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    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    Western Education---Yes there is good in Western/Modern Education, but they do not teach Islamic philosophy or Islamic Jurisprudence and without these two branches of knowledge, one should not expect it to re-produce the classical Sharia jurisprudence....The Enlightenment thinkers/philosophers borrowed from Islamic philosophy so their concerns and articulations have some similarities but they did not fully understand Tawheed and its ramifications so there are imbalances.
    One problem with this conclusion is that in modern western education there are numerous course on Islam taught by Muslims in western countries. Yes there are many concepts in western law and government that are borrowed from Islam, and this is acknowledged. I do not believe this addresses the problems of Shiria Law in today's world.

    (Hybridization of law---will give link)
    In my view hybridization is a process when constructive, you have a tendency to lump negative aspects of the changing world, including the Baha'i Faith, with your illusive accusations of 'Modernity' which are not constructive. International Law is an important positive need involving relationships between nations, cultures and religions on issues of economics, and human relationships across national, cultural, religious boundaries. If you have objections to International Laws, you need to be specific. In fact, International Law is to a large extent based on Baha'i principles of relationships between nations, races, cultures and religions.

    Yes, Dictatorships East and West are violations of International Law and have existed throughout history, even before there was ever a division between Western and Eastern cultures and religions. Westernization and Modernism should not be scapegoats for bad governments and dictatorships in the Islamic world cannot be totally blamed on the West. Shiria Law is the problem, and how it is enforced whether in a dictatorship or not.

    Separation of Church and State---You are probably familiar with this---but let me re-state it---neither Church (organized Islam) nor "State" (Modern nation-state based on artificially drawn territories) existed during pre-Modern times. Identity was based on tribal affiliations or cultural/ethnic ties, thus, the fluctuating boundaries of empires did not effect identity-constructs as much. So when we talk about "balance of power"---we need to consider these different constructs. However, for convenience many simply use the terms Church/Mosque and State....(Which technically was Law and State in Islamic empires)....

    During the time of the Prophet, some feel it may have been a theocracy because the Prophet was head of both religious and state affairs (the Queen also heads both in Britian...)....Yet, the Prophet was elected by the majority of the population of Medina to lead them and the Jews of Medina could follow their own customs and laws (religious freedom) according to the provisions of the Constitution of Medina....Later, During the 4 Caliph period, these elected Caliphs lead by a Shura (consultation) system (committee)...then came the Ummayads (661-750)---and they were not particularly religious---so the Ulama (scholars)could function as caretakers of religion/Sharia and the Islamic legal schools developed into sophisticated systems starting from around the 8th century and by the time of the Abbasids, the Fuquha (Jurists) and Ulama (scholars) were already functioning as a balance to the power of the Caliphs. (In part, this was thanks to the Ummayads who were prejudiced against non-Arabs which went against the principles of the Quran in its conceptions of equality and justice.) As the power of the Ulama became more established the Abbasid Caliph persecuted some over a dispute over the status of the Quran...but this did not last and the balance of power remained...though in tension...until the Tanzimat reforms.

    "The formative period of Islamic jurisprudence stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory. Progress in theory began to develop with the coming of the early Muslim jurist Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i (767–820), who codified the basic principles of Islamic jurisprudence in his book ar-Risālah. The book details the four roots of law (Qur'an, Sunnah, ijma, and qiyas) while specifying that the primary Islamic texts (the Qur'an and the hadith) must be understood according to objective rules of interpretation derived from scientific study of the Arabic language.

    According to scholar Noah Feldman, under many Muslim caliphate states and later states ruled by sultans, the Ulema were regarded as the guardians of Islamic law and prevented the Caliph from dictating legal results, with the ruler and ulama forming a sort of "separation of powers" in government. Laws were decided based on the Ijma (consensus) of the Ummah (community), which was most often represented by the legal scholars.In order to qualify as a legal scholar, it was necessary obtain a doctorate known as the ijazat attadris wa 'l-ifttd ("license to teach and issue legal opinions") from a Madrasah. In many ways, classical Islamic law functioned like a constitutional law."---https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulama

    This balance of power has been noted by Scholars who have studied Islamic law such as Dr Tariq Ramadan and Sh. Hamza Yusuf, as well as others (Dr. Badawi...etc...also by J Cesari--linked previously---but can search her other talks too)
    here is another opinion:-
    http://abuaminaelias.com/separation-...tate-in-islam/
    All this is well and good, but does not address the problem of implementing Shiria in the today's world

    These references are acknowledged as important contributions to the spiritual evolution of human relationships, but unfortunately they are inconsistently implemented in history. Baha'i spiritual teaching reinforce these principles and teachings with International Law, which is becoming the standard for the modern world.

    Hybrid laws:-
    legal systems of the world---sorry, a bit difficult to see
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...world_(en).png
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...elds/2100.html
    I see no problem with hybridization of laws when the results are positive. What you need to do is not lump negative aspects of the modern world in a negative generalization of 'modernization.'

    other links:- (some voices of Muslims scholars)
    http://tariqramadan.com/english/isla...nity-in-islam/
    OK video, it did acknowledge the positive side of modernization, but did not address the problems of Shiria Law in today's world.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  8. #28
    tWebber
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    Thankyou for such a detailed response...and apologies for the long delay in answering...

    As I understand it, your concerns are as follows:-- 1) "Islam in todays world" (and "Islam" here pertains to Sharia) 2) International law (specifically, minority rights) 3) Sunni Shia split 4) Heresy, Apostasy in Sharia, apart from these concerns, you have raised the point about "Islam" being taught in Western Universities---which I would also like to respond to....

    1) "Islam" in "Modernity"---Philosophy (ethics/Morality) and Paradigm (world-view) of both Islam and Modernity have similarities---in terms of Paradigm---Modernity is based on Individualism (primacy of the human) and "Natural Law" (as understood through science)---Islamic Paradigm also respects both aspects (...with "Natural Law understood to be part of the overall Divine Law, physics balanced by metaphysics) and Individualism balanced with communal/social nature (...and in which rights are balanced by responsibilities)
    As you can see---Islam has all the aspects of Modern paradigm---but balances it far better than "Modernity" does....This is also the case with the philosophy of ethics/morality---in particular the major concepts of Equality and Justice. This discrepancy can partly be attributed to the environment---(Western) Modernity developed from a feudal environment whereas Islam developed in a trading (global trading) environment---so that a hierarchical reality was much stronger in a Feudal system than in a trade/industrialized system. IMO, this effected how one understood "Equality". Without an adequate understanding of the concept of Equality---one cannot arrive at a balanced understanding of Justice. And you can see this clearly in how "Modernity" privileges the super-rich. (...as well as in other areas...)
    Modern Islam---Where Fiqh (Law) has strayed away from its Tawhidic principles---it has become unjust. This is a problem of Modernity and insofar as all political, legal, educational, and economic systems are "Modern" we need to re-align those aspects that are unbalanced with a more balanced and wholistic Tawhidic paradigm. Power dynamics are an important consideration in this re-alignment. Without a proper balance of power, full Justice or Equality can never be achieved. (Equality does not mean "sameness").

    2)International law---there are many good aspects to International law---but enforcement is inconsistent and arbitrary which makes it unjust....particularly because the powerless (undeveloped) countries have no recourse in this system---the developed (powerful) are the ones who make demands and enforce their demands....for example, when the U.S. attacked Iraq and Afghanistan---no one attacked the U.S. but when Iraq attacked Kuwait---the U.S. attacked Iraq "in defense" of Kuwait.....International Law is made by the privileged for the benefit of the privileged....but all Modern Laws are based on this principle---which is why for example---the rich multinational corporations can get away with various "legal" tax havens...until the laws are changed to make what was legal into "illegal"...likewise...what was illegal---such as wiretaps, torture, imprisonment without cause or due process...etc can become legal...because those in power want it so....

    3) Sunni/Shia---There is no real doctrinal difference between Sunni and Shia----yes, there are artificial differences with both sides claiming some practices of the other are ignorant....but this is because these are identity- constructs and so are exploited for geopolitical reasons....but then, other identity constructs such as nationalism (or "civilization") are also exploited for geo-political reasons. Today this identity-construct is being exploited because of rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. I assume you know the history---so I won't go into it unless you are interested...if so, pls ask.....

    4) Heresy, Apostasy---I don't know much about Bahai (or Iranian laws)---here in the East the Ahmadiya (?) are probably the ones likely to fall into what I term the "grey area". In Islam the term "Prophet" (understood as messenger of God) falls into two main categories (with perhaps a sub category also) the Messenger(Prophet) as Lawgiver and the Messenger (Prophet) as Guide and reminder...(and sub category of Wisdom Teacher). The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is understood as the final Lawgiver and this is why the Quran is protected where the previous books/laws were not...In the case of the Ahmadiya (as I understand---but could be wrong)Their "Prophet" is a Messiah that is a likeness of Prophet Jesus (?) or some similar claim...and apparently their tafsir of the Quran interprets passages so as to align with such claims.... Every religion has a right to define the parameters of its own doctrines...yet must also allow for tolerance and diversity within and without. Islam has much narrower parameters of self-definition and so is perhaps less diverse than religions such as Christianity or Hinduism, but there is nevertheless diversity within those parameters. But some groups are outside of these parameters---another example is the Nation of Islam in the U.S. which also claimed a "Prophet" and advocated for some doctrines that did not align with Islam...but there are groups within both the Ahmadiya and NOI communities that have re-aligned with mainstream Islamic beliefs..(or so I have heard)...so it is a complex picture....
    Then there are the Wahabis and worse, the more extreme toxic exclusivists such as ISIS whose self-definition of Muslim is so narrow that they exclude everyone but themselves from it. Mainstream Muslims need to find a balance that allows them to have a sense of identity (self-definition) without such an identity construct becoming exclusivist and toxic. A more active engagement with minority communities along with laws that safeguard the interests and rights of the minorities would help bring better justice....
    Identity-constructs can be exploited for political gains and any minority can become a scapegoat---much like Muslims have continued to become scapegoats in every recent U.S. election cycle. That is why a comprehensive system of justice must address the issues of power dynamics in society. Modern society is imbalanced so the problems of modernity affect all humanity.
    Apostasy---As mentioned previously, before the nation-state emerged as an identity construct---ethnicity and tribal affiliations defined identity constructs. The responsibility of the protection of the community (both Muslim and Non-Muslim members) was on the Muslim. Therefore, in a time of war, a Muslim man leaving Islam to join the enemy camp would have been treason...the same as an American citizen renouncing his citizenship to join the Russian army or KGB or such. In both cases...the treason is in the act of betrayal by joining the enemy and not necessarily the act of disowning a particular identity-construct. The Quran advocates for freedom of conscience/religion and so does not punish those who leave Islam (Kaffir). The Quranic term (Kafir) refers to intentions (heart)---but Fiqh (law) is not concerned with the heart---it is concerned with harmful actions. Therefore in order for an apostate (murtad) to be convicted of treason...there needs to be evidence of it. Today "apostacy" (IMO) is often used as a political tool much like the sedition laws of any Modern nation-state. When laws are made by the powerful for the benefit of the powerful....then it is to be expected that liberties will be curtailed and equality and justice be compromised. We could fiddle with unjust laws to make them better...but how long will this last? It seems to me...rather than apply a temporary Band-Aid to the problem...why not fix it at the structural and systemic level? This means that the legal system has to work for the benefit of the powerless, the marginalized and the average citizen as well as remain just to the powerful, the rich and privileged so that rights are balanced by responsibilities. To enable such a structural reform---law (jurisprudence) has to be independent from the state (administrative power)

    It is this---the structural and systemic aspects of our political, economic, legal, and educational institutions that we need to change for the better and this begins at the foundation---which is philosophy. However, we also need to acknowledge there is no single correct answer, rather there are multiple correct answers---because there are multiple paradigms (world-views) among humanity. That is why any system that advocates for a singular/mono system (sameness) will be unjust. In order to have justice that is global in scale---we need to think in terms of Pluralism. Since a degree of Pluralism was already practiced in what is called the Islamic "civilization" (I don't agree with the term....) it would be good to learn from its best practices as well as from its mistakes....

    Education---While "Islam" as a religion is taught in the West---Eastern philosophy (Including Islamic philosophy) is not taught and if it is---it is an extension of religion. The default paradigm in western education is that of "Secular"---that is, metaphysics is taken out of all epistemology/knowledge unless it is taught as "religion". If we are to develop respect for all paradigms (world-views) then it has to begin with reforming our education systems so that equal respect and dignity is given to diverse paradigms....and the ethical/moral principles such paradigms produce....

  9. #29
    tWebber
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    Power-dynamics and marginalization. --- In order to understand these two aspects, we need to acknowledge that individuals have many identity-constructs and as members of groups, these identity constructs may have areas of overlap with other groups. This complicates power relations. Power-dynamics is itself related to identity-constructs because one group of people are privileged over another. This also means that oppression and injustice may come from many areas/groups and the experiences of it may be different in different geo-political, economic or socio-cultural contexts.

    As an ethical/moral problem, power-dynamics and marginalization/alienation needs to be tackled in terms of conceptualizing principles of justice and equality but it also needs to be solved at the specificity of its occurrence within the framework of the context it takes place in.
    This article makes this point in the context of identity constructs and globalization:- https://www.worldpittsburgh.org/4925-2/

    "Islamic feminism" or activists advocating for (Tawhidic) equality---have been uncomfortable with the fractured and divisive paradigm of "Western" feminism which assumed a binary in the "gender struggle" of women vs men. In Islamic/Tawhidic paradigm---all oppression---not just gender oppression---is wrong....therefore the struggle against oppression and towards justice needs to encompass all marginalized people.
    The idea of "intersectionality" which assumes that a person has multiple-identity constructs which are impacted by injustice and oppression in different ways---is one way to discard a simplistic binary mode of thinking and embracing complexity.....
    some opinions on this issue:-
    http://postcolonialist.com/civil-dis...rsectionality/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DW4HLgYPlA

    One way to understand our identity-constructs---is to begin with our name---which differentiates us from others---in particular within our families....and move on to various groups and identities we hold,... to the ending point which is the "family of humanity" (bani Adam). This conceptualization might be helpful in negotiating the various tensions, constraints and intersections of our various identity-constructs....?....

  10. #30
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    Countries that claim Sharia---In modern nation-state systems---regardless of religion or no-religion---the state makes and/or approves the laws. Sharia (law) was not meant to be used/abused by state power---it was meant as a means to balance state power. Without a balance of power---abuse of power will occur ---and this is a point even enlightenment thinkers agreed with....which is why---in order to create this balance they came up with various degrees of secularism. This created a separation of powers between state and religion---but in classical Islam---this separation already existed and it was Modernity that unbalanced this power dynamic.
    These claims that the problems of the oppressive laws in Islamic countries are the product of Western corruption does not stand up to the facts. In Islamic countries the laws advocating imprisonment and death sentences for atheists, homosexuals and also Baha'is are a direct result of Sharia Law, and almost Islamic countries have such laws.

    Need more explanation of your claim that Islamic Sharia Law is compatable with International Law. The following is a good example and there will be more cited. Not other problems with minority religions in Indonesia. These problems are not related to Western influence.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/world/asia/indonesian-who-embraced-atheism-landed-in-prison.html?_r=0



    Embrace of Atheism Put an Indonesian in Prison

    JAKARTA, Indonesia — Growing up in a conservative Muslim household in rural West Sumatra, Alexander Aan hid a dark secret beginning at age 9: He did not believe in God. His feelings only hardened as he got older and he faked his way through daily prayers, Islamic holidays and the fasting month of Ramadan.

    He stopped praying in 2008, when he was 26, and he finally told his parents and three younger siblings that he was an atheist — a rare revelation in a country like Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. They responded with disappointment and expressions of hope that he would return to Islam.

    But Mr. Aan neither returned to Islam nor confined his secret to his family, and he ended up in prison after running afoul of a 2008 law restricting electronic communications. He had joined an atheist Facebook group started by Indonesians living in the Netherlands, and in 2011 he began posting commentaries outlining why he did not think God existed.

    “When I saw, with my own eyes, poor people, people on television caught up in war, people who were hungry or ill, it made me uncomfortable,” Mr. Aan, now 32, said in an interview. “What is the meaning of this? As a Muslim, I had questioned God — what is the meaning of God?” He was released on parole on Jan. 27 after serving more than 19 months on a charge of inciting religious hatred.

    Indonesia’s state ideology, Pancasila, enshrines monotheism, and blasphemy is illegal. However, the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and speech, and the country is 16 years into a transition from authoritarianism to democracy.

    But Mr. Aan’s case is one of an increasing number of instances of persecution connected to freedom of religion in Indonesia in recent years. Although Indonesia has influential Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities, every year there have been hundreds of episodes, including violent attacks, targeting religious minorities like Christians and Shiite and Ahmadiyah Muslims, as well as dozens of arrests over blasphemy against Islam. Numerous churches have been closed for lacking proper permits.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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