Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Muslim moderation: Mission impossible?

[Postscript: picked up on BCF here]
The whole issue of whether Islam can be reformed is a hot topic, in Muslim and non-Muslim circles. After all, for people of good will, we surely hope, wish, desire, pray, for a more "Moderate Islam", one which does not see its main aim as being to become the supreme religion in the world, supremacist in nature.  To change that, if at all possible, would be wonderful.
My leftie-liberal friends assume it's only a matter of time.  That Christianity had its Reformation and that Islam will have its, in due course.
I'm not so optimistic.  The key stumbling block is the Koran: it's "uncreated", the literal word of God. Hence, any change in the Koran is by definition, blasphemy.  That's a huge stumbling block, one that didn't exist in the exegisis of the Bible: a "library" (literally) of books written by Men.  Hence the Bible could be reinterpreted without fear of blasphemy.
I've been reading "The Closing of the Muslim Mind", by Robert Reilly, an academic tracing of this whole issue, and it's not made me any more optimistic.
There's an article I came across today by Mustafa Akyol, called "Islamic Liberalism: Mission Impossible?", which tries to find some positive in this issue.  I hope he's right.  But even this fellow Akyol, one feels, is drawing a pretty long bow.
It's critical to support any moves in the Islamic community towards a more moderate form of Islam. It's just that one can't really hold out much hope.  Well, I hold the hope, but I fear it'll be dashed.
[Summary of the Akyol article in Andrew Dish's "The history of liberal Islam", where I came across the article, via Google Islam alerts].
Update: earlier article on same subject, by Mustafa Akyol here.
Update, 2 Feb '12: On the issue of: are there "moderate Muslims": "Islam means Peace", Rajeshkumar, 31 Jan '12:
The real Muslims are the ones who follow the Quran and the examples of Muhammad in every walk of life. Ultimately, they become terrorists. They are not ‘radicals’ or ‘extremists’. They are ‘good, modest and obedient’ Muslims who take their faith seriously. The wishy-washy Muslims are weak in their knowledge and faith. The wishy-washy Muslims are not ‘moderate or progressive’ Muslims, but as the real Muslims call them, they are “hypocrite”. [Source]