Trends in the Modern Islamic Progressive Movement
23 Dec 2011 06:28 GMT
Within Islam, there is a movement of progressive Muslims that seek to reconcile many aspects of Islam with the values of the modern world. While the Qur'an is notably modern in many of its ideals and teachings, there are aspects of the Sunnah and of Islamic law that conflict with many of the nationalistic, ethical, economic, religious, and scientific ideals of the modern world. Many progressive Muslims argue that Islam has been mired down with cultural traditions that are based on tribal and patriarchal cultural practices in the Middle East rather than on an enlightened interpretation of the Qur'an. Progressive Muslims argue that Islam has lost the status of an enlightened, scientifically advanced religious movement that it had for most of its history. Today, the radical actions of heretical Muslim extremists and corrupt, oppressive Muslim governments call for action on the part of progressive Muslims, to return Islam to its ideals. It is important to note that the modern progressive Muslim movement has its detractors. Fundamental Islamists are vehemently opposed to any attempt to “modernize” Islam. In fact, “progressive” and “apologetic” are terms that these people use in a derogatory manner.

The first main trend in Islamic modernist is a reform of Islamic law. Progressive Muslims argue for limiting Islamic law to the teachings of the Qur'an and only on the Sunnah that is considered completely authentic by all schools of thought. There are some progressive Muslims that even suggest basing Islamic law entirely on the Qur'an rather than in the Sunnah. There is a reasonable basis for this view in the Qur'an teachings of tolerance and salvation in the revelation of God to other nations and people, particularly Christians and Jews. Some progressive Muslims go as far as to suggest that certain practices of Sunnah have corrupted the original intent and meaning of many of the teachings of the Qur'an.

Many progressive Muslims also call for a reinterpretation of many passages in the Qur'an, especially those that treat with punishment, marrying multiple wives, and matter of War and conflict. While many of these passages conflict with what is generally accepted in the modern world, progressive Muslims do not suggest that these passages should be ignored. Progressive Muslims suggest that the large proportion of the divine scriptures that is dedicated to preaching forgiveness, virtue, and peace, should supersede and temper the interpretation of isolated passages in the Qur'an that conflict with modern ideals of religious tolerance and individual rights. Progressive Muslims will also argue that, throughout most of its history, Islam has always been a beacon of enlightenment, tolerance, and reason in the world. That many of the practices in the West relating to individual rights, freedom of religion, and scientific and philosophical thought are derived from Islamic law and from the practice of early Muslims.

-- Al Arabiya Digital