Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Islam's Reformation Is Already Underway

This author asserts that the Islamic version of Christianity's Martin Luther...Mohammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab...has already come and gone. And, like his sixteen-century counterpart, Wahhab protested the "medieval synthesis" of the eighteenth-century Islamic faith, and started a movement to re-acquaint Moslems with the actual writings of the Koran and Hadith. Thus, just as Luther protested the man-made traditions of the Catholic religion which had been grafted onto God-given Christianity over 1,500 years, Wahhab's reforms endeavored to take Islam back to a less adulterated form of the faith:
At its core, the Protestant Reformation was a revolt against tradition in the name of scripture-in this case, the Bible. With the coming of the printing press, increasing numbers of Christians became better acquainted with the Bible's contents, parts of which they felt contradicted what the Church was teaching. So they broke away, protesting that the only Christian authority was "scripture alone," sola scriptura.

Islam's reformation follows the same logic of the Protestant Reformation-specifically by prioritizing scripture over centuries of tradition and legal debate...While the medieval synthesis worked over the centuries, it never overcame a fundamental weakness: It is not comprehensively rooted in or derived from the foundational, constitutional texts of Islam. Based on compromises and half measures, it always remained vulnerable to challenge by purists

In this backdrop, what has been called at different times, places, and contexts "Islamic fundamentalism," "radical Islam," "Islamism," and "Salafism" flourished. Many of today's Muslim believers, much better acquainted than their ancestors with the often black and white words of their scriptures, are protesting against earlier traditions, are protesting against the "medieval synthesis," in favor of scriptural literalism-just like their Christian Protestant counterparts once did.
I've heard repeatedly through the years, mostly from neocons and some on the tradcon right, that Islam is a "medieval religion" in sore need of a "reformation", presumably to temper its intemperate modern application. The above-linked article suggests that those who make these claims would do better to
embrace two facts: 1) Islam's reformation is well on its way, and yes, along the same lines of the Protestant Reformation-with a focus on scripture and a disregard for tradition-and for similar historic reasons (literacy, scriptural dissemination, etc.); 2) But because the core teachings of the scriptures of Christianity and Islam markedly differ from one another, Islam's reformation has naturally produced a civilization markedly different from the West.

Put differently, those in the West uncritically calling for an "Islamic reformation" need to acknowledge what it is they are really calling for: the secularization of Islam in the name of modernity; the trivialization and sidelining of Islamic law from Muslim society.
This last sentence states the problem clearly. Who can blame the ummah for resisting the forcible subjugation and assimilation of their culture and their faith by an imperialist pagan secular liberalism, ironically midwifed and aided in no small part by evangelical Zionist Christians who were similarly dispossessed of their culture by secular liberalists?

No, what these moderns are calling for is a counter-reformation of Islam, without quite realizing it. As such, they don't take seriously what they are proposing, not that their nihilism would afford them sufficient means to resist if they did. What's to worry about, anyway? After all, the counter-reformation in Europe, despite being horrifically bloody, failed to succeed, and even then yielded a cultural climate that gave rise to the Enlightenment and rationalism and the Golden Age of Western Civilization.

If one equates fundy Christianity with fundy Islam--as a great many liberalists do, despite the obvious differences between the religions when it comes to the values of tolerance, separation of church and state, monogamy, human dignity and the treatment of women, &c--what is there to worry about what sort of civilization that an Islamic reformation will yield? It'll be just like the one at present, correct?


newrebeluniv said...

I agree. the only Islam that is "civlilized" is the secular sort that doesn't take their religion seriously but participates in the ceremony and form.

That leads to "reform" that is more incompatible with Western ideals.

The only real solution is eradication of Islam and its followers or absolute segregation and permit them to oppress themselves all they like.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Given Islam's history, I don't see a peaceful coexistence either.

It must be as you say: Either partitioning, with good-fences-making-good-neighbors, eradication, or submission.

The West lacks the political will for the first two, leaving the third as the inevitable future.

Leftist tolerance for Islam because it is "brown" religion is very short-sighted. If history is any guide, under Islam, Christians and Catholics will only need to wear their beards a little longer, pay the jizya, require their women to cover up down to the elbows and knees, and suffer some mild politico-religious oppression that likely won't differ much from what Christians and Catholics already experience in the West.

No such fate awaits the pagans, and certainly not the feminists and homosexuals.

Eric said...

I think Christianity needs another reformation even more than Islam does. The Liberals have the church in about the same place as 15th Century: nobody respects it because it doesn't stand for anything.

ray said...

Eric, he is the 'reformation'. Hope you like it! lol

If you're waiting (like most others) for the 'churches' and pastors and bishops and big-buildings-types to conform to God's word and will, hew to truth, and offer a suitable temple for His pleasure.... you will need the full capacities and patience of your eternal soul!


Elusive Wapiti said...

@ Eric,

Re-Reformation or revival? All that popery was thrown off back during the Reformation, which freed Believers to return to the original model of Christianity and left all that "medieval accretion" stuff to Catholics.

That's different I think than what we have today, which is that people are ignoring and/or picking-and-choosing what elements of the clearly articulated Biblical Word apply to them.

There's also the Church of Liberalism, which has attracted a great many adherents. So we have an element of apostasy at play here as well.

Going back to the post, the quoted article has it correct--those calling for a "reformation" of Islam not only miss the fact that it's already happening, but that what they're really advocating for is to infect Islam with liberalism, hoping at a minimum to cause Moslems to take their faith less seriously, or, ideally, full-on apostasy.

Elusive Wapiti said...

@ Ray,

Quite correct. If one is waiting for the rest of the Church to get their act together, we'll they could be waiting a really long time.

Ecclesiastes said...

I take it that you've figured out that wahabism ( "radical" Islam ) is their reformation.

Eric said...


"What they are really advocating for is to infect Islam with liberalism."

Which was the obvious purpose of recent Western military adventures into the Middle East, BTW.

It's interesting when you look at Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and elsewhere---Western liberal hubris has actually caused a backlash. There was nothing like ISIS under Saddam Hussein, nor would the Iraqi population have supported it. But a decade of Western Liberalist rule has made Islamic fundamentalism look appealing to those people.

Eric said...

Wapiti and Ray:
Both the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation were in reaction to gross corruption and hypocrisy among the established clergy. My point was that Christians today need to start holding their leaders accountable.

To be honest, though I think that has even LESS chance of happening than the established churches' leaders effecting reform themselves.

Elusive Wapiti said...

@ Ecclesiastes,

"...wahabism ( "radical" Islam ) is their reformation"

Yup. Reformed Islam thus far appears to be more dogmatic and more prone to violence than the more moderate / corrupted version of Islam practiced by the Ottomans, etc.

Elusive Wapiti said...

@ Eric,

"Which was the obvious purpose of recent Western military adventures into the Middle East, BTW....a decade of Western Liberalist rule has made Islamic fundamentalism look appealing to those people."

Absolutely agree. From the get-go, Western military adventurism in the mideast was a campaign to supplant immodern (yet relatively more moderate) Islam with quasi-religious liberalism in all its facets--it's economic model of man, it's crass moral relativism, its in-your-face apostasy, and its radical individual autonomy.

The emptiness that is secular liberalism leaves people spiritually adrift...we see this in the West too...and with the fields thus well prepared for a religious retrenchment, an otherwise harsh Wahhabism has great appeal. Little wonder that "radicalism" has increased.

Ecclesiastes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elusive Wapiti said...

If it helps add clarity, I was referring to the Islam that is being pushed aside by Wahhabists...the key term here being "relatively".