This is an old Living tradition post of mine from last year. I've decided to repost it here with some minor corrections and updates.
Who needs a reformation? If I had a penny for every time I heard that “Islam needs a reformation with its own Martin Luther”…well you know how the rest of the line goes. Even if we ignore those who utter such words, such a proposition needs to be confronted and corrected.
I personally do not sponsor to the monkey-see monkey-do approach of many proggies who believe that the answer to all of humanity’s ills lies in a pre-packaged western one-size-fits-all solution. You definitely won’t find a solution feasting on a bagel and cup of frapachino at Starbucks.
Indeed, to demand a “reformation” in Islam following in the footsteps of the Protestant “reformation” of Europe reveals a blatant ignorance and arrogance about the history of that event. Were Muslims burning books in a bonfire ? Did they murder untold numbers of woman accusing them of witchcraft ? How about burning heretics at the stake ? Did Muslims initiate and execute murderous Crusades ? Certainly not, this in itself should be enough for a sensible person to reject calls for reformation. If I remember right, Muslims did not alter themselves or their faith to liberate Jerusalem, they united under the banner of Islam to expel the crusaders. So what explains the present ills of the Muslims ? The answer lies in what made the Muslims of the past victorious over their enemies despite overwhelming odds, an unshakable belief in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w). It should come as no surprise that as Muslims embraced the dunya, the unseen help of Allah was denied to them. Indeed, the failures of the Arab and Islamic world today are nothing less than the absolute failure of progressivism whether it cast itself as Kemalism, Nasserism, Marxism, Ba’athism, Pan-Arabism, or any other imported and imposed notion of “progress.” You would think that anyone with common sense would ditch such failed systems of thought and governance by now instead of carrying on about religious reformation like a trained parrot in a cage.
Oh we’ve had our share of reformers, mind you. Under the guidance and protection of the British, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed declared himself a prophet to the Muslims of India, declaring all those who didn’t accept him as kafirs. To this day the Ahmediya cult enjoys a privileged status in England. Over in North America, Noble Drew Ali and Elijah Pool declared themselves as messengers of the Supreme. The NOI freely operates in the US, with neither its activities or racist theology under any real scrutiny. Cant let the “angry black mooslim” stereotype go to waste can we? One does not need a RAND corporation report to see that there have been numerous attempts by the enemies of Islam to create and promote schisms in the name of “reformation.” Today we have a new generation of “reformers,” a veritable gooftroop of neocon charlatans, opportunists, and liars falling over themselves trying to jump on the moderate/progressive bandwagon. Whether it’s Pakistan’s bumbling semi-literate General-in-chief with his “enlightened moderation,” or the regressive definition for Muslims put forth by a group of pseudo-intellectual leftist extremists in cyberspace, “reformation” is in, common sense, truth and honesty are out. And you cant have a good ol’ reformation without your very own Martin Luther, and there’s no shortage of candidates. The gamut runs from catamite Canadian supporters of terrorism to well to do "think tank" academics who like to fancy themselves as “Muslim Kissingers.”
There’s plenty of talk about revitalizing intellectual thinking and grand ijtihad like schemes coming from the usual suspects. These are really just convenient buzz words and catchy phrases, which in reality bear little resemblance to their true objectives. Who says intellectual tradition and philosophical inquiry are dead within the ummah? Ever heard of the late Sheikh Ahmed Deedat? How about Dr.Zakir Naik, a man whose ability to debate and present facts has scared off the likes of Taslima Nasrin and other paper tigers? I could go on about the Maryam Jamilahs, Haroon Yahyas, Hamza Yusufs of this ummah but I think the point has been made.
Haskalah was defined as 18th century Jewish “enlightenment,” a movement amongst Europe’s Jewish elite to assimilate their community. Theodore Herzl, the founder of zionism even proposed the mass conversion of Jews to Christianity, in essence rejecting the “otherness” of Jews and the acceptance of their “Europeaness.” This defines a key part of zionist thought which identifies Judaism through race rather than religious affiliation. While Muslim proggies haven’t yet proposed religious conversion, they are following the same path of assimilation through appeasement. Perhaps they forgot what happened to Europe’s Jews or the Muslims of Bosnia.