Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Q-News Article on Progressive Muslims by Nazim Baksh

Nazim Baksh has written a very good article on Progressive Muslims. I found his article to be fair as he pointed out their obvious strengths and he does not hesistate to commend them on their good points. He writes, “One of the major gripes of the Progressive is the way in which Muslim women are treated in predominately Muslim societies and by men in our male dominated mosques and centers. There is no way around the table on this and for being passionate about the issue we must credit the Progressives. But their solution is strange.”

Their strange solution, according to Baskh, is that rather than reconciling faith to the secular ethic, Progressive Muslims seek to bend and conform faith to the secular with the usual dangerous results. Let’s look at some of the reformed Christian and Jewish sects that are now at odds with each other because of over liberalization where everything is up for reinterpretation. I remember an older Jewish woman telling me, “Reform Judaism has gone too far which is why many members are returning to the more Conservative branch.” The current controversy over homosexual clergy has led to a split in the Anglican Church. There are even some Christian sects no refuse to confirm or deny the validity of the Bible and of the Trinity in the spirit of “inclusion and tolerance.”

What has been the strength of the umma, and what some other religious groups reluctantly admire about us, is our unity. We have had, for centuries, unity of worship and beliefs. And while there is room in Islam for Hanafis, Shaf’is, Sunni, Shiites, Modernists, and Traditionalists, we were all united under La ilaha il Allah with the Qur’an and Sunnah as our divine guidance. We now have a new “school of thought” which, realizing it or not, seeks to unravel the Islamic fabric. What else could one gather from them when their definition of Muslim is “one who claims to be a Muslim.” Or as Nazim Baksh put it, “With the Progressive you get the distinct impression that their approach to Islam is a “no-Islam” Islam.” That’s what it sounded like a few days ago when Dr. Amina Wadud declared that the Qur’an gives her the means to say no to the Qur’an. I know that’s an oxymoron.

To read the article, you can easily download the pdf file from the Q-News website or if you live in the UK, purchase a copy and enjoy the whole issue for yourself. Here is a quote in the article made by Martin Lings that made me pause in a moment of fear. “In the eyes of the champions of the ‘renaissance” that we are now supposed to be enjoying, what is to be ‘strongly discouraged’ is everything that is left of Islamic civilization in the way of customs such as wearing a turban and not shaving off the beard, whereas what is ‘strongly recommended’ is everything that comes from the West. The result is that the rising generation is more ignorant of the practices of the Messenger of God (saws), and more cut off from those practices, than any generation that has come into existence since the dawn of Islam. How then shall we augur well of the present situation? And how shall we not shrink from the word ‘renaissance’ as from an evil omen? All this was forseen by the Prophet (saws). He said, ‘You will follow the ways of those that were before you span for span and cubit for cubit until if they went down into a hole of a poisonous reptile you will follow them down.’ That descent is now taking place; and it is called development and progress.”

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