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Do we Need a New Understanding of Islam?

Author : Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalayleh

Date Added : 01-03-2015

Islam is Allah`s religion which He has approved to all mankind and through which he has sealed heavenly laws,  completed virtuous behavior, and observed man`s nature and honor on this earth. It is so clear that it is understood by people from different backgrounds. Allah says in the Noble Quran: “Say thou: "This is my way: I do invite unto God,- on evidence clear as the seeing with one’s eyes,- I and whoever follows me. Glory to God! and never will I join gods with God!"{Yousef/108}. In light of the gruesome events befalling our nation at this critical time along with the acts committed in the name of Islam, some calls have emerged and these basically promote drawing a new map to Islam based on a new understanding of it. Unfortunately, these calls found a fertile soil for their growth due to the aforesaid acts from which Muslims themselves have suffered before others. Therefore, are we really in need for a new understanding of Islam through drawing a new map to it and rephrasing texts of the Quran and Sunnah(Prophetic tradition)?

Such calls contain a great deal of extremism which outweighs that which we are already facing. The repercussions will be so disastrous that the door will be wide open for more extremism and violence through providing different pretexts for extremists and everyone who has a tendency for extremism. These calls will appear as an invitation to waging war against Islam and a golden opportunity to attack it, and may be they are already as such whether their proponents had good intentions or not.

Undoubtedly, we are in a dire need to carry out serious reconsiderations of our understanding to Islam. If we are to define the nature and form of these reconsiderations, then we had better say that today we are in need for a sound understanding of our religion and its texts, and that we should start filtering it from impurities and ideas which are taken for granted by some scholars and  laymen. As a result, these have infected the Islamic mind  with illnesses which influenced our methodology of thinking and understanding. Thus, these acts and repercussions were a definite result for such illnesses.

Sound understanding of Islam must be built on sound bases: First, adherence to the Quran. Second, sound adherence to the Prophet`s Sunnah. Third, sound understanding of their texts in light of the overall rules and intentions of Islamic Sharia in alienation from any deviations,  distortions, or subjective interpretation of texts to support a certain thought or belief, or justify a certain act. This understanding must also be based on the rules and principles of Ijtihad(independent reasoning), and the suitable Ijtihad of earlier scholars, which are connected with the principles of Islamic Sharia and takes the wants and needs of this era into consideration, and agree with the overall  intentions and rules of Islamic Sharia.  By Filtering lots of opinions, acts of Ijtihad, and books of Jurisprudence in general, I don`t mean deleting them altogether, rather, intend to make their reader realize that they targeted a certain time or  circumstance that doesn`t fit our era; or they came within the framework of an act of Ijtihad that had deviated from the methodology of sound understanding to the nature of our religion and its relation to life. This filtering doesn`t harm us or undermine our Islamic jurisprudence or belittle its status, God forbids, because al-Imam Ahmad(May Allah have mercy on him) said that opinions of scholars are either adopted or dismissed except those of our Prophet(PBUH). Therefore, it isn`t permissible to shed blood, violate peoples` honor and usurp their properties based on some scholars` views which contradict the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah as well as the overall intentions of Islamic Sharia. Such views are even regarded more sacred than the Quran and the Sunnah through being adopted as a basis for reasoning instead of the Quranic texts, the sound Sunnah and the methodology of Ijtihad which is based on sound understanding.

We must realize that since the death of our Prophet(PBUH) until today, our history has witnessed lots of scholars, Mujtahideen(Those who resort to independent reasoning), and thinkers, who did their best within the frame of their daily life, community and time. Thus, it isn`t acceptable for any group or sect during any stage of our history to impose the view of a particular scholar on others as the true religion which can`t be subjected to Ijtihad or interpretation and  which should be imposed with the sword as a mercy to all creatures!! Nowadays, our Islamic world is actually witnessing a living example of this.

Yes, today we are in need for a sound understanding of Islam, but not a new  one because sound understanding paves the road for our nation to overcome its illnesses and achieve its renaissance. And Allah knows best.

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