Friday, March 07, 2008

LETTERS: The Oz letters on Muslim literalism ...

This letter was published in The Australian recently ...

Muslims tied by orthodoxy
March 06, 2008

SUPERFICIALLY, it would appear that there are many different shades of Islam around the world and many different types of Muslim.

But there does appear to be one aspect in which they are truly monolithic and that is in the acceptance of an Islamic orthodoxy.

To go outside the orthodox position is to risk being labelled a heretic. Any moderate position is locked into the orthodox position. And when viewed from a framework that is locked in by the orthodox position, moderates know that they have little or no doctrinal support for a liberal interpretation of the Koran from within the Koran itself.

A literal interpretation of the Koran, coupled with a total acceptance of the orthodox version of the life of Muhammad, and the history of the origin of Islam, leaves the doctrinally weaker moderates mortally wounded and the Salafists in the ascendency.

Riaz Hassan (Inquirer, 1-2/3) does not challenge the orthodox position, nor does he seriously challenge the Salafist position. All the moderates can do is maintain a sullen silence and keep a low profile, and not risk being added to the list. The fear of the label of heresy also requires the mandatory ostentatious demonstrations of loyalty, shows of anger, chest beating, flag burning, and the like, at every perceived slight against Islam. And they like to moan about the way they are all lumped together with extremists by non-Muslims.

A. Crooks
Adelaide, SA
Talk about issuing blank cheque fatwas! Crooks has obviously surveyed each and every Muslim-majority state and Muslim community across the planet, and can say definitively that they all regard literalism as an essential component of orthodoxy.

This kind of nonsensical analysis could not go unanswered. My response to Crooks (published on The Oz letters blog) is as follows ...

So all Muslims are tied to a literalist interpretation of the Koran? If that is the case, why is the English translation of the Koran done by Abdullah Yusuf Ali still the most popular translation? Ali was a civil servant under the Raj who went against orthodoxy and regarded many of the heavenly rewards mentioned in the Koran as metaphors. He also applied metaphoric interpretations to other verses in the Koran.

My advice to far-Right polemicists is to stop cutting and pasting whatever they read from migration-fraud Ayaan Hirsi Magaan or from Robert “I’m not Opus Dei even though I look and sound like them” Spencer’s JihadWatch. You just make yourselves look really dumb.
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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