Beware the Muslim reformers coming out of Islamic studies university departments.

Often these are very confused individuals, but they speak confidently about the moral imperative to “reform Islam.”

What makes them dangerous is that they quote from the classical texts to make it seem to the average Muslim like their reform is either informed by the tradition or is necessary in light of the manifest “barbarism” of the tradition. But their citations virtually always are either selective, partial, distorted, or all of the above. Sometimes maybe they just don’t know better. Other times it’s clearly deliberate.

One of the things Western academia teaches you is how to be creative with the source material and how to “craft your own reading.” This approach to “scholarship” stems from the postmodernistic notion — a notion that is rife in all the liberal arts — that text has no inherent meaning and it is only different readers that project their opinions and commitments onto the text. This means, in their minds, that no reading is inherently superior to another. Hence, all readings are worth seriously exploring, which is what the university facilitates.

As you can imagine, this makes it very easy for these Muslims to justify a selective, contorted interpretation of the texts as scholarly and sound because “Well, everyone’s reading is in some way selective, so why is my reading any less plausible?” etc. Suffice it to say that all this incentivizes far-fetched interpretations that are presented to Muslim laypeople as accurate and faithful conveyances of the tradition.

To be clear, I am only referring to “reformers” here.

 

Daniel Haqiqatjou

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