An important debate of our time involves the reformation of Islam – and like a household hosting a mugger, the first step is recognizing and admitting that supporting the mugger is the problem.
The recent assassination in Pakistan demonstrates once more the desperate urgency of that problem for all Islamic people. All structures of governance in the Islamic world are but feathers upon the sand awaiting the deathwind of Jihad.
When any cleric, imam, mullah, or maulvi can declare a ruler, a law, a person, or a sect non-Islamic or takfir, then stable civil government — whatever form it might take, is impossible. Unreformed Islam is the path to unending misery, chaos, strife, and despair for Islamic people.
If muslims value their faith then they must not let people like Al Zarqawi and Al Zawahiri or the radical clerics and scholars who back them define Islam. I am not talking about defining it in western eyes either.
As the history unrolls it has become clear that the most vile, heinous, and inhumane treatment of Muslims has come from Al Qaeda and their aligned movements rather than the west. These murderers have maimed, tortured, starved killed, and stolen from more muslims than all the forces in the west. None can deny the horror they have wrought upon the Ummah.
After being scourged from Iraq and Afghanistan by other muslims, Al Qaeda has now decided to move on Pakistan – the first fully Islamic state. If they continue to make hate the most visibile message of the prophet, then Islam is doomed. It will be Muslims who fear change who usher it in, and muslims who seek temporal power rather than purity who destroy it.
The neo-takfirists in Al Qaeda claim that they are the “true muslims”, and since they have decreed that, all who do not believe as they do are Takfir, or no longer true to Islam. They have self-proclaimed holy-writ, and if Islam is to survive then Muslims must tear that from their hands and reclaim their faith.
Muslims can’t do that without first examining the flaws and the unfinished scholasticism the Neo-takfirists exploit for power. So muslim scholars who love their faith must heal it, it’s not something non-muslims can do. To paraphrase Sophocles: “The unexamined faith is not worth having.”
At Threats watch Daveed Garstenstein-Ross hosted a debate about this subject between Robert Spencer and Marvin Hutchens, a US Marine, and a practicing Muslim for six years. Here is the link where you can hear the audio or read the transcript.