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05 December 2015


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But for the Shia the gate of ijtihad is still open. pl

The Beaver

@ Babak

FYI: http://www.nytimes.com/1996/11/23/world/abdus-salam-is-dead-at-70-physicist-shared-nobel-prize.html

[Dr. Salam, the first Muslim scientist to win a Nobel Prize, observed Muslim customs, including multiple marriages. His two wives attended his award ceremony in Stockholm in 1979, but Swedish officials felt obliged to seat them in different parts of the auditorium while the King decorated their husband.]


Buddhism as a religion was simply an offshoot of Hinduism, not a reform. Buddha in no way set out to "reform" Hinduism, which is not a religion of fixed guidelines needing the type of reform you are thinking of. He didn't even set out to form a religion.

Now if you are referring to caste as something that would require reform, the first thing to remember is that rigid caste is not a part of the Hindu religion; the second is that Buddhism still did not go about reforming that; the third - as you shall see below - is that caste is a societal thing, not religious. So your thesis is still wrong.

In fact, contrary to Abrahamic propaganda, caste continues to exist today in Muslim and Christian groups. There are "Untouchable" (Dalit or OBC) Muslims and Christians.

Learn about caste in Muslim Pakistan through this link, the favorite proxy state of White - and Arab - Abrahamics:

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

My views of Buddhism are influenced by Ananda Coomaraswamy and I am unaware of the latest scholarship about that religion.

In regards to Pakistan and the caste system there; I was unaware of it. Evidently the message of the last sermon of the Prophet never made it into the psyche of all these various peoples in that country.


Ahmadis are the most fundamental deviates of sunni sect of Muslims. They only appear to behave as long as they are in a meagre minority. If their population grows and they find some democratic or other control in any place they will bite through the society bitterly. Their literature reveals that the founder of this cult, Mirza Ghulam Mohd, was a staunch sunni cleric until the colonial British bought him over to frustrate combined independence of India by both Hindus and Muslims. In his writings Mirza begs for reward from his British masters. All through Mirza was not only corrupting Muslim beliefs but also hurled mud at christian and Hindu religions and denounced the status of Jesus and Krishna. Ahmadis hold all other Muslims as infidels except those who bear him and his so called heir caliphate. For all these factors and more all Muslims do not accept them as Muslims. One must not be misled by their ostensible modesty and conduct and rather see what their basic teachings are, who was mirza and how this cult was raised. Readers should also read the judgement by the supreme court of Pakistan which was adjudicated openly and contains verdict enough to prove that Ahmad is or mirzais are NOT Muslims but a stray breed refuting Muslims, Christians, Hindus and all other religions.

FB Ali

Interesting site. I notice Maulana Muhammad Ali's translation is listed among the "Controversial...". Probably because he was an Ahmadi (Lahori faction).

FB Ali

This is what the Britanica has to say on this:

"The Shīʿites (the minority branch) never followed the Sunnis in this respect and still recognize their leading jurists as mujtahids, although in practice the Shīʿite law is little more flexible than that of the Sunnis. In Shīʿite Iran the mujtahids act as guardians of the official doctrine, and in committee they may veto any law that infringes on Islamic ordinances".

Babak Makkinejad

"... In Shīʿite Iran the mujtahids act as guardians of the official doctrine, and in committee they may veto any law that infringes on Islamic ordinances"."

I think the first part of this sentence is accurate; which is a very good thing indeed because it takes out of the public square any discussion of what Islam is and puts into the hands of jurists and scholars.

Thus very rarely you would find a number of Shia going into a room and deciding what Islam is and declaring everyone else to be heretics. It happened twice in the early days of the Islamic Republic - Furqan and Mujahidin Khalq - the Islamic Left and Islamic Right - both resorting to terroristic tactics and both were destroyed.

The second part is wrong: there are two constitutional innovations in the Iranian system - the Supreme Jurisprudent with Absolute Power over the Secondary Rulings of Islam and the Expediency Council.

The Office of Super Jurisprudent, which has maintained the equilibrium among political factions in Iran, can suspend precepts of Sharia.

The Expediency Council adjudicates the persistent and serious conflicts between Sharia precepts and the civil laws promulgated by the Parliament.

These innovations, in effect, have sidelined the rigidities of Sharia and made it possible for the Iranians to remain religious but respond flexibly to the challenges of the contemporary world.

Significantly, in my opinion, Morocco is the only Muslim country that has the most likely combination of constitutional framework and politico-historical tradition to try to emulate Iran in arrangements.

[Middle-income Arad country with literacy rate of men: 67%, women 25%.]

Specifically, the King in Morocco is recognized as the "Commander of the Faithful" which very roughly could occupy the same position as the Supreme Jurisprudent of Iran. For historical reasons, just as the Iranian people delegated to their Doctors of Religion the determination of what Islam is and is not, in Morocco, the Religious Authority of the King is accepted by the population. He is both the Temporal and the Religious Authority.

And in a manner similar to Iran, the "Commander of the Faithful" keeps to himself Defense and Foreign Policy portfolios.

But, unlike Iran, he cannot suspend precepts of Sharia.

Furthermore, there is a functioning parliament that handles the domestic portfolio - currently dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

What, in my view, they lack in Morocco, is something akin to Iran's Expediency Council which would adjudicate the conflicts of Sharia and civil law in the interest state survival and cohesion.

For that, they lack the intellectual basis - they need to send people to study in Qum and then to apply such lessons that they have learnt to the specific situation as it obtains in Morocco.

This would still leave Morocco a Theocracy, just like Iran, but could potentially provide both political stability and representative government that is Islamic - in contradistinction to un-Islamic or anti-Islamic dispensations and keep the anarchic religiosity at bay.

It would not be a liberal dispensation, it will not be secular, it will not accept syncretic sects of Islam as being Muslims, but it could be an improvement on autocratic governance.


Persians don't speak Arab. It is IMHO the reason that the protestant churches didn't get power in the Latin languages countries as there wasn't such a need for a bible translated in the local (high) language

Babak Makkinejad

Pretty Good.

It was wise of them to have seated the wives separately, avoiding an embarrassing altercation between the wives during the ceremonies.


When I was a student, we were warned against the Ahmadi Qur'an, as unreliable. I presume the translation.

Reform can be good for religion. Only the Ahmadiyya didn't convince that many.

Wahhabism is not original Islam, whatever they claim. It is based on the first Sunnism, which emerged in Baghdad in the 9th century under Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. Sunni means one who follows the Sunna, the collection of the sayings of the Prophet. That is, not only the Qur'an, but also the sayings that were reported (hadith). The problem was how to decide which sayings were correct, and which added in later. The result was the canonical collections of hadith, such as the Sahih of al-Bukhari. I've read part of that, and I'm not convinced of its historicity.

Nevertheless, people should be free to believe what they believe, as long as it doesn't affect any one else.


The notion that the gate of Ijtihad has been closed in Sunni Islam has been refuted by Professor W.Hallaq of Mc Gill and Columbia, in his article: "Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?"


the article can be read for free after registration at Jstor.

After a historical introduction to the claim of the closure of the gate, he states : "A systematic and chronological study of the original legal sources reveals that these views on the history of Ijtihad after the second/eight century are entirely baseless and inaccurate. In the following pages, I shall try to show that the gate of Ijtihad was not closed in theory nor in practice........Such an inquiry will disclose that Ijtihad was not only exercised in reality, but that all groups and individuals who opposed it were finally excluded from Sunnism"


Many religions, especially self-styled monotheistic ones, are very uneasy - to say the least - about claims to prophetic status based upon direct communion with the Deity. The Hebrew prophets gained the opprobrium of the Temple priests (those who spoke from the Babylonian Captivity were most secure against retribution and punishment). Then there was Jesus. Islam, as I understand it, condemns even more severely anyone who alleges to be a successor to Mohammed - like the founders of Bahai-ism and the Sikhs. Didn't the imams and qadis also suppress the Sufi mystics who suggested that there was a path to experiencing Allah by finding the Divine spark within each person? (Unlike the India derived religions, and Daoism, for whom that is the essential aim of religious practice). As for Christianity, the Catholic Church decried such persons as witches, possessed of the devil, except on rare occasions when they were declared saints.

Today's American Evangelicals, in this sense, are closer to the Oriental tradition. For them, finding Jesus is a sort of all-consuming treasure hunt. George Bush found Him at cold dawn in Karl Rove's office.


Off topic, it looks like Turkey has moved some troops, tanks and artillery about ten miles north of Mosul.


Did you mostly live in Arab countries and observed that hostility in those communities or was your experience universal in Muslims of various ethnic- and linguistic background?


I think calling Buddhism simply an offshoot of Hinduism is not accurate either. It's more complex than that.



If God does not have a sense of humor, we may all just as well give up right now.



What a trivial and dismissive thing to ask. pl


Tidewater to Mazbut,

In Arnold Toynbee's 'An Historian's Approach to Religion' I have found many intriguing and useful insights into religion from one who was of the greatest statue as a scholar in the English-speaking, democratic West with its long tradition of common law.

Toynbee wrote (page 137): "But what is the philosopher to make of the Christian-Muslim-Zionist version of the Judaic belief, in which the unique and final peak in Space-Time is deemed to be already in the Past: Muhammad the LAST of the prophets; Jesus the SOLE incarnation of God; the return of Israel to Eretz Israel a fait accompli?

And: "...The Judaic societies have re-opened the door to self-centredness by casting themselves, in rivalry with one another and ignoring the rest of Mankind, for the privileged role of being God's 'Chosen People', who in virtue of God's choice of them have a key-part to play in History--in contrast to a heathen majority of Mankind who are worshippers of false gods. A soi-disant 'Chosen People's attitude towards the rest of their fellow human beings is a corollary and counterpart of the attitude towards other gods which they ascribe to the God by whom they believe themselves to have been singled out. The One True God is conceived of as being a jealous god. He is not merely the One True God in fact; He is intolerant of the worship wrongly paid to spurious divinities. The affirmation that 'there is no god but God' is deemed, by the adherents of the Judaic religions, to entail the commandment: 'Thou shalt have none other gods but Me'; and what God is believed to feel about false gods was the standard for what God's 'Chosen People' believe themselves entitled to feel about heathen human beings." (Page 12)

The sense I have from your libellous and false allegations about the 'harmful' effect that this apparently brand new religion has on the societies in which it has grown strong, numbering perhaps as many as twenty million persons world wide, is that it should be suppressed and extirpated by any means possible. And I sense from your tone that any murderous violence that ensues in wiping this abomination out should in no way trouble the conscience of one who is Chosen.

I should remind you that the way the British brought the best government and the rule of law to India required no collusion with any Muslim sect. They didn't need to. They are great cops. Remember that it was the Bengal Police who invented finger-printing; the Madras police developed foot-print tracking. They had trackers who could follow a dacoit's shoe print for eight days.

You ought to watch your step.


In school, part of the curriculum is the study of religious text AND the translation of it in "Din" classes. Your statement about disapproval of translation by Shiites is not valid and probably based more on Medeval Catholic teaching projections upon Islam in Iran.


"non-Shia such as Houthis."

Please elaborate, beyond a typical Persian chauvinist response that comes so easily and naturally from you people. The last time that I checked, the Iranian breed of Twelver Shiism did not exist in any recognizable form until the 16th century with the seizure of power by the Safavids and the creation and forcible imposition of the creed as a Persian-nationalistic doctrine unto the erstwhile Sunnite Iranian majority(the doctrine only finding traction in the first place as a Collective National Consciousness reaction against the centuries of Foreigner sunni domination and surviving in the first place only as a continued bulwark against the reality of encroaching Turkish Ottomanism; such a phenomenon as the adoption of this creed by the Iranians seeing countless parallels with other historical examples from Protestantism to Nazism to the modern phenomenon of ISIS)

Zaydi Shiism is the oldest and most ancient recognizable Shiite sect in existence. I remind you Babak that the first historically verifiable instance of Shiism in Iran was that of the Zaydi persuasion,in Daylam, coincidentally the birthplace of Safavid Twelverism(or not coincidentally depending on your religious mores)


He smelled the Turd Blossom.


i really agree with your last sentence... your comment reminds me of a similar dynamic in christianity where certain books were included in ''the new testament'' and others were left out..the same thing probably happened with the old testament.. the church leaders of the time decided what to keep and what to leave out.. it's all supposed to be driven by god, but based on the fanatical actions of the followers, it's in complete ignorance of your last sentence which one would have hoped would be a central consideration in all of this.. killing/murdering others based on what they believe in expresses an intolerance and fanaticism that is hard to know how to respond to.. we're witnessing this today with the wahabbism poison offered those who happen to go to a mosque where this 'drink de jour' is provided..

Abu Sinan

Sufis are hardly the same thing as Ahmadiya. You'll find Sufi communities all over the Muslim world and their followers cover the range of religious practice from liberal to very conservative. There are some ultra-Salafiyh that will say some Sufi practices followed by some Sufi orders are outside the bounds of Islam, by there is no blanket belief that they are not Muslim. Some of the most hard core resistance groups in the early Iraq days were Sufi and one of the fathers modern Islamic extremists, ibn Taymiyyah was a Sufi and was buried in a Sufi grave yard although he was opposed to the excesses practiced by some Sufis orders.

Abu Sinan

It is to the point the translations are often not even called translations. In English they are often called "understandings" instead.

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