Are there moderate Muslim scholars who can help Muslims find solutions to prevailing challenges and are they capable enough to confront sectarian conflicts that are a threat to humanity and global peace?
Western researchers have their doubts and the Muslim masses are desperately searching for their help. Muslim researchers stress the need to support moderate religious scholars and empower them to speak out against extremists and the proponents of the militant ideology.
Unfortunately today the Muslim world is burdened with so called scholars of limited Islamic education who have taken a more rigid direction.
More competent moderate Muslim scholars can play an important role to influence the confused and lost masses. However, they lack genuine support and are unable to confront religious extremists that have spread hatred and violence all over the world.
Can moderate Muslim scholars identify themselves and speak out before it is too late?Samar Fatany
It is about time that Muslim countries exert more meaningful efforts to support moderate scholars who can make a difference and guide the disgruntled and misinformed.
The Muslim world needs bold and strong scholarly voices that clarify Islam’s position toward extremism and bridge the sectarian divide.
We are divided and there are no signs of an end to the sectarian conflicts that are killing innocent women and children, destroying homes and displacing entire communities.
Countering the forces of evil
Where are the Muslim academic councils that can guide the faithful to a peaceful end? Scholars who advocate moderate Islam and represent the silent majority of the Muslim world have made little progress to counter the forces of evil, who are using Islam to achieve political gains.
There is a dire need to mobilize a global campaign to identify moderate scholars who can initiate serious and meaningful efforts to reform the curriculum of Islamic studies.
Fundamentalists have yet to understand that no one has absolute authority on the truth. The unscholarly religious leaders have given themselves the privilege to announce fatwas without an understanding of the events surrounding the Qur’anic revelations, they base their conclusions without any explicit judgment in the texts and on matters which cannot be defined or explained.
Extremists continue to abuse the Qur’anic text with distorted interpretations and they propagate a deviant ideology that is devoid of any tolerance or compassion.
Global Muslim organizations need to provide serious international initiatives to train more scholars in methods of deduction so as to draw more accurate interpretations of the Qur’an and Shariah law.
Islamic researchers are not supported enough to conduct studies and to propose conclusions that can confront the prevailing rigid narrative that rules the Muslim world today.
Reforming the educational system and countering the prevailing extremist rhetoric with more educated interpretations of Islamic rulings can put an end to the ongoing violence and vicious sectarian wars.
An efficient and strong judiciary is a fundamental requirement for the protection of human rights and for more peaceful and prosperous communities.
Judicial institutes must strive to, remove the culturally biased attitudes that are resistant to progressive thinking, and encourages a more tolerant and just judiciary.
Rigid interpretations of Shariah laws need to be revised to serve the needs of Muslim societies better. We can no longer remain under the mercy of hard-liners who spread hatred and racial and sectarian conflicts.
The notion of “takfir” or excommunication has been used by the militant and terrorist organizations to justify the killing of innocent people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
This militancy is one of the greatest challenges that the Muslim world faces today. In order to address this threat it is vital to seriously create a more cohesive Muslim nation that respects all sects.
More efforts should be exerted by all Muslims to seek a common ground that unites them and avoid matters of divergence.
Muslim scholars, Arab and non-Arab, have a responsibility to protect the victims of extremists, terrorist organizations and other factions with selfish agendas.
Humanity continues to be the target of extremists who speak the language of violence and wars. Yet the West is not keen enough to take serious measures to seek common grounds between nations based on universal scriptures and the values of tolerance and coexistence.
Extremism dominates all religions and Islamophobia is on the rise. If you talk to Western researchers they will say that there are no moderate Muslim scholars and therefore there are no partners for peace in the Muslim world.
If you listen to Muslim political analysts they will tell you that Western politicians are not sincere in their quest for peace.
Meanwhile Muslim countries are more engrossed in political conflicts and are more interested in forwarding their own agendas rather than exerting greater efforts to save the Muslim world from the terrorist and barbaric crimes that are committed in the name of Islam. They have also contributed to the spread of violence and hate.
World peace is under threat and there are no visible initiatives to counter the enemies of humanity and global coexistence. Can moderate Muslim scholars identify themselves and speak out before it is too late?
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Oct. 3, 2015.
Samar Fatany is a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station. Over the past 28 years, she has introduced many news, cultural, and religious programs and has conducted several interviews with official delegations and prominent political personalities visiting the kingdom. Fatany has made significant contributions in the fields of public relations and social awareness in Saudi Arabia and has been involved in activities aiming at fighting extremism and enhancing women’s role in serving society. She has published three books: “Saudi Perceptions & Western Misconceptions,” “Saudi Women towards a new era” and “Saudi Challenges & Reforms.”