Raise scholastic standards to address ISIS’ deviant ideology

Modern experts in Islam and Islamic law are not recognized by traditional scholastic authority in the Muslim world

Samar Fatany
Samar Fatany
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The Muslim world today is in crisis and a more serious and effective strategy is needed to fight deviant ideas that justify violence and terror.

The lack of an effective religious authority has allowed deviant organizations such as Daesh and other terrorist organizations to exist.

There is also a lack of a united stand against extremism and sectarianism. Although Muslim leaders have repeatedly denounced all forms of support for terrorist activities and consider terrorism a global phenomenon not associated with any religion, race, color or country, they have failed to form an effective strategy to counter the threat of the evil forces that are undermining our religion and unity.

Terrorists disguised as Muslims and warmongers continue to pose a great threat to the nation of Islam.

More awareness campaigns need to be conducted to protect the innocent and the vulnerable from the malicious designs of terror organizations that are out to destroy the harmony in the Muslim world.

Islamic scholars and intellectuals have failed to address the rage and violence that has erupted because of terrorist propaganda.

The various schools of thought in Islam emerged after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Different Islamic opinions were based on diverse understanding and influenced by different circumstances.

However, they existed in an atmosphere of tolerance and not extremism. Unfortunately, religious establishments today are not prepared to embrace modernity and the masses remain confused.

They rely only on the scholars’ rigid interpretations of religious texts. Over the past couple of decades, a large number of moderate scholars trained in Islam and Islamic law have come up with more flexible and tolerant interpretations of theology focusing on spirituality rather than religiosity.

Their views have appealed to many in the Muslim world and across the globe. However, since they are not considered to be mainstream Islamic scholars, their teachings are being ignored by the public and rejected by the established clergy.

Modern experts in Islam and Islamic law are not recognized by traditional scholastic authority in the Muslim world

Samar Fatany

Many Muslims today believe that there is a dire need for a new recognized system of interpretations of religious texts and the Holy Qur’an.

A renewed reading of Islamic texts should be supported and applied with more advanced methods of research to address the current deviations from the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah.

The prevalent system of the interpretations of the teachings of Islam is the “sanad” or the chain of lineage dating back to the days of the Prophet (pbuh).

Any Islamic text is referred to someone who has referred to someone and it goes on until the someone who was with a companion who has heard the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) or interpretations of Islam.

Adherents of these systems of interpretations do not recognize the studies of any university degree holder and do not recognize anyone else’s qualification to interpret religious texts and the Holy Qur’an.

The true teachings

They reject all modern approaches of research into Islamic jurisprudence and religious teachings.

Modern experts in Islam and Islamic law are not recognized by traditional scholastic authority in the Muslim world.

According to them such acumen can only come via these systems of training through chains of transmission.

This concept has resulted in many Muslims being unable to understand the true teachings of Islam which has made them vulnerable to the recruitment of radical groups.

Religious authorities need to expose and refute what is “un-Islamic” and explain why it is un-Islamic and guide the faithful to the true values of Islam.

They have not succeeded so far because many of them lack academic caliber and credibility. More should be done to upgrade the scholastic standards of Islamic scholars.

Only then can they earn credibility and become more effective in fighting the deviant ideology of ISIS and all terrorist organizations.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 7, 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

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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