Reasons Behind The Mission
They are as follows.
1) God has sent the Qur’an to guide every human being across the globe … be he or she Chinese, Indian, Spanish, French, an English, or other. Accordingly, Almighty God has drafted the Qur’an in a way that its guidance is easy to understand by everyone, provided one reflects on it properly. It is not true that the Qur’an is very difficult to understand, or that to receive guidance from it one requires a deep knowledge of Arabic language or Quranic Sciences (that some scholars have developed).
Let us look at some relevant excerpts from the Qur’an in this regard.
(a) God decrees that the purpose of the Qur’an is: All human beings may ponder its verses for their guidance, salvation, and substantial good. Thus He says:
38/29: كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
Translation: [O Muhammad] a book We have sent it down to thee, carrying [guidance for] immense good so that they (all mankind) may reflect on its verses, and the open-minded ponderers may take heed.
The above verse is not saying that the purpose of the Qur’an is for scholars alone to reflect on its verses, and that others should rely on their observations … as is the prevalent state of affair among Muslims today.
We understand that most Muslims may come up with two defenses favoring the status quo:
One, that it is not possible for ordinary humans to reflect on Qur’anic verses. Our brief response to them is this: Then, please say loud and clear that God is wrong asking all human beings, including ordinary ones, to do so.
Two, that the custom of depending on the interpretations of scholars is not new; it has been around for more than a millennium. Our brief response to this is: If our predecessors continued to commit a mistake for a long time, does that mean we should continue doing the same?
(b) While referring to the heedless stance of the Unbelievers, God emphasizes that the Qur’an should be reflected on by all Unbelievers (not by only their scholars):
47/24: أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
Translation: Will they (the unbelievers) then not reflect on the Qur’an? Or are there locks on their hearts?
2) It is common observation that every (sane) adult human being has been given some knowledge and intellect. And it is that very knowledge and intellect which God makes binding on everyone to employ for critically evaluating ‟any take” before adopting it. Thus the Qur’an says:
17/36: وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
Translation: And [O human being] do not pursue that is not to you in accordance with [the rules of] knowledge. Surely the hearing and the sight and the heart (mind), each of these (faculties) shall be questioned about that [pursuit].
In other words, if one defends one’s acts on the Day of Judgment, saying that one accepted or pursued the same positions which the religious scholars told him/her to have been from God or which the scientists asserted to be right, one’s argument shall be rejected. Only personal arguments from critical listening, judicious observations, and unbiased deliberations will be considered.
3) Those scholars or intellectuals who are charged with misrepresenting Islamic Values take the position: XYZ are our interpretations. We do not ask you to necessarily accept them. But as scholars or intellectuals, we reserve the right to keep disseminating our thoughts.
As far as Muslim activists are concerned, the pertinent Quranic Ruling on this attitude of theirs is as under:
فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ
4/59: … Then, in case you (believers) start disputing in any matter, return it (the contention) to God and the Messenger if you really believe in God and the Last Day.
That is, whenever a dispute arises among Muslims on an Islamic Position, the Qur’an makes this incumbent: to resolve the conflict by revisiting the Qur’an and the Sunnah in some bipartisan manner. And it does not allow any party to stick to its own interpretation by avoiding the prescribed conflict-resolving process.
The above Qur’anic ruling of course does not apply to non-Muslims. However, as for scientists, it is unethical to pass off pseudo-science as science, non-Muslim scholars or intellectuals are without ground when passing off pseudo-Islam as Islam. Such misstatements come down to associating falsehood with Islam, which reduces it in the eyes of humanity. And no fair-minded person would call these ‟material falsifications” ethically correct.
To sum up, whenever the allegation of spreading pseudo-Islam (inventing, corrupting, or misrepresenting Islamic values) falls on a scholar or intellectual (Muslim or non-Muslim), without successfully refuting the ‟arguments contained in the charge”, he or she does not have any moral or ethical right to propagate his or her views as Islamic.
In regard to propagating these misrepresentations, the following improprieties are being committed:
i) Hardly any of these scholars or intellectuals (Muslim or non-Muslim) provide a mechanism for conflict resolution. There is no justification that an intellectual who finds fault with a long-standing value of a religious group would avoid fielding counter-arguments from the persons of this group. No scholar or intellectual is infallible.
ii) When objections are sent to a Muslim intellectual activist after finding out his or her email address, he/she either does not answer or instead of refuting the ‟Counter-Argument Y” keeps repeating his/her original Argument X. Answering in such a way clearly reflects that the Muslim activist has knowingly designed his/her response to distract people from the actual objection on him/her. When the question consists of Argument Y, the intellectual activist must address Argument Y.
Furthermore, in a couple of exchanges, when it is becoming apparent that the activist is finding too hard to side-tract the main objection or defend his/her position, he/she typically stops responding altogether and hides all these communications from his or her own audience.
iii) Those Muslim activists who run their websites with a ‟forum for discussion” or an ‟ask a question” facility, more often than not have an undeclared policy of censorship, which is prejudicial. They first check the sent material; if they find it as exposing any fault in their viewpoint which is hard to defend, they do not publish it.
A similar kind of censorship is enforced by those who receive queries and send their answers by email. They typically hide tough questions and do not answer them.
iv) Traditional Muslim scholars of our time have learned things by rote, and have not learned how to think things through as well as how to critique an argument. As a result, an intellectual activist (Muslim or non-Muslim) often succeeds in getting the upper hand in a debate with traditional Muslim scholar(s).
v) Today, some forums or, alternatively, places for comments on Written or Audio-Visual Treatments are available on the internet — usually not managed by the intellectual activists but by their supporters, regular persons, or media outlets. In effect, these are ‟freedom parks”. The authors of the treatments are not required to answer the counter-arguments. And those who send their comments there, actually share the views of various traditional or progressive scholars and intellectuals. Even a good many of them offer mere rhetoric, not valid reasoning.
In our opinion, the solution is to discuss the matter point by point in an uncensored global forum. If this were done, no one would succeed in hiding one’s unscholarly stance or the faults in one’s arguments from the viewers across the world. What is more, the discussion will lead to a clear conclusion.