From (Jeremiah McAuliffe)
Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam
Subject: Re: Geisler-Saleeb Anti-Muslim Book Part 2 (2/2)
Date: Mon Sep 23 17:28:07 EDT 1996
Message-Id: <526vd7$>,

Mohammad Noorul Islam  wrote:

>And here to educate all Muslims is Jeremiah McAuliffe PhD:
>the rennaissance man of Islam!

Wow! I must say, that sure sounds pretty cool! I like it.

> How ignorantly Jeremiah throws
>around the word "ijtihad", as if it is some euphemism
>for amending religion at will.

Not me. Please don't project onto what I am writing. (Are you now
*defending* Islam, Mohammad? Whatta switch!) And *I'm* not gonna be
the one doing it... ijtihad, that is.

> Ijtihad, by any stretch
>of imagination, doesn't mean some sort of an evolutionary
>process; it is a way to deal with NEW situations that 
>arise with changing times.

Well, it sure *sounds* like an evolutionary process to me. I mean,
responding to new situations, and all. 

We DO have new situations that have arisen-- to my mind, mostly
pertaining to advances in psychology, sociology, and textual
analysis...... I, personally, need these things discussed and better
integrated into our understanding of the Qur'an and sunnah.... I
would suspect there are others like me, or if not yet, there will

>It is Mr.McAuliffe whose
>reading is selective, picking up scattered minority
>opinions of obscure "scholars". 

Like who? As far as I know everything I read is pretty mainstream.

>It is he who has 
>been talking too much with contemporary Muslims, 
>showing a singular unfamiliarity with Islamic literature.

I've offered, a number of times, to post or make available at least a
partial bibliography of who I've read and so who I've learned Islam
from..... then anyone could identify problems with the authors, or
with my understanding of the writings....

>And when he laments the collective ignorance of Muslims
>for not knowing about the Ukl/Uraina tradition, I do 
>hope he includes himself for he had no inkling of that
>tradition until his attention was drawn to it.

Your hope is fulfilled! I'm not aware of ANYTHING until my attention
is drawn to it.  When I criticize Muslims-as-a-group I am
including myself as well. I am a part of the problem. Frankly, my own
practice of Islam sucks, to use some blunt slang for it.... but,
y'know, a rising tide lifts all ships.... if everyone else gets
better at Islam, insha Allah, I'll get dragged along with it. ;-)

> It is 
>ironic that Jeremiah is so decries the lack of knowledge
>among his co-religionists and in the same breath discredits
>those who were well-versed in religious tradition.

Proof of this statement? I don't discredit anyone. I don't even have
access to vast realms of Islamic literature....

I raise issues, my issues to be sure, but issues just the same.

> It is
>these kinds of people who wrote the classics of Islamic
>literature, and it is their rulings that we consider 
>Islam, and criticize as Islam. Until Mr.McAuliffe attains
>that level of knowledge (starting with a course in Arabic)
>he should think twice before so conveniently dismissing
>our criticism.

First of all, who is the "we"? You are not even a Muslim. You state
you are apostate. (Is this passage an echo of that old authority

Second, as I've written a lot, I don't buy into pure Medieval styles
of thought on religious topics--- third, I don't dismiss all of your
criticism Mohammad, I never dismissed you. I asked you, some time
ago, why you rejected Islam. You couldn't answer. I, like you, have
problems with some of the things taught as Islam. I've yet to find
someone who can actually answer many of my questions.

But e-z bud...  I have read, like, *all* of Nuh Keller's edition of
"Reliance of the Traveller"-- to my understanding about as basic,
standard, classical, orthodox, balanced, scholarly and complete as
one can get in English. 

(No,  that's not the *only* book I've read.... and no, I have not
*studied* the book.... just read through it and then not in order.
Whew! Whatta disclaimer.)

One of my suspicions is that if we *really did* know all the classics
(or if I did) we (or I) would discover what geniuses they really
were-- and that possibly my issues *were indeed* answered by them, or
at least addressed by them-- which would be pretty cool, but I do see
hints that there is a lot more to Islamic thought then anyone I've
ever encountered knows..... Keller's book-- dry jurisprudential types
of stuff that it is-- is *beautiful*. It presents Islam-as-gestalt.
Cool. Excellent. 

I am not down on our classic scholars in anyway, shape or form. Nor
am I rejecting of them. If anyone thinks that of me, based on what I
write, then I am miscommunicating, or they are not reading carefully
or asking clarifying questions.

I just don't think we should have stopped doing it... much less for
400 years, give or take.

The problem with contemporary practice may well be that what we today
do actually know of what the classics all taught is partial.  Looking
at something like Keller's work.... so very classical.... one gets a
glimpse of the profound wholism of Islam. Perfecto mundo, baby!

In addition, I have always been quite clear, and precise, and
descriptive of my areas of gross ignorance. However, I am not so
ignorant that I cannot deal with someone like you, who has still not
looked honestly at what religion deals with-- 

I'm glad for you though, Mohammad, who would have thought the
tradition(s) would have a defender in you? Insha Allah you'll soon be
back in the ummah!

>I think Abdul Saleeb is from Egypt, and I am from Pakistan.
>Who do you think has talked to a broader cross-section of 
>Muslims? You, living in the United States of America? 

Yup. Got that right. Only in America. Y'see, I talk to Turks, Kurds,
Indians, Pakistanis, Saudis, Egyptians, Syrians, Indonesians,
African-Americans, Sunni, Shia,  Wahabi, Sufi, some are Americanized,
some first generation here, some just off the boat, etc, etc, etc. 

And, I am always open to new data..... 

>then again, didn't you just a few lines before separated
>Islam from the practice of "contemporary Muslims".

Nope. I've said, and say, there are problems with our contemporary
practice. That is not at all separating Islam from the Muslims. Its
just saying there are problems. Not a difficult concept to grasp,
Mohammad, its not even particularly original.

> I really
>think you are very confused about your religion. Might I 
>suggest that you spend time reading a bit more?

Sure! Good advice!

>> FBI-CIA. I think they have unresolved psycho-social problems that are
>> being expressed by means of religion....

>Whoever doesn't agree with Jeremiah McAuliffe PhD has
>a psychological or a social problem. 

Nope. But if anyone really thinks I work for the FBI-CIA they sure

 (keeping in mind: everyone has psycho-social problems, unless you
are dead)

>Try reading Fazlur Rahman. I have a feeling that you 
>would like Hossein Nasr too. 

I've read Rahman.... Nasr's stuff I do not know. Any particular
suggestions of his work? (I do have something edited by him, I

>> In fact, I'll go farther than that: imho, there are fundamental,
>> foundational errors in our contemporary approach to both Qur'an and
>> sunnah.

>Well it depends. Religion is not science you see. Hermeneutics
>in this case are to be based on the religious tradition, not
>science. But if you give some concrete examples of this, I will
>be interested in hearing them.

First, my understanding is that healthy religion and good science are
two sides of the same coin, so to speak. You claim to be a scientist,
but do you know any epistemology or philosophy of science? You do
science for your job, not the same as "being a scientist".......

For one, I think we make a foundational error when we understand the
"finality" of the Qur'an as "the last word" rather than "the last
starting-place for growth" ......

>> would seem, ALL of the Muslims on sri, are not even familiar with the
>> foundational texts of our tradition. Pretty normal. When I was
>> Catholic I knew a lot who had never read the Bible, much less the
>> Vatican II documents......

>The above description might apply to you and a majority of
>Muslims, it certainly doesn't apply to EVERYONE on SRI. 

As said, not one Muslim here indicated knowledge of the hadith I
mentioned. As that is in a foundational text "it would
seem......blah, blah, blah"

>You are advertising ijtehad like they are advertising 
>Bill Clinton on TV these days. 

 And how is that? If only I had his budget!

>You haven't met enough Muslims then. I have met some 
>gems of men and women who were Muslims. I think it is
>fashionable among new converts to bring out this "great
>religion worst adherents" line. It is a generalization
>unfair to the millions among Muslims who are also great
>human beings. 

Does the scientist see his logical error? If you are prone to taking
cliches as statements applying to every individual, well, ...... no
wonder you don't get it. 

In addition, no matter to what degree the cliche is true or not, it
doesn't mean we are bad people. We have problems precisely because we
are human beings. We are created weak and impatient-- not bad or
evil. You know that from your study of the Qur'an, right?

Jeremiah McAuliffe/
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