There are Muslims working to 'reform' Islam
I am responding to Richard Ries’ May 9 Viewpoint, “Beware the ides and tides of Jewish racism.”
In Mr. Ries’ conclusion he states, “It is well past time for Islam to usher in Reform movements of their own with equality for women and gays.” I agree with Mr. Ries’ conclusion however, non-Muslims need to understand the Islamic concept of ‘Ijtihad’ or innovations in Islamic doctrine.
Ijtihad is a technical term of Islamic Law that describes the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of the legal sources, the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Islam teaches the Qur’an is the exact words of Allah/God, which can’t be changed, altered, or innovated. For any man to put himself above the exact words of Allah is blasphemy and often punishable by death in a court of Islamic Law.
The doors of Ijtihad were officially closed some 300 years after Mohammad’s death. Therefore, we non-Muslims can’t dictate what the Islamic world should do in violation of strict Islamic doctrine and theology.
However, devout Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, is working aggressively in the United States to separate the religious rituals of Islam from its political arm. Dr. Jasser has paid dearly for his efforts at ‘reforming Islam.’ He and his family have faced several fatwa’s or death sentences and kicked out of three mosques he started in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
If Richard Ries truly wants to see Islam reform itself, as I do, he would be well served standing side by side with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and helping him with his work here in Central Florida.