The spark has initiated this column to bring to debate, ideas, current affairs and questions related to Muslims’ attitudes, understandings, practice of their faith, and challenges posed by a changing world which is advancing on its natural evolutionary path. Hopefully the provocatives for the mind given below will stimulate discussions, critical analyses and in-depth understanding of issues and their nuances facing Muslims globally. The purpose is to develop among Muslims a clear sense that it is primarily their responsibility to take the divine guidance in their lives seriously so as to comprehend it according to their own thorough research and interrogation, not outsource them to Mullahs and scholars and accept blindly whatever they conclude.
For this issue of Spark we have selected following provacatives. We urge you to bring them on the round table for a lively and dynamic discussion. We would like to impress upon you that ‘Ijtihad’, the finding of right solution to any problem in life without compromising the beliefs and the spirit of the message, is your individual right and responsibility, not a monopoly of the Mullah or the scholar as has been erroneously understood for centuries. Muslims need to understand that there are no pre-conditions of scholarship to qualify them for Ijtihad. This has been a nonsensical dogma that has been grilled into the very psych and intellect of Muslims by those who wanted to monopolize understanding of their faith. On the contrary every Muslim can acquire enough knowledge pertaining to any issue at hand so as to sincerely and honestly analyze it as it relates to his or her unique circumstances and make Ijtihad accordingly.
1. Muslims have an intense emotional relationship with Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. This stems essentially from the fact that he was a human being with sentiments, feelings and day to day challenges with which they can identify very easily. As an expression of this love Muslims have written poetry praising him in which they have looked up to him as their moral guide, leader and emotional and spiritual healer. They have shared their pain and suffering with him and have implored his help. Does such poetry and the songs amount to Shirk?
2. Reflect and discuss out the causes of a sad situation in majority of Muslim countries marked with the following:
A.There is terrible violence and bloodshed
B.There are generally bad and corrupt rulers
C.There is worst sectarian divide and killings
D.There is extreme intolerance towards other faiths
3. After marriage is officially solemnized it is not uncommon for parents of the bride to hold her in their homes and disallow physical relationship with the husband for a mutually agreed period. This is done under social, financial and other compulsions. Do you think this practice is perfectly alright and would not amount to depriving husband and wife of their God-given rights.