The Round Table is meant to bring up ideas, current affairs and questions related to Muslims’ attitudes, understandings, practice of their faith, and challenges posed by a changing world advancing on its natural evolutionary path, for debate. 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.

For this issue of Spark we have selected following provacatives.. The correct understanding and application of these issues do project onto the vision of a safe and compassionate world of the future. 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. For centuries the concept of abrogation of verses has been ingrained in our interpretation of Quran even though neither God nor the Prophet identified any verse abrogated and declared so. Do you accept that certain verses of Quran are abrogated and have no applicability today?

2. Have you ever tried to acquire an evidencebased understanding of how Shiasm originated. Now since a sizable Muslim population is Shia what should be the attitude of Sunnis towards them and vice versa. You may focus on any of the following three attitudes:
A. An unfortunate theological difference whose origin was political But as it is a reality we need to have brotherly relationship with them with mutual respect for each other’s theological differences
B. Shiasm in history originated politically with conspiracy against Islam. We can accept them as Muslims but should distance with them and let them know our opposition to their theological doctrines.
C. Shiasm is an outright conspiracy against Islam therefore its adherents are not Muslims.

3. Do you consider Islam a regimental and rigid religion or flexible and progressive. If you think it is both, how do you reconcile these opposite characters?