Palestine questions

Questions to ask your pro-Israeli friends

Paul Kinzelman formulates a set of questions which people of conscience can ask Israel’s supporters on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general and on Israel’s genocidal war against the people of Gaza. More »

Happiness

Corporate capitalism versus human happiness 

Graham Peebles argues that the prevailing paradigm of market fundamentalism, neo-liberalism, globalisation and corporate politics, rather than promote social cohesion and the pursuit of happiness, engender depression, anxiety, greed and disharmony. More »

Britain-Israel

Ridding Britain of Israel’s stooges

Stuart Littlewood says Britons must get rid of the “enemy within” – the Israel flag wavers – before they could bring Israel to account and peace and prosperity to the Palestinians. More »

Netanyahu's ceasefire trick

Netanyahu’s self-inflicted Gaza conundrum

Uri Avnery says the collapse of the ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas may have been engineered by the Israeli secret service, and also helped Netanyahu out of a tight political corner. More »

Prosecute Israel for Gaza war crimes

Israel faces its own evil

Gilad Atzmon argues that on the eve of the collapse of the Gaza ceasefire, Netanyahu faced a dilemma: to lift the Gaza blockade or to end up at the International Criminal Court. More »

Liberal Zionist dilemma

The liberal Zionist dilemma

Lawrence Davidson highlights the contradiction between universal civil and political rights and support for Zionist state. He says that, faced with the choice, most “liberal” Zionists would ditch the veil of liberalism. More »

David Cameron and the Israeli flag

Freedom to live ordinary lives…

Stuart Littlewood argues that while Israel continues to ride roughshod over international law and the will of the international community, Britain’s Conservative-led government continues to regurgitate the same tired old messages. More »

Zionism corrupting US democracy

Open letter to President Obama: Your legacy

Alan Hart spells out, in an open letter to US President Barack Obama, what it would take for Obama not to go down in history as a Zionist stooge and a joke. More »

Broken promises and broken dreams

Gaza: raw power and the murdering of justice

As the Gaza conflict rages, Stuart Littlewood asks whatever happened to the US-Quartet Agreement, signed by Israel, “to give the Palestinian people freedom to move, to trade, to live ordinary lives”? More »

Israeli losers

The Gaza conflict: losers and consequences

Uri Avnery looks at who has come out worse from the month-long Gaza conflict, and assesses the consequences for Israel domestically and internationally, and for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. More »

Daily Archives: April 3, 2013

Ahmad al-Qabbanji, brave Islamic scholar

If it is hard nowadays to find an ordinary practising Muslim who is able to exercise his critical faculties and willing to embrace the modern world, you would have thought it would be impossible to find a Muslim scholar with these qualities.

If so, then meet Ahmad al-Qabbanji, an Iraqi Shi’i scholar with a difference. In contrast to the primitive Islamist charlatans permeating the Arab world these days – Salafis, Wahhabis, Muslim Brotherhood and the rest – Al-Qabbanji is against the notion of government by religious people – a theocracy – and also against an Islamic state ruled by shari’ah law.

Instead, he believes that society should be organized not on the basis of literal interpretations of Islam, but in accordance with “religious values and divine principles” and that, crucially, these values and principles must embrace modern universal precepts of human rights, freedom, pluralism and respect for others.

Al-Qabbanji says current Islamic scholars have shackled themselves with the understandings and rules of a bygone era, an era that passed “more than a thousand years ago”. He believes that if Islam is to be relevant, then it must embrace modernity and modern scientific thinking, as well as universal principle of human rights and freedoms. He calls this “liberal Islam”.

Those who understand Arabic can hear a profile of Al-Qabbanji, and an overview of his thoughts, in this nine-minute interview:

 

Controversially – and courageously – Al-Qabbanji challenges the consensus in the Islamic world which views the Quran as the literal word of God. Through a foresnic analysis of the Islamic holy book, he argues that there is enough illogic, non sequiturs and passages clearly based on ancient beliefs that we now know are plainly wrong, to show that rather than being the word of God from cover to cover, the Quran has in fact been added to and distorted by mortals over the years.

He cites, among many examples, passages from the Quran proclaiming that the Sun and Moon revolve around the Earth and that the sky was elevated and placed on pillars by God. Rather than being the words of God, these ideas, he argues, are products of the “age of ignorance” – the philosophy of the universe prevailing in the seventh century.

Arabic speakers can enjoy Al-Qabbanji’s analysis of the Quran in the short video below.

 
 

We salute the brave Ahmad al-Qabbanji and wish him peace and security in a part of the world where ignorance, bigotry and charlatanism are rife.