Advertisement

City of Brass

City of Brass

Muhammad Asad and Islam as a rational faith

Mohammad Asad

Mohammad Asad

There’s a lengthy essay by Talal Asad of his father, Muhammad Asad (b. Leopold Weiss 1900 d. 1992), a convert to Islam from Judaism and one of the 20th century’s great Islamic thinkers. I found this part particularly resonant about how at its core, Islam is an appeal to reason as well as faith:

Advertisement

The first and most important idea in my father’s vision has to do with his conviction that access to Islam is based on reason, and that therefore argument is necessary to becoming and being a Muslim. When I was a boy he used to tell me that one must try to persuade other Muslims and non-believers not by force but by reason: This is what the Qur’an means by saying “There is no compulsion in religion”. In the Qur’an, he pointed out, God always addresses human beings by appeal to reason. If you read it carefully, you will realize that the Qur’an is continually engaged in argument by means of provocative questions because argument is what it expects its listeners to understand. So when the Islamic message fails to persuade by reason, he insisted that Muslims must live in mutual acceptance with the followers of all “religions,” hence another Qur’anic saying: “To you your religion to me mine”. God reveals his message at a particular moment in history through Muhammad, “the last of the Prophets,” but he doesn’t control everything in the world. Humans are free to choose what to believe and how to act: “Truly, We offered the trust [of reason and volition] to the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains: but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up – for, truly, he has always been prone to be most wicked, most foolish.” Divine intervention, my father claimed, is not essentially an Islamic idea; the only miracle in Islam is the Qur’an itself. Hence another of his favorite Qur’anic citations: “Truly, God does not change a people’s condition unless they change their inner selves.”

Related: Asad’s autobiography, The Road to Mecca (which was also made into a documentary in 2009)

Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Ramadan Pearls 02 - non-existence
Fasting leads to non-existence, for, after all, the joys are there. God is with those who patiently persevere (2:249) (Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi) ...

posted 8:47:33am Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 01 - criterion
It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur'an was first bestowed from on High as a guidance unto Man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as a ...

posted 3:36:22pm Jun. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Why orthodox muslims should celebrate the gay marriage ruling
The news that the Supreme Court has struck down barriers to same-sex marriage nationwide is truly a victory for civil rights. While homosexuals haven't faced the same sustained, institutionalized violent terrorism that black Americans suffered, ...

posted 9:29:00pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan is coming - the Muslim remembers
In about a week, I move from Wisconsin to Los Angeles, so I will no longer be the Sheikh in the North beyond the Wall. However, even moving to (LA) Kings' Landing doesn't stop Ramadan. “Oh, my sweet summer child," Old Nan said quietly, ...

posted 5:30:43pm Jun. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Has Lindsay Lohan converted to Islam?
Short answer: probably not. Lindsay Lohan was recently spotted carrying a copy of the Qur'an as she left a children's daycare where she's serving her court-ordered sentence of community service. As the article at The Daily Mall helpfully ...

posted 9:52:36am May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.