So the Taliban have captured Afghanistan and now people are wondering is this true Islam? Does the Taliban represent Islam? or is it unfair to say that the Taliban are Islamic? I’m Abdullah Sameer I’m your friendly ex-Muslim and today I’m going to be discussing whether the Taliban are Islamic.
Is the Taliban following the best, the most correct version of Islam? Well every version of Islam is based on a human interpretation. It is a human effort of trying to understand the holy books, the so-called revelation, from Allah and the teachings of Muhammad but every step along that process has a human effort In the very beginning you have the quran which was preserved by human beings.
There are multiple variant readings of the quran and sometimes these variant readings lead to different outcomes for example there’s a verse in the Quran where Shias and Sunnis differ on whether or not you have to wipe while doing wudu the washing of before the prayer. The other difference you find is that when it comes to hadith. It’s again a human process of collection and preservation. Which hadith are actually true? Which hadith are not? Well that’s a human best guess effort so scholars will try to figure out which is correct which are not. Even if we’ve agreed upon which hadith are correct did Muhammad actually do the things documented in those hadith?
Another thing is you have to figure out is which hadith cancels which other hadith. This is called Usul al-fiqh – basically how the fiqh rulings are interpreted that is all again a human effort and the rules for interpreting this are human effort. Can the hadith cancel the Quran? Or does the Quran always supersides the hadith? Well most Sunnis would say the hadith are an explanation of Muhammad’s actions and are actually proof even if the Quran doesn’t say something. So most Sunnis would never say the Quran cancels hadith but that’s a question
The other question is what about the timing of so-and-so hadith? So this hadith that came before and after. There are examples even in the Quran of verses that come before and after and one verse abrogates another verse. That’s hotly contested as well. And then after all this, you now have to figure out if it was a universal ruling or only for Muhammad’s time?
Muhammad said don’t let the pants go below the ankles, right… don’t let your izãr (your garment) hang below the ankles because it’s in the hellfire. So to this day, you have Salafi Muslims that wear their pants up above the ankles. They take it literally and they think it applies even today. Whereas some other Muslims will say well Abu Bakr the caliph of Islam after Muhammad he asked Muhammad and he said I don’t wear it out of pride so is that okay and Muhammad said that’s fine. If you didn’t know about the hadith then maybe you would consider to this day or maybe if you think that hadith is invalid or whatever. So you have so many differences already.
As you can see just from the paragraphs above you will understand why there are so many sects in Islam, why there are so many different interpretations, and why new Muslims often or new newly practicing Muslims often struggle to understand how do I follow Islam. They often ask themselves shall I follow a Madhhab? not follow a Madhhab? Even when it comes to Allah’s names and attributes like his hands and his face and his shin can I take that literally or is that simply a metaphor or you know it means something else. Does allah’s hands mean his power? When allah comes down every night what does that mean, right? Is he literally coming down every night to the lowest heaven? That’s what the hadith says and that’s an argument between Salafis and Ashari’s
Now you have a bit of an idea as to how complicated it is to interpret Islam, right? This is something that people do for a living. So now you can understand that how can there be a true islam? Who is to know what really happened? Did Muhammad really appoint Ali? Or was it actually the case that Abu Bakr should have been the first caliph, right? So are Shias right or Sunnis right? Shias have their own hadith, right. So obviously when you look at the Quran you will incline towards a certain position the Quran and especially the hadith you will incline to a certain position for example well if Shiasm is true, then why are the 12 imams not mentioned in the Quran, right? That’s that’s a good question. Shias will work around this by saying well it’s mentioned in different ways like the 12 tribes or something like that.
As for Ismailis, I was born as an Ismaili before I converted to Sunni Islam, they say a lot of the things in Quran you have to look at the inner meaning not the outward meaning, right. So they get out of many conandrums that way. The point is the jihadist, the Taliban, the ISIS their version of Islam is based on many assumptions. The assumption that you have to not just take the hadith as true but also they had that the hadith universal and should be applied even today.
Some scholars for example Mufti Abu Layth would say that slavery is banned in Islam now because Muhammad was trying to eliminate it using trajectory hermeneutics. So he was trying to limit the options for slavery and limit the ways that people could become slaves. I don’t buy this personally. I don’t buy that the apostasy law was actually a treason law.
Some muslim scholars are saying that actually the hadith about Aisha being six when she was married and nine when it was consummated those are not valid. They allege the hadith are not correct even though they were supposedly narrated by Aisha herself because there’s a weakness in the chain. In reality from my perspective, this hadith is being challenged because it is inconvenient, but the scholars that say that Aisha was actually 18. So regardless of whatever the actual historical Muhammad was and what he did we will probably never know that. We’re going based on a mythology and the mythology can be interpreted a hundred different ways.
There’s not an infinite number of interpretations but there are obviously viable interpretations and interpretations that are not viable right. When it comes to ISIS and all of these extremist groups, are they viable interpretations of Islam? Actually, I think they are because the hadith are easy to interpret in a very violent way. The Quran itself if you read Surah Tawbah Surah 9 has a lot of antagonism and hatred. The Quran itself from beginning to end is quite antagonistic towards non-muslims uses words like deaf, dumb, and blind and stuff like that. So if you wanted to be joining one of these If you wanted to fight for an islamic state it would be pretty easy.This is why you have people like John Geogelas who converted to Islam from Texas and he became one of the top members of ISIS and he’s debating people in Arabic as to the merits of ISIS. I will conced that ISIS does some things that even nobody else would do in Islam and that the vast majority of Muslims do not accept ISIS.
The Taliban are basically Deobandi. Even the Indian Deobandi scholars are saying “Oh Taliban has nothing to do with our Deobandi traditions” They’re saying that and of course, they’re gonna say don’t blame us for extremism, which is true don’t blame them for extremism, but you can blame Islam for extremism because Islam has a lot of violent terrible things in it.
So the Muslims that say you know these groups have nothing to do with Islam are being unfair. The groups that say ISIS is a true Islam are being unfair too. ISIS is just one manifestation of Islam just one possible interpretation and yes there is some strength behind that particular interpretation but it’s not the only opinion or the only interpretation and it’s not the only valid interpretation of Islam. At the end of the day, you’re arguing over mythology and you’re arguing over a man-made religion. There’s not going to be one right and wrong way of interpreting it. There’s going to be contradictions
There are so many contradictions from beginning to end in Islam so you are going to find when you dig into it that you can interpret in different ways. You can argue over the hadith you can argue over the Quran Even the quranic variants for god’s sake Even the Quran itself, right. So everything about Islam has been a human effort. Everything about any religion actually but in particular, we’re talking about Islam so keep in mind there is no one true Islam There’s no one fundamental Islam.
Muslims that don’t believe in ISIS are not being bad Muslims. You can’t say that they’re bad Muslims. You can’t say that moderate Muslims the ones that don’t want to do jihad and don’t believe in sharia law (if that’s how you define moderate Muslims) they’re not proper Muslims because there are Muslim scholars like Hamza Yusuf who are against the idea of bringing hudood/capital punishment back in Islam.
Yusuf argues that the whole concept of an Islamic state is a fantasy in the minds of a lot of the modern Islamists but if you actually study Muslim history you will find that yes Islam was the state religion but the states functioned just like a secular state functions because religion actually has very little to do with the running of a state. He says we don’t need that and it was there for its own purpose back then to protect the religion to promote the maqasid the goals of the sharia. We don’t need that anymore.
Of course the Islamists people like Hizb ut-Tahrir, Muslim brotherhood and Jamia Islamiyah the Islamic movements they will argue that Islamic law is the most important thing sharia law, right? But the other Muslims will say no that’s not important anymore and the important thing is to worship Allah and these things actually take people away from Islam so we don’t need them anymore So there’s always going to be a conflict.
As an ex-Muslim as an atheist I have to acknowledge that there are multiple sects of Islam and each of them has its arguments or its reason to believe and not to believe. At the end of the day, it’s all man-made nonsense so that is what I will leave it.
If god was true he shouldn’t have left this religion in such a mess. He shouldn’t have left it in such a situation that Muhammad died and there was huge apostasy crisis and a war. There had to be a war the Ridda to bring people back to Islam because they didn’t want to pay the zakat and they didn’t want to listen to Abu Bakr. Also, the Quran wasn’t compiled as a book. There are so many issues. Who was going to be the next leader after Muhammad? Nothing was settled.
So if Islam is true, Allah is a really bad planner Muhammad, of course, was just a man which is why he ended up with all these contradictions and problems and issues which is why I left Islam. I don’t believe in it, but we should expect better from Allah. We should expect better from the creator of the universe than to leave a religion with so much violence, hatred, and such misogyny and such a mess. So that’s all I have.