Opinion: Taking extremism out of Islam

by Victor Terhemba

If it has to do with religion I’m always careful not to lend a voice because many of the faithfuls are already brainwashed to believing the religion they practice and how they practice it is the best and should therefore not be questioned.

In last article, a satire, “how to be a rich and successful pastor in Nigeria” provoked a lot of people who I shouldn’t question “men of God”.

I read some of the comments online, texts and emails sent to me I already felt like I was in fire. These religious apostles were not even kind with the strong words they used to sentence me perdition. But once again here I am doing this for the other divide.

Once in a while the news are filled about a group of extremist Muslims who slaughter people and commit the most unthinkable crimes under the name of Islam (in fact such news have become a recurrent decimal). ISIS,Boko Haram, etc are recent examples.

If you ask such people that why they are committing such obvious wrong deeds and still consider it the command of the God, they would answer that they are trusting a Muslim scholar and that they receive the commands of the God through him. It is their belief that Allah cannot give them leaders who would lead them astray, so being submissive to these leaders is being submissive to Allah indirectly.

Based on this trust they consider the scholar’s commands equivalent to the God’s commands and blindly follow the scholar’s instructions to make the God happy. But does not this method sound too similar to shirk, the exact opposite of Islam’s primary message, which is not following anybody except the God? How did this happen? How did that origin with the most clear message came to this obvious contradictory point?

I have been able to show, in previous articles and tweets, that similarly to all modern religions, in the current understanding of Islam also believing in God is interpreted as trusting a religious package preached by the local religious scholars.

After analyzing the roots of such interpretation in all religions, I have been able to show (or I at least think so) that key element that legitimizes the incorporation of trusting scholars into islamic practice is considering Hadith as a pillar of Islam.

The current Islam which is mixed with Hadith has become so complicated that it leaves an ordinary Muslim with no solution but seeking the advice of some Hadith experts (or scholars) about “what Islam says”.

This blind obedience creates potentials for extremism; if the religious scholar is an extremist, the blind followers also apply the extremism in the name of religion.

I hope to, in the next article, list the pros and cons of existence of Hadith in the current Islamic practice, and show that by eliminating Hadith not only we do not lose any of the core Islamic values but also we are given the chance to rediscover the Simple Islam, the religion which guides us to nothing but reasonable, beautiful deeds.

In Simple Islam, which is free from the complexities of Hadith, there is no space for religious scholars to instruct their blind followers to such unbelievable crimes.

We will have to revisit some of the controversial topics in Quran, such as slavery and women rights, and observe a Quran very different from what the scholars have been preaching for years.

I’ve seen people quote verses from the Quran which supports violence against unbelievers and people of their faiths, these verses are taken out of context! Such verses are about a particular war with the criminals of Mecca.

These verses are taken out and they ignore the rest of the passage because those verses serve their purposes. This is not only common with Islam but also Christianity too.

Without attempting to undermine the influence and authority of religious leaders, I’m an advocate of self-studying of the holy book.
Don’t leave the job of reading the holy and interpreting to just the clerics, these clergymen can be all but perfect because they are also human beings.

For any reservations reach me via my email or twitter handle. And for contributions just comment below.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Victor Terhemba Is a talent manager, political analyst and social commentator from Lagos. Follow him on Twitter: @inkrediblesmog and connect with him via [email protected]

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