March 10, 2014The Liberal Thinking Ideology: Its Ruling and Implications for Muslims in Malaysia
The 74th Muzakarah (Conference) of the Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia held on 25th-27th July 2006 has discussed the Liberal Thinking Ideology: Its Ruling and Implications for Muslims in Malaysia. The Conference decided that:
The Liberal Thinking movement contains ideologies/doctrines found to deviate from the aspects of creed and Islamic laws as follows:
Aspects of Creed
a. Upholding the concept of pluralism
The concept of pluralism is the central doctrine of the liberal thinking ideology. Religious pluralism means that every religion has its own unique concept, perception and response towards the Ultimate Reality. All religions are similar in status in reference to the Ultimate Reality.
b. Human reason is revelation
This ideology divides revelation into two types; written and non-written revelations. Written revelation is al-Quran and it is purely in the form of a text. Non-written revelation is human reason and it is the reason that enlivens the Quranic text based on the purpose, context and condition of time.
c. Scepticism towards the authenticity of the Quran
This ideology alleges that al-Quran is penetrated/mixed by the Arab culture due to the fact that its language is also the language of the Arabs. Moreover, Prophet Muhammad who conveyed the message is also an Arab. Therefore, the authenticity of the message no longer exists and it only contains the message of the Arab culture.
Aspects of Islamic Law
a. Questioning the methodologies of interpreting the Quran and Hadith
This ideology questions the existing methods used in interpreting the Quran. With the slogan of “opening and liberalising the interpretation of the Quran”, this ideology employs its own interpretative approaches towards certain Quranic teachings which are disparate from the doctrine of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama‘ah. As an example, claiming that paradise and hellfire do not exist except in the form of psychological effects of human happiness and sorrow. The Hereafter is interpreted as not to exist except as a phase of human life to achieve a more mature and perfect phase.
b. Encouraging new interpretation to the concept of Worship (‘Ibadah)
This ideology also holds to the slogan of “opening and liberalising the interpretation of the Quran” as an excuse to develop Muslims and proposes that the Quranic texts need to go through the deconstruction process to enable new interpretations of the texts.
c. Questioning the prophetic attributes and ethics
This ideology has cynically criticized the prophetic attributes of Rasulullah SAW by perceiving it as a leadership value of one human over the others. As such, anyone who possesses this prophetic attribute can lead people to virtues. Miracles such as the Isra’ and Mi‘raj are also perceived to be exaggerated by the fanatic followers of the Prophet while, in fact, it is only a dream that does not occur in the real world.
d. Its position on Islamic sciences
Islamic sciences such as Usul al-Tafsir, Usul al-Fiqh, Usul al-Hadith, l-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dil and others which have been unanimously agreed in the form of Ijma‘ as the accepted methods in the disciplines of the religious sciences, are criticized by the ideology as being man-made. It also urges the re-evaluation of the determination of definitive (qat‘i) and non-definitive (non-qat‘i) rulings in realizing the concept of opening up and liberalizing Islam through renewed interpretations of the teachings of Islam.
e. Attitude towards Islamic Rulings
This ideology has its own methods in referring to rulings in jurisprudence (fiqh) by accepting the objectives of the rulings and not the forms of the rulings.
Based on the afore-mentioned deviations, the Conference decided that the Liberal Thinking Ideology is a form of heresy that deviates from the Laws of Islam.