Finally, The First True Reformation of Islam is starting
by Dr. Tawfik Hamid

A historic and potentially momentous event occurred on January 24, 2011 impacting the teachings and understanding of Islam.

To put that event in perspective, we have seen over the last few decades problems related to Islamism, including terrorism, suicide bombings, but also suppression of values of human rights in several Islamic societies.

Reforming the understanding of Islam has been suppressed for hundreds of years after the leading Sunni scholars stopped the process of Ijtihad or renewing the understanding of the religion. As a result, young Muslims did not have options to learn Islam except from anachronistic and old fashion interpretations and jurisprudence books.

On January 24, 2011, the first document advocating the renewing of Islamic teachings and understanding has been published in Al-Youm Al-Sabeii (“The 7th day”). According to the journal 25 leading Egyptian thinkers and Islamic scholars including scholars from Al-Azhar University contributed to the document.

“The importance of this event cannot be overestimated.”

The importance of this event cannot be overestimated. Here are the Journal’s main points that are the subject of renewal.

  1. New evaluation of the Hadith books and better selection for the Hadith of prophet Mohamed.
  2. Changing some traditional teachings regarding the concept that Non-Muslims must pay Jizzia (humiliating tax) to Muslims.
  3. Changing the traditional Islamic understandings in relation to dealing with women
  4. New understanding for the concept of Jihad
  5. Allowing Muslims to use Non-Sharia compliant banking systems.
  6. Better preparation of the preachers and allowing independent thinkers who were not educated in Islamic institutes to contribute to Islamic teaching and reform.
  7. Separation between the Mosque and the State
  8. Accepting that women and Christians can lead Islamic countries
  9. Modernizing Al-Azhar Islamic education
  10. Creating better relation with Non-Muslims via the school and houses of worship.

It is fair and accurate to say that this step and approach – if applied correctly – can be considered the first significant change that ever happened in the history of Islam toward its desperately needed reformation.

“The power of this step stems from the fact that it acknowledges the existence of a problem, addresses its root cause (s), and admits the need for a change in Islamic teaching and education.”

The power of this step stems from the fact that it acknowledges the existence of a problem, addresses its root cause (s), and admits the need for a change in Islamic teaching and education. On the contrary to the appeasing approach that denies the existence of an ideological component for the phenomenon of violent Islam, the previously mentioned honest approach is the ONLY approach that will ultimately lead to a real and long term solution for the phenomenon of Islamic Radicalism.