glyph 286: epistemology, independent thinking, critical thinking ... the great days of Islam and how they will come again ... Saracens, Muslims ... Arabic language ... sources of western civilization ... Irshad Manji ... refuseniks ... what's Arabic for "Samizdat"? ... pluralism of ideas, necessity of exploration ... open society ... interview audio ... Moral Courage Project


Ijtihad - Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking

Irshad Manji, on an aspect of Islam's greatness

Moral Courage, as Irshad defines it, leads to ijtihad, to real thinking. -leif

Ijtihad (pronounced "ij-tee-had" is Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking. In the early centuries of Islam, thanks to the spirit of ijtihad, 135 schools of thought thrived. Inspired by ijtihad, Muslims gave the world inventions from the astrolabe to the university. So much of we consider "western" pop culture came from Muslims: the guitar, mocha coffee, even the ultra-Spanish expression "Ole!" (which has its root in the Arabic word for God, "Allah").

Irshad Manji's book, The Trouble with Islam Today

The Trouble with Islam Today shatters our silence. It shows Muslims how we can re-discover Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking -- a tradition known as "ijtihad" -- and re-discover it precisely to update Islam for the 21st century. The opportunity to update is especially available to Muslims in the West, because it's here that we enjoy precious freedoms to think, express, challenge and be challenged without fear of state reprisal. In that sense, the Islamic reformation begins in the West.

It doesn't, however, end here. Not by a long shot. People throughout the Islamic world need to know of their God-given right to think for themselves. So The Trouble with Islam Today outlines a global campaign to promote innovative approaches to Islam. I call this non-military campaign "Operation Ijtihad." In turn, the West's support of this campaign will fortify national security, making Operation Ijtihad a priority for all of us who wish to live fatwa-free lives.

"Faith Without Fear: Irshad Manji calls on her fellow Muslims to reform" — A PBS "America at the Crossroads" film:

Interview with Irshad Manji, by Martha Baskin, Seattle, March 9, 2005 (audio):
A clear and powerful statement of the life of the reverent explorer. -leif
entered before July 9, 2006; edited/updated September 30, 2018

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