Monday, March 13, 2006

Lost Ijtihad !! ........................................................

One of my top dreams is world peace.
I'm serious...cultures clash is a nightmare !!
Here is a Muslim writer who cares about cultures harmony and has good Islamic spirit,however,she's attacked by Muslim extremists because of her independent free thinking.One more reason is that she is homosexual !!
Irshad Manji...A Canadian Muslim Journalist.She is a Muslim refusenik.

See this article of her ( extracted from her site:

How you can support the liberal reformation of Islam through "Project Ijtihad"
What's Ijtihad?

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").
What happened to ijtihad?
Toward the end of the 11th century, the "gates of ijtihad" were closed for entirely political reasons. During this time, the Muslim empire from Iraq in the east to Spain in the west was going through a series of internal upheavals. Dissident denominations were popping up and declaring their own runaway governments, which posed a threat to the main Muslim leader -- the caliph. Based in Baghdad, the caliph cracked down and closed ranks. Remember those 135 schools of thought mentioned above? They were deliberately reduced to four, pretty conservative, schools of thought. This led to a rigid reading of the Koran as well as to a series of legal opinions -- fatwas -- that scholars could no longer overturn or even question, but could now only imitate. To this very day, imitation of medieval norms has trumped innovation in Islam. It’s time to revive ijtihad to update Islam for the 21st century. That’s why I’ve created Project Ijtihad.
What's Project Ijtihad?
Project Ijtihad is my foundation to spur a reform in Islam — a reform that enables the emerging generation of Muslims, especially young women, to challenge authoritarianism and restore Islam’s tradition of critical thinking.
The mission is to build a leadership network through which young, reform-minded Muslims can do three things:
· Meet face-to-face so that they see they're not alone;
· Develop the confidence to openly dissent with conformity in Islam; and
· Learn about the Golden Age of Islam, when Muslims, Jews, Christians and others worked together to preserve and expand knowledge -- something we’re rarely taught in our public schools or in our Islamic religious schools.
The center’s students will hail from around the world. In North America, many of our beneficiaries will come from first generation immigrant families. That way, the conversations they initiate at home and in their communities will reach real people rather than being confined to an elite. The point is to create a critical mass of critical thinkers so that young Muslims no longer fear speaking their minds.
How's the response so far?
Based on my extensive touring and interaction with young Muslims around the world, I can report good news: the idea of a campaign to revive ijtihad is generating huge excitement. Young Muslims and their friends are expressing gratitude, relief, even love for my willingness to help them confront the extremists. There’s no doubt that some young Muslims detest me and my message of ijtihad.
They tend to be the vocal and vitriolic ones. But everywhere I go, I’m quietly approached by Muslims, especially young women, who are desperate to know that it’s possible to dissent with mainstream orthodoxy while remaining faithful. The challenge now is to help transform that underground hunger for change into an above-the-ground phenomenon.
Who's financing this?
Project Ijithad has already captured the imagination of a multi-faith group of supporters led by Monica Graham of New York City. A champion for women’s equality within the Catholic Church, Monica is broadening her advocacy to include women and youth in the Muslim world. Monica and others are helping me raise money to establish the leadership center for young Muslims. But there are crucial steps to take along the way.
So what's next?
As we work towards launching the leadership center, we need to create educational materials in various formats. One of our immediate goals is to translate The Trouble with Islam Today into Farsi so that it can be distributed in Iran. We also need to produce audio versions of the book in various languages so that Muslims who live under severe state censorship, Muslims who are illiterate, or Muslims who can’t afford access to the internet can, nonetheless, hear the message. Initiatives like this will allow young Muslims worldwide to become aware of Project Ijtihad. That, in turn, will allow us to identify our future students at the leadership center.
You can send your questions or comments to mailto:pi@muslim-refusenik.comTo contribute, please only use the online form above.
Salaam and thank you,
Irshad Manji, Chief Catalyst, Project Ijtihad