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Reformists need to intervene in basic aspects of Islam

Islam has four fundamental aspects – Values, Rituals, Legislation and Politics, any effective reformist effort should have a clear vision of what they are dealing with or targeting to.

It is important to acknowledge the two types of reform: The reform of religious laws and the reform of government laws. For example: Saudi Arabia may have allowed women to drive, but their strict religious laws are intact like beheading of its delinquent citizens. Reform on a political level should be achieved by politicians and on a religious level by faith leaders while both of these sections should not intervene or overlap one another’s domain. For example, in Iran, the so-called Islamic reformist having a political notion/intent could not bring any yeomen change in people’s condition. Additionally, a cultural reform is a lot easier and realistic than religious reform because believers and non-believers have more or less common cultural assimilation. This is directly related with the progress of the state and its populace. School text-books should be reviewed to contain better educational versions, ones that rely upon scientific facts rather than religious stories. The media can also play a vital role in broadcasting the efforts of cultural reform to encourage other cultures within the same country and geographic region. Precaution should be taken that educational curriculums are not heavily bent towards religious scriptures/edicts rather than encouraging students to master subjects such as the English language, that could result in them having a brighter future.

Reformists need a clear vision of what they are intervening in. Islam is a sophisticated religion, and relevant training is required in order to have influence on lawmakers and theologians. It must always be kept in mind that Islam although, a religion, is divided into four aspects: values, rituals, legislation and politics. Thus, it is wrong for reformists to focus on political reform while ignoring the need for intellectual and cultural reforms. The notion of reform, although contemporary is still a taboo for religious leadership/traditional Islamists hence, Muslim community should be crystal clear about the aims and objectives of the reforms in order to avoid clashes/chaos or the isolation. The mechanisms and stages of reform need to be as transparent as possible as well as giving the opportunity for opposition and difference of opinion among the reformist community.

Alongside, efforts must be made towards judicial reform, which is of paramount importance. A legitimate form of sentencing/interpretations should be based on a method sweating to the needs and desires of the people rather than of barbaric/tyrannical/puritanical undertones because traditional jurisprudence has become a tool of religious and political tyranny within Muslim societies, and has elevated fallible humans to become the link between the individual Muslim and God, making it seem as though God cannot be reached except through the ruler. Perhaps this explains the failures of early reformists.

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