Addressing the Problem of Dual Revelation in Islam – Part 1: Exploring the Fall of Islam and Its Renaissance

by Leslie Terebessy

The repression of reason in Islam resulted in the deterioration of knowledge. As a result, the rejection of reason triggered the treatment of tradition as “revelation,” a re-orientation from Allah to the prophet, from revelation to tradition, and from ethics to rituals.

Islam was replaced by traditionalism and Islamism. Muslims drifted from the Book of Allah and the way of the prophet, which was to follow the Book of Allah. They turned to the ways of their forefathers.

The Qur’an was neglected almost entirely.[1]

Treating tradition as “revelation” was tantamount to a fabrication of revelation. This resulted in the erosion of tawhid. This is perceptible in the duality of revelation and the treatment of tradition as a root of the law. The duality of revelation tainted the purity of the faith.

These errors paved the way for the emergence of traditional and political Islam.  This was due to a cavalier exegesis of the Book of Allah, problematic assumptions, and ethnocentric biases.

Traditional and political Islam are tainted representations of the teaching of the Book of Allah. They rest upon the rejection of reason and the teaching of abrogation. Traditional Islam teaches predestination, while political Islam teaches jihad al-talab.  

The teaching of predestination rendered traditional Muslims resigned to their fate within the realm. Political Islam provided a justification for waging wars of aggression.

The rejection of rationality paved the way for the teaching of predestination, undermined personal accountability and corrupted ethics, by reducing the ability to anticipate the effects of actions. It also undermined the teaching of Islam, which teaches that there we are responsible for what we say and do. Islam began to wane.

Gradually Islam was no longer able to maintain its vitality. As a result, only the remnants of its spiritual teachings have survived over the centuries. The rest of its glorious civilization has perished.[2] 

Why did this happen?

The Muslim Ummah experienced these disasters because it had become alienated from the eternal truths of Islam.[3]

From the time the Muslim community abandoned the Qur’an and was overcome by confusion and error, its unity was lost.[4]

[T]he one and only reason for the social and cultural decay of the Muslims consisted in the fact that they had gradually ceased to follow the teachings of Islam.[5] 

Trouble began with the repression of reason. Reason was subordinated to tradition. Using reason to understand revelation was treated as kufr. Reluctance to use reason to understand revelation resulted in a deterioration of the knowledge of revelation.

It was assumed that reason clashes with revelation. It was asserted that faith requires the rejection of reason and following tradition. But this was a faulty assumption. But the Book of Allah exhorts us to use reason.

Truly, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alteration of the nighttime and the daytime and the boats that run on the sea with what profits humanity, and what God caused to descend from heaven of water, and gave life to the earth after its death, and disseminated on it all moving creatures, and diversified the winds and the clouds, ones caused to be subservient between heaven and earth, are the signs for a folk who are reasonable.[6]

The worst of created beings in the Sight of God are the deaf and the dumb, those who do not use their intellect.[7]

The repression of reason found expression in the persecution of thinkers and the “closing of the Muslim minds.” It also resulted in a deterioration of Muslim education:

reason and akl were made de facto enemies of Islam by Muslim groups that fiercely promoted the Sunnah as the second revelation (second to the Mushaf). The new doctrine, packaged as “the Sunnah”, was extremely difficult to rationalize and sell to Muslims, so rationality had to be ridiculed and degraded to a point that it became associated with transgression against Islam. The opponents of rationalism fanatically championed their embrace of the Sunnah and even labeled themselves Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamma’ah (the family of the Sunnah and the collective). These groups put forth a methodology for the interpretation of the Mushaf to fiercely oppose rationalism. While Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamma’ah claimed to defend and champion the Mushaf and considered it the supreme source of the religion and particularly the primary fountain of legislation, in practice, however, their primary and only source for understanding and practising Islam was the loosely defined Sunnah doctrine.[8]

There is room for improvement in Islam. For the repression of reason did not just corrupt the education of the umma; it also paved the way the re-emergence of extremism. (Part II of VI: Radicalization)


[1] Taha Jabir Alwani, Islamic Thought: an Approach to Reform, IIIT, 2006, p. 36, accessed on 12 May 2021:

https://www.academia.edu/43889716/Islamic_Thought_An_Approach_to_Reform_?email_work_card=title

[2] AbuSulayman, AbdulHamid, Crisis in the Muslim Mind, transl. by Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1993,
p. 23, accessed 1 Nov. 2020:

https://iiit.org/wp-content/uploads/Crisis-in-The-Mind-Complete.pdf.

[3] Taha Jabir al-Alwani, “Taqlid and Ijtihad (Part One),” in Issues in Contemporary Islamic Thought, pp. 82-96, Compiled from the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, IIIT, 2005, p. 82, accessed on 17 Sep. 2020:

https://iiit.org/wp-content/uploads/IssuesinContemporarIslamicThought_Combined.pdf

[4] Taha Jabir Alwani, Apostasy in Islam: A Historical and Scriptural Analysis, Original Edition Translated from Arabic by Nancy Roberts Abridged by Alison Lake, The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2011, p. 18 [p. 120 in book], accessed 28 Dec. 2020: [confirmed]

https://www.academia.edu/43889653/Apostasy_in_Islam_A_Historical_and_Scriptural_Analysis.

[5] Muhammad Asad, Islam at the Crossroads, Kazi Publications Inc, 1995 p. xvii.

[6] Quran, 2: 164, trans. by Laleh Bakhtiar:

https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/st46.htm

[7] Qur’an, 8: 22, transl. by Shabbir Ahmed, accessed 10 Aug. 2022:

http://Qur’anix.org/8#22. See also 2:18 and 16:76.

[8] Omar M. Ramahi, The Muslims’ Greatest Challenge: Choosing Between Tradition and Islam, Black Palm Books, 2019, pp. 59-60.

2 Comments

  1. Salaams and good wishes….I am looking for an article seen at this site about Haj,Bakka/Mecca,change of qibla,Prophet Ebrahim, Jerusalem being the first qibla etc…..all in one.
    Shukran

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