Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The "Son of Hamas" and "Ijtihad"

by oldschooltwentysix

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of Hamas. He spent his early years as a Hamas activist. He then became a spy for Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and helped prevent dozens of terrorist attacks during the second intifada, saving hundreds of Israeli lives.

Now, Yousef is planning a movie depicting the life of Muhammad, Islam’s holiest prophet. He insists that the film will be faithful to Muslim texts, an historical depiction of Muhammad’s life as told through Ibn Ishaq, an Arab historian from the eighth century who is believed to be one of the most reliable biographers of the prophet. He notes that scholars and others examine the lives of many figures of history, but Muhammad is somehow off limits to discuss or even depict in a simple cartoon.

I hope you watch the video below because it speaks for itself, and read the news article from which it came.

Yousef is engaging in ijtihad, the exercise of critical thinking and independent judgment. Such behavior was once the norm in Islam, but became impermissible as the ideology became more authoritarian, until Muslim scholars decided that, as all questions had been addressed, there was no longer any need to debate new issues that arose or to accept differing views, differing conclusions and differing sorts of influences that arose as part of the cultures of its large empire.

Harold Rhode has explained the evolution in his latest essay, Can Muslims Reopen the Gates of Ijtihad? He puts the matter in context:
The Chinese peasants who went to work as laborers for the British in Singapore in the 19th century managed to produce the economic marvel that Singapore is today. Similarly, South Korea went from a semi-medieval kingdom 50 years ago to the tenth largest economy in the world. The Muslims of Aden in southern Arabia, however, lived under British rule, like the Singaporeans, yet they remain as underdeveloped as their neighbors who never lived under foreign domination. Singapore's Lee Kuan Yu, for example, once asked a well-known scholar of Islam, "Why is it that whatever we do to help our Muslims advance fails? We provide them with educational opportunities, give them financial incentives, and so on, but nothing works. They still remain at the bottom. Why?"
In any event, I commend the "Son of Hamas" and wish him well in his venture to engage in ijtihad, not to mention all the other brave folks that seek to to express themselves freely -- without fear of reprisal, rather than merely follow the forces which now control Islam

I further commend Rhode's essay, especially to those who care to better understand the state of modern Islam and how it may become as it used to be, a center of science, creativity and tolerance.


  1. Nicely done, School.

    As always, however, to criticize Islam is to tread upon very thin ice.

    Y'know, often people will claim that Islam is in need of reformation, but what they don't seem to understand is that the rise of radical Islam is the reformation of Islam.

    Much like the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, radical Islam (or political Islam) is meant as a way to recover the pure faith.

    It may not represent the reforms that we would like to see because, y'know, that whole Caliphate business, along with the accompanying genocidal intentions toward us Jews, makes it rather less than pleasant for those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear.

  2. This view is too bleak for me Mike. I tend to think of political Islam in the sames way as Nazism. It's a trance. It can disappear in the snap of the fingers. .

    1. geoffff,

      Please see:

      Raymond Ibrahim: The Muslim Perspective

    2. Some of the essential basic facts of the currently-approximately-90-year-history and current reality of the situation that Israel is in is which need to be communicated to the Western world:

      O The British Mandate of Palestine included what is now Jordan.
      O There were more Jewish refugees from Muslim states than there were Arab refugees from Israel.
      O All of those refugees -- Jewish and Arab -- were caused by a self-declaredly intendedly genocidal "Jihad" attack on Israel by Muslim Arab states in 1948.
      O Jordan occupied Judea (Yehouda) and Sameria (Shomron) from 1949 to 1967; Jordan renamed Judea and Sameria to the name "The West Bank" -- referring to Judea and Sameria as "the west bank" of the Jordan river; Egypt occupied what is now called "The Gaza Strip" from 1949 until 1967; During that time, no effort was made to establish any 'Palestinian' Arab state in what had then come to be called "The West Bank" (Judea and Sameria) and what had then come to be called "The Gaza Strip"; From 1964 -- the time of the creation of the PLO -- until 1968, the PLO Charter explicitly stated that what had then come to be called "The West Bank" (Judea and Sameria) and what had then come to be called "The Gaza Strip" were not part of what the PLO Charter called the "Zionist" "occupation" of "Palestine".
      O The Arab refugees from the 1948 Muslim Arab attack on Israel, and the descendants of the Arab refugees from the Muslim Arab attack on Israel, began to be called the 'Palestinian' Arab refugees in the 1960's, and the still living members of, and the currently several million descendants of, those Arab refugees from the 1948 Muslim Arab attack on Israel have come to now even be called 'the Palestinians', and do not live in Israel, and are not citizens of Israel, and live in what is now called "The West Bank", which is governed by Fatah-PLO-PalestinianAuthority, and in what is now called "The Gaza Strip", which is governed by Hamas, and in refugee camps in Muslim Arab states, and have been kept as refugees for over sixty years by Muslim Arab leaders and by the leaders of Western countries.
      O All citizens of Israel (Jewish citizens of Israel and non-Jewish citizens of Israel -- including the over one million Muslim Arab citizens of Israel, and Christian Arab citizens of Israel, and Druze Arab citizens of Israel) have equal civil rights by the law in Israel, and are granted equal protection under the law in Israel.
      O The founder of the 'Palestinian movement', and preceptor of Yasser Arafat, and originator of Fatah, and co-ordinator of the 1948 Muslim Arab attack on Israel by the armies of several Arab states as the head of the Arab Higher Committee, Haj Amin al-Husseini, resided in Germany from 1941 to 1945, and was an adjoined official of the Nazi regime of Germany, and was a co-architect of the Nazi 'Final Solution'; and planned, with Adolf Hitler, to commit a 'Final Solution' against all of the Jewish people in the Middle East.

      Why are these facts not well known?

      And the following phenomena need to be presented to the Western world:

      O Audio and video recordings of the racist genocide-inciting, and genocide-plan-describing, and intentionally-deceitful-diplomacy-describing, words (mostly in Arabic, to Arab audiences), and deceitful stagings (Pallywood), and racist mass-murderous actions, of Fatah-PLO (now called the Palestinian Authority)

  3. Walid Shoebat exposes, with audio video recordings of Arabic-language interviews on Arabic TV of Mosab Hassan Yousef, Mosab Hassan Yousef's presenting himself as being Christian to Western audiences as being part of a conscious strategic effort that he -- Mosab Hassan Yousef -- is engaging in to propagate anti-Israeli sentiment among Christian Westerners. Mosab Hassan Yousef has converted to Christianity, and does realize that the tenets of the religious political ideology and system of government Islam are evil. However, Mosab Hassan Yousef, has stated, in Arabic, in these interviews on Arabic TV, that he is consciously endeavoring to propagate anti-Israeli sentiment among Christian Western people, and that his presenting himself as being Christian is a conscious strategic part of that effort that that he is engaging in.

    Please watch these interviews with Mosab Hassan Yousef.

  4. The Son of Hamas may be an opportunist, but I am more interested in the concept of ijtihad and its scarcity in Islam.