Liberal Fiqh (Arabic: فقه [fiqh]) (or Fiqh al-Liberali) is liberal Islamic jurisprudence, a combination of misinterpretation and contradiction of the Sharia expounded in the Quran, which is often supplemented by ignoring the Sunnah and sidelining the interpretations of Islamic jurists.
Fiqh normally deals with “the observance of rituals, morals and social legislation in Islam”, but Fiqh al-Liberali is antagonistic to Islamic rituals, morals and social legislation. It is peddled under the garb of ‘True Islam’, ‘Secular Islam’, ‘Liberal Islam’ or ‘Humanitarian Islam’ – all of which are oxymorons.
Unlike the other six prominent schools of fiqh within Sunni (four) and Shia (two) practices, Fiqh al-Liberali only has a solitary school. This is owing to the fact that the al-Liberali Fuqaha have founded their only madh’hab through opposing all kinds of consensus. There is consensus among al-Liberali Fuqaha that there should be no consensus.
Who is an al-Liberali Muslim?
The Holy Quran has given clear instructions on almost every issue, but on other issues al-Liberali Muslims are of the opinion that the Quran alone does not suffice in making things clear. So basically what an al-Liberali Muslim does is that they form their own opinion on how things should be and they propagate it as being a part of their religion, and hence being the word of Allah. And this practice isn’t restricted to the topics that the Quran doesn’t address; an al-Liberali Muslim takes pride in contradicting the core teachings of Islam, only to propagate the contradiction as ‘True Islam’.
So basically any person who denies the teachings of Islam or propagates their personal viewpoint as Allah’s message, all under the pretence of reformism, is an al-Liberali Muslim.
Who can become an al-Liberali Faqih?
The best thing about Fiqh al-Liberali is that anyone can pretend to be a Faqih, and anyone can give ‘liberal’ fatwas. Since one would be portraying oneself as a reformist, one can take the liberty of using whatever the hell they believe to be the code of conduct as being an integral part of this faux Islamic jurisprudence. Everyone who believes that propagating one’s ideals oneself is too much of a hassle can easily become an al-Liberal Faqih by claiming that their personal ideas are actually Islamic principles – that happen to be the undisputed and unalterable word of the deity.
What are liberal Fatwas?
Think of liberal Fatwas as regular Fatwas only that you don’t need any qualification to conjure them. By giving liberal Fatwas an al-Liberali Muslim basically declares his own viewpoint as the only ‘enlightened’ point of view and by depicting absolute intolerance to any opposing ideas al-Liberali Muslims depict fundamentalism and extremism that the “Islamic extremists” would envy.
How does Fiqh al-Liberali differ from other forms of Fiqh?
It’s common for different Islamic schools of thought to disagree on various issues, but the followers of Fiqh al-Liberali can oppose anything and everything that other Islamic schools teach, with the only qualification needed for doing so being: a different personal point of view. Al-Liberali Fuqaha basically follow anything that ‘traditional’ Islam teaches that they find convenient to practice, and have the liberty to ‘unfollow’ anything that they find too hard to practice. And the aforementioned ‘liberty’ forms an integral part of Fiqh al-Liberali’s liberalism.
Like for instance it is common for al-Liberali Muslims to not pray, not fast, not perform the Hajj, not give Zakat, to drink, to be proponents of secularism, humanism, spiritualism and feminism and to be against Jihad bil Saif. None of which is compatible with ‘conventional’ Islam. Drinking especially is quite often an indicator of an al-Liberali Muslim.
Illusions of History
Al-Liberali Muslims typically appear to be delusional about Islamic history, and this can either be a deliberate ploy on their part or could be down to sheer ignorance. While declaring secularism to be compatible with Islam and the Medina State as the personification of religious tolerance, they conveniently ignore the dhimma contract or the concept of jizya. Al-Liberali Muslims customarily declare 7th century Arabia to be the embodiment of tolerance. However, the most conspicuous illusion manifested by them is with regards to the concept of Jihad.
Concept of Jihad
Al-Liberali Muslims regularly peddle Jihad as ‘struggle’ for self-improvement, conveniently forgetting the concept of ‘shaheed’ and that no one’s promised any hoors for improving themselves. While citing the ‘occasional’ war fought by the propagators of Islam, the al-Liberali Muslim is adamant that this only happened in ‘self-defence’ or violation from the non-Muslims. That this violation was merely following a different religion appears to be a fact completely lost on these Fuqaha.
Revising the concept of Jihad has become ubiquitous in the al-Liberali realm since 9/11, when reinterpreting (read misinterpreting) jihad became the in thing to do.
The art of cherry-picking
Cherry picking is the sole pillar on which the entire superstructure of al-Liberali Islam stands. If there’s an ahadith you don’t agree with, you can simply say that it has a weak chain of narration. If there’s a Quranic verse that you want to oppose you can either use its incorrect translations or merely suggest that the commandment was supposed to be for the people of that particular time; even though this is nothing but your personal point of view. Everything depends on the Faqih’s personal likes and dislikes.
The art of cherry picking can not only be used to propagate one’s own version of Islam as ‘True Islam’, but it can also used to differentiate oneself from the Muslims who use literalist (read accurate) interpretations of Islamic scriptures.
Takfir in Fiqh al-Liberali
One doesn’t normally associate al-Liberali Islam with takfir, but that’s entire fabrication. An al-Liberali Muslim is the first one to declare that the Taliban can’t be Muslims or that any Muslim who kills another Muslim can’t be a Muslim, conveniently forgetting the Battle of Jamal or Karbala. Instead of acknowledging that Islamic terrorist organisations merely follow the ‘literalist’ Islam, the Takfiri liberals prefer to denounce them as non-Muslims. In fact much like any other torchbearers of Takfir, al-Liberali Muslims denounce anyone not agreeing with their version of Islam as ‘misguided’ Muslims at best and non-Muslims at worst.
Threat of Fiqh al-Liberali
Even though flag-bearers of liberalism never come with a ‘Warning: dangerous’ tag, the threat of al-Liberali Muslims is prodigiously more than Salafi or Wahabi Muslims. While the al-Liberali Muslims might not self-explode owing to the lure of virgins, and might not take up arms to fight the non-believers, their arsenal is as perilous as of any Islamic militant group.
Al-Liberali Muslims use weapons as menacing as fabrication, convenient misinterpretation, lies and deceit to propagate their own ideals under the garb of Islam. While some of these endeavours are well-intentioned, these heretics would be better advised to take the irreligious route. For, it doesn’t take rocket science or a comprehensive study of 1400 years’ worth of literature to realise that it makes little sense to try and mould divine ideals to make them seem compatible with man-made ideals.
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid is a financial journalist and a cultural critic. Email: [email protected], Twitter: @khuldune.