What do “normal” Muslims believe?

Answer by Jim Ashby:

Thanks for the A2A, Mr. Anonymous!

That video makes things look worse than they really are . . . by just a smidgen.

The fact is, not all Muslims are willing to accept the Quran literally. And many of those in the video would not actually stone anybody to death without peer pressure from their fellow Muslims. Some would not no matter what. But they’re in a mosque and everybody can see them so they raise their hands in support of extreme sharia punishments.

If Allah, the Quran, Muhammad and ahadith will it, it is the ‘best possible’ course of action. And make no mistake about it: Allah, the Quran, Muhammad and ahadith demand extreme punishments for minor (to us) crimes (some aren’t even crimes to us). But crime and punishment are an internal (sharia) problem. I hate the punishments for humanitarian reasons but I recognize they are internal matters.

What is NOT an internal matter is jihad. And make no mistake about it: Allah, the Quran, Muhammad and ahadith demand you fight if you’re able and called to jihad. Allah takes a dim view of those who stay on their couch instead of waging war. Far too many Muslims would be honored to kill for Allah and jihad.

By the way, did you notice how the speaker polled the adherents about punishments prescribed by sharia law but intentionally avoided polling them about jihad? He’s not stupid. He knows the difference between internal issues and global ones. He was aware that some of us infidels would also see the video.

There’s an old debate about whether or not there can be such a thing as a moderate Muslim. On Quora, we see that there certainly are Muslims who declare their faith in Islam but who also acknowledge problems with it. As near as I can tell, that makes them moderate Muslims. The question is: ‘Are moderate Muslims relevant if they can’t or won’t stand up to extremists?’

Clearly, moderate Muslims can put targets on their backs by speaking out too loud or too clear. Even Malala, a young girl, was shot in the head for advocating education for girls. So, it seems to me that the only way for moderate Muslims to stand up to extremists is to unite against them.

But would a united front of moderate Muslims be large enough to challenge their fundamentalist (extremist by Western standards) brethren? According to poll after poll (Gallup and Pew and others), it seems that, in most Islamic states, the answer is iffy, at best.

But the literalist zeal of ISIS has revealed that most fundamentalist Muslims aren’t really as literal about the Quran as is ISIS. The ummah of Islam has spoken with a united voice against ISIS. If you listen to the condemnations you’ll notice an uncharacteristically non-literalist interpretation of the Quran. Given the perfect, infallible, immutable, clear and complete attributes of the Quran, it’s amazing that so many Muslims appear to agree with these non-literalist interpretations.

Non-literalist interpretations of the Quran represents the first step needed to begin reformation of Islam. The second step is a united front of moderate Muslims. ISIS may pride themselves in their literal interpretation of the Quran but all they’ve managed to do is repulse the entire world . . . including the ummah of Islam. We have ISIS to thank for bringing the ummah of Islam to the first baby-step of reform. We need to do all we can to encourage the next step: a united front of moderate Muslims.

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