The Worst Book I Read this Summer
I know that this title is very ominous for the reader. However I had many choices to make regarding the worst book I could have read in one summer. It was either this or the medley of lukewarm wafflings by Tariq Ramadan.
Inside the Gender Jihad’s author, Amina Wadud, is yet another disgruntled laymen who rather than looking within at all the dryrot, simply must recast Islam for all that she sees without.
As per usual with religious relativists, she starts out by stating that Allah and Islam are ultimately unknowable. By doing this, there is no Ultimate Truth, only truths. There is no authority, just opinions, the best of which agrees with what one opines as right.
Neither their “Islam” nor my “Islam” has ultimate privilege. We are all part of a complex whole, in constant motion and manifestation throughout history of multifaceted but tally human constructions of “Islam.” Inside the Gender Islam, pp. 5-6
Besides the ecumenical ‘there are only ideas and opinions about Islam’ jargon, I could not even begin to dissect the flowery nothings written in this document that reads like mere yellow journalism.
I read carefully through the work, skimming through it the final and third time before writing this review that you read. Wadud proudly claims that she has studied Islam, but tells us nothing of her credentials, what she has memorised, who she has studied with and what foundational knowledge she has acquired.
We are merely left to read that she studied Islam and then subjected to all of her secular prowess and degrees/doctorates or sub-sciences that she learned in the university (as a point of note, a phD does not merit any qualification in the Revealed Law but just as Roman Candle fireworks bring awe from German shepherds so too do these measly scraps draw respect from some Muslims).
Further to this, she explains to us that she has never felt honour in Islam as mentioned in the Revelation (Inside the Gender Jihad, pp. 58-59). As our eyes scanned over the pages and the yawning began, I took my dosage of race-gender politics that I had to be subjected to and a quick but terse lesson in Black Power history with the patience of a young boy receiving his first vaccination.
Cataloguing her life from birth, her political radicalism and self-justification for undermining Muslim authority (Chapter 4: A New Hajar Paradigm), Amina Wadud takes us on an odyssey of bizarre self justifications that reach their crescendo in leading a Jumu`ah prayer of intermingled congregants, complete with mistakes in Arabic, tajwid errors that would nullify their prayer and all the fanfare you would need (Chapter 7: Stories from the Trenches).
The Conclusion of the work opens with a quote from that great chaste and scholarly reference point, Tina Turner. Later reference is made by her that continue to undermine the patriarchal family system, at one point referring to it as a prison for her mother when she was pampered by her father (ibid., pp. 256-257).
Although it was a labour of duty that carried me through this most sickening of reading endeavours, she made my work easier by closing on the most important note of the work: her indebtedness to Christian heretic Paul Tillich. She describes his effect upon her as “profound.” (ibid., pp. 258-259).
Anyone who does a careful study of Tillich and then cross-references Wadud will find that she is a late age carbon copy of this theological charlatan; the only difference being that Tillich had credentials in his religion by learning from reputable scholars and then deviated later. Wadud’s manifest error was not long after her beginning. Her stubborn refusal to step outside of the racial paradigm and into what Allah revealed made her the sole interpreter of revelation.
Her lack of finding female sources of knowledge in Islam (although the last volume of as-Suhub ul-Wabilah has a large number of them along with Ibn Sa`d’s Tabaqat and Ibn al-Jawzi’s Safat us-Safwah) is either dishonest (in which case she is hiding information that she would know is there) or compound ignorance and laziness (in which case this was already confirmed in her writing this book and those before this one).
The end result of the work leaves the reader with the following results:
1) There is no way to know Islam at its’ core to know where the truth lies in the midst of all the voices who claim to speak for the religion.
2) Christians, Buddhists and others are just as pious and godly as Muslims.
3) Allah is in all of us and everywhere, in all places.
4) A form of Islam specifically shaped from the African American experience can/should be built and brought forward.
5) Islam’s foundational principles can be updated and those who do the updating may decide by their conscience.
I would not have even picked up this rage except for one fact: believers in English are reading it and bringing it to my attention. The believer who would read such swill is to keep a pen nearby to mark errors that are so many in number that volumes would be needed to address them.
This is just another reason why Muslims in the English speaking countries require true scholarship and not just academics. We’ve already seen what they can do.