20 July, 2014


A couple of self-proclaimed Muslim beliers have not just asked me who a rationalist muslim is, but also implied an element of ridicule in my usage of the term.

Since the term RATIONALITY forms the backbone of these forums, as envisaged in the Charter, I think it is time we explained once again.

Rationality is the quality or state of being reasonable, based on facts or reason.

“Rationalist Muslim” may, to some, sound self-contradictory. I use this term in the sense of one who claims the legacy of a Muslim culture but in terms of his beliefs and approaches to unraveling life’s

dilemmas, he is a rationalist. That is, in a nutshell, he is a Muslim who chose to be guided not by the scripture, but by reason.

As to those who ridiculed this term asking whether other Muslims are irrational, my answer is: that is for you to judge. But asking that is as preposterous as claiming that Haji Ghafoor is labeling all others as non-Hajis, or Abdullah claims that all others are not the servants of Allah.

An Atheist is a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. A rationalist, on the other hand, is willing to accept such entity if sufficiently convincing reason is advanced. Whether a rationalist also is an atheist depends upon his reasoning at the moment. Most in fact are. Eminent rationalists included Bertrand Russell and M N Roy.

Incidentally, Muslim atheist is one who was born a Muslim, who likes to be called a Muslim, who cherishes and values his Muslim heritage but has since given up Islam. Now, is it any of our business to decry his claim to Muslimness?

The doctrinaire Muslims may seek to emphasize the Shariah definition of Muslim. One would wish to ask them, of which hue, then? Sunni, Shia, Ahmedi? Sufi, Wahabi? Owing allegiance to AlQaeda, ISIS, LeT, Talibaan, none of these?

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