An Islamic Version of Consensus [Ijma]

By Ahmad Kareem

Islamic consensus

Consensus [Ijma] is the last institution in the history of Islam and when the nation of Islam is in some local situation, in some domestic milieu or at national level encounters a big crisis or if a big question rises and savants of religion and savants of time are unable to solve it then it is transferred to community for some solution but how strange it is that the problem after taking back from savants is been given to common man.
Isn’t it astonishing that you’re present, savants of time are present, savants of administration are present and some complication of community is presented to the vulgar in lieu of specialists and intellectuals? Now there is something important.
What is the reason that many efforts are made before consensus [Ijma]? Even in democracy, [the so much praised system] no democratic institutions are being called on any technical moral issue and if the issue is being mulled then it is referred to assemblies or may be the next step which you say ‘referendum.’

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But in Ijma none of these three aforementioned things exist, it’s simply a kind of an institution that when the nation of Islam encounters some big crises within religion, when the understanding of religion is suspicious on some issue or when some complication reaches a certain verge where it’s solution is essential, then it is referred to common men and their opinion is taken. What could be the reason of it?
This is transferring knowledge from lofty station to abased/natural station. Whenever a moral/ethical issue in the world is referred to common men then they rejected the morality/issue. This is a law that common men are not moralists. They’re more near to nature.
During the time of sub-continent’s partition, the problem was, many savants of Islam were nationalists. Free nation [Ahrar Millat] was nationalist. Deoband’s were nationalists. People of the tradition [Ahl-e-Hadith] were nationalists. Abu-al-Kalam Azad and Ata-al-Haq Shah Bukhari were also nationalists except a few religious savants, whose individual opinion cannot be seen as an institutional opinion and they in their individual opinion stood against their institution like Asharaf Ali Thanvi did or like Molana Ansari. They in their individual opinion took part in Pakistan movement but a good number of clerics were nationalists and they stood by the concept of united Hindustan except some Barhelvi clerics including Muhammad Naeem Allabadi, who supported Pakistan.

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The problem was that those clerics thought against Pakistan and opined against a making of new state on the basis of religion. There comes a time on the nation of Islam that their esteemed and venerable savants too avoid the rules of religion and opines against the concepts of Islam. The Muhammad Ali Jinnah presented his case to the community. The common men were being asked of their opinion and then those common men made the making of Pakistan possible.
What is the reason that religious savants, intellectuals and the progressive best brains of Islam were against the idea of Islam? They’d reasons and the reasons are still same today. They believe that Ijma has faulty verdict. If Ijma had made Pakistan possible then we’ve to see why and how?
The creator and Muhammad [PBUH] trusted on sentiment not intellect. When the minds get confuse, when nous baffles, when mind paralyzes and the decisions of religious scientists and intellectuals get suspicious then the Islamic verdict enters in the hearts of Muslims/common men. And this is the best quality of Ijma that the decision is taken out of the hands of intellectuals, but why?

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According to the apostle [PBUH]: “If you’re suspicious about something that it is right or wrong, then put it on your heart. If the heart doesn’t get chaotic, not deny accepting it and that there is no ambiguity then rule it but if heart gets ambiguous and is not ready to accept it, then leave it.” In modern temper the thinking of a heart is considered as non-scientific. How a heart should be taken when there is an understanding that mind thinks and mind gets ideas?
The creator says: “People’s hearts are in my hands like a feather on open big surface and whose position changes by air.” In fact in Ijma, the decision is from the Creator.
Let me say a few words about terrorism. Terrorism is not Islam but what terrorism is? Terrorism is contraction of heart. That heart which is sensitive. One brother says we must endure. One brother says today or tomorrow we’ll endure. One brother says we shall co-operate. One says I can’t tolerate this injustice and then he forms a reaction. He gives responses.
Terrorism is not a new thing if you go through the history of this world. In every age when the injustice is at its peak or there develop some culture which is tyrant and despotic, the revolt against it is primordial. Didn’t the Mughal Empire face such movements? Wasn’t the movement of Robin Hood in United Kingdom a result of despotism? The rising of an individual against the tyranny is not a normal course. But why we call it a terrorist activity?
One thing is for sure that the western foolish contrivity and attitude that they have had towards Islamic community, terrorism has grown from individual feelings to national feelings. Perhaps this psychological pattern is not known to the western world. The idea that they can get rid of this menace by exterminating some individuals is a wild goose chase. There is not a single Muslim [talking of its essence] who would like terrorism but also there is no Muslim who doesn’t want to give answer to the oppression by western giants. So despite of its absolute negativity, slowly, it is convincing a collective response from Islamic community.

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New identities have been evolved. For the first time these three movements tried for a foundation for the revival of Islam; Muslim Brotherhood [Akwan-al-Muslamoon] in Arab; Movement of Muhammadia in Indonesia; and Jamaat-e-Islami in British India [now Pakistan].They all worked and the purpose of these movements was to establish an Islamic system but unfortunately all these organizations were confined to only exoteric aspect and never paid any attention to the esoteric aspect of Islam, say it mysticism or faith or morality, and the whole community thrived to establish prayers [Ibadaat]and forgot that religion is not only practical.
Religion is a philosophy. It’s a myth. It’s an idea and the religion has only one priority and that is Allah [God].
Quran says: “We raise in degrees whom We will, but over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing.” So to Allah the degrees are not acquired by prayers but the degrees are acquired by knowledge.
The desire of Mehdi is a desire of Ijma but why? Why to desire of Mehdi? The reason is that the nation of Islam is hopeless of their rulers. They’re in general feeling that Muslims all over the world are simply not satisfied with their rulers.
History has seen such incidents before too but the irony is no oppressor has learnt from it. History is full of tragedies by incompetent ruler’s gumptions.
Ijma is in process but it has not given its verdict yet. If the issue is being presented to the community and they have done mulling on it, the apathy and sluggishness will be over. Priorities will be reverted and when the single priority be apprehended and when Muslims declare that Allah [God] is the top most priority then all western prevalence will be Satan’s deceit.
People say they’ve gigantic resources and are higher in power. But was there any time when resources were equal? In the history of Islam there was never a war with equal resources. Jihad means that despite few resources a Muslim equals it with faith in God. And he knows the victory is in Lord’s hand.
When some ground realities people think of numbers, facts and figures, they intentionally depress the Muslim temper. But you know how one war was being fought? Mahdist Sudan’s war? Qat-al-Ammara’s war? The huge army of General Gorden with cannons support was ready for a war on ground and they were very confident that when Mahdist Sudan will come they will annihilate his army. And then the historian writes that Mahdi’s army descended from the mountains and the British were waiting that they come near and we exterminate everyone, Mahdi’s army put out their swords and placed them in front of the Sun. Then the valley in which the British forces were present experienced a flood of light and the troops that were in the valley all of them got blind. And the Mahdist Sudan exterminated the gigantic British army.
This is a crisis of leadership. Muslims till now unable to solve this Ijma question. But once the Muslim community decides, I’m very sure the west will be very shy.

  • ahmed

    If the author just goes through the ijma page on wikipedia, he’ll know that his understanding of it is wrong. Infact it can only be done by scholars.

  • kaalchakra

    Beautiful piece, brother. Not everything people agree with here, but then who agrees with everything of anything?

    I wasn’t sure if you or I misunderstood Allah’s Word here –

    “Quran says: “We raise in degrees whom We will, but over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing.” So to Allah the degrees are not acquired by prayers but the degrees are acquired by knowledge.”

    So Allah has assigned degrees to human beings by their ‘knowledge’ or by their faith in Islam, Allah, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? Your translation seems to be a little weak – don’t you think?

  • kaalchakra


    Ahmed bhai obviously manufactured an ‘interpretation’ – no doubt for a good cause – and I gently reminded him to not destroy the Holy Text for temporary gains.

    Now, taqwa is “environmental awareness” as much as a piece of stick is an elephant, both being parts of nature. At this rate we will be hearing about Holy Nature soon. Please don’t take this Islam being natural business so far. Thank you.

  • tajender

    ndia’s pre-eminent historian Romila Thapar, frequently accused of being Left-liberal, is not on Shiv Sena’s radar. Her formidable knowledge and no-nonsense approach probably puts off the party’s leaders and vigilantes. Or it could be that the party with its unabashed preference for strong-arm methods finds it difficult to engage with the rich intellectual submission that Thapar makes.
    Whatever be the reason, Thapar’s scheduled lecture in the city on Monday evening, in the memory of the Islamic scholar and reformist Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, went off without a hitch.
    She spoke on “Indian Society and The Secular” with her usual depth and verve, and then engaged the audience in a question-answer session, her grace and good humour coming through to the packed hall. It seats 600 but there was not even standing room in the aisles.
    It was as if hundreds of Mumbaiites had made their way to not only hear Thapar but also to offer individual affirmation that it is worth being secular in these times when every aspect of life is coloured by religious identity.
    It was a collective statement that the credo of secularism is worth upholding in the brittle, fundamentalist times we live in. It was a subtle message to the BJP and Shiv Sena, now in government, who lose no opportunity to deride secularism.
    Mumbai’s history includes a strong secularist tradition but in the telling of the city’s story, this gets over-shadowed by other, more dominant elements of commerce, industry and entrepreneurship that came to define the city in the 19th century.
    Popular cinema, entertainment, mass culture, concentration of wealth and the wealthy, and the rapacious real estate lobby are added to the contemporary narrative. Its waning cosmopolitanism is lamented upon, especially after the Sena rendered it a deadly blow in 1992-93.
    But historians have recorded the city’s secularism. Caste, kinship and village connections were factors that determined the organisation of work and living spaces of industrialists and workers as Bombay became industrialised.
    In Girangaon, the old textile mill area in central Mumbai that saw the fastest growth, some religious and caste practices gave way to a more communal life as private and public spaces of the workers segued into one another.
    This led to shared celebrations of festivals, inter-mingling of rituals and new kinships that went beyond religion and caste, and strengthened despite attempts by the then government and industrialists to divide communities.
    A few pernicious practices such as not sharing a meal in a low- caste colleague’s house persisted, but by and large, the tradition of shared spaces and experiences not determined solely by religion took root.
    The “theatre of the street” was a secular enterprise. Balladeers and shahirs like the late Amar Shaikh whose birth centenary is being observed this year borrowed their idiom and references from multiple religions. Hindus attended Moharram processions. As historian Rajnarayan Chandavarkar observed in his book “History, Culture and Indian City”, chawls, streets and neighbourhoods organised communal activities, “whether satyanarayan pujas, Moharram tolis, melas…”. The Ganeshotsav festival, he pointed out, changed its character in the 20th century which “until the 1970s, had an important secular dimension” to a celebration of Hindu triumphalism.
    Thapar evoked those times when she spoke about secularising the society. If we want a secular society then “we would have to cease to think of ourselves as identified primarily by religion, caste, or language, and start thinking
    of ourselves primarily as equal citizens of one nation, both in theory and in practice…The relationship of other identities such as religion, caste, language and region, will inevitably become secondary,” she said.
    Secularism is not a political slogan nor does it mean a denial of religion, she pointed out. It is “the distinction between religion and religious control over social institutions”. She called for education sector and civil laws to be made more secular.
    Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray should have heard Thapar; so also chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

  • tajender

    kaal jab maya kodani babu bajrangi aur bahut se murderer ko clean chit mil sakti hai to chota rajan ko kyon nahi.unke purane dost hain.

  • kaalchakra

    Tajender bhai, I fear Chota Rajan forgot to practice taqwa – being aware of the nature and people around him – on the day he got caught. Else he would have been as free as Mssrs Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Shakeel. No?

  • tajender
  • tajender

    clean chit ke chances kya hai.purane milne wale hain.

  • kaalchakra

    I don’t know tajender bhai. If people observe proper taqwa and promptly bribe people who need to be bribed, they can probably get a clean chit.

  • tajender
  • tajender

    kaal jinke bibi aur bachche kutto ke saath aircondition bedroom mein sote hain woh dhoop aur looh mein khadi bhooki gae par aansoo bahate hain.sakchi maharaj pe rape ka purana case darj hai.

    kya kahiye ga.

  • Rex Minor

    Much ado about something which has very little to do with the religion of Islam. The author starts his narrative on ISLAM,

    Consensus [Ijma]is the last institution in the history of ISLAM and when the nation of ISLAM is in some local situation, in some domestic milieu or at national level encounters a big cristicleis……………
    and ends his article with the term ‘MUSLIM’,

    This is a crisis of leadership. Muslims till now unable to solve this Ijma question. But once the Muslim community decides, I’m very sure the west will be very shy.

    Mr Ahmad Kareem should first of all try to understand the difference between the religion of Islam and so called muslims who practice this religion along with their tribal traditions and different cultures. And not to forget the Prophets advice, use your brain is Gods commanndment, not heart or mind.

    Rex Minor

  • Rex Minor


    Is the article not dealing with Islam and muslims? Where do the Hindus come into discussion?

    Rex Minor

  • tajender
  • tajender
  • posit

    This arab religion contains so many contradictions, mistakes and primitive ideas that no longer are fruitive, that all ijtehad or ijma will only bring more conflicts and bloodshed.

    words are used without proper definitions, glorification of muslim leaders and islam is compulsory, criticism is de facto imposible (only some superficial criticism is allowed), anger, piety (typically faked), bloodshed are the routine mentality of muslims.

    muslim laders do not want that muslims should become independent thinkers but only obey some fascist interpretations (of which there are plenty) of this arab religion and its “holy” book.

    This arab religion is a fascism centered on a person and a book. Piety (of muslims) is their way of being lazy, irresponsible and hiddenly arrogant.

  • posit

    Genuine god has given muslims every chance to prove that their ideology and religion are going to destroy mankind.
    But he is not going to wait till they actually do it.
    In another few years he will bring this whole islamic “experiment” and self-glorification to an end. But that is going to cost us a lot of pain because we tolerated this fascist ideology for so long.
    Money and weapons are aplenty in the hands of the muslims. And they are migrating and multiplying like what…

  • posit

    Pakistan Penal Code 1860, Article 298-A,

    “Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), or any of the righteous Caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”


    This explains why and how islam is a fascism centered on these things and persons.
    It expains why islam will remain backward and murderish and arab-centric and arab ethnofascistic.