The Mu'tazilah Sect - The Historical Roots of Liberal Islam

Modern Islamic Trends of Today

One trend of Modernists are the self-proclaimed 'Islam Experts', Islamic Thinkers' and 'Muslim Reformers' that we see all too often paraded on major media outlets. They openly demand reformation in Islam and call for a 'progressive' interpretation of Islamic values. They staunchly promote  freethinking and modernist interpretations to make today's Islam more “civil”, “humane”, “gender-friendly”,  “progressive”, “harmonious” and the like.

Their newly-found activity gained momentum with the emergence of violent extremist elements that misinterpret Islam to create chaos and cause hardship for Muslims. This began a search for an alternate, sensible and moderate voice - a voice that can expect government funding and favours. The lucrative opportunity thus created has attracted an assembly-line of individuals to masquerade as champions of the 'oppressed Muslim woman', good-governance for Muslim community, human rights, etc. They claim to be the moderate voice and speak in a language that the media likes to hear. They seek to misinterpret Islamic texts in light of rational thought, modern values and even feelings and desires. They consider the rational (Aql) and desires decisive over the revealed texts (Naql).

The vocal participation of these media-savvy modernist groups in speaking about Islam and affairs of the Muslims has resulted in the spread of a lot of confusion and misinformation.

The Mu'tazilah Sect - The Historical Roots of Liberal Islam

Mu'tazilah is the sect responsible for popularizing ideas of ancient pagan philosophy to the Muslim Ummah
in the name of 'Ilmul-Kalaam', by which they caused much confusion with regards to the status of Qur'aan and Sunnah, and attempted to make intellect (Aql) decisive over the texts of the Deen. They paved a way where well-established Islamic beliefs (like Attributes of Allah, matters of Ghayb, etc.) and acts of worship were questioned and argued about, then distorted or abandoned.

From amongst their offshoots are the modern-day Aqlaniyyah (rationalists), the Modernists, Munkareen al-Hadeeth (the Hadeeth Rejecters) and the Secularists. Each of these groups is distinct in its goals and approach, but they all depend upon the same Mu'tazili principles by which they justify their heretical views.

The Mutakallimoon (theologians or champions of Ilmul-Kalaam from amongst the deviant sects such as the Mu'tazilah) tried to argue against the Philosophers (such as Ya'qub al-Kindi, Abu Nasr al-Farabi and Ibn Sinaa who tried to present the beliefs of the Greek philosophers to the Muslims) but fell into the mistake of accepting the platform of pure reason and the language, terms and definitions of the Philosophers themselves as the tools of argumentation and as a result of this, they went astray themselves from Islamic creed and also opened the door for the Philosophers to attack Islam and its creed even further.

These Mutakallimoon opened a great door of evil for the Ummah by abandoning the Book and the Sunnah and resorting to the aggrandization and raising of their (weak) intellects. It is for this very reason that the Orientalists in their desire to attack the Islamic creed and to support the Greek philosophical heritage that shapes Western civilization, are happy to support the Mu'tazili ideology (and their various modern day offshoots) because it allows the perpetuation of the doubts of the Philosophers to attack it by the casting of doubt upon Islam in general, and the actual Islamic creed of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah, the Righteous Salaf, the People of the Hadeeth and Sunnah.

And thus, you will understand well the saying of Imaam ash-Shaaf'iee (d. 204H) as reported by as-Suyuti in Sawn al-Mantiq (1/47-48):
ماجهل الناس ولااختلفوا إلا لتركهم لسان العرب وميلهم إلى لسان ارسطوطاليس 
The people did not become ignorant and nor differ (with each other) except due to their abandonment of the language of the Arabs and their inclination to the language of Aristotle.

And remember that Allaah, the Most High, says:

 وَالسَّابِقُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ   
And the first (to embrace Islaam) of the Muhaajiroon (those who migrated from Makkah to al-Madinah) and the Ansaar (the citizens of al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhaajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith) [thereafter]. Allaah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success. (At-Tawbah 9:100) 

Adapted from:
- "A Critical Analysis of Modernists & Hadeeth Rejecters" available at
- "The Splitting of the Ummah" available at





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