Over the last few weeks I have spent a good deal of time perusing the writngs of the Pakistani scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. I have also been going through some of the audio and video material available here and here. Although in more traditional circles some of his views are quite controversial I think that there is much of great merit in his work. In fact of all modern scholars he has probably gone the furthest in developing a consistent methodology for understanding the Deen. Points which I particularly like are:
1- Insistence on making the Qur’an the primary reference point of all matters pertaining to the Deen.
2- Insistence that the Sunnah is also transmitted by tawattur and as authentic as the Qur’an
3- Acceptance of Hadith as a source of reliable information about the life of the Holy Prophet (SAWS) and as an explanation of matters that needed elaboration.
4- Stressing that true religion is addressed to both human nature (fitra) and intellect and that proper use of these is essential.
5- Reinstating that the purpose of religion is purification (tazkiya) thus rejecting the political interpretations that have been characteristic of modern times.
6- A moderate and wholesome approach allowing for difference of opinion.
7- A non-taqlidi view of fiqh.
These are just a few salient points. Ghamidi sahib has serious reservations about the sufi interpretation of Islam and I am still looking into his views on that subject. However he accepts tazkiya as a fundamental goal of religion and emphasizes the personal relationship with God as being essential. As such I think he deserves credit for promoting a more rational and coherent understanding of Islam based on the Qur’an. I may return to is work later, God willing.