[Note: I wrote a much more detailed appraisal of Mr Nawaz back in 2015 – https://maskedavenger1.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/an-appeal-to-reason/ ]
As I’m sure you are all too painfully aware I am currently on extended leave from Twitter. I realise how much you must all miss my trenchant wit and do hope to stage something of a comeback later this year. In the meantime, however, I felt compelled to pen a short note on the repeated proclamations by Britain’s premier counter-extremist expert, Maajid Nawaz that he is a “non-devout Muslim”.
What does that term mean? Well I suppose somebody needs to ask him for his explanation but let’s for a moment make the reasonable assumption that it means a Muslim who drinks, attends strip clubs (during Ramadan) and doesn’t fast or pray (or does so sporadically). If Islam can be anything you want it to be – as Mr Nawaz repeatedly asserts – then why the self-deprecating appellation “non-devout”? Surely he is just “a Muslim”? If it is all a matter of interpretation then surely he is a “devout Muslim” according to his “interpretation”?
In reality, of course, such behaviour is regarded as an indicator of irreligiosity precisely because there are explicit, unambiguous injunctions contained in the Qur’an and Hadith and a Muslim who openly violates them (as Mr Nawaz quite obviously does) is rightly regarded as “non-devout”. But then this all lies predicated upon a belief in the divine provenance of the Qur’an and Sunnah. So the question to Mr Nawaz is when you call yourself a “non-devout Muslim” are you accepting these premises? If not, why are you labelling yourself “non-devout”? What laws of Islam are you violating to earn yourself that moniker and whence do these laws emanate if not from the divine texts? In short, what makes a “devout Muslim”?
If the rules pertaining to drinking, praying, fasting etc. are valid then what about the following:
Cut off the hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All Powerful, All Wise. [TMQ 5:38]
Is the one who wishes to implement this commandment a “devout Muslim” or an “extremist”? And if this injunction is barbaric and outdated and can be dispensed with then why not the injunction to pray five times a day or the one to abstain from intoxicants?
Once you accept that the Qur’an is the literal word of God, perfectly preserved, inerrant, immutable and timeless in its relevance then you don’t have much of an argument against “the extremists” [i.e. the mainstream Muslim community] as theirs will prove far more cogent , coherent and faithful to the texts than your distended, fanciful “interpretations”. Rejection renders the terms “devout” and “non-devout” meaningless. Liberalism will never take root in the Muslim community whilst they hold fast to this doctrine.
It’s for this reason that in recent years (and the trajectory starts with his humiliating defeat to Ayan Hirsi and Douglas Murray in the 2010 Intelligence Squared debate in New York) Nawaz has been subtly pushing for Muslims to revisit this most fundamental doctrine of Islam. In this he is merely echoing – “as a Muslim” – the demands of self-avowed apostates and Islam haters such as Ayan Hirsi and Ali Rizvi.
May the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Sayyidina Muhammad. Ameen.