Letter to the Editor
Apropos “What is Wrong with a Kashmiri critique of Islamic Legacy” , the key charge that I have delinked Shari’ah and felicity while identifying the former with affirmation of righteous action is based on four fallacies in the write up: (a) Shari’ah means the same as “Shari’ah” – with quotation marks – I had used in the article as if these marks don’t qualify usual use of the term, b) I am not granting necessary salvific link of / emphasis on iman and righteous actions that we all, along with perennialists, know constitute inalienable part of Ad- Dīn as these are common between revealed religions, (c) I have failed to state clearly that righteous actions are required for salvation and , finally( d) ignoring my two books, around two dozen research papers and published newspaper articles available on the blog maroofshah.blogspot.com. My own practice ( which Dr Nazir is not unaware of) that explain my terms and context and very clear statements that for a perennialist/traditional Muslim/traditional Sufi commitment to Shari’ah as Revealed Norm (not historically contingent fiqh formulations/legalism ordinarily confounded with Shari’ah) in theory and practice is required to help salvation. Taking note of these points, it should be clear what the perennialist view on sharia vis-avis salvation is. However a few remarks to further clarify follow are in order.
What I have argued elsewhere and in previous pieces was that changing forms of Shari’ah don’t affect salvation because Dīn stays the same. Dīn is a circle in which Shari’ah is a small sub circle that has kept on changing form without affecting larger circle’s integrity and (salvific) function. Marifa/Haqiqa/ complement Shari’ah but they stay essentially the same throughout history and unveil ultimate deliverance. Roots (usulu ‘d-din /iman) don’t change but branches (Shari’ah laws/ furu’ ‘d-din) may without affecting the tree of Religion/ Dīn.
I mince no words in stating that absolutization of form/exoteric aspect with which Shari’ah is ordinarily identified must be resisted in the name of Islamic metaphysical principle At-tawhidu wahid (‘the doctrine of Unity is unique’) and the exclusive right of esotericism/Intellect to know the Absolute. In Islam “man is considered as intelligence and where intelligence comes “before” will, it is the content or direction of the intelligence which has sacramental efficacy.” This explains such traditions as “Whosoever affirms God is one, gets paradise.” The Islamic tradition affirms categorically that salvation is not necessarily guaranteed by good action but requires grace and this is because as long as identification with the sense of agency/assertive will to be disciplined by law is there, one is exiled from the Heaven/spontaneity or freedom of Spirit.
According to Dr Nazir, Islam is not one with Truth and thus has views about sciences/methods/perspectives developed to study/unfold it as if body has a view of its organs/states. He notes glaring contradictions because he confounds the ordinary with the technical use of terms.
Muhammad Maroof Shah