The Three Groups of Muslim Scholars
There are in Islam three major groups of thinkers, scholars, and authorities. To understand the various formulations or policies or explanations of jihad, especially jihad by force, it is important to be aware of these three groups. Understanding this can also open up a greater understanding of the Muslim world and of the war of ideas therein. These three groups are the conservatives or traditionalists, the fundamentlist reformers, and the modernist reformers.
As an aside: many people say Islam needs a reformation. The sad news is that it is experiencing a reformation and its making Islam worse with regard to compatibility with the world and with other peoples. The fundamentalist reformers are at the forefront of reforming Islam, and have the greatest legitimacy of any reforming group. Indeed, in many cases such fundamentalist reformers have greater authority than the conservatives or traditionalists.
In order to better explain these movements or groups, examples from the South Asian subcontinent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and (for our purposes) the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan) will be used. Read the rest of this entry »