I believe that the spirit of ijtihad should not simply be brought back. It should be democratized and popularized beyond the academics and imams. Some scholars will object, insisting that to exercise ijtihad one must have skills developed by years of training. Otherwise, they say, we wind up with anybody quoting the Qur’an to justify radical behavior, as is already happening with the rise of the internet and the decline of traditional authority.
I am content and happy, yet I am ambivalent; I am troubled about my carefree life in the USA. I am in a moral quandary. When I look around what the government of my country has been doing to the rest of the world, I see that the haven I sought refuge, the heaven I enjoy has been created at the cost of destroying other countries, at the cost of killing thousands, millions of people in “foreign” countries, and turning millions of them to widows and orphans… The honey that I am enjoying in my breakfast is made possible by the blood sucked from other people through bloody invasions or puppet regimes! The gas that I am guzzling in my SUV is made cheaper by the oil sucked from other countries filled with “ugly and scary people!”
Critical Thinkers for Islamic Reform
Oxford University in June 11-13 2010