Login

The Moderate Muslim Test

August 11, 2020 Authored by: Pankaj Saxena

It is often claimed that there is a ‘fundamentalist Islam’, ‘radical Islam’, ‘extremist Islam’. As opposed to it, there is a ‘moderate Islam’. Whenever the principles of Islam are criticized and the behavior of Islamic terrorists is traced to the verses of the Quran and the injunctions of the Hadis, then the Islamic apologists suggest the critics to pay attention to the moderate Muslim who is not a terrorist.

While the criticism should never be confused with the criticism of the individuals, let us for a moment assume that it IS the ‘moderate Muslims’ who represent the ‘real Islam’. One then, should look for the famed ‘moderate Muslim’ whom everyone refers to, but no one ever finds.

But how to decide who is a ‘moderate Muslim’ and who is not? One cannot just maintain that a majority cannot be extremist. It was in the times of Hitler. The majority Germans were fundamentalist and extremist and wanted the destruction of the Jews. The majority of Turkish Muslims were extremist when the genocide of Armenian Christians happened. The majority of the European Christians were extremist during the Age of Colonialism.

In order to claim that there truly are moderate Muslims, one must define criteria of moderation. These criteria should take their inspiration from the humanist liberal revolution of modern times, because it is the inspiration of the Enlightenment which brought the intellectual distinction between ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’.

Here then is a questionnaire which is made on liberal humanist values. It is a test for the famed ‘moderate Muslim’.

 

THE MODERATE MUSLIM TEST

  1. Do you believe in the Shahadah? The Shahada declares: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Messenger.” If yes, then what about other gods and other religions?
    1. Moderate Answer: I don’t believe in the Shahadah!
    2. Extremist Answer: Shahadah is the central pillar of my faith.

 

  1. Do you think Islam is the only true religion? Do you think religions other than Islam, are also valid paths to God?
    1. Moderate Answer: Other religions are also valid paths to God.
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes, Islam is the Only True Religion!

 

  1. Do you think it is possible for another Prophet to come and establish connection between man and God?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes! There is no moratorium on truth!
    2. Extremist Answer: No! The Quran along with the Hadith has everything that one needs to know!

 

  1. Do you think it is possible for man to establish a direct connection with Allah without needing a Prophet?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes! The Divine does not need intermediaries!
    2. Extremist Answer: No! The Agency of the Prophet is necessary to reach Allah!

 

  1. Do you think non-Muslims can also go to Heaven?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes!
    2. Extremist Answer: No!

 

  1. Do you think non-Muslims are sinners?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes!

 

  1. Do you think it is a sin to change even one word in the Quran?
    1. Moderate Answer:
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes! The Quran is the Word of Allah.

 

  1. Do you think some violent verses in the Quran should the changed or deleted?
    1. Moderate Answer: The problematic verses can be changed according to the needs of the changing times.
    2. Extremist Answer: No! This is not possible, as it is the Word of Allah.

 

  1. Do you think the Quran was revealed by Allah or was it written by human beings?
    1. Moderate Answer: It was written by human beings!
    2. Extremist Answer: It cannot be written by human beings. It is so divine! Only Allah could have dictated it!

 

  1. Do you think it is okay to worship an idol and it is also a valid path to reach God?
    1. Moderate Answer: It is one way of reaching the Divine.
    2. Extremist Answer: No! Idol worshipping is sin because stones are not gods.

 

  1. Do you think women are equal to men?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes!
    2. Extremist Answer: No!

 

  1. Do you think women should be able to divorce the husband as easily as men can?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes!
    2. Extremist Answer: No!

 

  1. Do you think women should go to the mosque?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes!
    2. Extremist Answer: No!

 

  1. Do you think burqa is a choice?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes!
    2. Extremist Answer: No! It is mandatory!

 

  1. Do you think a woman who has committed adultery should be killed?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes!

 

  1. Do you think non-Muslims should have same rights as Muslims?
    1. Moderate Answer: They are human beings after all.
    2. Extremist Answer: Having the right Faith is important.

 

  1. Do you think homosexuals are sinners?
    1. Moderate Answer: Sexual preferences should not be punished with violence.
    2. Extremist Answer: It is against Allah’s natural law and if tolerated, it will pollute the society.

 

  1. Do you think homosexuals should be killed?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes!

 

  1. Do you think anyone who insults the Prophet should be killed?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes!

 

  1. Do you think apostasy is a sin?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes! It is a sin to deviate from the Only Truth.

 

  1. Do you think apostates should be killed?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes!

 

  1. Do you think Muslims should be allowed to leave Islam?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes! Freedom of expression is critical.
    2. Extremist Answer: No! The Quran and the Hadith say no to that.

 

  1. Do you think Muslims should be allowed to convert to other religions?
    1. Moderate Answer: It is basic freedom of choice.
    2. Extremist Answer: When you have the Only True Religion, it does not make any sense to convert to other religion.

 

  1. Do you think Muslims should be allowed to become atheists?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes, faith is a private affair. The State should not have much to do with it.
    2. Extremist Answer: Not believing in Allah is sinful.

 

  1. Do you think Muslim women should be allowed to marry non-Muslim men without converting them?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes!
    2. Extremist Answer: No!

 

  1. Do you think the Islamic law, Shariat, is higher than the secular law?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes! The laws of modern political entities cannot supersede the law of Allah.

 

  1. What do you think is more important? Your country, or your religion?
    1. Moderate Answer:
    2. Extremist Answer: Islam! Countries are temporary, Islam is permanent.

 

  1. Do you think the Quran contains everything or do you think it is possible to discover new truths?
    1. Moderate Answer: New discoveries are possible.
    2. Extremist Answer: The Quran contains everything.

 

  1. Do you believe in Evolution? That humans evolved from animals and the primates are his nearest cousins?
    1. Moderate Answer: It is possible!
    2. Extremist Answer: Evolution is just a theory while the Quran tells us the final Truth.

 

  1. Do you believe Allah created the world? Or the Universe started with the Big Bang?
    1. Moderate Answer: It may have been started with the Big Bang
    2. Extremist Answer: No! Allah created it!

 

  1. What do you think is the age of the Universe?
    1. Moderate Answer:5 billion years
    2. Extremist Answer: 6000 years

 

  1. What would you choose if there is a conflict between the two on a certain problem: science or Islam?
    1. Moderate Answer: Science, because it is a way of knowing.
    2. Extremist Answer: Islam because it is the final truth!

 

  1. Do you think that the time before the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad was a time of Jahiliya, the time of ignorance?
    1. Moderate Answer: No, there were many great philosophers and thinkers before Islam and after Islam.
    2. Extremist Answer: No! All pagans were ignorant and mischievous handmaidens of the Devil!

 

  1. Do you think every kind of art is sin?
    1. Moderate Answer: No! Art is a necessary part of human existence.
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes, art is distraction from faith.

 

  1. Do you think drawing the images of animals is a sin?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: The Islamic law commands so.

 

  1. Do you think drawing the images of human beings is a sin?
    1. Moderate Answer: No!
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes!

 

  1. Do you think drawing the image of Prophet Muhammad is a sin?
    1. Moderate Answer: Maybe!
    2. Extremist Answer: It is impossible for a mere human being to make the likeness of the Prophet and hence it is a sin.

 

  1. Do you think an artist who draws the image of Prophet Muhammad should be killed?
    1. Moderate Answer: No, art should be replied with art and not violence.
    2. Extremist Answer: It may become necessary to discourage such tendency in future.

 

  1. Do you think making temples to gods is a sin?
    1. Moderate Answer:
    2. Extremist Answer: Worshipping False Gods is a sin.

 

  1. Do you think it is the divine duty of Muslims to destroy all Hindu and pagan temples all around the world?
    1. Moderate Answer:
    2. Extremist Answer: Destroying the abodes of False Gods is a progress towards the True Faith.

 

  1. Do you think music is vulgar?
    1. Moderate Answer:
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes, it can be distracting and misleading.

 

  1. Do you think it is the duty of Muslims to wage Jihad on non-believers?
    1. Moderate Answer: No, Jihad is internal only.
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes! It is imperative upon all Muslims to wage every kind of Jihad when Islam is in danger.

 

  1. Do you think Jihad is always non-violent?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes, it should be!
    2. Extremist Answer: No! Violent External Jihad is also necessary.

 

  1. Is it possible for Muslims to live under the rule of the non-Muslims?
    1. Moderate Answer: Yes, why not?
    2. Extremist Answer: No, Muslims are superior because of their faith. They cannot live under the rule of non-Muslims.

 

  1. Do you think Allah has given Nature and its resources for the exploitation of Muslims?
    1. Moderate Answer: We have to be conscious of our environment.
    2. Extremist Answer: Yes! All land, including the cities, countries, forests, rivers, mountains and oceans are awarded to true Muslims by Allah!

 

EVALUATION GUIDE

  • Category A: 40-45 Moderate Answers – Moderate Muslim
  • Category B: 15-40 Moderate Answers – Extremist Muslim
  • Category C: 0-15 Moderate Answers – Potential Terrorist

 

Centre For Indic studies
X