Is the Hamid Ansari asking Muslims to be opportunists ? An Examination

Ansari’s speech is troubling.” says Tufail Ahmed (Indian Express, Sept 12, 2015). Source

Why so?

While telling muslims that ‘modernity has become a tainted expression’, and arguing for adaptation, Ansari qualified it with a reference to Al-Ghazali’s idea of ambit of ‘maslaha’ “which was equally important”.

Who was Ghazali, and what was his idea of ‘limits’ of maslaha?


Tufail Ahmed says “Al-Ghazali is the 11th century Islamic jurist who single-handedly shut the door of ijtihad by advocating unquestioning faith against reason, ending Islam’s golden age from 8-12th centuries during which Muslims were translating Aristotle and Plato.” (‘ijtihad’ is independed reasoning, or exertion.)

The Muslim Brotherhood wants to “rediscover the teachings of Al-Ghazali and proclaim themselves ‘holy warriors’ (jihadists) in the path of Allah.” (Hassan Al-Banna).


Today leftist Shiv Vishwanathan is ‘celebrating’ Ansari’s speech (The Hindu, Sept. 4). Women’s activists also can join him in the celebrations, because this is what Ghazali’s limits meant for women:

““Allah, He be praised, punished women with eighteen things”:

(1) menstruation; (2) childbirth; (3) separation from parents and marriage to a stranger; (4) pregnancy;  (5) not having control over her own person; (6) a lesser share in inheritance;
(7) her liability to be divorced and inability to divorce; (8) its being lawful for men to have four wives, but for a woman to have only one husband;  (9) the fact that she must stay secluded in the house; (10) the fact that she must keep her head covered inside the house; (11) the fact that two women’s testimony has to be set against the testimony of one man; (12) the fact that she must not go out of the house unless accompanied by a near relative; (13) the fact that men take part in Friday and feast day prayers and funerals while women do not;
(14) disqualification for rulership and judgeship; (15) the fact that merit has one thousand components, only one of which is attributable to women, while nine hundred and ninety-nine are attributable to men; … and so on….

(Counsel for Kings, Al-GhazzAlii (AD 1058-1111), in NasIhat Al-MulUk, London: University of Durham Publications, 1971;  pp.164-165″

Now this is the Vice President of India who is referring to Al-Ghazalis limits on adaptation as “equally relevant”.

Is it not necessary for all of us to sit up and think about what is happening?


Maslaha contrasts with aslah (ma acting as negative here).

Aslah means godlier, more pious, more correct, more suitable. In contrast Maslaha means ” exigency; that which is benefioial, helpful, or promoting;
advantage, benefit, interest” (Wehr Arabic dictionary). The simple english word that fits all these meanings is OPPORTUNISM.

This is why Tufail Ahmad says: “Maslaha, singular of Masaleh, looks good when translated as pragmatism but its deeper meaning is: expedience.”

So the Vice President of India is clearly asking Muslims to take advantage of the situation, i.e., be opportunists. However, while taking advantage of the situation, he is telling them subtly, in Islamic code, that they are to stick to the fundamentals laid down by Al-Ghazali, which is ‘equally important’.


Who are the others who argue for ‘taking advantage’ or ‘expedience’ by muslims, to further Islam?

Tufail Ahmed cites an article that argues that expedience is part of Shariah, and says: “It quoted Prophet Muhammad as saying: one who leaves Islam should be killed as expedience to safeguard Islam.”

The Muslim Brotherhood also uses Maslaha, and al-Wahhab also used it in some cases (wiki-maslaha).

Not surprisingly, Tufail Ahmed concludes flatly:

“Ansari’s mention of Al-Ghazali and Maslaha will gladden the hearts of Islamists and jihadists.”

Leftists like Shiv Vishwanathan and womens activists may well celebrate Ansari’s advocacy of opportunism within limits defined by Al-Ghazali, and call Hindus ‘tone deaf”.

We would be equally justified to retort that we are not born stupid, and stoutly reject any advocacy of creeping dhimmitude (embraced by them) in the land of our ancestors.

–  Dr.Rahul Shastri


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