International Institute of Islamic Thought’s Workshop on "Acculturation of Muslims into Japanese Society – ‘Aqīdah, Fiqh, Social Relations" “Memorandum for the knowledge of ‘Aqīdah required for Muslims in Japan"
Hassan Ko Nakata
‘Aqīdah is a summarized creed for Muslims to believe. Muslims living in non-Islamic society such as Japan, in which the elementary axioms of Islam are not shared and questioned normally, should understand objectively the “credibility structure”.
As for the relationship between "revelation and reason" on which the ‘Aqīdah is built, the reason in the sense of "language proficiency to the degree that one can perform with it the day-to-day social life without any problems" is a prerequisite for the revelation sent down to mankind. In other words, it means that human beings are able to live everyday life in this world to the extent that they can live without any problems as well as other animals, even if there is no revelation, consequently there is no need of the revelation for the daily life.
The significance of the revelation is for the salvation in the Hereafter beyond the day-to-day life at first, then, for the better life. Though the reason of the ordinary human beings is enough for day-to-day world life but is neither able to know the afterlife nor able to understand the social order the optimal social order at that time. Therefore, the purpose of the dispatch of the Apostles and the revelation is to teach the optimal social order and the afterlife.
Then, is it possible to know the "rightness" of the revelation. It is not possible to prove the "rightness" of the revelation by that revelation itself of, because it is a circular argument. And from the standpoint that the correctness of the revelation can be reduced to a value-neutral fact, as far as the revelation speaks of the hereafter, the correctness of the revelation can’t be proven in "strong sense” strictly.
The Islamic sciences’ tradition does not distinguish between the practical reason for value judgments and the pure reason for factual judgments, consequently, it considers we can discern the good from the evil by the reason, namely, the reason is capable of value judgments. The revelation is narrative knowledge, a kind of acquisitive knowledge. From this standpoint, the correctness of the revelation is rather only proved by the reason in “weak sense” by "failure of demonstration of the falseness of the revelation”, "proof of probability" of the good life promised by Islam by the reason, and the 4 conditions of the Apostles, (1)wisdom,(2)honesty, (3)reliability, the credibility of the speaker, which are the conditions for the correctness of the narrative knowledge. In addition, in the life time of the Apostles, the correctness of the revelation is proven by the miracles(Mu‘jizah) which give a glimpse of the existence of the unseen afterlife beyond your reason, but after the death of the Apostle Muhammadﷺ, the revelation and the miracles which prove its correctness have finished, from the Sunni standpoint, though the infallibility of the community, Ummah, has inherited the infallibility of the Apostleﷺ, thus only the “weak proofs” by the reason" in principle have remained and the miracles and the credibility of the Apostles have become subject of the historical research, and the revelation proved by the reason “in weak sense” in principle has also, as a text, become the subject of the historiography or philology, consequently the correctness of the revelation has come to be not understandable except to academicians of the classical literature.
The analysis of the credibility structure of the Muslims clarifies that the common believers except masters of all the Islamic sciences is just "blindly" following not the infallible Apostle, but words of fallible Muslims and non-Muslims without any historiographical investigation. Even if the "blind faith" would be allowed for Muslim himself, imposing his blind faith on the others is never allowed. Then, what Muslim can talk about Islam?
The traditional Islamic sciences distinguish in the revelation (Qur'an and Sunnah), what can be known solely by the reason (in weak sense) (Tawfīqīyah) from what is not known solely by the reason but known only by the revelation(Tawqīfīyah). An example of what is known by the reason (Tawfīqīyah) is the first phrase of the confession of faith, "No god(which is worth being worshiped) but Allah" and an example of what is not known by the reason but known only by the revelation (Tawfīqīyah) and now is the subject of historiographical research is the second phrase of the confession of faith, "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah".
Islam means “obedience to Allah”, however "Islam" in the sense of a positive religion, it means “obedience to the Apostle Muhammadﷺ.
As far as Islam means, obedience, the most serious problem for the Islam should be the issue of wilāyah or authority, i.e., whom or what Muslim should follow? "Follow Allah and follow the Apostle and the authorities (Ulī al-Amr) among you" (Qur'an 4:59).
Islam as the positive religion is historiographical(classical-philological) religion based on the teachings of the Apostle Muhammadﷺ. What every Muslim must know is that what is able to be known without painstaking historiographical investigation, and consequently is obligatory for all the Muslims to know is that no god but Allah, the first phrase of the confession of Islam, i.e., nothing is to be worshiped except Allah. It means that the most required command for all the Muslims as the first priority is the very first Commandment of Islam, demanding nobody obedience(blind following), namely, imposing nothing on anyone.
If a doubt or question about teaching of Islam occurred to a Muslim or conflicts of opinions happened among Muslims, what the Muslim should consider and refer is this first phrase of the confession of Islam, imposing nothing on anyone, which is the first Commandment of Islam.
Therefore, in the era of the absence of the apostles, Islam should only be based on the strictly voluntary consent absolutely due to the personal credit.
Muslim should not force the others to trust in (Muslims)themselves, rather it is obligatory for them to show actively that they are not believing in the Revelation itself but following blindly mere the “rumors” about it, thus they are not qualified to be trusted, not in the manner of the humility but objectively as the bitter fact.
So if Muslims want to talk about Islam in these days, Islam in the Apostolic Makkah period, when Islam was preached without of institutional force to implement, serves a model in a sense. Islamic teaching In this Makkah era was focusing on good and evil, existence of the afterlife, the oneness of Allah as the founder of f the value and the lord of this world and the hereafter, justice, generosity, and helping the weak. In Islam Madanī, contrary to Islam Makkī, , apparatus of physical violence were made to implement so called Islamic laws, then there appeared embracing Islam by a kind of force with the threat for the violence on its backdrop, and occurred the appearance of the Munāfiq, “false Muslim”, a chronic disease of Islam.
This Islam Makkī should be referred in the contemporary world, however there is a fatal and essential difference between Islam Makkī and the contemporary situation of Islamic Ummah..
Namely, in Makkī Islam indeed there was no apparatus of enforcing power in but there was the final resort, the absolute authority for the believers about what is Islam, which is Muhammad ﷺ the Prophet e, on the other hand, at the present time there is a false “Islamic” apparatus of violence which assumes the name of Islam while the true final authority to decide what is Islam. This is the problematic of the Caliph(Apostolic Successor) .
Thus the first duty for the Muslims is to transform the contemporary fake Madanī Islam in which the unjust rulers assume the name of Islam in spite of the absence of the final authority to decide what is Islam to Makkī Islam which is lack of the apparatus of violence but based only on voluntary faith and confidence of the people, and after that we should reestablish the religious authority for Islam, then the political authority, i.e., the Caliphate.
We can say that Japan, in which there is neither fake Islamic religious authority nor illegitimate Islamic political authority, is rather a suitable place to destroy the fake Islam which threatens the people by punishment in this world and the hereafter.
Because those who was born and have grown up in Dār al-Ḥarb, House of War, and embrace Islam is exempted from the duty of observance of the Revealed Law which is the subject of the historiographical research, thus it is easier for them to reconstruct Islam through voluntary learning and consent not by incorrect motives as blind faith in the fake authority, fear of them, and restraint from them.
For return to the Makkī Islam which is based solely on the voluntary faith and obedience due to the lack of the apparatus of violence to enforce Islam to revive the true Islamic religious authority, the historiograpal and philological effort which might be called “Salafistic” is necessary, however the ultimate criterion is its personality as the representative of the Apostle of Allah ﷺ. In the traditional Islamic sciences, the Sufism has been in charge of the cultivation of the personality as the representative of the Apostle. However, in our time in which the final authority of Islam is absent, Sufi’s self-claim for the authoritative knowledge of the unseen which ordinary people cannot judge its authenticity should be rejected categorically, because it contradicts Islam’s first Commandment.
Sufism required now is, so to speak, Sufism oppressing Sufism, namely, Sufism which is deprived of all kinds of authority and is not protected except by Allah alone.
And only if this religious authority would be revived, and all the Muslims get acquainted with Islamic knowledge, the Caliphate would be reestablished and the Muslims would restore their honorable position as "the best community which has appeared for the human race" (Qur’an 3: 110) responsible for the mission that they liberate the human beings and the earth from the domination of the idol gods of “territorial nation states”.