I am not a big fan of Syed Naquib Al Attas but, at some point, his criticism of those whom he termed as "modernist reformers" (which yes is a label that is subject to our own understanding of it in the very first place) is very relevant and requires more attention and consideration.
Attended a seminar today where one of the "academics" presented what I though to be very liberal ideas (or its sexy term: neo modernist) - I don't know about you but I am growing tired of hearing rants of this liberal interpretations and ideas that hides behind the veil of ijtihad (and tajdid) but in truth is far from the concept of ijtihad akin to its fundamental methodologies of deriving to matters(maqasid syariah, usul fiqh, etc.).
Clearly, this so called academics have very little reliance on the "traditional methodologies" - which had served us well so far by the way - and tried rather pathetically to deliver their arguments based on Western philosophies, Orientalist ideas and subjective rationale.
To quote: is the issue of Ahmadiyah (disclaimer: I am not implying directly that these people, the Ahmadiyahs, are "apostates" as I dare not venture to accuse others of kufr - but rather prefer to choose to allow the evidences viz. their Aqidah, etc to answer for itself) raised by the academic that based on pluralism (in the religious sense) which he claims as Islamic would be something that the Prophet himself would have accepted thus implying that the Ahmadiyah movement is congruent with the Islamic faith thus does not require any harsh address (to say the least).
However, in the following hadith (which is one out of the many others that one could produce to rebuke the point on religious pluralism within Islam) clearly highlights the importance of maintaining a "welstanchaung" and paradigm that is akin to the Prophet (saw) that whom the Qur'an has maintained as "uswatun hasanah" (the best of example - in the most generic term).
Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd (ra):
I heard the Prophet saying, "I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount(Kauthar), and whoever will come to it, will drink from it, and whoever will drink from it, will never become thirsty after that.
There will come to me some people whom I know and they know me, and then a barrier will be set up between me and them."
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri added that the Prophet further said: "I will say those people are from me. It will be said, 'You do not know what changes and new things they did after you.'
Then I will say, 'Far removed (from mercy), far removed (from mercy), those who changed after me!' "
This hadith comes in several variation specifically in the reason why the people would be turn away (I was considering to use the past tense at this point, nvm), which I think is really a matter of semantics since the essential point is of one who deviate from the sunnah of the Prophet (saw).
Even after sharing this hadith and highlighting that it is a mutawatir (hadith that is related by many sahabat with clear isnad)- the academic still utter softly that there is a potential weakness (dhaif) in the hadith. Hilarious!
Thus, to sum: be criticial of what you hear from people whom are termed "academic" (or anyone else for that matter ie. con artist, investment bankers, etc.) and at the very least remember that based on a tajdid point of view: all except the Prophet (saw) are not infallible, however, to disclaim that, it is no one's role to be the judge of any but the point is to consider carefully what you hear and based it on traditional methodologies (for yourself!). Not all fancy ideas are good and progressive ideas.
If at this point you are wondering how do you go about doing that? My suggestion is to sign up for a nearest DPI (Diploma Pengajian Islam atau yang sekawasan dengannya) near you or attend classes on Fiqh, Usul Fiqh and Maqasid Syariah (at the very least). And read up.