West and Islam: Denial is just a river pouring out of Washington
31 May 2013 02:34 GMT
 
In the name of wanting matters to appear nice and dandy, the world’s intellectuals, clerics, politicians and others have attempted to assure the world public that between Islam and the world, specifically the Western world, there are no sticky patches. By Zaher Mahruqi

In the name of wanting matters to appear nice and dandy, the world’s intellectuals, clerics, politicians and others have attempted to assure the world public that between Islam and the world, specifically the Western world, there are no sticky patches.  But such propagations only signify the world in which we live whereby people believe that serious issues can be talked out or bombed away.  That mentality only ensures one thing; every era will have thousands of Bin Laden’s.

The many wars of the last two decades against Muslim nationswould suggest something quite dark and that there is something of anti-Islamic nature at work.  Ignorance is one reason for such antagonistic stances; the other is arrogance and what is arrogance but a more severe symptom of ignorance. And between ignorance and arrogance, Islam is upgraded to evil and no effort in convincing the world that that is not the case has been spared.

As to why Muslims are being systematically attacked? The usualexplanation is that Western powers have merely been pursuing a minority of Muslims who misinterpreted Islam’s ideals and defamed Islam in the process; how can a small minority defame such a gigantic ideology?!!In any case, the terms used to describe that minority are many amongst which are extremists, fundamentalists, Islamists, radicals, terrorists, hardliners and so on.

Integrityand prudence demands that the time has come to label things by their proper names; if mentalities don’t change, Western ideals and those of Islam cannot reconcile.  Clashes are in many fronts but the following seem to be the most irreconcilable: Women rights, gay rights, usury, capital punishment, and freedom of speech/choice, freedom of religion and of course Jihad.

Women rights

In Islam women have rights but what rights and in what form? Islam requires that women be treated with utmost fairness and justice but the Islamic outlook doesn’t define fairness and justice for women the same way the West does; the rights of women in Islam are quite different from the Western world approach.

Women in Islam are not granted full self determination as per Western standards.  A Muslim woman for example, would always be under the guardianship of a man.  Before marriage, she is under the parents or guardians’ watch and after marriage she would be under the husbands’, positivelyintended.  Unjust? Not according to Islam.

Islam demands of men appropriate treatment of women but clearly gives men superiority over women. Surah 4:34 says:“Men are managers of the affairs of women because Allah has made the one superior to the other”. It is the threat to Western lifestyle afforded by that superiority that renders Islam a threat. While that might appear unjust, it is noteworthy that in reality there is no evidence that the supposedequality in the West has prevented abuses of women there.

Other examples include what Westerners would consider inequity in matters of inheritance where sons are granted twice as much as daughters and in matters of witness stance where two women’s testimony counts for one testimony.  This is not subject to alteration as the Quran is unequivocally clear. Clash! Here we site the Quran on the latter. “And get two witnesses out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as you choose for witnesses so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her”. While in many instances a woman’s testimony would be accepted, the verse clearly places a distinction between the strength of the testimonies of the two genders.

Gay rights

As far as Muslims are concerned (even devout Christians) this is a kind of issue where all alarm bells start banging. Homosexuality in Islam is an intolerable life style whose punishment varies according to the different schools of thought but the most agreed upon is capital punishment; the attention here  need not be wholly on the punishment but on the fact that homosexuality has no place in Muslim countries.

With the current seemingly global wave to make homosexuality mainstream by legalizing gay marriages, it is with no doubt, that according to Islam the world has gone too far.  This is a clear clash point in boiling, when and if the West wishes to push this on the Muslim world, it is sure to cause serious confrontations.

Usury

Usury or the dealings in interest-bearing loans is a serious clash point as the world economy is so ingrained into the system and it would appear to be impossible to have a world without banks and its interest dependent businesses.  After the financial meltdown of 2009, many Muslims confirmed it in their minds that going against the wishes of God could be catastrophic.  Many believe that what benefits capitalism has granted the West, dealings in interests has melted away.

Islam renounces usury in perhaps the strongest terms than any other matter. "Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, 'Trade is [just] like interest.' But Allaah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past, and his affair rests with Allaah. But whoever returns [to dealing in interest or usury] - those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein. Allaah destroys interest and gives increase for charities. And Allaah does not like every sinning disbeliever. Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayer and give Zakaah will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.O you who have believed, fear Allaah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allaah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal - [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.'' [Quran 2:275-279].

The Quran equates involvement in usury to waging war against Allah and His Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).No devout Muslims would wish to engage in that war. No compromise in the matter. Clash! Reminder, Muslims blame dealing in usury as a major cause for the world’s economic meltdown.

Capital punishment

Capital punishment might not be as serious a clash as the West itself is yet to internally agree on the matter. Suffice to say, even when the West fully agree on the abolition of capital punishment, it will clash with Islam in that capital punishment has been ordained for as long as humans would be roaming the earth; an eye for an eye and a life for a life. In Islam, there is no compromising in matters of law and justice. When the Taliban or Al-Shabab acts on the demands of the Quran verbatim, the world chooses to label them as extremists or otherwise ignorant but who has ever conducted a poll in which he seeks the opinion of Muslims on such actions!

Freedom of choice

Freedom of choice is a beautiful word but according to Islamic teachings, the modern view of freedom of speech and of choice are among the major cause of all the ills in the world today.Here again the honest perspective of Muslims is that freedoms Western-style have taken some of what the West has secured through capitalism.

The belief is that freedom of choice has rendered the world a wild vehicle whose breaking systems have failed. Gay marriages, promiscuity and even economic and political catastrophes are attributed to freedom of choice and freedom of speech. Latest movie on the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has been just a spark on the kind of clashing to be expected. What the Western world thought was the ultimate expression of freedomof expression the Muslim world considered to be one of the vilest acts against Islam.  Here it is important to note that the protesters across the Muslim world witnessed on TV screens represent but the minutest portion of Muslims who strongly condemned the movie.

In Islam you don’t say nor do what you want; you say and do what the scriptures allow you to. Yes there are freedoms but with parameters. In the West, what is immoral can go along with the law but in Islam immorality is punishable by law and often severely so. The West can’t accept that firmness and Islam is unbending in that regard; some Muslims might be willing to compromise but Islam doesn’t.

Freedom of religion

Yes, the Quran has made it abundantly clear that no coercion in religion. “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [2: 256]

No one ought to be forced to accept Islam but everyone must respect the rules of Islam when and where it reigns.  Furthermore, while converting to Islam is a matter of choice, getting out of Islam is a capital offence. There is freedom of choice in entering but getting out is no go area hence the clash.  It is worthy of noting that Muslims are not known to convert out not because of fear of death but it is just unthinkable for overwhelming most. I don’t expect everyone to understand this as some things only make sense from the inside.

Jihad

Last but most sensitive is Jihad. If I were to show this to a friend before publishing, they would most likely encourage me to leave it out because this matter is as taboo to talk about as was on the wake of 9/11 to discuss the reasons why some Muslims choose violence. No violence is condoned but telling the truth has not been known to increase violence.

This is the kind of subject you are unlikely to see on the Doha debates or BBC’s Hard Core. The world simply is not interested in addressing the matter in its true colors. The word Jihad simply means the act of fighting for Islam. One prominent form is fighting ones urges that contradict the faith’s rules and regulations.  But the one intended here is the sort of Jihad that has been tattooed on the world psyche to be evil and is considered a taboo or even laughable.  But instead of rebuffing discussions on what Jihad is and what makes Jihad a requirement for Muslims, people should be encouraged to know the facts about it; world peace might just depend on it.

Be it as it may, that outlook will hold so long Muslims are scattered and weak but when Muslims become stronger and are in adherence of the Quran and Hadeeth and there are millions upon millions who already are, then they will eventually oblige if things don’t change. According to the two main sources of Islamic jurisprudence, Jihad is one of the noblest endeavors that can be undertaken by a devout Muslim.  This is no opinion of mine; I am just stating what the scripture demands of its followers.

As per the scripture, jihad is not a choice for Muslims; it is an ultimate mandatory act of worship and when and where the preconditions for Jihad are met, Muslims are required to put their possessions and lives as a meager price for the call. The question then becomes, have the prerequisites for Jihad been met in our times? There is much disagreement on this matter and perhaps the noisiest side is misrepresenting the scriptures.  After all that happened, why has there not been not one single conference or debate on the matter, I wonder!

Some of the most prominent scholars of Islam will tell you that yes precondition for Jihad are in place and site among others: "Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against (the believers), because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them victory" [Quran 22:39]

Another verse: “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (2:190-192)

The fight against Muslims comes in many shapes and forms and from every direction, ideological, political, and economical and of course physical attacks.

Ideologically; books and websites dedicated to distorting the message andof defaming of the Quran and Hadeeth are being written night and day and was it not for the Quran’s accuracy and consistency many holes within the Quran and Hadeeth would have been uncovered by now. It is believed that Israel has even funded the creation of a fake Quran which has been quite an embarrassment for them as it resembled none of the Quran.

The support given to governments to oppress Muslims and curb the reach of clerics who insist on the implementation of Shariah is considerable. Indeed many Muslim scholars have been persecuted, tortured and even assassinated simply because their preaching wasn’t deemed appropriate for the current atmosphere.

Political attacks and smear campaigns are regular on virtually all large networks against Muslim countries that appear to be bent on practicing the unfiltered version of Islam. The mechanisms for curbing Islam are openly and behind closed doors a constant undertaking.

Economically; there is direct usurpation as well as economic manipulation that tip the scale against Muslims.  Economic sanctions have also become a trendy tool in the aggressions against Muslims.

Physical attacks are crystal clear in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon and Iran is on the list. Other reason for Jihad according to scripture is to defend sanctities which too are a matter of fact in the occupied territories where the Al-Aqsa mosque stands.

According to scripture, occupation of Muslim lands is yet another important condition calling for an all out Jihad and that too is a matter of fact in Palestine and other places.  There are many famous clerics who dispute that preconditions for Jihad have been met but in reality, according to the scripture if one wishes to be honest, some reasons to make Jihad a calling for the devout are in place.  Defence of honor, possessions and occupation are all relevant causes or reasons for Jihad and it would appear that all are in place to varying degrees. Might not be pleasant to say or hear but reality is reality.

Jihad, Bin Laden style, might not be supported by the majority of Muslims, at least not openly, but even those who disagree are more against the approach and the style of the attacks rather than the calling. If the US was to take all Muslims and non Muslims who think that the US brought such retaliations by itself and to itself to Guantanamo Bay, they would need the whole of Cuba and maybe half of Alaska as well to achieve that.

Millions of Muslims believe that preconditions for an organized Jihad by Muslim armies are in place and have been so for quite sometimes. Again there is no other reason but the unpreparedness and lack of commitment of the Muslim world that has made that calling not acted upon. This is not a matter of speech-making or opinion; this is a matter of fact according to the Quran and the prophet’s traditions (Hadeeths).

Of course there is room for interpretation but depending on who is in charge it could go either way. The Muslims who have resorted to physical confrontations with Western armies and their allies have perhaps been frustrated by lack of coordinated action by Muslims whom they believe should heed the call for Jihad and hence the lash out.

The West seems adamant in supposing that Muslim nations are not one body and that borders make them separate entities. While that might be factual at present, Islam requires the Muslims to view every square meter of Muslim land to be their own and every Muslim to be their brethren; one Ummah is the most basic idea in Islam. As far as the Quran is concerned, the occupation of Palestine is exactly the same as the occupation of Saudi Arabia or any other Muslim nation.

Conclusion

This discussion is hardly saying anything new and the intention is not to inflame anything. It is just an honest view of how I view the matter and the hope is that the world sees these matters without discounting the power the Quran has over Muslims. Ignoring such matter cannot be the solution and encouraging people to discuss them might be a good step for a peaceful future.

The clash points discussed here are not all nor have they been covered in enough detail and there are books and writings that discuss them more comprehensively and perhaps debating those issues might be exactly what the world needs in order to have a shot at long term peace.  The intention was merely to point out the fact that sufficient agreement between Islamic and Western values is an illusion for now. For lovers of peaceful coexistence, it is more hope than reality.  One side must give in to make it happen and that is the challenge that requires serious and honest dialogue as a first step.

The intention is not to paint a gloomy picture that is beyond repair rather to have some realism and put things into their proper perspective.  If Muslims continually and progressively buy into Western vision of the world there would be a softened clash but unfortunately there is evidence to the contrary.  Muslims are beginning to realize that Westerners themselves are suffering hugely from the path they have chosen and they see the impact spilling over to them either by design or as an inadvertency.

If Muslims regain their former glory serious clash is eminent.  In which case, the West could chose to physically and ideologically pull back.  Presently there is no evidence of either.  What seems to be the trend is that anything resembling a Muslim nation in coming is systematically challenged by all means deemed necessary which only precipitates an all-out face off.

The most optimistic scenario is where Muslims live by Shariah and the West watches on in acceptance in which case Muslims are required to accept a peaceful coexistence. Is there a place and time where people truly allow each other to live in accordance with their chosen beliefs and values?The Quran appears to rebuff such a scenario as well “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad!) till you follow their religion. Say: “Verily, the guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) guidance”. The Western behavior is surely not allowing any room to think otherwise.

If the Jews and the Christians will not be pleased with the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) until he adheres to their ways what then can be expected when it comes to normal Muslims. We might have to wait for the return of Jesus Peace is upon him to find a resolution.

The one thing to be understood about the Quran is that it doesn’t seek popularity or approval.  To its followers, The Quran and Hadeeth are no self-help books from which one can chose what they want and discard the rest; to Muslims the Quran is the word of Allah which means (The God) and while some people, for different motives, might be willing to be flexible in its interpretation, what it says remains constant.

The devout followers of the Quran place what it says above all other.  And while a portion of Muslims might not adhere to it at all times and in all situations, the majority has it as their lives’ missions to go back to its teachings and to ensure that their children are even more aligned with it.  The Quran and Hadeeth make it abundantly clear that humanity needs their teachings for their own benefit and for all times and as such its rules are not negotiable.

The importance of that is the realization that no matter what the circumstances are the Quran will never be altered and people have to simply agree to its demands or else.  People have misrepresented and misinterpreted it over the centuries but no one has ever managed to alter its text and messages and as such the clash seems imminent. The Quran itself proclaims that the book will eternally remain unaltered: “We descended the Qur’an and we shall protect it”. Additions are out of question as well: [5:3] “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favors upon you, and have chosen for you, Islam as your religion”. Note the word perfected and completed.

Is there room for optimism? Is there a place where the two can meet? That is the debate that needs to be held and with honesty and maybe it might be the first steps to destination PEACE.  Politicians appear to have failed or to lack interest in the matter as by nature they are interested more in the now and in meeting their sponsor’s wishes.

The best they can do are empty speeches that assume that the world is still in the dark ages and people still dumb.  Such was the reconciliatory speech of Obama in Egypt when he took power; a speech that resulted in zero action. His speech and actions were dancing to different tunes. Instead, the preferred tune of Obama is the virtually daily drone attacks.

Is Islam rigid? Is Islam uncompromising? Is the West rigid? Is the West uncompromising? Well that is a judgment everyone can make for themselves. But insisting on bending the unbendable would appear to be of the worst kind of inflexibility.

Some would argue that the rigid application of Islamic laws would mean the reversal of all that is which is simply impossible. Well, that might seem so but some things are simply beyond the comprehension of me, you or them; that is just the way it is.

Some positive notes, the Quran strongly encourages peace when conditions are right.  Peace is to be passionately pursued. “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing” (Quran 8: 61).And Muslims, devout Muslims, had lived in harmony with people of different ideologies for centuries; it will not be anything new if it happens.

If the judgment call was mine to make as it concerns the rigidity of either side, I truly believe that in any court of law where evidence matters, Muslims would appear to be the victims over and over again. Also in my judgment, I would give the guilty verdicts to millions of people in the West for complacency as it relates to crimes committed against Muslims.

There is some other level of optimism however as there are millions of Westerners who are now demanding that no atrocities shall be committed in their names. This is most visible on the internet, far less on TV networks. They are still a minority and well overpowered by the massive propaganda machines but they do give some hope that a portion of European and American public are starting to realize that they are being herded towards a brick wall.

That minority in the West might be the only force to divert where the world is headed as the continual descent into the moral, economic and political abyss only makes Muslims more convinced that theirs is the way to hold on to.



-- Al Arabiya Digital


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