Shariah, the Saudi style (protests and rallies banned)

Photo courtesy BBC News

Protests ‘contradict’ Islamic law and are banned, Interior ministry declares

Saudi Arabia has imposed a ban on protests and rallies, the interior ministry declared “the protests and rallies are in conflict with shariah”, hence dubbing them unIslamic.  It amuses me, how Saudi Arabia is the ‘authority’ on Shariah, if it’s in their interest, on a given day, a democratic practice (if it is non-violent and non-raging) which has been there through the history of mankind (not to mention at the time of the Prophet peace be upon him) is suddenly unIslamic! While their minions in Pakistan, continue not only to protest a controversial law, but also glorify a murderer.

Such hypocrisy, from someone who claims to be the ‘servant of the house of Lord’. It isn’t surprising though, we have seen the same ‘twisting of Islamic references‘ from Pakistani (self-proclaimed) clerics too. However, the sad part is that the Islamic world (the common Muslim) fails to see this bigotry. It is due to the ignorance of common Muslims, they are being deceived  by the (self-proclaimed) religious elite. Islam have been hijacked by this elite and being used against a common Muslim. It will be interesting to see how clerics in Pakistan ‘interpret’ Saudi opinion (fatwa) about protests. If they do own it as Islamic, how will they justify their actions on the ‘protection’ of the controversial blasphemy law.

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Ignorance is a bliss

“No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salmaan Taseer,” a statement from Jamaate Ahle Sunnat Pakistan, one of the biggest organisations of the Barelvi, representing 500 religious scholars, said. “We pay rich tributes and salute the bravery, valour and faith of Mumtaz Qadri.”

“The supporter is as equally guilty as one who committed blasphemy,” the Jamaate Ahle Sunnat Pakistan statement said. It added that adding politicians, the media and others should learn “a lesson from the exemplary death”.
Read the whole story in Guardian.

I must say I am not surprised at this reaction from the (self-proclaimed) ‘religious’ scholars in Pakistan. Some of the (slightly more) educated are also behind Qadri’s actions, there is a facebook page paying tribute to this barbarian. I wonder how many of them actually understand Qura’an as most of the people ‘endorsing’ Qadri on Facebook are undergraduates. The interesting fact though is that many of them are foreigners ‘not’ Pakistanis. Goes to show Mullah has been at work outside of Pakistan too.

All of this, in defense of the draconian and controversial blasphemy law which has nothing to do with Islam in the first place! None of these (so-called) scholars or their followers have researched or consulted others on the issue of blasphemy. Those scholars who oppose the implementation of this law are silenced and blamed for apostasy. The first lesson of Islam is tolerance, but situations like these cause many other Muslims to re-evaluate their religion, but there is no other source for them except for these intolerant clerics. Since when Islam became so complicated? Every cleric is a vatican on Islam in his own domain and the ignorant masses have no where else to go besides them for ‘religious teachings’.

It is time for all of us, to make a choice. Either embrace the religion of sword, or come towards the religion of peace. Why is it that we cannot learn religion ourselves? God has given us brains, which is more open to facts than those of the clerics. Religion is something that is an individual’s attribute, it has no impositions, especially Islam.

The mullah has his own agenda, he has distorted Islam to gain power both politically and psychologically over the masses, cashing in on the most fundamental attribute of life, religion. The apprenticed masses blindly follow the word of the mullah, they are completely unaware of the fact that what they think is Islam, in reality it is anything but Islam. They are unaware of the fact that their actions are hurting the cause of Islam and strengthening its enemies. But I guess for them, ‘ignorance is a bliss’.

The Shariah law: Relationship between Religion and Politics [Part 3]

PreviousPart 2

 

THE LIFESTYLE OF TODAYS MUSLIMS NOT TRULY ISLAMIC

Arabs in dance barsThat is one area of difficulties. But there is another very important area of difficulty: That is, the life‑style of the Muslims in most countries is not truly and profoundly Muslim.

You see, you do not require a law of Shariah to say your prayers five times. You do not require the law of Shariah to make you behave honestly. You do not require the law of Shariah to be imposed to make you speak the truth and to appear as witness in court ‑ or, wherever you appear as witness ‑ honestly and truthfully. A society where robbery has become the order of the day, where there is disorder, chaos, usurpation of others rights, where the courts seldom witness a person who is truthful, where abusive language is a common place mode of expression, where there is no decency left in human behavior, what would you expect Shariah to do there? How the law of Shariah would genuinely be imposed in such a country, this is the question.

SUITABLE ATMOSPHERE REQUIRED FOR THE IMPOSITION OF SHARIAH LAW

Lets put it in a different form. The question is that every country has a climate and not all the flora can flourish in that climate. Dates flourish in deserts but not in the chilly north. Similarly, cherries cannot be sown in the desert; they require a special climate. Shariah also requires a special climate. If you have not created that climate, then Shariah cannot be imposed.

Every prophet ‑ not only Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) ‑ every prophet first created that healthy climate for the law of God to be imposed, willingly not compulsorily. And when the society was ready, then the laws were introduced and stiffened further and further, until the whole code was revealed. That society was capable of carrying the burden of the law of religion, whether you call it Shariah law or any other law.

In a society for instance, where theft is common place, where telling falsehood is just an everyday practice, if you enact Shariah law and sever the hands of those who steal, what is going to happen? Is that the purpose of Shariah? It’s not just a question of senti­mentality about religion. God’s Will be done no doubt, but it will be done in the orderly way as God wishes us to do.

SHARIAH LAW USED AS A PRETEXT TO SEIZE POWER

It is not the love of Islam which is urging them on to demand Shariah law. It is just an instrument to reach to power, to capture power and to rule the society in the name of God. Society is already ruled by corrupt people, by cruel people but that is done in the name of human beings; that is tolerable to a degree. But when atrocities are committed in the name of God, it’s the worst possible, the ugliest thing that can happen to man.

So as such, we must think many, many times, before we can even begin to ponder over the question whether anywhere in the world, the law of religion can be imposed as a legal tender? I doubt it.

The Shariah law: Relationship between Religion and Politics [Part 2]

PreviousPart 1


All religions split up into sects with time

But that Is not all: Every religion, at the source is one and single and non-splittable, but as you pass along in period of time, the religion begins to diverge and split within and multiply and become more and more in number, so that the same faith which, for instance, at the time of Jesus Christ (peace be on him) was one single Chris­tianity, turned into many hundreds of Christianity. Looked from the vantage point of different sects, the one single source appears to be different in color. Different‑colored eye‑glasses are used by vari­ous followers of various sects. The same is true of Islam. It’s not just a question of Sunni Islam and Shia Islam and how they interpret the Shariah.

Within Shia Islam there are 34 sects whose interpretation of Shariah differs with each other. Within again, Sunni Islam there are at least 34 sects whose interpretation of Shariah differs with each other. There are issues on which no two scholars of different sects agree. Not superficial issue; even the fundamental ones. How to define a Muslim?

If thirteen centuries, plus some years are not enough for you to be able to define the very fundamentals of Islam ‑ what is a definition? ‑ how much more time would you require?

This is a very grave issue. If the Shariah interpretation of one sect is imposed, then it will not just be the non‑Muslims who will be dispossessed of the fundamental right of participation in the country’s legislation, but within Islam also there would be many sects who would be deprived of this right.

The Interpretation of which sect is to be imposed on Shariah Law?

Again there are so many other problems: For instance, according to some Shariah concept, the punishment for a crime is so much different from the concept of another sect, that Islam would be practiced in the world so differently on the same issue, that it would create a horrible impression on the non‑Muslim world. What sort of faith that is which advises one punishment for the same crime here and another there. And in some other places it is just the very thing to do and it’s no crime at all.

These and many such issues make the question of imposition of Shariah almost impossible.

Moreover, the fundamental rights of other sects are also tampered with, or trampled upon, in many possible situations. For instance on the question of drinking of alcohol. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, alright; but, the very question of whether it is a punishable offense and whether the punishment, if any, is imposed by man in this world, is a fluid issue. It is a controversial issue and has not yet been agreed upon by all the people involved. What is the punishment of drinking? The Holy Quran does NOT mention any punishment. This is a fundamental law, the Book of law and it is inferred from some Tradition, by some scholars, that; that should be the punishment. But that inference is far‑fetched and the Traditions themselves are challenged by others not to be authentic.

So, will a large section of not only Muslim society, but also a large section of non‑Muslim society, be punished for such reasons as in themselves are doubtful. Whether it’s valid or not, this is the issue. Yet there are extremists, everywhere and particularly those who go for Shariah to be imposed.

You will find many extremist who are totally intolerant of others opinion. Consequently, such gray areas also will be taken as No Doubt areas by the extremists. They will say, ‘Yes, we know; it’s our opinion. It’s the opinion supported by a medieval scholar or our thinking. And that is law’.

Part 3Next

The Shariah law: Relationship between Religion and Politics [Part 1]

The Shariah law is an extremely hot debate among Muslim countries and now this debate is taking place in countries where Muslim population is on the rise. It is understood generally that if the majority of a country constitute with Muslims, then the Muslims have the right – rather, an obligation ‑ to enact Shariah law. It is argued that if they believe in the Holy Qur’an and if they believe also that the Holy Qur’an is a comprehensive Book which relates to every area of human activity and directs man as to how he should conduct himself in every sphere of life, then it is hypocrisy to remain contented with those claims. They should follow the logical conclusion and enact Shariah law and make it the only law valid for the country.

Now, this is what’s being said on the one side. And on the other side, many difficulties are pointed out ‑ such as proposed legislative problems ‑ very serious constitutional problems as well as very serious problems in almost all sphere of the enactment of Shariah. So, lets first see, why Shariah law cannot be exercised or imposed on people, who practically, as far their normal way of life is concerned, are not the ideal Muslims, much to the contrary. In those areas where they are free to practice Islam, they fall so much short that one wonders when they willingly cannot exercise Islam, how could they be expected to do it by coercion and by force of law. This and many others are the areas where debate is being carried on and pursued hotly, let us try to understand all the sides of this issue.

Shariah is the law and there is no doubt about it; the law of Islam; the law for Muslims. But the question is how far can this law be transformed into legislation for running a political government. On top of that many other issues get involved in it. For instance, if a Muslim country has the right to dictate its law to all of its population, then by the same reasoning and logic, every other country with the majority of population belonging to other religions would have exactly do the same right to enact their laws.

The entire world would become a world of not only political conflict but also of a politico‑religious conflict, whereby all the laws would be attributed to God, yet they would contradict each other diametrically. There would be such a confusion that people would begin to lose faith in God Who speaks one thing to one people and another thing to another people, and Who tells them to enforce this law on the people or ‘they will be untrue to Me‘.

As such, you can well imagine what would happen in India for instance, if the law of the Hindu Majority is imposed on the Muslim minority. As a matter of fact, a large section of the Indian society is gradually being pushed towards this extremist demand ‑ by the way of reaction, I suppose to what is happening in some Islamic count­ries. What would happen to the Muslims and other minorities in India? Moreover this is not a question of India alone. What if Israel enacts the law of Judaism ‑the law of Talmud ‑ it will be impossible for any other non‑Jew to live there, normally and decently.

In the same manner Christianity has its own rights and so has Buddhism.

PARTICIPATION IN LEGISLATION

The next consideration is the very concept of the state: This is the most fundamental issue which has to be resolved and addressed by those who are concerned with politics or international law. The question is that anyone born in a state has the right to participate in its legislation.

In the secular concept of the running of governments and le­gislation, everyone born in a given country, whatever be his religion or color or creed acquires the basic fundamental civic rights. And the most important among these rights is the chance at least, to participate in the shaping of the legislation.

Of course, parties come and go; majority parties today may turn into minority parties tomorrow. Everybody’s wish is not fulfilled or carried out. But in principle, everybody has a fair and equal chance to make his say heard at least by the opposition, on matters of common principle. But what would happen if one Shariah or one religion is imposed as the law of that country? If Muslim law were imposed in a country, all the rest of the people who are inhabitants of the same land, would have to be considered as second, third or fourth rate citizens of the same country with No say whatsoever in the legislation. But that is not all the problem is further complicated within Islam itself: Because Islam has a Book revealed by God and the Muslim scholars claim that it is their right to interpret the Book.

LEGISLATIVE BODY SUBORDINATE TO RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS

On issues of differences of opinion, the legislative body stands subordinate to the scholastic opinion of such scholars who spe­cialize in understanding the Holy Qur’an; or who CLAIM to specialize in understanding the Holy Qur’an. What would be their mutual relationship. A body is elected to legislate. They legislate and you might come across some scholars of Islam disregarding the legislation dubbing it un-Islamic.

Whose voice should be heard? On the one hand, it would apparently be God speaking behind those people; but only apparently. On the other hand, there will be a voice of the majority of people of the country. So the dilemma becomes almost impossible to be resolved.

Part 2Next

Religous dilemma

While reading the paper, I came across a story that covered a ‘break through’ in Islamic way of life. Here is the story I am talking about. (Express news 5th October)

Fatwah

Saying hello is permitted

As it turns out, greeting someone with a ‘HELLO’ in a telephonic conversation is permitted in Islam. Someone has given a fatwā(it is a religious opinion concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar) on it rejected the previous scholars’ opinion on the matter. And the story doesn’t end there, the scholar went on the challenge their beliefs and education.

Frankly, I am amused every time I read some news like this I find it amusing. These (religious) scholars have nothing better to do then waste time of Muslims everywhere. It makes me wonder though, are Muslims around the world so dumb and innocent. I mean, the word ‘Hello’, its a simple greeting word commonly used in countries that speak English. But in Islam this word can decide your fate whether you are going to end up in heaven or hell. Why do we forget that Muslims are also born and living outside of South Asia and Middle East. Do we need a ‘fatwā’ permitting us the use of ‘Hello’ as a greeting? Islam is spread within all continents and not everyone speaks Arabic or Urdu.

Why don’t these scholars channel their thoughts to the more important matters which concern the future of Muslims on earth. I don’t know may be ‘Is it permitted to make your own sects in Islam? And take it so far as to make 72 of them’ or lets say ‘Can anyone be a Islamic scholar and force his way on the less knowing people?’. For God’s sake, nations (of various religions) are now planning manned missions to Mars and beyond and Muslims, as it turns out, didn’t even know if they could greet someone with a simple ‘HELLO’!.

I must say these (Islamic) scholars are less of a culprit than those who blindly follow them. Yes, us Muslims, we don’t pay attention to our values at all, we don’t give enough thought to these matters. We are made to think we know nothing about religion by the scholars and we buy in to their tricks. Religion to them (scholars) is a new industry where they make their living and pushing their congregation in darkness.

Until Muslims start paying attention to their (basic) religious education, I am afraid we will have many more religious dilemmas like the one discussed.

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