The Perils of Islam – by the lone writer guy

Posted on September 6, 2010

A cross post from a remarkable writer at a new blog on WordPress:

The perils of Islam

September 6, 2010 by thelonewriterguy

“Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians…and (all) who believe in God and the last day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”  The Holy Quran, 2:62

The above is my philosophy on religion – do good, and a fair God shall reward you, regardless of what your faith is.

The Quran is an enigmatic book, and is arguably among the most powerful pieces of literature in the world – for its words have inspired empires, laws and carved out one of the greatest religions on earth. Some find solace and peace in its words, others have adopted it as a moral code, and some have undoubtedly used it to justify their nefarious and political designs. Arguably, all those who adhere to any faith or ideology take it to be true, for such is the nature of humans.

This blog post is an attempt to dispel many of the issues surrounding the religion of Islam, for I am also sickened by the actions of Muslims, their blatant unrelenting ignorance when it comes to understanding the history of the Quran, and the religion of Islam. I am equally repulsed at those who so vehemently demonize the religion, translating the actions of a rabid Muslim clergy vis a vis terrorism, stoning to death et al, as within the folds of Islam, as justified by God.

It seems that both non-Muslims and Muslims are confused when it comes to Islam.

I cannot deliberate on each and every controversial issue within Islam, but I invite you to study the history of this religion. What you observe about ‘Islam’, the extremism, the sexism and the violence that permeates across the Muslim world is in many ways influenced by centuries of puritanical teachings by the Islamic clergy that is accepted as ‘truth’, and a politico-social response to the changing tides of the world.

To understand why this religion has become so absurdly rigid, intolerant and violent – with its ‘terrifying’ shariah, its harsh punishments and its victimisation of women and minorities, one must explore the history of the religion, and try to understand the forces that have shaped and fractionated the Muslim community.

The root of radical Islam is in politics, and the religion has been made into a powerful tool to influence the masses

Islam is not one religion, it is a confederation of many different sects and ideologies, one God, many theories. The birth of radical Islam was perhaps a response to medieval wars, from the Crusades to the Mongols – indeed, it was a tool used to justify Islamic expansion, a most powerful driving force.

Thus, scholars like Ibn Taymiyah et al, troubled by the destruction of war and the suffering of the Muslim populace, as well as what they saw as irreligious decadence, wrote volumes of jurisprudence and their understanding of the Quran to return Islam to it’s ‘pure’ form. This is the process through which Ijtihad, a most powerful tool in modernising Islam was abandoned, and the laws of Islam were set in stone – unchanged for the past 1000 or so years. This is  the opinion of the Salafis and the Wahabbis that Islam is a religion set in stone, a religion that cannot be re-interpreted for modern times. Thus, countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan aim to make society unchanging. The Saudis fund the Madrassahs in Pakistan, and are systematically attempting to subdue the more moderate Barelvi and Sufi movements. The intolerance one sees today, is the communion of oil wealth and puritanical religious zeal.

It is a tale of sadness, where a religion which had humble beginnings, a force for change in the Arab world, an inspiration for thinkers such as Avicenna, Omar Khayyam, Rumi et al, an inspiration for a civilisation that brought the world out of the dark ages, bringing forth advancements in Medicine and Mathematics, Architecture and Engineering, Politics and Philosophy, has become a religion of rituals, of politics. A sick joke of intolerance and violence.

Today, it is illiteracy, grinding poverty, a lack of appreciation for Islamic history and the foreign policies of all involved in this War on Terror that is propagating this new, political Islam. As Muslims are persecuted in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, the allure of extremism will attract even more of the disenchanted. As more Western troops are killed in these war zones, Islamophobic and Xenophobic tendencies will increase, and in the midst, Islam will be misunderstood by all.

The shariah and much of what we perceive as Islam, is almost entirely derived from culture and social values. The niqab, a face veil warn by the Byzantine aristocracy was adopted by certain Muslim women, and indeed much of what we see, the beards, the clothes, the habits – are Bedouin rather than Muslim.

I can only stress that we need to educate ourselves when dealing with such controversial issues, to broaden our perspectives and look at both sides of the equation.

Posted in Religion | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments »