Ignorant Interpreters of Islam

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by ppgj, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Paper no. 3473 26-Oct-2009

    Ignorant Interpreters of Islam

    Guest Column by T. H. Shah

    In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the interpretations of the Holy Bible rested with the Catholic Church who under the worst influence of Papacy moulded its teachings to suit their own needs and interests. An ordinary man could have approach to the God only through the prayers of the Pope considered to be the main link between the God and the masses. The forgiveness of the sins could be sought by payment of worth material goods like gold and money to the repository of the Papacy. The phenomena like independent thinking on nature and understanding the Holy Bible by one own mind and within the perspective of science and philosophy were prohibited and Papacy regarded it sin. Anyone who dared to raise voice against the strong hold of Papacy over religion was thrown on the stake or burnt alive. This religious situation at that time has resulted in dogged and blind imitation of irrational beliefs at the hands of which prevailed social, political and economic degradation. In history this period is known as Dark Age characterised with the dormancy and hibernation of the West.

    Then comes the age of Renaissance and Reformation and comes forward the brave intellectual scholars like Huss, Jermome, John Wickliffe and King Martin Luther who challenge the irrationality and injudicious hold of the Papacy and with their forceful writings interpret the teachings of the Holy Bible in scientific and philosophical sense thus liberating the innocent people from the shackles of mental slavedom. The beginning of independent thinking coupled with rationality and logicality lays the foundations of modern age which, in future, give rise to great Industrial Revolution of seventieth and eighteenth centuries. As long as the West remained attached to irrationality of religion, no development or change of any kind happened; on the other hands, the emancipation from mental restrictions and imprisonment ushered in an era of revolution in all spheres of life.

    The slight glance upon the current situation of religious teachings as being inculcated in the minds of the young generation since long time in Muslim world particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan depicts the same picture. The current abysmal decline in all spheres of life in these societies is thanks to the interpretation of religion in such a way that has absolutely no relevance to the ground realities. It is result of these interpretations that the demon of blasphemy laws, hadood ordinance and honour killings laws is alive on the statute book; and also we see quite large number of people and religious political parties resisting against launching any such attempt criticising or amending these discriminatory laws.

    There is strong hold of bogus spiritual leaders (pirs) whom large number of people pay homage and regard them a source of salvation, forgiveness of sins and main link between the man and the Creator as has been the case under Papacy. Internally, these Pirs retain unimaginable control on the political affairs and on their one signal and order, the votes of their followers fall into the box of a politician who is in the good book of any of such Pirs. They also receive heavy contributions either in the form of money, gold or in whatsoever forms. Their houses resemble like palaces and they own large chunks of lands in the posh areas. The amassing of wealth is severely criticised not only in the Holy Quran but in the Sunnah (Practical acts and deeds of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad PBUH) of the Holy Prophet as well.

    In Saudi Arabia, the political system can not be justified in Islam as there is no room for monarchy in Islam. They have adopted their own system to interpret Islam meeting their particular needs. Islam which is democratic in letter and spirit exhorts upon the establishment of Shura (Political body comprising of the elected representatives of the people) responsible to run all the affairs of the state. In case any struggle is staged for establishing democracy in Saudi Arabia or Princely States of the Gulf, it will be crushed by all means flouting and trampling the religious teaching of Islam. Can any one of the religious scholars in Saudi Arabia or Gulf States imitate Huss, Jerome, John Wickliffe and Martin Luther to revolt against this political system? Ironically, the religious leaders in these kingly states have kept the status quo in collusion with the kingdom as has been attachment of Catholic Church with the monarchy in Europe before Reformation.

    The manifestos of some extremist organisations like al Shabab in Somalia, Taliban in Afghanistan & Pakistan, and Al Qaeda are absolutely against the true spirits of the teaching of Islam. Islam on account of its universal lesson of peace and harmony never allows its followers to impose its agenda upon other with gun and bullet. Whereas the security of the life and property of non Muslims (minorities groups) rests with the Islamic state. The Holy Quran says; there is no compulsion in matter of religion, while these extremist groups instead of fighting against the oppressive regimes of their own country are adamant upon establishment of Khalafat (Caliphate) in European countries of the world. Same is the agenda of Hezb-ut-Tahreer in United Kingdom whose aim is to impose Caliphate even in UK which is already a modern welfare state in all respect, and evidence is that large number of people from Pakistan benefiting from its welfare system.

    In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban has done everything which is contravention to the true spirit of Islam and Quran. Due to illiteracy and blind imitation of religious principles, it is irony that large numbers of peoples follow them as they think it is word of God. To Taliban, there are numerous things like ban on education and employment for women, women going for medical check-up to the doctors, ban on freedom of expression as well as missionaries organisations. All this run counter to the spirit of a religion (Islam) whose proponents call it universal in nature.

    While dealing with the minorities, under Taliban regime in Afghanistan, world has seen the smashing of the great historical assets of Buddhism as they blew all the religions signs of Buddha and other religions with heavy ammunition. Such type of political order they wanted to establish protecting their own specific version of Islam. In Pakistan, thanks to the protecting cover of blasphemy laws, people slake the thirst of their personal revenge from the persons if come to be non-Muslim, their houses are burnt, sacred books thrown, their girls are abducted and later forced to marry a Muslim man. In case of refusal, their families are charged under blasphemy laws.

    Another thing worth-mentioning is the treatment towards the missionaries’ organisation particularly in Saudi Arabia. Is it not the fact that large number of different Muslim organisations successfully working and propagating Islam in United Kingdom? On the contrary, any publications or propagation of any such thing in Saudi Arabia is prohibited. Even the version of Islam which is in vogue there is unacceptable to most of other Muslim countries. Under strict monarchical control, the women have no choice to marry at their own will or go for employment. Women can not be elected for any political body and they absolutely have no say in such affairs.

    All this happens because interpretation of Islam is in the hands of those ignorant groups who have sidelined the modern civic education and maintained stereotypical way of teaching. The graph of human rights protection and high rise in human development index (HDI) shows that no such messy thing happens in the countries branded as Democratic Republic instead of Islamic Republics.

    (The Writer is associated with Press For Peace (PFP) as Director Research. He could be contacted at: [email protected]. The view expressed are his own and are not that of SAAG)

    Ignorant Interpreters of Islam
     
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  3. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Truth is that all interpretations have been meant to justify one line of thought or the other, and have been influenced by several factors including political/social/personal interests, as no interpretation is final logically, including the interpretations used in the analysis presented above.

    Best way of getting rid of such problems is: Not allowing religion to dictate state/social policies, and keeping religion a personal matter, which is rather difficult in islamic tradition, at least for the time being.
     
  4. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    INTERVIEW

    An Islamic view of terrorism

    By Mahan Abedin Dec 23, 2009

    Yousuf Baadarani was born in Beirut in 1939. A writer on issues related to human nature and widely considered as an Islamist ideologue, he has written many books on the themes of ideology, conflict and Islam. These include European hatred of Islam: A plot in its second millennium; Christianity; A Roman political scheme; and 9/11 & Hijacking the World: An American plan.

    Mahan Abedin: What is your definition of terrorism?

    Yousuf Baadarani: The most common definition is "the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature". Terrorism is an act and not an intention. Its definition springs from ideals and differing points of view of life. The terrorist could be a state or a group or individual. According to human nature every person could commit adultery, lie, betray, blackmail or kill. Only the thought or prospect of being accounted could stop a man from doing what is against his beliefs or to suppress his burst of emotions.

    MA: How does Islamic jurisprudence differentiate between terrorism and legitimate acts of warfare?

    YB: Islamic jurisprudence sanctions warfare in limited circumstances - normally between armies, and not by armies against civilians. Under Islamic law, warfare may be waged between states, or a state may use violence to suppress a rebellion, or defend against an invading army. Islam stipulates that all acts of punishment of civilians are strictly a judicial duty and responsibility.

    According to Islamic tenets, no incompetent person or group of people are allowed to take the implementation of these tenets into their own hands. Such an undertaking is considered illegitimate in Islamic sharia unless in certain cases where the individual needs to protect his life. When an army attacks civilians, as is the case when the US invaded Iraq, killing more than a million people by direct bombardment of civilians or by instigating factional fighting to mask or legitimize its ongoing campaign to kill civilians, then that is - without doubt - a campaign of terror, and a prime example of state terrorism.

    MA: What is the greatest source of terrorism in the world?

    YB: Today, major world powers like Britain, Germany, Russia, China - and above all the United States - use extensive and innovative intelligence-gathering techniques to gather information on the smallest details of political, economic and military activity in every corner of the world. Hence no militant group can be formed without being noticed and monitored by the intelligence service of one or all of these countries. It is widely suspected that these countries use terrorist groups for their own purposes.

    The greatest source of terrorism in the world is the behind-the-scene political conflict between the major powers to dominate the world. When the political means of one major power faces a deadlock, it resorts to local groups, which it supplies with material resources to terrorize the people in its drive to destabilize a local regime. There is no independent source of terrorism as there is no independent group of terrorists.

    MA: How do you explain the emergence of so-called Islamic terrorism?

    YB: It is the greatest lie nowadays to speak of "Islamic terrorism". Since Islam forbids terrorism, then no terrorist could be labeled Islamic. He would have had to abandon the Islamic path to become a terrorist. However, as the label has been established by the propaganda machine of the superpowers, we should be frank in saying that far from serving Islamic interests, terrorist groups tend to serve American or British interests.

    MA: Do you agree with the official version of the incidents on September 11, 2001?

    YB: I believe that the most pertinent facts surrounding the 9/11 incidents have been suppressed. What can be said of the real story is the way the US used the issue to execute its geopolitical plans. These plans changed the norms of international relations and the norms of war. Following the 9/11 incidents, the US government overhauled its diplomacy and either abolished or severely downgraded civic international relations and norms to lay the foundation for new forms of warfare.

    It legitimized pre-emptive American intervention in any country it suspects of ill intentions towards the US. This meant that it has effectively imposed its control (whether directly or indirectly) over every single state, and legitimized its interference in the local investigation of any crime, money transaction and even media direction. None of these actions are related to the 9/11 incidents but to American plans to become an unrivalled hegemon on the world stage. This is something the US could not have done without 9/11 or a pretext of such magnitude.

    MA: How does the 9/11 narrative serve American interests?

    YB: As I have just outlined, it has allowed the US to pursue its agenda of global domination in the post-Cold War world. During the Cold War, the US had a pretext to its policies that were based on extending its authority over the rest of the world. Namely, it used the threat of communism to justify this policy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it lost that pretext. It could not continue as an effective world leader with actual authority without a recognized global war theater.

    The world theater after the collapse of the Soviet Union became a diplomatic one. This subjected American authority to many other qualifying factors, including political differences with other countries. The Americans came to the conclusion that allowing a multilateral approach to world politics would greatly undermine the US’s global position, authority and role. Because America is not a country of ideals as it claims, America’s posture in the world is based on its military capacity and not on its ideology. It claims to be based on an ideology only to justify its military actions against other countries. No nation in the history of the human race has killed people as much as the Americans have killed.

    No country since humans started gathering in defined territorial spaces has murdered more civilians on the pretext of war necessities as the US military did directly or through its agents. No ideology could justify that unless this is a false pretext. America needed 9/11 to justify imposing the military theater on the world because America cannot dominate this world without its military power. If America does not dominate the world militarily, it would become just another great power and would have to continuously justify its global position through conventional or quasi-conventional political, economic and cultural norms and discourses.

    MA: Are the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan justifiable from an Islamic point of view?

    YB: The insurgency, if it is against an invading army, is of course legitimate. However, what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan against civilians like random bombing or explosions in civilian quarters like markets, streets, public buildings, places of worship, buses and the like could not be acts of insurgency but illegitimate acts, and is absolutely unjustifiable and illegal in Islam. Here it should be stated that these acts are only part of the American political and strategic plan to fragment the social fabric of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and any other place where the Americans are bent on destabilization as a prelude to intervention or a full-blown invasion.

    MA: Under what conditions can Muslims attack American interests?

    YB: In the absence of an Islamic state anywhere in the world, Muslims’ most urgent priority is to rally to establish the Islamic state that alone has the right to undertake military actions. In the absence of this state Muslims can only take action against an invading army of any Islamic territory and not outside of that.

    MA: Is military conflict between the future Islamic state and the United States inevitable?

    YB: It is not that the Islamic state when re-established will have a priority of declaring war against any other state or against the world. Declaring war is tied to many issues and circumstances. Unlike the United States, the Islamic state is not a war-loving state but a complex ideological entity that discharges its responsibilities in every sphere to the highest standards.

    Mahan Abedin is a senior researcher in terrorism studies and a consultant to independent media in Iran. He is currently based in northern Iraq, where he is helping to develop local media capacity.

    (Copyright 2009 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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