A provocative article by Ali Sina of Faith Freedom, exploring the implications of something we have discussed here in a different context on occasion: I have pointed out that Islamic law is at variance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in several important particulars; Ali here emphasizes and explores the core reason why this is so: Islam does not teach the Golden Rule.
In a long debate that I had with a Muslim "intellectual" who writes for various Islamic magazines, he insisted that I give a better alternative to Islam. He argued: "Avoiding this is tantamount to intellectual defeat, like the man who wears a mask and calls everyone else ugly but his so-called "better alternative" is kept hidden under the mask because it is in reality very grotesque."
I knew why he wanted to know about my alternative. Muslims can't defend Islam so they like to engage in tu quoque or the "you too" logical fallacy and only by finding faults in their opponents' views, they feel better about their own religion.
I told him that I am a humanist and a practitioner of the Golden Rule - this is my alternative. But because I believe in the Golden Rule and the freedom of faith, I respect people's choices to believe in any religion they like. I do not agree with the premises of any religion; however I have no right to tell people what they should believe. My fight is not against faith, it is against hate. The reason I am against Islam is not because it is a religion but because it is a political ideology of imperialism and domination in the guise of religion.
I told him that I am a freethinker. I doubt, investigate and try to find the truth by weighing the facts. My motto can be summed up in Buddha's words: "Doubt everything, find your own light". It is not that I see all religions as totally wrong. I see truth and beauty in many religions in various degrees. The only religion that is bereft of truth and beauty is Islam. I cherry-pick the good things in all the religions and philosophies, choose the best and leave the rest. I think all religions are manmade, but this does not mean they are bad. Some parts of them are very good. Although I do not think they are divine guidance, I think one can find pearls of wisdom in many of them. The only religion that no pearls is Islam. Other religions are manmade - that is why they are a mix bag of good and bad. But Islam is made by a psychopath. It is only deception. This is the difference.
To my surprise, once this Muslim learned that I am a practitioner of the Golden Rule, he launched his attack at the Golden Rule and in a "rebuttal" that he titled "The Golden Rule: Cult of Ali Sina" he wrote:
"Mr. Sina said that he will be making the allegations against Prophet Muhammad (SAW) on the basis that the Prophet (SAW) has violated the "Golden Rule". As he says Islam contradicts the "Golden Rule"; the rule is his "criterion" and "yard stick". Therefore, Mr. Sina has to prove the legitimacy of the "Golden Rule" otherwise it is a mere assumption. In the absence of proof, Mr. Sina would be violating his first rule which he stated earlier: "he must be able to prove that assumption or withdraw it"!
I already knew that Islam is contrary to the Golden Rule and in fact this is precisely why I oppose it. But I did not expect a Muslim admit to it and defy this universal principle so openly. The fact that this Muslim called the Golden Rule, "Cult of Ali Sina" makes me think that he had never heard of this basic human principle.
Muslims are masters of deception and they strive to portray their religion as the summum bonum and their prophet as the champion of righteousness. This Muslim, however, was foolishly honest enough to tell the truth and instead of claiming Islam is a fair and just religion, he attacked the Golden Rule and called it a "cult".
I responded that I do not have to prove the legitimacy of the Golden Rule. I don't think I have to prove day is bright and night is dark to a seeing person, and to a blind, that won't make any difference. The Golden Rule is a universal principle and it is self evident. We must not measure the validity of the Golden Rule with what Muhammad said, but rather we must establish the legitimacy of his claim by the yardstick of the Golden Rule.
We humans instinctively measure every right and wrong with the yardstick of the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is the shared belief of all mankind and a self evident principle. The essence of the Golden Rule is: "Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you." It is through this principle that we know stealing is bad, murder is bad, rape is bad, cheating is bad, and kindness is good, generosity is good, forgiveness is good etc.
Some cynics say the Golden Rule is flawed. For example a masochist who likes to be mistreated, by applying the Golden Rule will abuse others who do not like it. This is obviously a misunderstanding of the concept of the Golden Rule. A much more accurate definition of the Golden Rule is: Treat others with the same consideration and respect that you wish to be treated. It does not mean do to others exactly what you like to be done to you. For example, if you like peanut butter, it does not mean you should feed it to someone who is allergic to it, which can kill him. It does not mean you should take your wife who likes concerts, to a basketball game because you like basketball or invite your Hindu friend to a barbeque because you are a meat lover when you know he is vegetarian.
Various religions and doctrines have expressed this simple concept in a variety of ways. The following is a brief list of them in alphabetical order.
Bahá'í Faith: "Choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself." Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
Brahmanism: "This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you". Mahabharata, 5:1517
Buddhism: "...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18
Christianity: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version.
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.
"...and don't do what you hate...", Gospel of Thomas 6.
Confucianism: "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" Analects 15:23
"Ze-Gong asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'xu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Doctrine of the Mean 13.3
"Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence." Mencius VII.A.4
Ancient Egyptian: "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do." The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 - 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson. The original dates to 1970 to 1640 BCE and may be the earliest version ever written.
Hinduism: "One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself." Mencius Vii.A.4
"This is the sum of the Dharma [duty]: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you." Mahabharata 5:1517
Humanism: "(5) Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity."
"Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you, British Humanist Society.
Jainism: "In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self." Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara
"A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. "Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Judaism: "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18
"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
"And what you hate, do not do to any one." Tobit 4:15
Native American Spirituality:
"All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One." Black Elk
Roman Pagan Religion: "The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves."
Shinto: "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form"
Sikhism: "Don't create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone." Guru Arjan Devji 259
Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien.
Wicca: "An it harm no one, do what thou wilt" (i.e. do what ever you will, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself). One's will is to be carefully thought out in advance of action. This is called the Wiccan Rede
Yoruba: ( Nigeria ): "One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."
Zoroastrianism: "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself". Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5
"Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others." Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
Several philosophers have also expressed the same concept in different words: Epictetus: "What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others." (circa 100 CE)
Plato: "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me." ( Greece ; 4th century BCE)
Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you." ( Greece ; 5th century BCE)
Seneca: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors," Epistle 47:11 ( Rome ; 1st century CE)
There are however exceptions. Some doctrines do not adhere to this universal principle.
Satanism: Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan , wrote two main lists of rules summarizing his expected behavior by members. Number 4 and 5 of the Nine Satanic Statements are:
"4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!
"5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek."
The Nine Satanic Sins: "3. Solipsism--can be very dangerous for Satanists. Projecting your reactions, responses and sensibilities onto someone who is probably far less attuned than you are. It is the mistake of expecting people to give you the same consideration, courtesy and respect that you naturally give them. They won't. Instead, Satanists must strive to apply the dictum of 'Do unto others as they do unto you.' It's work for most of us and requires constant vigilance lest you slip into a comfortable illusion of everyone being like you...."
The Creativity Movement: "What is good for the White Race is the highest virtue; what is bad for the White Race is the ultimate sin."
Their religion is based mainly upon love of the white race and hatred of everyone else, who they call members of the "mud races." They are strongly anti-Christian in belief. This group was formerly called the "World Church of the Creator"® (W.C.O.T.C.) until it lost a trademark infringement suit.
Islam: Like Satanism and the Creativity Movement, Islam does not adhere to the Golden Rule. The closest that Islam comes to this principle is a hadith that says:
"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." [Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."]
The same hadith is reported by Bukhari 1.2.12
"The Prophet said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself."
This brotherhood however does not extend to everyone. Quran (9:23) states that the believers should not take for friends and protectors (awlia) their fathers and brothers if they love Infidelity above Islam. In fact there are many verses that tell the Muslims to kill the unbelievers and be harsh with them. A clear example that Islam is not based on the Golden Rule is the verse (48:29) It says: "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other."
This is the perfect definition of fascism. There are many other verses that show the brotherhood in Islam is not universal. The rest of mankind have no rights and should not be treated in the same way that Muslims are to be treated. The entire Quran is the breach of the Golden Rule. Quran tells Muslims to slay the unbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), do not befriend them (3:28), fight them and show them harshness (9:123), and smite their heads (47:4).
According to Muslims it is not the Golden Rule that defines the good and bad but it is Muhammad who does it. They believe what is good for Islam is the highest virtue and what is bad for Islam is the ultimate sin. This is the ethos of all cults. From Asahara's Aum Shinrikyo to Jim Jones' People's Temple; from Sun Myung Moon's Unification Chruch to David Koresh's Davidain Branch, the recurring theme in all of them is that the cult's interests overshadow the human understanding of right and wrong and to advance the interest of the cult, which is regarded as the ultimate good, everything, including lying, even murder and assassinations are permissible. The end is deemed to be so lofty that it justifies the means. This is the same idea of fascism where the glorification of the state and the total subordination of the individual are enforced. In fascism, "the state is defined as an organic whole into which individuals must be absorbed for their own and the state's benefit. This 'total state' is absolute in its methods and unlimited by law in its control and direction of its citizens." [The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001]
Muslims consider themselves to be the "guided people" and everyone else as kafir and fuel for hellfire. Their properties, their lives and even their wives are halal to Muslims. The people of the Book can buy their security by paying Muslims a protection fee called Jizyah but if they stop that payment, they too would be fought against and destroyed.
Like Satanists, and the skinhead neo-Nazis, Muhammad did not believe in the Golden Rule. He instructed his followers to lie to their victims to win their trust and when they lower their guards, kill them. He sent one of his disciples to the Meccans and to the Bani Quraiza and told him to lie to both groups and to deceive them. Then he added: "war is a game of deception". Couldn't a man who was capable of lying, assassinating his opponents, massacring his captives of war and causing sedition to advance his malicious designs, lie about being a prophet of God? Once it is established that he broke the Golden Rule and lied and encouraged lying on several occasions, why should we believe him when he claims to be a messenger of God?
Muhammad raided innocent civilians with no warning, butchered the men and took the women and children as slaves and then he allowed his men to rape the women. How do Muslims like to be treated in this way? What Muhammad did was against the Golden Rule. But Muslims have no regards for the Golden Rule. They question the legitimacy of this universally acclaimed principle. They think it was okay for Muhammad to kill non-Muslims, rape their wives and enslave their children, but it is not okay for non- Muslims to do the same to Muslims. If this is not a satanic religion, in what ways does it differ? Muslims should tell us what criteria they use to determine that Muhammad was a messenger of God.
In one of my debates with a leader of the Islamic sect of Submitters, I quoted a few verses from the Quran switching the places of "Muslims" and "non-Muslims". This is what we got:
We will cast terror into the hearts of Muslims. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. 8:12,
Let not the non-Muslims take for friends or helpers the Muslims. 3:28,
Rouse the non-Muslims to the fight against Muslims. 8:65,
Then fight and slay the Muslims wherever ye find them, 9:5,
Fight the Muslims, and God will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame. 9:14,
O ye the non-Muslims take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers if they love Islam.9:23,
O ye the non-Muslims! Truly the Muslims are unclean. 9:28,
O ye non-Muslims! fight the Muslims who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you. 9:123,
Therefore, when ye meet the Muslims, smite at their necks; At length. 47:4,
The gentleman with whom I was debating was infuriated. He called me "theo-fascist" and wrote: 'His [Ali Sina's] subhuman remark was the last, but a venomous drop that filled his cup of hatred and bigotry. He is not a person to reason with, since his mind is filled with toxic hate and his stomach is thirsty for fresh blood...." All this vituperation because I quoted the verses of the Quran switching the places of "Muslims" and "non-Muslims"! Muslims see nothing wrong in the Quran but they do not like reciprocation. Clearly Islam is not in conformity with the Golden Rule.
One of the highest Sunni Muslim authorities, Sheikh Fawzi Zafzaf, president of the Interfaith Dialogue Committee of Al-Azhar University in Cairo , said his committee sent the request to the Pope on February 2005, demanding an "official apology on Christian crusades against the Muslim world", the Morocco Times reported.
The demand arose from Pope John Paul II's apologies to the Jewish people and his visits to Syria and Egypt a few years ago, Zafzaf said, "Al-Azhar is only asking for a similar treatment".
Muslims can't see the beam in their own eyes but can see the speck in the eyes of others. The crusades happened 900 years ago (1095 A.D). What about the Muslims' crimes happening here and now? Has this Sunni high cleric apologized for the 9/11, for the massacre of Madrid , for the horrendous killing of children in Beslan or for any of the crimes perpetrated by his jihadi brothers? What about the invasion of Europe and the occupation of Spain ? Where is the Muslim apology?
The West has nothing to apologize to Muslims. Thomas F. Madden, associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University and the author of "A Concise History of the Crusades says, the Crusades "were in every way a defensive war."
"They were the West's belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world," he wrote in a National Review column. "While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the tenth centuries winning an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only in the eleventh century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East."
According to Madden, the event that led to the crusades was the Turkish conquest of most of Christian Asia Minor, the modern Turkey .
"The Christian emperor in Constantinople faced with the loss of half of his empire, appealed for help to the rude but energetic Europeans. He got it. More than he wanted, in fact," wrote Madden.
"Over the past several years, pronouncements from Al-Azhar have sparked controversy.
In 2003, Al-Azhar's grand sheikh, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, stated suicide bombers are considered "martyrs" under Islamic law.
In December 2002, the Islamic Ruling Committee in Al-Azhar declared the acquisition of nuclear weapons to be a religious obligation for Islamic states.
A member of panel, Sheikh Ala A-Shanawi, said, "The Islamic nation has to recognize the enemy, and to prepare itself accordingly."
Answering a question he received, A-Shanawi wrote, "Allah's messenger [Muhammad] would have prepared himself with all the resources possible in order to deal with the enemy. Therefore, if the Islamic nation is not equipped with the desired weaponry needed, it will be forced to suffer the consequences, and will be blamed for negligence."
The sheikh continued, "All Islamic nations are required to seize nuclear weaponry, giving the nation the utmost respect. We see how far behind our nation is as a result of not being prepared as well as it should be, while the enemy has equipped itself with the best weaponry there is, which it will use to harm and destroy Muslims."
Given the history and the attitude of Muslims, demanding Pope to apologize officially for the crusades is preposterous. Even though Muslims do not recognize the Golden Rule and call it a cult, they must be forced to adhere to it. The crusaders exceeded their mandates and brutalities were committed. But this was in response to what the Muslims had done and their savagery. Why not mention the barbarity of Muslims in Iran, Byzantium, Egypt or India? In India alone over 80 million people were massacred by the Muslim marauding army. This is more than those killed during the WWI and WWII combined. Everywhere Muslims went, they committed horrendous acts of barbarity. They looted and raped and slaughtered innocent people. The Arabs were the first victims of Islam. All victims of Islam, once converted, become victimizers, lose their humanity and do the most atrocious things to others.
Instead of apologizing for the crusades, we must thank the crusaders for weakening Islam and saving Europe and the world. Had Islam been successful conquering Europe, the enlightenment would not have occurred and human civilization would not have advanced as it did.
In fact Enlightenment was about to happen with Avicenna, Zakaria Razi, Khyyam and many other luminaries in Persia a thousand years ago. It was nipped in the bud by zealot Muslims such as Al Ghazali and Rumi who argued reason must submit to revelation. Five hundred years later, the works of Avicenna kicked off the Renaissance in Europe. The science is behind five hundred years thanks to Islam. Imagine where we would be today if the Renaissance was allowed to happen a thousand years ago. Had Islam taken over the Europe, we would be still living in Dark Ages.
With the exception of Islam, Satanism and fascism all the religions, and social philosophies uphold the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is the inner compass with which sane people differentiate right from wrong. Its application is very simple. I don't like to be killed, so I must not kill. I do not like to be robbed, so I must not rob. I don't like to be lied to, so I must not lie. I don't like my wife or daughter be raped, so I must not rape someone else's wife or daughter, etc. The Golden Rule is an unerring compass. In fact it is so unerring that religions become superfluous. People without religion can follow this Rule and find their way unerringly. Jesus said, "let the one who has not committed any sin throw the first stone". This is all we need to be good people.
Because Islam does not follow the Golden Rule, it attracts violent people. One example is Amir Tîmûr-i-lang, also known as Tamerlane, (1336-1405). He was a ruthless man who became emperor through banditry. In an autobiographical Memoir, "The History of My Expedition against Hindustan ", he wrote:
"My principal object in coming to Hindustan ( India ) and in undergoing all this toil and hardship has been to accomplish two things. The first was to war with the infidels, the enemies of Islam; and by this religious warfare to acquire some claim to reward in the life to come. The other was a worldly object; that the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the wealth and valuables of the infidels: plunder in war is as lawful as their mothers' milk to Muslims who war for their faith, and the consuming of that which is lawful is a means of grace."
The entire history of Islam is based on violence and terror. Those Muslims, who follow the Quran, believe that they are entitled to the wealth and even the women of non-Muslims. They are bereft of conscience because Islam is divorced from the Golden Rule.
Counting Islam among other religions is a gross mistake. Islam is akin to Satanism and fascism and not to any religion. It is intellectually dishonest to grant Islam the status of religion. All religions, invariably, are based on the Golden Rule. Islam is not. And there are Muslims who will tell you just that.