Last night on my weekly appearance on Michael Coren’s Sun TV show.
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Islam is What Muslims Do
by ex-Muslim Mumin Salih
A little known fact about the Quran, which is the backbone of Islam, is that it doesn’t say much about the details of its religion, which forces Muslims to seek information elsewhere.
The Quran doesn’t mention anything about how to perform the five daily prayers or how often to perform them.
It doesn’t say anything about other prayers, like the funeral prayers. Also it doesn’t say anything about azan (the call for prayers).
It doesn’t say how much money should be paid as zakat, where did the figure 2.5% came from?
It doesn’t say anything about the hijab, the head cover used by muslim women which is considered now like an Islamic logo. The Quran did use the word “hijab’ to mean total barrier that covers everything, not only the hair.
It doesn’t say how to perform the ritual of hajj or omra. There is no mentioning that Muslims should do tawaf around kaaba seven times or do saay between safa and marwa seven times.
The list can go on and on…
The Quran book, called mus-haf, is a relatively small book of around six hundred pages. The contents of the Quran are mostly about biblical stories, which are repeated again and again and serve as reminders of Allah’s track record of inflicting severe punishments on those who disobeyed Him. Such verses were mostly revealed in Mecca, when Mohammed was still a weak person with only a few dozens of followers. The message behind those verses is clear: if you don’t follow me you also expect to be severely punished. When Mohammed assumed power in Medina, the Quran instantly changed its tune and became a tool in Mohammed’s hands to control his followers and justify his actions and intentions. If we take away the verses about the biblical stories and punishments, the Quran would be reduced to a small book, a fraction of its current size.
Sharia in the Quran
The Quran is the first and most important source for sharia. The second important source is sunna, which includes Mohammed’s sayings and the detailed description of his life, because Muslims are supposed to emulate Mohammed and model themselves on his example.
There was never a time when Islam had a one distinct picture that Muslims could see with clarity and agree on. From the beginning, Islam was destined to have multiple interpretations. The Quran addresses issues in a concise style that is too rigid and vague and sets the grounds for multiple interpretations. Muslims are told they can find in the Quran all the information they need, but when they open the book they only find repeated vagueness. Instead of coming to the obvious conclusion that the Quran is nonsense they try to extract any interpretation to support whatever imagination the have in mind. Seeking refuge in hadith does not help because different hadiths give different pictures of Islam depending on which ones you want to believe…
Seeking refuge in hadith does not help because different hadiths give different pictures of Islam depending on which ones you want to believe…
I wish the core texts of Islam (Qur’an, Hadith, Sira) were as ambiguous as you suggest in your post above. If the texts were so ambiguous, like tea leaves into which one can read anything, Islam would not be as uniformly totalitarian as it now is and as it has been throughout most of its history. It’s true there is some ambiguity. That should not be denied. But the ambiguity is mostly a surface feature that, serendipitously for Islam, camouflages the main ideological thrust of the canonical texts toward an expansionist, theocratic totalitarianism.
Bernard Lewis, eminent historian of Islam and the Middle East, says Islam imposes, without limit of time or space, the duty to subjugate non-Muslims
In The Political Language of Islam, p. 73:
“…it is the duty of those who have accepted them [Allah's word and message] to strive unceasingly to convert or at least to subjugate those who have not. This obligation is without limit of time or space. It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.”
From the essay “Communism and Islam” in International Affairs, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Jan., 1954), pp. 1-12, here is Bernard Lewis on Islam’s inherent totalitarianism:
I turn now from the accidental to the essential factors, to those deriving from the very nature of Islamic society, tradition, and thought. The first of these is the authoritarianism, perhaps we may even say the totalitarianism, of the Islamic political tradition…Many attempts have been made to show that Islam and democracy are identical — attempts usually based on a misunderstanding of Islam or democracy or both…In point of fact, except for the early caliphate, when the anarchic individualism of tribal Arabia was still effective, the political history of Islam is one of almost unrelieved autocracy…[I]t was authoritarian, often arbitrary, sometimes tyrannical. There are no parliaments or representative assemblies of any kind, no councils or communes, no chambers of nobility or estates, no municipalities in the history of Islam; nothing but the sovereign power, to which the subject owed complete and unwavering obedience as a religious duty imposed by the Holy Law. In the great days of classical Islam this duty was only owed to the lawfully appointed caliph, as God’s vicegerent on earth and head of the theocratic community, and then only for as long as he upheld the law; but with the decline of the caliphate and the growth of military dictatorship, Muslim jurists and theologians accommodated their teachings to the changed situation and extended the religious duty of obedience to any effective authority, however impious, however barbarous. For the last thousand years, the political thinking of Islam has been dominated by such maxims as “tyranny is better than anarchy” and “whose power is established, obedience to him is incumbent.”
…Quite obviously, the Ulama of Islam are very different from the Communist Party. Nevertheless, on closer examination, we find certain uncomfortable resemblances. Both groups profess a totalitarian doctrine, with complete and final answers to all questions on heaven and earth; the answers are different in every respect, alike only in their finality and completeness, and in the contrast they offer with the eternal questioning of Western man. Both groups offer to their members and followers the agreeable sensation of belonging to a community of believers, who are always right, as against an outer world of unbelievers, who are always wrong. Both offer an exhilarating feeling of mission, of purpose, of being engaged in a collective adventure to accelerate the historically inevitable victory of the true faith over the infidel evil-doers. The traditional Islamic division of the world into the House of Islam and the House of War, two necessarily opposed groups, of which- the first has the collective obligation of perpetual struggle against the second, also has obvious parallels in the Communist view of world affairs. There again, the content of belief is utterly different, but the aggressive fanaticism of the believer is the same. The humorist who summed up the Communist creed as “There is no God and Karl Marx is his Prophet!” was laying his finger on a real affinity. The call to a Communist Jihad, a Holy War for the faith — a new faith, but against the self-same Western Christian enemy — might well strike a responsive note.
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