Few people are aware that Islamic law forbids music, and when I have pointed it out, I’ve been accused of distortion and “Islamophobia.” Bahraini author Dhiyaa Al-Musawi knows better, and lists it along with several other points as evidence of his going against religious orthodoxy. He also has good things to say about rejecting the Islamic mandate to hate Jews and Christians.
“Bahraini Liberal Author Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: We Hang Our Thinkers on the Gallows of Ideology. I Listen to Music and Placed Pictures of Jesus and Martin Luther King in My Home,” from MEMRI:
Following are excerpts from an interview with Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa Al-Musawi, which aired on Abu Dhabi TV on December 29, 2006.
We need to reform and to reshape religious thinking, because, in all honesty, the pulpits of our mosques have begun to “booby trap” the people.
Interviewer: In what way?
Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: They booby trap them by generating hatred towards “the other.” We have claimed a monopoly over Paradise, and each of us has recorded it in the land registry in his name.
The Koran is balanced. It talks about the fire of Hell and the fruits of Paradise, but we constantly preach about the horrors of Judgment Day, saying that a bald Satan, or a bald serpent, would visit them in the grave. It is constant terror. It is always a dark picture. Why? That is the problem. Unfortunately, some young men — out of a wrong interpretation of religion… The moment he becomes religious, he ceases to smile and to greet others. He accuses some people of heresy and others of sin. He begins all that discourse. He hates music, and refuses to dress neatly. His mind is abducted into the dungeons of ideology, I’m sad to say.
Interviewer: Let me ask you a question. If a Shiite, or even a Sunni, becomes a religious cleric, yet he listens to music, can the Arab public possibly accept him?
Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: In my view, the Arab disposition suffers from many problems. We have destroyed many things, including the beauty of the general disposition. Music is a beautiful thing…
Interviewer: Do you listen to music?
Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: Yes, I listen to music. I listen to classical music, and I think Beethoven’s symphonies are very beautiful. They are among the masterpieces of human art. I believe that music develops the spirit of Man and humbles him. What is wrong with that?
As for the policy of non-violence, I’d like to give you the example of Gandhi, whom I consider a hero. If only we could obtain some of Gandhi’s genes, and plant them in the brains of our youth in the Arab world…
Interviewer: In your home, you have pictures of Martin Luther King and Jesus on the wall.
Dhiyaa Al-Musawi: In my home, I put up a picture of Jesus, because whenever I look at his picture, worlds of peace and love open up before me. It was Jesus who said: “Love thy enemies, bless them who curse thee.” We need this beautiful language in our society. I also have a picture of Gandhi, whom I consider to be a very fine person, and whose [image] we should plant in the minds of our youth.
Some of us say: “May Allah curse the Jews and the Christians, the offspring of apes and pigs.” Is this the language of progress? Is this the language of enlightenment and tolerance? If you had been born in Rome, you would have been Christian, if you had been born in Tehran, you would have been Shiite, and if you had been born in Saudi Arabia, you would have been Sunni, and so on. How wonderful it would be if all these people could gather in love around the table of humanity.