Sadie Polttila: Islamic scholar?
The following op-ed by one Sadie Polttila serves as the perfect example of the many shortcomings of Islamic apologetics: “Real Islam a religion of peace and free will, not violence,” by Sadie Polttila for Leader Telegram, September 17:
The United States is a great nation whose foundation rests on the privilege of religious freedom. Islam is a part of that foundation and a religion of peace. What crazy people do in the name or religion, any religion, makes them crazy or uneducated – not religious. For example, all Christians aren’t akin to the Ku Klux Klan, because KKK members are definitely misinformed about Christianity…
Error the first: conflating religious principles with the actions of people. All of the world’s religions teach any number of principles; they also differ in any number of ways. What people do in the name of any given religion may or may not be in accordance with its teachings. However the KKK may have tried to associate its movement with Christianity, the average Christian theologian can quite easily discount their claims through the Bible. Now, what Muslim “extremists” do, can that be easily discounted through Islam’s principle sources, the Koran and Hadith? Can the average Muslim scholar disprove jihad and all those other problematic aspects of Islam (that are covered here on a daily basis) through the Koran and Hadith? No. In fact, it’s usually the opposite: the scholars are the ones most advocating Islamic violence and intolerance. Try asking ahl al-hadith and sunna residing in Mecca, Medina, or Al-Azhar what they think “jihad” really means. Also, consider the concept of “mainstream.” Mainstream Christianity has obviously very little to do with KKK principles. As for “mainstream” Islam, again, whatever Muslims say, one can — and should — always turn to their laws (sharia) to truly discover what is and is not Islamic: jihad against infidels until the world is subjugated to Allah is Islamic; female-to-male subordination is Islamic; discrimination against non-Muslims (dhimmis) is Islamic. All these aspects are codified in Islam and extremely well documented. Thus let’s try to do away once and for all with the “people who do nasty things are twisting their religion” argument. Of course many of them do. That’s not the question. The question is simply: does the religion teach such things or not?
Fatwas are supposed to be a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law. They aren’t wrong but there is something wrong with people who aren’t scholarly making them…
Fair enough. But if that is the case, why is Ms. Polttila pronouncing her opinions on matters pertaining to Islamic law — that is, essentially issuing a fatwa? After all, that is the whole purpose of her op-ed, i.e., opinion-editorial: to opine on matters involving Islam? Is she, then, a scholar of Islamic law?
The Quran says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah (God) has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 256) …I emphasize that there is no compulsion in religion and no justification for senseless violence.
And so, now we discover that she is obviously not an Islamic scholar; either that, or she is engaging in taqiyya by intentionally dissimulating. To throw one verse out (2:256) and insist that there — the issue is settled, is beyond amateurish; indeed, it’s something worthy of Karen Armstrong. Here is the difference between a true scholar of Islam and an apologist: the scholar acknowledges the “No compulsion” verse; but he also acknowledges the many “sword verses” (e.g., 9:5, 9:29) which say the exact opposite. Now anyone sincerely trying to follow Islam — that is, a Muslim, one who literally submits to the authority of his religion — will try to reconcile these contradicting verses. And that is what Islam’s scholars have done, by formulating the pivotal doctrine of al-nasikh we al-mansukh — abrogation: if two or more commands in the Koran contradict, the one coming later abrogates the earlier one. And as it just so happens, all the peaceful and tolerant verses, such as the one cited by the author, come early, whereas the violent ones come much later and thus — according to all schools of Sunni jurisprudence — violence and intolerance to non-Muslims, categorized by the institutions of jihad and dhimmitude, is thought to be Allah’s final word on Islam’s relation to non-Muslims.
Only God decides who will be rewarded in Heaven for jihad which, when translated, means to “strive” or “struggle.” Someone can have a personal jihad with broccoli…
Such “cutesy” nonsense truly becomes tiresome after a while. Again, this author, who insists that we should leave all definitions to the Islamic scholars, is here to tell us that Muslims can wage jihad against vegetables. All Islamic legal manuals define the doctrine of jihad as simply warfare against the non-Muslim in order to place the latter in subjection to Islam. Period.
In Islam women are to be revered, upheld as equal citizens and respected. It is recorded that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Assuredly, women are the twin halves of men” and, “Heaven lies at the feet of mothers.”
Yes, it is also recorded that Muhammad said that it’s okay for a man to lie to his wife and that hell will be mostly made up of women. Moreover, the Koran itself, along with legitimizing polygamy, also legitimizes the enslavement of women as concubines. Again, Ms.Polttila focuses on one hadith while ignoring, not only what the Koran and dozens of other hadiths say about women, but how Islamic law categorizes the latter, that is, definitely not as “equal citizens.”
Anyone not agreeing to the above may not be Islamic – they may just be “crazy.”
Such “scholarly” conclusions.