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What is the present status of Islamic Government? And why is the legitimacy of Islam as a state religion such a controversial matter for all of the world to presently debate? It would seem that state sponsored religion is an archaic construct which has been for the most part abandoned by modern government. But in fact this is far from the truth, the truth is that several sovereign nations have recognized a particular religion as their state or official religion. I think non-Muslims need to answer why is Islam in particular, as a state religion, such a big deal? As for Muslims I think we must ask ourselves are we implementing Islam in government the way it was intended? Or are there implementations of Islam in modern government that are a bid'ah?

Innovations in Islam:
Before we look into some of these questions I would like to briefly explain, to the best of my ability, what bid'ah is. Bid'ah is an Arabic word derived from the root word bada'ah, which literally means 'a new thing without precedence'. Attributive name of God, Al-Badi is also derived from the same root to denote God as the Creator of things that had no previous existence. For example, in the Qur'an it says,

"badi usamawaati wal 'ard"

This means, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth (out of nothing). This example is to reflect that there are no inherent, negative connotations in its normal usage. But as a technical and legal word it refers to an addition to the religion that was not known or practiced at the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

It should also be noted that socially, the word bid'ah has developed into an Muslim epithet which typically expresses a nominal heresy. But if we look to the primary source of knowledge in the Qur'an we can see that there are in fact permissible bid'ah as well as impermissible bid'ah. God makes mention of this in chapter 57, suratul-hadid, verse 16 saying:

"But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah; but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many
of them are rebellious transgressors." (57:027)

This verse tells us that the followers of Jesus - 'Isa (a.s.) - instituted monasticism after he left the Earth as a new practice, a bid'ah. It is not condemned by God, but we are instructed that they did not cultivate what they should have. Dr. Zahid Iqbal suggests that this is a clear testament that contains an implied permission granted for this new practice (bid'ah), though they failed in its proper care. [1]

Also, I recall a sahih hadith which narrated by Abu Huraira, where he says that after the Prophets death (s.a.w.s.), during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (r.a.) and in the early days of 'Umar's bin al-Khattab's Caliphate (r.a.) that one would find people praying in different groups. And 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Abdul Qari said,

"I went out in the company of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, 'Umar said, 'In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)'. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka'b. Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, 'Umar remarked, 'What an excellent Bid'a (i.e. innovation in religion) this is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.' He meant the prayer in the last part of the night. (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night." [2]

Therefore, it should be noted that there are in fact permissible and impermissible bid'ah in Islam. But who determines what a permissible bid'ah is? For example, are the secular courts of the Muslim World bid'ah? Likewise are there components of government that rule the Muslim World in way that are a bid'ah? What I am questioning here is possibility of impermissible bid'ah in government. But in order to assess this someone from an authoritative legal position has to define what a permissible and an impermissible bid'ah. But can this be done with the Gate of ijtihad closed? So lets examine more closely authority in Islam.

Competition for Legitimate Authority:
After the death of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), the first caliph Abu Bakr (r.a.) (d. 13/634) became engulfed in civil war. The second, 'Umar b. al-Khattab (d. 23/644) and third, 'Uthman b. 'Affan (d. 35/656) caliphs were assassinated and the fourth, 'Ali b. Abi Talib (d. 40/661) faced a number of rebellions and was likewise assassinated. These rebellions had underlying socio-economic problems which reflected the emergent state of a legitimate authority. Soon there became a competition between the Prophet's tribe, the Quraysh, the Prophet's family, his close friends and companions, anyone and the Muslim community as a whole. But by the end of this competition only one had shown to be qualified as a "coherent" and "systematic" authority of the religion. That authority was the Law of God, as relayed by the jurists, a specialized group of professionals, who developed institutions, guilds and technical methods for implementing legal rulings based on the Qur'an and Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet). [3]

Islamic Schools of Thought:
These guilds and institutions developed into four main schools of Sunni Islam, one main and three minor schools of Shi'a Islam and several extinct schools. These schools became very competitive in nature are overtime various leaders, state officials and/or whole communities designated to follow one or another.

The schools developed law guilds with a hierarchal structure that functioned independent of governments. Jurists would however, often find work as a state officials in the judiciary, in service to the state and the people, while remaining loyal to their respective guild. On the other hand jurists often refused governmental positions, to the chagrin of governors, emirs and caliphs, to pursue independent study or teaching in the guild itself. Some jurists were severely persecuted for refusing official positions. It should be of note that these law guilds remained independent of government and state leadership and financing. Their relationship resulted in a way that is not dissimilar to the checks-and-balances system of American democracy. And the reason for this is simple. Their power was rooted in the fact that they could formidably argue that the ruler and the ruled were normatively bound by God's law and thus equals in certain terms. This meant that these school defended the law of God which implies despite ones ethnic grouping, financial status and/or birth all are as equals as the legitimate recipients of God's mercies and punishments. This is not far from our American values of liberal freedoms and We the People being the benefactors of inaliable rights of freedom and justice. Modern Islamic Jurist, Khaled Abou-El Fadl has discussed how jurists characterized legitimate and illegitimate governments when he writes,

"the jurists distinguished between a legitimate Islamic government (caliphate) and other forms of government by the fact that an Islamic government is based and bound by Shari'ah law while other governments are based on whimsical despotism (hawa). Furthermore, Muslim jurists often espoused legal doctrines that were restrictive of the discretionary powers of rulers. For example, the jurists argued that the rights of human beings (huquq al-adamiyyin) are retained exclusively by human beings, and that rulers have no power of dispensation over such rights."

The Disintegration of the Islamic Legal System:
There are a number of opinions on the conditions of the present day Islamic legal system but I think Abou El Fadl sums it up poignantly when he wrote,

"There are a variety of reasons for the disintegration of the traditional dynamics of Islamic jurisprudence. Primary among those reasons is the  increasing centralization of state power, the nationalization of the private endowments (awqaf) that supported and funded the law guilds, the withering away of law guilds and their replacement with state-owned secular law schools, the adoption of the civil law system into a large number of Muslim countries, the development of enormous hegemonic state bureaucracies that co-opted and transformed many jurists into salaried employees, and the experience of colonialism that often methodically dismantled the traditional institutions of Islamic law under the guise of the imperative of modernization." [4]

He goes on to add something of great importance noting,

"It is difficult to assess whether this process started with the centralized structure of the Ottoman Empire, or the increasing reliance on qunun (secular positive law) and faramans (edicts) as the main legislative mechanism of the Ottoman rulers. But there is no doubt that the movement to dismantle the traditional mechanisms of Islamic law were given a great momentum in the age of colonialism and in the post-colonial age with the emergence of what Amos Perlmutter called the praetorian state in many Muslim countries." [5]

The Problem and the Solution:
Its clear that one of the problems concerning Muslims is authority in other words Muslim leadership and the Islamic authenticity of that leadership. Abou El Fadl gave us a degree of insight into the primary sources of this disintegration of Muslim leaders and authentic Islamic authority. But if this is the problem what is the solution? Is the solution something that the West can assist with or is the West the protagonist of the problem? 'Throughout the classical period Muslim jurists played a rather dynamic negotiative role in society. The often acted as a medium between the various social structures and political structures. The were at times allied to the interests and concerns of one to the other. Which is why Abou El Fadl describes classic juristic culture in traditional Islam was "semi-autonomous"'. [6]

Hamza Yusuf, arguably the America's most recognized Islamic scholar, weighed in on this issue during a 2003 lecture in Canada saying,

"What I think is important for Muslims today - especially the scholars - is to begin to look at our own legal tradition - and this is what I think Dr. Feldman [the notable U.S. Constitutional Lawyer and Professor at Harvard University Law] was saying in his book, [After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy] - and begin to derive from their own tradition those things that will facilitate their movement into the modern world to be successful and productive members of an increasingly globalized community". [7]

Imam Hamza could have been a bit more precise in his analysis of the final solution to the problem Dr. Abou El Fadl mentions. But what he did do was to address where Muslims should concentrate in order to begin forward progress toward developing a sustainable sovereign society and also an integral faction of the modern world. I believe, like most if not all Muslims, that our religion provides a means for governing which guarantees our primary freedoms and inalienable human rights in a way that may in time surpass liberal democracy. But this can only become a reality if the institution of Islamic law can be implemented in its proper functional role, that being free from State control, authority by proxy or under the thumb of secular tyrants.

Conclusion:
The present day reality we face, in spite of madness parading as Islam, is that we are seeing the unexpected results of covert activity gone wrong. Territorial partitions, power struggles in Palestine and Syria, puppet rulers and secret planning concerning the future of the Middle East by everyone but Middle Easterners is all to cyclic to be addressed as a new problem. The fact is that many of todays problems for Muslims have been a developing item that finds its origins in the Crusades. [8] I think that this will continue to be the state of affairs until Muslims redress disintegration of its leadership and authentic Islamic authority - by removing secular legal processes which are a type of bid'ah and impermissible - as a means to legislate and govern the greater body of Muslims across the Muslim world. Accomplish this of course after it is identified that an Islamic government is in fact what Muslims in the Muslim World want. And this can only be possible if the non-Muslim world can accept a sovereign Muslim government as a successful and productive member of this global community. But is this possible?

Notes:
[1] Iqbal, The Concept of Bid'ah
[2] Bukhari, Book 32; Vol 3; 227
[3] Abou El Fadl, Speaking in God's Name, p. 11, 12
[4] Abou El Fadl, Speaking in God's Name, p. 16
[5] Abou El Fadl, Speaking in God's Name, p. 16
[6] Abou El Fadl, Speaking in God's Name, p. 15
[7] Yusuf, Islam & Democracy: Is a Clash of Civilizations Inevitable, 2003
[8] Ahmed, Islam Under Siege, p. 26, 27

Originally posted to Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 07:32 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If my understanding of the law in Muslim (5+ / 0-)

    states is correct, there appears to be no civil law and that non-Muslims are not afforded protections under the laws in those countries.

    That makes it pretty tough for non-Muslims to accept Islam as a form of government.

    "If they had given Falwell an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox" -- Christopher Hitchins

    by Persiflage on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 07:43:45 AM PDT

    •  good comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Organic American

      (omg - your sig line! that is too funny!)

      You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

      by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 07:55:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right now... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, Noor B

      In most Muslim countries Islamic law is only functioning in the capacity of civil law. So I don't think that is correct if I understand your comment correctly.

      "That makes it pretty tough for non-Muslims to accept Islam as a form of government."

      But we are not talking about non-Muslims accepting Islam as a form of government. What we are talking about is non-Muslims particularly in the West accepting a sovereign and democratically governed Muslim country that elects the Qur'an as its principle means of legislation by its legislators.

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:01:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see how a government based on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EvilPaula, Pandoras Box

        any religion can be 'democratic"...especially when the "laws" of that religion are applied based on interpretation by religious leaders acting as jurists.  

        On the other hand, if Muslims want to be ruled and possibly tried and convicted and punished based on the tenets of their religion, it's OK with me as long as no one forces me, as a non-Muslim, to accept it in my country....and as long as Muslims don't try to force me (through any means) to accept their ways.  

        Radical Islam versus Islam is not being differentiated well.  And it's the non-radical Muslims that should be speaking out.  

           

        "If they had given Falwell an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox" -- Christopher Hitchins

        by Persiflage on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:22:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You didn't understand the comment (4+ / 0-)

        Under Islamic law, non-muslims are second class citizens.

        Under Islamic law, women are the chattel of their husbands, fathers or brothers.

        Under Islamic law gays are subject to the death penalty, just for being gay.

        What's progressive about any of this?

        •  All of this is legally baseless... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noor B

          yet there are historical records of oppressive conditions in dhimmi communities, abuse of women and cruelty to homosexuals. But please put some context to your discussion...

          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:22:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It doesn't have to be that way. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandoras Box

          He's trying to reclaim bid'ah as a legitimate tool for political change in Islam.  

          "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

          by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:23:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It seems then that he is asking two (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Persiflage

            questions:

            1.  how can Islam reclaim "permissible" bid'ah as a political tool (how can non-Muslims answer this?)
            1.  would western countries accept such a mythological country? (i need more information: what would this country look like in society, culture and laws)

            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

            by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:33:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, he is. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Persiflage, Pandoras Box

              And he's asking them in very scholarly, densely constructed ways, which is making his task more difficult.

              I think we can be of help.  Precedent is just as important in the common law tradition as in fiqh.  The thing that's necessary for us is to remember that an authentic democracy there will not be the same as ours.  What they need is a massive expansion of legal scholarship.  There are veritable mountains of material to read, reinterpret and apply.  It is going to be a monumental undertaking, and I won't see the full fruition of it in my lifetime.  (I'm 46, and expect to be around another 40-50 years if I'm lucky.)  This is the project of an entire century.

              The second question is trickier.  Personally, I would.  But then, I'm an unusual person in many ways.  Much will depend upon future economic and political developments around the globe.  I know a lot of people will not be able to envision a world in which Muslim countries are egalitarian democracies.  To that I would say, we have seen how our country has regressed over the last seven years and how much it is being reviled worldwide, something none of us ten years ago could have ever considered even a remote possibility.  So keep some faith here, stand ready to encourage, and even to help when asked, and we shall see what we shall see.  Not a very satisfactory answer, I know, but I'm only human and not a bit psychic.  ;-)  

              "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

              by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:35:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  well, I admit to not knowing much (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Persiflage

                about Islamic history, but it seems to me that I have read/heard that at least at one (very ancient) time, the societies of the middle east were some of, if not, THE most educated and progressive in the world and have no doubt that they could be again, if they so choose. I could easily accept any country which promoted equal and just treatment for all its citizens, but is that where Muslim societies are heading at this time?

                It's certainly not where the US is heading, but then that's part of why we're all here, raising our voices.

                You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:47:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  To answer your question, (0+ / 0-)

                  they stand on a precipice.  This is the major ideological battle in the ME, just as it is here.  The established power structures there are as inimical to their aims and goals as the same here is to ours.  

                  I think this is also why Hakim Abdullah came here, to raise his voice alongside ours and ask for an intellectual engagement that could prove helpful and productive.  I genuinely believe we can and should make common cause with progressive Muslims in the ME, as we can and should with progressives anywhere, everywhere in the world.  Indeed, I believe we must do so, for the future of our shared world depends upon mutual successes.

                  I'll be honest -- their prospects are worse than ours.  The major reason for that is oil.  The ME is sitting on top of most of the world's proven reserves.  The power structures, both theirs and ours, are predicated upon our needing that oil.  In turn, we have to be willing to overlook the horrific things these governments do to their own people just so we can tank up our SUVs.  This is the irony of our times:  despite all the rhetoric about terror, etc., the truth is both peoples' security and prosperity are being hijacked over black gold.  This is what gets Muslims in the ME so incensed.  The resource belongs to their countries, their people, and the entire people should benefit from it, not just their ruling elites.  Hakim, correct me if I'm wrong here, but my understanding is that under Islam, it is the community as a whole that is the entire basis of society, and thus the nation as a whole should benefit from its resources, not just its elite.  Appropriating a national resource is a damn good way to undermine, impoverish and oppress an entire nation, the political community.  The conservatives in the ME aren't the only culprits here.  They get lots of help from our energy industry.  And you know where that leads.

                  On a side note, there is a very interesting book you might like to find, if you can.  It is Mahmood Mamdani's Good Muslim, Bad Muslim:  Islam, the USA, and the Global War Against Terror, published by Permanent Black in 2005.  This is a relatively new Indian academic publisher that is giving OUP India a run for its money.  You should be able to order it from South Asia Books.  Be prepared to be utterly disgusted.

                  "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                  by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:40:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  But what does that mean for outsiders? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Persiflage

        People who do not live in such a country, but are "looking in?"

        How would a Muslim country which elects the Quran as it's principle means of legislation treat its citizens, how would it choose to co-exist with its neighbors?

        It seems to me that the answers to those questions would guide acceptance or nonacceptance of such a country by any nonMuslim country.

        You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

        by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:24:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I read all your words and still (0+ / 0-)

    did not understand exactly what you are driving at.

    Perhaps because I am neither Christian nor Muslim, but agnostic, but still, I was brought up a Christian and have certainly had my consciousness raised about Islam

    It isn't hard for me to think that a theocracy (of any faith) would be a terrible thing. Too many opportunities for simple human injustice.

    and, would you please address Persiflage's comment?

    You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

    by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 07:53:32 AM PDT

    •  You are right... (0+ / 0-)

      when you say that you,

      "did not understand exactly what you are driving at."

      I am writing to both non-Muslims and Muslims raising only questions about government in Muslim countries. Chiefly, those that were instituted during in some kind of post-colonial patchwork.

      But in saying that,

      It isn't hard for me to think that a theocracy (of any faith) would be a terrible thing. Too many opportunities for simple human injustice.

      You really have missed my point here. I am agreeing with you in this entire article. Although the reason you missed this is because this portion of the article was directed at Muslims using Islamic terminology such as bid'ah. May suggest to reread the article now knowing this, it may help.

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:08:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know, I very carefully read (0+ / 0-)

        your definition of bid'ah, and comprehended it. It was the rest of the article, which appears to me to presume an awfully deep understanding of the way  Islam functions on the part of readers that missed its mark for me.

        You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

        by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:14:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a very common error (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Persiflage, Pandoras Box

          --where someone who knows a subject too well, or too closely, has difficulty presenting it to someone (or a group) that lacks much of the basics.

          I remember professors who suffered from the same problem (and all of us suffered for it...).  

          And the same thing ensured me a living; it's what good tech writers do; straddle the abyss between the engineers, programmers and others who know something very well, very closely, and cannot even begin to fathom how to communicate it (or, often, why there's a problem; those idiots ought to understand this, it's easy!).

          "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

          by ogre on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:17:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Woops... (11+ / 0-)

    I forgot to make the first comment to declare, I am interested in a dialogue concerning this post... so here it is and I am interested... OK lets go.

    -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

    by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 07:57:18 AM PDT

    •  vert very simplistically is it not basically (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Persiflage, Pandoras Box

      true that the 'West', particularly the United States, has the concept of the separation of church and state enshrined in our understanding of the role of both religion and politics in our system of government.

      Whereas Islam and Islamists globally have the concept of religion as the basis of politics, therefore it is religion that dictates governmental policies especially in terms of rights for minority Islamic sects, women  and other religious groups.  In other words it is Islam that dictates the laws, which basically is 'sharia' (religious)law, and not civil or secular law.

      Please correct me if I am wrong, because obviously that is a vastly over-simplified understanding, and I understand that some Islamic nations, such as Turkey, demand secularism as the basis of their government.

      I applaud your attempts to help us understand the basic concepts of Islam as it has evolved since the 7th century.

      •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

        Turkey in an anomoly, it went through an extremely traumatic period in order to establish secularism, really people we traumatized by Kemalism.

        "Please correct me if I am wrong, because obviously that is a vastly over-simplified understanding, and I understand that some Islamic nations, such as Turkey, demand secularism as the basis of their government."

        The majority of Turkey's citizens want Islam back in some form and that is not apologist talk, nor marginalized opinion. That is mainstream opinion they have voted for Islamic parties several times in Turkish elections.

        -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

        by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:38:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  my understanding was that recently (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandoras Box

          they rejected the Turkish leader's attempt to nominate a member of the Islamist groups as his successor?  Women have also rejected efforts to force them to wear head scarves or the veil?

          What is your proof that the mainstream opinion prefers an Islamic state to a secular state? do you have references for books or articles you can cite so i may further explore Turkey's role in modern Islam.

  •  example state faith in west: Church of England (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    The ME: Wahhabism.

    Kinda different.

    •  I think that... (0+ / 0-)

      perhaps you have read some books and perhaps some articles but do not exactly understand what you are saying when you compare the Church of England and "Wahhabism".

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:03:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The state religions we see in the west (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EvilPaula, Persiflage, Pandoras Box

        tend to be, at the most, ceremonial.  By contrast, when countries say Islam is the state religion, it seems like they mean it.

        There's your difference.

        •  Wan't always the case, though (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan, irishwitch, Pandoras Box, Noor B

          The Church of England was once quite an oppressive institution.  That's how the Puritans ended up in New England, and one very big reason why Oliver Cromwell and the Parliament rose up against King Charles' absolutism.  I don't know what that says about civil society in the Muslim world, though.

          No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

          by Gator Keyfitz on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:26:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thanks but that is not... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soccergrandmom

            a very impressive rebuttal to the question. In any event there is a difference. But what you may notice is that I am also in the article questioning the position of the state and Islam as well. I am suggesting that there is a classic form of Islam in relation to the state that has been disintegrated as a result of many factors but chiefly colonialism. I am asking Muslims to look at this on very real terms using our own terminology which carries a lot of weight. (see Innovations in Islam above)

            -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

            by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:42:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wasn't talking to you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pandoras Box

              I was addressing the specific question of whether there is something inevitable about the Church of England being largely ceremonial.  Not sure which question you thought I was trying to rebut.  No need to be condescending that I can see.  Have a good one.    

              No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

              by Gator Keyfitz on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:48:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I respect your need to view your history (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pandoras Box

              through the prism of the perspctive of your religion, but I also respect others sattempts to grasp, what is a difficult concept for Westerners to accept through the prism of their/our own history.

              I also understand that the concept of 'democracy' as practiced in most Western ntions is anathema to Islamic societies.

              My last disagreement with you is that 'colonialism' is used as the reason/excuse for the inability of Islamic nations to accept Western style democracy.  Hower, whose 'colonialism' are we specifically referring to in this context?  Many Islamic ntions and peoples have been colonised for centuries, and not only by Western imperial power grabs. The Ottoman Empire is one example.

              I am sorry this diary has scrolled off because I believe that we in the west, in order to understand exactly how imposed democracy, as practiced by Bush and the neo-cons is unacceptable to all of us, or should be anyway. Debate is essential, but not attempts to umpose one's point of view on others.

              •  That is the first time (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                soccergrandmom, Noor B

                that I have heard this put quite this way,

                "My last disagreement with you is that 'colonialism' is used as the reason/excuse for the inability of Islamic nations to accept Western style democracy."

                And I do not agree with you on that. I think that there were a lot of assumptions on the purposes and effects of colonialism but that in the end it carried with it terrible consequences for those colonized, particularly in socio-economic development of a sovereign people.

                Were colonies ever meant to pull-out entirely? Or were they established for a permanent purpose? However, colonialism is just a morel of what this article drives at.

                -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:00:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I really want to understand how you view other (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  leftynyc, Pandoras Box, ibonewits

                  examples of 'imposed religion and/or politics' other than the accepted one of European colonialism such as the French in Algeria, the Italians in Libya and Ethiopia, and the British in Egypt and pre-Saddam Iraq.  I am absolutely not a scholar of islamic hitory or religion but I am very interested in knowing how to reach a compromise between the East and the West, basically between Islam and Christianity. Because if we don't reach some kind of negotiated co-existence war will last for at least another century.

                  For example, did not Hafez Assad impose his own brand of secular Islam on this fellow countrymen in Syria by brutally putting doen militant Islamic revolts?   Does not the refusal to allow Christian Southern Sudan to practice their own religion through the imposition of Islam by the north count as a form of colonialism.  In Iran, did not militant theocracy impose Islam on Persian Iran. Saddam Hussein certainly imoposed his own brand of secular Sunni Islam on the Shia minority in Iraq, while massacring the Kuridh minority.  Multi-faith Lebanon has been engaged in varying degrees of internal civil war for decades, usually solving temporay supremacy of one sect or leader or the other by assasination, an example is Rafic Hariri (sic sp?).

                  If i were forty years younger i would certainly make the study of comparitive relgions in the light of modern politics a major subject for study.  It is extremely complex and impossible to comprehend if one insists on looking through the mirror of one's own political and religious belief systems.

                  We are always being told that islam is a tolerant and peace loving faith, many of us find it very hard to accept that in light of modern practices of slaughter of the innocents through self-imposed martryrdom and fail to understand that these tractics are not in essence power plays and not rooted in deep spiritual belief.

                  Thanks for listenoing, that is of you are till there.

            •  How did colonalism destroy Islam? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pandoras Box, bobisbob

              I am suggesting that there is a classic form of Islam in relation to the state that has been disintegrated as a result of many factors but chiefly colonialism.

              If you are arguing that the implementaion of a more secular based system of justice, introduced by European powers, destroyed Islamic based systems, you might have an argument there. However, if you are arguing that implementation of an Islamic system of justice would be better than a secular one, I doubt that and think it would be hard to prove.

              "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

              by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:23:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

                this is precisely what I am saying,

                "If you are arguing that the implementaion of a more secular based system of justice, introduced by European powers, destroyed Islamic based systems, you might have an argument there."

                As for you doubt, you may doubt many of my beliefs and of proof, I agree it will be hard to prove at this point.

                -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:59:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you blame colonialism too much. (0+ / 0-)

                  It seems to me that the tenets of faith and Islamic scholarship were not specifically targeted by 'colonizers' after the crusades. And what colonizers are being referred to?  

                  "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                  by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:55:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Who... (0+ / 0-)

                    Chiefly, I am pointing to the French and the British during WWI, Germany was nominal influence in the breakup of the Middle East and Wilson was more concerned with converting Arabs to Christianity.

                    -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                    by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:01:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And Muslims in those countries don't have (0+ / 0-)

                      any responsibility for any of the social or political problems? Again I point to this statement:

                      Territorial partitions, power struggles in Palestine and Syria, puppet rulers and secret planning concerning the future of the Middle East by everyone but Middle Easterners is all to cyclic to be addressed as a new problem.

                      Isn't that statement placing blame only on those outside the culture/religion, and saying "we wouldn't have these problems in our religion if those outsiders hadn't broke up the Ottoman Empire"?

                      "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                      by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:11:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  There is no compulsion to join (4+ / 0-)

        the Church of England may be the state religion in the UK but there is tolerance and freedom of religion for other faiths to thrive.

        In Saudi there is no freedom of religion, the state religion is all there is. What is so progressive about that?

        •  I would like people to really read (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noor B

          this article... it is not something that can be digested an commented on within minutes unless you have a basic knowledge of Islam. Please there is no rush.

          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:44:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You've written a terrific article. (5+ / 0-)

            I have a better understanding of Islam than most non-Muslims, as I've studied certain aspects of it.  So I understand your point.  I think the best hope for moderate and progressive Muslims' struggle to democratize their societies is the reclamation of bid'ah (innovation) as a legitimate political tool.  It goes to the heart of several human rights issues, like gay rights, women's status, etc.  A changing world requires flexible political structures and philosophies.

            The red herring everyone's being distracted by is the idea of Islam as a state religion, and an oppressive one.  Historically, it wasn't oppressive.  Women had more rights under Islam than in most of the Christian West up until the last 250 years.  So did practitioners of other religions, despite the jiziya (poll tax for non-Muslims).  An aside that should be telling:  the jiziya was not uniformly levied in all Muslim countries.  There were places and times when it was not institute, for example Akbar's reign in the Mughal Empire in India.  Jews were not demonized and routinely massacred during the Crusade years in the Middle East as they were in Europe, because, like Christians, they had dhimmi (protected) status, and many of them were an integral part of the economy, particularly long-distance trade -- which brought great wealth and prestige to the Muslim cities of the Levant.

            A lot of us who study Muslim societies and cultures think that much of the repression we see today originated as reaction against colonial occupations.  It was, in a way, an act of bid'ah itself.  So if Muslims can innovate more restrictive measures in self-protection, they can also innovate a far more open set of societies -- and still remain true to themselves, their cultures and their faith.

            Guys, seriously, re-read Hakim's article carefully.    What he's asking is how can Muslim-majority countries retain the essence of who and what they are while developing indigenous democracies, utilizing the tradition of bid'ah.  BTW, this is a very progressive argument, the very sort of thing that is a hot topic among Muslim political moderates and progressives -- especially Muslim feminists (there are lots of them, too).  He's giving us a front-row seat to that debate, and asking us what we think.

            "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

            by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:13:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  EXCELLENT! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Persiflage

              Noor B said,

              "A lot of us who study Muslim societies and cultures think that much of the repression we see today originated as reaction against colonial occupations.  It was, in a way, an act of bid'ah itself.  So if Muslims can innovate more restrictive measures in self-protection, they can also innovate a far more open set of societies -- and still remain true to themselves, their cultures and their faith."

              This is the premise of this article.

              -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

              by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:30:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good luck getting the most conservative (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandoras Box, ibonewits

                elements in those societies to accept that.  You're really in for the fight of your life.  Bid'ah is a very powerful tool capable of of making the most radical changes for the greater good.  And that greater good is antithetical to the interests of the uber-wealthy and powerful across the Muslim countries.  

                "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:41:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Daisy, Saudi Arabia is not the whole (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gator Keyfitz, BachFan, Pandoras Box

          of the Middle East, far less the whole of the Muslim-majority countries.  Speaking as someone who has studied Muslim society and culture outside the Middle East, there is tremendous variation.  In some places, Sufism (Muslim mystical tradition) is far more dominant than Wahhabism.

          I'll agree that SA is repressive, but I think that is more a function of the ruling family than the sect.  Any sect of Islamic practice the Sauds adopted would have been turned to the purposes of oppressive rule.

          "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

          by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:50:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay Noor B. You have said that there is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            EvilPaula

            tremendous variation in Muslim society and culture - very easily understood and accepted.

            So, to address the diarist's question, how would this translate to a "democratically" run mythological country which accepts the Quran as it's rule of law?

            How does such a country take into consideration the variations in society and culture and present a unified face to the world, the non-Muslim world which the diarist is asking to accept such a country.

            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

            by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:01:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Look below to my longer reply. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pandoras Box

              The entire question revolves around bid'ah -- innovation, and how progressives and moderates can use it to open up their political systems to reform.  They can innovate protective measures for the benefit of groups that have faced discrimination and claim that innovation as part of the Islamic tradition.

              Mind you, I'm not saying it would be easy.  They are going to have a devil of a time with the old guard, who are deeply entrenched and have access to the war chests -- money, military, materiel.  It may well become a violent struggle in some places to achieve that sort of system.

              "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

              by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:20:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whoops, make that above. Sorry. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandoras Box

                "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:21:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  the diarist also talks about (0+ / 0-)

                "permissible" bid'ah and "impermissible" bid'ah and I guess I don't understand where the lines are drawn between the permissible and the impremissible...

                Innovation would have to be permissible for such a country to set forth a modern, progressive face, would it not? and yet, the diarist himself has said that great fear drives us all.

                I guess you address that when you say the old guard would be quite resistant.

                You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:25:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Excellent... (0+ / 0-)

                  Pandoras Box, you wrote,

                  "permissible" bid'ah and "impermissible" bid'ah and I guess I don't understand where the lines are drawn between the permissible and the impremissible...

                  And the truth is neither do Muslims, while the Gate of ijtihad is closed all bid'ah which is established thereafter is impermissible. This is important. This should also show non-Muslims why things do not really work when they intercede in government of Muslim countries.

                  -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                  by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:43:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I need to know what this is... (0+ / 0-)

                    "Gate of ijtihad"

                    You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                    by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:52:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  One definition (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pandoras Box, ibonewits

                      of ijtihad, according to the scholar Embree Ainsley, is legal interpretation.  In other words, the jurists maintain the law is fixed.  There is no opening by which one can reinterpret the law.  Precedent is everything.

                      Now, understand that legal scholarship from the classical period of Islam is voluminous.  It's HUGE, so this is not as limiting as it seems at first glance.  Most scholars of Islamic jurisprudence spend their entire lives going through this stuff, and never get to all of it.  The upshot is that there's a lot of precedent that can be drawn upon for reform.  The real question is, will the most powerful stakeholders in the status quo go with the most liberal interpretations extant?  Historically, they haven't.  Herein lies the crux of the problem.

                      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                      by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:07:59 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  The Gate of Ijtihad (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pandoras Box, Noor B

                      ijtihad refers to the independent legal determination based on the Qur'an and Sunnah. This period has been closed which is why fatawa are non-binding legal edicts. The Gate of ijtihad's refers to a period when there was no more binding independent determinations on Qur'an and Sunnah which is why Sharia seems so outdated to the West, in layman's terms.

                      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:09:07 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

                        When was the Gate closed?

                        You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                        by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:12:23 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Ow. Now you need a fiqh specialist. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Pandoras Box

                          I'll be generous and say the 12th century.  That's probably much too late.

                          (fiqh -- jurisprudence)

                          "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                          by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:15:49 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Noor Its Hard to say... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pandoras Box, Noor B

                            its different for different regions and empires. As a side note, I think that one of the main agents to the present day organization of Islam as a state funded entity began when the Ottomans hired and funded the Hanafi school as its principle ideological base.

                            -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                            by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:21:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've never quite understood (0+ / 0-)

                            the rationale for the regionalization of the four branches of Shari'a.  I just know that it is.  What I see you saying is that some branches became more rigid as they were adopted by various empires as the official version of the law.  Am I reading you correctly?

                            "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                            by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:45:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes but by default... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Noor B

                            If for example the Ottoman Empire assumed the Hanafi school as a state funded resource. What does that mean for the semi-autonomous jurist culture which existed with the Law Guilds originally.

                            This also breaks up the social influence and authoritative powers that the jurists as a collective had established being privately funded entities. Its not so much that they became rigid by choice but the school would begin to crystallize as a function of government as opposed to its original function which was more like a university (however a university with the highest authority on law).

                            -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                            by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:08:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So overt political patronage was the basis (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pandoras Box

                            for the legists' cooption.  Hmmm... sounds a bit like the run-up to our US Attorneys scandal.  Except there it began centuries ago.

                            "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                            by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:43:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Noor B

                            this was the nail in the coffin, so to speak. But I am in support of the reform or redress of the Islamic legal system, obviously. I think that some knowledge of this in the implementation of new erected governments would go a long way. I think if the West showed some acceptance to this kind of reform there would be satisfaction on both the sides of Muslims as well as those who support democratically elected government in the ME.

                            But I have not been to the ME as a college graduate and much of this discussion may or may not be possible, wa allahu a'alam and God knows best.

                            -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                            by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:49:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  thank you again (0+ / 0-)

                            is it any wonder then, that it "seems so outdated" to the west today?

                            how can a modern Muslim society take its context from laws were interpreted so long ago?

                            (and, I want you to know, I would ask the same of any Christian scholar who wished to impose a Christian theocracy on any country - something I am dead-set against)

                            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                            by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:23:52 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think most secular legal traditions have (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pandoras Box

                            their basis in the ethical considerations of the religions current when and where they were developed, but that shouldn't mean that further nonsectarian refinements are uncalled for.  Quite the opposite.

                            "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                            by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:48:52 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  That is a difficult question to answer... (0+ / 0-)

                          at the same time of the Crusades approx 10th century. To my knowledge according to Imam Al-Ghazali but this is debatable.

                          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:34:16 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Perhaps... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pandoras Box

                        Islam needs to crash the gates, too.  Reopen them...

                        "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

                        by ogre on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:22:51 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, that gets into a level of parsing Shari'a (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pandoras Box

                  that I'm not competent to discuss.  I do know that many conservatives have resisted progressive and modernizing moves and successfully defeated them by screaming that this is unacceptable level of bid'ah.

                  The basis for Islamic jurisprudence rests on Shari'a and the Quran, but it also considers the Hadith, the Traditions of the Prophet.  These are collected sayings of Mohammad's and his Companions' remembrances of the things he did or events he commented upon.  And progressives and feminists in particular challenge the mainstream interpretations of some of the Hadith.  For example, hijab. There is a very good book by the Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi about hijab, the institution of the veil, that points out, among other things, how unreliable some of the accepted Hadith are, historically speaking.  The Hadith are, after all, collected oral histories.  The gold standard for historians is the convergence and consensus of witnesses about a particular event.  Multiple witnesses saying the same thing have greater reliability that one witness.  Mernissi's biggest complaint is that the remembrances of individual male companions who weren't around the Prophet constantly were valorized above those of his wives as a collectivity, who were.  The Hadith that focused on issues surrounding women and the veil are the ones she finds the most probelmatic.

                  Does that help at all?  

                  "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                  by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:55:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Actually... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandoras Box, Noor B

                "I'm not saying it would be easy."

                It would be very difficult especially with so many hands in the pot now.

                -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:32:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  It is true that there is more variation than SA (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pandoras Box

            but since SA is charged with being the 'keeper of the holy cities', it is apparently not doing anything outside of what most Muslims would consider within the realm of the Koran or religous authority. Since SA is rumored to be one of the primary funders of Islamic education outside the ME, how can it be ignored?  

            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

            by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:49:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes its true... (0+ / 0-)

              "Since SA is rumored to be one of the primary funders of Islamic education outside the ME, how can it be ignored? "

              It can't be ignored. But there are new developments in Islamic Education all of the time and all we can do is sit and wait or participate in furthering these new developments or in my case a return to the old. Noor B calls me Progressive but that is not actually true, these are traditionalist framings which I consider myself.

              -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

              by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:15:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Muslims can participate, but non-Muslims (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandoras Box

                have no standing in Islamic education to further new developments, correct?
                And your participation is in the direction of advocating for Islamic governing of the population of a country, correct?
                So what do you want from the Dkos community? That we understand the advocation for theocracy among Muslims?

                "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:48:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It's ironic that founders of new religions... (0+ / 0-)

                ...or new interpretations/sects of religions, almost always claim to be restoring original beliefs and practices.

                First, oversight; second, investigations; third, impeachments; fourth, war crimes trials!

                by ibonewits on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:54:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, but what you're arguing for (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandoras Box

                are progressive political changes within the traditional framework that will benefit everyone in your society.    

                "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:53:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  absolutely... (0+ / 0-)

                  Noor B, I always get confused by these terms because they mean different things in different circles... Progressive Muslim in Islamic circles means something very different which is beyond the scope of this article.

                  -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                  by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:39:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's the problem with language. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pandoras Box

                    There are concepts and idiomatic phrases in every language that just do not translate.  I think catching the nuances is a matter of cultural fluency, and it's not easy.

                    By your measure, I am a traditionalist -- I want my country's Constitution restored, habeas corpus reinstated as the bedrock of all our civil rights and the consent of the governed respected again.  Some of this goes all the way back to medieval and early modern England, where most of the original colonists came from.  But that doesn't mean I want to go back to the 18th century in this country; for one thing, I wouldn't have the right to vote!  Yet the goals I champion are incredibly progressive:  the equality of all under the law, the accountability of our public servants, the notion that there is a social contract that the corporations and the government shall not abrogate.  Just as you wouldn't dream of dumping the Islamic ideals of cultural continuity and shared community in the process of achieving a more just society, I would never want to see the Constitution shredded to end the unjust Iraq war (in fact, our Constitution provides very good means by which to end it).  Doing so is counter-productive, and it betrays who we are as a people to do such things.  Granted, this makes our tasks that much harder, but there it is -- neither of us wants to see our cultures lose their respective souls.  For Muslims in the Middle East and beyond, it's the Quran.  For Americans, it's the Constitution (and if we throw in the Brits, Canadians, New Zealanders and Aussies, it's habeas corpus and Magna Carta).  They are the documentary cornerstones of our societies and cultures, and we can no more deny them than we can our own mothers.  

                    What was that saying?  "To thine own self be true."

                    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                    by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 03:06:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Not now. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandoras Box

          But only several lifetimes back.

          Heck, it wasn't THAT long ago that Britain finally gave up the requirement that one be a member in order to serve as Prime Minister.

          "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

          by ogre on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:20:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Please do not think that Wahhabism is the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      same animal as the Anglican Church.  I seriously doubt Wahhabism is embraced by the vast majority of Muslims.  As a professor of mine once said, Islam is not a monolith.  There's quite a lot of diverging opinion within the religion.

      Oh, and BTW, I am NOT a Muslim.

      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

      by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:44:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the history of the CoE (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      as an oppressive church is beyond your historical fathom, try the Russian Orthodox Church, within the last 100 years.

      "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

      by ogre on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:19:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two things (4+ / 0-)

    First, this was a great diary - it'll take me awhile to read and digest it all, but I'm looking forward to it.

    Next:

    For example, the jurists argued that the rights of human beings (huquq al-adamiyyin) are retained exclusively by human beings, and that rulers have no power of dispensation over such rights.

    I would think this means that, rather than power being concentrated in the state, it's concentrated in the hands of the jurists.  

    As far as rights go: because Islam is a religion of eudaimonia, wherein a person only becomes a full person through Islam, freedom, properly understood, is only available through Islam.  The upshot of this seems to be an inherent hostility to liberal conceptions of rights.

    •  Thank you... and good question... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noor B

      You wrote,

      "I would think this means that, rather than power being concentrated in the state, it's concentrated in the hands of the jurists.  "

      Not necessarily so, because the jurists have a power but it is a mediating power as described by Khaled Abou El Fadl when he writes,

      "'Throughout the classical period Muslim jurists played a rather dynamic negotiative role in society. The often acted as a medium between the various social structures and political structures. The were at times allied to the interests and concerns of one to the other. Which is why Abou El Fadl describes classic juristic culture in traditional Islam was "semi-autonomous"'."

      The Law guilds were privately funded institutions - funded usually by philanthropists, professionals, and wealthy individuals many of which were women - therefore they could not compete with the state in terms of financial resources but they did have a power in that they had the support of the people as the authority on Legal matters.

      "As far as rights go: because Islam is a religion of eudaimonia, wherein a person only becomes a full person through Islam, freedom, properly understood, is only available through Islam."

      This is incorrect, please show us the sources that support this ideology.

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:18:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do people live together? (5+ / 0-)

    We don't all agree on how one should lead one's life. As someone who leans libertarian, I have to say that I find a concerningly large number of people feel that they should tell their neighbors how they should eat, what they should wear, etc.  The normal response to this is: "what gives you the right to run my life".  We debate the common good and come to some level of compromise.

    But when religion comes into the picture, the answer to the question becomes "God".  God becomes the club that people use to pound each other into behaving in the manner they wish.  If one sincerely believes that they are following God's will, then how can one compromise?  And so people kill doctors who provide abortions -- it's God's will.

    You really get into trouble when you have two groups of people who believe that God has told them different things.  Can they both be right?  Once they start to impose their beliefs then inevitably they will clash --- and since they are obeying God's will, the clash will be uncompromising.  Usually in this case God apparently wishes a lot of people be killed since that's what happens.

    We have fought these battles over the years as differing concepts of "God's Will" have emerged and tried to avoid the obvious answer: Kill or convert everyone who disagrees with me.  The compromise we have come to is that people are free to follow God's will as they choose, but not impose it on each other.  This of course is still a problem -- it's GOD's will after all, and thus we have in the U.S. a continual battle to what extent this will is going to control our laws -- and we are explicitly a secular society.

    So what's wrong with a Muslim country deciding that they want to live under "God's Will" and enforcing that will with the power of the state via Law?  Well, of course, not everyone in the country will have the same concept of what God asks of them and you get back to the basic convert or kill issue.  Not every person in a Muslim state is a Muslim.  Not every Muslim has the same concept of God's will.

    •  This is a good argument... (0+ / 0-)

      when you say,

      "You really get into trouble when you have two groups of people who believe that God has told them different things."

      It is quite a reasonable position you raise. But you have conceded in your statement that this only occurs with "God", on the contrary the same is true for any willful position infused with power to accomplish the desired results. Two entities with power to accomplish their desired results will always come to a point where they can either agree, compromise or blow each other up, obviously the first two are optimal.

      But there are those who see the loss of any of that power a failure and not an accomplishment at all and therefore prefer to blow people up. This is the shame that we face today and no side of the fence is innocent of this.

      Everything was fine until you went and said,

      "Well, of course, not everyone in the country will have the same concept of what God asks of them and you get back to the basic convert or kill issue."

      Why do you folks keep doing this... this is not an intellectual approach to this discussion which I expect from DK. Lets keep it to reasonable discussions on the facts and not aberrations. You don't see me going and putting quotes from these people do you?

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:27:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  please don't do the "you folks" thing (4+ / 0-)

        you are separating yourself from "us" while also asking us to join you in discussion - it is disingenuous at best

        william shipley did not say that "convert or kill" was exclusively a Muslim thing - Christianity has a horribly bloody history and he is not denying that...nor am I

        You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

        by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:31:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great comment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandoras Box

          n/t

          "If they had given Falwell an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox" -- Christopher Hitchins

          by Persiflage on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:38:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Bad form... (0+ / 0-)

          perhaps, yes. However, keep in mind that my reference to "you folks" was more or less identifying you as a reader and I am the writer. So in those terms yes there is some separation and we are not joined but in terms of the discussion. I guess I can rescind that position.

          "william shipley did not say that "convert or kill" was exclusively a Muslim thing - Christianity has a horribly bloody history and he is not denying that...nor am I"

          OK then, now that you have squared that away - and I thank you for clarifying - I will suggest again as I did in another comment that,

          It is quite a reasonable position you raise. But you have conceded in your statement that this only occurs with "God", on the contrary the same is true for any willful position infused with power to accomplish the desired results. Two entities with power to accomplish their desired results will always come to a point where they can either agree, compromise or blow each other up, obviously the first two are optimal.

          But there are those who see the loss of any of that power a failure and not an accomplishment at all and therefore prefer to blow people up. This is the shame that we face today and no side of the fence is innocent of this.

          The bloodiest wars of my lifetime and I'm sure your lifetime and perhaps our Grand's lifetimes were secular Wars. People are afraid of the past repeating itself while the present is putting people in graves.

          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:51:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not completely certain that this is true... (0+ / 0-)

            The bloodiest wars of my lifetime and I'm sure your lifetime and perhaps our Grand's lifetimes were secular Wars

            I don't think it can be denied that there were religious aspects of WWII, but while I agree that

            People are afraid of the past repeating itself

            I don't know how this addresses your primary question.

            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

            by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:09:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Honestly (0+ / 0-)

              I don't know how this addresses your primary question.

              By the primary question do you mean,

              "How do people live together?"

              I don't really know how to answer this question right now, wa allahu a'alam (and God knows best). I respect it... it is sincere and I cannot find an answer that matches my intentions with respect to the seriousness of it all.

              -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

              by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:27:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I consider this... (0+ / 0-)

                And this can only be possible if the non-Muslim world can accept a sovereign Muslim government as a successful and productive member of this global community. But is this possible?

                to be your primary question.

                You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:34:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That is not (0+ / 0-)

                  a question you should ask me, I am asking you... so what is your answer?

                  -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                  by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:47:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  and my question back to you (0+ / 0-)

                    (as stated in comments above, but which to this point you have NOT answered) before I can go on to answer yours is...

                    But what does that mean for outsiders? (1+ / 0-)
                    People who do not live in such a country, but are "looking in?"

                    How would a Muslim country which elects the Quran as it's principle means of legislation treat its citizens, how would it choose to co-exist with its neighbors?
                    It seems to me that the answers to those questions would guide acceptance or nonacceptance of such a country by any nonMuslim country.

                    You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                    by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:03:35 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Uh... (0+ / 0-)

                      I dont think that is my quote. But to answer your question I do think this is possible or I would not be writing this kind of article. I will tell you this although you are looking at it - the article - from one perspective, have you ever considered how Muslims are understanding it and if they approve or agree?

                      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:15:32 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  First of all, (0+ / 0-)

                        No, it is NOT your quote. As i SAID, it is MY quote, from a comment I made before that you did not answer

                        Second of all, you did not answer my questions: How would a Muslim country which elects the Quran as it's principle means of legislation treat its citizens, how would it choose to co-exist with its neighbors?

                        Can you answer those questions?  That's the information I need to even begin considering if a nonMuslim country could accept a Muslim one.

                        As to this:

                        have you ever considered how Muslims are understanding it and if they approve or agree?

                        How could I possibly know? - I am not a Muslim.

                        You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                        by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:39:25 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Thats a big question (0+ / 0-)

                          How would a Muslim country which elects the Quran as it's principle means of legislation treat its citizens, how would it choose to co-exist with its neighbors?

                          That is a loaded question and there is no way for me to answer that question except by saying that I guess that all depends on the relationship that it has with its neighbors, which is a condition that exists for sovereign nations despite religious or secular affiliations.

                          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:23:08 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  what about the first part of the question (0+ / 0-)

                            how would a Muslim country treat its own citizens?

                            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                            by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:28:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think what goes without saying... (0+ / 0-)

                            is that you measure a country by how it treats lower classes. If the lower classes are treated with respect, fairly and with justice its safe to say that the upper classes are fine. Except if you are a Communist.

                            -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                            by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:51:32 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Lower classes? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            leftynyc

                            what do you mean by THAT?  Is this an economic judgement?

                            What about the treatment of women (who may or may not be wealthy)?

                            What about the treatment of gays (who may or may not be wealthy)?

                            What about the treatment of non-Muslims (who may or may not be wealthy)?

                            I'm not specifically talking about a country's treatment only of its poor.

                            Or, do you consider the population segments listed  above its "lower classes?"

                            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                            by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:59:00 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  I can. Not a problem (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pandoras Box

                    provided it fulfills its progressive promise.  Mohammad was a visionary, and radically progressive for his culture and time.  I think he'd weep bitterly over what has come to be over the last two centuries.  

                    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                    by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:13:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Not aberrations (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EvilPaula, BachFan, Pandoras Box, Noor B

        As Pandoras Box commented Christians have been particularly good at torturing maiming and killing each other in debates over variants of God's Will.  To a degree, our concern with Muslim states is not that they are inherently different than what Christians have done but Oh, no, here we go again!  This is not hyperbole -- a lot of people have died this way.

        And clearly strong willed people can and have killed and oppressed each other over arguments without bringing God into the debate.  For example, we've incarcerated an astonishing portion of our population in the attempt to force them not to use drugs for their own pleasure -- and many people here on KOS will support that position.

        However, once you bring God into the debate, everyone's positions harden significantly.  It's one thing to push for what I believe is right, pushing for what God believes is right is a whole lot more compelling.

        •  I Agree For the Most Part... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noor B

          But when you say,

          "It's one thing to push for what I believe is right, pushing for what God believes is right is a whole lot more compelling."

          I agree. What is wrong with that? For example recently I read an article by a young law student where she states that in Syria people smoke as a sign of modernity. As-A-sign-of-modernity! Which shows how powerful beliefs are in general. Now this belief is clearly a harmful belief but I am a Muslim and I believe that the Qur'an is a Guidance us so that we may develop Compassion and Mercy for others. I think it also is a warning against wrongdoing.

          These are my beliefs. My point is all we are discussing here is the fact that people in the West are afraid of what they do not understand, while at the same time playing down their own beliefs as if they are weaker but I will say that in many cases the fear of the West will trump the devotion of Muslims when measuring what "compels" one to do this or that.  Fear, that is really the bottom line here.

          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:14:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Playing down our beliefs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pandoras Box

            Is the essence of my argument.  If we deal with one another playing up our beliefs we will wind up with irreconceilable difference -- until we only have one belief.  This is, of course, the goal of a number of religious groups.  Of course they don't agree on the belief.

            In thinking about this, we have a commonly held tenet that God wishes people to decide of their free will.  This, if followed, gives us the ability to remain inactive in the face of people acting in a manner opposed to what we feel is the will of God because we feel that it's Gods will that they find salvation in their own stead.  I'm not sure how this fits in with Islam.

            Now, I'm an agnostic, so I'm just talking philosophy.  I think, though, that humans being limited and mortal tred on thin philosophical ice when they assume that they do, in fact, know the will of God sufficiently well to act in the face of His inaction.

            •  Wait... (0+ / 0-)

              In thinking about this, we have a commonly held tenet that God wishes people to decide of their free will.

              Who are "we"?

              "This, if followed, gives us the ability to remain inactive in the face of people acting in a manner opposed to what we feel is the will of God because we feel that it's Gods will that they find salvation in their own stead."

              That is definitely philosophy. And I can go to the Qur'an and point out what makes Muslims more civil, compassionate and free than a non-Muslim but that wouldn't account for whats-his-name over there in Glasgow now would it. Likewise those secular philosophies do not account for neo-conservative banter against Islam or racist views that remain enmeshed in the fabric of this society.

              -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

              by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:34:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry 'we' meant westerners (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandoras Box, bobisbob

                I should have been clearer.  I believe it to be why Christians can, for the most part, live with a secular basis for their government.  You might note that this is a matter of serious contention in America at the moment.

                I have been addressing myself to the problem of how, in a multicultural society, one lives with the fact that other people may not view their relationship to God in the same way you do -- or may, in fact, not accept a relationship to God at all.

                Now, you can decide that God has told you that all must be converted, and act on that, but that's going to make it pretty hard for us to get along.

                •  But... (0+ / 0-)

                  Does this include me? I'm a Westerner.

                  I believe it to be why Christians can, for the most part, live with a secular basis for their government.

                  Yes but William, do you know what kind of social upheaval the West went through to get to that point. The bloodshed, madness and mayhem that went on in order to further religious reform in Christianity. Its not worth it brother, really its not.

                  "Now, you can decide that God has told you that all must be converted, and act on that, but that's going to make it pretty hard for us to get along."

                  Islam doesn't work like that. God can't tell us anything we are not Prophets and we believe Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was the last Prophet within a succession of Prophets begining with Adam (a.s.), leading to Jesus (a.s.) and concluding with Muhammad (a.s.). And this is why Islamic Law is important, it is the Word of God in our belief and has a real textual basis for governing egalitarian society. This is why this is an important issue.

                  -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                  by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:11:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Western countries vs Islamic ones (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pandoras Box

                    Has been the subject of much of your discussions.  Clearly since you live here, you are in the West.  I might point out that had some of our earlier, religious based, laws been in place you would be in real trouble as an unbeliever.  As would I, so I'm glad those are the old days.  In the current days, as an unbeliever I am, under the legal codes you advocate less of a man than you are -- which is a bit troubling.

                    Indeed, I understand the long history of wars, killings, torture etc. that Christianity has gone through before we decide to live and let live.  And, frankly, the battle lies just below the surface when someone starts pointing to the parts of the Bible that say suffer not a witch to live and start wanting to kill our pagan friends.  Some devout Christians aren't too kind to Jews, and there was significant discomfort about having a Catholic president in JFK.

                    I think it is a logical necessity that either people decide to tolerate differences from God's will or kill or convert everyone else.  And when I say that I most clearly am not specifically talking about Islam.

                    As to God not telling you something, if you believe that a book is the Word of God then it is essentially the same thing -- in this case the telling is you interpreting what the words mean.

              •  How are Muslims more... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leftynyc, Pandoras Box

                civil, compassionate and free than a non-Muslim

                ?????

                This is something I would like to know, as I feel that I am a very compassionate, civil and definitely free. The last part is because I live in America, and has to do with political philosophy, not religious.

                "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:01:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  fantasy muslim (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Boisepoet

                  is what it sounds like to me.

                •  This is why I must keep writing... (0+ / 0-)

                  I see that many of you have never really talked to a Muslim about his religion and furthermore have not discussed deeper Islamic points with a scholar and student as in my case of Islam.

                  -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                  by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:14:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Quite the assumption. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pandoras Box

                    Have had many discussions with many different Muslims from across the globe.

                    Your inability to articulate 'how' appears problematic to me. Please articulate.

                    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                    by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:24:29 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  How in reference to what? -n/t (0+ / 0-)

                      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:43:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Per post above: (0+ / 0-)

                        How are Muslims more...
                        civil, compassionate and free than a non-Muslim
                        ?????

                        This is something I would like to know, as I feel that I am a very compassionate, civil and definitely free. The last part is because I live in America, and has to do with political philosophy, not religious.

                        "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                        by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:46:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  If you meant... (0+ / 0-)

                      How are Muslims more civil... I said that in response to William Shippley saying,

                      "And I can go to the Qur'an and point out what makes Muslims more civil, compassionate and free than a non-Muslim but that wouldn't account for whats-his-name over there in Glasgow now would it."

                      And you are asking me how? How what? How can I go to the Qur'an? Or How does the Qur'an say this? Either way this is way off topic and not of real importance out of the context of Williams comment.

                      Have had many discussions with many different Muslims from across the globe.

                      OK so you must have a bit more knowledge of the content of this article than most. So did you understand the points on bid'ah and ijtihad they were very important for certain readers? By the way you should try writing for two very different audiences sometimes... its not easy.

                      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:49:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  What does the Qur'an say that makes Muslims (0+ / 0-)

                        "civil, compassionate and free than a non-Muslim". I would like to know that, if you want to educate us, please do so. Otherwise it looks like you are avoiding answering.

                        "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                        by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:52:42 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I think he accidently (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          leftynyc, Pandoras Box, Boisepoet

                          said something modestly supremacist and isn't excited about telling us why we are all inferior.

                          •  Thinking that is the case since he (0+ / 0-)

                            he won't reply. Maybe he just had to go...

                            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                            by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 02:23:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  maybe (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Boisepoet, bobisbob

                            but he has yet (that i have seen) chosen to answer my repeated questions about how such a Muslim society would treat women, gays, and non-Muslims. - Cannot get a response...

                            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                            by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 02:38:11 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In other posts it is always a dodge too (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pandoras Box, bobisbob

                            Worked closely with a guy from Jordan, really liked him personally and enjoyed spending time with him when we traveled, etc. However, it amazed me some of the attitudes and ideas he had that he claims came from his understanding and teachings of Islam. This guy was no fanatic by any means, but he related to me that 'his religion' taught him that a government ran under Islamic law was the most perfect form of government, and one that he would like to see implemented everywhere.  

                            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                            by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 03:29:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            leftynyc, Pandoras Box

                            he is very slippery about a lot of his positions.  I dont think he is in anyway liberal when it comes to say gay marriage or gay adoption, or women's rights.  he just wants us all to know that islam is awesome and that muslims are going to implement sharia law anyway.

                            which is hogwash as far as I'm concerned.

                          •  I was not (0+ / 0-)

                            avoiding you Pandora... its a good question that deserves a complete or a nearly complete answer. I would like to find text to support my followup of this question and perhaps I will post it as a diary entry. Is that sufficient. In the meantime look into Al-Andalus. Al-Andalus was the souther portion of the Iberian Peninsula which was an egalitarian society under Islamic rule and it was a plural society and thrived. In fact it was a period when Jewish art and science was at its peak. There are periods in history where Islam ruled non-Muslims and the non-Muslims thrived. Which is a tell-tale sign of whether or not a government is good or bad, look at how the ruled classes are treated.

                            -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                            by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:37:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  of course the tolerant islamic spain (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            leftynyc, Pandoras Box

                            was conquered by....wait for it.....the muslims.  because they were heretics.  

                            Muslim Spain, nominally subject to the rulers (caliphs) in Damascus and Baghdad, eventually broke free from any foreign subservience. Around the years 930-1000, Cordoba excelled as the most cultured city in Europe under a stable and prosperous rule, especially during the reign of Abd-al Rahman III (proclaimed Caliph in Cordoba in 929). This enlightened ruler built a sumptuous palace, Medina Azahara, named for his favorite wife Azahara. Its magnificence in ivory, jade, ebony and alabaster rivaled or exceeded that of the Taj Mahal and yet it was totally destroyed and sacked not by the “barbarian Christians” attacking from the North but by the fanatical Muslim Berber invaders in 1010. They left hardly a stone standing.

                            During a few months in 1009, five different rulers succeeded each other and lost control of much of the provincial territories. A rebellion against loyalty to the Omayyid dynasty led to civil war and the descent of Muslim Spain into chaos. Within a generation, approximately 40 independent Muslim mini-kingdoms or emirates called taifas proclaimed their independence and enabled the Christian kingdoms to organize and make major advances in the reconquest of the peninsula.

                            The Native Jewish population of Spain (many and perhaps most Sephardi Jews were native born converts rather than migrants), always a barometer of tolerance, quite clearly preferred the Christian North to the Muslim South from the beginning of the 11th century. Severe anti-Jewish disturbances began first in Granada and the Muslim South under the Almoravids and Almohades. The great palaces, artistic achievements and part of the sophisticated irrigation works of the Omayyids and Abbasids were largely destroyed by the new invaders. By the time of the final conquest of Granada - the last remaining Muslim kingdom in 1492, almost no Jews resided there whereas more than 225 Spanish towns had their distinctive Jewish quarters (juderías) still intact on the eve of the expulsion.

                            but nice to see that atleast a nominally muslim ruler had something approaching tolerance for a certain subset of non-islamic beliefs during a short period of time in one geographic part of the world.

                            that certainly is an accomplishment.

                          •  bobisbod... check you facts... (0+ / 0-)

                            was conquered by....wait for it.....the muslims.  because they were heretics.

                            The Muslims were defeated by the Reconquista and Ferdinand. What are you talking about? There were internal struggles but that did not lead to the actual removal of Muslim rulers. It was the Reconquista that fought the Muslims there.

                          •  yes obviously if u read my title (0+ / 0-)

                            and my first sentence it is all spelled out.  the tolerant islamic rulers were kicked out by the true muslims.  I seriously doubt u read any of my post.

                          •  well, if you wanted me to think you weren't (0+ / 0-)

                            avoiding the question, you could have replied earlier then.  And your response is not an answer to my inquiries. But i will be patient and watch for your next diary in the hopes that you will address my specific questions

                            Hakim, I would ask that please keep in mind the community you are addressing. We are quite diverse - and many members of dailykos are gay, are women, and most assuredly are nonMuslim. So, these questions go to the very heart of what so many of us consider a just society. Not that we have achieved it perfectly yet here, but that's why we are HERE, as I said before, raising our voices.

                            You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                            by Pandoras Box on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 10:07:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Why? Two things. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pandoras Box

        First, I think there is a real polarization in the West between agnostics, atheists, and deists on one side and people of faith - any faith -- on the the other.  I'll be honest with you, Hakim, it makes little sense to me either.  It's not sensible.

        Second, a lot of us who don't think that way see ourselves surrounded by people who do.  I'm not saying william shipley does -- not at all, I think he's as horrified about that as you or I.  But what he is doing is acknowledging that, like it or not, communalists are everywhere and they're not interested in dialogue.  That makes our lives, and particularly your task, much more difficult.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

        by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:33:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's not just Islam (9+ / 0-)

    as a state religion--it's any religion being forced upon the unwilling. I'd have as much of a problem, with any religion as I do with Islam.  Religion should never be forced down the throats of unbelievers, nor should they be forced to live by the law of a religion they don't accept, nor should other faiths be banned and their adherents punished because they aren't the official religion of the nation.

    Why?

    because we have seen the way an attempt to establish an official church has led to nothing but violence.  It is the reason why the Founding Fathers banned an established religion, and many court decisions have upheld this principle.

    Religion is private and personal and hsould never be forced on people.

    And I HAVE read the Q'oran, and quite a few books on Islam. I see no reason why I, a Wiccan, should have to don an abayeh because YOUR religion requires it.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:57:20 AM PDT

    •  Any religion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      or no religion.  China's prison population speaks to that.

      It's official, James Inhofe is a dumbass.

      by CJB on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:01:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Amen sister ;-) ...n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box
    •  As I recall... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftynyc, irishwitch, Pandoras Box

      The dress code commonly considered "Islamic" is not defined in the Quran.  It's a cultural thing, derived from the various cultures within the Islamic world now.  Which is why there's such a range.

      Not that I disagree with your point.  

      I reject the imposition of any religion's code on society, per se.  I recognize that everyone who subscribes to a faith, or a philosophy, will bring their views, colored (more or less) by their beliefs.  But in society as a whole, we need to legislate based on what is the common good, as understood by people of differing beliefs, and allowing for us all to have the utmost freedom to hold to different views and understandings.

      "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

      by ogre on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:09:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually it IS defined (0+ / 0-)

        Loose clothing which hides the lines of the body, plus a head covering, for BOTH sexes. The abayeh and chador came about much alter--and the face veil was borrowed from Persian (Zoroastrian) and Byzantine (Christian) women. The overclothign is cultural.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:39:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fatima Mernissi would agree with you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, Pandoras Box

      And she's a Moroccan Muslim.  She doesn't see why women have to wear it period, even Muslim women.

      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

      by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:09:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pandoras Box

        The Q'oran only requires modest loose dress for both sexes, and a head covering.  Women are supposed to wear a head veil that they can draw across to cover their jewelry. The face veil originated in Persia and in Byzantium, neither of which were Muslim. The only women required to wear it were the Prophet's wives.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:38:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My Impressions of Islam (0+ / 0-)

    Impressions:

    1. Most people living in "Muslim countries" would declare themselves to be non-Muslim if there all social, cultural, and political coercion was removed (the same being true of so-called "Christian countries" as well).
    1. It is impossible to have a rational philosophical discussion with a Muslim because they believe: A) The Koran is "perfect" and any interpretation of it by a non-Muslim is null and void -- and indeed might need to be punished by death or banishment from society.  B) The spread of Islam and ones next life are more valuable than happiness in this life. C) Humans are NOT free to use the laboratory of their own lives to determine for themselves the relative superiority and inferiority of religios thought and practice. (A to some degree applies as well to some Christians attitude towards the Bible, and B and C definitely apply to "true" Christians as well.)
    1. Someday (200 to 500 years) due to resource scarcity and weariness with war, there will only remain ony small enclaves of what one would call "Muslim" territories and that the majority of lands today called "Muslim Countires" will adopt a form of government based upon the concept of a secular humanistic authority defending equal rights for all people, religious AND non-religious alike.

    Republican't Leadership is a dangerous combination of cut-backs and incompetence.

    by casamurphy on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:23:49 AM PDT

  •  Well, Hakim Abdullah (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    soccergrandmom

    I think you can see that you certainly have posted a most challenging diary, both for those who understand and practice Islam, and those who do not.  Thank you for the information and the discussion.

    You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

    by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:27:32 AM PDT

  •  What I would like to see in your diaries (3+ / 0-)

    is less 'theoretical' Islam and more how do we deal with today's problems regarding Islamic nations. What appears to be said here is that Islam is a 'progressive' religion, but in looking at the nations that are majority Muslim, there is almost no evidence to support that.

    Arguing for a theocracy and religous law, no matter the religion, is in my opinion, not a progressive idea at all. Looking for ways to reconcile an individuals' religion with the secular world, while accepting the rights of GLBT's and calling for equality before the law for women, now that would be progressive.

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

    by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:40:42 AM PDT

    •  OK (0+ / 0-)

      I accept that request. But I am not arguing for a theocracy. You are making a very big assumption by using that word. A theocracy is when a religious authority such as the Pope or the Ayatollah rules a country. That is not what I am fighting for here. I am fighting for acceptance of Islamic Law by the West and I am fighting for Muslims particularly Muslim scholars to allow for a broader and fairer basis of legal rulings as opposed to the narrow chain of rulings that exist. And lastly I am condemning state funded Islam and supporting the implementation of traditional and independent Islamic Law guilds as the chief interpreters of the law.

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:45:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let me clarify before people go crazy... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Persiflage, Noor B

        "I am fighting for acceptance of Islamic Law by the West"

        I mean acceptance as a legitimate basis for legislation, not that the West should adopt Islamic Law. I think the west is fine as it is... however the Middle East is not.

        -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

        by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:54:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When a person starts with one book that is the (0+ / 0-)

          word of God, how can it allow for broader interpretations? And isn't that part of the problem between any two religious factions is the interpretation of the word of God? Why does the Islamic world have to ruled under the rules of Islam? Why can't it move in the direction of a secular government?

          "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

          by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:05:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  THIS MAKES SENSE (0+ / 0-)

        now we're getting somewhere.

        Gotta go...pls see my comment way below.

        "If they had given Falwell an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox" -- Christopher Hitchins

        by Persiflage on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:24:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is concerning: Everyone blamed but Muslims (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    Territorial partitions, power struggles in Palestine and Syria, puppet rulers and secret planning concerning the future of the Middle East by everyone but Middle Easterners is all to cyclic to be addressed as a new problem. The fact is that many of todays problems for Muslims have been a developing item that finds its origins in the Crusades.

    And the only solution is

    by removing secular legal processes which are a type of bid'ah and impermissible -

    So what you are arguing is that Islam is the only way that Muslims can effect rule of law and solve all their problems.

    How is this progressive?  

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

    by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:54:18 AM PDT

    •  Who Said I Was Progressive... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Persiflage

      I believe that progress is sometimes found in redress.

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:46:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So then why post at DKos? (0+ / 0-)

        You are advocating what Republicans advocate; policy based on religous principles. That is the antithesis to nearly everything most people on this site believe in.

        "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

        by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:59:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, but we live in America (0+ / 0-)

          and Mr. Abdullah is talking about things not within our realm of current understanding.  We have to listen and talk and discuss and he has given us that chance.  This dialog should continue.  

          "If they had given Falwell an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox" -- Christopher Hitchins

          by Persiflage on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:06:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, but would you want to hear this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Persiflage, bobisbob

            if it came from a disciple of Falwell? Imagine someone here posting that the way out of the mess America is in is to re-examine the Christian Bible, because surely we have lost our way from the original intent of Jesus.

            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

            by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:14:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I think perhaps there are confusion of terms here (0+ / 0-)

          I am a traditional Muslim. These views are that of a traditional Muslim. US political epithets are not efficient crossover terms so I would try not to apply political terms to a religious view... if you do it gets weird. I stand on a very liberal platform within my religion, similar to ibn Rushd, you may know him as Averroes but that is the extent of similarities, he was a genius I am a regular Muslim.

          "You are advocating what Republicans advocate; policy based on religous principles."

          Do you think that Progressive Muslims are advocating secularism? I am merely having a discussion with my fellow Americans 1) People as well as I do get something out of these discussions 2) I'm speaking on the future of Muslim people - which should now be a concern for every American - whereas 50 years ago it was not. 3) DKoz is a much smarter group than most... and I appreciate that.

          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:35:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I can't stay any longer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, Noor B

    and had to interrupt my participation earlier with some needed-doing chores.

    1.  I hope you will return and talk about this more.
    1.  I can't find where I copied this some months ago, but I was doing some research and found ir and saved it.  This helped me understand how Islamic law might be interpreted...and I think adds to your point about redress rather than progress:

    Hanifites, one of the four Islamic schools of jurisprudence. The other three schools are the Malikites, the Hanbilites (the strictest and the most fundamentalist of all), and the Shafi`ites. All four schools agree dogmatically on the basic creeds of Islam but differ in their interpretations of Islamic law which is derived from four sources:

    a) Qur'an (read or recite): The sacred book of Muslim community containing direct quotes from Allah as allegedly dictated by Gabriel.

    b) Hadith (narrative): The collections of Islamic traditions including sayings and deeds of Muhammad as heard by his contemporaries, first, second, and third hand.

    c) Al-Qiyas (analogy or comparison): The legal decision drawn by Islamic Jurists based on precedent cases.

    d) Ijma' (consensus): The interpretations of Islamic laws handed down by the consensus of reputed Muslim scholars in a certain country.
    Textual laws prescribed in the Qur'an are few. The door is left wide open for prominent scholars versed in the Qur'an, the Hadith, and other Islamic discipline to present their Fatwa (legal opinion).

    Finally:  

    I think we can all relate to the story below.  If we could find this in our relationship with Islam and they with us...think how the world could change.

    Abou Ben Adem may his tribe increase
    Awoke one night from a sweet dream of peace
    And saw within the moonlight of his room
    Making it bright, like a lily in bloom,
    An angel writing in a book of gold.
    Now exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
    And so to the vision in the room he said,
    "What writest thou?" The vision raised its head.
    And with a look made of all sweet accord said,
    "The names of those who love the Lord."
    "And is mine one?" asked Abou" "Nay not so," said the angel.
    Abou spoke more low. But cheerily still said,
    "Then, I pray thee, then, write me as one who loves his fellow men."
    The angel wrote and vanished.
    The next night it came again with a great wakeing light,
    and showed the names of those who
    love of God had blessed, and
    Lo--Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
    --Leigh Hunt

    "If they had given Falwell an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox" -- Christopher Hitchins

    by Persiflage on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:16:24 PM PDT

  •  The BIG QUESTION, why do Muslims have to (4+ / 0-)

    live under Islamic law? Why not argue for progressive secularization of Islamic majority countries, and examine/cite how that could be accomplished. That would be a topic truly worthy of a DKos audience.

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

    by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:23:54 PM PDT

    •  yes (0+ / 0-)

      how to give the islamic world individual liberty that is a topic worthy of dkos.  not some shill job on the possible dressing up of brutal sharia law.

    •  I agree it is a great topic for DKos Front Page.. (0+ / 0-)

      But who would host the question? I receive a lot of resistance here. Would you want Muslims to speak freely or do you want to gather ideas about Muslims amongst yourselves?

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:40:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then you are saying you are opposed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftynyc, Pandoras Box

        to the question I proposed, and that, in speaking freely, you are stating that Muslims can only live under Islamic law?

        The resistence you are receiving is that you are proposing that people be governed under religious law. Religion does not have a very good track record in the realm of human rights or respecting the individual that is outside the mould of "the creator"'s criteria.  

        "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

        by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:54:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Opposed to what? (0+ / 0-)

          If you mean a topic on DKos, "why Muslims need Islamic Law" or something to that effect no, in fact I wish there would be more discussion on Islam, Muslims, the ME and other related topics on DKoz, then I wouldn't have to work so hard to inform as well as make a point.

          The resistence you are receiving is that you are proposing that people be governed under religious law.

          The resistance is because I am discussing a very controversial topic... Islam in controversial right now. This is my everyday life, I have agreed 100% with someone in a class room and because I looked like a Muslim she could not accept that my agreement was sincere.

          Besides, no foreign country has the right to oppose what a democratic society wishes for itself... do they?

          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:03:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thats not why there's resistance (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            leftynyc, Pandoras Box

            there's resistance because islam is jerry fallwells wet dream redux and taken back 1000 years.  and while a good deal of ppl here don't have the stomach for being unkind towards non-christian religions, some of us feel safe enough in our liberalness to tackle all the illiberal chaffe in the world.

            and every human being deserves individual liberties.  we most certainly should oppose a law that says u should stone gays, whether its democratic or not.  

          •  Why do Muslims need Islamic Law? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pandoras Box, bobisbob

            Are you saying they are incompatible with western political philosophy?
            That they have some peculiar aspect that requires them to live only under Islamic law?

            Do you live in America?
            If so, do you not live under a secular government?
            Are you saying that you do not like living under the secular government of the U.S.?

            That could be construed from this statement:

            by removing secular legal processes which are a type of bid'ah and impermissible

            Will you next argue that Muslims in America need special courts because the secular ones are "bid'ah"

            Please answer my questions above.

            Also:
            No one here is advocating foreign intervention to impose their system on another country, which may be the only thing we agree on.

            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

            by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:21:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  If... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pandoras Box

            This is my everyday life, I have agreed 100% with someone in a class room and because I looked like a Muslim she could not accept that my agreement was sincere.

            you have been discriminated against, then that is not right.

            But what do you think religion does? It says 'if you do not follow this moral code, you are outside of god', or 'if you are not born a male, you do not have full rights in the eyes of god'. Wouldn't you agree that is discrimination too?

            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

            by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 02:04:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  As a polytheologian, I find this fascinating (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Persiflage, Pandoras Box, Noor B

    I'm a modern Neopagan, I believe in a multiplicity of deities. Thus I am instantly perceived as an enemy by conservative monotheists of all varieties, especially when I refuse to let them define the universe of discourse for religion.

    I'm delighted to know that there are such things as liberal Muslim theologians who have not yet been assassinated. I suspect that nearly all of them live in Western secular democracies, as I read on a regular basis of ones in Islamic nations being murdered or imprisoned.

    As a Pagan, I would no more travel to the Middle East or any majority Islamic nation than I would to medieval Christendom or modern Orthodox Russia, because my life would constantly be in danger from religious fanatics quoting their scriptures as justification for killing me.

    I would not expect a theocratic nation of any kind to respect the human rights of religious and non-religious (atheist/agnostic/deist) minorities. In terms of the impact on the lives of citizens, it would not matter if the theocracy were state run or community run. A council of religious scholars can be just as tyrannical as any government agency.

    I fight against theocracy here in the United States because I refuse to allow anyone's religious beliefs to dictate how I should live my life. There are universal human rights that most sane people can agree upon, and secular law codes rooted in preserving those rights. I will not entrust my freedom to people who want to silence me for my beliefs.

    If a modern liberal Islamic state were to arise, one that reflected the highest levels of religious liberty in Islamic history, and which the world human rights movement recognized as preserving human rights—I would be delighted.

    I don't expect this to happen anytime soon. First the religious lunatics (and every belief system has them) must kill each other off until a single one in each culture is triumphant. Then, there will be a final battle between the religious lunatics and the sane people. The sane people are a numerical majority in the world, but the insane ones are much better at violence, so it's anyone's guess who will win in the end.

    Thank you for writing this diary and opening this discussion.

    First, oversight; second, investigations; third, impeachments; fourth, war crimes trials!

    by ibonewits on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:49:10 PM PDT

    •  :) (0+ / 0-)

      "Thank you for writing this diary and opening this discussion."

      You are welcome...

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:53:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's it??? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftynyc, Pandoras Box

        That's all you have to say to the several points I brought up?

        Perhaps you'll address them in some future diary, but I have to agree with the poster below that your actual responses have been disappointing on the topic of whether or not "liberal" Muslim nations can honor the human rights of "sinners," "heretics," and "unbelievers."

        Because that is the core of whether international respect will be given or not.

        First, oversight; second, investigations; third, impeachments; fourth, war crimes trials!

        by ibonewits on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:21:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hakim, you are not really showing that Muslims (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftynyc, Pandoras Box, ibonewits

    really want to live in a society that have secularlists. There are several questions in several posts that haven't been answered. Please answer them as I am interested in what a Muslim has to say on these points.

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

    by Boisepoet on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:45:09 PM PDT

    •  Firstly, Aren't we speaking of Muslim Countries.. (0+ / 0-)

      I certainly was not aiming this article at any type of development in the US or Europe. On the contrary, the title is, Making A Modern Muslim World is it not? So living in a society with secularists is not as much of an issue as you are putting out.

      I am talking about a democratically elected government implementing sharia courts and removing state funded religion in place of its original privatized legal institutions.

      By the way these are all very radical ideas, not radical as in how the West views some tenets of Islam, but quite the opposite, radical from the inside of the current legal culture within Muslim countries. I hope I am explaining this well enough for you to understand.

      Listen, the questions raised here are good, for example how gays will be treated, non-Muslims and lets not forget about non-Muslim institutions, etc. But these questions are all premature. As Muslims in the West speak up about what Muslims want and also Muslims overseas speakup about what they in particular want the possibilities will be more clear. So I do think that Islamic Law has methods to sustain  liberalesque values by democratic processes. I know that it does.

      However, right now as it stands there is a very strong hegemony with a static conservative legal opinion within the juristic culture. However, the tools and means for liberal jurisprudence are within Islamic legal catalog but most of the liberal jurists who can competently act upon a systematic balancing of these conservative and liberal forces are here in the States or Europe writing books against the conservative culture. You see many of them are harassed, threatened or killed.

      Someone once said, that Islam never had an enlightenment. I was offended, because Enlightenment is a process, an on going process, my opinion is that perhaps now is the time when Islam in its multi layered ethos and long standing history of scholarship has a viable contribution for the Enlightenment and perhaps it is a significant as Islams contribution to Art and Science during the European High Middle Ages.

      C'mon its not a far fetched idea, I mean we all must admit, something is happening in our age; something significant. My apologies for the short answers but I am answering these questions in between periods of rest while at work, in a very busy hospital. I must go now. My best to all.

      •  Ah, now I have a clearer idea... (0+ / 0-)

        ...of what you are attempting to do. That's quite a task you've set yourself!

        Do you have a list of English-language books by/about liberal Islamic writers that you could recommend to friendly non-Muslims?

        And can you in some future diary provide us an overview of the ultra-liberal to ultra-conservative spectrum of current Islamic thought?

        I'm pretty sure the Enlightenment references were to the historic movement that broke the power of the ultra-conservative Christians in 18th century (CE) Europe, not personal enlightenment. I sometimes think of Islam as still being in its "Middle Ages," 800 years behind the West in institutional evolution and the separation of oppressive tribal customs from spiritual beliefs.

        First, oversight; second, investigations; third, impeachments; fourth, war crimes trials!

        by ibonewits on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 10:41:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My Recommended Readings (0+ / 0-)

          "...of what you are attempting to do. That's quite a task you've set yourself!"

          Yes, that is what Noor B and I have been discussing on this item. The difficulty is immense, how ever there is really no other option for people like me.

          "Do you have a list of English-language books by/about liberal Islamic writers that you could recommend to friendly non-Muslims?"

          Of course, I highly recommend:

          --------------------------------
          By Khaled Abou El Fadl
          Published 2001
          Oneworld
          Religion / World
          Religions
          384 pages
          ISBN 1851682627

          This review of the ethics of the Islamic legal system suggests that misinterpretation by authoritarian readings result in the repression of Muslim women. Using both religious and secular sources, the author proposes a new approach that returns to the original spirit of the Muslim legal system.
          ---------------------------------
          By Syed Muhammad Naquib al- Attas
          Published 1978
          International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilization(ISTAC)
          216 pages
          ISBN 9839962868

          "This work deals with fundamental problems faced by contemporary Muslims and provides real solutions. It analyses the Muslim "dilemma" by declaring that it should be resolved primarily through what it calls the "dewesternization of knowledge""
          ---------------------------------
          By Aḥmad ibn Luʼluʼ Ibn
          al-Naqīb, Noah Ha Mim
          Keller
          Translated by Nuh Ha MIM
          Keller
          Published 1997
          Amana Publications
          Religion / World
          Religions
          1264 pages
          ISBN 0915957728

          This is a classic manual of fiqh rulings based on Shafi"i School of jurisprudence and includes original Arabic texts and translations from classic works of prominent Muslim scholars such as al Ghazali, al Nawawi, al Qurtubi, al Dhahabi and others. It is an indispensable reference for every Muslim or student of Islam who needs to research on Islamic rulings on daily Muslim life.
          ---------------------------------
          Other authors of note:
          Ismail al-Faruqi (d. 1986)
          Leila Ahmed (Director Divinity Harvard U)
          Nasr Abu Zayd (the Noam Chomsky of Islam)
          Akbar S. Ahmed (Chairman of Ibn Khaldun in D.C.)
          Ziba Mir-Hosseini (family law)
          Abdul-Hakim S. Jackson (Director N.E. Studies UofM)

          There are so many more... but these are a few...

          "I'm pretty sure the Enlightenment references were to the historic movement that broke the power of the ultra-conservative Christians in 18th century (CE) Europe, not personal enlightenment."

          You are correct.

      •  you say... (0+ / 0-)

        these questions are all premature

        in what way are these questions premature? Premature to what?

        You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

        by Pandoras Box on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 11:14:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  not premature (0+ / 0-)

        the question of liberalness, gays, women, equality under the law, no separation of legal statuses between muslim and non-muslim.  these are ESSENTIAL questions if u want ANY CHANCE of getting a true liberals endorsement.

      •  Yes and No (0+ / 0-)

        If what you are saying is true of Muslims, then it applies when they are not in majority Muslim countries too, correct? Let me surmise, based on your comments, what I am understanding from your comments:

        1. Muslims accept the Quoran as the 'book of law'.
        1. All majority Islamic countries today are not governed according to true Islamic law
        1. These forementioned countries have been tainted by either colonialism or despotism, but not by Muslims who just may have a different interpretation of Quoranic law.
        1. Muslims are going against Quoranic law if they live under secular rule. (Thus your comment "Muslims redress disintegration of its leadership and authentic Islamic authority - by removing secular legal processes which are a type of bid'ah and impermissible").

        Now let me extend some of this logic...

        A. Since Muslims cannot live under secular government, they should aspire to bring the government into harmony with the Quoran.
        B. Since the Quoran looks upon non-Muslims as less in the eyes of the law, I would have less rights.

        Now if A & B are logical conclusions based on items 1-4, tell me why I shouldn't be worried about the Islamic religion?

        If I am wrong, please put the item number/letter and refute what I have wrote.
        Thank you,

        "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

        by Boisepoet on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 12:10:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK Its a mouth full... lets go... (0+ / 0-)

          but not by Muslims who just may have a different interpretation of Quoranic law.

          Explain...

          Muslims are going against Quoranic law if they live under secular rule.

          Incorrect... I am a Muslim in the West where there is secular rule and I can live according to sharia where ever possible. But because I live in a non-Muslim country there are things that must be accepted, if they were not acceptable Muslims would not come to the West.

          Now, with that said, we must keep in mind that there is a fundamental difference between a Muslim country and a non-Muslim country, this must be understood. It is expected that Muslim would in fact be a sovereign body and elect Islamic law as its principle legal framing. This is not the present day case due to a number of reasons but as Dr. Khalid Abou El Fadl has said Colonialism being a primary reason.

          Therefore, we have either autocratic governments in ME or despotic governments in ME. This is not OK by any Islamic standard. The US has supported those conservative factions because of oil. The conservative factions seek to crystallize their respective positions which they have achieved. Which is why this is a difficult situation. This has also affected religion because the state has funded academic centers/universities as well as the legits.

          What I am saying here,

          "Muslims redress disintegration of its leadership and authentic Islamic authority - by removing secular legal processes which are a type of bid'ah and impermissible

          Is that the juristic community (authentic authority) and the state (leadership) must address the issue of state financed legal institutions so that the legal culture is able to exert authority when necessary. Despite resistance from the state. My opinion is that the best way to implement this is in the fashion that it was traditionally privatized law guilds. The adoption of Western legal system by "leadership" and not an authentic authority is the impermissible bid'ah. How did I do?

          •  Are secular legal processes permissiable or (0+ / 0-)

            impermissable according to the Quoran?

            What is considered "authentic authority" in Islam?

            Isn't that one of the problems of Islam; there is no central authority, only various interpretations?

            After all, the scholars you cite are only adding their interpretations, right?

            How can any one person's interpretation of the Quoran be more 'right' than any other person?

            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

            by Boisepoet on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 01:09:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That would take a jurist to explain... (0+ / 0-)

              impermissable according to the Quoran?

              You need a jurist for that explanation.

              Abou El Fadl writes on that. He has written numerous works... sometimes I think thats all he does. He is at UCLA Law Department.

              there is no central authority

              Well I think the Europe had a big hand in this one. The last central authority was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and that item is almost 100 years old.

              However, the juristic culture was not a single power it was rooted in the 4 schools (this is Sunni Islam). these schools were privatized institutions that were funded by beautiful endowments. These schools/guilds formed the legislative body.

              After all, the scholars you cite are only adding their interpretations, right?

              The contemporary scholars or historical scholars.

              How can any one person's interpretation of the Quoran be more 'right' than any other person?

              How can one lawyers understanding and explanation of US constitutional law be above another? Are each legits analysis the same or equal or are there superior legits? I apologize but I had to answer a question with a question.

              •  For the Lawyer analogy, there is the (0+ / 0-)

                court that interprets the law, with the Supreme Court being the final arbiter in the US system.

                So who would be the final 'interpreter' within an Islamic court? Who finally decides what Allah intended when he spoke through Mohammed?

                Is that a judge too? What if others say his interpretation is heresy? Who finally judges what the word of god truly is?

                "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                by Boisepoet on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 01:46:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Now second part... (0+ / 0-)

          Since Muslims cannot live under secular government,

           rephrase-- since Muslim Lands should not...

          they should aspire to bring the government into harmony with the Quoran.

          Most if not all Muslims would like to live with government that is in harmony with quran and you may not believe this but the US provides this in its constitution. There are some minor details but Dr. Feldman (Noah Feldman US Constitutional Lawyer and Harvard Law Professor) has clearly outlined how the two coincide.

          B. Since the Quoran looks upon non-Muslims as less in the eyes of the law, I would have less rights.

          No. But legal interpretation has developed rulings which make this the case because at the time 900 - 1200 CE non-Muslims were the Byzantine Empire, Roman Catholic Church and Visigoths, these were all warring communities including Muslims. So of course the legal representation of these relationships or "foreign relations" would reflect this. And with the gate of ijtihad closed as well as a conservative juristic culture who will not look into liberal rulings, in fact they will not change anything we are at a stalemate.

          Sorry about the letter thing... it was at the bottom and there was too much text to go back through it all.

          •  So what are Muslim lands? (0+ / 0-)

            Isn't that one of the rantings of Bin Laden? That certain Muslim lands, notably Spain, are in the hands of the infidels?

            After all, at the time Mohammed received the word from god, there really weren't Muslim lands.

            "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

            by Boisepoet on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 01:12:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ... (0+ / 0-)

              So what are Muslim lands?

              Do you believe in majority rule? Start there. For example wasn't Apartheid in South Africa unjust? Those of European origin, the minority ruled the indigenous African Majority. There is something wrong with that no?

              Isn't that one of the rantings of Bin Laden? That certain Muslim lands, notably Spain, are in the hands of the infidels?

              I don't know what bin laden has said... I have never heard one of his speeches, but how is Spain a Muslim land? The Muslims were expelled long ago.

              After all, at the time Mohammed received the word from god, there really weren't Muslim lands.

              This is moot point now not significant.

              •  Isn't according to the Quoran, all lands are (0+ / 0-)

                Muslim, because they belong to Allah and are thus for the true believers?

                I certainly don't remember reading anything about majority rule in the Quoran. That would be a modern non-Quoronic concept wouldn't it?

                And if that is acceptable, why wouldn't secular based rule be so. Especially if as a Muslim living in the US you do not feel like you are going against Allah, do you?

                "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                by Boisepoet on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 01:42:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  hmm... (0+ / 0-)

                  Muslim, because they belong to Allah and are thus for the true believers?

                  Why would you say that? What makes you say something like that? Did you read the quran and interpreted that or did you just come up with it from your mind.

                  "And if that is acceptable, why wouldn't secular based rule be so.

                  This is why I said earlier...

                  Now, with that said, we must keep in mind that there is a fundamental difference between a Muslim country and a non-Muslim country, this must be understood.

                  Sorry I must go now... if you post a few more questions I will address them this evening... its family time now. May God bless you.

                  •  Still waiting for the 'fundamental' difference (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pandoras Box

                    between Muslims and non-Muslims that make them more compassionate, civil and needing to live under a government that is different than non-Muslims.

                    Especially intriguing since the actual practice of Islam is so different in comparison to the theoretical that you posit here.

                    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                    by Boisepoet on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 10:18:19 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  lots of muslims (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pandoras Box, Boisepoet

                  are against sharia, I've heard them say it.  the idea that all muslims have to by nature want something as horribly illiberal as sharia is just hakim's attempt to railroad other opinions and make the conversation fatalist.

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