Monday, 21 April 2014

Islam's Rule-Fixation & the Status of Paedophilia

Sharia law, or Islam itself, is largely a system of rules and regulations which you must obey if you are to be a Muslim.

There is a problem with this rule-fixation in Islam. Abdul Wahid Hamid says that the “basic principles in Islam is that every act or transaction is allowed unless it is prohibited”. This means that if necrophilia, or pedophilia, etc. is not explicitly ‘prohibited’ in the Koran, the Sunnah and the hadith, then it is ‘allowed’. So what if they aren’t explicitly prohibited? Then they are allowed.

This is not a problem for Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism because there have been traditions in these religions which have elaborated and extended their doctrines and rules. Muslims, on the other hand, explicitly state that this is not the case with Islam. Muslims say that "it’s all there in the Koran" – "the unalterable and complete word of Allah". The hadith and the Sunnah simply apply such rules in the Koran to the things which were already specified by the actions, words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad. In essence, though, Muslims still claim that it’s all there in the Koran. (This is the source of the criticism of Christianity, etc. by Muslims – such religions have traditions and theologies; not a single source of Truth, as with Islam.) Or, as Hamid puts it:

“The Qur’an has been preserved just as it was revealed. It will continue to be the human being’s only source of authentic guidance to truth and his abiding link with Reality.”

So what, again, if there are no condemnations of pedophilia, drug-pushing and the like? That which "is not prohibited is allowed". Or, in other words, it may be the case that pedophilia or drug-pushing are not haraam (prohibited) in Islam after all.

This rule-bound nature of Islam is very clear. For example, all Muslims are required to perform Salaat or prayer. Why? Because Muhammad once said, "Pray as you see me praying." Not only that. Hamid says that there "can be no addition to or subtraction from the manner of performing the Prayer" (48).

Muhammad also said: "Take from me your rites in performing the pilgrimage." And, again, Hamid says that "pilgrimage must therefore be performed as he did it with only the variations and allowances he permitted" (48). No addition and no subtraction.

Salafists, and many other Muslims, also sleep on their left sides because Muhammad slept on his left side.

Why are Muslims scared of dogs? (Actually, not actually scared, more dismissive.) Because Muhammad, so I have been told, did not like dogs. Why do Muslims where pajamas in modern-day Birmingham or Bradford? Because that’s what Mohamed wore. What about beards? Ditto.

What about Ijtihad when it comes to these rules? Ijtihad is "the use of individual reason and judgment" which Muslims are allowed to practice. For a start, millions upon millions of Muslims reject the very notion of Ijtihad, vis-à-vis Islam itself, completely. The other thing is that Ijtihad is only applied to areas of politics, morality, religion, custom, etc. which are not strictly dealt with in the Koran. So it isn’t applied to Islam-based rules. In addition to that problem, it can only be applied to "local laws and customs" which "are not in conflict with the Qur’an and the Sunnah" (50). This must severely limit the practice of  Ijtihad even when presuming an individual Muslim accepts it in the first place.

To finish: can it be applied to pedophilia? Only if such a thing doesn’t conflict with the Koran. If it doesn’t conflict, then  Ijtihad  can be applied. This will depend on whether or not Muslims accept Ijtihad and also on whether such things really do conflict with the Koran. If they do, then Ijtihad cannot be applied to such things. What about drug-pushing? If it's not prohibited by the Koran, it can be practiced. If it is prohibited,  Ijtihad cannot be applied to drug-pushing. But what if it is accepted (indirectly) in the Koran – as a new form of jihad against unbelievers? Then it cannot be applied to drug-pushing.

All this has, of course, completely disregarded the equally problematic converse of all this:

Every act or transaction is allowed if it is accepted or extolled in the Koran.

This means that slavery, pedophilia, multiple wives, violent jihad, etc. are allowed because such things are accepted and /or extolled in the Koran. The point is:
Can the use of Ijtihad alter these Islamic realities in any way?

*) Unbelievably, one category of what is halaal, mustahabb, is those things which are recommend in the Sunnah. It is recommended that Muslims smile "at [their] fellow Muslims". (Yes, Islamic virtue, from charity to peace, is only aimed at "fellow Muslims".) In addition… and this is a cracker, there is a recommendation to "use the toothbrush regularly".

Finally, there is also a recommendation to part your hair from left to right, rather than vice versa (i.e., if you’re a Muslim man). Actually, that’s a joke recommendation. But I hope you got the message.

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