But does centuries-old Islam, the world’s second largest religion, really need self-appointed defenders to shield it from “insult”, when the Qur’an itself welcomes doubt, questioning and even ridicule?
And why do these self-appointed defenders of the faith contradict the example of the prophet they claim to emulate? For instance, Muhammad pardoned one of his scribes, Abdullah Ibn Saad, even after he claimed that the Qur’an was invented and Muhammad was a false prophet.
These examples highlight how Islamism, rather than providing the solution, as it claims, is actually built on an illusion.
Islamist discourse, on the whole, holds that the reason for the Muslim world’s decline is its deviation from Islamic law and values. That explains why Hassan al-Banna, despite his attempts to inject some elements of modernity into traditional Islamic thought, fixated on questions of morality and Shari’a. One of his ideological descendants, Sayyid Qutb, went so far as to invent the dangerous idea that Muslims were living a period of modern “Jahiliyyah” (pre-Islamic ignorance).
But by misdiagnosing the malaise afflicting society, Islamists have prescribed totally the wrong medicine, with severe and debilitating side effects.
Any objective, dispassionate reading of Islamic history reveals that Islam’s former glory was actually built on a largely secular foundation. In addition, the start of its decline coincided with the victory of rigid dogma and orthodoxy – represented by the likes of the “father of Salafism” Ibn Taymiyyah in the 14th century – over reason and intellect.
Muhammad himself never established anything resembling what we would call an “Islamic state” today. His secular-sounding Constitution of Medina actually defines Jews, Christians and pagans – i.e. every member of Medina’s society – as being full and equal members of the Ummah.
Dunno how many times my arab friends were shocked to know that Al-Andalus splendor came from those periods of relaxed morals, advance of science, poetry, philosophy, and respect to others, specially to jews, as happened with Ibn Maymun, or the Nagdelas, before both were killed or kicked away by integrists.
How to explain to them that those famous street lamps of Cordoba were considered an excess by those same defenders of virtue who finally sacked and destroyed Madinat az-Zahra and Madinat Az-Zahira… and the splendrous caliphate with it.
How to make them understand that when they close their view to a single book they are insulting God’s present of intelligence?
How to make them notice that when they drank from our science in a secular way, they were able to multiply its achievements for all men?
I confess that I feel myself unable to adopt islam’s view of life. Even on its softer ways of practice. Its core teaching lacks essential elements that found and settle my christian belief.
So, many will say that I don’t know what I am talking about, as I am not entitled to judge on the matter.
But that’s not the issue. My issue is that muslims aren’t doing any good behaving in this totalitarian way. Not to them, nor to us, nor to the future mankind.
Because since always, this has been a weakness and a step back. For them,….same as it was for us, of course.
Deffinitely, the Arab world needs many more Khaled Diabs.