Walaykum Asalam Mr. Bala. I would like to offer a rebuttal to the points raised in your response to my original article. I must say how amazing it is that the arguments offered by both ex-Muslims and fundamentalist Muslims against “liberal” Muslims are identical.
Firstly, I would like to state that you use a lot of terminology without precisely defining it. For instance, what do you mean by “political Islam”? Also, I notice that you use a lot of “hadith” and Quran to back up your arguments without giving the text of the actual verse or hadith. I would be particularly interested in reading the actual text of the hadith regarding the killing of geckos.
Secondly, you write,
“it is God-given laws that mufti’s interpret via extraction them the Qur’an hadith and isnaad”.
What you have written amounts to a paradox. How can any law claim to be God-given when human minds have to interpret it? Is it not the case that as soon as we insert human agency, divinity ends? Later in your response, you write:
“The fact that people like me will be killed in a Sharia setting, only for saying we no longer believe in imagined gods that no one ever saw or sees tells a lot about the Sharia, mind you, all this is backed up by hadiths and verses.”
Firstly, I would point your attention to my blog post entitled “Scepticism and Heterodoxy in Medieval Islamdom” which details the case of Al-Ma’arri, a poet living in medieval Aleppo who disbelieved in God and the Prophet but was not killed. Indeed, he was bestowed with honours and titles and had a steady stream of students all the while saying things like:
“The inhabitants of the earth are of two sorts: those with brains, but no religion, and those with religion, but no brains. “
There are many more like Al-Ma’arri such as Omar Khayyam and Ibn Arabi. This shows that apostasy and blasphemy laws are a modern invention. I am aware that the Prophet said things like “whoever leaves the faith, kill him”. Only God is above context and, since the Prophet is not God, his statements should be taken in context (waqi) and the waqi of this hadith is a war where people were “converting” to Islam only to leave when they had learnt what they had been sent to learn. This is known as treason and still carries the death penalty in Britain and the United States as is evidenced by multiple calls for the death penalty for Edward Snowden.
In your introduction you accuse me, without any proof, of selectively showing certain verses which support my arguments. I would like to return this accusation but accompanied with proof. In your response you write:
‘It is the language of the Qu’ran, in numerous verses, “ kill them wherever you find them… fight them… kill them, Allah is torturing them in your hands…kill them until there is no opposition, until gods religion reigns supreme”’
The main verse which you have quoted in this collection of paraphrases is 2:191. I shall now provide the verse itself and the verse before and after:
And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.
And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.
But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.
As can be seen, these verse are primarily aimed at those undergoing persecution. The exhortation to stop if the other side desists is mentioned twice which, within Arabic stylistics, shows a heavy emphasis. We can see therefore, that the heavy emphasis is on the end of hostilities. The mention of limits in the earlier verses is interesting because it points to the maqasid (life, faith, intellect, family and property) as “limits”.
Later on, you write:
That is, Allah is warning: whoever does not rule and judge with what Allah hath send down (the sharia) he is an infield, a transgressor and a wicked person.
As mentioned above, what God has sent down is actually ethics and principles. It amounts to the five maqasid detailed above. Therefore, I would consider Britain as ruling by what God has revealed more than I would Saudi, Sudan or Iran. This is why Muhammad Abduh commented that he went to the West and saw Islam but no Muslims and went back to the East and saw Muslims but no Islam. These principles (especially faith) are best protected by a secular state and therefore a secular state is Islamic. Like I said in my original post, the vast majority of Western commentators (noted Renaissance and Islamic historians Hodgson and Skinner amongst them) consider Ibn Rushd, a Muslim, the father of secularism. This shows that Islamic secularism is not new and has a more firm founding in Islamic religious tradition than anything IS can produce.
You mention the case of the Banu Qurayzah. Again, I point you to the laws in Britain and the US which punish treason with death. With regards to slavery you have missed a very well known, authentic hadith:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Fear Allah in regards of those whom your right hands possess. They are your brothers whom Allah placed under your hands (authority). Feed them with what you eat, clothe them with what you wear and do not impose duties upon them which will overcome them. If you so impose duties, then assist them.” [Book of Muslim]
In addition to this, there is a jurisprudential tool known as “tadrij” (gradualism) which has been applied in both the slavery and polygamy cases. In both cases, the thing in question (slavery and polygamy) were made harder by the Prophet (as evidenced by the above hadith). Therefore, they were slowly meant to be phased out by the community after the Prophets death. This process is evidenced by the gradual banning of alcohol in three stages within the Quran (verses 2:219, 4:43 and 5:90).
God is a humanist. I truly believe this and in a bizarre twist it is the many atheists whom I count as my very good friends who have made me a stronger believer. Even without the structure of religion, the doctrine of humanism has continued to bear a very strong resemblance to Islam. As for religion dividing humanity, the Quran states:
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (49:13)
I hope that I have at least answered some of your concerns and wish you all the best in your studies.
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