Skip to comments.How the Apostasy Debate Played in the Islamic World
Posted on 04/29/2006 6:27:32 AM PDT by NYer
Abdul Rahmans sin of apostasy, which nearly earned him the death penalty, was resolved diplomatically with his expatriation to Italy. But the episode of Rahmans conversion to Christianity drew many reactions in the Muslim world. I had the opportunity to read hundreds of them in Arab-language forums, with comments coming from all over the world.
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To put it more precisely, I read nearly 400 comments posted on the al-Arabiya website, based in Dubai, and the Arab site of the BBC, where hundreds of [responses] were posted.
Glancing through the comments, one can see that around 50% uphold Rahmans execution because this is what the Sharia [Muslim law] says. For at least one out of four of these, the essential reason for the death penalty for apostates is: if conversion to another religion is allowed, this would be fitnah (sedition), it would prompt others to follow this path, and thus all would become Christians. To halt this trend, which is not considered normal, it is better to kill. The concept of fitnah is Koranic (mentioned more than 30 times in the Koran) and it often justifies violence.
But then there is a minority, around 15%, that insists killing is not just, for reasons we are acquainted with [commonly cited by Muslim apologists] the Koran says nothing about this, there are only hadiths that mention the death penalty, and so on. Others say also it would not have been right to kill Rahman because this would go against human rights.
Only rarely was there mention of an obligation of reciprocity. Someone said: We allow a Christian to convert to Islam, so its only logical that we should also accept the contrary.
Many respondents, however, refuted this opinion, saying Islam is the only true religion, the last revealed religion that cancelled everything said by other religions before it. Leaving Islam would be a step backwards into error.
There was also a beautiful testimony by a woman who signed off as an Egyptian Muslim believer. In a well-articulated article, this woman explained that there was freedom of choice in the Koran. In fact, there are passages which say who wants to, believes, who does not want to, does not believe. Or else: Is it you [Muhammad] who forces people to [believe]? But the woman takes her argument further: If we force people to believe in Islam, then we would have hypocrites in our community, who do not believe, and this would do more harm than good. Then no one would know anymore what Islam is, it would be reduced to a political expedient. She adds: We dont need to increase the number of Muslims who are so only by name, but who are not Muslims in their heart and actions.
This debate highlights the prevalent perplexity in the Islamic world, not only as regards the question of apostasy, but about other points too: suicide bombers, terrorism, family law, love and so on. There is always a very fundamentalist faction, especially imams, who defend Sharia, jihad, and who would not be averse to resorting to brutality. Then there are moderate Muslims who do not approve of such things and who are in disagreement on many points: the value of woman, marriage this is the real and profound crisis facing Islam: people no longer know what the true Islam is, they dont know what to believe in because there are so many interpretations of each faith element.
Solutions are sought, but the key problem lies in the clash between traditional beliefs dating back to the [ninth through the 10th centuries] that became harder through the centuries (in the Middle Ages, Islam was much more open than it is now) and the reality lived by Muslims in Arab countries, where an evolution of customs is under way.
The second reason for conflict is [simply] the immensity of the Muslim world that embraces poor and backward people as well as very modern populations. If you compared the member of a tribe in Afghanistan to a man in Beirut or Tunis, you would be looking at [inhabitants of] two worlds that are very different one from the other.
[This joins with other factors that] cause a loss of confidence and identity in the Muslim world: The fact that Islamic countries are not among the leaders of the international community; the fact there is no one authority recognized by all Muslims since the end of the Caliphate (in 1924) at the hands of Kemal Ataturk.
Religious authorities are ever less open to the lives of Muslims.
Many solutions to uphold Islam have been generated. [As we review them be] mindful that a large chunk of the Muslim world is in the third world:
• The first attempt was Arab nationalism, launched by Nasser in 1954 and continued in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq. This did not yield economic or political results.
• Then there was pan-Islamism (in 1969, the International Organization of Islamic countries was born), and this was completely inconclusive. We Arabs say Islamic countries agree about one thing only: that they dont agree among themselves. This irony says much about our lack of confidence.
• In the '60s and '70s, there was a wave of socialism and this also failed and ended with the advent of the '90s. In Islamic countries, opposition always tended more toward the right; it upheld that Islam is always and by nature socialist. Even these ideologies failed.
The state of Israel also contributed to the failure of Islamic pretensions: a small state has always managed to stand against the bloc of all Arab and Muslim countries.
From all these failures has emerged a quasi-desperate solution, the motto of the Muslim Brothers, of Hassan al-Banna: Islam is the solution (al-Islâm huwa al-hall). Whatever the problem highlighted, Islam is the solution. Answers to political, economic, cultural, social and family problems are sought in the Koran and in tradition. This extremist brand of pan-Islamism has no vision other than to apply Islamic law as a way of making Islam triumph and to save it from drowning. This comeback of religion, especially resorting to religion as an ideological argument for politics, is a state of affairs that serves neither politics nor religion.
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All would become Christians? Father Samir's interpretation, or Muslim thought?
What if they gave a Jihad and no one came?
Jihad is NOT the answer
The messages above seem to be missing from the looney left.
Sociallism as such, may have failed, but the underlying philosophy, Collectivism, has only become more resolved. Every move made by suicide bombers and such, are always "For the Greater Good", be that Islam, their tribe, Nation or whatever. Collectivism has always called for the sacrifice of self to others, no matter what the cost, because in a collectivist's eyes, the "group's" survival and well being outweigh the needs and rights of any individual in the system.
Excellent post NYer.
Well they better start making up their collective one billion minds and start making some tough decisions and deal with it. I would be happy if they would simply stop killing innocent people and blowing things up.
I'm sick to death of Islam. Period.
I too am unclear as to whether this is emphasized by the people making the comments, or whether this emphasis has been added by the author of the article, who comes from a Christian point of view.
In my view, a cult that has to prohibit conversions from it on pain of floggings, persecution, or death is not winning people's hearts and minds (or souls). Hence, a ripe opportunity for evangelization.
You know, things really haven't changed all that much in 2000 years. Substitute "ayatollah" for "Nero", and we're talking pretty much the same kinds of mentality. If we Christians are to emerge triumphant in all this, it will probably be through implementation of strategies similar to those employed by the early Christians.
If we Christians are to emerge triumphant in all this, it will probably be through intervention of the great Triune God.
One of the Afghani Imans said something to that effect.
If the Apsotate was deported, then many others would follow, so they could go to the West as well.
I bet that the one in four doesn't at all realize what that opinion says about Islam itself.
"One of the Afghani Imans said something to that effect.
If the Apsotate was deported, then many others would follow, so they could go to the West as well."
That's the lure of the world, not Christianity. Maybe for them it's the same thing. Seductions and corruptions of the West = Christianity.
There's a slight 'disagreement' going on in Sudan right now.
I stand corrected.
I know. I often have to remind myself that He is in charge.
It was God himself that chose to give man his free will to chose , and Islam tries to take this from any man. How can one not see that this is pure evil? To force a "religion" upon a man?
"Leaving Islam would be a step backwards into error.
These guys are certified Nutjobs.
Its basically the civilized, intelligent world against the savage, idiotic world.
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