Monday, March 14, 2011

Clash of Civilization or Clash of Perceptions and Ideas?

14th-century depiction of Averroes (detail fro...Image via Wikipedia

To Samuel Huntington, it is “the True Clash of Civilization” while, according to learned Muslim scholars, it is a “Clash of Perceptions or Ideas”. Polly Toynbee’s argument, “what binds a globalized force of some extremists from many continents is a united hatred of Western values that seems to them to spring from Judeo-Christianity”, is true because these are few individuals who harbor hatred and not all Muslims. The Qur’an states …nearest in friendship to Muslims are those who say “we are Christians”. Polly is the granddaughter of historian Arnold Toynbee. The problems in the Muslim world stem from corrupt rulers and it has nothing to do with Islam. Islam means peace. In Islam, religion and state cannot be separated. The Qur’an is a guiding force for Muslims. The true meaning of Islamic Sharia has been misunderstood in the West. Sharia incorporates divinely inspired rules, prophetic insights, human philosophical thoughts, and jurisprudence.

Some societies practice Polyandry (Greek: poly - many, Andros - man) refers to a form of marriage in which a woman has two or more husbands at the same time. This is prohibited in Islam. Sororal polygyny is a type of marriage in which two or more sisters share a husband. In Islam, this type of polygyny is specifically prohibited. Reference from Quran (Chapter 4, verse 23): Forbidden unto you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your father's sisters, and your mother's sisters, and your brother's daughters and your sister's daughters, and your foster-mothers, and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom ye have gone in - but if ye have not gone in unto them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) - and the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto you) that ye should have two sisters together, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past (before this revelation). Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

Mormons of the U.S. practice plural marriage-a form of polygyny. King or Father Jigme Singye Wang-chuck of Bhutan is married to four queens (all of whom are sisters) and has five sons and five daughters.
Polygamy Practiced by Revered Men in the Bible
The great Hebrew patriarchs equally revered by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David, and Solomon, to name a few – were polygamous. According to the Bible:
Abraham had three wives (Genesis 16:1, 16:3, 25:1)
Moses had two wives (Exodus 2:21, 18:1-6; Numbers 12:1)
Jacob had four wives (Genesis 29:23, 29:28, 30:4, and 30:9)
David had at least 18 wives (1 Samuel 18:27, 25:39-44; 2 Samuel 3:3, 3:4-5, 5:13, 12:7-8, 12:24, 16:21-23)
Solomon had 700 wives (1 Kings 11:3).
Polygamy in the Quran
The Muslim scripture, the Quran, is the only known world scripture to explicitly limit polygamy and place strict restrictions upon its practice: … marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then only one.
(Quran 4:3)

The primary purpose of marriage in Islam is regulating sexuality within marriage as well as creating an atmosphere for the continuity and extension of the family. This is in sharp contrast to growing trends on marriage in the West. In recent decades, there are more alternatives to marriage than ever before. Cohabitation - living together outside of marriage - has greatly increased among young, never-married adults, as well as the divorced. More American women are having children outside of marriage, ignoring the traditionally sanctioned sequence of marriage followed by childbearing.

Also, marriage and polygamy in Islam is a matter of mutual consent. No one can force a woman to marry a married man. Islam simply permits polygamy; it neither forces nor requires it. Besides, a woman may stipulate that her husband must not marry any other woman as a second wife in her prenuptial contract. The point that is often misunderstood in the West is that women in other cultures - especially African and Islamic - do not necessarily look at polygamy as a sign of women’s degradation. Consequently, to equate polygamy with degrading women is an ethnocentric judgment of other societies.

Even though we see the clear permissibility of polygamy in Islam, its actual practice is quite rare in many Muslim societies. Some researchers estimate no more than 2% of the married males practice polygamy. Most Muslim men feel they cannot afford the expense of maintaining more than one family. Even those who are financially capable of looking after additional families are often reluctant due to the psychological burdens of handling more than one wife. One can safely say that the number of polygamous marriages in the Muslim world is much less than the number of extramarital affairs in the West. In other words, contrary to prevalent notion, men in the Muslim world today are more strictly monogamous than men in the Western world.

Islamic teachings on abortion
Muslims regard abortion as wrong and haram (forbidden), but many accept that it may be permitted in certain cases. All schools of Muslim law accept that abortion is permitted if continuing the pregnancy would put the mother's life in real danger. This is the only reason accepted for abortion after 120 days of the pregnancy. Sir Arnold Toynbee, great-grandfather of Polly Toynbee on Islam:
Two conspicuous sources of danger - one psychological and the other material - in the present relations of this cosmopolitan proletariat, i.e., [westernized humanity] with the dominant element in our modern Western society are race consciousness and alcohol; and in the struggle with each of these evils the Islamic spirit has a service to render which might prove, if it were accepted, to be of high moral and social value.
The extinction of race consciousness between Muslims is one of the outstanding moral achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue ... It is conceivable that the spirit of Islam might be the timely reinforcement which would decide this issue in favor of tolerance and peace.
Islam and Homosexuality
1. The Hanafite School (currently seen mainly in South and Eastern Asia) teaches that no physical punishment is warranted.
2. The Hanabalites, (widely followed in the Arab world) teach that severe punishment is warranted.
3. The Sha'fi school of thought (also seen in the Arab world) requires a minimum of 4 adult male witnesses before a person can be found guilty of a homosexual act.
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of the ISNA said:
Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption... No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer. People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.
The near or total seclusion of women is alien to the prophetic period.
Islam and Democracy
“One of main reasons of the West fearing political Islam is that most of the leaders in Arab nations are Islamists — groups that embraces a political view of Islam and rejects secular forms of government. The West also feels that these groups are anti-Western. But religious ideals within Islam always favor democracy. The holy Quran contains a number of ideas that support democratic ideals. In fact, sharia applies to all aspects of religious, political, social, and private life. So this leads us to agree that political Islam has all the democratic norms.”

Contemporary Muslim Women Leaders

• Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Megawati Sukarnoputri as president
• Pakistan, the second most populous Muslim-majority country, twice (non-consecutively) elected Benazir Bhutto as prime minister
• Bangladesh, the third most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina as prime ministers
• Turkey, the fifth most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Tansu Çiller as prime minister

Honor Killing

It is cultural-as in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Forced marriage is prohibited under Islamic Sharia (law). The illegitimate child is not to be blamed for the crime of its parents and shouldn’t be shunned.
1. Islam does not condone domestic violence
2. Islam opposes any form of oppression and slavery
3. Islam does not sanction taking anybody’s life
4. Islam opposes prebendalism or the use of state offices as “prebends” (instruments) for creating wealth and gain for individuals and their ethnic brethren.
5. Islam calls for strong state institutions; equal distribution of wealth (2.5% of annual earnings known as Zakat*); Islam encourages private enterprises; Islam calls for the support of the disadvantaged like orphans, widows, wayfarers, parents, the sick and elderly.

Education and freedom is encouraged at all levels
*Zakat or obligatory charity is the 3rd pillar of Islam. Zakat functions as a social security for all. Those who have enough money today pay for what they have. If they need money tomorrow they will get what is necessary to help them live decently. This is done before the beginning of the month of Muharram, the first of New Year.
Types of wealth on which Zakat is imposed:
1. Gold and silver, in any form.
2. Cash, bank notes, stocks, bonds etc.
3. Merchandise for business, equal to the value of specified Nisaab (minimum).
4. Live stock.
5. On income derived from rental business.

Classification of Recipients of Zakat

1. FUQARA: people who are poor and who possess more than their basic needs but do not possess wealth equal to Nisaab.
2. MASAKEEN: people who are destitute and extremely needy to the extent they are forced to beg for their daily food rations.
3. AL-AMILEEN: people appointed by an Islamic Government to collect Zakat.
4. MU-ALLAFATUL-QULUB: persons who have recently accepted Islam and are in need of basic necessities who would benefit from encouragement by Muslims which would help strengthen their faith.
5. AR-RIQAAB: slaves who are permitted to work for remuneration and have an agreement from their masters to purchase their freedom on payment of fixed amounts.
6. AL-GHAARIMEEN: persons who have a debt and do not possess any other wealth or goods with which they could repay that which they owe. It is conditional that this debt was not created for any un-Islamic purpose.
7. FI-SABILILLAH: persons who have to carry out an obligatory deed which has become obligatory on them and subsequently (due to loss of wealth) are unable to complete that obligation.
8. IBN-US-SABEEL: persons who are travelers and during the course of their journey do not possess basic necessities, though they are well to do at home. They could be given Zakat in order to fulfill travel needs to return home.


5. Gender Equality in Islam by Jamal Badawi, PhD
(Accessed August 25, 2010)
6. Are Islam And Democracy Compatible? By Rahil Yasin
(Accessed August 25, 2010)
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Anonymous said...

This is a rather well argued, intelligent piece of writing.. I wonder if you would call Somalis who r non-Muslims ‘nationals..does a religion determine our nationality...Is Ayan Hirsi a Somali lady..or an ‘Infidel’???

muslim3636 said...

Great post!