Damned if you do, damned if you don’t?

The problem with the Muslim Ummah seems to be lack of leadership, or rather lack of representative leadership. So is there a problem with our leaders not being true representatives of us, the Muslim people?

The leader of a place says a lot about its people. Just like its culture and customs. If I picked Adolf Hitler to lead me and be my representative to the rest of the world, then I think I’d be painting a rather colourful and thus vivid picture of the contents of my psychology.

Many Muslims have cried loudly over the seemingly sudden election of muslim men and women as representatives of their communities. Sheikh Hilali is often referred to in the media as the “mufti” of Australia. Personally if I’m going to be governed by the rantings of any man, I’d like to be made aware, I mean I should at least know what I could be held accountable for. What if I walked out wearing a short sleeved top. May all hell break loose upon my flabby anatomy.

I’d also like to be made aware of the religious injunction that requires that I surrender control over my life’s decision to a self appointed Imam, Sheikh, or Mufti.

There are many things wrong with the currently debated contents of Mr Hilali’s sermon and these are:

1) His references are crass (you’re a “mufti” get someone to polish your speeches before you give them).

2) We don’t live in the dark ages where rape and sexual assault were undiscovered phenomenon and women were the root of all evil, after that they discovered money. Then it was women and money, but women with money, diabolical.

3) Rape and sexual assault are not about hormones or desire. They are about Control and Power. All men in leadership positions who comfortably wear the grand title of Mufti should research and understand this very serious and delicate issue.

4) Cats attack covered meat, have attacked it in the past and will continue attacking it.

5) Women in Islam are not required to cover up for the raging lust inherent in men. Men are meant to look away and protect their modesty. The thing that makes us animals is our nafs, the need to fulfill our three basic needs of food, water and procreation. This is why fasting was prescribed to the Muslims, and the people befor them.

6) There are keen students in every mosque and religious congregation setting in Australia that note down what’s being said so they may revise it later. So unless you want to come off sounding like a totally naive ignoramus rework your speeches and figure out why you’re saying what you’re saying. The relevance of the comments Hilali made in the khutbah has not yet been highlighted.

6) When something asinine travels from your brain and makes its exit via your mouth, take responsiblity. You were not misquoted. Nor were your words taken out of context. Perhaps a simple “I don’t know anything about sociology, anthropology or the human condition and my comments reflect this. Please ignore my senseless and inflammatory remarks.” would suffice.

If these are my issues and they seem to be congruent with that of the general Muslim sentiment in Australia, then who on God’s Brown Earth appointed him Mufti?

The answer may surprise you. The title of “mufti” was given to him by the same government/media that makes comments about Muslim men learning Australian Values and not beating their wives and learning to speak english. Forget the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Italians in this country who don’t actually speak the language. Nothing against my fellow Italians but the point I believe is an important one to make. Also don’t consider the staggering statistics of domestic violence in Australia and the muslim component of reported victims.

The fact that Islam defines no spiritual hierarchy creates a problem in an Anglo Saxon society. We don’t have authority figures like the Pope, or Bishops, or Cardinals who can speak for societies and countries and people, or absolve them of their sinful acts. At most we have men and women seeking the truth and acquiring knowledge. Once you have achieved a certain amount, you are able then to talk about your deen with conviction and back your argument with facts. That’s what draws people in to the religion that you and I know as Islam.

Imams have a responsiblity to speard the truth. They have a responsibility to know more than their religion. They are required to distinguish fact from superstition and abolish unfounded practices. They are meant to encourage the continual and conscious awareness that Allah (subhanahu wat’ala) hears and knows what we do, at all times, and that we will be held accountable for all our deeds. And above all, in my tiny mind, they are meant to encourage kinship among all men and women. Not hatred and misinformation.

So what do the Muslims do when they need to provide the prying eyes of the world with a representative to speak on all topics, broad as that spectrum may be? When one person needs to be appointed to give an opinion that will become representative not only of Islam but the people that follow it?
How is it that Muslim men and women preaching a misnomer becomes representative of the Entire Muslim Population and Islam?

Why don’t we judge all Christian/Catholic men, women and children for the crimes committed by their leaders (spiritual and political)?

Oh but of course, we aren’t interested in all that now, are we?

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22 thoughts on “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t?

  1. Great analysis. This same person has in the past made other base-less comments. If his stuff was taken out of context.. he should learn how to speak english :). Plus his scholarship has been disputed and contested by his own countrymen. Nevertheless great post!

    -Abbas

  2. Thanks. This is very interesting. Certainly it seems that, having settled on an enemy to replace the now-defunct Communism, the West seeks out and seizes every opportunity to demonize this new enemy. The lack of an official hierarchy in Islam makes it easier for the West to designate ‘spokesmen’ as it deems fit, and ignore any others that do not suit its purposes. It seems there is no way to prevent this means of fueling the fire, is there?

  3. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! I L-O-V-E this post. Just LOVE it. I hate sugar coated pills (I guess you know that about me by now ;-)) I can relate to every word that you have written here. I like it so much I don’t have words to tell you (it happens to me sometimes, don’t worry!)

    Very well done! I’m going to link this to my post on the jerk as a post script.

  4. Pingback: Veil the meat! « Achelois

  5. Abbas: I also heard that he’s a bit crook? Like he took something from Egypt that didn’t belong to him or something (??) My sister was telling me…

    toml: I would refer to history here… ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the Holocaust, Iraq, Palestine… now Australia (?)I dont know I don’t like making such stark comparisons.

    MA: Thanks for that, how did you find this out? I’d like to learn more.

    Suroor: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmwaaaaaaaaaahhhh big squishy kisses *chuckles*

    ps: thanks to all for your encouraging comments, i’m just penning down my thoughts here, if any of them resonates with your own, then i’m humbled. thank you for reading my material.

  6. GIGGLESSSSS!!!!!

    your the bees knees maryam, the cats pyjamas, u rock my socks off so my feet are bare.

    well said sis, u are able to take whats in your brain and pen it down in a coherent and kapow! manner. i applaud thee.

    *chuckles chuckles*

  7. distresses and annoyed with the comments of imman like in moonsoon rain jus storm down the earth after intense heat in summer…….This IMAM is no doubt like a typical , classical MUllah….UK is full of people like that …. and its a routine for the media to make a fun of them which does damage my dignity as a muslim…….
    why people are not vetted on the basis of their experience and thier merit of speech to speak in public?why IMAMs like that are let to play with the wider image of muslims??

    a good analysis after all sister maryam!….we are making an effort to storm them with our weapons of ideas!

  8. Very very well put! Point 4 in particular is right on the money! Plus, I notice there were no brown faces in that group of boys who video’d their sexual assault idiocy. I am yet to hear a prominent voice say this is an example of the deep problems in white suburban families although you can bet that would have been the angle had those smiling faces been brown.

  9. I think organized religion, no matter which one, gives the structure and the “black and whiteness” that people seek out in making sense of life and trying to attain security.

    The difficulty is as man continues to have his input (ie – interpretation of religious teachings, et al), the clarity in religious doctrine is lost and the original effort to avoid insecurity is also lost.

    And it then makes people wonder about God, when in reality the inconsistencies are not related to God but to man.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, we live in a relative world (do you shoot the burglar in your house who is about to kill your loved one?)(is this forbidden because it is murder or not?) and the answers are not always black and white.

    I think organized religion (very important for many people) is demonstrating its limitations in dealing with the realities of the world that we live in.

    I say focus on God, the only true source of love, wisdom and peace and daily pray and try to bring goodness into the world as God would wish.

    Adopt the belief systems that work for oneself (no matter what religion) and accept people as they so choose to be.

    And try to keep one’s sense of humor in the crazy world we live in. It is healthy to laugh at ourselves. 🙂

  10. hey josh43! thank you for your lovely comments.

    i agree with your last statement about keeping a sense of humour. I could write an entire post on it but then that would be divulging private matters… a big Internet no no 🙂

    moving past “organised religion” then, how would you search for/experience God.

  11. “how would you search for God”
    Great question! You sure don’t ask easy questions, do you? 🙂

    Your question is very profound and I certainly do not pretend to know any or all of the “right” answers. Or even answers of any significant merit. I can only communicate my beliefs about life and all my uncertainties and life’s unknowns.

    *********

    I think one does not have to “search for God” since, I believe, he/she is everywhere. Like when a human creates a thought, that thought is a product of that human being. One could argue that therefore the thought could be considered that human being. Since God created everything, everything could be considered God.

    Having said that, I think this is just an exercise in semantics that really serves no purpose (no matter how truthful or false it is) and not what I think you are asking. So…

    *********
    “(how would you) experience God”
    I think woman/man try to relate/experience God as one would try to relate to another human being. But I think God is so much more than that. I think trying to relate to God in this way is certainly understandable because this is the normal way humans function and is within the limits of our abilities. At least as far as with other human beings. With God, I think it is a tougher thing to do.

    I think God is not very accessible if this is how we seek to experience Him or to know Him. Why this is so (if it is so), I am unsure.

    *********

    I think if God were to be omnipresent as an actual entity that we could speak to and interact with in this world, I think this could be seen from God’s perspective as a distraction away from what he really wants us to focus on.

    And I think what he really wants us to focus on is bringing goodness and love into the lives of our fellow human beings on a daily basis. As God working through us.

    By bringing God’s goodness to our coworkers, to the security guard that we walk past each day on the way to our work (it only takes a friendly “hi” or smile to spread God’s goodness), picking up the dropped merchandise for the man who has his hands full in the grocery store, telling a woman she looks nice today. Small things. Nothing big is required.

    Joining the Peace Corps is certainly another very positive way to spread God’s love but certainly not the only way. Or the required way.

    I think many of the “answers” in life are best sought through keeping things simple. I think the hardest thing in this world is to continue to strive to keep things simple. By contrast, I think the easiest thing is to make things complex and complicated.

    Doing simple, helpful things each day and experiencing the feedback is experiencing God.

    *********

    I think the power of God’s love is in the subtly of it. God and therefore God’s love is all around us everyday. We just have to look. If life gets too complicated, one has difficulty in “seeing the forest for the trees“.

    I see God in children and animals and the return smile of a stranger that one has just opened the door for.

    This is one way of experiencing God. Its not the way most people want it or expect it to be because it is so obvious.

    But when one is on the receiving end of the “return smile”, the power of that love is unmistakable.

    God = Love.

    *********

    I work in a Children’s hospital. The kids I work with have a terminal illness called cystic fibrosis. Most do not live past their early 20s. When I “connect” with these kids and we are having “fun”, I experience God in a way that leaves no doubt in my mind that I have been directly touched by God. Hopefully, they feel the same way.

    Like this post, I like to discuss life and God with them. I try to do it in a simple and uncomplicated way. Very generic like. I like to ask questions and let them lead the conversation. One of my favorite things to do (only when they are ready) is to hear their ideas on dying.

    It is not an easy subject to approach so I start with the question:

    Before you were born, do you think your soul existed?

    Most people have never heard this question and it usually gets them thinking. From this, going to other side of life (dying) is a natural transition.

    Just letting them verbalize things (let them think out loud) and me trying to emphasize the positive (no absolutes of what is real), I think can be very helpful in overcoming their fears.

    We have an 18 year old girl that is living her last days right now. I have known her since she was about 7 years old.

    People say, is it not hard to go through this. Sure but I say I feel very lucky and honored to know these kids and hopefully I have done some small part in helping them to “experience God” through my interactions with them.

    God is my religion. Love and goodness is the teaching of this “religion”. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    God and Love through simplicity.

  12. “Uncertainties” and “Unknowns”

    The comment below was just a thought I had last night. I am not sure or “certain” I even believe it. This was just a part of the contemplative or introspective process stimulated by your excellent question. Even with all its uncertainty, I relish this process. It keeps me thinking about God throughout the day. A wonderful experience.

    *******

    I do know I would certainly welcome God being ever present in human, physical form. To be able to “connect” with God in such a manner would be just spectacular.

    *******

    Why God chooses to only send the occasional prophet and not his actual self in physical form is an unknown that is beyond me.

    I do think though that God has a reason for all his ways and methods and is wise beyond belief.

    *******

    “I think if God were to be omnipresent as an actual entity that we could speak to and interact with in this world, I think this could be seen from God’s perspective as a distraction away from what he really wants us to focus on.”

  13. Ali v Spencer – Apostacy
    As much as I enjoy the debate, and I sure hope they keep it going (maybe even make it a regular feature), what is going on over at Ali and Spencer’s blogs is a good example of the value of simplicity.

    http://eteraz.wordpress.com/2006/11/09/more-on-the-apostasy-hadith/#comments

    *******

    Who are the qualified scholars in the religion of (insert)?

    And even if one has access to these “qualified” scholars, it is not uncommon for even experts to disagree.

    What kind of spiritual guidance can the average seeker obtain if one does not even have access to one of these highly qualified scholars?

    I think sometimes common sense is the most obvious and simplest answer.

    ********

    People should be free to practice or change religions according to their free will (that God gave them) without the threat of being killed.

    Simple.

    *******

    I think the comments by Yursil speaks volumes about the difficulties in finding “truth” when things get too complicated.

    As is currently being demonstrated by Spencer and Ali.

    *********

    “I got to wonder, why do you enterain these discussions?

    I mean we both know none of us are truly qualified to engage in any form of anaylsis of hadith.

    Why don’t we start as square one: the people.

    Who are the actual people, name names, who think specific apostates deserve to die.

    I want to see one traditionalist scholar in that midst, not a Wahabi or the Iranian equivilant of Wahabi.

    The ones who are teaching this stuff now, like Imam’s Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Nuh Keller, Habib Ali Jafri, etc.

    Whatever we may think of them as individuals or scholars… one of those that actually speak at Muslim conferences please?

    Also, no hypotheticals, no analysis, but real judgement onan individual.

    Comment by Yursil — November 9, 2006 @ 9:35 pm
    #

    the point is, no one understands apostasy laws except the ones who are supposed to be trained in its judgement. And -none- of them, even the more abrupt GF Haddad are calling for anyone to die. Wonder why that is?

    Finally, like pretty much everything that comes to the Shariah and, well, life… the end all is that the Muslim ruler of the land trumps all. If we can have one that is compassionate, then we’ll be compassionate. If we have one thats a maniac, we’ll bomb countries, wipe out children through embargo’s, and wiretap phones.

    It’s that simple, I wonder why people like Spencer (and Ali sometimes) waste time talking like the terrorists themselves (according to my Sahih bukhari chapter 3 part iv subsection 2 and add this dash of matn analysis here and there and don’t forget some advanced isnad tricks at chain 3)

    I mean, come on.

    Comment by Yursil — November 9, 2006 @ 9:49 pm”

  14. “Also, no hypotheticals, no analysis, but REAL JUDGEMENT onan individual.

    *******

    the point is, no one understands apostasy laws except the ones who are supposed to be trained in its JUDGEMENT.”

    Yursil uses the word JUDGEMENT twice.

    JUDGEMENT is JUDGEMENT is JUDGEMENT.

    When man is involved (no matter the extent of one’s scholarly background), human imperfection is always a factor to be considered.

  15. Sorry.

    My comments were meant to show that simplicity is where truth is found. I had transitioned away from how one “experiences God” and into solely simplicity.

    Again, I’m sorry. My bad.

    *********

    The overall attempt was to show how simplicity in life, whether it be in experiencing God or as guidance in living one’s life, can lead to truth.

    The debate on apostasy (guidance as to whether it is acceptable to entertain another religion’s belief’s system = guidance in living one’s life) is an example of how complicated things can get when exploring scripture in depth. It becomes very easy for one to lose sight of the most obvious, simple answer.

    And that answer is (for me):
    People should be free to practice or change religions according to their free will (that God gave them) without the threat of being killed.

    Simple.

    But look at the complexities and mental gymnastics that Ali and Spencer and the commenters go through in ascertaining the same truth relative to apostasy.

    *******

    I had also tried to demonstrate that experiencing God is also of a simple nature by the examples that I set forth in my previous post.

    As you summarized my comments:
    “so all in all, KEEP IT SIMPLE (and be a good person).”

    Ali and Spencer and “organized religion” do not keep things simple, thus making finding truth all that much more elusive.

    And apostasy is a perfect example of an obvious truth (people should not be killed for apostasy) that gets hidden in scripture and man’s excessive analysis.

    “They can’t see the forest for the trees.”

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