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Archive for category Global Islam

Other People’s History: Contemporary Islam and Figures of Early Modern European Dissent by Sadia Abbas


Other People’s History:
Contemporary Islam and Figures of Early Modern European Dissent

Sadia Abbas

“The Hanging” by Jacques Callot, ca. 1633

     1. Everyone seems to think Islam needs a Reformation. The demand is almost ubiquitous. Neoconservatives have made it part of their radical project for the transformation of the planet. FrontPagemag.com, David Horowitz’s Neo-McCarthyite online journal has hosted, along with columns by Ann Coulter and Daniel Pipes, an entire symposium on “The Islamic Reformation.”1On the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, too, declared that Islam needed one, which gives us a good idea of how that reformation is meant to proceed.2 Liberals have joined the chorus. Salman Rushdie has recently said a Reformation is just what Islam requires.3 Sometimes Islam’s very permission to remain on the planet seems to depend upon it.

     2. It is perhaps hard to appreciate the full incongruity of a Zionist neoconservative, like Wolfowitz, in a government headed by a Methodist evangelical, urging upon a third religion the doctrinal revolution associated with Western Christianity; and, of course, the change being urged is not only doctrinal. This Reformation is meant to bring Islamic societies into line with liberalism, neoliberalism, and neoconservatism, all at once. It can become difficult to tell liberals and conservatives apart when it comes to sorting out their views on Islam.

     3. Wolfowitz and his cohort don’t usually explain what they mean by the Reformation, so one can reasonably assume they have the term’s most popular and conventional meanings in mind. Theirs is the Reformation of textbook Whiggish fantasy — Cliff notes for Weber: Protestantism, the inward turn, the authority of individual conscience, the rise of bourgeois self-discipline, the welcome creep of capitalism. Most often, it is simply a symbol, or an agent, of modernity.

     4. The idea seems to be, broadly, that the Reformation’s inward turn — its rejection of law and ritual in favour of a vividly experienced faith — will automatically lead to the kinds of developments so dearly desired for the Muslim world, that there is an automatic, inherent, natural connection between capitalism, personal freedom and something called the Reformation, which was once Christian but now must be the future of all religions. The inward turn comes with an outward teleology. Reformation can only lead to one historical end: the achievement of whatever is considered by the speaker to be the ideal of Western modernity.

     5. In the account I’m describing, the Reformation lies congealed as the moment in European history when interior belief turned into the institutional challenge; the inward turn was a fist in the face of a corrupt Catholic church auctioning salvation. If we graft this understanding onto the current Muslim situation, we might conclude that these hypothetical Protestants for Allah will challenge the mothballed traditionalism that permeates every aspect of Muslim life, and that prevents the entrapped moderates from fighting the worst backward-looking jihadist ideologies.

Consider, for instance, the following examples:
The moderator for Frontpagemag asks:
Does Islam need a reformation? How come it never had one? Why is self-criticism and self-questioning almost unheard of in Islam?4

A PLO guerilla turned evangelical Christian and Zionist, Walid Shoebat responds:

Christian reformation started when followers went to the text and the founders of the faith who clearly prohibited genocide and murder. Yet Muslims cannot do the same, since the founders themselves (Muhammad the prophet of Islam, the Sahaba, and the Caliphs) all participated in Jihad by killing infidels and whoever opposed the Islamic system.
This is why the talk of reformation can never be by “re-interpretation” but “confession”.
Is this panel ready to do that?5

Sheobat is challenging the other panelists who are reform-oriented Muslims. They, in turn, give complicated answers that refuse to concede the moderator’s claim that self-criticism is almost unheard of in Islam. Nonetheless, the naked bigotry of many of the proponents of this position is fully in view.

     6. In the different context of a Washington Post Op-Ed, Salman Rushdie writes:

     What is needed is a move beyond tradition — nothing less than a reform movement to bring the core concepts of Islam into the modern age, a Muslim Reformation to combat not only the jihadist ideologues but also the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists, throwing open the windows to let in much-needed fresh air.

     It would be good to see governments and community leaders inside the Muslim world as well as outside it throwing their weight behind this idea, because creating and sustaining such a reform movement will require above all a new educational impetus whose results may take a generation to be felt, a new scholarship to replace the literalist diktats and narrow dogmatisms that plague present-day Muslim thinking. It is high time, for starters, that Muslims were able to study the revelation of their religion as an event inside history, not supernaturally above it.6

Rushdie’s thought is often intellectually cluttered, as it is here. Within the piece, he is concerned to point out that the Muslim Council of Britain’s head, Iqbal Sacranie, is complicit with the most degraded reactionary positions. Sacranie did say after The Satanic Verses was published that death was “too good” for Rushdie, and has been engaged in a policy of radical denial, regarding the growth of jihadist thought, and of jihadist bullying of other Muslims, in Britain.7 Since the fatwa he has been trying to portray himself as a moderate. Nevertheless, what’s particularly bizarre in Rushdie’s argument, if one can call it that, is that he starts by invoking a kind of anti-seminarian vision of Protestant theological individualism, but then seems to want to talk about Reformation as a form of secularization. Islam needs to become less of a religion in order to reform: it needs to shed its supernatural components.

     7. If Reformation can be read as secular in this way, let’s stretch the analogy in a different direction. Even the most spiritualized accounts of the Reformation see it as a challenge to a massive and powerful institutional structure that spread across Europe and beyond. If there is a contemporary network of institutions that has anything like the same geographical reach and purchase, it is the World Bank, the IMF, Nato, the U.S. military, a crippled and hostage United Nations — in other words, the institutions that are usually used as tools of imperial domination. These institutions may not be religious, but they do demand extraordinary acts of submission and affiliation. It is not that farfetched to suggest that the militant Islamists are most closely engaged in the Reformation the neo-conservatives think they are enjoining when they attack these institutions of Western imperial domination.

     8. It is, of course, hardly a surprise that the neoconservatives and neoliberals do not see themselves as part of the problem. In the discursive cluster represented by these examples, the Reformation is nothing other than an amnesiac vehicle for self-flattery, and for a blockage of precisely what its name has come to represent: the institution of further and ongoing reform within the West of its most cherished political, economic and intellectual orthodoxies. One would never know from these discussions that sectarian rivers of blood flowed during the Reformation, that religious violence is a pervasive concern in early modern thought. Christopher Marlowe’s Massacre at Paris and Milton’s “On the Massacre in Piedmont,” are haunted by a fear of and anger at the massacre. Samson Agonistes is tempted by it. Montaigne’s Apology for Raymond Sebond and “Of Cannibals” are shaped by the imperative to keep violence at bay. Phineas Fletcher’s The Apollyonists and Spenser’s The Faerie Queene are exultantly bloodthirsty sectarian texts.

     9. Against the still unfolding apocalypse of America’s and Britain’s newly naked imperialism and the violence of such sanctimonious calls for reform as I have mentioned, postcolonial skepticism regarding narratives of Western progress, modernity and teleology acquires a renewed and disturbing intelligibility — even to those of us who are wary of the settling of anti-teleological modes of historical thinking into uninstructive academic cliché.

     10. Anti-teleological thought tends to take as its target the notion that all history must lead to a Western ideal of modernity. The bundle of characteristics in this modernity varies, but can include any combination of a fairly familiar list of sins: a critical distance between academic subject and “superstitious” religious object of scrutiny and scholarship, a tendency to erase the past, the (secular) tendency to alienate and rationalize lived (religious) experience, a disabling suspicion of tradition, an enshrinement of the totalizing conceptual grab of reason, the erasure of local worlds under the abstraction-generating universalizing violence of Western thought.8

     11. Anti-teleological thought need not accept every aspect of this cluster and is not always opposed to finding configurations of the modern outside the West. It functions frequently simply to characterize and dismiss views uncongenial to the person availing herself of its critical charge. My point is not to support teleological thinking and its commitment to historical or metaphysical narratives of inevitability, but to think carefully about what opposition to it bans, and, more importantly, about the fiat by which an entire host of historical developments and political and conceptual commitments can be called into question by a series of metonymic displacements. Thus, for instance, secular commitments can be called into question simply through their ostensible philosophical dependency upon Western teleologies, upon the idea of teleology itself.

     12. Within the critical schemes of anti-teleological and anti-modern thought, comparisons between the postcolonial — the word seems like an increasingly egregious misnomer — present and the European, or Western, past appear strictly forbidden. Anti-teleological arguments make any talk of an “Islamic Reformation” automatically suspect if the presence of the term in Wolfowitz’s mouth had not already curdled it. The very term “Islamic Reformation” is a case study in Western narratives of teleological development. The term is an explicit example of a European historical category flung in judgment at the non-European world to show its backwardness in the temporal race, to hurry it along, but to show simultaneously that it will always be behind.

     13. If to compare current events in the postcolonial world to Europe’s past is to participate in the ideology of empire, analogizing contemporary events in the Muslim world to Reformation religious strife in Europe would seem to partake of the worst sins of European historical consciousness. What then are we to do with the circulation of the term, and figures associated with it, in contemporary Muslim and Arab discourse? What are we to do with the comparisons that are made by Muslim and Arab thinkers — who are not Westernized in the way of Rushdie — themselves?

     14. Despite the taboos installed by contemporary theory, Muslim and Arab thinkers routinely compare East and West. Some enjoin a Reformation, others compare aspects of the current Muslim situation to it, many disavow the analogy and then let it back in anyway as if there were no escape from the comparison. As is only to be expected, in this context the term acquires a dramatically different weight and is put to different uses. Sometimes, in both East and West, what has been going on in different parts of the Muslim world since 1979, the year of the Iranian revolution, is analogized to early modern European strife. The analogy is occasionally extended, as when threatened Muslim writers are compared to figures of European dissent such as Giordano Bruno and Galileo. So one might encounter a list that includes Farag Foda, Salman Rushdie, Bruno, Galileo, Naguib Mahfouz and Ibn Rwandi. Even though our current teleo-skepticism suggests that all such analogies inherently serve the empire, the very opposite can turn out to be the case. To think contrapuntally, as Edward Said enjoined, is to think comparatively. Banning the analogy preemptively cedes far too much to an evolutionary account of Western political history. Critical analogical thinking is a necessity in our globalized world — if fearlessly contrapuntal, it can exert tremendous pressure upon Western mythographies.9

     15. The examples that follow showcase a chronic anxiety about belatedness and a fear of being conscripted into Western teleologies, but we also see that when progressive Muslims embrace, or even skittishly disavow and then tentatively entertain the analogy, it is not teleological — if only because their understandings are predicated on a more complex, less triumphalist, reading of European history than either Rushdie or Wolfowitz possess. Their readings of the analogy often see secularism, enlightenment, toleration as pragmatic accommodations prompted by an exploding Europe trying to survive its own violence. Such readings are far indeed from the numinous vision of secular modernity as the manifest destiny of an “always already” enlightened Europe — a Europe whose most convulsed religious moment must be read as immanently secular.

     16. Although sectarian is not how the West likes to think of itself, it’s worth remembering that even the call for Reformation is an ongoing reminder of sectarian schism, like a metaphor that refuses to die a decently invisible death. When the neoconservatives imply that the world needs more Protestantism, they reveal what is hidden at the heart of one of the West’s most cherished images of its own modernity: a vision of Catholicism as a moribund sect, embodying all that is still understood as retrograde in a history the West likes to think it has surpassed. Can you help but wonder how the Catholics feel every time they hear that the problem with Islam is that it isn’t enough like Protestantism, that it’s too much like Catholicism?

     17. Reformation and its assumed outcomes encode an entire discourse about politics, dissent and change under conditions of Western political and discursive domination. What is up for contest is nothing less than the morality of a conception of European history that interprets the Reformation, Enlightenment, an extraordinarily inflated conception of individual autonomy, and secularism as the manifest destiny of European modernity, an unfolding of time stretched taut upon the gradually revealed moral laws of the socio-political evolution of the West. The supposed inevitability of this story is itself meant to stand witness to the political and moral superiority of the West. At stake in this discussion are the political morality of European time and the very possibility of dissent and change in the spaces the West continues to imperil.

     18. Let’s start with those who are wary of the comparison. In Progressive Muslim: On Gender, Justice, and Pluralism, a volume responding to September 11, Omid Safi, a scholar based in the U.S. Academy, brings together a number of other Muslims, all of whom are concerned to produce progressive interpretations of Islam. In the introduction, he addresses the question of whether the contributors have embarked on a “sort of “Islamic Reformation.” “The question [he says] is usually asked seriously, and it deserves a serious answer. The answer is both yes and no.”10 He takes seriously a thinker such as Abdullahi an-Na’im, the Sudanese scholar, who has argued passionately for the usefulness of the term, but has trouble with it for a number of reasons. Since many people have in mind the “Protestant Reformation, as initiated by Martin Luther: when they enjoin an Islamic one, he is uncomfortable.11 The project of progressive Muslims is not to develop a “Protestant” Islam as distinct from a “Catholic version.” By this he seems to mean only that the intention is not sectarian and divisive; it is not to make some segments of Islam separate from others. This, of course, simply reminds us of the strife unleashed by the Reformation.

     19. He is also “dubious” about the notion that other religious traditions needs must follow “the historical and cultural course of action laid out by the Christian tradition.”12 The term implies to him “a notion of a significant break with the past.” It is not a break he is willing to accept; and he offers instead a view of the “progressive Muslim project” as “not so much an epistemological rupture from what has come before as a fine-tuning, a polishing, a grooming, and editing, a re-emphasizing of this and a correction of that. In short, it is a critical engagement with the heritage of Islamic thought, rather than a casual bypassing of its accomplishments.”13

     20. Of course, Luther and early Reformers did not think they were breaking with the Christian past, or, initially, even with the Catholic church. The project was rather to restore to Christianity a burnished and cleansed original true church.14 Re-emphasis and fine-tuning are precisely what the Reformers were after.

     21. The branding of the progressive Muslim thinker Abdolkarim Soroush as an “Iranian Luther” is inadequate because it particularizes to one person a project in which many more are engaged. As Safi says, “At least in our group of progressive Muslims there are no would be Luther’s. There are, however, Ebrahim Moosa and Zohara Simmons, Sa’adiyya Shaikh, etc., and that is what matters here. Let us engage issues, not attempt to mold each other into the shape of long-dead icons.”15 Then Safi goes on to give another reason. He reports on a question he was asked at a liberal arts college on what he thought of the fact that “many economic and social factors (rise of the middle class, increase in literacy etc.)” had to be in place before the “Protestant Reformation could occur in Europe. The answer came clear to my heart: we cannot wait. There are clearly far too many places in the Muslim world that suffer from an appalling lack of literacy, huge and ever-growing socio-economic gaps between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” political tyranny, religious exclusivism, gender injustice, etc. We do not have the luxury of sitting idly by in the vague hope that changes will take place before we start dealing with these difficult issues.”16 Perhaps most interesting at the moment is the sense that the urgencies of the situation are ultimately greater than the terminological dispute, which, even as it shows the West’s habitual blindness to itself, elicits the insight that the difficulties require more than yet another referendum on the colonial encounter, and that the responsible believer does not have the luxury of social rest. At this moment, using a term borrowed from history acts as an impediment to necessary political action, because it commits one to reproducing the conditions that might have prevailed at the time. Thus is history hobbled and deferred, adduced to say “maybe not yet,” and change consigned to the waiting room of historical law.

     22. A second case: In a scholarly article, about the cross-influences between revival groups in Egypt, Pakistan, and Sudan, Abdelwahab el-Affendi writes:

There are at least two main problems with the ‘Reformation’ approach to Muslim thought and history. It is now well-known that the Eurocentric and teleological assumptions behind it — which see the history of Christianity in Europe as a model that every religion must go through — cannot withstand serious examination. It is not at all necessary that a religion should undergo a Reformation, nor does it follow that Reformation has to lead eventually to secularism. But, second and more important still, the ‘messianic’ waiting for that inevitable Muslim Luther neglects the important fact that Islam was itself an earlier Reformation of the Abrahamic heritage. The main criticisms which Luther leveled against the privileged carriers of the message in favour of the message itself, and his emphasis on the individual spiritual dimension of the faith, are recurrent themes in the Qur’an. This is the secret of Islam’s vitality and resistance to erosion by the corrosive forces of modernity.17

El-Affendi casually turns the tables by calling Islam the earlier Reformation. Islam does not need to be corrected or updated because it has itself already rectified the other monotheisms. In this version, the teleology of modernity is trumped, even transcended, by the eschatology shared by Islam and Christianity. That some scholars defend Islam by attacking teleological thought is simply silly. Islam comes with its own sacral teleology, its own apocalyptic historical ends. It is profoundly contradictory to attack progress narratives when you end up implicitly defending the far more extravagant historical ends of eschatology.18

     23. It is this eschatology that makes it mistaken to read Islam, as Orientalists have, as a belated and derivative latecomer on the religious and world-historical scene. For, from the point of view El-Affendi presents here, Islam is instead an improver and perfecter of the earlier monotheisms. In this, it is not different from a Christianity that understands itself as furthering God’s plan by exceeding and correcting Judaism.

     24. El-Affendi might be resisting modernity in his designation of Islam’s origins as a Reformation, but this vision of the achievement of a divine, historical plan comes with its own narrative of historical progress, and of the future. Can we really separate modern universalist thought from the Muslim philosophical tradition? What if we read the history of the monotheisms as series of doctrinal civil wars — Abraham’s children wrestling each other in a long philosophical contest, whose arena is the space of human time, of history itself?

     25. Against this discursive and conceptual backdrop, Talal Asad’s quintessentially teleo-skeptical view of what he designates as a specifically Western eighteenth-century notion of historical time and progress is strangely inadequate:

It was in Europe’s eighteenth century that the older, Christian attitudes toward historical time (salvational expectation) were combined with the newer, secular practices (rational prediction) to give us our modern idea of progress. A new philosophy of agency was also developed, allowing individual actions to be related to collective tendencies. From the Enlightenment philosophes, through the Victorian evolutionist thinkers, to the experts on economic and political development in the latter half of the twentieth century, one assumption has been constant: to make history, the agent must create the future, remake herself, and help others to do so, where the criteria of successful remaking are seen to be universal. Old universes must be subverted and a new universe created. To that extent, history can be made only on the back of a universal teleology. Actions seeking to maintain the “local” status quo, or to follow local models of social life, do not qualify as history making. From the Cargo cults of Melanesia to the Islamic Revolution in Iran, they merely attempt (hopelessly) “to resist the future” or “to turn back the clock of history.”19

As an account of the self-understanding, through the prism of which the West might view the rest of the world, this may be accurate, but, in Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam and Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity, Asad also seems to accept the story he presents here.

     26. In both these books, Asad seems to want to say that there’s something wrong with this account: it’s an imposition. But his mode of resisting the account is to implicitly endorse the nonwestern “Others” he offers as, happily “local,” alternatives. Their greatest claim to anti-imperialist defiance lies in their radical difference. Asad’s is part of a body of scholarship and theory in which secularism, liberalism, ideals of individual autonomy and modernity are taken to coalesce into one imperialist complex. Religion is produced as the pure, authentic, unalienated alternative to Western hegemony, subversive and an exemplary preserver of temporal, spatial, and conceptual difference.20 The opposition thus set up stabilizes the Whiggish narrative. Where a Whig historian might see these developments as a mark of Western superiority, Asad seems to see them as evidence of its rotting underbelly, lying flat and stiflingly heavy on “local” worlds.

     27. Aamir Mufti has argued that the West is a series of plots and narratives for Asad and that its dominance lies in the convincing nature of its stories. Mufti is right, but I would like to add an accent: the West is a Whiggish and temporal narrative for Asad — although, his genealogical and Foucauldian procedure makes it a skittishly rendered one.21 The most modern thing about Europe is that it thinks it’s modern. Modernity and, implicitly, Western imperialism can thus be challenged by imagining other worlds.

     28. It could be argued that — when he ordered the smashing of the idols in Mecca, inscribed the idea of Paradise, claimed for Islam the history of Judaism and Christianity, of the people of the book, effectively of all monotheism — Mohammad (PBUH) was putting into effect a version of history that not only bore a remarkable resemblance to Christian conceptions of salvational time but was an active re-formulation and reclamation of them. Universal teleology seems precisely the wrong site to separate Christianity from Islam, or a secular present from the past, either Muslim or Christian. And prediction was already a goal for pre-Copernican astronomy, so a “newer, secular” prediction is hard to parse. Mohammad’s smashing of the idols was, moreover, hardly an act of circumspect self-effacement, hardly a relinquishing of a future-oriented agency. Perhaps the combination is new, but still not as pathologically Western as Asad might have it. The generalizing sweep of the historical bricolage presented in the passage violates every precept of contingency and particularity of Asad’s otherwise Foucauldian anthropology.

     29. In contrast, Abdullahi An-Naim, a Sudanese human rights activist, and legal scholar insists that Islam does need a Reformation. He argues that Muslim fury — a justified response to imperial aggression and neoimperialist encroachment — has led to a situation in which Muslims have tried to reinstitute shari’a, the historical principles of Islamic law and ethics based on the Qur’an and Sunnah, as if centuries had not intervened between the time it was in effect and the present. Some have suggested shari’a should be open to ijtihad, which he translates as “juristic reasoning,” in order to make it consonant with the times.22 However, since ijtihad can only be exercised in matters not covered by the “clear and categorical texts of the Quran and Sunnah,” its scope needs must be limited. His suggestion is that the concept of ijtihad itself be revised so that it can address matters that appear categorical even within the Quran and Sunnah.23 This is necessary because within the modern world An-Na’im believes a principle of reciprocity (which he calls the idea that one ought to treat others as one would wish to be treated oneself) is crucial in addition to a nationalist, anti-colonial right to self-determination. Within international relations, intercommunal relations within nation-states, relations between individuals or within the state or community at large, this principle needs to prevail if the political costs are not to be severe.24 New hermeneutic principles are required, correctable guidelines that would explain which features of Islam are open to reinterpretation and how they are to be interpreted. This process he calls an Islamic Reformation.

     30. About the term, he goes on to say:

The notion of reformation evokes images of a Lutheran revolt against the dogma and hierarchy of the Catholic church and the evolution of the European “Enlightenment.” This should not deter us from applying the term to other situations, because, in essence, it signifies the challenge of any dogma and the exposure of any tradition to a different or novel tradition. . . . An Islamic Reformation does not mean secularization because Islam is not Christianity and the Muslim world is not Europe. . . . An Islamic Reformation cannot be a belated and poor copy of the European Christian model. It will have to be an indigenous and authentically Islamic process if it is to be a reformation at all.25

An-Naim’s argument twists and turns, and it is hard to determine why exactly he feels the need to embrace the term. He does so, to some extent, because he is claiming for himself a genealogy of Muslim modernists, many of whom were influenced by, but who also reacted against, the West. His embrace of the term is also polemical, prompted by a commitment to acknowledging the need for critique and change, which, within the postcolonial context, is inextricable from the depredations of colonial and imperial aggression.26 One depredation, among many, is an anti-imperialist reaction that imagines an ethically perfect pre-colonial past and is committed to reproducing this imagined idyll. An-Na’im’s adherence to the term becomes a way of refusing a mode of Muslim apologetics that rejects all progressive reform as Western.

     31. But An-Na’im’s argument does not concede the cultural superiority of the West or deny the violence of colonial and imperial aggression. Ironically, by broadening the scope of the idea of reform, it seems a way to claim a space for change despite conditions of Western hegemony. One of the more complex consequences of this hegemony is the difficulty of sustaining and initiating internal social critique because it so often appears to echo the challenges of those in the West who have imperialist agendas. But An-Na’im’s language also provides a way of denying certain Western uses of the term, and any exclusive Western claim on a modernity that is repeatedly seen as contingent upon this historical moment. It becomes a way of pressing the urgency of internal imperatives within a larger planetary context, of insisting that Muslims are capable of being political and reforming agents themselves, and of refusing to accept a morally and politically corrosive bad faith that points to imperial aggression as a way of foreclosing internal reform, indeed of denying its necessity.

     32. An-Na’im concludes the article by saying that since in Islam the link between the divine and the temporal is too strong “to admit of a stable and lasting secularization” the “ideal answer” appears to be an Islamic Reformation.” However, he says, barring that outcome, “as an Arabized Muslim whose loyalty is to the cause of justice and peace for all Sudanese, [he] would rather live in a secularized Sudan than in one ruled by Islamic Shari’a.”27 The final recourse to secularism is tellingly framed. It emerges as a pragmatic necessity embraced even by one who might rather have a reconfigured Muslim framework for law, not as an intrinsically ethical historical good.

     33. An-Na’im published the article I discuss above in response to the Rushdie affair. The ideas are developed more fully in his book, Towards an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and International Law (1996). The Rushdie affair was the first shot fired in the new internationalist phase of Islamist militancy, and, despite the gradual (and perhaps psychologically understandable) degeneration of Rushdie’s own rhetoric and thought after the fatwa, the conversation that arose around it continues to be useful for thinking about issues of dissent and social change in the Muslim and Arab context. In For Rushdie: Arab and Muslim Writers in Defense of Free Speech (1993), a volume to which Edward Said contributed, Emile Habibi, the Israeli-Arab writer, and a member of the Communist Party of Palestine under the British Mandate, writes:

If our civilization were resolutely honest and of good faith, it would have immortalized the name of Farag Foda beside those of Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno.

     The whole of European civilization is based on the teachings of the sage Socrates who preferred drinking poison over making concessions to rationality. There, in truth, is the essence of all civilization, be it Western or Eastern. But how many educated Europeans know the name of Abou-l’-Ala Maarri, [sic-Abul Al’ Ma’arri] who also died of poison, having never compromised his own beliefs: “I have no other Imam but my reason.”

     Another deficiency of contemporary global civilization is precisely that it has not yet become truly global, at least not in content. It is rather a question of closed upon themselves . . . refusing to recognize how they participate in one another.28

Habibi’s fatuous reference to Socrates repeats some European fantasies about European civilization. But this reference to Bruno and Galileo provides a way of issuing a challenge to the West, and to defenders of Rushdie, to have about the “East” an honest equity of knowledge, to recognize in truly global terms the history of human heterodoxy, and the persecutions dissent encounters. Bruno and Galileo enable both the naming of dissent and the identification of a cultural blindness that fails to recognize “civilization” in others.

     34. In the same volume, Sadik J. Al-Azm, a Syrian Marxist and philosopher, and one of the leading secularists in the Arab world concludes an acerbic essay by invoking the Galileo affair as well:

Do not forget it was only in November 1992 that the Catholic Church’s clerical hierarchy formally admitted having done nothing [sic] wrong to Galileo. Remember that the mills of the gods grind very slowly on both sides of the East-West divide, and try to learn a thing or two from the historical experience of the Catholic church in never admitting to a major error, but always proceeding to aufgehoben that error after assimilating it.29

For these writers, responding with a kind of sardonic despair to the Rushdie affair, the East-West encounter is inescapable — as a historical narrative, a set of intellectual skirmishes, a series of political confrontations and an ongoing imperialist geopolitical reality. The imbrication of these names, narratives, and realities is the spot from which they have to begin in order to launch their dissent. In this, they are exemplary figures in the political, ethical and historical entanglement that are postcoloniality, or even imperialism itself. The space for individual dissent available within this entanglement is already limited and always shrinking, but it is not a space they are willing to surrender. That would be the final triumph of imperialism — a complete evisceration of the language of dissent which deprives the colonized of even the dignity of dissidence.

     35. In a recent talk delivered in Germany, discussing and defending the possibility of secular humanism within an Islamic context, Al-Azm describes the last quarter of the nineteenth-century in the Arab and Muslim world. The century witnessed a “great movement of liberal reform and latitudinarian religious interpretation in Arab life and thought.” He tells us that this period has been variously named by “ourselves” as well as Western scholars “a Renaissance, religious reformation, the liberal experiment, Muslim modernism, the liberal age of modern Arab thought.” According to him, this movement compressed in itself “a theological reformation, a literary-intellectual renaissance, a rational-scientific enlightenment of sorts and a political and ideological aggiornamento well.”30 If a descendant of this movement were asked if Islam and secular humanism are compatible, the answer, he claims, would be a resounding yes.

     36. He also then goes on to describe the reaction that this trend produced as a form of “counter-Reformation and as a Muslim fundamentalist movement.” The reaction, he argues, crystallized at “the moment of the establishment of the Muslim Brothers movement in Egypt in 1928.” He goes on to say that anyone who regards himself as an adherent of this movement would say “no” in response to the questions: “Are Islam and secularism compatible?” and “Are Islam and democracy compatible?”

     37. Al-Azm raises the stakes on the notion of an Islamic Reformation by openly invoking the idea of an Islamist Counter-Reformation. Although he does not elaborate on its historical meaning, bringing in the idea of the counter-reformation completes the despairing dialectic from within. European history provides the terms of both sides of an internal argument. Of course, the analogy also breaks down because it is not tidily translatable; we are not talking about Wittenberg and the Council of Trent. Analogies, like allegory, rarely lend themselves to perfect correspondence. The dialectic, as is so often the case in the anti-imperialist context, is both specific to itself and internal, in permanent dialogue with the West, from which ideas are borrowed, rejected, radically adapted and changed and used to challenge the West on terms that hold it accountable to its own history — which, for better or for worse, is also everyone else’s.31

     38. Al-Azm’s implicit reminder is that it is a history of fits and starts, and hardly qualifies for the smoothly linear inevitability of self-flattering fantasies of achieved progress. Of course, it is unlikely that Wolfowitz’s vision of Reformation includes reactionary retrenchment, the Council of Trent, Cardinal Bellarmine, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, Ignatius of Loyola, Catholic martyrdom, or the rejection of Erasmian humanism, even as he and his fellows are themselves purveyors of destruction and reaction.

     39. In Genealogies of Religion, Asad writes that non-Westerners seeking to understand their own, “local histories must also inquire into Europe’s past because it is through the latter that universal history has been constructed. That history defines the former as merely “local” — that is, as histories with limits.” The European Enlightenment constitutes for him the historical position from which Westerners typically approach non-Western traditions. As a result of this, Islamic states are seen as absolutist and devoid of public criticism. Asad’s project, then, is to show the “local” purchase of illiberal critiques of the state. He declares that anthropologists who “seek to describe rather than to moralize will consider each tradition in its own terms — even as it has come to be reconstituted by modern forces.”32 Yet, what precisely constitutes an Islamic tradition is exactly what is up for grabs in Arab and Muslim thought. Is tradition a set of practices, a set of texts, a cluster of self-understandings, or all of these? Is modernity — as Asad’s own smuggled in reference to the reconstitutive power of modern forces suggests — not part of the Muslim tradition today?

     40. What is not at all clear in Asad’s account is how the tradition is to be understood on its own terms? Where do we find these terms? How do we retrieve them? Asad’s procedure for reconciling the tension is simply to designate anyone who tries to argue for secularism Westernized, to insinuate that one cannot be secular and authentically Muslim, or Asian, or non-Western.33He recasts secularism as cultural treason. Although Asad periodically, strategically registers his distance from Foucault, his argument is thoroughly Foucauldian. Indeed, one could argue, he is himself a product of the Foucauldian episteme: torn between Foucault’s epistemic monolithicism and his contrary invocation of the local.

     41. Asad’s insistence that secularism in the West has come out of a particular history is valuable enough, but when he brackets the European past in this way — as just another local intellectual history — he cannot help but understate the global reach and insidious power of colonialism. Thus the strange paradox: Empire attempts to universalize, subsuming local differences. The local must be asserted in order to resist Empire. But it turns out that Empire was never as universalizing as we thought it was because the local has its own apparently untouchable history. In fact, the “local” is only that which is untouched. The West is, above all, a narrative for Asad; and the “local” is simply a space outside that story and the time it generates. But how is the claim for separate temporalities to be made in the contemporary globalized world? How is it to be made within the cosmic eschatology of monotheism? Does Asad’s Islam have a local god? Perhaps his Allah is a river nymph?

     42. Now, one could say, following Mufti, that Asad is engaged in something like the “tense balancing act,” Mufti argues, Said undertakes in Orientalism, that Asad, like Said, is attempting to account for the power of Orientalist description over Muslim societies, “while insisting at the same time that no system is so powerful as to conquer and exhaust, and thus invent, its human objects entirely.”34 But the kind of division Asad ends up stabilizing between East and West is precisely unlike Said’s subtle, and frequently reworked, contrapuntal humanism.

     43. Asad’s engagement with Western history is chronically selective. He argues, for example, that “conscience” is a modern, seventeenth-century, notion. He can only do this by refusing to engage the history of heresy in his own genealogical account of Christianity and Western individualism. But — as David Aers once argued in a powerful challenge to new historicist hegemony in early modern circles — heresy is one of the concepts over which the account of early modern history, as radically separate from the Middle Ages, becomes most unsustainable.35 To understand the prehistory of conscience, one might think of the obligation to tell and live the truth of their faith that prompts heretics to break with institutionally approved versions of their religion, an obligation that is experienced as individual until the heresy becomes the governing doctrine of a community. Yet again one of the more interesting things about Asad’s account is the extent to which it accepts the historical narrative that underpins the triumphalist account of modernity.

     44. Early modernists have had the tools for some time now to dismantle Whig history; it is the time they take on the anti-Whigs. North American scholars of Islam, and postcolonial religion more broadly, who mount vaguely Foucauldian defences of Islamism and orthodox religion, use arguments about agency and subject formation that are very familiar to early modernists. Sometimes they even use the work of early modern scholars in these defenses.36 We should fearlessly address questions of religious violence, radical dissent, and secularism and take on broader conceptual challenges than our, sometimes timorously narrow, scholarly moment has allowed. If ever there was a time, that the broader political and philosophical challenges posed by the religious history of the centuries early modernists study was urgent and immediate, it is now.

     45. The anti-teleological argument has become a political encumbrance. It is also conceptually limiting. A thin version is useful in so far as it allows for an approach that does not require that all history be hung on the pegs of European and American political history. It can function as a reminder that the rest of the world’s political aspirations and history don’t have to be stretched and torn to fit a Fukuyaman story of the American political present as the end of planetary history; and it can facilitate an historiographically sharper, skeptical account of Western history.

     46. But in its thick version, it suggests that teleological history is somehow uniquely Western, and such history imposes arid abstraction, necessitates a violent repudiation of varieties of human experience, at once homogenizes and excludes the world in a wind tunnel of stunning force and narcissism. Once political thought and historical concepts are so perceived, the most tempting ideological gesture is to knowingly wave away anything that might bear the faintest intimation of teleological thinking. Non-western teleologies and teleological universalisms can then be happily misrecognized, declared an effect of the translator’s sleight of hand, further evidence of the chronic, inescapable tyranny of Western labels. Misreading the temporal and historiographic entailments of “other,” in this case Muslim, conceptual schemes is an easy way to cling to our political orthodoxies.

     47. But the analogical use of a fraught, destructive and enabling moment from European history makes possible a reading of secularism as prompted by the necessity of survival. When Wolfowitz and Rushdie say that Islam needs a Reformation, early modernists can offer a few important clarifications: there was nothing assured about the outcome of almost two hundred years of religious strife, doctrinal adjustment, and institutional upheaval. Sola fide and the rediscovered right to individual interpretation were not guaranteed to lead to Enlightenment, or to secularism, or — if the valences of “secularism” and “Enlightenment” seem too diffuse — to the separation of church and state.

     48. Signally, the comparison also opens up possibilities for readings of the Reformation in history. It would be hard to tell from some of the references to the Reformation presented in this essay, that it was a backward looking, revivalist movement that sought to restore the purity of the early church, that a significant part of it looked to the Hebrew past for inspiration, that it gave rise to confessional states, that there were reactionary as well as radically egalitarian versions of it, that it lead to immense sectarian bloodshed, that the Protestants often joined in the bloodletting, that Europe almost tore itself to shreds as a result of a religious schism. When Westerners call for an Islamic Reformation, their use of the term has to repress most of Reformation history. Yet it is careful attention to the history of religious violence that Muslim and Arab thinking about the Reformation restores.

     49. Let us pause for a moment over some features of contemporary militant Islam: the radical politicization of theology, the challenge to institutional structures, the assertion of selfhood in the explosion of women’s Quranic study groups in Egypt and Pakistan, among other countries, the filling of the space for social welfare, left by failing governments, by such groups as Hamas in the Occupied territories, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Compare: the return to the book in the Reformation, the conventicles and other independent worship groups, the political freight of the Protestant cry of “sola fide,” the growth of women’s interpretive self-assertion, the violence of the peasant wars, the sectarian bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the beheading of the monarch by a Puritan parliament. Now, let’s try to forget the analogies. Is it easy?

     50. In his recent bestseller, No god but God: The Origin, Evolution, and Future of Islam (2005), Reza Aslan makes much of these resemblances. The book is part of a rapidly growing genre of (mostly diasporic) Muslim apologetics — a mix of religious autobiography, religious reinterpretation, and Islamic history.37 Aslan claims that Islam is going through a Reformation today. Muslims are engaged in a battle for the “future of the faith,” a battle that is taking place between Muslims — who are usually the victims of the violence unleashed — more than it is between Islam and the West. The Christian Reformation was a “violent bloody argument that engulfed Europe in devastation and war for more than a century. Thus far the Islamic Reformation has proved no different.”38 Like the Christian Reformation, it has opened up conflicting interpretations and created “wildly divergent and competing ideologies.” And Osama Bin Laden must be understood as a product of this Reformation.39

     51. Aslan throws wide open the door the trope of Reformation has been nudging all along. This is a good moment to remember that the European Reformers were themselves backward looking, participants in a revival movement, attempting to purify the religion and return it to the foundations. They wanted to bring all of life under the purview of religion. Theirs was, indeed, a kind of fundamentalism. They were, moreover, trying to break with their local histories and refashion Europe on foreign models. What is not often appreciated was that theirs was already an “other people’s history.” The future looked back to an earlier East. One has only to think of the English nonconformist predilection for Semitic names — Ezekiel, Seth, Isaiah — to remember that a significant portion of, for instance, English Protestants looked to the Middle East for a reconstituted nation that would lead to salvation. They sought to turn Albion into Israel, Palestine, the Holy Land. England’s great dissenting anthem — it’s radical Protestant alternative to “God Save the Queen” — is called “Jerusalem;” and the Blake poem is part of the long afterlife of the Reformation.

     52. This backward-looking aspect of Christianity is very much in evidence again. We are still caught in the long aftermath of the Reformation: as evangelical Christianity explicitly defines the agenda of America’s unsheathed imperialism. Like Cromwell letting the Jews back into England, evangelical Christians make an alliance with right-wing Zionists. The massive arming and training of Bin Laden and his more extreme mujahideen friends were also undertaken by a CIA seeking to contain the spread of a godless Communism. Global confrontations have recoalesced around religion.

     53. If we are to think of these global realities in terms of time, an appropriate correlative image seems to be of layers of fossil sedimentation after an earthquake, rather than properly buried strata of an orderly succession of historical moments. This is the global past and its present. My intention is not at all to throw my lot in with those who say that there was never any secularization at all. I simply don’t believe that. It is only to say that attempts to conceive of the unfolding of historical time need to account for temporal fits, starts, reversals, and retrenchments. Such an account would allow us to explain the global past, as well as its melancholy present, better. It would also allow us to disrupt the mythic narrative of a happy dichotomy between the putatively smooth linear progress of the West, and the stasis of the permanent present of a tradition-bound “local” rest. A significant consequence of conceiving of history as something that does not unfold in seamless succession is that it would no longer function as a moral allegory of Western superiority, of the fantasy that somehow even Western gore and guts are hygienic, cost-free and bloodless. Detoxifying that story and claiming a critical anti-imperialist secularism are imperative if we are to survive our current global predicament.40 

1 <http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=14639>, accessed 9/5/2006.

2 As reported in Jim Lobe, “Neocons Seek Islamic Reformation,” <http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=2273>, accessed 10/17/2006.

3 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/08/05/AR2005080501483.html>, accessed 9/5/2006.

4 <http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=14639>, accessed 9/5/2006.

5 <http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=14639>, accessed 9/5/2006.

6 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/08/05/AR2005080501483.html>, accessed 9/5/2006.

7 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2005/08/05/AR2005080501483.html>, accessed 9/5/2006. For a nuanced and perceptive treatment of conservative Muslim thought in Britain, see Nadeem Aslam’s gorgeous novel, Maps for Lost Lovers. Aslam’s treatment is particularly fine for it concedes nothing to conservative white Britain.

8 See Talal Asad’s Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993) and Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (2003). See also Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 200), especially the epilogue, “Reason and the Critique of Historicism,” pp. 237-255, pp. 237, 242, 244, 253. Also, Chakrabarty’s Habitations of Modernity:Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).

9 To think contrapuntally about culture is to read the histories of East and West together, to see them as the same history. For Said’s explanation of the concept see, Culture and Imperialism, p. 279.

10 Omid Safi, “Introduction,” in Progressive Muslims: On Gender, Justice and Pluralism ed. Omid Safi (Oxford: Oneworld Press, 2003), p. 15.

11 Progressive Muslim, p. 15.

12 Progressive Muslims, p 15.

13 Progressive Muslims, p. 16.

14 See, for instance, Carter Lindberg’s fascinating European Reformations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1996), pp. 8 and 9. Some useful and often revisionist work on the Reformation: Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c1400-c.1580 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), R. Po-chi Hsia, The World of Catholic Renewal 1540-1770, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), T. K Rabb, The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975).

15 Progressive Muslims, p. 16.

16 Progressive Muslims, p. 16.

17 Abdelwahhab el-Affendi, “The Long March from Lahore to Khartoum: Beyond the ‘Muslim Reformation,”” Bulletin (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies), Vol. 17, No. 2 (1990), p. 150.

18 For a wonderful treatment of some different conceptions of Islamic time see Ronald Judy, “Sayyid Qutb’s fiqh al-waqi’I, or New Realist Science,” boundary 2 31:2, 2004, 113-148.

19 Genealogies of Religion, p. 19.

20 For a careful and critical treatment of this body of scholarship, see Aamir Mufti, “The Aura of Authenticity,” Social Text 18:3 (2000), p. 88.

21 “The Aura of Authenticity,” p. 91-92.

22 Ijtihad is also often understood as interpretation.

23 Abdullahi An-Naim, “A Kinder, Gentler Islam?” Transition No. 52, (1991), p.13.

24 “A Kinder Gentler Islam,” p. 6.

25 “A Kinder Gentler Islam,” p. 12.

26 “A Kinder Gentler Islam,” p. 12.

27 “A Kinder Gentler Islam,” p. 16.

28 For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim Writers in Defense of Free Speech (New York: George Braziller Press, 1994 — originally published in French 1993), p. 168. Al Ma’arri: a great Arab poet who wrote Risalat al-Ghufran (trans. 1943 A Divine Comedy), Al Fusat wa al ghayat, Paraphrases and Periods, also said to have satirized the Qur’an.

29 For Rushdie, p. 23.

30 Sadik J. Al-Azm, <http://www.daiheidelberg.de/content/e237/e175/e189/al_azm_ger.pdf#search=%22sadik%20Al-Azm%2C%20islam%2C%20secular%20humanism%22>, accessed 9/8/2006.

31 This is an important assertion in Provincializing Europe. See also Aamir Mufti, “Global Comparativism,” Critical Inquiry 31 (winter 2005), pp. 472-489. The entire essay is salient, but see particularly pp. 473-475, 481.

32 Genealogies of Religion, p. 200.

33 See especially the chapter on the Rushdie affair — “Ethnography, Literature, and Politics: Some Readings and Uses of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses” — in Genealogies of Religion.

34 “Global Comparativism,” p. 482.

35 David Aers, “”A Whisper in the Ear of Early Modernists; or, Reflections on Literary Critics Writing the `History of the Subject'” in Culture and History, 1350-1600: Essays on English Communities, Identities and Writing, ed. David Aers (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992), 177-203.

36 See, for instance, Saba Mahmood”s use of Ramie Targoff’s work in Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 134-135.

37 A full discussion of this fascinating and politically crucial genre is outside the scope of this essay, but I would like to explore its implications in a longer piece.

38 Reza Aslan, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2005), p. xxviii.

39 No god but God, p. xvi.

40 I am grateful to the participants in the Boundary Crossings workshop at the University of Michigan, Farid Azfar, Dimitrios Krallis, Karla Taylor and, most of all, Christian Thorne for their questions, comments, and arguments about this essay.




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Integration: “Two -Way Street” by Iftikhar Ahmad London School of Islamics Trust http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

Integration: “Two -Way Street”

Iftikhar Ahmad

London School of Islamics Trust











“We’re as British as fish ‘n’ chips,” UK Muslims tell PM – Al Arabiya English

British people should think of integration as a “two-way street” and learn other languages such as Polish and Urdu, a Cambridge academic has said. Wendy Ayres-Bennett, professor of French philology and linguistics, said learning other languages is considered “something difficult and only for the intellectual elite” by many in Britain. She backed calls for immigrants to learn English once they arrive, as she warned migrant communities could develop “exclusive social networks and alternative labour markets” without learning the native  language.

Prof Ayres-Bennett, who also leads the MEITS (Multilingualism: Empowering individuals, transforming societies) project promoting multilingualism, spoke out after two major reports into integration in British society, published by Dame Louise Casey and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration. Many more English speakers should think of immigration as a ‘two-way street’ and be able to communicate in another language to aid integration and social cohesion, said academic Wendy Ayres-Bennett. The call flies in the face of two major reports into integration in British society which called on immigrants to learn English if they want to live in the UK.




 “It is very important to think of integration as a two-way street,” she said. “Considering the issue from the point of view of language learning, we rightly expect immigrants to learn English but, as a nation, we often don’t see the need ourselves to learn another language, and consider it to be something difficult and only for the intellectual elite. She went on to say that society made a mistake in making significant effort to accommodate people coming in from the outside and that the onus should mostly be on immigrants themselves to adapt to British culture.

“I would like to see more opportunities for British people to learn some of the community languages of the UK, such as Polish, Punjabi and Urdu, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of those speakers, so that there is some mutual effort in understanding the others’ language and culture.

A primary school teacher asking her pupils in the classroom: What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages? Trilingual! what do you call the person who speaks 2 languages? Bilingual. And what do you call a person who speaks only one language? British!
Bilingualism is an asset but British schooling considers it as a problem. This is the main reason why 99.9% of native Brits are unable to speak any other foreign language. There are even seven million native Brits who are unable to read and write English.
Well to tell the truth it is amazing how being a bilingual or polyglot broadens the point of view on how u see the world how u understand it . Is even more painful to see what’s happening today in this world. Watching the hate brought about from peoples that don’t understand and a accept other cultures hurt each other I feel teaching of languages and cultures should be accentuated in schools to kids . Languages are gift from God. Ability to handle languages makes you confident and optimistic. In my view of point being multilingual is the best way to know the other cultures and tradition in close.. The place where I Iive more than seven languages spoken ,so it gives me the ability to grasp languages swiftly….  Speaking more than one language and knowing more than 1 language is also kind of knowledge & knowledge enlightens one’s mind.
The sound knowledge of one’s owns language would appear to help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future. Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity. Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille, by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan. Now blind Muslim children are not going to miss out on culture, religion, language and the social aspects and integration into their own community and identity.
I have always said, the more languages you know, the broader your cultural knowledge. Those who say you must only use one language narrow their perception of the world. Also, people who can learn languages are good at playing musical instruments. Languages should be taught more in school. When I speak in Arabic I feel like a poet and when in English, I feel like a philosopher. “This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: the typical signs of cognitive ageing occur later in bilinguals – and the onset of age-related degenerative disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are delayed in bilinguals by up to five years.” We are amazed by being able to speak multilingual which is great Ever thought of the One God Creator Who made these languages.
Majority of Muslim children are from Pakistan. They must learn and be well versed in Arabic and Urdu to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. On top of that they must learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the national Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. Schools do not allow Bilingual children to speak in their mother tongue. “A good grasp of one’s mother tongue is an essential base for a child who then has to get to grips with the language of their host country,” reckons Amelia Lambelet of the Fribourg Institute of Multilingualism. Therese Salzmann, an expert in multilingualism at the Swiss Institute of Youth and Media, agrees. “The teaching of mother tongues reinforces self-confidence and gives the child a feeling of security.” She adds that “taking account of a child’s double cultures is a determining factor in their social integration and professional success.” Our education system has always been fairly bad at teaching different languages. I guess the only way to ensure better linguistic skills is to be born into a family who uses more than one language during the child’s formative years.
‘Children who do not have English as their mother tongue generally perform as well as native speakers and are valued in many schools for creating linguistic and cultural diversity. Data published last year found that these pupils were now actually more likely to gain good GCSE grades in a range of academic subjects such as English, maths, science and foreign languages.’ I wouldn’t want any child in Britain to complete their education without excellent intelligible command of English – the language in which the school teaches and that of the bulk of the community in which they can make their way as an adult.
Why bother learning another language when English is the world’s language..?? Do you really think English is the world’s language? It’s only third in the list of the world’s most spoken languages. English people couldn’t learn other languages so they forced everyone to speak their language; and now confronted with their own disability with all these immigrants with multilingual tongues they lash out at the immigrants because of jealousy – the cold reality of their own linguistic shortcomings is harsh. People are speaking 10 languages and you can barely speak one. I can see why they would resent and hate immigrants. The superiority is right in your face.
Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one’s culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children’s alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grandparents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.
Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children.
There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

The Casey review and the APPG’s report highlighted the need for more English language classes to reach communities that predominantly speak other languages. Prof Ayres-Bennett said the reports reinforced the importance of languages in social cohesion as she supported their recommendations for immigrants to learn English. “Without English, immigrants are likely to develop exclusive social networks and alternative labour markets,” she said.

“For most people, language is at the very heart of their identity. “We need to respect and celebrate this and to see English as adding to their multilingual and multicultural identities, rather than trying to force immigrants to suppress or even lose their home language and culture.” “Even a basic knowledge would be beneficial, which might be acquired formally or through engaging in joint community projects.

In my opinion, native Brits and Muslim children must learn Arabic and Urdu to make Muslims feel at home. The teaching of these languages will help native Brits to understand the needs and demands of the Muslim community and healthy community relations. It will help Muslim children to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.
I live in a very multi-cultural area but the races rarely interact. One road is entirely populated by the Asian community, with sari shops and Indian gold sold. Rarely do you see any other race walk down it. On the high street there are a number of polish shops sprouting up. When I hear people passing by talking, it is never the English language. Immigrants do not think it necessary to integrate. Polish stick with Polish, Indians stick with Indians. It will never change no matter what the government say.
Why complain when it’s the British who first migrated into other lands enslaving those people? When it is a question on immigration, the feelings are so strong. I wonder why. Serves you right! Britain! When the British colonised the world, it was ok. But now when people from the former colonies and from other countries come to Britain, its not ok?
During colonial days, British did not follow local customs or culture. They didn’t exactly “go native”. They even forced the native Americans and native Australian to adopt all the evils of their culture and customs. They are still the underdogs of American and Australian societies. At least Australian Prime Minister apologised to the natives for their evil deeds. Brits living in Spain and France don’t even bother learning the language of the new adopted country.Frankly suggesting that people don’t want to become “British” they should move elsewhere is extremely irritating. Immigrants are in UK because they are needed, it was never an act of charity. Without migration, British economy and society will bleed to death. British culture and customs will undoubtedly change as it has for millennium due to immigration. I am not quite sure why Brits would be worried about that.
The linguistic abilities of large number of Muslim children were being ignored because they had to learn another European language as well as mastering English. The Government must promote the status of Arabic/Urdu languages instead of languages of European origin. Tim Benson, head of Nelson primary school in Newham said that the “nationalistic curriculum failed to recognize the staggering array of linguistic abilities and competencies” in schools such as his, where the pupils spoke more than 40 languages. The linguistic dexterity of families speaking an array of languages was celebrated but the “awesome achievements” of children mastering three or four languages were barely recognised by the education system. Social and emotional education comes with your own language-literature and poetry. A DFE’s document clearly states that children should be encouraged to maintain and develop their home languages.
A study shows that bilingualism is a positive benefit to cognitive development and bilingual teacher is a dire necessity and is a role model. The price of ignoring children’s bilingualism is educational failure and social exclusion. Bilingualism could be developed by bringing a partner from Pakistan. The kids will get better at both languages. One will speak English while the other will speak Urdu.
Stop treating foreigners like garbage and they will stop ruining your precious country. Why did you let them in in the first place if you didn’t want them here? They left everything in their countries because of your promises. Are you so anxious to please that you can’t say “no”? I would love to see you go to a foreign land where you don’t have any friends, you don’t even know anyone and you don’t speak the language, and start from scratch. I would just LOVE to watch you do that. Let them integrate and stop segregating them. What I want is people being nice to each other. I don’t care about race.
Iftikhar Ahmad
London School of Islamics Trust



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SHIRK – The Deadliest Sin

This is a scene in Modern Day Pakistan of Shirk Being Committed Without Fear














Verses including the word With Allah (Shirk)



Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah.: They love them as they should love Allah.But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah.If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the penalty: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the penalty. (Surah Al-Baqara, 165)

Say: “O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah.that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah.s Will). (Surah Al-Imran, 64)

Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers! (Surah Al-Imran, 151)

Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;- (Surah An-Nisa’, 36)

Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed. (Surah An-Nisa’, 48)

Allah forgiveth not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right). (Surah An-Nisa’, 116)

They do blaspheme who say: “(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode.There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. (Surah Al-Ma’ida, 72)

Say: “What thing is most weighty in evidence?” Say: “(Allah) is witness between me and you; This Qur’an hath been revealed to me by inspiration, that I may warn you and all whom it reaches.Can ye possibly bear witness that besides Allah there is another Allah.” Say: “Nay! I cannot bear witness!” Say: “But in truth He is the one Allah, and I truly am innocent of (your blasphemy of) joining others with Him.” (Surah Al-An‘am, 19)

“Nay,- On Him would ye call, and if it be His will, He would remove (the distress) which occasioned your call upon Him, and ye would forget (the false gods) which ye join with Him!” (Surah Al-An‘am, 41)

Say “It is Allah that delivereth you from these and all (other) distresses: and yet ye worship false gods!” (Surah Al-An‘am, 64)

When he saw the sun rising in splendour, he said: “This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all).” But when the sun set, he said: “O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. (Surah Al-An‘am, 78)

“How should I fear (the beings) ye associate with Allah, when ye fear not to give partners to Allah without any warrant having been given to you? Which of (us) two parties hath more right to security? (tell me) if ye know. (Surah Al-An‘am, 81)

This is the guidance of Allah.He giveth that guidance to whom He pleaseth, of His worshippers.If they were to join other gods with Him, all that they did would be vain for them. (Surah Al-An‘am, 88)

“And behold! ye come to us bare and alone as We created you for the first time: ye have left behind you all (the favours) which We bestowed on you: We see not with you your intercessors whom ye thought to be partners in your affairs: so now all relations between you have been cut off, and your (pet) fancies have left you in the lurch!(Surah Al-An‘am, 94)

Yet they make the Jinns equals with Allah, though Allah did create the Jinns; and they falsely, having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters.Praise and glory be to Him! (for He is) above what they attribute to Him! (Surah Al-An‘am, 100)

If it had been Allah.s plan, they would not have taken false gods: but We made thee not one to watch over their doings, nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs. (Surah Al-An‘am, 107)

Out of what Allah hath produced in abundance in tilth and in cattle, they assigned Him a share: they say, according to their fancies: “This is for Allah, and this” – for our “partners”! but the share of their” partners “reacheth not Allah, whilst the share of Allah reacheth their “partners” ! evil (and unjust) is their assignment! (Surah Al-An‘am, 136)

Even so, in the eyes of most of the pagans, their “partners” made alluring the slaughter of their children, in order to lead them to their own destruction, and cause confusion in their religion.If Allah had willed, they would not have done so: But leave alone them and their inventions. (Surah Al-An‘am, 137)

Those who give partners (to Allah.will say: “If Allah had wished, we should not have given partners to Him nor would our fathers; nor should we have had any taboos.” So did their ancestors argue falsely, until they tasted of Our wrath.Say: “Have ye any (certain) knowledge? If so, produce it before us.Ye follow nothing but conjecture: ye do nothing but lie.” (Surah Al-An‘am, 148)

Say: “Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from”: Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds.Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom. (Surah Al-An‘am, 151)

Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds: (Surah Al-An‘am, 162)

No partner hath He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who bow to His will. (Surah Al-An‘am, 163)

Say: the things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to Allah, for which He hath given no authority; and saying things about Allah of which ye have no knowledge. (Surah Al-A‘raf, 33)

Or lest ye should say: “Our fathers before us may have taken false gods, but we are (their) descendants after them: wilt Thou then destroy us because of the deeds of men who were futile?” (Surah Al-A‘raf, 173)

But when He giveth them a goodly child, they ascribe to others a share in the gift they have received: but Allah is exalted high above the partners they ascribe to Him. (Surah Al-A‘raf, 190)

Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing, but are themselves created? (Surah Al-A‘raf, 191)

Have they feet to walk with? Or hands to lay hold with? Or eyes to see with? Or ears to hear with? Say: “Call your ‘god-partners’, scheme (your worst) against me, and give me no respite! (Surah Al-A‘raf, 195)

They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah.there is no god but He.Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). (Surah At-Tawba, 31)

They serve, besides Allah, things that hurt them not nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allah.” Say: “Do ye indeed inform Allah of something He knows not, in the heavens or on earth?- Glory to Him! and far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)!” (Surah Yunus, 18)

Relate to them the story of Noah.Behold! he said to his people: “O my people, if it be hard on your (mind) that I should stay (with you) and commemorate the signs of Allah,- yet I put my trust in Allah.Get ye then an agreement about your plan and among your partners, so your plan be on to you dark and dubious.Then pass your sentence on me, and give me no respite. (Surah Yunus, 71)

“And I follow the ways of my fathers,- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and never could we attribute any partners whatever to Allah.that (comes) of the grace of Allah to us and to mankind: yet most men are not grateful. (Surah Yusuf, 38)

And most of them believe not in Allah without associating (other as partners) with Him! (Surah Yusuf, 106)

Say: “Who is the Lord and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “(It is) Allah.” Say: “Do ye then take (for worship) protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?” Say: “Are the blind equal with those who see? Or the depths of darkness equal with light?” Or do they assign to Allah partners who have created (anything) as He has created, so that the creation seemed to them similar? Say: “(Allah) is the Creator of all things: He is the One, the Supreme and Irresistible.” (Surah Ar-Ra‘d, 16)

Is then He who standeth over every soul (and knoweth) all that it doth, (like any others)? And yet they ascribe partners to Allah.Say: “But name them! is it that ye will inform Him of something he knoweth not on earth, or is it (just) a show of words?” Nay! to those who believe not, their pretence seems pleasing, but they are kept back (thereby) from the path.And those whom Allah leaves to stray, no one can guide. (Surah Ar-Ra‘d, 33)

Those to whom We have given the Book rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee: but there are among the clans those who reject a part thereof.Say: “I am commanded to worship Allah, and not to join partners with Him.Unto Him do I call, and unto Him is my return.” (Surah Ar-Ra‘d, 36)

And Satan will say when the matter is decided: “It was Allah Who gave you a promise of Truth: I too promised, but I failed in my promise to you.I had no authority over you except to call you but ye listened to me: then reproach not me, but reproach your own souls.I cannot listen to your cries, nor can ye listen to mine.I reject your former act in associating me with Allah.For wrong-doers there must be a grievous penalty.” (Surah İbrahim, 22)

(Inevitable) cometh (to pass) the Command of Allah.seek ye not then to hasten it: Glory to Him, and far is He above having the partners they ascribe unto Him! (Surah An-Nahl, 1)

He doth send down His angels with inspiration of His Command, to such of His servants as He pleaseth, (saying): “Warn (Man) that there is no god but I: so do your duty unto Me.” (Surah An-Nahl, 2)

He has created the heavens and the earth for just ends: Far is He above having the partners they ascribe to Him! (Surah An-Nahl, 3)

Then, on the Day of Judgment, He will cover them with shame, and say: “Where are My ‘partners’ concerning whom ye used to dispute (with the godly)?” Those endued with knowledge will say: “This Day, indeed, are the Unbelievers covered with shame and misery,- (Surah An-Nahl, 27)

Yet, when He removes the distress from you, behold! some of you turn to other gods to join with their Lord- (Surah An-Nahl, 54)

His authority is over those only, who take him as patron and who join partners with Allah. (Surah An-Nahl, 100)

Say: “(Allah) knows best how long they stayed: with Him is (the knowledge of) the secrets of the heavens and the earth: how clearly He sees, how finely He hears (everything)! They have no protector other than Him; nor does He share His Command with any person whatsoever. (Surah Al-Kahf, 26)

“But (I think) for my part that He is Allah, My Lord, and none shall I associate with my Lord. (Surah Al-Kahf, 38)

So his fruits (and enjoyment) were encompassed (with ruin), and he remained twisting and turning his hands over what he had spent on his property, which had (now) tumbled to pieces to its very foundations, and he could only say, “Woe is me! Would I had never ascribed partners to my Lord and Cherisher!” (Surah Al-Kahf, 42)

One Day He will say, “Call on those whom ye thought to be My partners,” and they will call on them, but they will not listen to them; and We shall make for them a place of common perdition. (Surah Al-Kahf, 52)

Say: “I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah.whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner. (Surah Al-Kahf, 110)

Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): “Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). (Surah Al-Hajj, 26)

Being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to Allah, is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far- distant place. (Surah Al-Hajj, 31)

Those who join not (in worship) partners with their Lord; (Surah Al-Muminun, 59)

He knows what is hidden and what is open: too high is He for the partners they attribute to Him! (Surah Al-Muminun, 92)

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion – the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.’If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked. (Surah An-Nur, 55)

Say: Praise be to Allah, and Peace on his servants whom He has chosen (for his Message). (Who) is better?- Allah or the false gods they associate (with Him)? (Surah An-Naml, 59)

Or, Who guides you through the depths of darkness on land and sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His Mercy? (Can there be another) god besides Allah.- High is Allah above what they associate with Him! (Surah An-Naml, 63)

That Day ((Allah)) will call to them, and say “Where are my ‘partners’?- whom ye imagined (to be such)?” (Surah Al-Qasas, 62)

It will be said (to them): “Call upon your ‘partners’ (for help)” :they will call upon them, but they will not listen to them; and they will see the Penalty (before them); (how they will wish) ‘if only they had been open to guidance!’ (Surah Al-Qasas, 64)

Thy Lord does create and choose as He pleases: no choice have they (in the matter): Glory to Allah. and far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)! (Surah Al-Qasas, 68)

The Day that He will call on them, He will say: “Where are my ‘partners’? whom ye imagined (to be such)?” (Surah Al-Qasas, 74)

We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they (either of them) strive (to force) thee to join with Me (in worship) anything of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not. Ye have (all) to return to me, and I will tell you (the truth) of all that ye did. (Surah Al-‘Ankabut, 8)

Now, if they embark on a boat, they call on Allah, making their devotion sincerely (and exclusively) to Him; but when He has delivered them safely to (dry) land, behold, they give a share (of their worship to others)!- (Surah Al-‘Ankabut, 65)

No intercessor will they have among their “Partners” and they will (themselves) reject their “Partners”. (Surah Ar-Rum, 13)

He does propound to you a similitude from your own (experience): do ye have partners among those whom your right hands possess, to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you? Do ye fear them as ye fear each other? Thus do we explain the Signs in detail to a people that understand. (Surah Ar-Rum, 28)

When trouble touches men, they cry to their Lord, turning back to Him in repentance: but when He gives them a taste of Mercy as from Himself, behold, some of them pay part-worship to other god’s besides their Lord,- (Surah Ar-Rum, 33)

Or have We sent down authority to them, which points out to them the things to which they pay part-worship? (Surah Ar-Rum, 35)

It is Allah Who has created you: further, He has provided for your sustenance; then He will cause you to die; and again He will give you life. Are there any of your (false) “Partners” who can do any single one of these things? Glory to Him! and high is He above the partners they attribute (to him)! (Surah Ar-Rum, 40)

Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: “O my son! join not in worship (others) with Allah. for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing.” (Surah Luqman, 13)

And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), “Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. (Surah Luqman, 14)

“But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did.” (Surah Luqman, 15)

Say: “Call upon other (gods) whom ye fancy, besides Allah. They have no power,- not the weight of an atom,- in the heavens or on earth: No (sort of) share have they therein, nor is any of them a helper to Allah. (Surah Saba’, 22)

Say: “Show me those whom ye have joined with Him as partners: by no means (can ye). Nay, He is Allah, the Exalted in Power, the Wise.” (Surah Saba’, 27)

If ye invoke them, they will not listen to your call, and if they were to listen, they cannot answer your (prayer). On the Day of Judgment they will reject your “Partnership”. and none, (O man!) can tell thee (the Truth) like the One Who is acquainted with all things. (Surah Fatir, 14)

Say: “Have ye seen (these) ‘Partners’ of yours whom ye call upon besides Allah. Show Me what it is they have created in the (wide) earth. Or have they a share in the heavens? Or have We given them a Book from which they (can derive) clear (evidence)?- Nay, the wrong-doers promise each other nothing but delusions. (Surah Fatir, 40)

Allah puts forth a Parable a man belonging to many partners at variance with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah. but most of them have no knowledge. (Surah Az-Zumar, 29)

But it has already been revealed to thee,- as it was to those before thee,- “If thou wert to join (gods with Allah., truly fruitless will be thy work (in life), and thou wilt surely be in the ranks of those who lose (all spiritual good)”. (Surah Az-Zumar, 65)

(The answer will be:) “This is because, when Allah was invoked as the Only (object of worship), ye did reject Faith, but when partners were joined to Him, ye believed! the Command is with Allah, Most High, Most Great!” (Surah Ghafir, 12)

“Ye do call upon me to blaspheme against Allah, and to join with Him partners of whom I have no knowledge; and I call you to the Exalted in Power, Who forgives again and again!” (Surah Ghafir, 42)

Then shall it be said to them: “Where are the (deities) to which ye gave part- worship (Surah Ghafir, 73)

But when they saw Our Punishment, they said: “We believe in Allah,- the one Allah – and we reject the partners we used to join with Him.(Surah Ghafir, 84)

To Him is referred the Knowledge of the Hour (of Judgment: He knows all): No date-fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive (within her womb) nor bring forth the Day that ((Allah)) will propound to them the (question), “Where are the partners (ye attributed to Me?” They will say, “We do assure thee not one of us can bear witness!” (Surah Fussilat, 47)

What! have they partners (in godhead), who have established for them some religion without the permission of Allah. Had it not been for the Decree of Judgment, the matter would have been decided between them (at once). But verily the Wrong- doers will have a grievous Penalty. (Surah Ash-Shura, 21)

Say: “Do ye see what it is ye invoke besides Allah. Show me what it is they have created on earth, or have they a share in the heavens bring me a book (revealed) before this, or any remnant of knowledge (ye may have), if ye are telling the truth! (Surah Al-Ahqaf, 4)

And make not another an object of worship with Allah. I am from Him a Warner to you, clear and open! (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, 51)

Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah. (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. (Surah Al-Hashr, 23)

O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter,- then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to Allah for the forgiveness (of their sins): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Al-Mumtahana, 12)

Or have they some “Partners” (in Allah.ead)? Then let them produce their “partners”, if they are truthful! (Surah Al-Qalam, 41)

‘It gives guidance to the Right, and we have believed therein: we shall not join (in worship) any (gods) with our Lord. (Surah Al-Jinn, 2)

Say: “I do no more than invoke my Lord, and I join not with Him any (false god).” (Surah Al-Jinn, 20)

Another Reference

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The Many Faces of Donald Trump: Mr.Bigot Runs For US Presidency


The reaction to this idea, fairly or unfairly, by many on social media, was to accuse Trump of wanting to mimic laws that Nazis had imposed on Jews, including requiring them to wear a gold Star of David on their clothes.

After Trump confirmed that he would set up a database for Muslim-Americans, an NBC reporter asked him point blank: “Is there a difference between requiring Muslims to register and Jews in Nazi Germany?” A clearly annoyed Trump at first refused to respond, but then told the reporter, “You tell me,” and walked away.

Just so it’s clear, Trump did not suggest that Muslim-Americans should be required to wear a symbol that would visibly identify them as Muslims, such as a gold crescent. (On the other hand, he did not rule it out.) But the Nazis do offer guidance on the practical impact of laws that target a religious minority. As The Holocaust Center notes on its website, the Nazi-era laws that required Jews to publicly identify their faith was “one of many psychological tactics aimed at isolating and dehumanizing the Jews of Europe, directly marking them as being different (i.e., inferior) to everyone else.”

There’s no doubt that making Muslims carry special religious identity cards or having to register with the government sends a clear message to other Americans that Muslims are different. That we, simply because of our faith, are less than fully American. I shudder to think where this may lead.

But Trump was not done in painting the hellish nightmare that awaits Muslims, and our country, if he’s elected president. The GOP frontrunner explained that he was open to wholesale surveillance of Muslim-Americans and warrantless searches of mosques. He even praised past NYPD policies that spied on the New York City Muslim community as “great,” despite the reality that this controversial program did not yield any leads or arrests. This means that under a Trump administration, Muslims would have fewer rights than other Americans simply because of our faith, which is no different than advocating for racial profiling of blacks or Latinos.

And Trump then doubled down on his recent proclamation that he was open to shutting down American mosques, noting he’d have “absolutely no choice” if “some bad things happen” in a mosque. Consequently, if two or three people in a mosque of say 500 did “bad things,” the entire mosque would be shuttered. It would be as outrageous as closing down a mega church because two or three members firebombed an abortion clinic. Our system of justice punishes specific wrongdoers, not all who simply share the same faith or race of a criminal.

To be blunt, these ideas by Trump on how to deal with Muslims aren’t original. They are very much akin to the ones anti-Muslim bigots have advocated in the past. Those people we can dismiss. But when the front-runner for a major political party starts parroting those alarming proposals, it’s time that we all take notice.

Trump has shown us in this campaign that he has no qualms about stoking the flames of hatred for minorities in his quest for power. He has already done this to the Latino community with his despicable comments that Mexico is sending us “rapists” and other criminals.

So it’s not surprising that Trump would use Muslim-bashing to score points because it plays well with GOP voters. In fact, a poll released earlier this week found that three-quarters of Republicans believe Islam is “at odds” with American values.

Regardless of why Trump is espousing these policies, his words must be bringing joy to ISIS. As I learned firsthand at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism earlier this year, ISIS hopes that Muslims in the West are demonized and discriminated against. Indeed, ISIS’ operatives made that very point on social media after the Paris attack, expressing their hope that Muslims in Western countries would be victims of hate crimes.

Why? It’s simple: ISIS hopes that when Muslims in the West are demonized, they will become alienated from the country in which they live. ISIS operatives believe then that their recruitment pitch that the West is at war with Islam will resonate more strongly. Consequently, ISIS is likely rooting for Trump’s proposals to become law.

All of us want Americans to be safe from ISIS. But Trump’s plan is both morally repugnant and ineffective. It doesn’t make us safer, it simply demonizes Muslim-Americans and could help ISIS recruit. That’s truly a losing combination for America.

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Fallout from Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Campaign & Rants in the US?





Hate Monger Trump








Fallout from Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Campaign in the US?


p style=”text-align: center;”>Donald Trump anti-Muslim rhetoric & Anti-Islam Rants
Published in Daily Pakistan (Pakistan) on 6 January 2016 by Editorial [link to original]
Translated from Urdu by Fauzia Iqbal. Edited by Victoria Branca.
Posted on January 12, 2016.

Nearly 200 Muslim employees were removed from their jobs for offering Friday prayers in the American state of Colorado. According to U.S. media, the administration of a meat processing factory took this step upon learning that factory workers had gone to offer Friday prayers. The workers — from Somalia and other countries — who had gone to offer Friday prayers, were prevented from re-entering the factory. It appears that the hate-rousing campaign against Muslims launched by U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is starting to show its effects now.

Muslims residing in different places throughout the U.S. all offer Friday prayers and, in most places, are facilitated in this by the government and the police. So much so, that even double parking is allowed outside mosques at the time of Friday prayers — something that is generally never allowed. This suggests that the factory owner’s orders were given on account of some current provocation. It is possible that he is a supporter of Trump. Knowing it is unlikely that Trump will become president, he sought to punish Muslims for offering Friday prayers as a means of implementing Trump’s anti-Muslim views.

Praying at prescribed times is binding on Muslims and the blessed Friday prayers have to be offered in a mosque. These Muslims sacrificed their jobs for the sake of their religious duties. Now Muslims must unite to prepare some framework for dealing with the situation.



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