Thursday, May 22, 2008

Islam and The West-5

Miscellany من كل واد عصا

The following joke is relevant:

Abe went to see his rabbi. "Rabbi," he said, "I would be grateful if you could explain the Talmud to me.”
"Very well, Abe," said the rabbi, "First, I need to ask you a simple question. If two men climb inside a chimney and one comes out dirty and the other comes out clean, which one washes himself?"
"The dirty one," replied Abe.
"No, Abe. They look at each other. The dirty man thinks he is clean but the clean man thinks he is dirty and washes.
"Now another question," said the rabbi. "If two men climb inside a chimney and one comes out dirty and the other comes out clean, which one washes himself?"
Abe smiled, "You just told me that one, Rabbi. The clean man, because he thinks he is dirty."
"No, Abe," said the rabbi.. "They each look at themselves.. The clean man knows he doesn't have to wash and the dirty man washes himself.
"Now one final question," said the rabbi. "If two men climb inside a chimney and one comes out dirty and the other one comes out clean, which one washes himself?"
This time Abe frowned, "I don't know, Rabbi. It could be either one, depending on your point of view."
"No, Abe," said the rabbi. "If two men climb inside a chimney, how could either of them come out clean? They are obviously both dirty and so they both wash."
Abe was now thoroughly confused, "Rabbi, you asked me exactly the same question three times, yet you gave me three different answers. Are you playing games with me?"
"No, Abe, I would never joke with you. This is Talmud."

(From: OY! The Ultimate Book Of Jewish Jokes by David Minkoff)

So the problem of a verse allowing for several interpretations is not limited to the Holy Koran, but to be found as well in the Talmud which is a massive compilation of writing that forms the basic body of Jewish laws and traditions, the equivalent of Sharia, or Islamic Jurisprudence.

- A Muslim does not have to be paranoid to think that people are out to get him. There are many enemies of Islam and Muslims, the most dangerous, and by far the worst, being Islamic terrorists. Al Qaeda and all such organizations are the real threat to Islam. They kill Muslims and at the same time justify actions by enemies of Islam that punish all Muslims, while scaring away people of good intentions who seek coexistence among peoples of all faith, or no faith. More than the U.S. or any international alliance, Muslims need to defeat the so-called Islamic terrorists. Anti-Islamic, or anti-Muslim, feelings are such that when the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams asked in a lecture if the British Legal System should allow non-Christian courts to decide some matters of family law, he faced a firestorm of protest concentrating on Sharia, and ignoring the fact that he also mentioned Orthodox Jewish law. The archbishop spent days later trying to explain himself.

- Of all the atrocities that have come out of Iraq, I have chosen two examples:
1- Two unveiled women are standing in a room, while an armed man is reading something possibly from the Koran. The next scene is of the two women kneeling with their hands tied behind their backs, and dying in a ferocious burst of gunfire.
There is absolutely no Koranic text or practice that justifies killing an unveiled woman.
2- An Al Qaeda terrorist is seized and is being questioned by Kurdish security men. He had forced a husband and wife out of their car then beheaded them. He admitted his crime saying that Al Qaeda gave him the job of beheading people and told him to learn his trade. When an interrogator told him that the slaughtered couple were innocent, the terrorist said it would still be okay as they would go to heaven. In his warped mind he was doing them a favor.

- Nowhere in the Koran is there a stipulation of stoning as a punishment. The word is mentioned two or three times, but in reference to old, Biblical, times. In the Bible I found stoning mentioned as punishment once in chapter 17 of Deuteronomy and twice in chapter 22. Chapters 12-26 of the fifth book of Moses are seen as the law chapters of the Jewish faith. There is also burning to death: And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire. Leviticus (21-9) and this: And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel. Judges (19-29). There is nothing comparable in the Koran.

- When I was at Georgetown University, my teacher and friend Hisham Sharabi suggested that I write a paper on women in the Koran and Islamic tradition, to show that Islam gave women their rights. I tried but in the end had to conclude that women were not made equal to men in the Koran. It says: Men are protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 34)

)ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٲمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعۡضَهُمۡ عَلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُواْ مِنۡ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ‌ۚ فَٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتُ قَـٰنِتَـٰتٌ حَـٰفِظَـٰتٌ۬ لِّلۡغَيۡبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ وَٱلَّـٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهۡجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلۡمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضۡرِبُوهُنَّ‌ۖ فَإِنۡ أَطَعۡنَڪُمۡ فَلَا تَبۡغُواْ عَلَيۡہِنَّ سَبِيلاً‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّ۬ا ڪَبِيرً۬ا(.

To be continued...


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