Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Kinetic Effects of Prayer in Islam

By Dymphna

One of our readers, an anthropologist of sorts, sent in this After Action Report on the experiential effects of his participation in the Friday prayers at a mosque in his city on the West Coast.

Some background on the writer of this essay: he’s Portuguese but now an American citizen. Like his patron, São João De Deus, he sees his mission as one of healing: João’s ‘patient’ is our ailing Western culture.

Like the rest of us, João is alarmed by Islam’s knee-jerk hostility toward anything beyond its own ideological boundaries. However, he has proactively lit a candle and followed his concern right into the heart of the oncoming darkness. [You’re a braver man than I am, Gunga João].

Islam is nothing if not militant. Thus João follows Colonel Boyd’s strategies as outlined in the OODA loop’s recurring cycles. João has been systematically thorough in his use of Boyd’s cycles. Would that our military leaders were half as curious and determined as João has been to comprehend what we really face.

First, he learned Arabic. This served two purposes: to begin with, it allowed him access into public conversations in those pockets of cultural enrichment in his city. Since his visage (and his gender) would permit him to “pass” unnoticed, he eavesdropped quite openly. The public hatred he heard for non-Muslims made him determined to learn more.

Second, knowing the language allowed him to see the original Koran and hadith, and to contemplate the inescapable understanding that Islam’s “reformation” must remain a myth. It is simply Western-centric thinking to believe in the possible transformaton of a Middle Eastern tribal mindset.

Both experiences left him deeply appalled and concerned for his country and for the West itself.

His next step was to attend Friday prayers in one of the mosques in his city, simply to experience the Friday prayers for himself. As you will see, he came away with an experiential comprehension of Islam’s “hold” on its followers. As he said in his email:

Part of how we can break the grip of the Islamic cult is to experience and to analyze how these rituals shape Muslim minds. It is only then that we can hope to deconstruct and demolish this cult.

What follows here is but one experience from his many years of immersion.

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As you know, I have long been studying Arabic. Now, moving on to Koranic recitation, I can explain the strong narcotic effect of Islamic prayer. Within the experience, I can see how the chanting is akin to Rap tempos and rhythms. Recently I did the whole Muslim prayer sequence. It was difficult but the process brought much insight I couldn’t have gained any other way.

It is quite different from Christian prayer. The latter has a more inner, spiritual nature and allows space for the individual, even within community-based rituals. The emphasis in Christian prayer is relationship with God and with one’s neighbors.

In mosque ritual the kinetic aspects of bowing and praying in tandem with others have distinctive effects on brain and mood. I experienced these results myself, without having internalized the belief system. In Islam, it’s about behavior shaping belief.

Bowing and touching your head to the ground repeatedly instills a sense of capitulation and surrender of the will. As a student of yoga I compare it to the Downward Facing Dog position. However, in Islamic ritual, this movement is accompanied by chanting Arabic of Koranic scripture, followed by a “religious rap” of one’s head on the ground.

[Dymphna asks: Don’t you wonder whether the resulting forehead bruise (known as a zebiba), repeated exactly on the section of the cranium protecting the frontal lobes — that part of our brain concerned with higher thought and discernment — takes its toll eventually? No doubt it’s a sign of Islamic holiness.]

The repeated rhythmic lowering of head to ground has different results from other religions’ prayer forms. I have experienced the kinetic affect of Christian prayer, Muslim prayer and Yoga; each one seems to have its own affect on the brain.

Christian prayer directs the mind-body movement upwards, leading to an individual and uplifted energized experience. When Christians bow their heads it is voluntary — or as you put it so well, Dymphna, “obedience is not submission”. For Christians this signcan be directed out toward others, as a sign our mutual coexistence in community.

Muslim prayer primarily directs us downward. Think of bowing to the king in subservience — or, in this case, submission to Allah. Finishing the prayer cycle, I was standing level-headed, my energy redirected now to confront the non-believer. The once a week group prayer unifies this outward energy.

No wonder this form of prayer was a common activity before battle! It is not individual spiritual cleansing but group movement outward to conquer. This is why mass street prayer is occurring in Paris and other European cities. It is not just about the public message of dominance; more importantly it is what they’ve done and said to themselves. This is a preparation for the street battles to come.

Yoga, on the other hand, has an entirely different effect on the mind and body. The “effort without effort” brings you to a balance which results in a receptive, open state. Is this why we don’t see yogi suicide bombers? [Note: we do see self-immolators but it’s not the same as taking others with you — D]

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[An Arabic phrase failed to come through our email here — D] “Wudhoo” or ritualistic cleaning before prayer includes saying “Oh Allah I seek protection in you from the male and female devil”; then you step with the left foot. After moving through the steps and considering their effects, I believe these ritual cleansing behaviors had a practical military outcome in better hygiene and less disease among the troops.

The major killer of soldiers in ancient times was not the battlefield but widespread dysentery. Having now done these ritual cleansings many times, I’m convinced they would have resulted in an increase in general hygiene. To wash five times a day your hands, feet, face, ears and mouth means you’re less likely to spread disease. When water is not available, hot sand is used instead — for hands and feet, anyway — as a sterilizer and abrasive for removing organic material which might be a source of pathogens.

So the overall effect of Muslim prayer is:

  • to destroy the free will of the individual through those daily rituals.
  • Friday group prayers to focus hostility toward non-believers.
  • The improvement of group hygiene through daily washing is an excellent way to stay united and prepared for war, or
  • to exclude the unclean while encouraging hostility toward outsiders.

No wonder Muslims have had hostile relations with host communities. Through long practice, their rituals and prayers program them to act this way.

To free them, then, we must discourage or prevent those aspects of their religion that keep their free will out of commission.

While I haven’t the discipline or opportunity to do what João is doing (or the gender — being male helps one pass less noticed), his experience is one I can share vicariously. Since he knows experientially the results of three different esoteric practices, he has changed his orientation towards Islam. Thus he can direct his future actions more deliberately than would have been the case before he took on his anthropological exploration.

John Boyd would have approved.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Islam's Doctrines of Deception

To better understand Islam, one must appreciate the thoroughly legalistic nature of the religion. According to sharia (Islamic law) every conceivable human act is categorised as being either forbidden, discouraged, permissible, recommended, or obligatory.
"Common sense" or "universal opinion" has little to do with Islam's notions of right and wrong. Only what Allah (through the Quran) and his prophet Muhammad (through the Hadith) have to say about any given issue matters; and how Islam's greatest theologians and jurists – collectively known as the ulema, literally, "they who know" – have articulated it.
According to sharia, in certain situations, deception – also known as 'taqiyya', based on Quranic terminology, – is not only permitted but sometimes obligatory. For instance, contrary to early Christian history, Muslims who must choose between either recanting Islam or being put to death are not only permitted to lie by pretending to have apostatised, but many jurists have decreed that, according to Quran 4:29, Muslims are obligated to lie in such instances.

Origins of taqiyya

As a doctrine, taqiyya was first codified by Shia Muslims, primarily as a result of their historical experience. Long insisting that the caliphate rightly belonged to the prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Ali (and subsequently his descendents), the Shia were a vocal and powerful branch of Islam that emerged following Muhammad's death. After the internal Islamic Fitna wars from the years 656 AD to 661 AD, however, the Shia became a minority branch, persecuted by mainstream Muslims or Sunnis – so-called because they follow the example or 'sunna' of Muhammad and his companions. Taqiyya became pivotal to Shia survival.
Interspersed among the much more numerous Sunnis, who currently make up approximately 90 per cent of the Islamic world, the Shia often performed taqiyya by pretending to be Sunnis externally, while maintaining Shia beliefs internally, as permitted by Quranic verse 16:106. Even today, especially in those Muslim states where there is little religious freedom, the Shia still practice taqiyya. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, Shias are deemed by many of the Sunni majority to be heretics, traitors and infidels and like other non-Sunni Muslims they are often persecuted.
Several of Saudi Arabia's highest clerics have even issued fatwas sanctioning the killing of Shias. As a result, figures on the Arabian kingdom's Shia population vary wildly from as low as 1 per cent to nearly 20 per cent. Many Shias living there obviously choose to conceal their religious identity. As a result of some 1,400 years of Shia taqiyya, the Sunnis often accuse the Shias of being habitual liars, insisting that taqiyya is ingrained in Shia culture.
Conversely, the Sunnis have historically had little reason to dissemble or conceal any aspect of their faith, which would have been deemed dishonorable, especially when dealing with their historic competitors and enemies, the Christians. From the start, Islam burst out of Arabia subjugating much of the known world, and, throughout the Middle Ages, threatened to engulf all of Christendom. In a world where might made right, the Sunnis had nothing to apologise for, much less to hide from the 'infidel'.
Paradoxically, however, today many Sunnis are finding themselves in the Shias' place: living as minorities in Western countries surrounded and governed by their traditional foes. The primary difference is that, extremist Sunnis and Shia tend to reject each other outright, as evidenced by the ongoing Sunni-Shia struggle in Iraq, whereas, in the West, where freedom of religion is guaranteed, Sunnis need only dissemble over a few aspects of their faith.

Articulation of taqiyya

According to the authoritative Arabic text, Al-Taqiyya Fi Al-Islam: "Taqiyya [deception] is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it. We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream...Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era."
The primary Quranic verse sanctioning deception with respect to non-Muslims states: "Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah – unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions." (Quran 3:28; see also 2:173; 2:185; 4:29; 22:78; 40:28.)
Al-Tabari's (838-923 AD) Tafsir, or Quranic exegeses, is essentially a standard reference in the entire Muslim world. Regarding 3:28, he wrote: "If you [Muslims] are under their [infidels'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harbouring inner animosity for them... Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers – except when infidels are above them [in authority]. In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them."
Regarding 3:28, the Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) wrote: "Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels'] evil, may protect himself through outward show."
As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's companions. Abu Darda said: "Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them." Al-Hassan said: "Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the day of judgment [in perpetuity]."
Other prominent ulema, such as al- Qurtubi , al-Razi, and al-Arabi have extended taqiyya to cover deeds. Muslims can behave like infidels – from bowing down and worshipping idols and crosses to even exposing fellow Muslims' "weak spots" to the infidel enemy – anything short of actually killing a fellow Muslim.

War is deceit

None of this should be surprising considering that Muhammad himself, whose example as the "most perfect human" is to be tenaciously followed, took an expedient view on the issue of deception. For instance, Muhammad permitted deceit in three situations: to reconcile two or more quarreling parties; husband to wife and vice-versa; and in war (See Sahih Muslim B32N6303, deemed an "authentic" hadith).
During the Battle of the Trench (627 AD), which pitted Muhammad and his followers against several non-Muslim tribes collectively known as "the Confederates", a Confederate called Naim bin Masud went to the Muslim camp and converted to Islam. When Muhammad discovered the Confederates were unaware of Masud's conversion, he counseled him to return and try somehow to get his tribesmen to abandon the siege. "For war is deceit," Muhammad assured him.
Masud returned to the Confederates without their knowledge that he had switched sides and began giving his former kin and allies bad advice. He also went to great lengths to instigate quarrels between the various tribes until, thoroughly distrusting each other, they disbanded and lifted the siege. According to this account, deceit saved Islam during its embryonic stage (see Al-Taqiyya Fi Al-Islam; also, Ibn Ishaq's Sira, the earliest biography of Muhammad).
More demonstrative of the legitimacy of deception with respect to non-Muslims is the following account. A poet, Kab bin al-Ashruf, had offended Muhammad by making derogatory verse about Muslim women. Muhammad exclaimed in front of his followers: "Who will kill this man who has hurt Allah and his prophet?"
A young Muslim named Muhammad bin Maslama volunteered, but with the caveat that, in order to get close enough to Kab to assassinate him, he be allowed to lie to the poet. Muhammad agreed.
Maslama traveled to Kab and began denigrating Islam and Muhammad, carrying on this way till his disaffection became convincing enough for Kab to take him into his confidences. Soon thereafter, Maslama appeared with another Muslim and, while Kab's guard was down, they assaulted and killed him. They ran to Muhammad with Kab's head, to which the latter cried: "Allahu akbar" or "God is great" (see the hadith accounts of Sahih Bukhari and Ibn Sad).
The entire sequence of Quranic revelations are a testimony to taqiyya and, since Allah is believed to be the revealer of these verses, he ultimately is seen as the perpetrator of deceit. This is not surprising since Allah himself is often described in the Quran as the "best deceiver" or "schemer." (see 3:54, 8:30, 10:21). This phenomenon revolves around the fact that the Quran contains both peaceful and tolerant verses, as well as violent and intolerant ones.
The ulema were uncertain which verses to codify into sharia's worldview. For instance, should they use the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims until they either convert or at least submit to Islam (9:5, 9:29)? To solve this quandary, they developed the doctrine of abrogation – naskh, supported by Quran 2:105. This essentially states that verses "revealed" later in Muhammad's career take precedence over those revealed earlier whenever there is a discrepancy.
Why the contradiction in the first place? The standard answer has been that, because Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by the infidels in the early years of Islam, a message of peace and co-existence was in order. However, after Muhammad migrated to Medina and grew in military strength and numbers, the militant or intolerant verses were revealed, urging Muslims to go on the offensive.
According to this standard view, circumstance dictates which verses are to be implemented. When Muslims are weak, they should preach and behave according to the Meccan verses; when strong, they should go on the offensive, according to the Medinan verses. Many Islamic books extensively deal with the doctrine of abrogation, or Al-Nasikh Wa Al-Mansukh.

War is eternal

The fact that Islam legitimises deceit during war cannot be all that surprising; strategist Sun Tzu (c. 722-221 BC), Italian political philosopher Machiavelli (1469-1527) and English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) all justified deceit in war.
However, according to all four recognised schools of Sunni jurisprudence, war against the infidel goes on in perpetuity, until "all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to Allah" (Quran 8:39). According to the definitive Encyclopaedia of Islam (Brill Online edition): "The duty of the jihad exists as long as the universal domination of Islam has not been attained. Peace with non-Muslim nations is, therefore, a provisional state of affairs only; the chance of circumstances alone can justify it temporarily. Furthermore there can be no question of genuine peace treaties with these nations; only truces, whose duration ought not, in principle, to exceed ten years, are authorised. But even such truces are precarious, inasmuch as they can, before they expire, be repudiated unilaterally should it appear more profitable for Islam to resume the conflict."
The concept of obligatory jihad is best expressed by Islam's dichotomised worldview that pits Dar al Islam (House of Islam) against Dar al Harb (House of War or non-Muslims) until the former subsumes the latter. Muslim historian and philosopher, Ibn Khaldun (1332- 1406), articulated this division by saying: "In the Muslim community, holy war [jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defence. But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations."
This concept is highlighted by the fact that, based on the ten-year treaty of Hudaibiya , ratified between Muhammad and his Quraish opponents in Mecca (628), ten years is theoretically the maximum amount of time Muslims can be at peace with infidels (as indicated earlier by the Encyclopaedia of Islam). Based on Muhammad's example of breaking the treaty after two years, by citing a Quraish infraction, the sole function of the "peace-treaty" (hudna) is to buy weakened Muslims time to regroup for a renewed offensive. Muhammad is quoted in the Hadith saying: "If I take an oath and later find something else better, I do what is better and break my oath (see Sahih Bukhari V7B67N427)."
This might be what former PLO leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat meant when, after negotiating a peace treaty criticised by his opponents as conceding too much to Israel, he said in a mosque: "I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraish in Mecca."
On several occasions Hamas has made it clear that its ultimate aspiration is to see Israel destroyed. Under what context would it want to initiate a "temporary" peace with the Jewish state? When Osama bin Laden offered the US a truce, stressing that "we [Muslims] are a people that Allah has forbidden from double-crossing and lying," what was his ultimate intention?
Based on the above, these are instances of Muslim extremists feigning openness to the idea of peace simply in order to bide time.
If Islam must be in a constant state of war with the non-Muslim world – which need not be physical, as radicals among the ulema have classified several non-literal forms of jihad, such as "jihad-of-the-pen" (propaganda), and "money-jihad" (economic) – and if Muslims are permitted to lie and feign loyalty to the infidel to further their war efforts, offers of peace, tolerance or dialogue from extremist Muslim corners are called into question.

Religious obligation?

Following the terrorist attacks on the United States of 11 September 2001, a group of prominent Muslims wrote a letter to Americans saying that Islam is a tolerant religion that seeks to coexist with others.
Bin Laden castigated them, saying: "As to the relationship between Muslims and infidels, this is summarised by the Most High's Word: 'We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us – till you believe in Allah alone' [Quran 60:4]. So there is an enmity, evidenced by fierce hostility from the heart. And this fierce hostility – that is battle – ceases only if the infidel submits to the authority of Islam, or if his blood is forbidden from being shed [a dhimmi – a non-Muslim subject living as a "second-class" citizen in an Islamic state in accordance to Quran 9:29], or if Muslims are at that point in time weak and incapable [a circumstance under which taqiyya applies]. But if the hate at any time extinguishes from the heart, this is great apostasy! Such, then, is the basis and foundation of the relationship between the infidel and the Muslim. Battle, animosity and hatred, directed from the Muslim to the infidel, is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them."
This hostile world view is traceable to Islam's schools of jurisprudence. When addressing Western audiences, however, Bin Laden's tone significantly changes. He lists any number of grievances as reasons for fighting the West – from Israeli policies towards Palestinians to the Western exploitation of women and US failure to sign the Kyoto protocol – never alluding to fighting the US simply because it is an infidel entity that must be subjugated. He often initiates his messages to the West by saying: "Reciprocal treatment is part of justice."
This is a clear instance of taqiyya, as Bin Laden is not only waging a physical jihad, but one of propaganda. Convincing the West that the current conflict is entirely its fault garners him and his cause more sympathy. Conversely, he also knows that if his Western audiences were to realise that, all real or imagined political grievances aside, according to the Islamic worldview delineated earlier, which bin Laden does accept, nothing short of their submission to Islam can ever bring peace, his propaganda campaign would be compromised. As a result there is constant lying, "for war is deceit".
If Bin Laden's words and actions represent an individual case of taqiyya, they raise questions about Saudi Arabia's recent initiatives for "dialogue". Saudi Arabia closely follows sharia. For instance, the Saudi government will not allow the construction of churches or synagogues on its land; Bibles are banned and burned. Christians engaged in any kind of missionary activity are arrested, tortured, and sometimes killed. Muslim converts to Christianity can be put to death in the kingdom.
Despite such limitations on religious freedom, the Saudis have been pushing for more dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. At the most recent inter-faith conference in Madrid in July 2008, King Abdullah asserted: "Islam is a religion of moderation and tolerance, a message that calls for constructive dialogue among followers of all religions."
Days later, it was revealed that Saudi children's textbooks still call Christians and Jews "infidels", "hated enemies" and "pigs and swine". A multiple-choice test in a book for fourth-graders asks: "Who is a 'true' Muslim?" The correct answer is not the man who prays and fasts, but rather: "A man who worships God alone, loves the believers and hates the infidels". These infidels are the same people the Saudis want dialogue with. This raises the question of whether, when Saudis call for dialogue, they are merely following Muhammad's companion Abu Darda's advice: "Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them"?
There is also a philosophical – more particularly, epistemological – problem with taqiyya. Anyone who truly believes that no less an authority than God justifies and, through his prophet's example, sometimes even encourages deception, will not experience any ethical qualms or dilemmas about lying. This is especially true if the human mind is indeed a tabula rasa shaped by environment and education. Deception becomes second nature.
Consider the case of former Al-Qaeda operative, Ali Mohammad. Despite being entrenched in the highest echelons of the terrorism network, Mohammed's confidence at dissembling enabled him to become a CIA agent and FBI informant for years. People who knew him regarded him "with fear and awe for his incredible self-confidence, his inability to be intimidated, absolute ruthless determination to destroy the enemies of Islam, and his zealous belief in the tenets of militant Islamic fundamentalism", according to Steven Emerson. Indeed, this sentiment sums it all up: for a zealous belief in Islam's tenets, which, as has been described above, legitimises deception, will certainly go a long way in creating incredible self-confidence when deceiving one's enemies.

Exposing a doctrine

All of the above is an exposition on doctrine and its various manifestations, not an assertion on the actual practices of the average Muslim. The deciding question is how literally any given Muslim follows sharia and its worldview.
So-called "moderate" Muslims – or, more specifically, secularised Muslims – do not closely adhere to sharia, and therefore have little to dissemble about. On the other hand, "radical" Muslims who closely observe sharia law, which splits the world into two perpetually warring halves, will always have a "divinely sanctioned" right to deceive, until "all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to Allah" (Quran 8:39).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Islam is Fascism

Islam is a religion with a very political agenda. The ultimate goal of Islam is to rule the world. But what kind of government an Islamic state would have?
It certainly won’t be democratic. Islam is not compatible with democracy. Amir Taheri, an Iranian born author/journalist in a debate on Islam and democracy argued that in fact the word democracy does not exist in any of the languages spoken by Muslims. “To understand a civilization,” Taheri said, “it is important to understand its vocabulary. If it was not on their tongues it is likely that it was not on their minds either.”
Democracy implies equality. But equality is unacceptable in Islam. Un-believers cannot be equal to believers and women are not equal to men. Even the non-Muslims are not deemed to be equal. The People of the Book (Jews and Christians) are accepted as second class citizens and allowed to live in an Islamic state provided they pay the protection tax; Jizyah. But the pagans, atheists and idolaters are not regarded as fully humans. According to the Quran, the idolaters are to be killed wherever they are found. (9:5)
In the April 9, 2002 issue, The Wall Street Journal published the concept of blood money in Saudi Arabia. If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation, as follow.
100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
50,000 riyals if a Christian man
25,000 riyals if a Christian woman
6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman
According to this hierarchy, a Muslim man’s life is worth 33 times that of a Hindu woman. This hierarchy is based on the Islamic definition of human rights and is rooted in the Quran and Sharia (Islamic law). How can we talk of democracy when the concept of equality in Islam is inexistent?
Of course killing the idolaters “where ye find them” was not always expedient. What would the Muslim rulers in India gain if they killed all the Hindus? Over whom would they rule? So pragmatism often prevailed and Muslim rulers would exert some degree of tolerance towards their pagan subjects. It is hard to find a Muslim ruler as ruthless as Muhammad himself. Muslim rulers killed whenever profit dictated and since live subjects were more profitable than dead ones, exterminations were not total as was intended by Muhammad. Nonetheless, their tolerance was out of political expediency. Muhammad’s butchery of his victims on the other hand, was psychopathological. He would massacre entire populations simply because they rejected him or hurt his narcissistic ego.
The Christians and the Jews, the so called People of the Book, had some conditional rights. They had to pay Jizyah and buy their protection. Nonetheless they lived in a state of religious apartheid and were subject to humiliating treatments. For example, they were considered najis (impure) and were not allowed to go out in rainy days, lest their impurity rub on a passing Muslim, make him “impure” and annul his prayer.
Jews and Christians were required to dismount from their riding animals if they met a Muslim on their way and they were supposed to greet him humbly and show submissiveness towards him. The Dhimmis were not allowed to build their houses taller than those of their Muslim neighbors and in some cases they were not allowed to build new churches and synagogues and needed permission to repair the existing ones.  This law is practiced to this day in virtually all Muslim countries.
Taheri says: “To say that Islam is incompatible with democracy should not be seen as a disparagement of Islam. On the contrary, many Muslims would see it as a compliment because they sincerely believe that their idea of rule by God is superior to that of rule by men which is democracy.”
In an article titled “The Political Framework of Islam,” found on many Islamic sites, the author explains: “In Western democracy, the people are sovereign; in Islam sovereignty is vested in Allah and the people are His caliphs or representatives. The laws given by Allah through His Prophet (Shari ‘ah) are to be regarded as constitutional principles that should not be violated.”
Taheri quoted several Muslim thinkers who expressed their disdain and disapproval of democracy.
“Ayatollah Khomeini called democracy “a form of prostitution” because he who gets the most votes wins the power that belongs only to Allah.
Sayyed Qutb, the Egyptian who is credited to be the ideological mentor of Safalists, spent a year in the United States in the 1950s and wrote: ” America is a nation that has forgotten God and been forsaken by Him; an arrogant nation that wants to rule itself.”
Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of the leading theoreticians of today’s Islamist movement, published a book ( available on the Internet) in which he warned that the real danger to Islam did not come from American tanks and helicopter gunships in Iraq but from the idea of democracy and rule by the people.
Maudoodi, another of the Islamist theoreticians now fashionable, dreamed of a political system in which human beings would act as automatons in accordance with rules set by God.
He said that God has arranged man’s biological functions in such a way that their operation is beyond human control. For our non-biological functions, notably our politics, God has set rules that we have to discover and apply once and for all so that our societies can be on auto-pilot so to speak.
The late Saudi theologian, Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Jubair, a man I respected though seldom agreed with, sincerely believed that the root cause of all of our contemporary ills was the spread of democracy. “Only one ambition is worthy of Islam,” he liked to say, “the ambition to save the world from the curse of democracy: to teach men that they cannot rule themselves on the basis of manmade laws. Mankind has strayed from the path of God, we must return to that path or face certain annihilation.””
So what kind of government Islam is proposing?
Democracy means the rule of people. This is unacceptable in Islam. The Quran is empathic that “to Allah belong all Dominion and power” (2.165, 35:10, 35:13, 64:1). The words “No judgment but God’s” (la hukm illa li-llah) is based on several Quranic verses (esp. 6.57; 12.40, 67 etc.) This power is vested on His regent known as Khalifat al-Allah.
The Khalifa cannot legislate. He can only interpret the Law given in the Quran and the sunnah and apply it. Naturally, since the Quran is not a clear book, this allows for a wide range of interpretations and this explains why there are so many Islamic schools of thoughts and sects. “But the bottom line is” says Taheri, “that no Islamic government can be democratic in the sense of allowing the common people equal shares in legislation.”
Common people are called awwam, and as the saying goes: al-awwam kal anaam! (Awwam are like animals).
It is up to the “experts” of the Law to interpret the Sharia and let the awwam know how they should live their lives. This endows the “expert” ruler, all the power and allows him to act as the deputy of God on Earth. There can be no opposition to the ruler. You can’t oppose God by opposing his representative.
In democracies people’s beliefs are irrelevant. They can belong to any religion or no religion and still manage to govern themselves in a secular state. This is not the case in Islam where God is the lawgiver. Christians and Jews have managed to separate the Church from the State. Such a separation in Islam is not possible. The concept of Church (with uppercase C) as understood in Christianity does not exist in Islam. There is no authority like the Vatican or the Church of England in Islam. Mullahs and Imams are average Muslims who through their knowledge of the Quran and Sharia gain reputation among the ummah and their own peers. You can’t separate the Islamic “Church” from politics, because there is no such thing as the Islamic “Church”. Every Mullah can interpret the Sharia in his own way. But he can’t redefine the explicit teachings of Islam.
Presently, Muslims don’t have a khalifa. Even if they had, he would not have been able to deviate from the Quran and separate Islam from politics.
Islam’s main goal is to give the dominion of this world to its “rightful” owner, Allah. No authority on Earth can change that. Impeding Islam to achieve this goal is denying its raison d’être and it is tantamount to blasphemy. Islam by definition is imperialistic.
It must advance, conquer and reclaim the dominion of all the earth or there is no reason for it to exist.
Democracies are pluralistic. In democracies people have different faiths and are free to criticize, not only each other’s religions but also their own. Islam does not tolerate such a thing. Anyone who criticizes Islam faces severe punishment including execution or assassination. Islam is regarded as the only Truth. Defying this truth is the same as defying God. Challenging the authority of the representative of God on earth is like challenging God himself.
On May 27, 1999 Rafsanjani, one of the ruling Mullahs of Iran said: “If the Islamic nature and fundamental pillar of the state and the velayat-e faqih (Shiite version of khalifa) are undermined, nothing would be left around.” The same day, Khatami, the so called “reformist” president of the Islamic Republic said in the city of Qom: “Society’s parting with religion and the clergy is the beginning of our fall.” Khatami in July 5, 1998 said: “velayat-e faqih is the axis and pillar of the state,” he reiterated, “velayat-e faqih is the raison d’être of our state. As such, opposing it… is to oppose the fundamentals and pillar of the state….No state would tolerate assaults on its principles and pillars,” he said. [Iran Zamin News Agency]
Iran-bulletin.org defines the concept of velayat-e faqih, the Shiite version of khilafat and says: “In the theory of velayate faqih none of us can tell the difference between good and bad and, indeed, the whole edifice of the clerical ruler-ship has been constructed to cope with our “ignorance”. The supreme clerical leader is our custodian (qayyem), and we are like sheep that if separated from our shepherd would surely be lost. The velayate faqih embodies every rights and the rest of us are only to carry duties. At its most pithy definition, the system of velayate faqih is the expression of this ignorance and absence of rights on our part in contrast with the all knowing, all powerful, clerical ruler.”
Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader explained the concept of velaya-e faqih, the position that he himself is occupying, with an uncanny frankness when he said: “the leadership means that point where the insoluble problems of government are solved at his hands. His person lights up the truth for the people and exposes the conspiracies of the enemy.” [ibid]
In the Islamic state religion is preeminent and God serves as the only legitimate source of legislation. Temporal rulers merely implement the laws of Islam as dictated by God.
The following article titled “Essential Features of the Islamic Political System” explains the concept of khilafat as understood by Muslims.
“The political system of Islam is based on three principles: Tawhid (unity of Allah), Risalat (Prophethood) and Khilafat (vicegerency).
Tawhid means that only Allah is the Creator, Sustainer and Master of the universe and of all that exists in it organic or inorganic. The sovereignty of this kingdom is vested only in Him. He alone has the right to command or forbid. Worship and obedience are due to Him alone, no one and nothing else shares it in any way. Life, in all its forms, our physical organs and faculties, the apparent control which we have over nearly everything in our lives and the things themselves, none of them has been created or acquired by us in our own right. They have been bestowed on us entirely by Allah. Hence, it is not for us to decide the aim and purpose of our existence or to set the limits of our authority; nor is anyone else entitled to make these decisions for us. This right rests only with Allah, who has created us, endowed us with mental and physical faculties, and provided material things for our use.
This principle of the unity of Allah totally negates the concept of the legal and political independence of human beings, individually or collectively. No individual, family, class or race can set themselves above Allah. Allah alone is the Ruler and His commandments are the Law.
The medium through which we receive the law of Allah is known as Risalat. We have received two things from this source: the Book in which Allah has set out His law, and the authoritative interpretation and exemplification of the Book by the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him through word and deed, in his capacity as the representative of Allah. The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, has also, in accordance with the intention of the Divine Book, given us a model for the Islamic way of life by himself implementing the law and providing necessary details where required. The combination of these two elements is called the Shari ‘ah.
Now consider Khilafat. According to the Arabic lexicon, it means ‘representation’. Man, according to Islam, is the representative of Allah on earth, His vicegerent. That is to say, by virtue of the powers delegated to him by Allah, he is required to exercise his Allah-given authority in this world within the limits prescribed by Allah.
A state that is established in accordance with this political theory will in fact be a human caliphate under the sovereignty of Allah and will do Allah’s will by working within the limits prescribed by Him and in accordance with His instructions and injunctions.”
This definition makes clear that the rule of Islamic system of government is not limited to Muslims but to every “organic or inorganic” thing that exists in this universe. This of course includes the non-Muslims. In an Islamic state everyone must live according to the dictates of Islam.
Khilafat or the velayat-e faqih are not dissimilar to fascism. The Columbia Encyclopedia, defines fascism as: “A totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.”
Characteristics of Fascist Philosophy:
“Fascism, especially in its early stages, is obliged to be antitheoretical and frankly opportunistic in order to appeal to many diverse groups. Nevertheless, a few key concepts are basic to it. First and most important is the glorification of the state and the total subordination of the individual to it. The state is defined as an organic whole into which individuals must be absorbed for their own and the state’s benefit. This “total state” is absolute in its methods and unlimited by law in its control and direction of its citizens.
A second ruling concept of fascism is embodied in the theory of social Darwinism. The doctrine of survival of the fittest and the necessity of struggle for life is applied by fascists to the life of a nation-state. Peaceful, complacent nations are seen as doomed to fall before more dynamic ones, making struggle and aggressive militarism a leading characteristic of the fascist state. Imperialism is the logical outcome of this dogma. Another element of fascism is its elitism. Salvation from rule by the mob and the destruction of the existing social order can be effected only by an authoritarian leader who embodies the highest ideals of the nation. This concept of the leader as hero or superman, borrowed in part from the romanticism of Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Carlyle, and Richard Wagner, is closely linked with fascism’s rejection of reason and intelligence and its emphasis on vision, creativeness, and the will.”
Let us compare that to Islam. Islam is opportunistic par excellence. It is extremely deceptive and despite being a doctrine of war it portrays itself as the religion of peace. It wants to have a universal appeal. It subjugates women and Muhammad was a misogynist of the worst kind but its apologists present him as the champion of women’s rights. The Quran is an asinine book of nonsense, yet its defenders claim that it is a miracle which contains scientific facts. It opposes knowledge and technology, yet it is presented as the religion that encourages learning. Muslims are fond of reminding others that Muhammad said “seek knowledge even if it is China” But the fact is that any knowledge that is perceived as contradicting the Quran is regarded satanic and is to be destroyed.
The Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt was once the largest in the world. It was founded at the beginning of the 3rd century BC during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt. It stored at its peak, 400,000 to 700,000 scrolls. In 640 AD Muslims took the city and upon learning of “a great library containing all the knowledge of the world” the conquering general asked Khalifa Omar for instructions. Omar has been quoted as saying of the Library’s holdings, “they will either contradict the Quran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous.” And to be on the safe side he ordered the library to be destroyed and the books burnt.
This is how Muslims try to portray a false image of Islam so it can have a broad appeal.
The most important feature of Islamic polity is the glorification of Islamic state and the total subordination of the individual to it.
Just like in fascism, the Islamic state is defined as an organic whole to which individuals must submit. In Islam “freedom” is in submission to Allah and his messenger. The very word Islam, which Muslims deceptively translate as peace, means submission. What is good for Islam and the Islamic state is good for Muslims and what is bad for Islam and the Islamic state is to be spurned and regarded as bad for the Muslims too. Islam and the establishment of Islam’s dominion are the greater good and the ultimate goal that every Muslim must strive for.
The Islamic site muslim-canada.org writes: “The highest organization in society is the state. Islam has given to the world the practical form and ideals of statehood. Therefore, the question of how religion should inspire, inform and discipline life, is naturally related to the question of how should it be related to the highest organization of society (i.e. the state).”
The other ruling of Islam is the concept of Jihad and the necessity to struggle in order to advance the Islamic dominance. The motto that “Islam is a religion of peace” is a preposterous slogan that is part of the strategy of the Islamic “Game of Deception”. Islam does not mean peace, it does not preach peace, it has never been peaceful and it will never be. Islam has advanced through aggressive militarism and regards Jihad and martyrdom as the most meritorious acts. Islam is militant and imperialistic by its very nature.
Fascism is elitist. Islam is also elitist. The Khalifa or the velayat-e faqih is the ultimate authority on Earth. He is the one who can understand the scriptures property. His word is the ultimate undisputable decree. However, theoretically, just as in communism, anyone can aspire to become Khalifa. The Khalifa in Sunni sect is elected by the populace whereas the velayate-e faqih in Shiism is nominated by a body of the ruling Mullahs called: “The Assembly of Experts”.
Whether this ruler is elected or nominated, just like in other totalitarian regimes, he occupies his seat for life and responds to no human authority.
Another similarity of Islam and fascism is their disdain of reason and intelligence. In Islam, the emphasis is on faith and unquestioning obedience to the mandates of God. Reason is rejected as a fallacy. Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, (1058 – 1111 CE), arguably the greatest Islamic scholar ever, in his book “Incoherence of the Philosophers” bitterly denounced Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and other Greek thinkers as non-believers and labeled those who employed their methods and ideas as corrupters of the Islamic faith. He took aim at Avicenna for being a rationalist who drew intellectually upon the Ancient Greeks. By emphasizing on the incompatibility of faith and reason, and by asserting the futility of making faith subordinate to reason, Ghazali gave validity to unreasoned faith and thus glorified stupidity.
William Montgomery Watt says: “The early period of Islamic thought is dominated by the conception of the unchangeability of true religion and the special Arab and Islamic conception of the nature of knowledge. Knowledge that is important for the conduct of life – and this is knowledge in the fullest sense – is obtained in the revealed words of God and in the sayings of prophets and other specially gifted men. From this conception of knowledge it follows that the work of the scholar is to transmit accurately the revealed text and other wise sayings”. [The Formative Period of Islamic Thought, p.63]
It is important to note that when Muslims talk about knowledge, they are talking about the “revealed” knowledge and not the secular scientific knowledge that has given birth to our civilization. The word science in Arabic is ilm. The people, who possess this ilm, are calledulama (plural of alim).  Alim does not mean scientist. It means religious scholar. Ilm is religious science.
Islam does not encourage the learning of science. Islamic languages don’t have a word for it. Islam encourages religious learning. This is what Muhammad meant when he said “seek knowledge”. Seeking knowledge in Islam, means memorizing the Quran and the hadith.
Islam as a Means of Power
Inspired by the Quran, Muslim groups employ sectarian violence to achieve political ends. The first group was Kharijiyya. The Kharijiyya insisted on two things. First, that the Islamic community must be based on the Quran. The second point emphasized the ascendancy of the Islamic state over the individual rights. Motivated by many verses of the Quran (32.13, 76:29-31, 3:39, 3:159, 16:93, 2:6-7, 4:88, etc.), they maintained that God’s will, must supersede men’s will and claimed the community is the bearer of the values that constitute meaningfulness, in other words men’s life has meaning only if he belongs to Muslim community. These ideas were based on the Quran and were eventually adopted by the rest of the Muslims. This is how fascism defines the position of the individual vis-à-vis the state.
Muslim rationalists such as Mutazilis placed reason above revelation. They were violent too. Their school was vehemently opposed by more fervent Islamists and became extinct. They were attacked by a group called Ashariyya to which al-Ghazali and the celebrated poet Rumi belonged. Rumi mocked the rationalists and in a catchy verse that left its mark on the psyche of the gullible masses said the rationalists stand on “wooden legs”.
The Ashariyya glorified irrationality and remained faithful to the Quran. They rejected the rationalists whom, in their view, had forsaken religion and had detracted from God and his revelation. Thus rational objectivism was quashed with mockery and violence, the books of rationalists such as Zakaria Razi were destroyed and rationalists had to hide for their safety. The Ashariyya won because they had the backing of the Quran.
With Ashariyyah’s unconditional embrace of the authority of revelation, and their glorification of irrationality, rationalism was nipped in the bud and most likely the Renascence that was about to be born 1000 years ago, did not. We will never know the extent of the harm that these celebrated religious zealots caused to human  civilization.
In an article titled: Is Rumi What We Think He Is? Massoume Price quotes Dr. Shaffiee Kadkani who wrote: “unfortunately the emergence of geniuses such as Rumi and other Urafa (religious mystics) who unconditionally supported Ashariyya did not give freedom of thought a chance”. He concludes, “If it wasn’t because of Ashariyya our history might have evolved differently”. [Creation and History, (Afarinesh va Tarikh, p.50)]
Price contends: “It is not a coincidence that in Mathnavi, Rumi attacks all thinkers including atheists, naturalists and philosophers etc…. When Ibn Khadon [Khaldun] troduction (Mogadameh) [Muqaddimah] t Africans are black because of geographical and environmental conditions, it was the Ashariyya who ended such scientific observations by declaring people are black because God created them as such. When Physicians tried to find the connection between the brain and hand’s movements, it was Imam Muhammad Ghazali who mocked scientific inquiry and stated “hands move because God wants them to move” (Alchemy of Happiness, Kimiyaya Saadat). It was Ashariyya who imposed inquisition culture that still exists today and haunts us even in North America.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, (Third Edition. 2002) says: “As a rule, fascist governments are dominated by a dictator, who usually possesses a magnetic personality, wears a showy uniform, and rallies his followers by mass parades; appeals to strident nationalism; and promotes suspicion or hatred of both foreigners and “impure” people within his own nation, such as the Jews in Germany.”
In Islam, the Khalifa does not wear a showy uniform. On the contrary, in accordance to Muhammad’s sunnah, he exerts himself to make a public display of modesty. Modesty is just a show and a hallmark of Islam. The more modest you dress, the more pious you look. But the Friday prayers and the hajj are the Islamic versions of mass parades that are designed to impress the believer, give him a sense of pride and belonging and make him firm in his belief that Islam is strong.
This parade to Muhammad was so important that in one hadith he is quoted saying:
“I thought that I should order the prayer to be commenced and command a person to lead people in prayer, and I should then go along with some persons having a fagot of fuel with them to the people who have not attended the prayer (in congregation) and would burn their houses with fire. [Muslim4,1370; Bukhari1,11,626]
Islam also promoted suspicion and hatred of the unbelievers. Muhammad said that the unbelievers are impure (najis) 9:28 and instilled in them the hatred of the Jews, saying God transformed them into apes and swine. 2.65, 5.60, 7.166
Clearly, the Islamic system of government is fascistic.
• It is marked by centralization of authority under a supreme leader vested with divine clout.
• It has stringent socioeconomic control over all aspects of all its subjects irrespective of their faith.
• It suppresses its opposition through terror and censorship.
• It has a policy of belligerence towards non-believers.
• It practices religious apartheid.
• It disdains reason.
• It is imperialistic.
• It is oppressive.
• It is dictatorial and
• It is controlling.
Islam, like fascism, appeals to people with low self esteem and low intelligence. Both these ideologies are irrational. They disdain reason, and hail devotion and submission to a higher authority. Like fascists, Muslims are triumphalists. They seek power, domination and control. They pride themselves in their strength of number, in their mindless heroism, in their disdain for life and in their willingness to kill and die for their cause.
Islam is political and political Islam is fascism.
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