in Times of
The article explores the revival, philanthropy, radicalism, Sharia and reform. I have added my comments beneath and you are welcome to share your comments section – Mike Ghouse
ZIAUDDIN SARDAR London-based author of Desperately Seeking Paradise, Balti
Last week, I took the Euro Star from St Pancras International station in
This is perhaps the most noticeable feature of the passing decade for us Muslims. We are now universally regarded as objects of suspicion and subjects for interrogation.
The main reason behind this is the momentous atrocity that began the Noughties: the terrorist attacks in
Terrorism, however, was not new to the Muslim world: it had been a problem before 9/11. In
But the 9/11 atrocity did create a new chapter. To begin with, it compounded a set of problems that existed for some time. For more than a generation , since at least the 'Islamic Revolution' in Iran, the political rhetoric in the Muslim world had been changing from the hyperbole of sabrerattling nationalism to macho militancy seeking to clothe itself in the legitimating mantle of Islam. The response to the 9/11 atrocity, the so-called 'war on terror' , took that tendency to a new height.
The 'war on terror' had a devastating impact both on the external realities of Muslim societies as well as on Muslim consciousnesses. It changed not only the course of history in
There were other consequences as well. Western reactions to 'Muslim terror' in
Europe has seen a frightening rise in Islamophobia since the July 7, 2005 bombings in
The much-vaunted freedom of expression was itself curtailed throughout much of the Muslim world as a result of the 'war on terror' . The outcome was predicted by Anwar Ibrahim, one of the most lucid voices of sanity in the Muslim world, in early 2002. Ibrahim, one-time founder of an Islamic movement and former deputy prime minister of
One consequence of the 9/11 atrocity, said Ibrahim in an open letter written from his prison cell, would be that "the nascent democratic movements in Muslim countries will regress for a few decades as ruling autocrats use their participation in the global war against terrorism to terrorise their critics and dissenters" . Indeed, this is exactly what happened in
The problem for Muslim societies, Ibrahim explained , was simple: "In the centuries when Islam created civilizations, men of wealth created pious foundations supporting universities and hospitals. Princes competed with one another to patronize scientists, philosophers and men of letters." That was then, now: "bin Laden uses his personal fortune to sponsor terror and murder, not learning and creativity, and to wreak destruction rather than promote creation. Osama bin Laden and his protÃ©gÃ©s are the children of desperation; they come from countries where political struggle through peaceful means is futile. In many Muslim countries, political dissent is simply illegal."
In many - but not in all. And this is where the dark clouds of the Noughties revealed their silver lining. While the centre of Islam - the Arab world,
The 2002 election in
The AKP used standard Islamic principles to realign Islamic politics towards democracy. Its leaders argued that politics in Islam has to be based on the Qur'anic concept of shura, or consultation, and therefore must be consensual and democratic. They introduced far-reaching reforms: death penalty was abolished, minorities were given more freedom , including the right to their own language education , and various aspects of human rights legislation were put on the statue books.
The AKP even tried to change the law to ensure that the military cannot intervene in the political process. And, as its resounding success in 2007 proved, AKP turned out to be an effective and efficient manager of the economy; it has been credited with being economically the most successful party in
Since the return of democracy in
While the Islamic movement in
The new Moudawana allows a woman to contract a marriage without the legal approval of a guardian. Verbal divorce has been outlawed: men now require prior authorisation from a court, and women have exactly the same rights. Women can claim alimony and can be granted custody of their children even if they remarry. Husbands and wives must share property acquired during the marriage. Men are no longer the 'leaders' of the family; both husband and wife share the leadership role. The old custom of favouring male heirs in the sharing of inherited land has also been dropped, making it possible for grandchildren on the daughter's side to inherit from their grandfather, just like grandchildren on the son's side. As for polygamy, it has been all but abolished. Men can take second wives only with the full consent of the first wife and only if they can prove, in a court of law, that they can treat them both with absolute justice - an impossible condition.
Every change in the law is justified - chapter and verse - from the Qur'an , and from the examples and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. And every change acquired the consent of the religious scholars. With the exception of the gripes of a few extremists , the new shariah has been widely welcomed, even by the Islamist political organisations. Justice and Development Party described the law as "a pioneering reform" that is "in line with the prescriptions of Islam and with the aims of our religion" .
If the shariah can be changed then anything and everything in the Muslim world is amenable to change. Not least in
By ZIAUDDIN SARDAR, London-based author of Desperately Seeking Paradise, Balti
Comments by Mike Ghouse
Quote, "For sure, fundamentalism will continue to be with us for some time. But it is totally vacuous, based on nothing more than hateful slogans and, as such, is bound to wither away."
Indeed, fundamentalism is part of the whole, every group and every tradition will continue to hang on to some fundamentals as a safety niche, and it will be a part of the social fabric. We have to figure out working the least conflict route. It is good to see the follow up line which assures the common readers about the reduction of fundamentalism.
Quote, "the nascent democratic movements in Muslim countries will regress for a few decades as ruling autocrats use their participation in the global war against terrorism to terrorise their critics and dissenters"
I recall Indira Gandhi's emergency rule, where every petty officer in government abused the privilege given to him to run the organization effectively. They terrorized the people who worked under them. It was a nightmare.
Quote, "Princes competed with one another to patronize scientists, philosophers and men of letters."
The Muslims in
Here is an article I wrote, which has been published in an Indian Magazine as well, application is the same - Are Muslims a part of the American story? ...
Quote, "The family law in
By using the word "traditional..." the author innocuously legitimizes that which was founded on mis-interpretations" as he beautifully segue into "producing fresh legislation based on the principles of Islam."
I admire the principles laid out in the
The description of the day of accountability (Day of Judgment) is vivid – No one is responsible for the acts of others, it makes it clear that not even your prophet will come to rescue you; you stand alone with your good and bad Karma to take the next step. The prophet even told his daughter that, just because she is the daughter of the prophet, she is not going to get a free pass; she has to earn it – by doing good deeds. That is being good to God's creation; life and environment. It is about individual responsibility.
The law, any law is written to bring justice to an individual and the society, and laws produced with the free and willing participation of all its consumers would be sustainable and more importantly, it will be "just". . Although the intent of Sharia Laws was justice, it has many flaws in its public application, we have them in
Sharia Laws are not divine; we have to consistently hammer this. They are interpretations of what Qur'aan meant to the Jurists after the Prophet, it means differently to us in a pluralistic society. The production of those laws was in an exclusive environment and not the environment of Pluralism that Prophet had lived. Madinah document and other principles of Pluralism were in place during the time of prophet. ...
Thank God for the net and face book, freedom will become the supreme value for human kind .
By the way, the Moroccan Sharia laws are reflective of the laws we have in
Your comments are welcome at: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/01/change-is-coming-to-islam.html#comments