Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘fatwas

 

A look at the writings of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes 

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed free speech in the autocratic kingdom. His blog, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum, was shut down after his arrest in 2012.

The lashing are sets of 50 lashes, and the next set is tomorrow.

Ian Black analyses extracts from his key published Arabic writings that show a man who risked his freedom to question some of the basic tenets of life in Saudi Arabia – especially the central role of religion

Saudi blogger faces next 50 lashes as Amnesty calls on UK government to act

Raif Badawi
Raif Badawi. Amnesty Photograph: Private/Amnesty

Reflecting on the role of the Muslim religious establishment on 12 August 2010, Badawi warned about the stifling of creativity:

As soon as a thinker starts to reveal his ideas, you will find hundreds of fatwas that accused him of being an infidel just because he had the courage to discuss some sacred topics. I’m really worried that Arab thinkers will migrate in search of fresh air and to escape the sword of the religious authorities.

Badawi argued on 28 September 2010 in favour of “secularism [as] the most important refuge for citizens of a country.”

Urged by clerics not to attend “heretical” celebrations marking Saudi national day, he underlined the importance of separating religion from the state.

He does not attack the Saudi monarchy and even praises the liberal governor of Mecca, the intellectual and poet Khaled al-Faisal Al Saud.

Secularism respects everyone and does not offend anyone … Secularism … is the practical solution to lift countries (including ours) out of the third world and into the first world.

Badawi linked Palestine, one of the touchstones of Arab solidarity, to the question of political Islam, attacking Hamas.

I’m not in support of the Israeli occupation of any Arab country, but at the same time I do not want to replace Israel by a religious state … whose main concern would be spreading the culture of death and ignorance among its people when we need modernisation and hope. States based on religious ideology … have nothing except the fear of God and an inability to face up to life.

Look at what had happened after the European peoples succeeded in removing the clergy from public life and restricting them to their churches. They built up human beings and (promoted) enlightenment, creativity and rebellion. States which are based on religion confine their people in the circle of faith and fear. (Note that Israel is becoming a religious State too)

The only article of Badawi’s hitherto translated from Arabic into English denounces the demand of Muslims in New York that a mosque and community centre be built on the site of the World Trade Centre, where 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaida.

It goes against the official Saudi position by linking the terrorist group to the kingdom – and accuses Muslims of intolerance.

What hurts me most as a citizen of the area which exported those terrorists … is the audacity of Muslims in New York that reaches the limits of insolence, not taking any regard of the thousands of victims who perished on that fateful day or their families.

What increases my pain is this [Islamist] chauvinist arrogance which claims that innocent blood, shed by barbarian, brutal minds under the slogan “Allahu Akbar”, means nothing compared to the act of building an Islamic mosque whose mission will be to … spawn new terrorists …

Suppose we put ourselves in the place of American citizens. Would we accept that a Christian or Jew assaults us in our own house and then build a church or synagogue in the same area of the attack? I doubt it. We reject the building of churches in Saudi Arabia, not having been assaulted by anyone.

Then what would you think if those who wanted to build a church are the same people who stormed the sanctity of our land? Finally, we should not hide that fact that Muslims in Saudi Arabia not only disrespect the beliefs of others, but also charge them with infidelity to the extent that they consider anyone who is not Muslim an infidel, and, within their own narrow definitions, they consider non-Hanbali [the Saudi school of Islam] Muslims as apostates.

How can we be such people and build … normal relations with six billion humans, four and a half billion of whom do not believe in Islam.

In the first weeks of the Egyptian revolution in February 2011, Badawi hailed the drama in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as an example to the whole Arab world. The Saudi government, by contrast, was horrified by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and delighted when Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood veteran elected to succeed him, was ousted.

It is a revolution, led by students and the marginalised, a revolution in every sense of the word … that is … a decisive turning point … not only in the history and geography of Egypt but everywhere that is governed by the Arab mentality of dictatorship and security. It is not yet clear whether is Egypt is about to change, but it is our hope that a new Egypt will emerge from the painful birth pangs its people are experiencing … after years of subservience and oppression.

In Sepember 2011 Badawi launched a witheringly sarcastic attack on Saudi clerics after a TV preacher called for astronomers to be punished on the grounds that they encouraged scepticism about sharia law.

Actually, this venerable preacher has drawn my attention to a truth that had been hidden from me and my dear readers – namely, the existence of the so-called Sharia astronomer.

What a wonderful appellation! In my humble experience and in the course of my not inconsiderable research into the universe, its origins and the stars, I have never once come across this term. I advise NASA to abandon its telescopes and, instead, turn to our Sharia astronomers, whose keen vision and insight surpass the agency’s obsolete telescopes.

Indeed, I advise all other scholars the world over, of whatever discipline, to abandon their studies, laboratories, research centres, places of experimentation, universities, institutes etc. and head at once to the study groups of our magnificent preachers to learn from them all about modern medicine, engineering, chemistry, microbiology, geology, nuclear physics, the science of the atom, marine sciences, the science of explosives, pharmacology, anthropology etc. – alongside astronomy, of course.

God bless them! They have shown themselves to be the final authority with the decisive word in everything, which all mankind must accept, submit to and obey without hesitation or discussion.

In May 2012, shortly before his arrest, Badawi addressed the nature of liberalism.

For me, liberalism simply means, live and let live. This is a splendid slogan. However, the nature of liberalism – particularly the Saudi version – needs to be clarified. It is even more important to sketch the features and parameters of liberalism, to which the other faction, controlling and claiming exclusive monopoly of the truth, is so hostile that they are driven to discredit it without discussion or fully understanding what the word actually means.

They have succeeded in planting hostility to liberalism in the minds of the public and turning people against it, lest the carpet be pulled out from under their feet. But their hold over people’s minds and society shall vanish like dust carried off in the wind.

His final thought quoted Albert Camus: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

In another piece that month, Badawi invoked the Quran to support the importance of liberalism, the need to separate religion and state and implied that Islam itself has been distorted by the Saudi political establishment to promote illiberal and authoritarian ideals.

No religion at all has any connection to mankind’s civic progress. This is not a failing on the part of religion but rather that all religions represent a particular, precise spiritual relationship between the individual and the Creator. ..

However, positive law is an unavoidable human and social need because traffic regulations, employment law and the codes governing the administration of State can hardly be derived from religion.

Translations: Mona Mahmood, Amnesty International, Ian Black, Raya Jalabi and Gatestone Institute.

“The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie (Started October 30, 2008)

This manuscript is of 547 pages and divided into 9 parts:

The Angel Gibreel (Gabriel), Mahound, Ellowen Deeowen, Ayesha (Aicha), A city visible but unseen, Return to Jahilia, The Angel Azraeel (Satan), The Parting of the Arabian Sea, and A Wonderful lamp.

I will only review Mahound because this section is crucial for setting the geo-political, commercial and societal structure in Mecca and the neighboring towns.  This description would help comprehend the climate within which Islam was born and expanded.

Mahound is one of several names given to the Devil.

It is very unfortunate that Rushdie decided to represent the Prophet Muhammad by this name which forbade over a billion of Moslems from reading this essentially wonderful and most informative book.

Many “fatwas” in the Moslem World and especially in Iran of Khomeini permitted the killing of Salman Rushdie for this blasphemy.

Rushdie has been since then protected by the British police and been mostly in hiding. Actually, Moslems should be thankful to Rushdie in not naming their Prophet for two verses that deviated from the message of One God.  I will use the name of Muhammad instead.

Mecca at the time of Muhammad was built 4 generation ago to cater for desert caravans bringing goods from Zofar and Yemen to bifurcate toward Egypt, Iraq/Iran, or Syria/Turkey.  It barely rain in that region and the only potable well was called Zamzam.

The mythical story goes that Abraham abandoned his Egyptian wife Hagar and his son Ismail to their fate in this unforgiving area.  Luckily for Hagar, Angel Gabriel (Gibreel) uncovered for Hagar the well Zamzam and she survived with her newly born son.

Once a year, the Bedouins of Arabia who adored 360 idols, and imported from the neighboring countries to encourage pilgrimage to the Black Stone (Al Ka3ba), celebrated the passage of Abraham (Ibraheem) in the vicinity!

Mecca was structured around concentric dwellings starting from the Black Stone and fanning away.  Houses closest to the Black Stone belonged to the most prominent personalities in the city council and their respective clans in the extended Kuraich (Shark) tribe.

There were 4 main clans and each clan was specialized in one kind of commerce:  the Scarlet tents sold spices and scents, the Black tents the cloth and leather, the Silver tents precious metals and swords and the fourth colored tents or the owners of the Dappled Camels specialized in entertainments, wine, hashish, and the slave trade. Water carriers were despised because any overflowing of water would damage the streets and homes built out of sand.

Around the year of 600, the businessmen in Mecca were losing trade to the sea transports; worse, another new and famous Temple was built in the town of Sheba in Yemen and pilgrims were investigating these new regions.

The pilgrims were getting scarce in Mecca because they realized that they were being milked from every penny they had and young girls were abducted for ransom.  Consequently, in order to keep afloat the Kuraich tribe encouraged vile entertainment activities during the pilgrimage season to attract more customers.

The Black Stone enshrined around 360 idols brought from around the neighboring civilizations to entice pilgrims in from all around the regions.  The colossus Hubal the shepherd was sent by the Amalekites of Hit, the idol Kain was the patron of musicians and blacksmiths, Astarte (He-of-Shara) was brought by the Nabataean as well as saturnine Nakruh.  Manaf was the sun-god, the eagle-form Nasr, See Quzah that hold the rainbow; Uzza the goddess of beauty and love, and Lat the all-powerful mother goddess.  The idol Allah had some sort of overall authority, an all-rounder in an age of specialist idols and thus was not that popular and didn’t generate money.

Hind, the all-powerful wife of the preeminent Karim Abu Simbel owned the 3 most famous goddesses of Lat, Manat, and Uzza.

Muhammad was rich after marrying Khadija, but he was an orphan and his clan was of lower status and thus was not represented in the city council. His wife Khadija was about 7 years older than him and she had hired him to lead and manage her caravans heading to Damascus.

Khadija was the first person to believe in the predication of Muhammad.  By the age of 44 Muhammad message of “no God but Allah” was not making any major breakthrough among the city dwellers.  The very young and most prominent poet lampoonist Baal had pinned up all over town “Messenger, do please lend a careful ear.  Your mono-philia, your One, One, One, isn’t for Jahilia, return to sender”

Beside his uncle Hamza and a few poor fellows, not many were paying any attention to Muhammad revelations.  Among those poor individuals were Khalid the water carrier, Salman from Persia (who later would suggest to dig a wide ditch around Medina to prevent the cavalry of Kuraich to enter the town), and Bilal the mighty slave that Muhammad set free from his owner and would later be appointed the first official “muazen” calling the believers to the five prayers of the day.

In order for his message to breakthrough Muhammad was inclined to accept the deal of Abu Simbel.

Abu Simbel would recognize Allah as the mightiest God and would offer Muhammad a seat in the city council in return of recognition of Lat, Manat, and Uzza as gods or the best who can intercede with Allah.  Muhammad thus returned from the Cone Mountain and delivered the verses stating that “Lat, Manat, and Uzza are the exalted birds, and their intercession is desired indeed”

The disciples of Muhammad were beside themselves and could not assent to accepting a God but Allah.  Muhammad did not dare face his wife Khadija that night and did not enter his house.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Blog Stats

  • 1,419,002 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 771 other followers

%d bloggers like this: