By Asfandyar Mir
Our predisposition for religiosity annoys me. Why? Why do we have to include religion in everything? Why can’t we leave religion alone? Why can’t we leave religion to be religion? Why does our every argument have to have religion in the middle of it? Why do people have to comment beneath satirical posts with words like “…if only people were following Islam…” or with words whose blatant meaning is “…they are doomed because they are not Muslims.” Why do we expect from others what we ourselves cannot do, such as giving equal rights to others?
But I answer. We Muslims have never been taught the values of questioning, and we have never believed in change. We are still stuck in the 14th century because we have not allowed ourselves and our religion to evolve with the passing of time. We have shunned debate and made questioning an act of blasphemy. Consequently, we are at a crossroads with the entire world.
But then, the counter to this argument is: I am viewing Islam from the West’s perspective. Well this right here is the real problem. Whenever a question is raised, it loses its legitimacy as soon as it is linked to the West. But why blame the West when our problems predate the existence of the West? Why blame any outsider when clergymen of the religion have effectively hijacked the religion? Why is the want for change and the desire to question Islam so Western?
To Muslims I say, if you can break free of the shackles of a conspiratorial mind, you will see how foolish we appear to the people of the world. There was a reason Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (analogical reasoning) were made part of Islamic law, and the reason simply was to streamline Islam’s various laws in order to make them compatible with the continuously evolving world because nothing stays the same. What made us think Islam would stay the same?
But then, Islam has stayed the same, hasn’t it? People are still stoned to death and their hands are cut; women are flogged in public and those claiming to fight in the way of Allah are bestowed with titles of holy warriors. That’s Islam. Islam that froze 1300 years ago because the Muslims thought letting it evolve might endanger their race.
We have got to stop making religion an excuse for everything. We’re all ignominious in our relationship with God. It’s almost as if we’re making fun of Him. We call for Sharia (Islamic Law), yet we can’t stop lying (the basic tenant of Islamic law). We call for quick dispensation of justice under Islamic law, yet we behead people, without a proper trial, in many Muslim countries every other day. What a farce.
Every one of us uses Islam for personal benefit. Mullahs from Saudi Arabia call for random women to let men suckle their breasts while the Taliban have made ransom for kidnapping a form of Jihad. We want a community center near Ground Zero in New York, but we are unwilling to give any religious or political liberty to minorities in Muslim countries.
Islam has been desecrated beyond reprehensible levels. The only question that’s really left to ask is, how long will it take for us to wake up from our reprieve, and start thinking, questioning, and finding solutions in order to give Islam the status it deserves?