But, no, we still can’t just all get along.
One of the things sympathetic and sensitive Westerners tend to resort to, when the discussion of Islam and Moslems comes up, is something on the order of, “There are a billion and a half Moslems1 on the planet; they don’t all think alike,” or its similar meme, “There are many Islams.”2 Both of these are, in some sense, true, but neither is especially meaningful.
To take the latter, for example, there are, indeed, four major schools of religious jurisprudence in Sunni Islam, plus a distinct division into Sunni and Shia, which has three major schools of its own, to which may be added the allegedly inward looking group we call Sufis.3 There are other schools, as well, but I feel pretty safe saying that those three, and really only the first two, cover at least ninety-five percent of Moslems in the world and perhaps as much as ninety-nine percent. These various schools can, indeed, differ significantly in matters political and theological, to the limited extent those are severable under Islam.
That, however, is a pretty thin reed to stake ones hopes for the future on, with regard to Islam and the West, or with regard to Moslem immigrants to the West. The better question isn’t how they differ amongst themselves, but how they are the same with regard to us and our ways. There, the differences are mostly negligible. For example, of the seven schools of Shia and Sunni, how many actually say slavery is illegal? Answer: None. Some will say it’s outdated or regrettable or isn’t properly followed in lands where Islam doesn’t hold full sway. But illegal? None. Individuals, too, can say it’s immoral and should be illegal, though they tend to do injustice to the Quran when they try to claim that it supports their beliefs. Ah, but what about the injunction to free a slave? That’s for the benefit to the soul of the manumitter. Note: if you don’t have slaves to manumit, you lose that benefit to your soul, hence, clearly, there must be slaves lest the benefit be lost.
And what about the position of women? Do any major schools of Islam insist on actual equality on this Earth? No. Yes, there’s a certain moral and spiritual equality,4 which would be of very little consolation to a woman in desperate need of some legal equality. Some moderns would try to hold that Sura 4:34 –
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.5
– means something other than what it says. Admittedly, there are many translations that differ slightly. Some say “hit,” some “strike,” some “beat lightly,” some “beat,” and at least one I have seen says, “Scourge,” as with a whip or cane. In no case of which I am aware, however, is there any doubt that a man can – with divine permission – use corporal punishment upon his wife.6
So, too, women’s testimony in court will usually count for half that of a man’s.7
So, too, he can divorce her with a sentence, thrice repeated. She, on the other hand, has to go to a judge.
He may marry a non-Moslem; she may not.
Lest we get into something rivaling the Quran for length, let’s cut that off here, with a repetition of what I wrote last week. These things – as with everything else in the Quran – are divinely ordained, beyond the legitimate scope of man to alter, hence not subject to democratic legislation.
There are, though, any number of things subject to legislation, if they’re not specifically addressed and are reasonably inferable. Iran, for example, can and has legislated to legalize sex change operations, so that those changing will not be guilty of homosexual acts. Don’t think this does much for men who want to remain men while having sex with men, though. Oh, well; tough luck for them, eh? And Iran can do this because it isn’t directly addressed or forbidden in the Quran. Similarly, Morocco may, with Article 475 of its Penal Code, allow a man, however guilty, to escape a charge of rape by marrying his victim, with her parents twisting her arm.8 The girl’s recourse, in cases like this, would appear to be limited to rat poison. Tough luck for her, too, eh?
What is and is not democratically permissible, however, is still not the whole story. “Not all Moslems think alike,” one can accept as true. Equally so, we can agree that, “Not all Moslems believe the same things.” It’s far more interesting, though, to explore the ways in which they do think alike and do believe the same things.
For example, exists there any appreciable percentage of Moslems in the West who are comfy with their unmarried daughters engaging in sex? If so, in what way are they Moslems? That they go through the motions? Doesn’t seem quite enough. Are there any Moslems in the West who deny that the Five Pillars of Faith matter? If so, in what way are they Moslems? I mean, I could call myself a Moslem, if I wanted to, just before taking communion, but it still wouldn’t be true.
“All Moslems don’t think alike.” How many of them really think it’s all right to wipe your posterior with the Quran? To insult Islam? To insult Mohammad (PBUH). Yusuf Islam, better known as Cat Stevens – though he later tried to worm out of it – said of Salman Rushdie, “He must be killed. The Qur’an makes it clear – if someone defames the prophet, then he must die.”9
Take your best case, O Apologist for Islam in the West. Say that – here’s that number again – ninety-nine and 44/00ths of Moslems in, say, England would never think of offing Rushdie or someone like him. That still leaves about fifteen thousand who would, which is probably enough to augment the Will of God, which is to say that that’s probably enough for the job.10 It’s enough to keep in line those less well protected than Rushdie, I am sure.
“All Moslems don’t think alike.” And how many consider Christians to be their equals? Or Jews? And how many do not consider belief in the Trinity to be polytheism, hence a serious sin, even if permissible for Christians?
And then there’s Jihad. Sorry, but no, it’s not just about the inner struggle. Indeed, if that’s all it was, I think the New York skyline would look a bit different today. There may be no greater indictment of the sheer brainlessness and self-delusion, to say nothing of the frequent lack of integrity, of Western apologists for Islam than this preposterous notion that jihad doesn’t include violent holy war.
And how many do not believe that Sharia should be the law of the lands in which they live, as soon as it may be so? In what way are they Moslems? And how many would reject the Dhimma, the treaty under which non-Moslems live in Moslem dominated lands?11 Or reject the tax money, the jizya, that flows from it? Or permit to the Dhimmis conscientious objection from wars to expand the sway of Islam?
We also ought not forget the areas which are not Islamic, but cultural, and which even Islam has not been able to eradicate. Forced marriage is impermissible under Islam, although silence is considered to be consent. Not being silent, however, just might get the girl killed, or nearly so, as here:
Expatica Magazine, 23 May, 2007: Wuppertal, Germany – A 42 year old man with ingrained traditional Turkish views was jailed for 54 months in Germany for the attempted manslaughter of his teenaged daughter after a row over family “honour.” The girl, 16, had been forced to marry and later rebelled…”12
Let’s see, even the man’s own religion couldn’t overcome his culture and you dumb as dirt, uncomprehending, Western secularists think your empty temptations are going to change him? What pompous arrogance, I swear.
The last thing I promised you last week was an explanation of why Osama bin Laden was not a bad Moslem but, rather, a very good one.
In the first place, get out of your mind the arrogant Western secular progressivism that abrogates to itself the right to decide what is good and evil according to its precepts alone, equally arrogantly denying to other peoples even the right to disagree. Note that when I refer to ICOTESCAS, the International Community of the Ever So Caring and Sensitive, that doesn’t really mean they care about or are sensitive toward anyone but themselves, or anyone’s thoughts and feelings but their own.
Thus, “good” for Moslems is not the same as “good” for us. (Even as “good” for us bears no necessary relationship to “good” per ICOTESCAS, which largely relates to suicide for us, and huge carbon footprints for them.)
With regard to Osama, specifically, let us note that in all formal matters of religion, he was as dutiful and pious as any Moslem alive. No one, I think, seriously contends otherwise. Moreover, in his personal life, he was extraordinarily generous, as good Moslems invariably are. Indeed, going down a list of requirements to be a good Moslem,13 one finds little to condemn in Osama. Why, he was practically an Islamic Boy Scout.
Ah, but he was a terrorist, says the apologist. Indeed? “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”14 Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious through terror.”15 “Soon we shall cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.”16
Ah, but he fought us!
Yes, but what did he fight and why? One of the things that nearsighted Western secular progressives and the blind ICOTESCAS reliably miss is that Islam is under attack by us 24/7/365. We don’t usually mean to attack them, no, but attack them we do, nonetheless. We attack them by example. We attack them through our relentless, feminist nagging. We undermine their faith through our prosperity and technological achievements. We insult and enrage them by our catering to what they generally consider the worst of perversions. We turn their daughters to harlots. We make their sons doubt the faith of their fathers. To the arrogant progressive, this is, of course, “good.” To the Moslem it is unutterable evil.
And that’s over there, where they have some control and can tone our influence down. Contemplate, instead, the Moslem who comes here, here where his daughters will be inducted into a life of vice, where his sons will be introduced to drugs and alcohol, where atheists run free, where there is no respect for tradition, and where many of us do not follow even our own religions.
Even that, though, is not the worst of it. The worst of it comes when his sons look around at the vice and sin and spiritual emptiness of life in the Godless West, when he sees what’s become of his sisters, and when he then decides to strike back.
That, I suspect, is a lot of what went on with Osama. Being much more a man of the world than the average; he probably saw our attack on Islam, globally, the same way that son sees the attack, locally, and, being a good Moslem, determined to fight it as best he could.17
1 I am no more inclined to change which word I use for a follower of Islam than I am to go along with the latest PC bullshit for referring to minorities or the latest unpronounceable acronym for the largest possible collection of sexual preferences, plus abnormalities and perversions, that can be folded together. That said, if one doesn’t want to insult, pronounce the “s” like an s, not like a z.
2 H/T, V.R PhD
3 Also, I have it on pretty good authority, from a friend living in Egypt, that Sufis there are not quite the pacifistic, mystic, spiritual, and detached folks many of us like to think of, but heavily represented in the Muslim Brotherhood, and quite militant, murderous, and radical, indeed, indistinguishable from the most radical Salafis. h/t C.D.
4 Though even in the afterlife, they are not equal. Men get their seventy-two houris. Women get, apparently, nothing of the kind. I am sure that, in this as in everything, Allah knows best.
6 This isn’t as cut and dried as it may seem. Sure, Islamic law says it’s fine, for some circumstances. But the odds are very good the wife has brothers, cousins, and a father who love her. They’ll take a swat or even a heavy spanking on the rump cavalierly – “Well, all women need that from time to time,” as I’ve been told – but if she is hurt, seriously, say, and doesn’t, in their eyes, deserve it, there’s an excellent chance her husband will have signed his own death warrant. Note, this doesn’t operate on behalf of extra wives from overseas, nor does it work with female slaves. Neither does it save her if she’s brought dishonor upon her blood.
7 Surah 2:182. This is actually less onerous and unreasonable than it sounds to us. In the real world, where Islam holds sway, both in Mohammad’s time (PBUH…hey, politeness doesn’t cost anything) and down to our own, women were at a practical disadvantage in legal matters. Telling them how to, at least partially, avoid that disadvantage, by having their ducks in order and setting up their witnesses in advance, was only decent.
8 https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/morocco-outraged-over-suicide-of-amina-filali-who-was-forced-to-marry-her-rapist/2012/03/15/gIQApTq4DS_blog.html. Oddly enough, in cases of statutory rape, something like this happens in the United States, as well. The reader may be surprised that I am not mentioning child marriage here, especially with regards to Aisha. In the first place, I suspect the Shia have the right of it and the marriage was not consummated until Aisha was at least twelve. Still sounds awful, right? Well, contemplating, say, historians Will and Ariel Durant, who was also quite young, I can’t say that it’s always wrong. In the third place, I am not prepared to say there can be no place in the universe for love at first sight, at any age, nor for the joining of souls that were just meant to be together, This – https://www.cbsnews.com/news/syrian-boy-5-engaged-to-girlfriend-3/ – may even be an example of that.
10 Note that, despite several attempts and plots, and a not inconsiderable monetary reward for offing him, Rushdie survived and has since fled to the United States. This may be optimistic on his part.
11 This has been politically obsolescent for a while, at least since the rise of the West. Don’t be surprised if it comes back.
12 It’s not only Turks, either, and not just in Germany: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Shafilea_Ahmed
14 Surah 8:12
15 Bukhari, 52:220
16 Surah 3:151
17 No, if you’re curious this doesn’t make him my hero, but it does show something the ever so nuanced progressive misses; he had a cause of his own to which he was as dedicated as anyone could be. He was, however dangerous an enemy to me and mine, good and true to his own.
Photo by ozgurdonmaz/Getty Images
Be sure to read Part I of this series.
Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.
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