STRIVING TO DECIPHER ISLAM’S PSYCHE

Filed under ENGLISH

Author: Thomas Cosmades

A new appellation—Islamophobia—said to be contrived by the non-Muslim world, is aggravating Muslims everywhere. Many Muslims are of the opinion that this is a deliberate postulation. Those Muslims who are caught in the morass of the despicable events of the last two years are coming face to face with the quagmire caused by Islamic terrorists. The September 11 events precipitated unimaginable detriment to the religion. And now the Madrid brutality! We sympathize with Muslims (Arabs and others) who through no fault of their own are facing scrupulous interrogations, curtailed education goals, visa restrictions, etc. If they are innocent of any connection to a notorious killing-ravaging network we pray for speedy clearance of their name. It is to be regretted that the wet burns along with the dry.

In reality, the vast majority of Muslims have no interest in destructive outrage. On the other hand, it ought to be recognized that they are identified with a religion which does advocate violence in its name. Who will disclaim the founder’s disposition to armed conflict, to vindictiveness against opponents, and to the shedding of the blood of those deemed enemies of his religion? The venomous hot pursuit by terrorists in our time can be traced back to a religion which openly advocated the use of arms. It reserves the right to assess whenever its adversary’s mien deserves nemesis. Water can never flow above its source.

Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts have indicted the non-Muslim world as anti-Islam and infidels. They have embarked on a collision course aiming to convert all mankind to the religion of the Meccan prophet. Those living daily with the anguish of terrorism ought to come to terms with this ravenous goal and consider their stance accordingly. Basically, this is not a conflict masterfully perpetuated by carnal weaponry. In essence it is a spiritual battle, while many dare not name it as such.

No other religion with the exception of Islam makes an authoritative distinction between umma and dhimma. The rule for the former safeguards the community of the faithful, whereas the rule for the latter jeopardizes those who have rejected submission to Islam. The former enjoy every privilege deemed fitting for the followers of the religion. The latter are allowed to remain in the community by complying with absolute regulations, e.g. taxation, never to offend Islam by derogatory act or speech. The well-known writer, Jacques Ellul, has coined a cliché deriving from this appellation: Dhimminution of the non-Islamic world. By this is meant the obligatory self-restraint and self-censorship of non-Muslim politicians, intellectuals, academicians, writers, artists, etc. They are duty-bound to discharge their profession, always with high respect for Islam. From this dogma derives the infamous blasphemy laws.

Also, no other religion in the world has any dogma comparable to jihad. This tenet with the call to holy war against unbelievers obliges the faithful to a justified conflict, with the reward of ultimate paradise. War in the name of Allah is entirely acceptable. At the declaration of jihad, the true Muslim is bound to submit to the dictate of the call with its repercussions, hence suicide killers. If Islam ever renounces the concept of jihad – horrifying picture of our day – it can experience transformation. However, no one is in a position to abnegate a belief of the religion no matter how harsh and illogical it is. Muslims dedicated to fanaticism cannot accede to the rejection of the Allah of the Quran.

THE FOUNDER’S AIM

The name Muhammed occurred among Arabs who gave distinguished names to their sons. If the curious person probes to its etymological content he runs into a bewitching denotation: ‘Repeatedly praised’. Turning to the Hebrew name ‘Yehudhah’ (Judah) of related etymological origin with the Arabic appellation, this time the meaning is ‘YHWH be praised’.

Reference to Muhammed’s well-calculated tactic in order to advance himself and his religion is apropos at this point. He was number one liar ever to walk the face of the earth. He concocted the most invective lie which no other person was ever able to fabricate and perpetrate, prevailing upon billions of minds for fourteen centuries that Jesus did not die, was not buried and did not rise from the dead! The most essential fact in the Bible and of history was contested by this blatant lie (cf. John 8:44).

Muhammed believed that all former prophets—including the prophet Isa—were sent to their particular people. The religion they started was addressed to their own community. He was firmly convinced to have been sent by Allah as the last prophet to the whole world. According to the Quran, he is the ‘seal’ of the prophets. The Quran is an eternal book which in heaven pre-existed all religions and through the angel Gabriel was conveyed to Muhammed. Some Islamic theologians go so far as to teach the eternal pre-existence of Muhammed. Indeed, when his religion (Islam: submission or yielding) was established in the Arabian Peninsula Muhammed dispatched invitation letters to several potentates, primarily to Heraclius, Byzantine emperor, and the royal palace of Abyssinia, inviting them to submit to the ultimate religion. He was thoroughly convinced about the validity of his prophetic position. Some historians dispute an intrepid ambition of such magnitude. They claim it is apocryphal. Their line of reasoning is that Muhammed had plenty of uphill work in Arabia to be inviting world potentates to his religion.

Likewise he attempted to convince the Jews scattered all over the Arabian Peninsula and the surrounding lands to acknowledge him as the true prophet sent by Allah. The Jews ridiculed him, while previously they had liberally assisted Muhammed for various political reasons, such as relying on his protection of their commercial routes and business interests. He could never forgive their rejection. When Islam was entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula, he forced the Jews to convert to his religion, otherwise he wiped them out. The same outcome was awaiting several regions of the Middle East where Christians—often Arians and other heretics—were in control. Strikingly, it was the Arians who probably influenced him most, persuading Muhammed about the oneness of God. The ultimate doom of the Byzantines lay several centuries ahead (1453). This was to await the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks’ onslaught who accepted Islam as a convenient reinforcement of their dream to spring from central Asia into the inviting fertile western regions and ultimately into Europe.

After fourteen centuries from its inception and approximately eight since its expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula, Islam is again in pursuit of world domination. This time it is through methods other than military superiority, even though Islamic terrorism verges on military prowess. Possessed by the shrewd logic of the region from where it originated, this religion has properly calculated rationalizations for its unconventional tactics. The person whose experience is based on the logic of the Old and New Testaments and also in Aristotelian thinking will find Islamic reasoning totally ‘other’ than that in which he/she was trained. The individual established in western logic and thinking is unable to comprehend Islam’s peculiar form of logic.

ISLAM’S ILL FEELINGS

Following the atrocities of September 11, some Islamic circles sought anew to introduce the argument of the Crusaders’ bloody onslaughts. They tried to tell the world that Islam is not the inventor of brutalities. The classical argument of the Crusaders’ excesses and their chivalrous military thrust I have dealt with elsewhere. On the other hand, Islam’s venture into the heart of Europe through the Arab conquerors in the seventh and eighth centuries, and later through the caliphdom of the Ottoman Turks all the way into the eighteenth century are profoundly based on the dogma of conquest for Allah (fateh).

At the beginning of the twentieth century in the aftermath of the Ottomans’ demise Islam became quite dormant even though its ongoing grudge against western peoples continued. Following World War I there were only a handful of independent Muslim countries, whereas today all Islamic nations enjoy their independence. Presently they are striving for an independent Palestine and Chechnya.

The more dogmatic Muslim in our time has somewhat studied the events that prevailed during the last century. He will quickly point out certain areas where Islam has been unjustly treated. These led to the reaction we all see. The first area to mention is the ongoing inequality and poverty of Muslim people emanating from the injustice perpetuated primarily by the USA and other wealthy countries of the west. Muslims have remained the underdog in many places. Secondly, Britain and the other colonial powers suppressed the people of the Islamic faith and exploited them for many centuries. Even after the independence of Muslim countries, the schemes of the West turned into neo-colonialism.

Thirdly, Britain pushed the Balfour Declaration in November 1917 by promising a Zionist homeland for Israel. To make matters worse, in 1948 the western countries—not excluding the Soviets—pressed the United Nations to vote for the establishment of the state of Israel. By doing this, Arab land was apportioned to the newly created state. In this way, the western countries endeavored to counterbalance the atrocities against the Jews by another western country, i.e., Nazi Germany. They were atoning for the injustices of the west. These happened to the detriment of the people of Palestine.

The fourth argument is that the countries of the west have become totally atheistic and secular. They have abandoned the principles of religion and morality. Muslims who adhere to their religion ought to defend themselves against all abhorrent moral offenses. These run contrary to Islamic legislation and practice. Islam is compelled to defend its religious principles against the profane behavior emanating from the west.

Fifth, Allah has endowed the countries adhering to Islam with an abundance of natural energy resources. In our day, Islam holds the balance of power due to these vast resources. This fact is being suppressed by the powers which utilize these products. They are advancing their industrial might while not recognizing equal rights for Islam. Oil-gas power is a vital element that ought to be reckoned with.

COGENT RESPONSE TO GRIEVANCES

Certain Islamic grievances are valid, while others baffle common logic. The thinking person can counter these and other polemics with reasonable retort and explanation: Poverty and inequality are not confined to underdeveloped Islamic lands. Destitution is nothing out of the ordinary in our irregular world, also in affluent western countries where jobless, homeless, foodless people can be found in large numbers. It is an irony of our anomalous world that prosperity cannot eradicate poverty. It is universal knowledge that since the inception of many independent Islamic countries much financial assistance has been channeled through western governments as well as numerous independent agencies. It is very sad to mention that while some funds are utilized as designated for constructive purposes, a sizeable amount is siphoned off for personal gain or self-serving investments. Someone may raise the question: How much money have oil-gas rich countries offered to their underprivileged fellow-religionists? These countries endowed with natural resources have acquired their wealth not through innovation, invention or the like of these, but by the sheer generosity of nature, or should it be said, by God’s original promise to Abraham regarding Ishmael’s progeny (cf. Gen. 17:20).

The list of Islamic terrorist attacks is too long to remember each one with the given date. The worldwide devastation caused by the September 11, then the March 11 Madrid attacks are testimonials of infamy. Horrendous ferocities cold-bloodedly committed by Chechen Muslims, along with the two Bali bombings, the Kenya attack, the notorious London bombing and other brutalities sneer at the world. Most countries are in constant alert seeking to discover clues of any fresh attack. Economies of Islamic countries are shaken as are markets in western lands. Who is to be blamed for it? Exploitation of ordinary people including child labor, slave trade, selling of brides, blood-feud, honor-killing, polygamy, wife-beating enjoined in the Quran, capricious blasphemy laws, female mutilation, and other abusive practices plague millions of defenseless men, women and children in Muslim lands. In summary, Islam is cultural totalitarianism. With the vast majority of Muslims, laicism (secular lay government) cannot even be discussed. Turkey, which adopted laicism eighty years ago under Kemal Ataturk, is in continual discord. She cannot fully enjoy the uncompromised benefits of laicism. The case for human rights cannot be brought to the agenda in most Islamic countries. The lack of moral principles in the secular west is an unpleasant by-product of liberty, many aspects of which are a blatant misuse of democracy. Nevertheless, when Muslims find an opportunity to join the crowds of hedonists, they seem to enjoy it!

A basic truth in the Scriptures—denied by Islam—centers on man’s depravity and captivity to sin. While flagrant immorality is very evident in western lands, there are other sorts of terrifying acts of injustice and violation of moral principles in lands under the sway of Islam. Immorality of all sorts is a worldwide malady which cannot be checked by religious legislation, or quelling by Quran-inspired edict. This treatise can be carried on into much wider areas without achieving a common consensus with Muslims. For the person who has his upbringing in a different orientation, it is probably a life-long striving to decipher the hidden thoughts of the Islamic psyche. “The word of God is living and active…and before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12a, 13).

Thomas Cosmades

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