In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, Carly Fiorina, chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, addressing an information-technology conference in Minnesota, extolled the importance of innovation and ideas to the technology industry.
She spoke of a civilization whose language became the language of much of the world, whose multicultural armies encouraged peace and prosperity, whose commerce extended from the Americas to China and who, driven by invention, gave humanity algebra and algorithms.
The society cured disease, carried out complicated surgical operations such as the removal of cataracts, and laid the foundations for modern medicine while most of the world was steeped in ignorance and fearful of ideas.
This civilization kept knowledge alive and passed it on to others. That civilization, she told her audience, was Islamic civilization up until the 17th century. It's a civilization that was a long way from the corrupt, despotic regimes that rule over the Muslim societies of today - a civilization of societies steeped in intellectual stagnation and underdevelopment.
After leading the world for a thousand years in the arts and sciences, the Muslim world finds itself languishing at the bottom of world literacy rates. Whereas the Prophet Mohammed let the people choose his successor, those who rule over Muslims today are either presidents-for-life or monarchs.
The system of consultative government employed by the Prophet and his successors has been replaced by the systems of quasi-fascist authoritarianism that characterizes most every country in the Muslim world today.
Despite that, it has become fashionable in some circles to impugn Islam as the cause of all these problems. However, the thousand years of intellectual advancement, nurtured and supported by governments that were theocratic sharia-law states, refutes this idea. Another fact that refutes it is that the Muslim decline coincided almost exactly with an abandonment of the role of religion in public life, from the gradual corruption of the Ottomans to the socialist Saddam Hussein and the atheistic Baath Party.
Since the end of colonialism, the Muslim world has been looking for a savior to lead it back to its former glory. Arab nationalism died a humiliating death in 1967 when Israel ravaged the Arab armies. Baathism has died its death with the collapse of Saddam's neo-Stalinist junta.
Today, Muslims are increasingly looking to their history and realizing that their civilization's past greatness was intrinsically tied to the role of Islam in their societies. It's a vision that some may deride as "utopian" - an impossible dream like communism.
Yet, is not the possession of ideals to which we can aspire a feature of all societies? The U.S. Declaration of Independence, for example, deems all men to be created equal, and yet it is only recently (in broad historical terms) that women and blacks won the right to vote.
Naturally, Arab regimes view a resurgence of political Islam as a threat to their rule.
The Algerian government had a near-death experience when it realized that the 1991 election seemed certain to usher the Islamic party into power. The solution was to cancel democracy, plunging the country into bloody civil war.
The Turkish army had to oust the democratically elected Refah Party when it revealed a slightly Islamic hue - too much to stomach for the anti-religion Kemalists of the Turkish military establishment.
Other states, well aware of the likely outcome of any election, just don't bother with the veneer of democratic process.
Despite undemocratic, authoritarian and repressive governments in almost every Muslim nation, the West continues to enjoy a Faustian pact with these regimes: Keep the oil flowing and don't jeopardize our other interests, either, and we'll support you in the interests of "maintaining stability in the region."
Unfortunately, this unwavering support for despotic, unpopular regimes has come at considerable price to the United States: terrorism. It shouldn't be any surprise that the Sept. 11 hijackers were from Egypt and Saudi Arabia - two of America's closest allies in the region.
Muslim anger at the United States stems not from a hatred of Western values, but Western support for the dictatorships that oppress them. The crucial question now is whether the United States and its allies will begin to support real political pluralism, or just replace one dictatorship with another.
Amir Butler, executive director of the Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee, wrote this for The Providence (R.I.) Journal. He is also a columnist for A True Word
Source: The Roanoke Times
I would like to inform you that beating women is absolutely not allowed in Islam, whether by the husband or others. As a matter of fact a Muslim woman can divorce her husband on the bases of abuse whether physical or other. So it does not make any sense that Allah would permit this injustice and then turn around and make it a wrong doing.
Unfortunately, there are many Muslims and non Muslims who for whatever reason understand this erroneous concept and consequently believe Islam is unjust to women. The truth is far from it.
Hammer, please go to the nearest Mosque or ask for Islamic scholars to answer your questions on the injustices you believe Islam endorses. Otherwise, on your own you will never learn the true spirit of Islam which is justice and complete love for the Creator of the worlds, Allah.
Thank you for your reply. I know many Muslimahs but have spoken on this subject with two of them. One agreed with me that Islam suppresses women while the other did not. Obviously, I cannot with more than a handful of the 600 million Muslimahs in the world. What is more important is what the Koran and Hadiths have to say about it.
My translation of 4:34 came from Dawood, a respected translater. I noticed you selected Yusuf Ali's translation which in my opinion is the mildest. Here is Pickthall's translation:
"Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great." (Pickthall's version of the Koran, Quran, 4:34)
Notice that he used the word, "scourge" which is even worse than a simple beating. I selected Dawood because it was in-between. I wanted to be fair. On the subject of equality between men and women, I suggest you take a look at an Islamic web-site:
I will quote a portion of it:
"Based on this, Islam does not regard men and women as equal in matters where regarding them as equal would result in injustice to one of them, because equality that is inappropriate is a severe form of injustice. "
Alhumdulillah I am atleast glad that the followers of the Truth do not try to denigrate what is falsehood.
Only ignorant and prejudiced minds find fault with the Truth, i.e., Islam. We have been instructed to reason with them in the best way possible but to say "salaam" (peace) to the ignorants and leave them alone when they continue to argue over religion. We should try to educate them. Those who seek the truth receive guidance from God. May Allah guide us all.
Yes, indeed, Islam is the best way of life. This also shows in our invitation to those who disagree with us to learn more about us. Yet some quote from the Quran and the Hadith out of context.
Finally, let us not be distracted by those who hurl abuse upon our religion. May Allah forgive us all for not following His religion, His straight path. We have no living example of a true Islamic system to substantiate our claims. The lives of the rightly guided in Islam are an example for us to follow.
When you come onto this website, showing verses of the Qur'an that talk about women, and certain hadith's that are mentioned in Sahih-Bukhari...do you think you are changing people's minds, or are you just puffing yourself up with pride, because you think you are right? I wonder, have you ever TALKED to a Muslimah in person (Muslim woman)? Have you ever asked her what rights she has? Have you ever ASKED or TALKED to an Islamic scholar about the rights and role of women in Islam? I can say that you cannot answer one question in the affirmative. Instead, you are *attempting* to defame Islam...unfortunately, it is a pathetic attempt, as you should know, Islam introduced moderation, and proper care for one-self into the world for Women, while Europeans went up until the 19th century without allowing women to even VOTE in the United States, or be constitutionally be considered as HUMAN BEINGS. How can you compare your man-made thinking with the teaching of Almighty Allah, Subhanawatallah, who states:
As far as your quote from Sura Al-Nisa (4) verse 34 goes, your translation is horrendously innacurate. This is the correct, and most popular English translation of the Qur'an in the world, by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)."
You must take Shariah into consideration to interpret this, and that is how it goes...
MC-Hammer, I know what you're going ot say, i'm waiting and ready :-D
Thank you for your reply. I am glad that you have a happy life as a woman doctor in the USA. Muslim women live varied lives. Some are oppressed. Others are not. I know that the wealthy Pakistani women live very well in a Muslim society. But I think the most fortunate women are those like you living in a western country protected by kafir laws.
Take a look at some of the verses in the Koran and Hadith. I will quote one from each.
Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart and beat them.
Sahih Bukhari :
Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle ?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion."
I am afraid such verses have tendency to cultivate a mind-set that denigrates women. I suggest you take some time off from medicine to read the Koran and Hadiths more.
Both are right. Islam as a way of life, and especially when women do play a central role (as it was the case in Muhammad's life, btw) within the family and society, is a beautiful place to live. I always remember with pleasure and enlightenment the Muslim families I knew at the time.
But Hammer is right too, and even a bit more in this context, because we are talking here of "Political Islam", and there is really not much good to say of this one -- mostly, perhaps, because it is such a specific male domain? It is not by chance that muslim woman doctor is living in a free country.
Embedded in a society where individual freedom is basic, the Islamic body of thoughts can flourish and evolve. But put the political and social power in the hands of the Muslims scholars, and freedom vanish, sooner or later, as well as all its attributes. That is what history as well as present politics is teaching.
The friends of Islam should be struggling for democracy; they should emphasize the flaws of political Islam, the errors and absurdities of an "Islamic world". They should perceive and put in evidence the differences between the two things. If you want to live in Islam, you should start by cleaning it up.
I however strongly feel that today we need a modern , well cohesive education system that educates muslims from their early days in school till majors in universities about not only basic principles of islam, but also the pillars of ijtihad in a way that provides a practical relationship between islamic ideology and its application in new modern environment. This applies equally to political islamic approach in today's world and how to make it work in today's environment.
First we need to educate ourselves and make a successful experiment by forming such government. This success itself would not only be convincing enough for the rest of muslim states to follow but would also portray true islamic image to rational non-muslim scholars as well.
We need to underscore the part that muslims need to go back to the principles of the pasted muslim governments who rule justly for all peoples which included a myriad of ethnic peoples, cultures and religions.
The Arabs who were more realistic and practical in their approach adopted the experimental method to harness scientific knowledge than the Greeks. Observation and experiment formed the vehicle of their scientific pursuits, hence they gave a new outlook to science of which the world had been totally unaware. Their achievements in the field of experimental science added a golden chapter to the annals of scientific knowledge and opened a new vista for the growth of modern sciences. Al-Ghazali was the follower of Aristotle in logic, but among Muslims, Ishraqi and Ibn-iTaimiyya were first to undertake the systematic refutation of Greek logic. Abu Bakr Razi criticised Aristotle's first figure and followed the inductive spirit which was reformulated by John Stuart Mill. Ibn-i-Hazm in his well known work Scope of Logic lays stress on sense perception as a source of knowledge and Ibn-i-Taimiyya in his Refuttion of Logic proves beyond doubt that induction is the only sure form of argument, which ultimately gave birth to the method of observation and experiment. It is absolutely wrong to assume that experimental method was formulated in Europe. Roger Bacon, who, in the west is known as the originator of experimental method in Europe, had himself received his training from the pupils of Spanish Moors, and had learnt everything from Muslim sources. The influence of Ibn Haitham on Roger Bacon is clearly visible in his works. Europe was very slow to recognise the Islamic origin of her much advertised scientific (experimental) method. Writing in the Making of Humanity Briffault admits, "It was under their successors at the Oxford School that Roger Bacon learned Arabic and Arabic science. Neither Roger Bacon nor his later namesake has any title to be credited with having introduced the experimental method
Secondly, the lack of progress in the Muslim world is due to Islam itself. Here are a few reasons:
1)Islam's prohibition of usury inhibited the growth of a banking and financial industry. The Christians in Europe started banking earlier which encouraged savings and the accumulation of capital. This led to the emergence of capitalism.
2)Islam stifles women. For example, polygamy is officially sanctioned in the Koran. Don't forget that women constitutes 50% of the work-force. This means that Muslim societies operate at a handicap. Poorly educated women find it difficult to educate their own children. Women staying at home tend to have more children. High birth rates perpetuates poverty.
3)Islam stifles science. The mutazalites preached that human reason has a role to play in guiding human societies. But traditionalists like al ashari preached that only God's revelations though his Prophet (pbuh) is the sole guide to human societies. When the mutazalites lost the argument, Science also lost. Throughout Islam's golden age, learned men like Averroes were persecuted. If science flourished, it was inspite of Islam - not because of it. Traditionaly madrassahs emphasise memorization - not critical thinking.
In an Islamic state, mosque and state are not seperated. It also puts God's laws above man's laws. This means that democracy is difficult to emerge. After all, democracy means that man is soverign. A democracy passes laws according to the wishes of the majority of people - and not according to the laws supposedly lade down by God 1400 years ago.
The concept of jihad where matyrs go to paradise leads to intractable wars with others - waste o
Taliban and Afghanistan.
Yeah Right! the answer to the problems is the islamic countries is an Islamic State.
Oh! wait a minute, maybe Iran.... Yeah where people get the death penalty for disagreen with the current religous powerhouse.
Islam is a natural way of life. It does not contradict science and technology. Islam is for all ages and is equipped to meet all challenges of all ages.
When the basic tenet of a civilization is a common belief, a legal base which cannot be touched, a series of daily rules everyone must follow, the absolute respect in the wisdom of some members of the population, the general organization naturally orients itself in a leader-follower scheme which efficiently prevents the rise of any real democracy.
Democracy makes sense only if all members involved in the decision-taking process (i.e. here the whole adult population) are indeed able and willing to think by themselves and to take their decisions in their own conscience. Even political parties, supposed to give guidance to their members and supporters, do function that way, and what they are giving to the ruler (the people) is only recommendations. People who just follow instructions (of whatever leader) cannot be democrats in the real sense of it. Hence people living in a democratic country can very well be practicing Muslims, but I'm afraid there is no place for true democracy (i.e. with all its legitimate attributes) in a country which is basically ruled by Islam.