#Islamism #Nasserism #ISIL #DAESH #ISIS #Azhar #Iraq #Egypt #Syria
Friday, 18 December 2015
Islam has existed for roughly over 1400 years, not the oldest religion on this planet, but by far was the most revolutionary when it started. Islam was the first biblical religion that gave women the right of ownership, and inheritance, it was the first religion to ban killing of civilians, and never to cut down a tree, or destroy a place of worship. It was the first religion in the 7th century to set so many revolutionary codes that contradicted with society in the old world back then.
It was the first religion to ban a hierarchic system for religion, meaning that there is no one responsible for religion, and that its interpretation should be left to the people living in certain places at certain times.
There is a very famous Hadith (words of the prophet Mohamed PBUH) that states:
- “أنتم أعلم بأمور دنياكم”
- “Only you know things of your world”
This Hadith basically states that in lively issues, you get to do the calls, and not sheikh’s or priests. Islam and the Quran have both been interpreted by many scholars, and in Sunni Islam, there are 4 major Mazaheb (Schools) on how to preach. This isn’t obligatory; it is simply an easy way to build upon past science and research in both Arabic Language and Quranic interpretations. The four major schools differ greatly from one another, yet this doesn’t mean you are to bid by any of them.
In the year 970, the University of Azhar in Cairo, was built, it is the second University ever to exist in the world, and the first was in University of Al-Qaraweyeen in Fes, Morocco. The Azhar University, unlike its previous one, was first dedicated to Science of Quranic Interpretation, by time it grew to become the largest, most important, and most recognizable Islamic studies institution. By the year 1956, and after the Gamal Abdel Nasser’s overthrow of the monarchy, Egypt adopted a new republic Nasserist constitution, which incorporated both the Coptic Church and Al-Azhar University as state owned institutions, losing its independence and for the first time stopping Islam from evolving, yes evolving. Throughout Islam’s history, it has had such flexibility to evolve and adapt to people’s cultures, people’s norms and attitudes. Till this day, there are many debates on whether the Hijab (head scarf) is a commandment in the Quran or not, same with Alcohol and many issues. There are nevertheless clear things that are forbidden and are not to be evolved, such as eating animals that eat meat, incest, or unjustly taking other lives.
Roughly 150 years ago, Islam was under a massive wave of change. One that started from the heart of Al-Azhar University. Slavery was to be abolished in Islam. Islam already has been revolutionary in the matter of slavery compared to the rest of the world. In Islam, slaves were not to be kidnapped, slaves can own money, and buy their freedom, slave children were automatically free, slaves can own houses, get married, and do business. There were many set of rules in Islam that regulated and suffocated the slave trade, The term slave has a totally different meaning culturally in Islam than it does in the Western world, but was still allowed. Cairo, which was the center for the Slave trade in the region, saw a huge debate between Muslim scholars in the halls of Al-Azhar University, which lasted for years, and finally ended in the year 1877 with abolishing slavery. Al-Azhar was the first religious institution in Islam that prohibits slavery, the Ottoman Empire followed Egypt’s steps 5 years later, then Morocco, Iraq and the Muslim world followed. Today slavery can’t be related to Islam, and we are taught in schools today that Islam prohibits it.
Islam has always been evolving, Muslims have always been reinterpreting their faith, and have been doing “Jihad” to understand their religion. It has had the flexibility of evolving through so many ideologies. At least up until roughly decades ago. Islam has stopped evolving; it has stopped debating internally, and became more of a one man show, which was never the essence of Islam, the equality of Islam, the tolerance of Islam. Issues such as Homosexuality, adultery, drugs, prostitution, Military Jihad, terrorism have not been discussed in the corridors of Al-Azhar and other religious institutions. The fast decline of Al-Azhar in the past 50 years has led to the insufficiency of the faith. Leaving other ideologies such as Wahhabism and Atheism to flourish more. Leaving a good ground for extremism, this eventually led to the creation of DAESH (ISIL).
The only way to defeat an ideology of extremism is to have Islam start adapting and re-evolving like it has always been again. It is to have Muslims independent from their religious leaders again, returning to the original essence of Islam, a simple book that has words and is to be interpreted by each individual.
I am personally not a big believer in the Hadith, as they were, unlike the Quran, written few decades after the prophet’s death, but this is one of the closest to my heart.
- اسْتَفْتِ قَلْبَكَ وَإِنْ أَفْتَاكَ النَّاسُ وَأَفْتَوْكَ,
- (if people refer to you on what’s right and wrong (religiously), just follow your heart)