“I Can’t Comprehend” ≠ “Lacks Comprehension”

PSA in response to the Muslim homophobes on my Facebook dissing non-homophobic Islam

You are free to choose your deen. Okay, so you’re not really free as in if you’re born in a Muslim country/Muslim family you can’t really choose to leave Islam without being killed or subjected to violence. BUT you are free to choose your deen within Islam. Okay, so maybe that’s not quite true either, since most of you can’t really choose to change from one major sect to another (Sunni to Shia, Shia to Sunni for eg) without a violent backlash even if the govt permits it. BUT within whatever major sect you happened to be born in, you are TOTALLY free to choose the school of thought you wish to follow.

This means some of you choose to live in compassion for all humankind, following a school of thought that the behavior most in line with Islam in any situation is the one with the lowest body count. This is generally the group that gave us people like Michael Muhammad Knight.

This also means that another group amongst you chooses to believe it is their Allah-bestowed responsibility to ADD to that body count by slaying non-believers, heretics, and other assorted “wajib-ul-qatal” types. This is generally the group that gave us ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Taliban. (You’re in great company!)

One way or another, each of you shall arrive at the end of the path you’ve chosen for yourself. (Granted, the more murderous type will probably arrive at it a bit earlier than the rest, since people really don’t like it when you try to kill them.) In light of this freedom, and despite your self-obsessed persecution-complexed worldview, most of the world doesn’t give two bits for your two-bit opinion. (More bits may be given for more valuable opinions.) In the isolation of such irrelevance, you are free to decide you disagree with whoever you wish to disagree with regardless of whether they may possess the finest intellect in the world or, you know, something more familiar to you.

This is, in its simplest form, what freedom of thought looks like–you are not compelled to agree with something just because somebody smarter than you and more well-versed in the subject than you (and probably a lot more popular and influential than you) said it. You may choose to look at the words, not the grandness of who uttered them, and decide whether they resonate with YOU. This may be a novel concept for some of you, and that’s fine. You’ll get used to it with a little effort.

HOWEVER, what you can’t do is pretend you have the intellect to diss their intellect. (Since a lot of you seem to derive a sense of validation by association–no, your favorite telemullah or Islamic Facebook Page admin doesn’t have that intellect or scholarly training either. Sorry not sorry.) The works of scholars like Dr. Amina Wadud and Dr. Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle don’t “lack comprehension”, any more than the works of Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson “lack comprehension” just because YOU don’t have two brain cells to rub together.

Originally written as really long, annoyed Facebook post attached to this post by a friend:

Desi momin logic –

‘Oh, someone was raped as a child? Buss, hota hae, bhool jao, muaaf ker doh, sulah ker loh, chup raho, jaaney doh…’

‘Oh, someone raped a woman? She must be asking for it. Boys will be boys, ghalti hojaati hae, khud khyal kiya kero, chup raho abb…’

‘Someone murdered someone? Chalo, Allah muaaf karney waalah hae, blood money ley loh…’

‘Someone has left Islam? HARAAAAAM MAAR DOH KAAT DOH, GHALAAZAT, SOCIETY WILL FALL APART, ASTAGHFIRULLAAAAWWWHHHHHHH!’

‘Someone is gay? HARAAAAAM MAAR DOH KAAT DOH, GHALAAZAT, SOCIETY WILL FALL APART, ASTAGHFIRULLAAAAWWWHHHHHHH!’

Al-Bakistan

Welcome to the theocratic military democracy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

We have mullahs in our parliaments, in our armies, in our courts and on our TVs. We have an Islamic Ideology Council that can rule out DNA as primary evidence in rape cases in the 21st century, because 1400 years ago people could only prove a claim if there had been witnesses. Politicians, self-styled educationists, send back textbooks and reject curricula that do not include enough Islam. Censors trawl the Internet, looking for blasphemous material or content that endangers [Islamic] public morality, and ban entire websites but militant Islamists keep operating social media with impunity…possibly still doing less damage than the non-militant Islamists’ pages that prepare the public conscience to accept the former’s ideology. Blasphemy is a crime that leads to a death sentence even if no conclusive proof has been presented, even if your crime is to speak out against legislation susceptible to such rampant misuse that it essentially becomes a state-sanctioned assassination program–because questioning blasphemy laws is blasphemy itself–and vigilante ‘executioners’ that carry out the sentence are lauded as heroes. No law can be made unless a man well-versed in scripture, but not Philosophy or Political/Social Science or humanity, deems it appropriate for a Muslim nation and all existing laws may be challenged on the basis of his understanding. Women cannot get married on their own through the courts without submitting to a virginity test, and domestic violence bills cannot be passed till it is ascertained they do not conflict with Islam–because a human being’s right to not be violated is secondary to a husband’s God-given right to discipline his wife. Memorizing the Quran gets you 20 extra points in a highly competitive, ‘merit-based’ education system and there’s one teacher whose subject cannot legally be skipped at any grade level–but it’s not the one who teaches you how to read, write or do long division. (Because the most important skill for an engineer is the ability to pray his or her constructions don’t fall apart.) Islamic banking is big business and shampoos “specially formulated for hijabis’ hair” show up on department store shelves. Religion is everywhere and there is only one true religion Islam as preached by the last prophet Muhammad–and if you cannot repeat these words verbatim, you are not a Muslim and you probably won’t be anything much longer because it is generally, albeit unofficially, believed the blood of a non-believer is fifty percent more water than human. And not even holy Ab-e-Zam-Zam water.

Yaqeenan hamaaray tamaam masail ki bunyaad Islam se doori hai aur Shariat ki roshni isska hal.*


*“Undoubtedly the root cause of all our problems is deviation from Islam and enlightenment through Shariah its solution.”

Note on the title: It comes from the license plate of a fancy car I saw in a middle-class neighborhood–the owner had paid extra to state the car came from Punjab in “Al-Bakistan” which is the Arabized pronunciation of “Pakistan” in a language that has fewer alphabet than both Urdu and English (the official languages of Pakistan) and no sound for “P”, thus rendering the name invalid yet somehow legal. A status symbol amongst the Arab-infatuated Pakistani Muslims, a country name that can ‘exist’ only in the Middle East.