- Religion and Philosophy
What Has Orthodox Islam to Offer Mankind?
Over the last few decades we are witnessing an upsurge of radical Islamist viewpoints in different parts of the world. Whatever the reason for this, the world cannot afford to ignore or underestimate the far reaching consequence of the spread of their ideology or the sympathy it generates among people. Sadly, the brunt of their distorted ideals is borne by the womenfolk, whom they regard as objects of subjugation and domination. Very readily they forget that the faith they try to superimpose on people finds its roots in the emancipation of the voiceless and the marginalized lot.
One of the cornerstones of their ideals is that women stay within the four walls of the house, not venturing out to seek even education. Yet, the people they term as ‘kafers’, infidels have long since sent their women to space. Following the footsteps of these women, the females of Muslim majority countries too have found their way to the cockpits of fighter planes. The nature of time is that it always looks forward, never back. The world has reached a place in history that it never had in the past.
At this point, have they ever paused to think exactly what is it that they call people to? What message, ideology do they possess that will appeal to people in general, Muslims and adherents of other faiths as well? Will they preach about women's empowerment and rights? for if they go by their books, the shariah books, those tell women they are to stay locked in their houses, not appearing before men, whereas their western counterparts roam the outer space as astronauts. So why then will anyone heed the orthodox books or those who preach these? Which avenue is then now open to the Islamists?
Can they reach out to the western ideologists or their followers to say, 'you may have taken a handful of your women to the skies but cannot guarantee the liberty and security for all women in your society. Only we can ensure that- we can assure that a jewelry clad female can travel from one corner of the globe to the other, she will have nothing to fear. Democracy, socialism, communism, monarchy - whatever 'ism' you may follow you will still be unable to provide this security, this freedom or right. This only we can guarantee.' can the orthodox shariah followers claim this? They can’t, for the simple reason that the shariah they so fervently follow do not allow them to.
There goes all their reasoning, right out of the window. If they are to divert the attention of the masses from the contemporary ideologies such as democracy, socialism etc., then they have no choice but to present a universally acceptable alternative before them. In this regard, however, they have been utterly futile in the past and remain so in the present. No matter how big they talk or what rosy picture they depict, the bottom line is that they cannot break free of the invisible shackles of petty 'masla-masaels', e.g., religious opinions regarding the length of their beards, their skull caps or issuing 'fatwas' religious decrees against different individuals. They have remained engrossed in these squabbles for hundreds of years now during which time the world has progressed in leaps and bounds... yet they remain where they were, frozen in time.
Realizing the futility of their call, the Islamists, the orthodoxy in their desperation have forsaken one of the basic tenets of Islam- that there is no compulsion in faith. So they resort to force. Brandishing the weapons they acquire from the westerners, they strike fear into the hearts of people and force them into subjugation. They may control the masses by sheer force for a certain period of time, but the tradition of halaku khan and taimur Lang has never been conducive to the establishment of a sustainable civilization.
Moreover, it is the Muslims themselves who suffer the most through their actions. They are the ones to be killed, made refugees, raped and forced into prostitution, men and women alike... as they are now. For all the people's sacrifices, those whom they supposedly fight against, lose nothing, not a hair on their heads is harmed. Their military might alone has reached unparalleled heights, but this fact is beyond the comprehension and maturity of the Islamists to fathom.
It will take all of a second for the imperialist forces to wipe off the entire western Asia as well as the other Muslim countries were they to decide on it. If they do not attempt so already is not for the love of mankind or even the fear of reprisal from 160 million Muslims either. It is their sheer greed and need. Who else will they continuously supply arms to? Who else is there that will so readily offer them their wealth than the Arabs?
The shariah idealists are of the opinion that even if they do not win the battle, the prize of paradise is theirs. As there is no telephone connection in the hereafter and the living cannot comprehend actually what goes on in the afterlife, they have to take their word for it, and the militants take full advantage of this. Yet it does not take a rocket scientist to fathom that paradise cannot be gained by turning this earth into hell for people. One should realize that there is no wrong route short cut to heaven, but do they possess the common sense to understand this?