Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part I: Rashad Ali

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The War on Terror breathed life into morbid industries. Those who were the fundamental cogs in the illegal, immoral and strategically catastrophic neoconservative war machine profiteered.  Over the years it has also spurned another industry at the soft end of the War on Terror: counter extremism.  Pimping the discourse of rights, and using it as a stick to beat a minority with, the language has shifted from rights to one of security.

Having observed over the past decade or so the recycling of the calls to “reform” or rather, deform Islam through various charlatans like Ziauddin SardarEd HusainTaj Hargey et al, the need to freshen the line up to resurge the desperate call is necessary.  This is mainly because deconstructing Islam has been a somewhat difficult affair; Muslims understand the meticulous nature of their Book, belief and disbelief, and the fact that the calls to deform conveniently serve the neoconservative War on Terror agenda. Those who force a deformation of Islam using superficial and spurious argumentation do so often incredibly poorly, without any intellectual rigour and to the wine-sipping neo-colonial glee of the unctuous neoconservatives and their supporting, superficial Twitterati.

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ImamsOnline – A Repackaged, PREVENT-Touting Radical Middle Way?

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In my previous blog, I elucidated upon the overt strategy of deforming Islam. In short, individuals, Muslims and non, demand a change in Islam, either by removing parts of the Qur’an, or by post-modernist deconstructionism vis-à-vis free-for-all interpretations of the texts. In this piece I intend to cover another method of pushing deformation and control: through the subterfuge of fronting traditional scholars for the counter-extremism agenda.

“Exacting Control”

The desire for a deformation in Islam, if it wasn’t clear from my previous blog, is to control/shape Muslims and/or their thinking. At the geopolitical level, Muslim movements deemed “moderate” are being closely monitored by Western governments and their agencies. A digital leak published by Al-Jazeera shows the Zionist intelligence agency, Mossad, tracking government-sponsored movements promoting “moderate Islam”. It notes that Arab and North African states are abusing Islamic scholars to push a “moderate Islam” in order to effectively ensure government compliance. The Egyptian government, for instance, has “harnessed” Al-Azhar institute and the Waqf bureau by sending their scholars on “indoctrination missions” to Sinai at the behest of the regime. As another example, the top secret document records that a new association of scholars has been set up and tasked to disseminate “moderate Islam based on the Maliki School in the accepted Sahel states and considered moderate compared to other schools of Sunni Islam.” It carries out “propaganda” work to prevent radicalisation and violence. In essence, Islam and traditional scholars are being abused to instantiate state control, all to the glee of Mossad.

The question is what is this “moderate Islam” which excites Mossad?

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Is ISB Living Islam or Reforming Islam?

livingIslamReformationIt is interesting to note that those who compromise normative Islam or demonstrate a modernist tendency suddenly become “leading Sunni” Imams. The epithet was applied by the Times to former ISB President Ahtsham Ali who spoke at ISB’s Living Islam event, presumably because his statements fit in with neocon policy of attacking normative Islamic stances.

Claiming that the separation of the sexes is absent in the Quran, he iterated a statement which I would expect to see from modernist reformationists of the Usama Hasan variety,

“Stay in your houses and do not display yourselves like [women used to] in the time of ignorance [before Islam],” was intended specifically to the prophet’s wives, Ali said.

Aside from the obvious irrationality of ignoring principles of exegesis, like where a command is addressed to the wives it is for all women unless specifically stated otherwise, the validity of this statement can be determined by a perusal of a multitude of exegeses written on this verse which clearly indicate that the application of this verse is ‘aam (generic, to all Muslim women) as opposed to khass (specific).  The preceding verse which states that the mothers of the believers are “unlike other women” indicates to their special, raised status over other women by virtue of being the blessed wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him), not towards the specificity of the command (as claimed by proponents of Ali’s position).  (Tafsir Ibn Kathir – specifically states that these verses are an example for other women, Tafsir Alusi – also quoted supporting this view is Zamakhshari, Tafsir BaydawiTafsir Ma’ariful Qur’an).

There are more problems with Ali’s words.  By focussing solely on the Qur’an to unsuccessfully refute a mainstream understanding in Islam, he side-steps an entire corpus of hadith and usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence) which is also used, in addition to the Qur’an, to extrapolate rulings.  It smacks of a Taj Hargey statement who uses similar reductionist diatribe to give justification to strange, un-Islamic views. One wonders how Ali would reconcile is position with the following hadith:

 Aisha (RadiyAllahu ‘anha) says that a woman from behind a curtain gestured a letter to the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) withheld his hand. The woman said, “O Prophet of Allah, I extended my hand to you with a letter and you did not take it?” He said, “I could not know if this is a man’s hand or a woman’s”. She said, “It is a woman’s hand.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you were a woman you ought to have changed your fingernails with henna.” (Sunan An-Nasa’i)

The attack however continues with the emulation of the Prophet with his incredibly misleading statement:

“You don’t emulate except what [the Prophet] asked us to emulate. Wasn’t he allowed to have the culture of his time in 7th century Arabia?”

This is a grossly incorrect, reductionist statement. Emulation without an express command formed the basis of many rulings. Furthermore, emulation without exhortation was an expectation:

‘Aisha said, “The Messenger of Allah did something as an example in order to make things easier for people but some people still refrained from doing it. When the Prophet heard about that, he praised Allah and said, ‘what do you think of people who refrain from anything that I myself do? By Allah I am the greatest of them in knowledge of Allah and the strongest of them in fear of Allah”. (Bukhari wa Muslim)

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