By WILLIAM MAYER
July 19, 2017 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org – Though we have been through this innumerable times in many different formats, the advocates of a “de-radicalized” Islam are once again out in force pushing this same old tired meme.
Perhaps it’s best to present the contra-argument in a numbered list format…
1. As practiced normatively, Islam is a triumphal, war-like creed devoted to the simple tenet of spreading “Allah’s religion” so that it is “supreme above all others.” It follows then that every Muslim majority nation is governed by the Shari’a at one level or another. Many of these countries are full-blown Islamic theocracies where the “religious” cops far outnumber those dedicated to maintaining public order. In these countries, the gendarmerie approach their jobs with great zeal, making sure that single women don’t travel outside the home absent the accompaniment of a male family member, do not get behind the wheel of a car, wear hijab at a minimum when outside the home, that there are no displays of homosexuality and the multitude of other no-nos in Islam that apply to everyone, in most cases obliterating the freedoms that are part of our Western birthright.
It is this highly aggressive messianic nature of Islam that is irreducible and which serves as the public face that the Islamic world presents to the Western democracies making this the point where the two worlds are conflicted.
Since it is Islamic dogma that non-Muslims have three choices, convert, reject Islam but pay the head tax called the jizya or be killed it’s hard to understand how the dominant practice of Islam might be accommodated in a Western setting.
Therefore if Islam is to be reconciled with modernity and abandon the scripturally mandated demand to spread the creed, it will have lost one of its most defining features. As applied to the numerous other points of contention that exist between “Dar al-Islam” and “Dar al-Harb” [the world being divided into the house of Islam and the house of perpetual war] one can get some sense of the massive problems that Islamic doctrine would face if it were to be rendered into a form that played nice and shared well with others.
2. Ok, let’s us assume that this is possible [a bold assumption] that somehow Islamic theory could become so elastic as to accommodate a radical redefinition; where would that leave such a project? Actually it would suck us deeper down the rabbit hole because though Islam is rigidly monotheistic it does not speak with a single voice as does Catholicism, for example, because the ideology has almost from its inception been engaged in an internal war which has produced a wealth of sects and sub-sects. We have the three major divisions, Sunni, Shia and the mystical/esoteric Sufis. But it doesn’t stop there as within Sunni Islam there are four major schools of “fiqh” or jurisprudence, Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali, in Shia Islam, Ja'fari and Zaidi legal traditions. Then we would also have the Indian Sunni sect the Deobandis, other minorities and jurisprudential disciplines too numerous to mention.
The question then becomes is it reasonable that all of these various interpretations of Islam could become of one mind in rejecting both offensive as well as “defensive” jihad. That would be a very tall order, since they are really both the same; in that defensive jihad is not what one might think as it can easily incorporate preemptory warfare and even war against cultural elements that hinder the spread of Islam.
Yes, it gets very complicated but it is into this world that the reformers must labor.
3. So at this point we have an assumed basic agreement at a surface level on the new Islam. The problem then involves the mechanics of how each sectarian element would actually re-write what is already assumed to be the actual revealed word of Allah. This would have to be done, legalistically in the process called ijtihad, where Muslim jurists would incorporate the changes into the varying doctrine.
4. Upon the assumption that all of this could happen we would then have some manner of an all encompassing redefined revelation with all the intricate pieces stitched together and one that still would still somehow be acceptable to the various sects…what then?
5. Since this project would be equal parts theology as well as the political it would be foolish to assume that it would gain an absolute 100% level of adherence and thus there would be dissidents, there always are.
Judging from the historical record of Islamic revivalism, the opposition would entirely reject the product based upon what would be a very real charge of apostasy as the new Islam would have rejected 1,300 years of historical precedent.
Shortly a Seyyid Qutb [Egyptian} or an Abul A'la Mawdudi [Indo-Pakistani] would arise to lead the reactionaries. Theologically it is they who would command the moral high ground asking what would be the sixty-four-thousand dollar question…”what have you done to Allah’s religion?”
Assuming they were rebuffed by the newly unified Islamic jurisprudential structure what then would transpire?
Exactly the same thing that has happened in the past and continues today, they would choose to go to war against the blasphemers.
6. Now comes what would in our opinion doom the effort. As we have seen demonstrated for over a millennium, the resistance turns to terrorism because to these people the offense would be so grave that no negotiation would be possible and turn to asymmetrical warfare which is really quite effective, especially with modern weaponry and communication technology.
Thus would loom the problem that the philosopher Naseem Nicholas Taleb [Orthodox Christian, born in Lebanon during the civil war] has identified as the “tyranny of an intransigent minority,” basically, he who is “most intolerant” will always win [for further development of this theme please access, [Taleb, The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority , Incerto]
Whereas the reformers would have had to become doctrinally squishy in order to accomplish the ambitious redesign of Islam, those in opposition would make what has been the most effective argument dealing with such matters since the time of Mohammed.
They would, like their spiritual progenitors the Saudi Wahhabis and later Hassan al-Banna/Seyyid Qutb’s Muslim Brotherhood and the revolutionary Islam preached by Mawdudi, make the appeal on the entirely sound proposition that Islam, once again needed to be “purified” and thus would emerge the desire to return to the word of Allah as revealed to Mohammed, via the Archangel Gabriel.
Additionally “rebels” however would be steeled by the understanding that the new Islam would be entirely “haram” - forbidden by Allah - and hence they would gladly be ready to die - steeping the world in even more blood - to bring back the “true” religion, that had suffered sacrilege at the hands of Muslim traitors and a conspiratorial West.
And really this is what we have today, millions upon millions of Muslims who seem perfectly willing to live their religion in a way that could be compatible with the West, but whose ultimate level of commitment to that enterprise is dodgy, the squishy middle, compared to the righteous ferocity that the “purifiers” or hard-liners would bring to the table, which is why the Islam of today is normatively war-like…the fanatics will never, ever take no for an answer.
Thus the project would doom Islam to an internal civil war that would be unprecedented and it would be the dissidents who would have tradition entirely on their side, a very powerful weapon.
It’s a pretty well understood historical principal that once warfare breaks out, especially a civil war, no one can predict how it will end. The level of rancor among the traditionalists would be so great that Islam itself could end up even more fractionated than it is today and hence even more dangerous. In that case, instead of the West “merely” facing off against Sunni and Shia terrorists there would have been minted untold subgroups that would use the highly effective stratagems of guerilla warfare to ply their trade.
In conclusion, what the current Muslim “reformers” [that can only exist in the West because inside the Muslim world, they would be violently eliminated] seek is from every angle untenable.
It is simply impossible to “reform” Islam so it would become a peaceful ideology but still be authentically Muslim. Even if the majority could accomplish the goal there would always be a significant enough violent minority that would in short order try with every fiber in their body to return Islam to its 10th century barbaric outlook.
We think that Muslim reformers with true hearts should really re-examine the logical implications of what would happen if their viewpoint prevailed.
Historically people have always had a difficult time comprehending that it can always get worse, and as bad a problem as jihadism represents today, imagine what would be the case if the number of head-choppers were to geometrically multiply overnight, that every imaginable Islamic sect or fiqh school had its terrorist wing and that whatever ideological congruence that exists today across the face of Islam would disintegrate.
If anything could be worse than jihadism, it would be anarchic jihadism with maybe legions of dead-enders.
If one wanted to bring about the horrors of the wars of the Middle Ages, but with the most modern of weapons, trying to reform a religion that is definitionally resistant to that notion would be the way to do it.
So no thanks, the “reformers” not only dupe themselves and their Western compatriots into believing that this kind of change is possible, but if they were somehow to prevail it would actually be playing into the very hands of those whom they claim to oppose.
©2017 PipeLineNews.org LLC., William Mayer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.