Thursday, February 3, 2011

TJ Radio Debate: ISLAM: THREAT OR MENACE?


Truth Jihad Radio Fri. 2/4/11, 1-3 pm Central, American Freedom Radio (archived here.) Call-in number: (402) 237-2525 or post your questions to my Facebook page.

ISLAM:
THREAT OR MENACE?

Is political Islam a threat? Or merely a menace? The debate has raged since 9/11/01...and now it's raging on Truth Jihad Radio! In light of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, we'll discuss the myths and realities of political Islam with "political Islamophile" Dr. Fouzi Slisli, a genuine academic expert, and "political Islamophobe" Dr. Bill Warner, an...er...interesting autodidact.

First hour: Professor Fouzi Slisli, expert in political Islam. Fouzi Slisli is an interdisciplinary humanities’ scholar trained in the textual traditions of Islam and of Europe with a consistent focus on the relationship of religion to politics, literature and aesthetics. He received a BA in Literature from University Mohammed I in Morocco, an MA in Dramatic Studies and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Essex in England. In the European tradition, his work focuses on the relationship of secular literature to religion and politics and he recently completed a book on this topic. In the Islamic tradition, his work focuses on the relationship of Islam to politics.His work confirms that religion cannot be dismissed as simple dogma, but is rather a complex ideological system whose understanding demands an interdisciplinary approach and rigorous textual and philosophical analysis. His work has been published in Race and Class, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, The Journal of North African Studies, and his first book is currently under consideration at Syracuse University Press.

Second hour guest: Anti-Islam crusader Bill Warner. A math and physics Ph.D. and Religious Studies autodidact, Bill Warner has apparently been on a mission to denigrate Islam since September 12th, 2001. Some excerpts from his website:

"Dr. Warner's training in scientific theory and mathematics shaped how he analyzed Islamic doctrine. The first step was realizing that the Islamic texts had been made deliberately difficult to read and comprehend." He makes them easy to comprehend in such publications as:
Warner argues that those with knowledge about Islam draw that knowledge from people like him...while "The Party of Ignorance draws its arguments from what Muslims say about Islam."

Can you imagine applying that hermeneutic to knowledge about, say, Judaism? "Knowledge" about Judaism would be what anti-Semites say; while "ignorance" would be anything based on what Jews themselves say. Or how about knowledge about the U.S.A.? Could we dismiss everything Americans themselves have ever said about the U.S.A., and build an interpretation based only on the words of hostile outsiders? Doesn't this hermeneutic produce a rather one-sided, pejorative discourse on whatever subject it's applied to? How will Bill Warner defend it? Tune in and find out...

6 comments:

  1. It seems to me that Political Islam is a menace to Muslims -- it is a medieval world view when what they need is a 21st Century one. They need a class analysis too or they will just end up with a different form of dictatorship (one prediction for Egypt is this). But I think problem is that you are not understanding what those poll numbers mean. I don't think most Muslims want a society in which they have no rights, or a society in which they have no voice. Islamic Law does not offer human beings the full range of freedoms we demand and deserve. What they are saying is that they don't want American imposed capitalism, and as the secular resistance in Islamic countries was long ago murder off, the only alternative people see is religious. But that doesn't mean it is their real preference -- all things being equal.

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  2. Anonymous,

    I suspect that your reaction is based on stereotypes, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than actual knowledge of political Islam. But I could be wrong. What is your background in the study of Political Islam?

    It is a common Western conceit that the post-Christian West is universal and modern, while other cultures are backwards and parochial. Meanwhile a still-heavily-Confucian China is outpacing the West economically and technologically, while the only Islamic state, Iran, has succeeded in launching homegrown nuclear power and space programs despite the West's best efforts to strangle the Islamist baby in its cradle.

    You "don't think most Muslims want" to live under Islamic law -- meaning law that has developed from indigenous Islamic traditions rather than, say, Napoleonic or British Common Law traditions. Abundant empirical data, including this World Public Opinion survey http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/346.php proves you are wrong.

    "What they are saying is ...." Don't you think it's awfully presumptuous to ignore what Muslims are actually saying -- they want Islamic law and a united caliphate -- and speciously insert your own words into their mouths?!

    Kevin

    PS The Islamists in these countries have been killed off and tortured far more than the leftists, especially during the past twenty years, yet the basic national identity of the people -- ISLAMIC -- has not changed in at least 1000 years, nor will it likely change in the next thousand

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  3. Salam Dr Barrett,

    I listened to the talk you had with Dr Bill Warner and it's so typical that he quoted that hadith about "Do not disobey the ruler if he is establishing prayer." All western critics and even many extreme wahabis love to quote this hadith to justify their support of corrupt regimes especially the hypocrite regime in Saudi Arabia. I was surprised that you didn't go in to the details of what that
    actually means. Many scholars don't discuss this anymore, but the way I learned about this hadith from authentic scholars is completely different. In Islam, establishing prayer is more than praying at the mosque or letting people pray. ESTABLISHING prayer is equal to establishing the rules or God and justice in the land. By establishing prayer, true scholars say that it means to establish
    true Shariah. For example, in an Islamic society, prayer and zakah has to be established. Meaning the system of law as a whole which Zakah and prayer is are a very important part. So that hadith is an
    example and ESTABLISHING prayer is being used to imply more than a simple act, Prayer is a
    system. The act of prayer is ibadah. That is why the hadith really means, even though the ruler might not pray, he might commit personal acts of sin, that is not your concern or your business and you have to obey him as long as he is establishing a just system or law and implementing it in society. The Arab
    puppets across the board including Saudi Arabia are not implementing authentic Islam plus they are puppets and committing actions that are hurting and killing fellow Muslims, this is why they are not to be obeyed, and there should be the utmost effort taken to remove them from their unjust rule. I didn't listen to you live otherwise I would've loved to call and give that interpretation of the hadith the way I have learned it and understood it from my teachers, one of them being Shaykh Imran Hosein. :) Just wanted to email that so in the future, maybe you can use that or clarify that point for others on your show.

    Another point, Mr Warner was actually correct in saying the hadith about the Greater Jihad is weak and may be fabricated. I have also found that to be the case in my studies. I will cite an excerpt for you, tell me what you think. I am only bringing this up because that Greater Jihad hadith is actually being used today by our scholars especially in the US to downplay resistance and they always try to minimize the importance of Jihad. Even though in present situations where Muslim lands are being occupied, Jihad is fardh Ayn meaning
    it is obligatory on the Muslims especially on those able and around the affected lands being usurped.
    If you look at the discussions of RAND Muslims and other scholars of ISNA, they are completely trying to discredit Jihad and are busy in trying to create a new FIQH for North American Muslims. Below is the excerpt, I will also attach the book, it is in PDF format, It is a nice short read, but very informative. I think you can probably benefit from it since you are "Truth Jihad" radio. :)

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  4. Excerpt from "THE BOOK OF JIHAD By Abi Zakaryya Al Dimashqi Al Dumyati “Ibn-Nuhaas” (D. 814 Hijri)

    The classification of Jihad into minor and major Jihad:
    The hadith of “We returned from the minor Jihad to the major Jihad” is fabricated. It hasn’t been narrated by any of the scholars of hadith.

    Ibn Taymiyah states: The hadith of “We returned from the minor Jihad to the major Jihad” is fabricated and is not narrated by any of the scholars who have knowledge of the words of Rasulullah, his actions and his Jihad against the nonbelievers. In fact Jihad against Kufar is among the greatest of deeds. Indeed it is the greatest voluntary deed a human could do.

    Evidence that Jihad is overwhelmingly used to refer to fighting non-believers:
    1. The objection of women: When women came to the Messenger of Allah and complained that the men join you in jihad while we don’t. The Messenger of Allah told them that the jihad of women is
    hajj.
    It is obvious here that jihad refers to combat. If it meant struggle of the soul then why can’t the women do it?

    2. Simply look at the table of context of the books written by our traditional scholars. In their books the chapter titled jihad only refers to fighting. If they understood it to directly include other meanings this would have been reflected in their writings. As an example of what I stated you can refer to the following books and take a look at the chapter of Jihad (notice that they called it Jihad and not Qitall (fighting)): Al Mughni by ibn Qudamah– Al Umm by Imam Shafi’i – Al
    Mudawanah by Imam Malik -The three commentaries on Mukhtasar Khalil by Al Kharshi, Alaysh and Al Hatab – Al Muhala by Ibn Hazm – Subul Al Salam – Nayl Al Awtar – Al Fatawa al Kubra by Ibn Taymiyah.

    3. The meaning of these hadiths referring to jihad can only mean fighting. For example:

    • Abu Huraira states that the Messenger of Allah was asked: “Is there any deed equivalent to jihad?” He said, “Yes, but you wont be able to do it” The third time he said, “What is equivalent to the mujahid is the one who is fasting, and praying continuously until the mujahid comes back”In other words comes back from combat. Coming back from struggle of the soul would make no sense.

    • Abu Hurairah states that the Messenger of Allah was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, guide me to a deed equivalent to jihad” He said, “I don’t find any!” Then he said, “When the mujahid goes on jihad, can you enter your masjid and pray continuously, and fast and never break your fast?” The man said, “and who could do that!”

    • Abu Huraira narrates that one of the companions passed by a spring of fresh water in a valley. He said if I seclude myself from people and stay in this valley (to worship Allah). But I wont do so until I seek permission from the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah said, “Don’t do so. The posting of one of you in the path of Allah is better than his prayer in his house for seventy years. Don’t you want Allah to forgive you and enter you into Paradise? Fight (iqzoo) in the path of Allah. For whoever fights (katal) in the path of Allah a time equivalent to that of milking a camel, Paradise is guaranteed for him”. So this Sahabi who wanted to live in seclusion to make jihad al nafs was told not to do so.

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  5. Thank you for making these excellent points.

    I haven't looked closely at the question of authenticity of the "greater/lesser jihad" hadith. I agree that armed struggle is definitely one meaning of the word, and the one most cited with regard to the early history of the ummah.

    I understand that another hadith, "the best jihad is a word of truth flung in the face of an oppressor," is authentic. If so, then one kind of jihad clearly is NOT armed struggle, but truth-speaking -- and this is the very best kind! And if it was the best kind 1350 years ago, then it is REALLY the best kind in a world in which truth-speaking can be amplified by the internet (witness the youtube video that set off the Egyptian revolution), while armed struggle has reached the limit of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and no effective armed struggle can be waged without killing large numbers of civilians.

    w'Allahu aalim

    Kevin

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