"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Do you support the Islamic jihad...and sharia law?"

Last week in this post I told you that I may share some parts of conversations that I have on Facebook from time to time.  The latest discussion happened due to a link I posted related to the Egyptian revolution.  I think I told you or you know from personal experience or reading online that some Americans are less-than-thrilled. What if it's another Iran? What if the radical Muslims take control? Ack, have you heard of the Muslim Brotherhood? What about precious, darling Israel in the midst of all those hateful Arabs who want to wipe it off the map? What about oil? What about our interests in the region? Mubarak was our ally! How dare the people get rid of the guy we were supporting all these years! When we want to get rid of an Arab dictator, we'll do it on our own terms, at our own expense (i.e., Iraq).

Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear.


I say we either drop the "we love democracy everywhere in the world" spiel or we back it up by encouraging people who are trying to dispose of autocrats who have histories of rigged elections and oppression against their own people! This playing both sides is hypocritical and - really - who are we fooling?  It just makes us look even more idiotic to the rest of the world!  (To which some Americans will say they don't care and that's fine, but some of us care when America equals Christian nation to a lot of people.  Do we want Christ to be dragged into it because we are poor examples of him?  All righty then.)

So anyway, I ended up chatting off and on for a few days with someone whom I will call E to protect his identity. 

Eventually the conversation got to this with E asking,

"Susanne, do you support the islamic jihad?"

My reply:

Nope, not a fan of the extremists' version of jihad which most Muslims do not agree with either. Jihad (which means struggle) for most Muslims is first an inner struggle to do what is right in order to please God (e.g. the five prayers, fasting, almsgiving, dressing modestly). Similar to our "good fight of faith." This is the greater jihad.

The lesser jihad is defensive wars or wars against oppressors. For example fighting against occupying Americans who invaded and killed is legitimate. (If someone invaded America, you'd feel this 'jihad' was legit too.)

The extremists' version of jihad is the one even most Muslims despise. The extremists wrongly think they can fight *anyone* who does not agree with their version of Islam which is vile, hateful and which I too will reject with everything in me.

Good question! Now you know how I feel about jihad. :) Any others?

So he asked:

"Do you support sharia law?"

My reply:

Nope. If you have a Muslim-only country and want sharia (which they believe is God's law kind of like the Children of Israel thought of the Mosaic Law), then fine. But it's not for me since, well, I don't believe it's from God or else I'd be a Muslim. And really a number of Muslims don't want all aspects of sharia enforced because whose interpretation of sharia do they use? The conservatives, the moderates or the progressives? It's kind of like applying God's laws to the US and how the variety of opinions within Christianity would make that a nightmare for many.

Feel free to share your own thoughts. Maybe you think I am simplistic and plain old wrong in my thoughts. So tell me.  Shape and/or change my views.  Tell me why I should believe differently.

E also asked something that lead me to share my thoughts on Israel. I'll do that in another post as it may take more explaining. Plus it was a longer reply.



Lat said...

People have the right to choose a leader they like to 'rule' over them and depose him when they don't.It becomes problematic when leaders have self-imposed rules to stay at the realm of leadership for eternity and don't do a good job at that.There will always be a good time and a bad time.A good leader knows or should know when to come down and hand over the reigns to another.When it's time,he must let go.Nobody stays at the top forever.well some people or rather most people just don't learn.

Your answers to E about inner struggle (jihad) and sharia law is understandable.Like you said even some Muslims themselves don't want to implement sharia law in their country because they may be counterproductive to their lives in today's climate.

Rebekka @ Becky's Kaleidoscope said...

I agree strongly with your thoughts, and think you explained your position eloquently.

Honestly, I'm sick and tired of how hypocritical America/(some) Americans are. "We stand for democracy, freedom of speech, liberty" ... as long as we get to choose who your leaders are, what liberties you shall have and what thoughts you can express freely. To rephrase a Danish saying into English, having standards are good, having double standards is not double good.

When people are finally taking the plunge to fight for their rights to choose their own leaders, we should support them, instead of only thinking of ourselves. And then they wonder what the world has against America?

As for Jihad, you explained it perfectly. Most important is the great Jihad against one-self, the lesser Jihad is against oppressors, such as when once country is occupied (the protests in the Middle East right now, would fit under the lesser Jihad). The Jihad of the terrorists has nothing to do with Islam.

Sharia means "the way", like you also pointed out, how you interpret Sharia is very very different to different people. Therefore you could never implement true Sharia anywhere. However, what people think when they hear Sharia, is very different. Really, Sharia is just the way of life you should follow as a Muslim, but it has become a synonym with harsh punishments and inequalities.

danielpulliam said...

It is my understanding of Islam that it is not just a religious view that can be kept separate from politics. The idea of "freedom from religion" is an American concept that is a distorted view of freedom of religion.
Islam demands submission to all Sharia in all areas.
So if one tries to institute a form of government that is ruled by the people, yet these people believe in their heart that they must keep Sharia and observe the five pillars of their faith what kind of government will you have?

I believe political reformation will only take place after a religious reformation.
You cannot separate government and religion.
Have I missed the point of your questions?

Susanne said...

Lat, I like when a country has a constitution in place that dictates the transfer of power. I'm not for monarchies and dictatorships since the powerful at the top often get too much of a sense of their greatness. Then again this happens in places where the leaders can only rule for 8 years so maybe it's just that power is corrupting and greater checks and balances are needed. Hmm

Thanks for understanding my thoughts re: jihad and sharia law. Maybe I am wrong, but that's the impression I get from people I talk with and reading blogs. Granted I know that's hardly the representative sample so ...

I appreciate your feedback!

Becky, yes, a number of us are tired of the hypocrisy and we do see it! I love this:

" having standards are good, having double standards is not double good. "


Thanks for expounding upon my jihad and sharia thoughts! I enjoyed your comment and what you had to say!

Daniel, nice to see you!

I think you made valid points and it's true that Muslims say you cannot separate the two. However, I know of plenty who are willing to do this basically because they see the examples of nations who are supposedly Islamic, who have sharia and they don't really like what they see. I believe they realize more and more that sharia is not so cut-and-dry and is subject to some interpretation. If the people grew up with sharia being moderate, they may like it because they see it as moderate as they are. But then when they see how Saudi Arabia or Iran or the Taliban have made sharia into something horrible (especially in the Taliban's case), they are more apt to wish for a secular government with people practicing their faith separately. I'm sure there are vast numbers who wish for mosque and state together,but I also believe there are growing numbers such as I described. The latter group does well in the West while the former should stay in a Muslim country forever, in my opinion. If you want sharia law, start your Muslim-only country.

Thank you for your thoughts!

Suroor said...

I agree with your comments to E and your argument completely. I can also understand what Daniel said.

Susanne said...

I'm glad it made sense to you! Thanks for the feedback. :)