||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Roots of evil
I can't say I'm entirely sympathetic to the Islamic argument, being an agnostic and all, but I do try to separate my scholarly standpoint against Islam from the visceral reaction I feel against that minority which sets off bombs.
Occasionally I venture into Muslim blogs. There are a multitude of reactions I've seen from them: denial, agreement with "only Palestinian" terrorism, rejection of Islam, and attempts to wrestle with the problem of qital. Of these I agree with the third of these, on a doctrinal level; but I find myself respecting the fourth, because they at least make the effort to explain it all. Aziz Poonwalla the Shi'a Pundit was the one I used to read most regularly - although as an Ismaili he's not on the same doctrinal page as the guys doing the damage. But that's my point.
Every now and again I run across a blogger who posts their shame at being Muslim: like Iraqi Expat, most recently.
I don't want to deny his right to have whatever feelings he may want to have, but in this case shame is unnecessary. It's not "Islam" that did this crime. A form of Islam did it, yes, but it's a very narrow form. It's the path of Hadith Right Or Wrong as delineated by Ibn Hanbal.
Hanbalism is a subset of Shafi'ism, in turn a subset of Sunnism. Iraqi Sunnis, like the British Bangladeshis who got the worst of the bombs last week, mostly follow Abu Hanifa whose students spilled a lot of ink trying to get Ibn Hanbal's wacky views discredited. The Hanafites didn't bomb themselves and in fact are a major target of the bombers. The Shi'a didn't do it either and are even bigger targets; this is why Aziz has spent so much time cursing the terrorists with loud la'anat.
American Christians who over-generalise might wish to take that log out of their own eye first. If the Roman/Persian world had never claimed Jesus to be the Jews' Messiah, the Ishmaelite Arabs never would have had that excuse to claim that the Jews were no longer worthy of receiving Prophets. Did the Orthodox Church imagine that no-one else was listening?
If Muslims share blame for the actions of Ibn Hanbal's disciples, then Christians ought to shoulder some of that for creating a theology which ousted the Jews and left the way open for the Arab replacement.
Or maybe everyone is to blame for their own actions. Maybe it doesn't matter if you're a Hanbali or a Mormon or a freakin' Scientologist as long as you're not advocating blowing shit up. And to think it took eight paragraphs to figure it out.
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