Why Do More Muslims Support “Gay” Marriage than Polygamy?

The debate over whether Muslims should embrace “gay” marriage exposes the widening gap between culture and revelation.

Which flag is more Islamic?

polygyny flag muslim flag

How was that even a question?

Islam vs. “Muslims”

We’ve all heard- or made- the common excuse that there’s a difference between Islam and Muslims.  Islam is the revealed way of life exemplified and legislated by Allah, His Messenger Muhammad (sA’a&s) and his companions (the Sahaaba).

Muslims are people who may or may not fall short in deed, but also, more importantly, in thought.  Everyone’s ready to denounce murder and suicide as unIslamic- “Those people are not Muslims”- but those aren’t the only things people claiming to be Muslims do- and think- wrong.

Support for same-sex marriage, and same-sex relations in general- in the (supposedly) Muslim community is another example, and there are in fact many examples.

Let’s discuss it.  Let’s also discuss the Islamic take on marriage, which obviously includes polygyny (multiple wives, polygamy actually means multiple spouses, which technically includes multiple husbands or wives).

The question, then, is “Can people oppose an Islamic practice and support a forbidden one, and still be Muslims?”

Why Do More “Muslims” Support Same-Sex Marriage than Polygyny?

poly

Muslim (not Islamic) discussion on polygyny:

  • “The Qur-an says you have to be just to all your wives, but you can never be just, so you can only have one wife, even though the Qur-an says you can have more than one wife.” (So Allah allowed and forbid something?)
  • “Yes, the Sahaaba married more than one wife, but you are not like them.” (Is that a requirement?)
  • “Ma sha Allah, be happy with what you have.”  (Then why go to college or work?)
  • “This is considered sinful in my culture.”  (Is your culture a source of Shari’a?)
  • “You brothers are too focused on sex.”  (Polygyny isn’t about sex.)
  • “If a man has two wives, he’s cheating on both of them.  (Rasuulu-llaah was cheating on his wives?  A’oothu bi-llaah!)

Muslim (not Islamic) discussion on same-sex marriage:

  • “We have to be tolerant.”  (What else should we tolerate?  Thieves?  Cheating spouses?)
  • “How can we ask for rights for Palestinians if we don’t give rights to LBGTQI?”  (Do LBGTQIs protest for others’ rights as a core tenet of their agenda?)
  • “Islam means peace.”  (Actually, it doesn’t.  Check your Arabic.)
  • “Islam is perfectly compatible with Western values.” (Which ones?  Genocide?  Capitalism?)
  • “You can’t help who you love.” (Even if that includes more than one woman?)
  • “The Qur-an didn’t specifically anal sex as a sin.” (The Hadiths do.)
  • “It’s not our business.”
  • “Islam teaches love.”  (It teaches men and women to love each other.)

The Myth of the Cultural Muslim

What is Islam?  Who is a Muslim?

5 pillars

Islam, according to the ‘Hadith of Jibreel’ is:

  1. The testimony that there is no deity but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger
  2. Prayer
  3. Charity from one’s wealth
  4. Fasting in Ramadan
  5. Hajj if one is able.

A Muslim is a person who makes said testimony, prays, gives, fasts and journeys accordingly, no more, no less.  The label ‘Muslim’ is a descriptor, of a person who meets these conditions.

It’s not a descriptor of a culture, of a background, or a language group.  It doesn’t matter who your grandparents (said they) were.  It doesn’t matter if you’re from a country where the majority of the people claim to be Muslims.  The only thing that matters is whether you meet the conditions.  That alone qualifies you for the label.

In other words, Islam makes the Muslim, the Muslim does not make Islam.

We’ve got it all in reverse.  We think that “I’m a Muslm, so whatever I say or do is Islam.  It has to be, because I’m a Muslim.”  This argument is not only backwards but circular.

Everything can be Islam.  We are the ones who say “kun, fa ya kun, Be!  and it becomes”.  I say that this is Islam, and it is.

A’uuthu bi-llaah, this is shirk (polytheism, the other deity being ourselves in this case.

“And He (Allah) shares not his legislation with anyone” (Qur-an, Sura al-Kahf (18):26)

This is the position we put ourselves in when we oppose what Allah’s legislation, forbidding what He allows, and allowing what He forbids.

If you actually believe that anal sex, transvestism/gender reassignment/sex change and same-sex relationships are acceptable, read and respond to this.

Is this Islam?

superhanallah

  • In the Arabian Peninsula and South Asia, males regularly hold hands, cuddle and fondle each other openly, especially at nighttime.  The same behavior is rightly forbidden between males and females.
  • In Pakistan, transvestites/cross-dressers brazenly demand charity and crash weddings.
  • In Bahrain, men pay men, who are imported for this purpose, body-to-body oil massages legally, and obviously for sexual acts as well.
  • In the Arabian Peninsula, children regularly perform sex acts on the campuses of segregated schools, with teachers often joining in as well.
  • In Iran, 60% of rape victims are male, and an estimated 1/3 of males have sex with other males.
  • In Afghanistan, effeminate dancing boys are a feature of male-only gatherings, and have been for centuries, a practice also common in the Ottoman Caliphate Empire.
  • In general, it is easier to find a partner of the same sex than a spouse, due to high dowry prices, and caste, skin color, tribal and class considerations.
  • The homo-erotic (and, at times, alcoholic) poetry of Persian poets is celebrated and commemorated, even as vulgar hip-hop and rock music lyrics are rightly condemned.

Is this Islam?

Cultural “Islam”

polygyny

A cultural Muslim is not a Muslim.  He or she is a member of his or her culture.  In fact, Islam exists because of culture- it’s there to solve it.  Here is what “Muslim” culture really is:

  • White Supremacy– “White”- more properly pale- skin is better.  People who wear it are superior.  We bleach our skin, make movie stars out of people who look nothing like the general population, and seek pale-skinned mates.  We mock and hate dark-skinned people.  Western culture and everything about it is superior.  We pride ourselves on how well we can conform.  When “white” people said beards were backward, we said beards were never part of Islam.  When “white” hipsters made beards popular, we said beards were always part of Islam.  We’re ashamed to say we’re Muslim until “white” people re-discover our contributions to their ‘civilization’.  Let’s face it, half the reason we support gay marriage is because “white” people told us it is good.
  • Homosexual tendencies– Homosexuality, pederasty, transvestism and hermaphrodism were  mainstays of Persian, South Asian, Turkic and Southeast Asian cultures, and remained so after Islam arrived.  The reasons many Muslims can connect with and relate to homosexuality now, is because they never really stopped.  The only thing different about western culture is the invention of the “gay” identity- the lifestyle centered around one’s sexual preferences.

Strange Days

kahf

This is all well and good, as long as we don’t pretend that since we are claiming to be Muslims, everything we do is Islam.  If you feel no shame, do whatever you wish.  Those in the right are always in the minority, those who will say to the (supposed) Muslims who sell alcohol, deal in ribaa (usury, interest), support homosexuality, forbid polygyny, and put race, caste, skin color and wealth before piety and character:

“Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Never will we invoke besides Him any deity. We would have certainly spoken, then, an excessive transgression.  These, our people, have taken besides Him deities. Why do they not bring for [worship of] them a clear authority? And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie?” (Qur-an, Sura al-Kahf (18):  14-15.

For those in the minority, take heart.  This deen (paradigm) came as a stranger, and it will leave as a stranger.  So take glad tidings of Allah’s pleasure if you feel like a stranger.

And peace be upon those who follow the guidance…

“Independence” Day- who’s it for?

I don’t celebrate the 4th of July, and if you do, you’re wrong.

What about African-American slaves? Were they mentioned in the Declaration of “Independence”?

What about Native Americans? Was their right to life, to liberty, to property, to the pursuit of happiness considered on that day?

What about women, who wouldn’t get the vote until almost 200 years later (which means non-white women were doubly non-independent)?

No, this day is only a day when some other land-owning white men (Anglo-Saxons –> Germanic –> Aryans) decided to cut some others out of the land they wanted to steal, the lives they wanted to exploit, the women they wanted to rape, and the people they wanted to wipe out.

You need to put down the pork and open a book…

going Secular?

Is Islam the source of our problems, or their long-lost solution?

To go secular or not to go secular?  North Africans fight for the soul of their revolutions.  “Western” Muslims are struggling to forge an identity.  Turkey continues its decades old constitutional struggles.  In all of these and more, the question of secularism vs. Islam-“ism” (defined here) is central.  To be or not to be, Shakespeare wrote…

Secularism, if only for this discussion, is the ideological, legal, political and social abandonment of religion as a basis for legal, political and social action.  Its totality varies as does the rapidity of its adoption.  A secularist defines it as a “… new value system [that] also regarded religion and faith as one’s personal matter… It also advocated that matters of this world be handled rationally in accordance with the spirit of the times.”

Its most famous test case was and is western Europe, which it awakened from a millenium of human darkness.  Many other countries have followed suit in an effort to “modernize” and catch up to the “West”.

Many Muslims, whether they are in Muslim majority countries, the diasporas thereof, or reverts, are routing their degrees towards this effort, and not without reason.  Muslim-majority nations have been dominated for centuries, and still are, and many suffer from a variety of sub-standard conditions.

Secularism is the answer many Muslims turn to because of these and similar questions:

Why do we, who invented hospitals in Baghdad, suffer from high infant mortality and diseases that have been eradicated in the “West”?

Why are we so disorganized after implementing bureaucracy to unprecedented detail and precision in the Uthmani Khilafah (Ottoman Caliphate)?

Why, with all the ayat and ahadith stressing cleanliness and hygiene, are our lands so filthy?

How can we, when we innovated weapon-making for centuries, be so easily dominated?

Why, when we are united by a book, and the first revelation was the command to read, do many of us suffer from illiteracy?

 How can Muslim-majority countries trail the world in math in our lands when one of us founded algebra?

Why are we unable to implement solutions to our social problems when one of us founded the social sciences?

Why do we leave so many of our women to suffer after all the rights and protections accorded to them in the Qur’an and ahadith?

Why, when moderation, collaboration, negotiation and communication are integral to our deen and its history, are we unable to unite and counter the assaults against us?

Brother, Sister, Shaykh, ‘Alima, do you know the answer?

For many, secularism seems to be it.  The problems we face were largely tackled ages ago by secularism in other countries, so by logic, the same will work for us.  An even more encouraging sign is that countries we used to dominate in turn came to dominate us after secularizing.  There’s no need for an opinion here, there’s not a historian who’ll dispute secularism as a factor, as a cause for the shift in global paradigms.

Why shouldn’t it work for Muslims if it worked for non-Muslims?  The pre-secular non-Islamic world was rife with superstition.  Unfounded, irrational and counter-scientific beliefs were the foundation for political, legal and social interaction.  Science, what little of it there was, and medicine were also subjugated and contradicted by these foul-conceived notions.  Royal/political scandals continued to emerge and chip away at the concept of the divine basis and status of rule.  Scientific recoveries of ancient knowledge in western Europe, threw long-held beliefs and practices into mockery, from which they could never emerge.  This and other factors turned people away from religion, and, predictably, especially considering the circumstances, it worked.

Why shouldn’t it have?  Science is better in direction and potential than fairytale.  A person, or people, will walk more successfully towards the future by seeing with their own eyes, rather than blindly, with misconceived notions of what surrounds them.

Islam- my Sisters, Brothers and Elders- is not like the religions other nations have left behind.  Islam is not based on superstition.  Science is consistent with it and we use scientific principles to learn and apply it.  Anyone with a Qur-an can read over the scientific signs that it points to and explains, and afterwards go personally and objectively observe them.  If they are not filled with faith, they’ll at least be impressed or amazed.  The social and legal code of Islam, not to mention it’s hygienic and dietary stipulations, upgrade the way of life of yesterday and today.  Through its code, people are enabled to update their cultures and avoid their pitfalls, while keeping their identity and pride intact.  The diplomacy, international and inter-religious code of conduct has the potential to soothe the world’s growing rage.  In Islam is provided a framework of inquiry, deduction, and conclusion that enables- and encourages- Muslims to benefit from the world, while safeguarding themselves from its evils.

Reason, logic and science and human advancement are integral to Islam.  At the same time, it is not bound by them.  It surpasses them by incorporating them into a holistic worldview and lifestyle.  Science, logic and reason are made use of in the Qur-an to appeal to people’s higher instincts, and the message is just as real and relevant now, over a thousand years after its revelation.  Secularism freed many parts of the world to their senses, but it also bound them to their senses.  Without the anchor of guidance, we can reason ourselves in and out of anything.  If you look around, you will see how secular societies and governments are using rational arguments, logic and science to lead ourselves into social, economic and environmental destruction.

What do Muslims really stand to benefit from that?

If you think and read deeply, you will recognize that it isn’t Islam that Muslims are seeking to abandon.  Many Muslims wake up every day to a stagnant, backward, shackled reality.  Culture, superstition, and tyranny have taken root and grown dominant in the Muslim-world.  People have ignorantly or cunningly instituted practices and agendas that contradict or even negate Islam.  For all the lofty ideals implied by our title- Muslim- we are living with too few of Islam’s benefits.

Secularism is the abandonment of ignorance, unquestioned tradition, and thoughtless action.  It is the effort to replace them with information, rational principles, and science-verified processes.  Islam goes even further than that by adding knowledge and wisdom, exceptional morals and values, and a complete, coherent lifestyle.

The “West” revived their societies through Renaissance, or ‘rebirth’ of old knowledge and sciences (much of which was transmitted to them by Muslims, by the way).  Muslim populations did that a long time ago, but have admittedly come full circle.  So we don’t need to try something different that we already see not working in societies around us.  We need to repeat the process of self-purification and dedication to revelation that is a proven success.

If you’re still not ready to consider the Islam side of the coin, take a look at what secularism has already “achieved”:

Consider the monstrosities of depleted uranium and other chemical warfare, weapons of mass destruction, pollution, and global warming, all examples of the imbalance of pure science that lacks a stable moral basis.

Look at and ponder the suicide, rape, murder and drug addiction figures of the “First World”

As the seat of the Khilafah (“Caliphate”/“Ottoman Empire), Turkey once brought Europe to its knees.  Now secular Turkey is on its knees begging to join the European Union.

The huge secular Arab regimes surrounding Israel all failed in their attempts to protect the rights and lands of their Christian and Muslim brethren.

What prosperity and upliftment have the secular governments of North Africa brought to their people? They are actually in worse condition than they were during the Khilafah. In the Khilafah, Syria had gold in its treasury.  Now it has paper currency.

Muslims have the same standard of living as the people they live around, if not other places in the world.

Now ask yourself, are you comparing Muslim-majority Senegal to secular France, for example, or are you comparing West Africa to Western Europe?  If you look at the world by region, you will find that Muslim-majority nations are basically at the same standard as the countries that they are around.  The issues are not Islamic, they are regional.  To take the West Africa example again, Muslim-majority Senegal is not much better or worse off than its non-Muslim neighbors.  The same goes wherever you look.  No Asian or African country can be compared to the “West” regardless of the religion of its inhabitants, with very few exceptions.  Different parts of the world are at different standards of living.  Islam is not to blame.  It isn’t even a factor.

Well there is one exception.  Muslims living in “Western” countries often enjoy higher rates of income and education.  It would seem then, that Islam is an advantage.

The calculus behind the call for secularism goes like this:

Given:  We are Muslims.

Given:  We are facing problems.

Conclusion:  We are facing problems because we are Muslims.

This line of thinking- and I admit to have oversimplified it- is an affront to the same logic that we claim to want to implement.  We are not only Muslims.  We are a lot of things.  We are also Africans, Americans, Australians, and Eurasians.  How come we don’t look to that as a cause?  How come we don’t look at our traditions and culture and see if the cause is there?  Why are our own personal and collective shortcomings held beyond suspicion?

Mustafa Kemal joined European colonialists in banning Muslims from using Arabic-based scripts.

Speaking of suspicion, don’t you find it suspicious that with all the identities we carry, we only isolate Islam as the cause of our problems?  On the one hand, many of use admit to ourselves that we are Muslim in name only, but on the other hand, we blame the same Islam we admit is absent from our lives as the cause of the problems in our lives?  Where does this come from?

Final thought:  secularists within Muslim-majority countries often have the same agenda as kaafir colonialists.  Russia banned the Arabic-based script in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, etc.) and forced them to use their Cyrillic script.  England banned the Arabic-based script used in East Africa (Swahili), Malaysia, and Indonesia (along with the Dutch) at least.  What did Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk” do?  Ban the Arabic-based Ottoman script in favor of the Roman alphabet.  Coincidence?  England, via Lawrence of Arabia, stoked feelings of Arab ethnocentrism and Arab nationalism to weaken the Ottoman Empire which united much of the Muslim world.  Later, what was the sentiment common to the countries that were carved out of the Ottoman Empire?  Secular nationalism.  Coincidence?  And to this day, liberal secular regimes get anything they want, from weapons to NATO invasions to media cover, from the same countries that used to colonize them.  Coincidence?

Let’s re-evaluate, re-educate and re-dedicate ourselves to living by guidance.  Let us define ourselves, and look at ourselves through our own eyes (See this year’s State of the Ummah address here.)  Despite the challenges we face, one indisputable, indubitable truth remains: we have established Allaah’s word as uppermost in every sphere of life. We ARE the best nation.

COMMENTS WELCOME

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Is History Repeating Itself?: The Origins of War

“There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger…When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted….Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors.” 

Sound familiar?  Find out the shocking reason history keeps repeating itself…

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of Lloyd DeMause’s ” The Origins of War in Child Abuse”

RELIGION, POLITICS AND WARS IN SACRIFICIAL EARLY STATES
The infanticides, tortures and worship of Killer Mothers in early states become repeated, as we have documented in Chapter 1, in the worship of warrior goddesses of antiquity. Mother goddesses all had son-lovers—from Inna and Tammuz to Isis and Osiris and Aphrodite and Adonis—who needed their sons simply for their phallus, castrating them to make herself fruitful.”129 Worshippers of the Magna Mater cult used to castrate themselves for the goddess, “wishing to be like child, the better to serve her…running through the city with severed organs and throwing them into any house.”130 Early civilizations worshipped what Jungians term “Dragon Mothers,” who were acknowledged by worshippers to be cruel and unjust: “her glance brings death, her will is supreme.”131 Even when male gods replaced goddesses in later antiquity, the goddesses were represented by the throne, from which the king derives his power: “the throne makes the king.”132 Early religions often betrayed the group-fantasy that the gods were less powerful than the goddesses,133 and goddesses continued to appear in such literary representations as Amazons who “threaten manhood and need to be subjugated and killed to prevent them from dominating us…In Athens, over 800 portrayals have survived of Greek heroes stabbing and clubbing Amazons to death.”134 The political structures of early states repeated the childhood maternal domination, with an authoritarian monarch ruling a bureaucracy of aristocratic courtiers, governors, priests and jailers and for the first time producing a “government full of rich and poor, oppressors and oppressed, tyrannical politics and a vast priestly organization.”135 These early civilizations went beyond kinship to complex societies, whose loyalty to extremely violent monarchs is well documented by historians. But the degree to which these early societies are actually organized to achieve self-destructive aims is nowhere admitted. Goddesses need wars to “drink the blood of the victims who were formerly her children…Anat is filled with joy as she plunges her knees in the blood of heroes.”136 Individuals in antiquity can be pictured as massively suicidal—Egyptians regularly talked about suicide to their “doubles,” their Ba, their self-destructive alters, making “suicide so common that the crocodiles in the Nile could no longer cope with the corpses”137—but the principle that all early states were organized for suicidal aims has, I believe, nowhere been acknowledged. When Homer depicts Ajax as saying “the thumos in my chest is zealous to fight” and has warriors constantly talking to the voices of their thumos, historians do not conclude that he was actually talking to a violent alternate personality embedded during early child abuse.138 When historians report that “when an Aztec captured an enemy, he called him ‘my beloved son’ and the captive answered, ‘my beloved father,’ then killed him,”139 there is no suspicion that actual early family relationships are being repeated. Nor are historians reminded of real mothers when they report that goddesses are said to “drink the blood of the victims who were formerly her children” and to be “filled with joy as she plunges her knees in the blood of heroes” during wars.140

Besides having enormous homicide and suicide rates, early states were mainly organized to dominate and kill their own people as well as neighbors, and the wars they engaged in were not in fact for more resources they could use to enrich their lives but for “tribute” like gold and other useless metals that would be kept in central cities by their elites “as signs of submission.” Azar Gat’s comprehensive book on War in Human Civilization makes clear that all early states transformed advanced tribes into genocidal warrior societies whose purpose was not to enrich themselves but to wipe out neighbors.141 These civilizations—“all with standing armies, all expansionist, all engaged in chronic interstate warfare”142—began with religious human sacrifice, found in the remains of Egypt, Greece and Rome and in early states like the Aztec. Carrasco’s excellent book on the Aztec empire is entitled “City of Sacrifice,” and convincingly describes how the entire Aztec civilization is run in order to carry out continuous sacrifices of children and adults and of tributes given to the Killer Goddess in the ceremonial center of Mexico City—which he calls “a performance space,” dedicated solely to the meaningless destruction of people and goods.143The conquest of vast areas of nearby states was, he says, accomplished solely to feed the “Queen of the Central City,” who must constantly drink the blood of victims or die, and he concludes all her temples were nothing but “simple religious images of total destruction.”144 No slaves were taken in Aztec wars; all were sacrificed.145 The huge skull racks of victims were called “the mainstay of the city,” and the sacrificial rituals began with acting out the reason for the goddess being so murderous—her children were said to be furious with her for being pregnant, so they decided that “we must kill our mother” by becoming warriors, first killing a young girl who represented the goddess, flaying her skin and then donning it to get her power so as to be able to kill others.146 Every element of the masochistic sacrificial rituals repeated the violence inflicted upon Aztec children, beginning with the piercing their ears, tongues and genitals in cradles and continuing to their brutal torture as young children.147 The tribute captured was not goods that could be used by the people but consisted of items like precious metals, stones and feathers which might adorn the maternal goddess. As Anderson sums up Aztec culture: “The trinity of war, sacrifice and cannibalism made up a combined religious service…the Aztec state existed solely to produce sacrificial victims.”148

Although historians admit that slashing open the throats of infants and beheading young women had little economic value to the conquering nations, they nonetheless are reluctant to admit that the personal violence and all-consuming wars of early nations were clinically paranoid and were self-destructive in motivation. Few historians have concluded that the costs of conquering new territories exceeded the rewards they bothered to gain from them.149 Warriors who kill and are killed in constant battles with neighbors only end up murdering and raping them, for glory, not for profit, with the ubiquitous raping during wars being a repetition of the routine rape they experienced as children. Similarly, when Herodotus tells how during wars soldiers “no sooner got possession of a town than they chose out all the best favored boys and made them eunuchs,” this simply repeated the regular castration and then anal raping of little boys in their own societies.150 Spartans were not the only warriors who carried young boys into battles with them for sexual use. In addition, the widespread practice during antiquity of collecting thousands of penises as trophies during battles was derived from memories of childhood raping and castration.151

Most early wars were fought solely for the grandiosity of the state leader and for provoking further wars. As Maccoby puts it: “Men elect an all-powerful leader in their battle against the power of the women; the more they subordinate themselves to this leader, the more powerful they are in the battle.”152 When Rome fought the Punic Wars with Carthage they lost over a third of their population and gained nothing of value, utterly exterminating the Carthaginians.153 Aztec armies would even fight “Flower Wars” where they would split into smaller groups and kill their own fellow soldiers in order to feed the goddess.154 Mothers of the time regularly admitted they were looking forward to their sons being killed in battle. As Plutarch noted, Spartan mothers had a saying, “I accept gladly the death of my sons. [Admitting as she buried her son] I bore him that he may die for Sparta.”155 Mothers in ancient states often accompanied their sons into battle, publicly deriding those who had not yet killed anyone.156 Soldiers who panicked were often beaten to death by their comrades.157 Even when there was no enemy to fight, leaders would send out raiding expeditions “to keep the men sharp.”158 Sacrifice of life, not victory, ruled in battle—generals would even “offer their lives to the gods of the Underworld by charging the enemy and throwing himself onto their weapons,” a sacrificial ritual called devotio.159 As Schumpeter summarized the paranoia of the Roman Empire: “There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger…When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted….Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors.”160

Leaders often engaged in suicidal wars they admitted they knew they would lose, as when Pericles warned the victorious Athenians “not to make any new conquests” against Sparta, but they attacked anyway, provoking them into an alliance with Persia, defeating Athens.161 Caesar spent all the economic surplus of Rome on endless, useless wars with the millions of citizens of Germania and Gaul, moved solely by schizoid grandiosity. Caesar started the suicidal butchery of the Roman Civil Wars solely to save his “honor.” Warriors sometimes fought bare-chested162 or even fully naked,163 as though they were little children again—a purely suicidal practice. Those who impulsively engaged in duels for personal glory without authorization were often ordered to be killed by their commanders.164 When soldiers returned from battles with trophies (spolia), they displayed them on the walls of their home, adding to their grandiosity but otherwise quite useless to their families.165 Even when enemies were captured and returned to the central city as slaves, they ended up producing far less goods than if the city had traded economically with them. Indeed, the entire slave system of antiquity was economically self-destructive—slave owners spent most of their time seeing to it that their slaves didn’t rape their daughters or steal their goods or run away166—so productive innovations in farming and other professions were few, resulting in very low economic output in antiquity, where “improvement in land use were marginal and methods of tillage remained unchanged” for centuries because land owners didn’t care about reducing the work load of their slaves.167 They couldn’t even invent the stirrup until the 4th century A.D., and improvements in ploughs had to wait until even later. That “growth panic” triumphed over progress and individuation in ancient societies is obvious to anyone admitting their dismal lack of economic innovation, their impoverishing of both enemies and friends, and their grandiose devotion to endless slaughter.168

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We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,

Then we reduced him to the lowest of the low,

Except such as believe and do righteous deeds…

[alQur-aan, Suuratu-tTeen 4-6 (The Recitation, Chapter The Fig (95):  4-6)]

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To read more about childrearing and war, visit  The Institute for Psychohistory.

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129 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 408.

130 Ibid, p. 408.

131 Ibid., p. 405.

132 Erich Neumann, The Great Mother, p. 99; Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. London: Penguin Books, 1993, p. 251.

133 Ibid., p. 411.

134 Eva C. Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus, p. 4.

135 Eli Sagan, At the Dawn of Tyranny, p. 14.

136 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 409.

137 Barbara Hannah, Encounters With the Soul. Santa Monica: Sigo Press, 1981, p. 85.

138 A. W. H. Adkins, From the Many to the One, p. 21.

139 Nigel Davies, Human Sacrifice, p. 43.

140 Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of An Image. London: Penguin Books, 1991, p. 169; Cynthia Eller, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000, p. 104.

141 Azar Gat, War in Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

142 Dyne Dawson, The Origins of Western Warfare: Militarism and Morality in the Ancient World. New York: Westview Press, 1996, p.38.

143 David Carrasco, City of Sacrifice, p. 8.

144 Ibid., p. 25.

145 Burr Cartwright Brundage, The Fifth Sun: Aztec Gods, Aztec World. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979, p. 195.

146 Ibid., p. 61.

147 Ibid., p. 97, 185.

148 Ibid., pp. 196, 205.

149 Joseph A. Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

150 Peter Tompkins, The Eunuch and the Virgin. New York: Bramhall House, 1962, p. 15.

151 Ibid., p. 14.

152 Hyam Maccoby, The Sacred Executionery, p. 85.

153 Zar Gat, War in Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 131.

154 Burr Cartwright Brundage, The Fifth Sun, p. 205.

155 V. Spike Peterson, Gendered States: Feminist (Re)visions of International Relations Theory. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1992, pp. 7, 8.

156 Burr Cartwright Brundage, The Fifth Sun, p. 201.

157 Ross Cowan, For the Glory of Rome: A History of Warriors and Warfare. London: Greenhill Books, 2007, p. 134.

158 Ibid., p. 38.

159 Ibid., p. 61.

160 Morris Berman, Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006, p. 110.

161 Hans Delbruck, Warfare in Antiqity. History of the Art of War, Vol. I. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990, p. 137.

162 Ibid., p. 128.

163 Colin Spencer, Homosexuality: A History. New York: Harcourt, 1996, p. 95.

164 Ibid., pp. 16, 151-177.

165 Ibid., p. 129.

166 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 281.

167 Ibid.

168 Frank Chalk & Kur Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies. New Haven: Yale University Press,1990, pp. 58-156.

Victim-blaming: Was she “asking for it”?

Who gets the blame when a woman is sexually harassed or assaulted?”

 

Qur-an 33.59:

“O Prophet, say to your wives and your daughters, and the women of the believers to draw part of their outer garments over themselves.  It is likelier that they will be recognized and not molested.”

 

 

“Hasn’t he been informed of what is in the scrolls of Moses

And of Abraham, the one who fulfilled (his covenant)?:

That no bearer of a burden shall bear the burden of another…”

Qur-an 53.36-38

 

No one can bear the blame for someone else’s actions.  That’s clear.  If someone does wrong, he or she alone is to blame.  It should be pointed out that Muslims believe this concept to also be in the lost books of Moses and Abraham, so we don’t believe that Allah has ever allowed a person to be blamed for another’s actions.

 

Qur-an 24.30

“Say to the believing men to lower their gazes and to guard their private parts…”

Islaam has a practical approach to sexual harassment and assault.

 

The same directive is addressed to the believing women, followed by instructions about modest dress.  In the explanation given by scholars, this refers to lowering their gaze from women, other people’s private parts (i.e. those which are supposed to be covered) and at obscene objects.  The term “lower the gaze” is explained in narrations reported from the Prophet as not following the first (unintentional) look with a second (intentional) look or stares.

So regardless of how a woman is dressed (and she is allowed to dress in a way considered “immodest” in Islamic values) a man is not supposed to look at her.  If he’s not supposed to be ‘ogling’ her, or ‘checking her out’, then of course he is not allowed to go further than that.

 

 

“And do not approach zinaa…”  Qur-an 17.32

 

The word zinaa means sexual intercourse with someone to whom you are not legally married.  So it includes fornication (sex outside of wedlock) and adultery (sex with someone married to someone else), among others.

Now, look carefully at the wording.  In the original Arabic, the wording is not “wa laa taznuu”, which would mean ‘and do not commit fornication, etc.’.  It is “wa laa taqrabu az-zinaa”, which means “and do not APPROACH fornication, etc.”  So, regarding your question, regardless of how a man feels about a woman (or about how she is “making” him feel) he is already not supposed to be looking at her, as discussed above.  Further, he is not to, in any way, do anything that brings him close to sex with her.  No catcalls.  No advances.  No smiles.  No come-ons.  No touching.  No introductions.  NOTHING.  If he does any of these things, never mind surpassing all of them to grope or sexually assault her, he is clearly in the wrong.

 

 

“The believers have surely succeeded…

those who turn away from laghw,…”

Qur-an 23.1,3

 

I think this relates more to the issue of sexual harassment than sexual assault.  Laghw is translated as, among other things “futile and/or indecent speech”, depending on the translator and context.  So the kinds of things that men harass women with are forbidden, regardless of the context.  In fact, there is no context in which futile, indecent speech is allowed.  Therefore, considering that such speech is wrong, and considering that, as above, no one can be blamed for what another person does, if a man harasses a woman, it is his fault, not hers.

That’s a brief review of what I think the Qur-an contains on the subject.  Now, turning to the secondary source of Islamic law and morals, the guided lifestyle of the Prophet, these are things that the Prophet either:

(1)   did,

(2)   said,

(3)   commanded, or

(4)   allowed (by staying silent about in its presence)

This, the sunna, is not in the Qur-an, but has been compiled in books of narrations or ahadeeth (singular:  hadeeth).  Every hadeeth goes through a scientific process of scrutiny where the reputation of every individual narrator is graded, and the entire chain of narration is also graded for authenticity.

 

Here is an example:

Narrated Wa’il ibn Hujr:

When a woman went out in the time of the Prophet for prayer, a man attacked her and overpowered [raped] her.

She shouted and he went off, and when a man came by, she said: “That [man] did such and such to me”. And when a company of the Emigrants came by, she said: “That man did such and such to me”. They went and seized the man whom they thought had had intercourse with her and brought him to her.

She said: “Yes, this is he”.

Then they brought him to the Apostle of Allah.

When he [the Prophet] was about to pass sentence, the man who [actually] had assaulted her stood up and said: “Apostle of Allah, I am the man who did it to her”.

He [the Prophet] said to her: “Go away, for Allah has forgiven you”.

But he told the man some good words [Abu Dawud said: “meaning the man who was seized”],

and of the man who had had intercourse with her, he said: “Stone him to death.”

Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, #4366

So it is clear that the victim was not to blame.

Now, do people always judge by the book of Allah and the example of His Prophet?  No.  Of course, the majority of the people in the world are not Muslim, so they are unaware.  As for the Muslims, not all of them are knowledgeable, and not all of them are sincere.  If a person is insincere, his or her knowledge does not benefit, and much less their ignorance.  If a person is ignorant, her or his sincerity does not benefit them, and much less so their insincerity.  Somewhere in the fray, among other things, women may not get their rights.  If that is so, it is not Islam, but those individual Muslims- or hypocrites posing as Muslims- who are to blame.

Now, in what way can a woman be to blame?  If she dresses immodestly, she is wrong for doing so, but the matter is between her and Allah.  To my knowledge there is no legal penalty for immodest dress, so it is not a matter between her and the authorities.  (A general goal of the sharee’ah is to stop the spread of indecency, so I imagine there are measures that can be taken in extreme cases, though.)  In any case, as we have shown, it does not in any way excuse sexual harassment or assault.  We must recognize, though, that while it cannot be said that she has encouraged harassment or assault, neither can it be said that she has discouraged it.  This is one of the benefits and purposes of modesty, to discourage the men who are not fearful of Allah.  It is a pre-cautionary measure mandated by Allah long ago, whose relevancy is still being proven today (see here).

(Everything I’ve written here is subject to the limits of my knowledge and understanding.  The truth of it is from Allah, and any inaccuracies are only from my self.)

Bikini vs. Burqa: from my Facebook wall

Bikinis Make Men See Women as Objects, Scans Confirm

Sexy women in bikinis really do inspire some men to see them as objects, according to a new study of male behavior.

Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women, the region of the brain associated with tool use lights up.

Men were also more likely to associate images of sexualized women with first-person action verbs such as “I push, I grasp, I handle,” said lead researcher Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University.

And in a “shocking” finding, Fiske noted, some of the men studied showed no activity in the part of the brain that usually responds when a person ponders another’s intentions.  (Read more here.)

bikini vs. burka
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  The text is true but the picture is misguided. Women are nor forced to where bikinis in the US, whereas women are forced to cover their skin in certain Arabic countries. It’s a choice / human rights question.
FELLOW HIGH SCHOOL ALUM  And bikinis are awesome.
ACTIVIST  Women who wish to cover their faces are forced not to in certain ‘western’ countries. That’s an equally unfair restriction on personal freedom. The picture says everybody’s an idiot, which is pretty fair.
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  Yeah, not in the US. I somehow doubt that al-Qãhırıï is making an anti-France point here.
ACTIVIST  That’s true, but he didn’t actually name the US so I’m looking at things in a more global sense since most of the world isn’t America. The point remains the same though – personal freedom does include the choice to be modest, and there are more countries than France restricting that now. It’s all childish anyway – how another human being dresses doesn’t change my life.
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  I’m all for absolute freedom in how people dress. Including going naked.
ACTIVIST I’d like to limit being naked, mostly because a great majority of people are not people I’d want to see naked 🙂
RED CROSS  i feel sorry about you activist.
al-Qãhırıï  ‎@COLUMBIA ROOMMATE it’s complicated:  Sociology of Gender:  the Hijab
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE  Thanks for posting that paper, al-Qãhırıï. I agree that a snap judgment that women wear a hijab due to patriarchal oppression is not the most educated view. In fact, let’s say it is 100% incorrect and damaging.
If we agree on that point, I think it boils down to one’s view on the role of religion in a political state. If one believes that religion and state are inseparable, then the mandate to wear a hijab is practically consistent and appropriate – a law that encourages alignment with the religious text on which the government’s policies are based. Makes sense.
If one, on the other hand, believes that religion and state should be separated, then it is wrong to force a woman to wear a hijab.
Of course, things are never this simple. There are gray areas and questions much more difficult to answer, depending on one’s beliefs. For example, if one believes in a human being’s intrinsic right to free expression, then even a government based on religion, despite its innate drive to align law and faith, is alienating a right. It’s very structure, its very essence, alienates that right.
And then there are some purely theoretical angles to this question. For example, imagine Culture X which only allows its people to wear green hats. The people of Culture X only grow up wearing green hats and the idea of wearing any hat but a green one seems ridiculous, even alien. Now imagine Culture Y, which allows its people to wear any color hat. Certain colors may be more popular, but people grow up to pick the color they like best on their own. While a member of Culture X may not understand why anyone would want to wear a non-green hat, that same member may have potentially chosen a different color had he been born into Culture Y. This opens up another can of worms – whether the “purpose” of the individual should be the flexing of his individualism or the attempt to maintain harmony of the group.
I am not saying I believe or do not believe in any of these views. Just laying the groundwork for any kind of discussion that is to be had on this topic.
al-Qãhırıï  ‎@COLUMBIA ROOMMATE that’s an amazing comment!
Now here’s a pickle: I don’t believe that Islam and law are separable, meaning that Islam is the basis for what’s right, permissible, inadvisable and wrong in a Muslim’s life.
This is different than “church & state” in that there does not need to be an Islamic state for a Muslim to choose the Islamic legal framework.
NOW, whether or not there is a state, there is no legal basis for forcing a woman to cover herself. The wording of the Qur-an, as I showed in the paper you read, lists two reasons for covering: to be recognized and to not be molested. That’s usually said to mean to be recognized as a believer and to discourage unwanted advances.
There is no legal punishment for a woman to reveal her body in the shari’ah. There are numerous recorded instances when Muhammad saw a woman without her head or face covered and did not force her to cover them. These narrations are also a source of Islamic law. Since there is no legal precedent for punishing/enforcing the Islamic dress code, in my eyes this leaves the situation at the verse “There is no compulsion in the religion” (Qur-an 2.256). So if a woman is not a believer or doesn’t want to be recognized as one, and/or does not fear/mind advances, she is free.
So IF and, since we know, WHEN a government forces a woman to adopt the Islamic dress code, they have stepped beyond the bounds of their authority and onto her right of choice. You may as well know that the only government I know of which enforces the head-covering is Iran. I am in Saudi Arabia and I can see women with their heads and faces uncovered every day outside. There is a requirement to wear a cloak (abaya). I think this goes to your very relevant point about grey areas, in this instance the grey area between cultural norms and religious requirements. In Oman, for example, where the laws are much more lax, no one tells a woman what to wear, but she knows she would stick out like a sore thumb without long, loose clothing. It is a sort of peer pressure, and I believe this is the only valid way to expect people to change: by presenting so many examples that they either agree with or start to respect the point. No one should be forced to do what they don’t believe in, or prevented from doing what they believe, unless there is an established harm in it.
COLUMBIA ROOMMATE Awesome post. Thanks for writing it. I think we see eye to eye on this.
al-Qãhırıï  we been seein’ eye-to-eye a lot lately…
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Related Posts

Sociology of Deviance: not shaking Hands with Women

My final college class was a summer school course at the University of Texas-Austin.  It was a Sociology class about deviance.  One of our assignments was to observe deviant behavior and write a report.  I chose to focus on the fact that I do not shake hands with women and record their reactions to it, and analyze the meaning of it all.  I’ve edited this from the draft I turned in for typographical errors as well as to say things which the maximum word count did not let me explain.

—–

Daniel Nehemiah Oliver

Sociology 366- Deviance

Professor Mark Stafford

I don’t shake hands with women.  It’s awkward to refuse an outstretched arm and open hand, but I’m a Muslim, so I say “I’m a Muslim.  I can’t shake hands with you but I have respect.”  I openly admit that this is my interpretation of Islam, but I also insist that it is backed by evidence.  To refuse to shake hands is deviant behavior.  Everybody does it.  To openly discriminate against women and act like it’s alright goes beyond deviance:  it offends the basic notions of our modern society.

To get observations of reactions to deviant behavior (and to test my own personal resolve),  I made arrangements to be hired by one of Austin’s IRS offices.  Throughout the hiring process, orientation and work, I declined to shake hands with any woman I encountered, with the same line.  I recorded my observations surreptitiously, mostly by memorizing them until I could transcribe them after the end of the workday.  Here is my summary of their reactions:

  1.  Indifference- 50%

Example:  After arriving for an interview at the IRS, I met the liaison who was paging me.  She reached out to shake hands, I delivered my line and she said “Fine that’s OK”.

  1.  Annoyed acceptance- 20%

Example:  I soon met the senior supervisor.  When she reached out to shake hands and I explained, she drew her face, looking visibly upset, then withdrew her hand.

  1. Active Rejection- 10%

Example:  A co-worker smiled in approval of my explanation, but then proceeded to step forward, reach out and grab my hand.  I let her do it because I did not want the experiment to proceed into physical aggression.

  1. Passive Rejection- 10%

Example:  I explained myself as above and the woman asked if we could do it “just once”.  It was as if the norm could not be broken in her mind;  no way a man can refuse to touch a woman, just because she’s a woman.   I used a lot of smiles but didn’t make any moves forward, so the subject was more or less dropped.

  1. Debate- 10%

Example:  One co-worker opened up a discussion with questions like:

“If you or I had gloves on, then could we shake hands?”

“What about hugs?”

“What if a woman is your relative?  You can’t shake hands with your own mother?”

The last reaction type, “Debate”, was the most revealing to me.  I already knew what not shaking hands with females meant to me, and that it was a deviant behavior.  But it was important to know what it meant to them.  Why was it deviant?  How did they feel that deviant behavior should be dealt with.

From the debates I learned that the main issue was equality.  To borrow from Goffman, equality is an identity norm, i.e.

Sociology figure Erving Goffman

everybody thinks everyone has to be equal.  But does everybody define equality equally?  Deep down, and not very deep, everyone knows that we are not equal*.  The problem is all the connotations that inequality has:  powerful/powerless, superiority/inferiority, deserving/undeserving, etc.  Shaking hands is something that everybody does with everybody else.  Regardless of age, health status, gender, sexuality, income level or any other factor, we all shake hands.  It doesn’t really mean that we are equal, it is more like our agreement to refuse to acknowledge our inequalities.  By shaking hands with you, I am ignoring all the things I notice about you, and you are ignoring all the things you notice about me.  That’s what makes it a norm.  We are not being equal, we are equalizing ourselves.

When someone breaks from that, when someone makes explicit the unspeakable, by acknowledging that there are differences, this is a deviance.  This is a violation of a socio-psycho-emotional atmosphere that we’ve all been trained to maintain at all costs.  It is an offense, a mockery, a crime.  To deviate, knowing what deviance is, is a further outrage, because it is not a mistake.  It is a calculated refutation of reality, a presentation of evidence that some realities are only thought to be real.  Some truths are only relative.  It says that everybody does not know that, you only think you do.  True deviance, as opposed to crime or vulgarity, is a check and balance on pre-conceived notions.  It regulates the level of institutionalization in a society, by making people think again about things that have been taken for granted for so long by so many that they haven’t been pondered over.  That, I finally understand, is why we bother to study deviance.  It is the reminder, however unwelcome, that there can be change, the insistence that there should be, and the example of how there could be.

After I’d collected enough observations, I quit.

—–

Equals? Can they be? NEED they be?

*And is this really so wrong, to know and say that we are unequal?  Take the benign example of green and red.  Who will say that they are equal?  Green is not red.  Red is not green.  They are both colors, but they are not equal.  They are not identical, but does that stop them from being identified with each other?  If we said that they were equal, that would only mean that we are not identifying them properly.  Can the same not go with people?

Green is as different from red as red is different from green.  They are equal in their inequality, or difference, to each other.  They are equal, it seems to be implied, in their right to be different from each other.  Green is somehow a defiance, a refutation, of red.  It does not have to be red.  Red does not need to be green.

But this does not mean some sort of superiority or privilege for one of the colors.  Nor do differences and inequalities have to for people.  These associations are unnecessary, arbitrary, slanderous politicizations with no inherent presence.  Green can be better than red, if you’re painting a picture with grass.  Red can be better than green, if you know that it will make a car stop when you need it to.  And people are much the same.  We are different.  We are not equal.  This makes us useful to each other and to the world we share.  I don’t want who I am to be ignored.  I don’t want to be thought of as you, even though I love you.  Needs and circumstances make certain people better than others.  They become more useful, more effective, more necessary.  It is not treating all people the same that gives them their rights.  A person more completely receives her or his right when his or her strengths are encouraged and weaknesses are covered.