Home > Silent Theorist > Opium: Part Three

Opium: Part Three

You would think that 1,432 years after the last Heavenly revelation that God would, at least, give us a clue as to where we’re heading. Isn’t it just astounding that a little more than fourteen centuries after Islam was revealed we’re exactly where Christianity was in the Dark Ages? It makes one wonder how that could happen when we’re supposed to, as Believers with such great teachings, take the reins of humanity and make life.. godly.

In our attempts to pinpoint what went wrong, we spill a lot of innocent blood – and that still continues – along the way. It is the price anyone pays as a fee for wanting to find out a little bit of truth. And rightly so. But here’s the thing: the fight isn’t with evil, Satan-loving non-believers. It is actually with people of religion. And it gets worse, because the fight is among individuals of the same religion, the same faith.

Is it God’s fault, then, that everything is in chaos? Keeping in mind that blaming God for the dysfunctional mechanism of Religion is simply asking for the easy way out. Let’s face it, we have the tendency to blame others for things we don’t understand; that is intrinsic, it’s understood. Plus, blaming ‘higher management’ for things it ‘should have done’ is the closest we can ever get – sometimes – to solving our problems. So we are still left with this dilemma: is it really God’s fault that Religion isn’t working as it should be?

Most religious people are thin-skinned when it comes to criticizing their religion, but beneath that defensive shield, nobody truly cares to consider why it is backwards ever since the Prophets and Messengers left the battle fields, all battered and bleeding. And those who do give it a moment’s thought are coming up with various irrelevant reasons as to why our Religion is failing to keep afloat; well they’re either irrelevant, or delusional in their significance.

When it comes to Islam, the method the religious body constituency – manifested in the form of a large group of long-bearded serious looking men – uses to investigate the shortcomings of Religion is the same method used by Ministries of Education (in most countries around the world) to understand why education is dysfunctional, which is a method based on subjective analysis of details. What that means, basically, is an objective negligence of more urging issues. Many scholars, clerics, Ulamah, and Ayatollahs, Shiite and Sunni, are no longer capable of providing effective and sustainable plans of core-Religion reformation. They do, as mentioned, provide subjective analysis of details within the circumference of Religion; however, that is all they are ever going to provide. The problem with being subjective lies in its limited affect on reality, mainly because it revolves around idealism. For this reason, social reformation is not possible when the tool used is, in and of itself, dysfunctional.

Clerics and religious figures do not need to re-assess their roles in our societies: on the contrary, we the people are to take part in re-assessing their roles and the ones to suggest the parameters of the new social and religious reformation. We cannot afford to work single-handedly, though, because we are not in to revolt against religion, but we must revolt against how religion is being read and interpreted by its keepers. I’m in no way suggesting that there be a religious watchdog, that would only encourage and usher in more useless bureaucracy, the one thing we’re trying to avoid in this new world order.

To live religiously is too oxymoronic of a statement, especially in days like today. For in an era of extreme controversy over what the ‘right path’ is, without excluding the points of view of all non-religious parties and factions, there is simply very little room for micro-analysis of religious issues. There are big efforts and much time wasted into hopes of bringing ideologies closer to each other, and the only reason why these attempts are still alive today is because the perception that the mere act of ‘attempting’ is considered Holy ground. It matters not whether your attempts are working at all; it matters not whether your attempts are destructive; attempting to bring religious views closer is seen as a glorious struggle rather than to accept the concept of live and let live.

However, that is where we – as believers in general – take most of the damage. Because the focus has become the ‘act’ rather than the ‘purpose’. We have enough TV channels pouring in to brainwash an entire generation, and all that one has to do is have the time to sit in front of the TV set and watch. In today’s Islamic environment, the mullahs and the fatwa issuers who are not so far themselves from having their own Fatwa Vending Machines (i.e. “Press 8 for fatwas on killing infidels“) wholeheartedly believe they are doing what pleases God… or do they? Maybe it is intentional. I mean, Tim Osman seemed to be very conscious about a Holy Jihad against the enemies of Islam; but who in the world is he, really? CIA agent? A blowback? A millionaire? A real Jihadist mullah? all of the above? Honestly, who gives a toss? What difference does it make anyway?
The majority of the Sunni fatwa issuers and mullahs were chanting his name and praising the Lord whenever he made a statement. So what kind of religion are we dealing with here? How far is all of this from the message that the Prophet (pbuh) brought forth? My guess is: very, very far. I mean, kill an infidel and dine with your prophet in Heaven tonight isn’t quite what Islam is here to establish. The extremist ideology is so twisted that it is in fact a stand-alone religion, independent of Islam in every way.

And this is the scary part; history repeats itself.

The current revolutions taking place around the Arab world are not unusual, let alone a sign of an impending apocalypse. People have the right to panic, of course, but in order for us to know where we’re going, with some sense of certainty, we ought to know where we’ve been. Everything about life is about historical records and trends. And this is the world we were brought into and the same world we live in today; a world of  coup d’états and rebellions, warring states and civil wars, terrorists and double-agents.
Survival of the fittest” seems to work only in the Animal kingdom. Survival, in the world of Man, is for no one. The mightiest of rulers and the most ruthless of kings could not survive the waves of change. And change, as I mentioned in another article, is the only constant and fixed truth about the world. So whatever is happening is not out of the ordinary; on the contrary, it is expected, anticipated, and calculated.
The landscape of the Middle East is changing, for one reason or another, but it is changing. Could it be the beginning of the separation of religion and politics? Could this separation be the first step into a more Western-style democractic governments in the Arab world? However way I look at it, I see some sort of opportunity for Arabs – the people, not governments.

We cannot afford to stop change from happening. When you don’t adapt, you die. Which is a message I wish Arab leaders would take a moment to digest. It just doesn’t matter what position you have, head of state, prime minister, supreme leader, or king of the umpa-lumpas. If you don’t roll over and adapt to change, you will be changed.

So could this really be the break for religion to prove itself? Can this change, when handed over to more aware and intelligent people whose loyalty lies with their ambition to become, can this change be the answer to solving our problems? Who knows. In principle, I personally don’t agree with the separation of State and Church, so to speak. But given the hopelessness all of us in the Arab world are living in, I don’t see another way out. So then, again, can we really blame God for where religion has gotten us or not?
I think each one of us has ‘the’ answer to that question.

May God help us all.

Categories: Silent Theorist
  1. Bader
    March 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Great post Shmoo. I completely agree with you and understand where you’re coming from. I love my faith but those that have been given knowledge and religious positions are too caught up fighting over their differences and are too focused on spreading hate rather than on peace.

    I used to pray Friday prayer at a nearby masjid like most people. I’d go just because I felt I had to go. Not because I wanted to go. I’d walk in and every week the Sheik would be saying the same thing, this group is wrong and we are right and that group is crazy and we are guided, don’t do this and don’t deal with that. After Friday I would leave the masjid wanting to behead a disbeliever. Ok, maybe not to that extent, but I felt so much hate.

    Until one Friday I couldn’t take it. After the prayer, the shiek stays and answers questions; the lecture was about disbelievers and how not to interact with them and its better not deal them what so ever. I asked him that how is one supposed to deal with people of other faiths at work or at school. I told him I have studied under Jewish teachers and lived in areas where the majority of people were Jewish. He said if I was forced to deal with them it should be all business. No personal stuff. Do what you’re told and move on. This was the only time I ever talked back, but I couldn’t help myself. I told him that if I ask about person’s health and their well being, naturally that person will connect with me. On a level that is closer than religion; On a humane level. He disagreed and I stopped praying there.

    I found another masjid that I pray at now. The shiek always talks about how to be a better person. To everyone and everything. How to ask for forgiveness from Allah if you make mistakes. How to repent. How to deal with problems that affect you TODAY. I wait for Fridays now. I leave the prayer with more reasons to become a better person.

    I’m sorry if I kept going and on, but I just wanted to proof a point. You are completed right when you said ” I personally don’t agree with the separation of State and Church, so to speak. But given the hopelessness all of us in the Arab world are living in, I don’t see another way out” because I believe that the religion did not fail. It’s the religious figures that are too caught up in hating each other and looking at their differences than they are trying to make me everyone else in the world a better person and a better Muslim. I wish they would look at the similarities and forget the small things.

    Its like they read the quran and just miss all those verses on becoming a better person and how you should help people. How killing an incident life, be it Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or whatever, is like killing all of humanity.
    How there are rights to creator, and to rights to his creations.

  2. March 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Bader,

    Thank you for the post, and I really do relate to everything you said. It’s just that as we grow older, we keep on realizing that the world is changing dramatically and at a rapid pace, while our “ulamah” are not. It is vital that we have understanding religious figures who’d make us understand our reality better, rather than have us believe others should suffer because they’re different from us.

    It really is a delicate issue. I mean, Western societies are very cautious when it comes to mixing religion with politics, and I don’t blame them! History is a witness to what the Church did in the name of God. The Holy Inquisition still exists today, albeit under a name like War on Terror where we’re either with the war or against it. And it makes no difference because even if you do support the war on terror, you’ll still be picked out “randomly” from a queue for background check. And believe me, it’s got NOTHING to do with your features, skin color, name or language (feel the sarcasm?). All of this because of what? And for what?

    All the US-led wars in history were for geopolitical reasons; Vietnam, Korea, Russia, WWII..etc. Except this war. This is a war against ideology, religious ideology. And this is where we have to be extremely aware of what goes on in the region around us. Nothing that takes place is “random”. Often we’re laughed at or picked on the moment we sound like conspiracy theorists. Honestly, who isn’t? Globalization forced us into thinking from a wider perspective where everything is connected. So listen to what our religious people are saying to the masses when hundreds of protesters are getting killed every week. The ignorant ones are deepening the differences between us, while the wise ones are keeping silent.

    We are all messengers of peace, if we will. And we can be the opposite, should we will it too. For that reason, we have to be acutely aware of what Religion means to us, and how we should interpret God’s message to humanity.

    Again, thank you for your post!

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