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"no idealism..." responses

Reader comment on item: Bush Declares War on Radical Islam
in response to reader comment: Bush Declares war on Radical Islam

Submitted by iasius (India), Oct 26, 2005 at 05:18

Your reply "it SHOULD concede, otherwise it wouldn't be reformed" to my question, rather knocks the bottom out of the key premise of the faith, renders Islam itself redundant and condemns ALL Muslim "activism" since 620 C.E., Muhammad (PBUH)'s prophethood included, doesn't it? Moreover, it augurs disastrous ramifications for the Muslim.

The very advent of Islam, according to the Holy Quran, was purportedly to rid mankind of other - "false" - religions and lead humanity, wallowing in the "sin" and "filth" of wrong belief, to sensually ecstatic rewards of jannat through the "one and only true" religion. Your reformed Islam would need to abrogate the fundamental premise of fallacy of every other doctrine, for, to tolerate the existence of falsehood is akin to saying something as ridiculous as, "I know so-and-so is a thief, but I concede to him his right to steal"!

Because concession to other persuasions compromises the uniqueness and exclusive truth that Islam claims for itself, you will need to state unambiguously that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his Companions, all Arabs and others who later became "believers" had utterly squandered 1,400 years in unprecedented, senseless genocide. History books will have to be rewritten to tell future generations of "reformed" Muslims, even in Arab lands, how their post-Islam ancestors were no better than ruthless, unrepentant highwaymen. Simultaneously, claims to even the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) will need drastic revision, possibly even dismissal of the very concept of "God's Messenger".

These are just a few of many deleterious implications of what you wrote; even the rationale of Islam might be threatened. In effect, you might even need to simply dissolve the religion.

And, when I used the word "ideal", it was in reference to what you envisage as Islam in its most desirable form. Come on Mr. Akhtar, unless there must be an "ideal", or all progress would cease!

BTW, religion cannot "fascinate" anyone, even the most pious, except perhaps the clergy, and then only as a means of eking out a living for otherwise incompetent people in a competitive world that demands some minimal skill to earn honestly. It is nothing but a retrograde imposition on natural human dynamism, and its thirst for novelty and variety. It can only enthrall and enslave, never fascinate!

In the other mail titled "abandoning Islam", Mr.Akhtar writes about identity. One fails to see how something intangible like religious belief can logically become the basis of identity. However, demonstrable considerations like ethnicity, birth, nationality or culture can. Religious affiliation is based on blind acceptance of patently unverifiable (oftentimes fantastic and incredible) claims made by some individual in remote antiquity (in the case of Christ, even historicity is doubtful). An Indian can claim "Indian" identity by his ethnicity, place of birth or nationality, all of which can be proved. But how can a Christian claim "Christian" identity just because someone called Jesus said two thousand years ago that he was the only son of God, or a Muslim because Muhammad (PBUH) claimed to have traveled on a winged horse to heaven in the "meraj"? To base one's identity on religious belief is therefore nothing short of fallacy. Faith is a strictly personal matter and ought ideally to cease influencing one's thoughts, desires and actions the moment one begins interacting with multi-faceted, diverse society. So, the "Muslim" identity Mr.Akhtar writes about is a highly contrived construct, which shouldn't be too difficult to do away with. The reason people (our celebrated "moderates" included) can't or won't is it gives them a united front and the numbers to hold the rest of humanity to ransom for unjust demands.

It is only when all of us abandon our equally contrived, make-believe identities and interact on the basis of rational humanism alone, that peace will have a chance.

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