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09 Apr, 2006
In an earlier essay, entitled Migration to the West and Radicalization of the Muslims, I have delved into how Muslims suddenly become more radicalized or Islamized when they arrive in the West and how that helps in transforming the next generation Muslims into tools of violence and terrorism. I have also explained that the Western cultures are hateful and unacceptable to Muslims. They consider Western way of life sinful. Migrants of other religious backgrounds, such as Hindus, Buddhist, Christians etc., coming from the same countries with similar socio-cultural traditions and values do not seem to show similar hatred against the Western social and cultural values as do the Muslims. The question readily arises: Why Muslims only find the Western culture, tradition and way of life sinful and unacceptable and get into clash with them?
The Islamic theological basis needs a detailed exploration to grasp this riddle of the migrant Muslim communities of the West. This clash emerges from the crux of the Islamic creed. The core theme of Islam is contained in the Islamic Shahada which reads "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet." Explicit in this central creed of Islam is the denial of all other Gods and all other ways of spiritual life. Also implicit in the Shahada is the denial of the history, cultural and traditional heritage prior to the Islamic revelation. Islam in itself is the perfect and complete code of life, culture and tradition thrust directly from the infallible master of the universe. The history, culture and tradition, prior to Islam is unworthy - an era known as the age of Jahiliya (ignorance) in Islam. The civilized history of the world starts with the perfection of the religion of Allah and the history, culture, tradition and heritage within the fold of Islam are the only civilized ones. The extra-Islam tradition, culture and ways of life are the extension from the Jahiliya age and contrary to the wishes of almighty creator, Allah. Shashi R Sharma writes on the advent of Islamic theology in the 7th century Arabia, "In one fell stroke of theology, the accumulated vision of mankind in every other part of the globe - its most cherished cultural and intellectual acquisition - are consigned to a state of utterly forgettable decadence. Nothing was valuable prior to Islam and nothing will be valuable for mankind in the future unless the assignation of value corresponds to some element of Islamic ethics." [Caliphs and Sultan, p38]. He continued, "Rejection of every value contrary to Islamic precepts is the sine quo non of a pure life of (Islamic) faith."
Affirmation of this central thought in Islam has been brilliantly reflected in a recent article by Aatish Taseer, titled "The Damascene Conversion" in Prospect Magazine after his months-long probing the state of Islam in the so-called secular state of Syria. He wrote:
"Nadir, my guide and translator, showed me that history itself came from Islam. In a frustrated moment, he said: "We used to have a great history. Not before Islam of course, but since." By "we" he meant Syrians, who a mile away had founded the Christian church, and who, a millennium before that, had invented the alphabet.
"This land has had a great history for thousands of years that pre-dates Islam," I said.
"Yes," Nadir answered, "an immoral history."
I had never heard of such a thing, but Nadir's idea, like Khaldun's (author's Arabic teacher in Damascus) was part of Islam's all-encompassing nature. If you had it, you needed nothing else. "If I find one thing," Nadir said, "one thing that the Koran doesn't cover, I will renounce the faith." But Nadir could never find that one thing because Islam served as the source of everything.
Since Islam is prefect in every aspect for living the ideal human life [Q10:37], everything else is unnecessary, uncivilized and immoral innovation and extension from the Jahiliya age. Those are not worth entertaining and must be rejected and destroyed, if within the power. The rejection of all extra-Islamic value and cultural systems, which is binding on the Muslims by the Islamic doctrineâcomes to work when Muslims are faced with values and cultures which are different from what is acceptable in Islam, such as those in the West. If one follows Prophet Muhammad's life and actions, it becomes evident that he had single-mindedly worked on destroying all other religions, cultures and tradition, including his ancestors', which he came in contact with and replaced them with his own brand, that is, Islamic religion and culture. On the day the victorious Prophet Muhammad entered his hometown of Mecca in 630, he immediately destroyed all the pagan temples there, including the Ka'baâwhich have been places of worship for his ancestors for centuries.
Indeed, Muslims have destroyed or tried to destroy every culture and tradition that they had come across during the glorious days of Islamic conquests and replaced them with the Islamic ones or sought to do so. One shining example is the people of Turkey whose life-style, social values and thought-process are so vastly different from the people of other European countries, despite desperate attempts to modernize, secularize and westernize the Turkish society and culture starting with the disbandment of theocratic caliphate and introduction of secularism by Kamal Ataturk in 1924. The vastly different life-style, culture and values of the Caucasian people of Chechnya and Russia also tell us the same story. The underlying reason lies in the fundamental theological basis of Islam. The word "Islam" means complete submission to Allah, the almighty owner of the Universe. This submission is achieved on earth by unquestioned acceptance of God's perfect laws and guidance as revealed in the Koran. Allah Himself says, "Today I have perfected your religion" through the Koran. Since Allah is the unquestioned owner of every terrestrial being and object, who is infallible in his judgment, all must submit to His perfect and unchangeable code, which is Islam. It cannot happen that one lives in the Kingdom of Allah but does not follow or submit to His laws, which is perfect, infallible. This desire of the almighty Allah for complete submission of the entire mankind to Islam has been explicitly spelled in the Koran: "Mohammad is the messenger bringing Islam's rules to all humankind, and Allah is sovereign of the heavens and the earth (7:157-158)". This submission has to come through persuasion; if not, through threats and intimidation and if needed, through force including wars, massacres and mass enslavement. The protocol for submission of infidels to Islam as described in the Koran has been summed up by Sir William Muir in his "The Life of Mohamet" as follows [p288]:
In the Koran, victories are announced, success promised, actions recounted; failure is explained, bravery applauded, cowardice or disobedience chided; military or political movement are directed; - and all this as an immediate communication from the Deity (Allah).
All such means were put to practical application by Prophet Muhammad himself, which must be continued until complete submission of human beings to Islam has been achieved. Allah urges the Muslims to fight those, who are outside the fold of Islam, until such an end has been achieved:
And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors. [Q2:193]
Fight those who believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book (Christians and Jews), until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. [Koran-9:29]
Destruction of extra-Islamic societies and cultures or attempt to do so, has been one of the glorious feature of the victorious history of Islamic conquests. If one takes a careful look at the Muslim people across the world and compare them with their non-Muslim counterparts (people of their ancestor religion), one can easily recognize how the invading Muslim rulers have systematically destroyed or the converted Muslims have ditched the vastly different cultures, customs and ways of life and replaced them with largely similar Islamic ones. In India, thousands of Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries and other indigenous religious institutions were destroyed by the Muslim invaders and rulers and many famous temples were replaced by mosques. The construction of Babri mosque at the site of temple of Rama, the most revered Godly figure in Hindu religion (which has created so much tension and violence recently in India), is one such example. In fact, India's National Archaeological Survey has identified 400 mosques across India having building materials extracted from destroyed Hindu temples. Remains of temples structures have recently been identified below the destroyed Babri mosque.
Thus, the desire to destroy extra-Islamic religion, culture and value system, which are all born out of ignorance (extension from Jahiliay age), is central to the fundamental thesis of Islam. This central ordinance of Islam has been put to practical application throughout the last 14 centuries of Islam's existence on earth, starting from the days of Prophet Muhammad. This doctrine is being routinely exercised by Muslims wherever they are a dominant force even today. In Saudi Arabia, one cannot carry Bible or any other non-Islamic religious book, nor can there exist any Church, temple or synagogue. In so-called modern democratic Muslim states, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, non-Muslims are routinely being harassed, their young girls are being abducted and forcefully married to Muslims, they are being evicted from their homes, lands and properties and their religious places of worships are being attacked and destroyed. Even in a place like Kosovo, the Muslims Albanian settlers, brought during the Ottoman occupation and who now form a majority, are reported to have destroyed ~200 churches of indigenous Serbian Christians, since the Kosovo war ended in 1999. These are all happening in front of the very nose of UN protection force. The central writ of the Islamic theology has been applied by the Muslims with unfailing convictionâstarting the Prophet Muhammad and continues even today in all Muslim-dominated territories. Import of the Muslims through the generous policy of the West have placed the Western social, political and cultural systems and values at the receiving end of the central Islamic doctrine which is now becoming increasingly evident as Muslims tend to constitute a visible numerical force there.