‘CROSS FIRE’ by Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq in an issue of ‘Islamic Voice’
Q. Why do Muslims blame the West (primarily the United States) for the problems concerning modernity within its own religion? I am a Junior at San Diego State University. I am a Baptist Christian who after the horrible acts of terrorism on September 11th, 2001, decided to take a course on Islam to learn more about what makes the fundamentalists go satanically insane.
I have had Muslim friends, in fact my best friend was a Muslim. I am currently writing a paper for school on Islamic Weddings, and read an article by a man named Reeaz H Paruk. It is available for viewing at: http://www.islamzine.com/marriage/isww.html I must say that after reading the document I am insulted, disgusted, and filled with hatred and rage. Does this document reflect the popular belief of Muslims? I hope not. The document was both childish and hypocritical. We are all put here on earth with temptations. It is up to each and every one of us to resist temptation as much as possible. But who is he to say that the United States is to blame for many weak-willed individuals who cannot resist temptation? Or how about “Western-Cosmetics”? Does the barbarian blame us for makeup too? I think I learned in the second grade that Egyptians invented makeup almost 10,000 years ago. That is before Islam even began!!! Or what about his idea that “social dancing is fundamentally sinful and evil.” What is there left to enjoy in life with what this creation lays out. Life is a gift from God and should of course be exploited within the depths of righteousness. In this semester so far, I have learned to dislike and have even less respect for Islam than I had initially. Why would anyone turn to a religion that hates life?
Please prove me wrong. I surely hope my “Fellow-American” Muslims do not share the same belief as this man.
Answer by Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq: The Un-Islamic terrorist act of September 11, 2001, which has widely been condemned by Muslims all over the world, has made you biased in your study and views on Islam.
Since the Second World War, the United States dropped bombs on 23 countries. These include: China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Congo 1964, Peru 1965, Laos 1964-73, Vietnam 1961-73, Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Grenada 1983, Lebanon 1984, Libya 1986, El Salvador 1980s, Nicaragua 1980s, Panama 1989, Iraq 1991-1999, Sudan 1998, Yugoslavia 1999 and Afghanistan 1998 and 2001.
The death, burnings and sufferings of millions of people by napalm bombs and nuclear weapons did not compel you to study Christianity to learn more about what makes the champion of democracy go satanically insane!
You were disgusted to read Reeaz H Paruk’s suggestion to Muslims to stay away from such cultural influence that is sounding the death knell for the American society. Are you unaware that more and more Europeans and even American Christians are pronouncing the same verdict?
Following are some excerpts from “Egoism and the Crisis in Western Values” authored by Elton O’Keeffe, an Englishman who has worked as a professor at some of America’s best known Universities for over 20 years.
“….. In the course of the decades I spent in America, I watched the social environment disintegrate almost beyond recognition…
… But things have gone badly wrong. …. In place of the ‘family’, you find solitary sexual adventurism…In place of ‘health and sanity’, you find an addictive society which has become ever more dependent upon the psychiatrist. In place of ‘law and order’, you find a widespread criminality which is by no means confined to the so-called ‘criminal class’…
… Whether you are talking about the rape, child abuse, AIDS, divorce and the break-down of the family, drugs, abuses in the church or the many faces of crime, over and over again, California, Florida and New York are to be found leading the way. The richest, the most ‘progressive’, the most future-oriented States are the ones which have contributed most to the present crisis in American values…”
Don’t you find the comments of a Christian English Professor harsher than Reeaz H Paruk’s? See some more.
Following is an extract from an article recently appearing in the Wilson Quarterly.
“All of the industrialised countries out side Asia experienced a massive increase in social disorder between the 1960s and ’90s – a phenomenon that I have called the Great Disruption of Western social values. Indeed, by the 1990s Sweden, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand all had higher rates of property crime than the United States. More than half of all Scandinavian children are born to unmarried mothers, compared with one-third of American children. In Sweden, so few people bother to get married that the institution itself probably is in long-term decline”.
(SOCIETY: Is There a Way Out of the West’s Cultural Crisis? by Francis Fukuyama Printed in Issue: 2 December, 2000 of Wilson Quarterly)
And this is what an American Researcher wrote:
“Decades after liberal ideology declared marriage obsolete and liberal welfare policy discouraged it, America has reaped a bitter harvest: Millions of children growing up without dads, and moms struggling through life without much hope for the future…We are becoming a nation of fatherless children. And fatherless children grow up to commit more violent crime, take more illegal drugs and become statistics in more social pathologies than any other group…Today, nearly 30 percent of all births in America — regardless of color — are to unmarried mothers…”
(Whistling in the dark September 28, 1995 by Edwin J. Feulner, PhD, president of The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based public policy research institute.)
Do you know that according to the calculation based on the 2000 National Crime Victimization Survey by Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. In 2000, there were 261,000 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. [2000 National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics.]. Of these 261,000, 114,000 were victims of sexual assault, 55,000 were victims of attempted rape, and 92,000 were victims of completed rape. [2000 NCVS.].
You suggest that weak-willed individuals who cannot resist temptation should not warn their co-religionists against the degenerating social values in U.S. whose evil influence has not left even the bishops and priests of the churches, what to say of commoners. April 1991 issue of “Free Thought Today” reported that one clergyman or church leader every three days in U.S. was charged last year with criminal sexual abuse of children or young teenagers. Most of the men received light sentences enabling them to return to the pulpit—and continued sexual abuse of children—quickly. Churches are not only failing to check ministers’ records, but in some instances are knowingly hiring convicted child molesters. The journal clarified that it was not a complete survey of clergy sexual abuse cases from 1990—merely a study of 106 criminal cases coming to the attention of Free Thought Today from reports in the daily press.
Islam asks its followers not to wear provocative dresses. It does not prohibit make-up but its purpose should not be to entice the opposite sex indiscriminately. You dislike Islam for not permitting men and women holding each other tightly and dancing in social gatherings. You may dislike it even more after knowing that Islam advises its followers that no two Non-Mahrams (persons who are lawfully permitted to marry each other) of the opposite sex should meet in privacy except in dire necessity. Yes, you like it or not Islam does not approve of your idea of enjoying and exploiting life within the depths of righteousness that has caused the following in the U.S.
“Approximately 62% of female rape victims in U.S. knew their assailant. [2000 NCVS.] Approximately 43% of victims are raped by a friend or acquaintance; 34% by a stranger; 17% by an intimate; and 2% by another relative. [2000 NCVS.]”.
The tree is known by its fruit. (Matt. 12:33). If the U.S. has the highest rate of divorces, there is something very wrong with U.S. weddings. Try writing a paper on U.S. weddings and consider also that while Islam permits the dissolution of wedding contract, the divorce percentage is negligible among U.S. Muslims compared to Christians there. This is despite the Great Christ (May peace and blessings be upon him) ordained:
“And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity and marries another commits adultery. And he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:9)
I admire the great people of United States of America for many of their qualities. America is an experimental society. It always has been and it probably always will be. It started out as an attempt to begin again, free of the political, social and religious restrictions of the motherland. Decade after decade, new generations of immigrants have poured into the land bringing with them new ideas, other traditions, coupled with a determination to make their way in the New World. It is a true international society. Americans are more rational than others. They respect human lives and democratic values though for their own people only. They will truly be great if they prefer for others also what they like for themselves and if they do not let their ego come in the way of their rationality. It will be a great loss if this experimental society continues with what is happening to its family life and relations even after witnessing what I have described above.
Brother, you hate the Islamic values about modesty and chastity (though Reeaz H Paruk may have exaggerated in his interpretations). However Islamic values of chastity are essentially no different from those declared by Jesus (peace be upon him). We Muslims believe in Jesus (pbuh) to be an Esteemed prophet of God. The exalted Christ said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell”. (Mat. 5:27-30).
The data proves that it is not possible for even bishops of the church to resist temptation when provocative attire and makeup is worn by the ladies. Every bishop may not commit abuse but how many of them can check the adultery of their mind described by the Christ and how many of them cast their eyes off? So the Qur’an ordains:
“Say to the believing men that they should check their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should check their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands their fathers their husbands’ fathers their sons their husbands’ sons their brothers or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons or their women or the captives whom their right hands possess or male servants free of physical needs or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah that ye may attain Bliss”. (24:30-31)
Surely such order prevents one from your idea of enjoying life but if you are truly a Christian you must know that there is a life after this worldly life that will never end and you will enjoy life there forever if you obey the Christ (pbuh) here who said:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consumes and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven….Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on….But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well”. (Mat. 6:19, 20, 25, 33)
“And he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it”. (Mat. 10:38-39)
Will you despise Christ (may peace and blessings be upon him) for saying that?