Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Disingenu Islam

A nice Muslim guy wants everyone to know that the Iranian pastor, a convert from Islam, should not be put to death because that's not in the Quran.

Which is true. The Quran does not prescribe a penalty for apostasy.

But the guy is being disingenuous.

Since we live in a post-Protestant culture in the US, where the default assumption is that religion is based on The Book Alone, this kind of stuff can fly. But sola scriptura is a funny deviation which arose in northwestern Europe a few centuries ago. The vast majority of Christians, both in historical time and numbers, did and do not hold this narrow and obsessive point of view. The Jews had their Torah-alone movement, the Karaites*, and the Muslims, too, had their scripture-only moments, but they did not make it to the major leagues.

So what the Quran says is not enough. Even the Five Daily Prayers, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, are not in the Quran.

Ninety percent of the world's Muslims are Sunni. This means that they follow the Sunna, the way, of the Prophet as recorded in the accepted collections of his sayings and doings, the hadith. And in addition, Muslim theology is really Muslim judiciary. So we have sharia, over a thousand years of what is a kind of Muslim Talmud. That, as a whole, is what runs Islam. And in real Islam, apostasy is a crime. The only disagreement is what kind of punishment it deserves.

So, Mr Liberal Muslim, your attitudes are praiseworthy, not wanting to kill the apostate, but please don't try this whitewashing by omission. A sin of omission is still a sin.

I wrote a similar comment on his site, where comments are moderated. So far, mine has not appeared.

*The only Karaite synagogue in America is located just a few miles south of SF.


Anonymous said...

I wonder, isn't the "sola Scriptura" principle (e.g., method of breaking down spurious religious impositions) still evident if "Hadith" is the scripture involved? ... I wonder, does the Hadith prescribe death for any apostate Muslim? ... If Muslim clergy are following the Hadith (and in some neo- or in an old establish'd way) and Muslim or fellow-travelling Westerners pretend that Muslims follow only the Quran in order to make it more appealing to us, that's surely a fraud. But if Islam could be reform'd -- or rather, could be broken down and re-built by getting Muslims to accept a Quran-only 'model' this could be the hopey-change we all are still believing in.

As used to be held by Protestantism and, I think, Judaism, "miracles have ceased" or "the age of miracles has pass'd." Or maybe it was "revelation has ceased," But Catholicism or Catholic Christianity differs. Strauss remarks on this-- I recall in connection with the RC canonization of Saints. (I guess "miracles have ceased" is an instrument used in the 'slave revolt in morals' against upper-class dereliction and evasion.)

Accordingly, Protestants (Bible only) and Jews (Bible and Talmud) are 'sola Scriptura' -- Weren't Samaritans even sola Scriptura for the Pentateuch only?

RC clergy are reluctant to come up with new revelations (I'm not sure what to call these), but in general, they much prefer to do sola Scriptura: for instance, the new Catechism for the c/Catholic Church is not presented as an oracle from the living magisterium or self-standing Teaching Church but is as much footnoted as possible, with abundant quotations-- apparently appealing to the Bible and to written authorities as much as possible (admittedly, in the way that Calvinists used to refer to the Institutes apparently wherever possible). ...

Maybe what is possible to reasonably hope for is that if one can find that the Quran definitely forbids something then one will be able to speak truth to power to a neo-Caliphate and the authorities won't impose it as a requirement of Shariah? I daresay that this method usually doesn't work. e.g. one couldn't speak truth to power with any effect against the UCC's ordination of women using sola Sciptura (Paul's ego forbidding women to speak in the ecclesia).

Every deep authority likes a sola-Scriptura mask (Nietzsche, BGE 40) -- or a Bible+Talmud mask, or a Quran+Hadith mask, or a Bible+Tradition mask.

Anonymous said...

Besides, I don't know why you worry so much about the neo-Islamization of the West. Obviously Islamization would bring a transformation of western culture. And transformations are always good. For instance, I've never seen the Nazi programme for Europe or the imposition of Apartheid in South Africa call'd "transformations."

Hence, where's the downside in any Islamic transformation of Europe, America, Canada, Australia, etc?

Anonymous said...

Hadith (Hades, hadês; shame concealment running-away, hejira, hagar mother of Ishmael) is pictured as having four black horses, but at night all horses seem black. Hades follows the white, red, black & yellow four horses of the Apocalypse (6:8).

Never denying, seldom affirming, and always distinguishing, er

Anonymous said...

"I wonder, does the Hadith prescribe death for any apostate Muslim?"

Yes, a few different hadith set this out.

"But if Islam could be reform'd -- or rather, could be broken down and re-built by getting Muslims to accept a Quran-only 'model' this could be the hopey-change we all are still believing in."

No. As even the Q-book alone contains the mandate for offensive jihad against the unbelievers, and things like condoning the marrying of prepubescent girls, and the permissibility of having sex with one's captives, and other nifty things.

Realistically, if you're going to go into war-mode against the kuffar, who needs a hadith to decide to execute turncoats?


Anonymous said...


Leah said...

Figures that the Karites would end up in SF. Visited the broken down karite synagogue in Istanbul a few years ago. Very interesting how Rabbinic Judaism cut them off from the mainstream by not allowing marriages between the groups - thereby making the karites 'non Jewish'. What we don't realize today is how Rabbinc Judaism was a major change in Judaism, up until the destruction of the second Temple, there was much more diversity among the Jews - now, not so much, even Reform vs. Orthodox is nothing compared to the old days.

OreamnosAmericanus said...

Jacob Neusner, at least in one place, looked at Rabbinism and Christianity as two daughters of the end of Temple Judaism.

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