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Middle East Press (09 Feb 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Canadian Muslims Contemplate Their Position in Society By Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan: New Age Islam's Selection, 09 February 2018

 

 

 

 

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

09 February 2018

Canadian Muslims Contemplate Their Position In Society

By Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan

Should We Allow Air India To Fly Through Saudi Airspace?

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Saudi Graduates Lack Job Market Skills

By Ahmad Al-Jumaiah

Federation Plan Should Be Top Priority in Yemen

By Dr. Manuel Almeida

Extending Turkey’s Afrin Operation Will Pose Major Challenges

By Sharif Nashashibi

Investment the Best Way to Alleviate Hardship in Tunisia

By Zaid M. Belbagi

How The Rapid Pace Of Life Calls For Renewed Change

By Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Canadian Muslims Contemplate Their Position in Society

By Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan

8 February 2018

It was an unforgettable experience – several neighbours stood at the oldest mosque in Ottawa to welcome worshippers as they came for Friday prayers. This was a year ago when a disturbed youth had burst into a mosque in Quebec and opened fire, killing six people and wounding 19. On the anniversary of the attack, functions were arranged throughout Canada in solidarity with Muslims.

It was the first time in Canada that innocent people were attacked in a house of worship. The incident shook Muslims, and other Canadians, and reminded them that racists, bigots and unstable people remain a threat.

Canadian authorities at all levels condemned the attack and described Muslims, in the words of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as “an esteemed part of all our communities.”

Quebec police charged 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette with six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. He reportedly dislikes immigrants though he is the son of an Algerian immigrant and a French Canadian mother. The strife in his family life led Bissonnette to take the family name of his mother rather than that of his father. A neighbour described him as “very solitary” and “very anti-social.”

This suggests that the crime had more to do with the life of a disturbed youth than with Islamophobia.

This is not to deny that racists are active and that the Islamophobes were emboldened by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s and US President Donald Trump’s attacks on “Islamism.” Observers also state that Islam’s image in Canada is damaged by the horrors committed by Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) or the authorities in countries such as Syria.

In Canada reports suggest that what riles some Canadians is the use of niqab by some Muslim women. These are relatively few but they lead to charges that Muslims are “imposing Shariah” on Canadians.

Most Canadians, according to polls, remain friendly to Muslims. But the Angus Reid Institute, which conducted a poll in partnership with Faith in Canada 150, reported that 46 percent of respondents said Islam is damaging to Canada compared with 13 percent who said it is beneficial. The same poll suggested that 49 percent of Canadians said that women in niqab should be denied government services.

These attitudes show that though Canadians welcome immigrants – their ancestors were immigrants and they realize that without immigration Canada’s economy would stall - they expect newcomers to adopt Canadian ways. Canada cherishes multiculturalism and encourages newcomers to share their culture with other Canadians. But Canadians also expect newcomers to adopt “Canadian values” – such as rights for women and for other Canadians.

The attack on worshippers, while shocking, is not the only cause for concern. There have been physical attacks on some women wearing the hijab and mosques have been desecrated. However, synagogues have also been defaced and Jews and Sikhs have also been targeted.

The point, however, is that racists and bigots are relatively few but active in Canada and most Canadians remain welcoming.

Acts of terrorism have been a part of Canada’s history, but they are rare. In 1985 an Air India plane was bombed.

On Dec. 6, 1989, Quebecer Marc Lepine, a student in Montreal, opened fire killing 14 women.

“Azzedine Soufiane. Mamadou Tanou Barry. Khaled Belkacemi. Aboubaker Thabti. Ibrahima Barry. Abdelkrim Hassane. Let’s remember their names and where we were when they died. And let’s make sure we hold ourselves accountable to take all steps required to address the hate that killed them.” So said Renu Mandhane, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, about the Quebec attack.

Aymen Derballi, father of three, was among the victims in Quebec. He was partly paralyzed. More than $300,000 has been donated by Canadians and Americans to help him acquire a dwelling that is better suited to his disability. DawaNet organized the $400,000 fund-raising campaign.

There are signs that Muslims themselves, who used to focus solely on building and maintaining mosques, are now broadening their activities to interact more with their fellow Canadians of other faiths.

Some years ago a Muslim Coordinating Council was formed in the national capital region which brings Sunni, Shia, women’s, students’ and ethnic organizations together to try to assist the neediest in the community and also to build trust and friendship with fellow Canadians. The council continues to make progress, though slowly.

Muslim leaders generally focus on their own organizations and religious programs and do not work with other Muslim organizations, let alone those of other faiths, to handle common problems. Perhaps the attacks, such as the one in Quebec City, will broaden their mental horizons.

Anniversary functions were held in Canada and involved leaders of most religions. Imam Sikander Hashmi of Kanata Muslim Association said: “What must not be forgotten is the love and support and solidarity we witnessed in the days following that terrible day and the love and solidarity we continue to witness today. For that, we are eternally grateful.”

In addition to being grateful, Muslims will have to become more sensitive to the challenges they face and will have to act more energetically to meet them.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/article/527930/Opinion/OP-ED/Canadian-Muslims-contemplate-their-position-in-society

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Should We Allow Air India To Fly Through Saudi Airspace?

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

9 February 2018

Air India’s desire to fly through Saudi Arabia to the West and stop in Israel has been covered widely in the current “enemy” media, accusing Saudi Arabia of allowing the Indians to pass through to the old “enemy,” Israel. The body concerned, the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), has denied the claim and said that it had not given its consent.

However, let us consider the issue realistically, from the logic of interests and international relations. The truth is that there is no strong motive and no political logic in preventing the world’s civilian aircraft from crossing Saudi airspace, with the exception of three countries — Israel, Qatar and Iran.

The ban on the flights of these countries should remain in place until the time comes and they are reconciled. It is hostile to exercise sovereign rights, including preventing a country from using airspace due to potential security problems stemming from allowing its aircraft to fly over the territory of the state.

Our relations with the countries of the rest of the world are good, and we are supposed to allow their civilian aircraft to pass through Saudi airspace, regardless of their destination.

So if the Indian flights were going to Athens or New York or other destinations and wanted to stop at an Israeli airport, why punish them with a ban?

It has to be noted that Israel benefits from transporting passengers under the ban and the absence of other international airlines that do not want to cross the additional distance, estimated at about two hours, if travelling on a tortuous route between India and Israel.

In all cases, our dispute with Israel is very clear. A country like Qatar, which has almost full relations with Israel, is not in a position to dictate to us, through its propaganda agencies, how to manage our own airspace or waters.

The Arab states debated the concept of the boycott and the Arab institutions concerned agreed to differentiate between the boycott that harms Israel and the boycott that harms the Arabs, and agreed on many amendments.

The logic of the old boycott was not all about besieging Israel. The parties that wrote it were from the Arab left, and part of their tendency was to prevent trade with the West in general. They banned us from importing most electronics, such as Apple products, and in the past they prevented any dealing with major companies such as Xerox.

The lists of boycotted products were prepared by the Damascus provincial office, which controlled the trade of the Gulf states, and these states had to follow the rules laid out by countries that did not import such products either because of their hostility to the West or the West’s prohibition on dealing with them in the first place, such as Syria.

Corruption was rampant in those procedures, leaving negotiations in the past for governments and institutions that often abused their powers to serve the whims of their governments or even personal financial interests. Later on, a major campaign succeeded in correcting the concepts of boycotting and blacklisting.

When we consider the desire of Air India, we have to think about it and about the whole issue. The Israeli airline benefits from the situation and the ban, although its aircraft fly an additional 2,000 kilometres as most companies refrain from doing so.

The other point is that international airlines transfer most of their activities to destinations like Turkey and others. Besides, any political action that serves the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause, in general, loses its tools when it has no bargaining power in every crisis.

Even in disputes, wars and hostilities, there is always a logic that manages relations and sanctions — so why do we not study each situation according to its circumstances instead of allowing dogmatic people and wheeler-dealers to manipulate us?

Source: arabnews.com/node/1242551/columns

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Saudi Graduates Lack Job Market Skills

By Ahmad Al-Jumaiah

8 February 2018

The current social transformation taking place as a part of Vision 2030 has made us face reality when it comes to quality and innovation in the search for promising employment opportunities.

One thing these transformations have done is to turn our youth away from routine jobs and force them to search for employment that is actually needed in the job market. The main reason behind this transformation is that the criteria for employment has drastically changed and it is now clearly seen that skills are much more important than a university degree or certificate. In fact, I would say that a university degree is useless without training and proper technical qualification.

Most university students pursue any degree, which they can obtain with minimal effort, and then demand jobs in an aggressive manner. There is something that is lacking with this approach and that is a skill set that can prepare graduates for the job market. Skills, like being proficient in English or having certain technical skills or any unique skill that is related to the graduate’s area of expertise, are very important.

Currently, when reading the resumes of our university graduates, we usually find a university degree and one or two training courses. The rest of the resume is empty and only those with connections are able to find a job. Those without connections will join the long list of the unemployed. The graduate then will then realize when it is too late that his/her degree is worthless without skills and experience.

Universities offer knowledge, not skill training and if they want to give their graduates a real chance at finding employment, they should start offering their students opportunities to gain practical training in the job market before giving them a degree. To be fair, many universities keep changing their curricula in an attempt to cater to the needs of the job market but despite their efforts, the average university graduate in our country is not equipped with the needed skills and thus is not ready to join the market as a productive employee.

Another issue is that many of our graduates are majoring in subjects that are not needed in the job market. We have a problem in bridging the wants and expectations of graduates with what is available and needed in the job market. If we are to succeed in reducing youth unemployment, we must help students by empowering, encouraging and strengthening their self-confidence.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/article/527932/Opinion/Local-Viewpoint/Saudi-graduates-lack-job-market-skills

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Federation Plan Should Be Top Priority in Yemen

By Dr. Manuel Almeida

8 February 2018

This week has seen an atmosphere of relative normality return to Aden, following a few days of intense fighting between the separatist Southern Resistance Forces and army units and militias loyal to Yemen’s internationally-recognized government. The armed wing of the Southern Transitional Council took over most government buildings and infrastructure in the former capital of South Yemen, before a diplomatic push by Saudi and Emirati officials brought the violent quarrel to a halt. The fighting, which involved artillery fire, left more than 40 people dead.

A pledge from the head of the STC, Aidarus Al-Zoubaidi, to refocus military efforts on the joint war against the Houthis may have calmed the waters to a point, but long-running tensions will continue to bubble under the surface. As was the case last May, when the STC was formed, Al-Zoubaidi reaffirmed that the separatist movement’s ultimate goal is to achieve independence for the south.

These foreseeable yet worrying developments bring back to the fore a critical matter: How to address local grievances and legitimate ambitions for greater autonomy from the central government, while guaranteeing the survival of Yemen as a state. The formal processes to deal with these questions crumbled in 2014-2015 with the war launched by the Houthis, the militant Zaidi revivalist group backed by Iran, and assisted by forces loyal to late former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Since then, the war effort to push back the Houthis and subsequent humanitarian crises has set aside any plans to address the future of Yemen as a federal state. 

But this issue remains at the centre of Yemen’s war and its multiple conflicts. It was opposition to the establishment of a federation, including related matters such as distribution of resources and access to the sea, that the Houthis used as a pretext to move into Sanaa in their attempt to take over the government. The southern movement’s separatist ambitions are also closely tied to any decisions made on this front.

Following a GCC initiative, the National Dialogue Conference kick-started in March 2013 in Sanaa’s Movenpick Hotel. Backed by UN Security Council Resolution 2051, it was tasked with addressing Yemen’s most sensitive challenges, including the Saada conflict, the southern problem, a new constitution, and the federation issue. The proposal that came out of the presidential panel in February 2014 envisioned six regions, four in the north — Azal, Janad, Saba and Tihama — and two in the south: Aden and Hadramawt.

The Houthis and the southern separatist movement, at the time spearheaded by Al-Hirak, were the only two groups not to sign off the federation proposal. They remained attached to a vision of Yemen that probably no longer exists. The Houthis aimed to control as much territory as possible outside of their northern strongholds, and perhaps even revive the dominance of the northern Imamate. The southern separatists looked for a return to two states along the pre-1990 borders.

Opposition to a Houthi-controlled north is a goal shared by virtually every group and political faction in Yemen. A strong signal of the difficulties the separatists would have in realizing their vision of a southern state was given in 2014 by the NDC representatives of the eastern governorates of Shabwah, Hadhramout and Al-Mahrah, formerly constituent parts of South Yemen, when they pushed for the creation of an eastern region. This would work decisively against the idea of a two-region federation that would almost inevitably lead to two separate states.

The formation of the STC last May, however, reveals an even more complex situation in the south. Among its members are various former senior officials and governors of the southern provinces of Dhale, Hadhramout, Lahij, Al-Mahrah, Shabwah and Socotra, as well as Hani bin Breik, the prominent leader of a popular southern Salafist movement.

The STC’s leadership has, on occasion, talked about plans to hold an independence referendum in the south; in the hope that it would show that a majority supports a return to two states along the pre-1990 borders. The government rejects the possibility.

It is hard to envision how the political and security conditions could be created for a meaningful referendum to be held. And a victory for southern independence — not a guaranteed outcome — would impose Aden’s rule, a solution that many southern cities and militia leaders oppose, thus opening the door to new problems.

A serious process of negotiations between the government, the various local stakeholders and the Arab coalition focused on the federation solution could provide greater stability in areas not under the control of the Houthis, and eventually offer a roadmap for peace. It would remove the pressure over Yemen’s understaffed and overreached government, allowing it to focus on fewer and crucial matters such as humanitarian aid, defense and foreign relations. It would also force local authorities to step up and assume formal responsibility and accountability for areas under their control.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1242136

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Extending Turkey’s Afrin Operation Will Pose Major Challenges

By Sharif Nashashibi

8 February 2018

Turkey’s military on Saturday suffered the deadliest day of its campaign against Kurdish militias in the canton of Afrin in northern Syria, with seven soldiers killed. And, despite capturing a number of villages and the strategic Mount Barsaya, Operation Olive Branch has achieved somewhat modest progress since it began on Jan. 20.

But, given the intensity of the fighting, the number of fatalities among Turkish troops — 14 in just over a fortnight — is not high. And, whether or not the operation achieves its aims (which have not been clearly defined), there is no credible prospect of a defeat of Turkey’s military, which is far more powerful than the Kurdish forces, has air supremacy over Afrin, and is backed by some 25,000 fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

In fact, Turkey’s strategic calculations with regard to the other major players in Syria have meant that it has so far had free rein in Afrin. Ankara sought, and achieved, a green light for the operation from the most important of those players: Russia. Moscow moved its military observers in Afrin away from potential combat zones, allowed Turkish warplanes to use the canton’s airspace, and said America’s “unilateral actions” in Syria have “infuriated” Turkey.

This drew accusations of betrayal from the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which previously had enjoyed good ties with Moscow. “They (the Russians) have clearly sold us out,” said YPG commander Sipan Hemo. Ankara correctly calculated that, if Russia had to prioritize its relations with Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, it would choose the former.

Ankara’s robust stand vis-a-vis the Kurds’ other major ally — the US — has also paid off, with American forces in Syria not heeding their pleas for help in Afrin, and Washington stressing its understanding of Turkey’s security concerns. Despite strained ties with Ankara and calls for Turkish restraint, the US is not willing to risk a political or military standoff with its fellow NATO member for the sake of Afrin’s Kurds.

Iran, which along with Turkey and Russia co-sponsors the Astana diplomatic process on Syria, has called for the end of Operation Olive Branch. But there is no threat, indication or prospect of Iranian forces and proxies on the ground challenging the campaign.

Meanwhile, two days before it began, Damascus threatened to shoot down Turkish warplanes in Syrian airspace, and said it considered any incursion into Afrin “an aggression… against the sovereignty of Syria.” Days into the offensive, Damascus said it would “act accordingly.” But these warnings have come to nothing and Kurdish pleas for the Syrian regime to intervene have gone unheeded. There could be various reasons for this.

The regime would not want direct conflict with a far more powerful army, particularly when its main patron — Russia — has acquiesced to Operation Olive Branch. Damascus may also be content to witness fighting between the Kurds, whose control of a quarter of Syria is a major obstacle to President Bashar Assad’s repeated vow to retake the whole country, and his enemies Turkey and the FSA. Indeed, in December, Assad described Kurdish forces allied with the US as “traitors.”

Speculation is also rife that, given the increased intensity of assaults by the regime and its allies in Idlib province — a major rebel stronghold that borders Turkey, and where Ankara is monitoring a “de-escalation zone” — a backdoor deal was made: Afrin for Idlib. If that is the case, the regime’s verbal opposition to Operation Olive Branch may be purely for public consumption. It might also explain the muting of Turkish condemnation of the Idlib assaults, and why Kurdish forces from the bulk of their territory in northeast Syria have not crossed into Afrin (the only way they could do so is through regime-held territory).

Given all of the above, Afrin’s Kurds are as isolated politically as they are geographically and militarily. They are cut off from the other Kurdish cantons, facing Turkish and Syrian rebel forces to the north, east and west, and a regime to the south that is unwilling or unable to get involved.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the operation will extend beyond Afrin to include the city of Manbij, and possibly go as far east as Iraq. That is where Operation Olive Branch is likely to run into significant problems.

The extension would take it to the bulk of Kurdish forces, population centers and territory, which borders Kurdish-majority areas of Iraq and Turkey. This raises the possibility of Kurds from those countries coming to the aid of their ethnic kin in Syria. Indeed, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is waging an insurgency in Turkey, has called for “resistance” against Operation Olive Branch.

Arguably the bigger obstacle is the presence of American forces in the areas to which Erdogan has vowed to extend the campaign, particularly Manbij. Some 2,000 US military personnel are supporting the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has vowed to resist Turkey’s operation. Washington has said it has no plans to withdraw its forces from Manbij, despite Turkey’s insistence that it do so, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month said the US intends to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria.

Ankara may have gotten its way in Afrin, but it can only successfully extend its operation if the US undertakes a significant climb-down, not just in terms of Turkey’s demands, but also of American strategy in Syria. That is a big “if” indeed.

There is also the issue of a Turkish exit strategy when Kurdish forces are pushed back. To ensure they do not return, particularly to border areas, will Turkey maintain a long-term presence in northern Syria, or will it rely on its Syrian proxies? Will the latter even be able to hold captured territory on their own against assaults by Kurdish or pro-regime forces? In any case, non-Kurdish control of Kurdish-majority areas will be no easy or sustainable feat.

Ankara has not clarified its long-term strategy in northern Syria. The absence of a credible plan will significantly undermine its current military operation, making its potential success only temporary.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1242081

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Investment the Best Way to Alleviate Hardship in Tunisia

By Zaid M. Belbagi

8 February 2018

The self-immolation of street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi in December 2010 became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring. Having grown up in a rural town blighted by corruption, where he was rejected from public jobs and therefore unable to earn a living, his plight personified those of millions of others eking out an existence in the informal economies of the Arab world. Almost a decade on, Tunisia’s fledgling democracy is no closer to alleviating the problems of its citizens.

Following the toppling of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia was widely perceived as the only democratic success story of the Arab Spring. Its political system was viewed as a model for democratic progress in the Arab world, with free elections and a modern constitution. However, since then the small North African country has had nine governments, none of which have been able to tackle its growing economic problems.

The imposition of higher taxes on gasoline, phone cards, housing, internet usage and basic foodstuffs on Jan. 1 has greatly affected the cost of living. Customs on agricultural output, responsible for as much as a quarter of GDP, have also hit the small subsistence farmers that make up the bulk of the sector. As protests have rocked the country since, it is clear that the lives of Tunisians have yet to see the improvement that was envisaged.

In 2002, the Arab Human Development Report ominously warned that a “poverty of opportunities” in the Arab world was the greatest challenge to stability in the region. As the schoolchildren of that era came of age in 2011, their fatigue with the failure of governments to provide them with opportunities was unleashed. Several years on from the events of 2011, the most recent report maintains “youth empowerment is the key to development in Arab countries.” As unemployment in Tunisia has remained just below its record high of 2011, it is clear that a great deal more needs to be done so as to pause the cycle of protests and government reshuffling.

A great deal of Tunisia’s transformation since 2011 has been cosmetic. Though power may no longer be in the hands of one man and public participation in the decision-making process is the largest it has ever been, Tunisians still live with significant hardship. Political freedom has not allowed ordinary Tunisians to supplement their diets with meat, and many (who live just a 90-minute boat ride away from Europe) still light their homes with candles. It is no wonder that January’s Finance Law was met with such opposition, as the government tax hikes even affected medicines. With more than 800 arrests, 100 policemen injured and one protestor killed, the ensuing looting and rioting has caused a great deal of chaos.

The protests will not be unfamiliar to 91-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi. A veteran of the Bourguiba years, he will no doubt have drawn parallels with the January 1984 bread riots that broke out following the withdrawal of food subsidies. Back then, the president was forced to cancel the measures, but today the Tunisian government has no choice but to follow through. Under incredible pressure from the IMF to curb public spending in return for emergency financial assistance, the government must urgently address its public debt, which jumped from 39.2 percent of GDP in 2010 to 65 percent in 2017.

Alas, Essebsi, whose political career started in 1941, lacks the energy and vision to address the issues of a population with an average age of 31. The current Tunisian government is made up of an uneasy alliance between the Islamist Ennahda party and the group that worked so hard to defeat them, the secular Nidaa Tounes. With the leader of Ennahda urging restraint and the Nidaa Prime Minister Youssef Chahed declaring that 2018 will be “the last difficult year for Tunisians,” the government is increasingly a spectator in the country’s wider political story.

This year’s protests have been organized by young activists, many of them leftists from parties and groups outside the formal political establishment. It was such forces that ignited the Tunisian Revolution in 2011 and the government would do well to address their concerns.

The heavy hand of the state characterized the regime that was ousted in 2011. With scores of policemen hospitalized and a regional security center in the west of the country torched by protestors last month, the government must remain wary of stoking public anger and resorting to the security-led solutions of the past.

The best way to protect Tunisia’s fragile consensus-based constitution is through inward investment, which will create the jobs and opportunities that will help improve living standards. Many of those who pontificate as to the importance of Tunisia as a democratic symbol in the Arab world have failed to deliver on their economic promises. As the EU warns against growing instability in the country, Germany would do well to meet the grand promises it made to invest in Tunisia.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1242076

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How The Rapid Pace Of Life Calls For Renewed Change

By Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

8 February 2018

It’s said that a man once headed to Mecca to perform pilgrimage, and he violated some details so he called a sheikh he knows for a fatwa (religious edict). He demanded a strict fatwa that asserts it will redeem his violations.

After insisting that the sheikh issues a suitable fatwa, the sheikh finally mockingly told him to slay 10 camels and to personally distribute their meat in the mountains around the Great Mosque at night. This story reflects the tendency to adopt extremist approaches when performing religious rituals.

Resorting to obligatory duties as the only way to acquit one’s conscience is an act of extremism.

Islam sets few obligations and plenty of facilitations. Sharia was established on the originality of self-innocence and on the concept that forgetfulness and mistakes while committing a ritual does not annul the latter. The principles of permission, facilitation and forgiveness are the basis of Sharia. If we examine the rules of prayer, fasting and pilgrimage, we’d realize they’re actually simple.

Any elementary student can understand them and follow them. Therefore, abiding by strict obligations and punishment has nothing to do with Sharia. 

Enjoying the Permissible 

Mixing jurisprudential, historical and preaching concepts violated pardon principles which Sharia let them be so people can comfortably live and enjoy the permissible as obligations do not mean destroying life, abandoning reality and continuously yelling at Muslims during sermons to call on them to abandon the permissible.

Al-Shatibi in his book Al-Muwafaqaat (The Reconciliation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Law) criticized this approach and warned of resorting to sayings and narratives as exploiting them aims to harm the permissible and trivialize life. Using them as an argument without closely examining them yields no results either.

The Prophet [PBUH] and the Quran allowed people to engage in what is permissible; therefore, those who desire to abandon life have no authority over others to generalize what they want when it contradicts with Sharia.

Abdelmajid al-Sagheer further explained Shatibi’s ideas in his study, ‘Fundamentalist thought and the problematic authority of Sharia in Islam.’

Sagheer wrote: “The permissible in Sharia falls within the principle of making choices. It may be used to serve what’s necessary or to complement something else. In this case, it will govern achieving purposes, especially when taking into consideration the qualitative difference between individual dimensions and collective dimensions of obligatory rulings.”

Shatibi liberates the permissible from obligatory rulings as doing otherwise contradicts with Sharia. He says: “If the permissible is used to serve a need but corruption follows, the latter does not annul the permissible.”

Many Muslim societies tended to adopt extreme ideas due to certain cultural, political and ideological reasons. Individuals do not view the permissible as something that’s protected by Sharia. Preaching became an alternative jurisprudence that contributed to collective neurosis among Muslims.  

Political Influences 

Discussing the afterlife became more common than discussing the world. The same applies to discussing the signs of the hour during eras that often let political influences and power imbalances affect religious legislation. This has been clear in the Islamic history of legislation and jurisprudence.

Sagheer thus states that the 8th century was the century of Sharia purposes and political writings. “Yes, the 8th century was the century of Shatibi and Ibn Khaldun. However, it was also the century of Ibn Taymiyyah, Tufi, Ibn Qayyim of the Hanbali school. It was also the century of Ibn Farhun, Ibn Ridwan, Al-Sabky, Ibn Gamaa and others from the Shafei and Maliki schools of thought.

The writings of Al-Maqrizi, Ibn al-Azraq, Ibn al-Sakkak and Ahmad Baba Timbukti also highlighted two major interests: the purposes of Sharia and Islamic politics,” Sagheer said.

Enlightened jurists must now resume researches on jurisprudential analysis and conclusions according to what suits the rapid pace of life and the renewed needs of the Islamic communities that suffer from neurosis and excessive concerns.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/02/08/How-the-rapid-pace-of-life-calls-for-renewed-change.html

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