By Adil Rasheed
28 September 2018
It might seem ironic but religious
fundamentalism is quite a modern, sui generis phenomenon. As its quest for
truth is driven more by casuistry than spirituality, it strives to confute the
orthodox and traditional practices of various faiths, polities and cultures.
Thus, fundamentalism is modern not merely
because of its emergence in relatively recent times, but because it attempts to
impose a systematic structure to dogma and is generally averse towards
religion’s essentially metaphysical and esoteric dimensions.
By discarding the intricacies of the
metaphorical, fundamentalism clings to a literalist defence of scripture that
invariably gives its arguments a reductionist, absolutist and intolerant
In its pursuance of minimalism to
ostensibly achieve pristine purity of faith, it sets itself up against
intellectualism, aestheticism and mysticism, and so it finds few scholars,
thinkers or artists among its obscurantist following.
The term fundamentalism originated in late
19th century when it referred to the extremist beliefs of certain Protestant
sects in Britain and the US, which insisted on the literal inerrancy of the
However, this mimetic threat soon spread to
other religions including some segments of Islam, even though this trend has
arguably shown signs of general regress in recent times.
Although simplistic in its vehement
adherence to “the inviolable basic principles”, fundamentalism in our times is
remarkably innovative in that it has transported religion out of its spiritual
realm and brought its distorted version into the socio-cultural, political and
even economic domains.
Surprisingly like neo-liberalism,
fundamentalism rejects tradition and “cultural specificity in favor of abstract
universalism”. Thus, Muslim fundamentalist movements generally reject all the
orthodox schools of religious jurisprudence or doctrines. In this, they are
remarkably anarchist, even post-modern.
In an article titled “Post-Modern Jihad”,
published in The Weekly Standard soon after the September 11 attacks in 2001,
Waller Newell (Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Carleton
University) wrote “the ideology by which al-Qaeda justifies its acts of terror
owes as much to baleful trends in Western thoughts as it does to a perversion
of religious beliefs. Osama’s doctrine of terror is partly a Western export.”
In the article, the scholar traces the
influences of Nazi philosopher Heidegger and post-modern ideologues like
Foucault on the Iranian Revolution and al-Qaeda.
He writes: “The relationship between
postmodernist European leftism and Islamist radicalism is a two-way street: Not
only have Islamists drawn on the legacy of European left, but European Marxists
have taken heart from Islamist terrorists who seemed close to achieving the
longed for revolution against American hegemony.”
According to noted expert on Islamist
terrorism Olivier Roy, “In the 1960s, in Western Europe we had a tradition of
youth radicalization from the Marxist revolution. Suddenly around the 1990s,
the dream of the Marxist revolution disappeared and al-Qaeda and ISIS filled
Similarly Ofri Ilani writes:
“Individualism, hatred of the establishment and a cult of emotion activate the
jihadists, just as they activated the anarchist assassins in the 19th century
or the Red Brigades in the 1970s”.
The Loss of Meaning
Since ancient times, religion instituted
meaning in human consciousness through its spiritual injunctions, ethical
distinction of right from wrong as well as restrictions on the bestial and
carnal instincts. With the coming of European enlightenment, rationalism and
science set new standards of personal, societal and universal values.
However, with the rise of post-modern
philosophies, certitude in established institutions of faith, ethics and even
reason started to crumble and thereby the very construct of meaning began to
blur. A similar trend is perceptible in the descent of militant fundamentalism
from its avowed pursuance of essential religious truths to a near complete
breakdown of any ethical construct it claimed to cling to.
Like post-modern Marxist revolutionaries,
the bestial has gained pre-eminence over both the spiritual and the rational,
leading to a near collapse of faith and any semblance of good sense. Borrowing
ideas from their post-modern ideological mentors, groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS
have violated the very basic injunctions of their avowed faith.
As Newell puts it: “For Foucault as for
Fanon, Hezbollah, and the rest down to Osama, the purpose of violence is not to
relieve poverty or adjust borders. Violence is an end in itself … That is how
al Qaeda can ignore mainstream Islam, which prohibits the deliberate killing of
non-combatants, and slaughter innocents in the name of creating a new world,
the latest in a long line of grimly punitive collectivist utopias.”
One could definitely add the name of ISIS
on the list of these post-modern, neo-fundamentalist purveyors of violence. Not
surprisingly, militant fundamentalism strives in places of utter chaos and
The remedy to clearly lies in restoring
religion to its rightful and exclusive preserve of spiritualism, while leaving
socio-political issues to institutions of national and international polity.
There can be no space for religion in the political domain.
Dr. Adil Rasheed is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defense and
Strategic Analyses (IDSA) based in New Delhi since August 2016. For over 20
years, he has been a journalist, researcher, political commentator for various
international think tanks and media organizations, both in the United Arab
Emirates and India. He was Senior Research Fellow at the United Services
Institution of India (USI) for two years from 2014 to 2016, where he still
holds the honorary title of Distinguished Fellow. He has also worked at the Abu
Dhabi-based think tank The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research
(ECSSR) for eight years (2006-14).
What I said was very clear but beyond
the understanding of the old fool. The difference between the meaning of
adultery in Islam and in Pagan societies, is that even if the wife of a man with
the husband’s consent has sex with another man, it is adultery in Islam. In
Pagan society however, it is not. This is because the wife is treated as
property of the husband which he may let out at his will. Only if the wife
(property) is taken without his permission, that it constitutes a violation of
his rights and a crime. In this, it is no different from property rights and
nowhere what adultery means in Islam. Adultery as a concept, therefore does not
even exist in Pagan society. Therefore, to say that the law for adultery in
Islam is 7th century law of the pagan Arabs, is the height of
The old fool however continues to argue
on the subject without a basis and without evidence
He says: “Trying to guess from the
vignettes of Arabian society what their laws and punishments for adultery were
is simply stupid.”
Is it not for this idiot to provide evidence
for his claim that the Quranic law on adultery is the same as the 7th
century pagan Arab law? Has he done that?
If the Quranic law on adultery is the
same as 7th century pagan Arab law, then should we not expect to
find the same vignettes from Muslim society as found in 7th century Arab
society ? Why do we not find it if the law has remained unchanged?
GM: Adultery is defined as, "voluntary sexual intercourse
between a married person and someone other than his married spouse". Only a retard would not understand that.
said adultery is rape! Poor GM Sb, he has lost all his marbles and cannot now
even distinguish between rape and adultery!
quoting repeatedly Remarkably, not only stoning and
hand-amputation, but nearly the entire range of Islamic adultery and theft
legislation have pre-Islamic parallels."
pre-Islamic? According to the scholars, Judaism and Christianity are also
pre-Islamic. According to the Quran, all the prophets sent to every nation and
region were Muslim and Islam is as old as Adam.
41:43. Nothing is said to you that was not
said to the apostles before you.
10:37 “This Qur´an is not such as can be
produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of
(revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book -
wherein there is no doubt - from the Lord of the worlds.” (10:37)
41:53. Soon will We show them our Signs in
the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own being, until it becomes
manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord does
witness all things?
the signs that Allah will show in the furthest regions of the earth except that
His religion is the same and has reached every people? There is absolutely no
claim that what Muhammad (pbuh) brought was anything new but only a confirmation
of what had been sent to every nation in the past. So, when Allah himself says
that you will find the same Signs of Allah in the furthest regions of the earth
why is it surprising that there are parallels for every belief and practice?
Why am I saying all this to another Muslim who I presume does not need to be
informed about the position the Quran takes and although what I have said above
is straight from my article which he has read? Because GM sb is an old fool and
there is no fool like an old fool!
question that we are dealing with is “what were pagan Arab practices and what
did they consider as adultery and the punishment for it?” Does anybody find an
answer to that in what he keeps quoting? I have quoted numerous authors about
pagan Arab social life from which we know that the practices that are
considered adultery in Islam were socially acceptable in the pagan Arab
society. Indeed, in this matter, all pagan societies are alike. So, what is the
parallel between Islam and pagan Arab society as it concerns adultery?
What is common to all ancient criminal codes of every
society is corporal punishment. In that sense the punishment under hudud laws is
comparable with other societies. Is corporal punishment barbaric? That I guess
is GM sbs main contention and not so much the law of adultery and punishment
for it in different societies. Imprisonment involves taking away a person’s freedom,
confinement, chaining, sexual assault by jailers and other prisoners which is
far more barbaric, but we do not get to see it as it is behind walls.
Imprisonment has not proved to be a corrective nor a deterrent. Flogging with
witnesses is both a deterrent and a corrective.