Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei
In this article, ForeignPolicy.com asserts that Islamic scholars are prepared to answer questions and issue fatwas on almost any realm of modern life and that sometimes, it can “get a little kinky”. They use this assertion to make a mockery out of Islam.
Such articles are extremely misleading to the general public, who have very little or no knowledge about Islam and how it functions. This is clearly visible in the comments section of the article where people blatantly curse Islam, Muslims and Islamic scholars. It also says leaps and bounds about ForignPolicy.com’s unprofessionalism and lack of concern about human dignity. Allow me to explain why.
Islam is a wide spectrum of believers, who although have certain things in common such as the strict belief in monotheism, come from diverse thoughts and cultures. ForeignPolicy.com has not taken this in to account and have tried to make a case by presenting religious rulings (Fatwas) from many different people and then generalised this as Islam.
To illustrate my point, anyone who knows two-cents about Islam will tell you that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who have both been mentioned in the article, come from different schools of thoughts hence their rulings are based on different methods of interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadith. Similarly, there are several schools of thoughts in Islam. The five major ones are Ja’fari, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali. Muslims have a choice to make about which school they would like to follow.
Even within these schools, there are sometimes different interpretations by scholars. In Ja’fari Fiqh for example, adherents have the freedom to decide for themselves which scholar they would like to follow and rulings by all other scholars become somewhat irrelevant to them. This concept is known as Taqlid.
Hence it is important to realise that Islam offers a lot of freedom of choice concerning religious jurisprudence and law: Commonly known as Sharia Law. Graduating from a secular law school takes 4-5 years whereas there is no time-frame for graduating from Islamic law school. Genuine scholars usually spend decades studying the Qur’an and Hadith in order to come up with rulings, which brings me to my next point.
The author of the article has carelessly cut and paste small portions of rulings to present to the World. Neither have the contexts been mentioned nor the circumstances. Many-a-times scholars simply respond to questions asked by their followers. Other times, rulings have conditions. Allow me to expound using an example from the article citing past Iranian Supreme Leader and leaser of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as having ruled that, “If a person has intercourse with a cow, a sheep, or a camel, their urine and dung become impure and drinking their milk will be unlawful.” The author has labelled this section as “Eating your animal sex partner” as if to say animal bestiality is practised by Muslims. Yet he fails to explain the context. Having sex with anyone besides your spouse is strictly forbidden in Islam, let alone non-humans!
The author fails to mention that this law pertains to someone who has committed such a grave sin. He fails to mention that whereas secular law is aimed at the society as a whole, Islamic Law is aimed at not only the society as a whole but also aims at the perfection of the individual.
What does secular law provide for those who have broken the law and have not been caught? Nothing.
Secular law is aimed at punishing severely those caught whereas those not caught have nothing on their conscience. Today I read an article published by the Daily Mail about young children in the UK, as young as 10-13 years old who are scarred for life due to pornography. One young boy, aged 13, has his name on the sex-offender’s list for accessing child pornography.
What has Western society done to try and prevent such young boys from accessing pornography in the first place? Is it fair that a young boy of 13, who has been misled by the society he grew up in, to be on the sex-offenders list? What powers have the Western society given parents and teachers to discipline their children? These are all questions we must ask ourselves before making a mockery out of a religion which provides solutions for personal growth of morals first.
Jihad is a word that is flung around today ignorantly. If you didn’t know this already, allow me to bring to your attention that there are two kinds of jihad in Islam: The greater Jihad and the lesser Jihad. The lesser jihad is to do with sovereignty and self-defence whereas the greater Jihad is to do with struggling with oneself to build perfect morals. Yes, that is the greater Jihad.