Sunday, July 24, 2005

Manji - Desperately Seeking Fatwa

Irshad Manji wants a fatwa. She has been screaming out for Muslims to threaten her with death in the same way that many did to Salman Rushdie. But the fact is that she won’t get one. And perhaps for no other reason than that she is no Salman Rushdie when it comes to insightful writing.

Manji claims in her latest article in the Australian (‘Sins of scripture’ in the Koran, too, 25 June 2005) that Muslims must be honest enough to admit that the Qur’an teaches people to hate and kill. She says that Christians and Jews have acknowledged the same thing with the Bible. She asks why no Muslim writer has done so with the Qur’an.

When I read Manji making such suspect claims, I wonder which planet she is living on. She effectively claims that in over 1,400 years of theological history, no Muslim scholar has ever questioned the literal meanings of the Qur’anic text.

This is simply incorrect. Any expert on Islamic history will confirm this. Most Muslims will confirm this. Which explains why most Muslims tend to ignore Manji’s work.

Manji has perhaps never heard of the Ikhwan as-Safa (the Brethren of Purity) who were a collection of Ismaili Shia scholars living outside Basra and who spent much of their time debating the meaning of basic Qur’anic concepts.

Perhaps she also has not read the tens of thousands of classical and modern commentaries on the Qur’an from all Islamic schools of thought addressing the meanings of the verses. Perhaps that is because the mainstream consensus on the meaning of these verses does not suit her purpose.

On the surface, Manji has a point. The literal words of the scriptures can be used to justify all sorts of crimes. Both the Bible and the Qur’an contain verses which have been used to justify violence, genocide and other excesses.

But Manji is clearly no expert on religion or terrorism. If she had been an expert, she would have understood that scriptures need to be interpreted. And that scriptural exegesis has its rules and principles.

An anti-Zionist Jewish writer once described the Zionism as treating God like a “real estate agent for the Jewish people”. Margaret Marcus (who adopted the Muslim faith and changed her name to Maryam Jameela) claimed Zionists had gone against thousands of years of consensus in the interpretation of Old Testament texts which insisted (she claims) that only the Messiah can lead the Jewish people back to the Promised Land.

Was Marcus correct? Who knows.

The other day, I was told by some Anglican friends of mine that the Archbishop of Sydney gave a sermon in St Andrews Cathedral claiming that the genealogy of Christ included prostitutes, adulterers and mass-murderers. What spin can be put on this? Could it be said that Christ taught these things?

And when Christ asked his disciples to gather their swords and prepare for war, was he telling them to get ready to commit acts which Roman authorities would view as terrorism?

Does Hinduism teach war? Major Hindu texts such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata give vivid descriptions of battles between gods and demons and men and each other.

Buddhism is a peaceful religion. But one can suggest that Buddhism also produced the most genocidal army in human history. The Mongols slaughtered more people and destroyed more cities than perhaps even the Nazis.

In the current climate, it is crucial for us to explore the ideological roots of terrorist violence. That requires an honest appraisal of what scriptures and religions actually teach. Specialist expertise is a must if one is to properly walk this ideological field of landmines. Manji doesn’t have that expertise. If she is not careful, she might say something that will blow up in her face.

Then again, perhaps that is something she really wants to happen. After all, any publicity is good publicity.

(The author is a Sydney lawyer and columnist for the Adelaide-based Australian Islamic Review.)

© Irfan Yusuf, 2005

17 comment(s):

  • Nice article

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/24/2005 11:41:00 PM  

  • Salaams

    Manji is a brilliant media manipulator but an intellectual anorexic. She needs to be interviewed by a heavyweight like Tariq Ramadan. He would laugh at her, in the nicest possible way, like you do a child showing off. And then he would shut her up. Insha Allah.



    By Blogger Julaybib, at 7/25/2005 07:40:00 AM  

  • Issuing fatwas is bloody hilarious. Nice religion ya got there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/25/2005 11:17:00 AM  

  • Ahhhh, can't get away from the baggage. Your shrink agrees?

    West is the Best and the east is to feast! You got it BUDDY!!!(In a Pakistani[in a sexually repressed middle aged white womans accent] accent)

    See ya wouldn't wanna be yaaaa...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/25/2005 12:07:00 PM  

  • Instead of focusing on a ragdoll like Manji, just look at who is pulling her strings. Typical zionists and other losers looking for a colored mascot, in this case an ugly catamite one.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 7/26/2005 12:23:00 AM  

  • Hello,

    I'm interested in issuing a fatwa, but I'm not sure how. You see, I got terrible service from my waiter at the Sizzler a few nights ago and at first I thought the correct course of action would be to just not tip him. But, in retrospect I really think a fatwa is in order.

    How do I go about issuing one of these? Does it involve the Holy Korean? What about a seeting Imam? Do I need a seething Imam as part of the fatwa?


    Don't issue a fatwa against me for asking.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/26/2005 08:19:00 PM  

  • I'm with Dr. Maxtor,

    Where is her father, and why is she permitted to see the light of day without a male family member?

    She's worse than an infidel.

    Peace be upon Tariq Ramadan...(and allah.)

    By Blogger Ali_Sheik_Muhammad, at 7/26/2005 08:29:00 PM  

  • The best summary of the problems with Manji are summarised in a piece which, a little while back, I asked for and received permission to publish on my own blog. It is from the
    Chair of the Progressive Muslim Union of North America.

    Here's a link to it.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 7/26/2005 09:13:00 PM  

  • You're a funny little right wing troll "ali-sheikh wingnut." Tell me, how many times were you dropped on your tiny head following delivery or is your retardation merely congenital ?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 7/27/2005 02:32:00 AM  

  • Dr. Maxtor,

    I see the zionists have gotten to you.

    May allah show you the way.


    No one has gotten back to me about issuing a fatwa against the sizzler. A little help please.

    By Blogger Ali_Sheik_Muhammad, at 7/27/2005 09:34:00 AM  

  • Here is the fatwa:

    Ali Sheik Muhammad aka Bigot-Anonymous is an official ediot and shall be declared as eternally ignored for not approaching this site with an open mind. He/She is therefore declared forever ridiculed and ignored(by innocent Muslims) until he/she changes his/her ways or atleast tries to understand the Muslim and/or Islamic perspective.

    This fatwa is final and unchanging, therefore pay heed or Ignorant One!

    See yaa,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/27/2005 10:15:00 AM  

  • Fatwa Master:

    Salaams (peace be upon you),

    Thank you for that hypothetical example. Now, did you consult a seething, hate-filled Imam for that fatwa?

    You see, I'm wondering if my fatwa against the Sizzler needs to involve a seething, hate-filled Imam with a mindset from the year 600. Thank you for help.

    May all the infidels that you ever encounter be humiliated and ridiculed by the all merciful allah.

    Also, peace be upon Abu Amar, the great man of peace and prosperity.

    By Blogger Ali_Sheik_Muhammad, at 7/27/2005 08:38:00 PM  

  • "Thank you for that hypothetical example. Now, did you consult a seething, hate-filled Imam for that fatwa?"

    What are you talking about "hypothetical"? This fatwa is final so be aware!

    Read it one more time. Consider it your last warning!

    Fatwa against ignorance:

    Ali Sheik Muhammad aka Bigot-Anonymous is an official ediot and shall be declared as eternally ignored for not approaching this site with an open mind. He/She is therefore declared forever ridiculed and ignored(by innocent Muslims) until he/she changes his/her ways or atleast tries to understand the Muslim and/or Islamic perspective.


    Ps GET LOST!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/27/2005 09:31:00 PM  

  • "Fatwa Master",

    Now I KNOW you are a neocon. Tell me, how long have you been working for the Mossad? How many Palestinian babies do you eat each day? Infidel!

    Anyways, because no one provided any specific advice regarding seething, hate-filled Imams with mindsets from the year 600, I decided to play it safe and include one in my fatwa. Would you believe it, for a religion of peace, there's a lot of them out there.



    By Blogger Ali_Sheik_Muhammad, at 7/28/2005 02:17:00 PM  

  • Hey, dumbass, Ghenghis Khan was not a Buddhist.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/29/2005 08:33:00 PM  

  • On the cult of progressive muslims union - see living tradition

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/31/2005 10:44:00 PM  

  • it's such a sad spectacle to see her been appluaded in western universities as an expert in islam; see for instance

    really sad thing is there no expert islamic bloggers of the caliber like Tariq Ramadan, who are blogging. Even Noble prize winners in economics like Dr. Gary Becker are starting blogging because they can have more of an influence through that medium. Where is the muslim equivalent of Dr Gary Becker or Posner

    -paul asad (www.truckandbarter.com)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/06/2005 02:40:00 PM  

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