The Morality Delusion in Islam
The Deluded Muslims
The great Egyptian Muslim reformer, Muhammed Abdu (1849-1905), made a famous comparison between France, where he spent sometime of his life, and Egypt. He said: “In France there is Islam without Muslims and in Egypt there are Muslims without Islam”. Mohammed Abdu was very impressed by the high morality of the french people as he judged from their manners and the way they treated him.
Abdu believed that the good manners and high morality of the French people suited very well the Egyptian Muslims who, despite their belief in the ‘highly moral Islam’, had bad manners and lived with low morality. Abdu spoke about his own people, the Egyptians, but other Arab and Muslim nations were actually far worse.
I personally believe that Abdu was as good as a Muslim shiekh can get. He was civilized, well educated and well mannered. From those respects, he was light years ahead of any of the Islamic Imams and scholars of our time. Despite all this, I have to say that Abdu was just as deluded as all other Muslims who associate Islam with high morality.
Abdu’s above description was not a one off statement; most educated people of his time shared his observation. They all believed that Muslims, because they are equipped with Islam, should be ahead of all the others in morality. Abdu’s comparison brings back some memories to my mind. It reminds me with a visit I made (with my late father, when I was young) to a family upon the return of their son from Europe. The newly qualified doctor described to his guests the civilized environment and the high morality in Europe. He told many tales to support his case. The guests were amazed and kept saying: “those people are true Muslims, they only needed to say the ‘shahada’ to become perfect Muslims”! It also reminds me with an incident that took place here many years ago. A senior colleague, a manager, came back from a visit to the Middle East. It was obvious that he was nicely impressed and overwhelmed by the Arabs’ generosity, which he praised highly. On hearing this, a religious colleague seized the opportunity to propagate Islam. “it is all because of our religion which teaches us to be good, honest, kind to parents and so on” he explained. The manager politely admired the fine values of Islam and then said with a smile “ I am trying to think of a religion that teaches otherwise”. It escapes the minds of Muslims that all religions tend to teach good manners as perceived from the mother culture of that religion.
Why the above is significant?
Stories similar to the above were very common in the fifties and sixties. Today, they have special significance because they highlight two important facts. First, they emphasize the Arabs’ ongoing misconception about Islam, which was believed to teach high morality superior to what was already practiced in Europe. Second, those stories remind us that the Arabs of those days appreciated the Europeans’ fine social manners. This contrasts sharply with views held today by the Arabs and Muslims in general, who completely reject the Europeans’ lifestyle as utter rubbish not worthy of respect.
Just over half a century ago, Europe’s success was an inspiration to the Arabs and considered as a model that was worth copying. The Arab academics who went to Europe for postgraduate studies were fast to integrate and were keen to learn, in addition to their specialty, everything about their societies. Eating pork or drinking alcohol were rightly considered as minor issues related to personal lifestyle. For decades, Europe had no litigations based on these trivial matters at all.
In the Middle East, the Muslim Arabs were fed only the superficial soft part of Islam and were happy about it. They famously summarized the religion in one sentence: ‘Al Deen Al Muaamala’ or “religion is about how you deal with the others”. A ‘Muslim’ was defined in a nice way: “man salima al nass min yadihi wa lissanhi”. which translates: A person whose hand and tongue cause no harm to others.
The rise of the influence of Wahhabism and Muslim Brotherhood in the 1970s affected badly the new generations of Muslims. The Islamization process was continuous and aggressive and very intense in such a way that caused many of those old Arabs of the 1950s and 1960s feel guilty about the relatively secular times they enjoyed when they were young. They discovered that they misunderstood Islam and, as a reaction to that, they became extremists themselves.
The Moral Muslim
If you ask Muslims about the main features of a man with high morality, most of them would start by describing a person who is keen on the five daily prayers and other furud ( religious obligatory rituals), doesn’t drink alcohol, doesn’t commit adultery and doesn’t look at other women. The list of good features may go on and may vary slightly but most certainly it would include the above description right at the top.
A woman with high morality almost certainly would be described as a woman who protects her chastity. Depending on how religious the Muslims are, they may add that she should be well covered and doesn’t shake hands or mix with men in addition to being keen on the prayers and other furud.
In short, the Muslims‘ mental image of morality is dominated by performing the prayers and protecting chastity, everything else comes next.
Islam’s Big lie
Muslims, of all grades and backgrounds, associate Islam with high morality because they have been told this lie, repeatedly, all their lives. Muslims learn that if Islam is properly implemented in a society, that society turns into heavens on Earth. Furthermore, this “fact” is considered to be so obvious and convincing that it is silly to argue about it. In an Islamic state (Khilafa), the crime rate would be so low compared to non-Muslim societies because of the harsh deterrent penalties in this life and the one after:
In a true Islamic state:
Muslims do not kill because they know they would be killed
Muslims do not commit adultery to avoid stoning to death and to avoid the associated shame.
Muslims try to be kind to their parents because the Quran instructs them to do so.
Muslims do not cheat others because it is a sin; according to an authentic hadith.
Muslims do not steal to avoid having their hands cut off.
and so on …
From an Islamic point of view the above sounds very convincing and makes a strong case for creating a true “Islamic khilafa”. The Islamic argument is not weakened by the fact that there are high crime rates in the Islamic world and among the Muslim communities in non-Islamic countries. The Islamic explanation is obvious: It is all because there is no khilafa and Islam is not deployed in full force.
Unfortunately, the conditioned Islamic minds do not see the obvious shortfalls of their argument:
First: all those harsh penalties are only applicable if the crimes were committed against Muslims. Should the same crimes be committed against non Muslims, the penalties would be softer or even waived completely. For example, the main Muslim jurisprudence schools (with the exception of hanafi school) agree that a Muslim can not be killed for killing a non Muslim; a Muslim killer can get away by paying some blood money determined by a Muslim judge. Also Muslims are not required to be loyal to their parents if they did not accept Islam. Even worse, Muslims can murder their parents, no matter how good they are, if they abandon Islam! Also it is evident from Mohammed’s hadith about cheating ( “Those who cheat us are not from us”) that Islam did not prohibit cheating the non Muslims because they are not from us.
Second: Islam’s penalties are aimed at committing Islamic sins, not at committing morally wrong actions. What is morally wrong is not necessarily a sin (haram) and what is morally good is not necessarily acceptable in Islam (halal). For example slavery, child marriage and polygamy are morally wrong but are acceptable in Islam (halal). On the other hand, adoption and giving boys and girls equal shares of their inheritance are morally sound injunctions, but are not acceptable in Islam. In addition, Islam doesn’t teach that a vile act like adultery is absolutely bad, therefore, must always be avoided. Muslims know that committing adultery is forbidden, but they also know that there will be plenty of it in the after-life, therefore, it cannot be that bad.
Third: The structure of Islamic morality is not a solid wall. It is more like a wall with many purpose built gaps and loopholes to facilitate easy exit. To a Muslim, committing a sin is not the end of the world because there are countless means to repair the damage. Those means are easy, cheap and available to all. They usually come in the form of some extra ordinary prayers or ‘du’aa’( verbal prayers).
The following are only examples that I still remember of Islamic rituals that are guaranteed to completely delete any sin:
Fasting the 9th day of Zul Hijja erases all the sins of the previous year.
Performing pilgrimage resets the sin counter to zero, no matter how high it was.
Performing two consecutive Friday prayers erases the sins committed in between.
Performing four rakaas before and after zuhr (noon) prayer.
Saying Amin after the Imam reads Surat Al Fatiha. Angels also say Amin, and if the two Amins coincide, the Muslim’s sins would be forgiven.
Performing the night prayers on laylat al kadr (night of Qadr), in Ramadan.
And many, many more..
In addition to the above, a Muslim can repent after a sin and promise not to do it again, and that, on its own, is enough to permanently delete that sin.
According to the above rules, a Muslim can go out and raid a Christian’s house, kill the husband, rape the wife and steal the money and then return to his home to do any of the above rituals and rest assured that Allah is happy about him! Of course the rights of the victims have no consideration at all.
The preferential treatment of Muslims is deep rooted in the Islamic culture. The Muslims’ minds get used to it without noticing anything unusual about it. It is worth remembering that the term “non-Muslim” includes those Muslims belonging to other sects of Islam. For example, from the Sunni standpoint, the followers of the Shi’a and Ahmadi sects are not considered Muslims at all. This vague and chaotic state of mind conditioning often leads to vile consequences because many Muslims automatically assume that a crime becomes less offending or less repulsive when committed against non-Muslims. Some Muslims seem to ‘misunderstand’ Islam even further by assuming that Allah, secretly, wouldn’t mind if Muslims commit crimes against non-Muslims, although He doesn’t say it openly. This explains the regular attacks on Christians and their churches and the daily killings and bombings of worshipers in the ‘opponent’ mosques.
It does not matter if the above vile assumptions were right or wrong, and it doesn’t help to blame it on misunderstanding Islam. What matters is that those crimes do happen very often. The pattern of crimes in the West supports the above observation about the Muslims’ understanding of morality. There has been many reports about young Asian Muslims grooming white Christian girls for sex. In the West, the victims of rape crimes, which are usually committed by Asian Muslims, tend to be against white Christian girls. It is interesting to note that the criminals are often frequent attendants of mosques.