This is a title of a lecture presented by Sheikh Siraj Wahhaj. He is a marvelous speaker who could get your attention if he talked about any ordinary thing. The topic at hand is a great one which has not been talked about enough. He tried to establish different points throughout the one-hour-lecture. His references included articles and books attacking Islam but indirectly agreeing to his point. He probed through the lines of the aforementioned references and indirectly refuted the written claims.
The references he used are:
1. The Evil isn’t Islam – Daniel Pipes
2. July 15th 2003 (debate) Islam and Democracy – debate between Daniel Pipes and Mr. Khan
3. October 24th 2003 (Siraj Wahhaj Traces Islam in Black America)
4. “Militant Islam Reaches America” – Daniel Pipes
The structure of the lecture was to present a quote, dissect it and comment on it. He started by quoting Daniel Pipes who wrote:”500 years ago, Jews, Christians and Muslims agreed that only slaves were acceptable but paying interest on money was not acceptable“. Daniel Pipe proceeds to add “After bitter and protracted debates, Christians and Jews changed their minds. Muslims still thing the old way.“
Any unbiased observer studying these statements would stop and analyze some subtle points:
1. Why did all of these major religions agree on these things?
2. Why did the Jews and the Christians change their ways?
3. Why do Muslims still think the old way?
4. What is this old way?
Point 1: One point which can be concluded from the above quotes is: consistency of Islam in changing times. Whether you believe in Islam or not, one must agree that only Islam has been consistent in changing times.
Point 2: Imam Siraj also emphasizes that Islam is not a new religion but the oldest religion. The religion of Abraham peace be upon him (whom we mention his name 18 times a day and pray toward the Kaaba which was built was prophet Abraham and his son Ismael peace be upon them.
Daniel Pipes writes: “Muslims still think the old way. Challenge ahead is clear. Muslims must emulate their monotheist counterparts and modernize their religion.” Clearly, the writer must consider the meaning of monotheist.
Point 3: Islam is the last hope for humanity. Islam is the last religion of this earth. More on this point will be discussed later. For the first time, the people speak the language of the prophet; not the other way around.
Daniel Pipes writes: “Real problem is militant Islam…”. Later on he defines what militant Islam is: “Features of Militant Islam : devotion to the sacred law, a rejection to western influences and turning of faith into ideology”. Little does the writer know that these are features of all true Muslims but does that make us militant? No.
I think that
Daniel Pipes writes: “Solution: modernize their religion” i.e. forget about God and concentrate on man made laws…. but which man? American men, Asian men, African men, European Men, Arab men? Which men?
The lecturer talks about the penalty of stoning a man/woman for adultery (not fornication with 4 witnesses to witness to the crime who are known to be truthful). He asks the audience: do you consider this penalty barbaric? Two hands indicated that it was barbaric. The later then asks: when did it become barbaric? Under modernization, it becomes barbaric… but when did it become barbaric? The notion thatelectrocution or lethal injection is more humane than other punishments is incorrect.
An example of the inconsistency in punishments are: Arkansas $200 for adultery. Michigan $5000 for fornication. So the punishment, changes from state to state and year to year.
The lecturer ended by advising Muslims to ask themselves the following questions before helping or doing actions: 1. is it legal? 2. is it ethical and moral? 3. is it strategically sound?
The question which should always be asked: who benefits? The answer should be: Humanity.