Liberalism and the American Muslim Predicament


In his provocative book, White, Richard Dyer observes that the real power of American whiteness lay in its effective invisibility. While Hispanics, Asians, blacks and others are immediately recognized as raced, whites enjoy the presumption of being just “humans.” This raises their perspective above critique, since it presents it as being above the biases and limitations of any particular history, ideology or culture. This in turn allows whites to speak for “humanity” as a whole, while raced people can only speak for their particular “race” or “culture.” This entrenched, inscrutable invisibility is also the secret behind the power and pervasiveness of liberalism today. Words like “freedom,” “equality,” “reason,” “tolerance” are commonly used without the slightest understanding or hint that their users are invoking liberal freedom, liberal equality, liberal reason or liberal tolerance. Faced with these deployments, Muslims often find themselves debilitated by the feeling that they are fighting a losing battle, stuck in a perpetual mode of apology, hopelessly strengthening and reinforcing their inquisitors’ indictments with every would-be response, like the proverbial husband faced with the question of whether he has stopped beating his wife yet.

Liberty torchOf course, liberalism is a varied and evolving construct. As such, any blanket critiques of it will rightly draw charges of over-generalization. At its core, however, I think the genius of certainly the most popular form of liberalism can be summarized in the notion of the human self (or mind) being capable of standing outside all concrete and specific culture or history, and from there apprehending universal values that are appropriate to all humans and all human societies. In short, the ability to speak from nowhere and therefore for everywhere is fundamental to the DNA of liberalism. Liberal reason is thus universal reason, as are the values it produces. Liberal freedom expresses itself, meanwhile, in the ability to detach and liberate the individual from the constraints and shackles of tradition and all authorities external to the self. The liberal self is equal to (since indistinguishable from) all other selves; it is tolerant, since it recognizes that the path to universal truth is a process through which all humans must be permitted to pass. Beyond these substantive features, we might note something about liberalism’s historical provenance. Liberalism emerges out of an historical context where the greatest threat to human freedom, equality, tolerance and even rationality was perceived to be religion. It was not only the so-called European “Wars of Religion” but also the heavy-handed domination of religious institutions as well. Thus John Locke advocates the removal of religious issues from public debate, bidding the civil authority not to set itself up as the policeman of orthodoxy. Meanwhile, Immanuel Kant declares the Enlightenment to be “a way out” of the tutelage in which men and women are held by religious authorities: “Have the courage to use your own reason! … Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a portion of mankind … remains under lifelong tutelage and why it is so easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians.” Of course, both Locke and Kant were believers. But the subsequent history of liberalism would reverse the concern with protecting religion from government to protecting government (and often society at large) from religion. Muslims — to the extent that they know their pre-modern history — may not identify with much of this legacy. But it is almost certainly a combination of the European past, the decadent, authoritarian Muslim present and the specter of the American Christian Right that continues to sustain the power and relevance of liberalism today.

This thumbnail synopsis might telegraph a certain negative attitude toward liberalism. In truth, however, liberalism must be credited for its share of critically positive contributions to the modern sociopolitical universe. If nothing else, its cherished ideals of freedom, equality, tolerance and rationality have helped lubricate the gears through which modern society has transitioned out of much of the bigotry, insensitivity, insularity, hierarchical blindness and stale categories of the pre-modern world. This transition has deeply informed our sociopolitical sensibilities and infused our interpretive prisms with possibilities that might otherwise remain beyond our imaginative capacities. If we take, for example, American constitutional interpretation, it is difficult to imagine the First or Fourteenth amendments being interpreted as they have been on matters of religion, race, gender, free speech and the like absent the relentless proddings and insistences of explicitly liberal versions of equality, liberty, tolerance and the like. In countries that boast many of the same substantive constitutional provisions we have, we do not see these legal stipulations doing anywhere near the work they do in the U.S. I have little doubt that the sum-total of cultural and sociopolitical sensibilities that liberalism has bred among Americans explains much of the difference.

And yet, liberalism remains susceptible to the same idolatry (though it would not likely call it that) that it decries in religion: the tendency to absolutize and totalize values, principles and points of view to the extent that liberals often end up disguising (and thus perpetuating) the very subjugation and domination they claim to want to eradicate. This is eminently reflected in the most popular form of political liberalism, which basically requires that individuals vindicate themselves in public debate by reference to “liberal reason.” This is not the preserve of anyone’s specific religious, ideological or historically constituted community; it is a form of “public reason” that is supposed to belong to no one and thus to everyone. But it is precisely here that we begin to see a convergence of liberal slights of hand. By imagining a public reason on which we all have equal purchase, we also imagine a public space that is neutral. Clearly, however, our histories and other specific endowments come with us into the public space, alongside our respective traditions of reasoning. But how can the “reason” of the historically dominated, marginalized or feared ever be equal in the court of public opinion to that of the historically dominant, exemplary and feared (though a very different kind of fear)? And inasmuch as equality cannot be operationalized without an exemplar by means of which we can assess whether I am being treated “equally” (equal to whom?), does my equal treatment always necessarily deliver me from domination? If tolerance (especially liberal tolerance) can also anesthetize me out of a recognition of my individual or collective distinctness, might not tolerance end up serving the one who “tolerates” me more than it actually serves me? And if liberal freedom must be exercised in a context where cultural, historical or civilizational Others totally control the means of producing and disseminating the ideals and images that define what I might want to be free to pursue, am I always necessarily better served by more rather than less freedom? Of course, these are difficult arguments to make in light of how pervasively liberal sensibilities permeate American society. But I suppose I might take some solace from the Indian scholar Ashis Nandy: “Better to be a comical dissenter than to be a powerful, serious but acceptable opponent.” I may not be able to defend affirmative action, my lack of daily fear of “terrorists” or the sexual mores of Islam on the basis of any “neutral” public reason. But my historical, familial, religious and communal endowments might imbue me with a regime of knowledge and values that is closed to those who do not share these inheritances.

Of course, it is precisely here, in the conflicts over commitments that are closed and unshared, that liberalism finds its mandate. But, as Stanley Fish has vigorously argued, liberalism starts out saying that unshared, closed commitments cannot be bridged; then it goes on to somehow synthesize these into a “common ground.” But, “the strategy of finding common ground assumes a capacity that has already been denied by the framing of the problem.” In reality, common ground routinely turns out to be little more than one of the competing perspectives raised to the status of “common sense” followed by a declaration that those who resist, violate or fail to recognize this standard are unreasonable, primitive or morally depraved — even perhaps a threat to society. Practicing Muslims will deem adultery to be wrong and sinful, not because it constitutes “cheating,” but because God says so and because it breaches the kinds of practices that produce and sustain good Muslims. If liberalism calls upon them to convert this commitment into a rationally defensible position, is the fact that the dominant liberal culture in America wields a more prestigious regime of rationality enough to prove the moral inferiority or ridiculousness of this commitment? If so, what investment should Muslims maintain in liberal “rationality”? Might not another regime of perfectly respectable rationality suggest that it is more reasonable for Muslims to pursue the good of Islam over the ostensibly universal good of liberalism? And while one may seek in the name of liberty to liberate oneself from the constraints of a ban on adultery, is it any less a quest for freedom to pursue God’s pleasure unmolested by alien, secular criteria for validation?

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This kind of talk makes many Muslims extremely nervous; they see it as fodder for Islamophobes (including many conservatives — go figure!) who will use it to justify Western indictments of Islam. But if the liberal good (rationality, freedom, etc.) is truly universal, how is it that over a billion humans fail to recognize it as such? The fact is that for all its affirmations and assurances to the contrary, liberalism does not — and cannot — speak from the perspective of no one and everyone. Liberals are just as embedded in culture, history and sociopolitical situation as anyone else. And here we must note a crucial distinction between liberalism’s ideals and liberals’ concretions of these ideals. Freedom, equality and rationality may simply assume different dimensions and contours, depending on the perspective from which they are interpreted and applied. Today, liberalism’s perspective tends to be largely white, Western, secular (or post-Christian) and, as many feminists would note, male. As such, liberal concretions routinely amount to “false universals,” expressions of arguably universal values (e.g., freedom or rationality) calibrated to the unique sensibilities, perspective and interests of liberal proponents.

And here we come to “the Muslim predicament,” especially in the West. Because liberals have largely succeeded in monopolizing the meaning of the fundamental principles through which we negotiate modern life (freedom, equality, tolerance, rationality, etc.), Muslims find themselves only able to claim these when their claims comport with liberal definitions thereof. And when their scriptural sources or traditional authorities appear to be out of sync with these definitions, Muslims find themselves in the position of George Orwell’s Winston: “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?” From here they proceed, often on painfully tortuous logic, to try to reconcile every aspect of Islam with the reigning liberal paradigm. In this context, Muslims — and especially Muslim children — can never simply be themselves. Rather, they are condemned to a dark, musty and lonely world of quiet, subjunctive, nervousness (W.E.B. Du Bois’ “double-consciousness” on steroids), as they try to vindicate their identity and commitments — both to themselves and to the world around them — through processes of rational justification over which others preside as owners, even as they themselves continue to be cast as the greatest threat to basic human welfare.

To be sure, this raises serious questions about the place of Muslims in a liberal society. This is a larger issue than we can manage here. But we might consider the following as a start. First, democracy is one thing, liberalism another. America must remain a democracy. Whether or not it remains liberal is a matter of negotiation (and I personally do not see “conservatism” as the only or optimal alternative). Second, we should not be too quick to equate the above-cited problems with liberalism (major though they may be) with a categorical contradiction between Islam and liberalism as a whole. For this would negate the undeniably liberal elements in Islam itself. To take just one example, liberalism’s commitment to tolerance calls upon people to support the rights of others with whom they fundamentally disagree. Islam never agreed with Christianity or Judaism or Zoroastrianism or with many of their practices. Yet, it upheld their right both to exist and to practice things Islam held to be repugnant. Finally, Muslims’ recognition of Islam’s own internal mechanisms for accommodating others is likely to be a much firmer and more reliable basis for Muslim tolerance and mutual recognition of non-Muslim Americans than is a liberalism that they routinely experience as a threat.

What about the way forward? I think Muslims have a lot of serious work to do in figuring out their normative relationship with liberalism, and Muslim intellectuals have a major role to play in this regard. I think Muslims must be careful not to overreact to liberalism, on the one hand, and not to overinvest in the Muslim past, on the other. In the meantime, Muslims will have to find the fortitude to stand up for their values, in the same way that liberals stand up for theirs. This will be difficult, if for no other reason than the fact that liberalism tends to break down communities into individual, autonomous parts, leaving Muslims with the thought and feeling that they are isolated individuals who have little choice but to conform to what are presented as “societal norms.” The fact of the matter is that, whether it’s adultery today or wine drinking tomorrow, there are going to be rules and values in Islam that run afoul of the “universal” values of liberalism or the liberal processes of validation through “public reason.” Muslims have to get comfortable with the fact that dissenting from all this makes Islam no more a threat to America than Judaism, Christianity or atheism. Nor does running afoul of liberal concretions of liberty or rationality make Islam any less true today than it was before the rise of liberalism itself.

I would like to close by pointing to another potential hidden effect of liberalism, especially on Muslims: the pervasive notion that reason, autonomy and freedom are enough to move humans to right action and sustain their commitment to moral and religious principles. I come from a generation (or maybe it was just the culture of my neighborhood) that upheld the “18-and-out” rule. At 18, I was in my own apartment. By the time I was 20 or so, however, my father (who only had a fifth-grade education) had turned into a genius. The lessons, values and practices he had imparted to my brothers and me (I had no sisters) as a part of our family tradition proved far more effective in many instances in guiding me to balanced decisions than the unschooled dictates of my autonomous, freely exercised reason. Muslims, on the other hand, seem to think that “knowledge” and “reason” — the ever idolized ‘ilm and ‘aql — are the singular keys to producing good Muslims. But I would submit that producing good Muslims may be more like training a good basketball team than it is like training students in philosophy 101. Team members must learn the rules of the game, to be sure; but their talents and instincts can only be refined, educated and maximized through practice. Those who know the rules but never come to practice are simply not likely to be good players; for they are never likely to be inspired or primed to rise to their best selves. Beyond all the lectures and blogs, Muslims need institutions, spaces and sites of direct encounter that sustain the practices and engagements that refine and educate Muslim souls. And while the mosque would seem to be the natural candidate, the effectiveness of mosques is basically neutralized by the tendency, on the one hand, of the entrenched to universalize and absolutize a single approach or practice (like doing nothing but shooting three-pointers) and by the tendency, on the other hand, of “everyday Muslims” who are so saturated with the value of autonomy and (liberal) freedom (in its popular understanding) that they abhor anything that smacks of discipline let alone constraint (they just want to play schoolyard ball). Attempts to invoke or operationalize even the most basic values or sensibilities of Islam are all too often experienced as negative indictments, whence the ubiquitous refrain, “Don’t judge me.” In the end, we end up with a lot of talent, a lot of dropouts (who still show up for the big game — Eid?), a bunch of pseudo-coaches and countless commentators, but never a team that has a snowball’s chance of winning. As corny as it may sound, all this ultimately brings us back to the simple value of Muslim unity — not uniformity. For only in unity can Muslims establish and give the needed multiplier effect to the knowledge, practices and “soul-support” that can sustain them as Muslims and enable them to face, with dignity and poise, the kinds of challenges, responsibilities and opportunities that any attempt to live a God-centered life is likely to bring. And God knows best.

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    Sherman Jackson

    Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.
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    Comments
    • Mahdi Tourage

      “Beyond all the lectures and blogs, Muslims need institutions, spaces and sites of direct encounter that sustain the practices and engagements that refine and educate Muslim souls.”
      I wish Dr. Jackson would elaborate on this insight. Now that the mosques have failed, how would these institutions look like? What models are out there in other civil/religious institutions that could be used as general blueprint for Muslims? Also the phrase “Muslim soul” is too vague.

      • Iskander

        Models need to be made, that’s the thing. In my area, for the youth, Islamic religious knowledge and practice happens at night school. My mother works with an Islamic organization that organizes Friday night school classes and provides teachers and rents a school for a night every Friday where they teach Muslim youth, in categories organized by their age, all sorts of Islamic principles and knowledge. Models won’t just randomly appear for you, it’s best if you take the initiative yourself. Muslim need to stop siting on their hands and realize that if we are to live in the West, then we need to be able to educate our youth in the Islamic knowledge that they won’t receive from school.

    • equityatwork

      Thanks, this is a great piece of writing. But few questions do arise in this battle between liberalism’s “public reason” and Islam. I have had few friends who left Islam for what they saw as flaws within it. One friend pointed to Quran and Hadith’s affirmation of “concubines” or sex-slaves. I re-read those passages and reliable Hadith’s and could not refute his reasoning and disdain for it. I pointed to flaws in liberalism and it’s history, he pointed to the fact that the thing with liberalism is that it is fluid, values reached through it can be changed once we have a better understanding of this world. On the other hand, he rightly pointed to the fact that Quran and Hadith cannot be changed. Needless to say, I was left speechless in this brief encounter. How would you respond to someone who says Quran cannot be changed and there are obvious things within it that we all disagree with?

      • Ismaail Abu Hanifa Qaiyim

        With all due respect I think you friend’s query greatly illustrates the point Dr. Jackson made in this essay. There is an assumption that concubinage is inherently immoral or wrong when contemporary standards are applied to passages that came about at a time when these practices were normal and acceptable. Liberalism posits a certain timelessness that makes its arguments seemingly universal, despite the reality that concubinage could be justified using liberal language if a reader wished to use liberal dictates to do so. In fact, slavery was justified in the U.S. using liberal public reason, and was opposed on largely religious moral grounds.Your friend also negates the internal debate within Islam over these passages, as they likely rely on literal readings of these texts without understanding how they apply-although I don’t want to infer to much from your comment. As for the point about liberalism changing, like all philosophical constructs the substance of practices in the real world that are ‘liberal’ will change as attitudes change (liberalism likely accelerates this feat with its focus on the individual autonomous self-as societies that are individually focused will emphasize different ethical concerns than those that are collectively focused), but the structure of liberalism as seemingly universal and ahistorical will not change. Liberalism is just as bound by history and context as is everything else-the only difference is that liberal arguments do not recognize these limitations. And opinions within Islam also change as time and context changes (although a strict baseline remains), for example many scholars have stated that slavery is now haram, despite verses that seem to acknowledge it in the Qur’an. The aspects of liberalism that you find agreeable also exist in Islam, yet many Muslims invest in liberal philosophy at the expense of understanding their own intricate traditions (not to say this applies to you).

        • equityatwork

          True. But you didn’t answer my question. If everything in Quran is perfect. Meaning it was perfect then as it is perfect now and will be for eternity. Then why was it ok then to do something and not now? This way, you’re just picking and choosing what you consider to be ok and what is not. Can scholars change what is clearly written in the Quran based on different times? Then it would make those scholars the biggest of all liberals. Also, nowhere in the Quran does it say it is open to interpretation based on who is reading it and what time of the century it is. I don’t think you have a very good grasp of the Quran. Do you think the sexual slavery is ok at the present because Allah and his prophet (pbuh) were ok with it?

          • Iskander

            > Then why was it ok then to do something and not now?

            Because historical, socio-cultural, and political frameworks change over time. Every scholar, when analyzing the Quran, has to take in the context of what it was written in. Slavery, for example, was common-place in Arabia. Scholar know that in that time, Slavery was a so engraved in Arabic society that it was difficult to remove entirely. In various ways, Islam tried to limit this Slavery by establishing more rights/equality for such slaves. Islam mandated much reward for freeing slaves and also mandated that if a person sin then he must free his slave. From these examples and many other ones, it is clear that the effort to remove/limit slavery was being made. Which is why scholar in the modern world have abolished and forbidden slavery by thorough consensus.

            > Can scholars change what is clearly written in the Quran based on different times?

            No. Bringing change within the Quran is forbidden. But its important to note that verses from the Quran cannot be understood at face-value and trying to do such is incredibly simple-minded. Historically scholars have spent their whole lives trying to analyze, interpret and understand the verses of the Quran. So its incredibly silly to think you can look at a verse once and act like you know everything about Islam know.

            > Also, nowhere in the Quran does it say it is open to interpretation based on who is reading it and what time of the century it is.

            Are you serious? The Quran doesn’t have to mandate every single thing for it to be practiced. Understanding the Quran through context is honestly the most basic of common sense. Also, its important to note that we laymen should not and cannot interpret the Quran. Doing this will obviously only create ignorance and spread simple-mindedness through the Muslim community.

            Islamic scholars aren’t meant to be liberal or for that matter, they’re not allowed to bring in any sort of bias when understanding the Quran. If you think you can skim over the Quran and think you can concisely understand it then you are gravely mistaken.

            • equityatwork

              Your answer to my first question contradicts your answer to my second question above. If they disagree with something plainly written and allowed in the Quran, then scholars are bringing in their biases. As are you, you are an apologists for something that is clearly written in Quran. So Quran and Allah’s word depends on what era and place it was? Also, if Quran and Muhammad (pbuh) tried to eradicate it, then why did Muhammad (pbuh) had sexual relations with slave girls, and let his closest companions have sexual relations with captured slave girls? Those scholars and you are involved in shirk, I hope Allah guides you well.

            • Tasleem Ras

              1. Arabian society was patriarchal. Power dynamics in sexual relations were skewed to the males. The real question is whether this represents the prescribed Quranic model, or whether the Quranic model imposed guidelines to control it’s practice. For this, a fairly detailed study of Quranic hermeneutics, historical sociology and contemporary norms is needed. Obviously, beyond the scope of this blog.
              2. Objectivity in Quranic interpretation does not exist. It cannot. Not as long as a human being is doing the interpretation. By our nature, we are bound by our social variables. To think that we will always and absolutely have complete untainted faith at all times is pretty far fetched. Of course there will be aspects that we will question. It is the nature of our creation that we are inquisitive, and challenging. But a deeper part of who we are is also submissive. Rationalism does not delve this deep.

            • equityatwork

              If the most powerful and the most merciful wanted to control something, he would have outlawed it. Allah does not play politics or negotiates with societies. Also, Quran clearly says there is only one Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) is his last messenger. Quran is not open to interpretations. Allah gave Muhammad and his companions the booty of war in terms of concubines (sexual slavery). That much is clear from the Quran and the magical Hadiths. If you don’t agree with it, then sorry to say, but you’re not a true muslim and may Allah guide you away from this ‘liberalism’ thinking that you know better and what is clearly written in our HOLY BOOK is wrong.

            • Tasleem Ras

              Aslm alkm. A true Muslim:
              1. Loves Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) more than himself
              2. Loves for his Muslim brother/sister what he loves for himself.
              I know the state of my heart. Please make du’ah for me.

              Allah knows best.
              Peace.

            • equityatwork

              May be you should start knowing Islam as half as well you know the state of your heart. If Allah knows best, then stop questioning the clear verses of the Quran woman.

            • Claudius

              Slavery is definitely a part of Islam, and Islamic slavery is a far more humane system than laissez faire capitalism. Those who permit riba (even the mushrik romans thought usury was as bad as murder) have no right to attack Islam for its just system of enslavement, I recommend anyone to read George Fitzhugh (especially Cannibals All) to see how slavery is far more just than capitlism

              however, your use of whimsical terms like “magical” to refer to ahadith, and the use of “woman” as an insult, make me suspect you are a troll, and probably a worthless mulhid

            • equityatwork

              Here you go another muslim apologist trying to defend Islam from westerns and their system of social economics. There’s no need to defend it, slavery as you say is far more just. Especially sexual slavery, those women after a war (having just lost husbands, fathers, and sons), need some one. It’s OBVIOUSLY better than capitalism.

              Why would you call a human being worthless and names who defends true Islam? Something a know-nothing kafir would do. Even concubines in Islam are worth more than kafirs such as yourself.

            • Iskander

              I really didn’t want this to escalate so much. Can we just have an honest intellectual discussion?

              [Point number 12 in the official rebutal of the action of ISIS, written by Numurous Islamic Scholars] —

              “The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.”

              http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/

              Dude, Slavery is not okay and everyone here has given legitimate reasoning why you shouldn’t condone it as that is incredibly simple-minded. But tell me. If you’re not going to listen to me or the other users are you going to deny what scholars say as well? Now that would be a foolish thing to do.

              Did you completely ignore all I wrote on why slavery is forbidden?

            • equityatwork

              I would rather deny these scholars than the book of Allah. Which one do you select? Liberalism or Allah?

              Looks like your choice is clear. May your American masters treat you well.

            • Claudius

              ” There’s no need to defend it, slavery as you say is far more just”
              It is just, but liberals need to know why it is just, hence the “apology”

              ” Something a know-nothing kafir would do. Even concubines in Islam are worth more than kafirs such as yourself.:
              You sound like either a takfiri idiot, or a mulhid troll. Hope you hang. Bye

            • equityatwork

              I’d rather be either of those things than someone who has to appease his liberal masters at every turn. Don’t worry I won’t be hanging anytime soon, say hi to your western masters for me.

            • Ismaail Abu Hanifa Qaiyim

              There isn’t much point in arguing about the way the Qur’an should be understood without acknowledging the way Muslim intellectuals interact with it and understand it. There is a diverse and intricate tradition with many divergent thoughts and opinions about what is in the Qur’an. Islam is not a religion of simple literalisms, and you have yet to accept this fact. You’ve exposed your bias and intention and it’s pointless to engage any further.

            • equityatwork

              Muhammad (pbuh) warned about these factions aka “diverse and intricate tradition[s].” These so called “intellectuals” are apologists, to the western world for Islam so the west can like us. We have no need to apologize. WE don’t need to appease liberals. Accept Islam as full as it is clearly written in the Quran or declare yourself Kafirs. I am afraid a day will come when these “divergent thoughts” will start questioning the existence of Allah and you’ll excuse it as “opinions” that should be respected more than clear words of our Holy Book.

            • Claudius

              Slavery is a part of Islam, but I doubt you have the authority to takfeer someone over it.

              The best argument against slavery in modern times is not that it is morally wrong (as the best of creations, peace be upon him, also engaged in it), but that it is inefficient in a modern industrialized economy. Slavery and serfdom kept the vast majority of workers into the countryside, as they could not leave at will, which was problematic for any society wishing to become industrialized, since it needed people to migrate from the country and into the cities, were the industries were located. Therefore, it can easily be argued that slavery, even if morally acceptable, is of little use in modern societies, for purely pragmatic considerations

            • equityatwork

              That’s the best argument against slavery? Best argument against murder then would be that it takes a person out of the workforce? Weren’t you just ranting about evils of capitalism? Looks like you don’t know what you’re talking about or you’re just a troll.

            • Ajay122

              Equityatwork, you are just building up a straw man and trying to knock it down thinking that such contemplations have never been part of the Islamic record. If you want to attack Islam on matters of belief, you need to engage aqeedah in a more sophisticated way rather than doing what the typical islamophobe would do which is cherry pick historical or cultural oddities and make them seem somehow the edifice upon which the entire coherence of the religion is based.

            • equityatwork

              Thanks for not even remotely answering my question. And I am not an Islamophobe, that’s what you apologists label anyone who questions Islam. I am a true Muslim who is not afraid ask questions and accept Islam in FULL, which obviously you are not.

              So was sexual slavery legal or illegal in times of Muhammad (pbuh) as prescribed the Quran and whether he practiced it or whether he did not?

              And you don’t get to cherry pick it any more than I do. It’s our religion, either you accept it in full or you don’t accept it at all. If you don’t, then it’s shirk, simple as that. And you’re a kafir for it.

            • equityatwork
        • Daayiee Abdullah

          “And opinions within Islam also change as time and context changes (although a strict baseline remains)…”, can free-thinking and acting Muslim women, LGBTQI Muslims, the disabled and non-Muslims expect “such” change in this century?

      • ChaoticWin

        I would suggest to your friend that Islam came as a reformation, and in order to effectively reform people, the changes could not be drastic and sudden, or else the people would have been hesitant to accept them, and moreover many drastic changes in society can have dramatic and ill effects. Thus, the goal is to eradicate the negatives in society, but not to do it such a pace as to wreck the world in the process. Consider, for example, 2:219:

        “They ask you about [the] intoxicants and [the] games of chance Say, “In both of them (is) a sin great, and (some) benefits for [the] people. But sin of both of them (is) greater than (the) benefit of (the) two.” And they ask you what they (should) spend. Say, “The surplus.” Thus makes clear Allah to you [the] Verses so that you may ponder,”

        [Other translations include such rendering as “in them there is some good, but it is better if you do not.”]

        Thus makes clear the verses so that you may ponder, so actually ponder them! Is it so different from secular laws in most countries which prohibit drunk driving? Is it actually saying NO NO NO DON’T DRINK IF YOU DRINK YOU GO STRAIGHT TO HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION? No, it is peaceable, approaching people who have a problem with their gambling/drinking and telling them they are still decent people, encouraging them as human beings and advising that they would be better off if they quit altogether. That is moderation in action, to achieve a worthy goal.

        As to hadith, there are many who do not rely at all on them. Authenticity has always been a major issue, and many only rely on them out of tradition. Consider also the wide divergences in the four extant schools of Sunni theology, and how some rely on more hadith than others do. Clearly there has been some disagreements about what is true, and yet for the most part all of these peoples get along together in peace.The only truly authentic, unchanged document we have is Al-Qur’an — which is held as true by all Muslims regardless of Sunni, Shia, Ibadi, Sufi, etc., despite all their differences in jurisprudence, culture, traditions, and so forth. In light of this, is hadith truly an integral part of Islam such that one cannot be Muslim without it? I think not.

        I hope I have answered your questions and helped you. If I am wrong in anything of which I have related here, may Allah forgive me.

    • Omar Haggag

      This is an amazing piece! Thank you Dr. Jackson! And thank you Islamic Monthly for publishing this very rich article.

    • O. Locke

      terrible article written by a moslem apologist.

      • Ajay122

        you have written a terrible reply with no substance.

        • O. Locke

          it is hard to deal with a fact when you disagree with it. huh, pal?

          learn to live with it.

          thanks!

          • Ajay122

            another meaningless point. Thanks for sharing!!

            • O. Locke

              you’re welcome, pal!

              my pleasure.

      • equityatwork

        It is Muslim* And yes most of these modern “muslims” are apologists for things they don’t like in our HOLY BOOK or the HADITHS.

        • O. Locke

          we spell it moslem in the west.

          and I think the koran should be looked at as arabic poetry. Although I do love the hadith about the stone with the stick marks.

          • Claudius

            And I think atheists should be hanged in public square, preferably with maximum pain and suffering as possible.

    • Quaiser A

      It is a rich piece, however, the comments below show the insidious manner in which the same liberalism that the article addresses has seeped into how we process and analyze this conversation piece. In the article, Dr. Jackson speaks about how the mosques have failed. There is truth, coupled with a certain degree of oversimplification at play in that analysis.

      Firstly, when he challenges the mosques to do something different, if our first reaction is to ask, “Well, since the mosques failed, what other institutions or models can we set up?” then we ourselves have fallen into the liberalism trap. I think it illustrates a mindset of those who are not familiar with the trench work involved in building inner-city houses of worship that can accommodate the same spectrum of perspectives and approaches that Dr. Jackson highlights. If the first approach is to replace instead of re-envision and re-align and re-tool, then the universality of liberalism that says that because this does not fit our liberal ideas is what is being employed to address a problem that it itself claimed to identify. The statement, “But, as Stanley Fish has vigorously argued, liberalism starts out saying that unshared, closed commitments cannot be bridged; then it goes on to somehow synthesize these into a [‘common ground’]” speaks most directly to this point.

      Secondly, there is a significant disconnect between the intellectual capacity in the community and the community builders on the ground. Our collective community and consciousness is struggling with marrying precisely what Dr. Jackson highlights in this piece. When the trajectory of Islam focused on knowledge as the panacea for all our ills, it did so at the expense of the spiritual growth and development that was needed to guide that knowledge. We attempted to intellectualize spirituality – which in our context – can lead to good manners, moral behavior and responsible citizenship (macro and micro level). We fallaciously presumed that we could develop spirituality simply through learning. We have seen the issues this has brought to the doorstep of Islam in recent history. I think the article does a good job of touching on this to continue the process of raising this challenge and putting it at the forefront of the discourse.

      • O. Locke

        pedantic.

        And for what reason? I could re-write this and it would be less than a paragraph.

        Did you become msulim in prison or something?

    • Adis Duderija

      i have three problems with this piece :
      1. which Muslim values and which practices? they are contested and my understanding of Muslim values and practices is/can be very different to that of orthodox islam both sunni and sh’i.

      2. prof.Jackson seems to imply that there are no shared universals ……this is problematic to say the least

      3. the idea that only liberalism values highly individual rights in contrest to “ilsma’ has been proven to be wrogn by schoalrs like A.Sachedima and Abou El Fadl to name prominent few

    • Adnān Khālid

      Mash’Allah I enjoyed the read, I just wanted to add for the brothers and sisters that keep referring that the Mosques have failed, I see him saying the effects have been neutralized but the Mosque have not failed in a general sense, nor will they ever. They are the houses of Allah and will always be filled with Rahmat. I certainly believe he implies ideas of how the Mosque can better serve Muslims facing this type of dilemna (and other problems), which usually pertains to individual Muslims blaming Mosque because they haven’t found the “spiritual substance” they need to increase their faith through answers. They have valid concerns that need to be addressed by us a Muslim community, but how many who claim Mosque are failing to attend and do the A’maal (Righteous actions) of the Mosque? Who goes and sits in Zikr after Salat, attends prayer in jam’aat (congregation) on daily basis? How many go and invite others to attend prayers at the mosque daily that was prevalent in the days of the Prophet’s Mosque? Those who sincerely want to find serenity and peace find it in the Mosques. And finally people to need to take initiative, go spend 8-10 years studying in the deserts at the feet of scholars to learn this sacred knowledge, and bring it back and contribute to change, don’t just sit here claiming the Mosque have failed. There are plenty of us who did this and we don’t feel they failing, rather they are providing guidance and closeness for thousands of Muslims.

    • Stop Islamophobia! watch , share and diminish media lies! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It_X7CFVsFI

      • O. Locke

        islamophobia doesn’t exist, pal.

        why justify the murder of innocent people, the subjugation of women, or the glorification of a pederast who married a 6 year old girl then raped her at 9 years old?

        shame on you, pal!

        • lol, you must be living in the west. Google search islamophobia, or just YouTube it and you will know..and your comment is a proof that islamophobia exists! humour

          btw, take my advice, stop watching television, sky, fox news! they have brainwashed you

          • O. Locke

            look, pal.

            YOU need to stop watching those entertainment outlets. I’ll just look at/visit any mosque on a friday to see anti-western propaganda, blatant death cultism, and the subjugation of women.

            islam MUST reform itself or risk confrontation with the west.

            denying facts doesn’t change them.

            thanks for your input and giving me the opportunity to clarify my position, pal.

            • i will give u a LOL again! what entertainment outlets!? its you speaking what the media says, and not using your head! You dont know anything about Islam, tell me how much u have studied Quran? how much do you know about history, dont cite anti-islamic sources!
              and which mosques was it that you visited? Point out what should be changed about Islam? Do state your religion.There is not subjugation of women in islam, but rather you will find it in the society! Everywhere women are being sold, their image is being sold! They told what to wear, told how to look! They dont find confidence except in makeup

            • O. Locke

              look, pal.

              my familiarity with islam isn’t at issue. what IS at issue is the necessity of islam and mulsims to reform their faith or risk confrontation with the other 5 billion people on the planet that will never practice their faith.

              now, you can laugh all you like. THAT won’t change the fact that islam has become a death cult that subjugates women, encourages violence, and encourages its adherents to deny basic truths about the faith.

              Any person can visit a mosque on a friday and see the subjugation of women. I can post video and audio of imams encouraging violence against women, your denials are meaningless.

              it is time that muslims stop denying political islam’s negative aspects and reject it whole heartedly or face the west and have us force changes upon islam.

              thanks for your input and allowing me to clarify, pal.

        • Aasiyah Sattar

          I am now totally convinced that you have lost touch with reality. The most hilarious part about is that ,you’ve created this animated world which you seem so comfortable in, hoping not to seem too obnoxious when you truthfully are. Your ignorance of wasting time having redundant conversations with various muslims using the same old boring bullcrap comments which’s doesn’t seem to bore you as much as the bore me.
          So let’s get back to reality here before your brain and mental ability becomes extinct and neighbours strap your arse down and carry you off to a mental asylum. Think of me as your Mr Miyagee..
          Lesson One :
          The term “Islamophobia” was first introduced as a concept in a 1991 Runnymede Trust Report and defined as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” The term was coined in the context of Muslims in the UK in particular and Europe in general, and formulated based on the more common “xenophobia” framework..
          Islamophobia – Wikipedia,
          Islamophobia (or anti-Muslim sentiment) is a term for prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam or Muslims. The term entered into common English usage in 1997 with the publication of a report by the Runnymede Trust condemning negative emotions such as fear, hatred, and dread directed at Islam or Muslims. While the term is now widely used, both the term itself and the underlying concept have been criticized.
          The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are still debated. Some scholars have defined it as a type of racism. Some commentators have posited an increase in Islamophobia resulting from the September 11 attacks, while others have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the United States, the European Union and other secular nations.

          If WIKIPEDIA has a definition for it, that means sh!t just got real..

          Lesson 2 :
          STOP WITH THE “PAL” LABELLING..
          Its evident enough that your intelligence and common sense doesn’t exist but to constatantly have us be reminded about it, is not a new discovery to us. Let alone making it seem like we apart of your mentally challenged and hideous idiotic friend group, who loses their brain cells as a hobby..

          Please know that I’m attentive enough and discovered that your ability to grasp and understand information given to you takes a lot longer than the rest of us, so I will be super patient and understanding
          Unless its just your stupidity to not read, just so you could once again prove that your empty vessel cannot be filled..

          Let’s begin, I’ve taken lots of time to have it written in “your westernized vernacular” which won’t make me seem like another muslim apologist..

          Lesson 3 :
          Firstly ,Aisha’s (RA)parents were the ones who married her to our Prophet, and that no Muslim or even pagan objected to the marriage because it was widely practiced.  And even until today in 3rd world countries (Muslims and non-Muslims), little girls as young as 9 or 10 do get married.  Anyway, the reason no one objected was to the Prophet’s marriage was:

          People used to have very short life-spans in Arabia.   They used to live between 40 to 60 years maximum.  So it was only normal and natural for girls to be married off at ages 9 or 10 or similar.

          Marriage for young girls was widely practiced among Arabs back then, and even today in many third-world non-Muslim and Muslim countries. 
           
          Ex :Child brides as young as 8 (eight) were common among the Byzantine emperors and nobility!

          This specifically says they were common and not exceptions!
            
          “In 1895, the age of consent in Delaware was 7, according to an article in The New York Times.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent_reform). ^ “PURITY CONGRESS MEETS; A Great Gathering for Moral Work in the City of Baltimore. AIMS AND OBJECTS OF THE MOVEMENT Determined to Prevent State Regulation of Vice and to Rescue Fallen Men and Fallen Women.”. The New York Times (BALTIMORE, Oct. 14.). October 15, 1895.
            
          Also according to this the minimum age for marriage in the US-State of Delaware in year 1880 was 7
          “Age of Consent Laws ” in Children and Youth in History, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/24 (accessed March 2, 2013). Annotated by Stephen Robertson.
          And the polytheist trinitarian pagans have the nerve to speak about pedophilia? 
          Never forget also that according to the Roman Catholics’ Encyclopedia “New Advent”, Mary was as young as 12 when she married 99-year old Joseph.  This means that she was around 11 when she got pregnant with Jesus.  Visit: http://www.answering-christianity.com/aisha.htm.

          Also, Emperors and even Bible Prophets married girls as young as 8. 

          Furthermore, according to the Jewish Talmud, Prophet Moses and his followers had sex with girls as young as 3 years old  Yes, THREE years old.  You read it right.

          • O. Locke

            look, bud.

            the want of many to escape islamic imposition of morality and law is NOT islamophobia.

            That’s called living in the twenty-first century. we like our medicine, books, science, algebra (an early muslim invention), women’s rights, picture drawing, and the rejection of the idea that horses have wings and can “fly to heaven” (we can be sure you bought that part too).

            I will give you points for trying to use islamic apologetics to answer the damning charges against your chosen cult.

            thanks for the exchange and allowing me to educate you, bud!

            CHEERS!

        • Aasiyah Sattar

          Part 2 : ( Continuation )
          It is important to know that girls during the Biblical and Islamic days used to be married off at young ages when they either had their first periods, or their breasts start showing off.  In other words, when they turn into “women”, then they get married off.  It was quite different for men on the other hand, because physical power and the ability of living an independent life had always been and will always be a mandatory requirement for men to have in life.  So men waited much longer than women in terms of getting married.  The guy had to develop both his body and mind before he was ready for marriage. 

          That is why you see girls as young as 9 or 10 were married to men as old as 30 or even older.  The culture back then and in many third world countries today (NON-MUSLIM ONES TOO) is quite different than what you live in today. 

          Prophet Muhammad’s marriage with Aisha was 100% legal and acceptable by all laws and Divine Religions!
           
          So to call Prophet Muhammad a pedophile for marrying a girl that was OFFERED TO HIM by her parents and was accepted by all of the people back then including the enemies of Islam, the pagans, is quite absurd.

          The pedophilia in the bible was quite different, because girls were raped at 3-years of age by Moses and his men.

          Also, in Exodus 21:7-11 as further elaborated on below, girls were sold off as slave girls by their own fathers to other men.  So most certainly, no one is qualified to call the Prophet of Islam a pedophile!

          *** X-Rated Pornography in the Bible.

          Young girls in the Bible and Jewish Talmud.  Let’s look at two main points in the Bible:

          1-  3-year old slave girls were forced into sex under the Mosaic Law in the Bible.
          2-  Fathers can sell their daughters as slave girls to other men in the Bible. 

          Is the GOD of Israel a pedophile?
          Numbers 31:35-40 “[From the captives of war] 32,000 women who had never slept with a man…….of which the tribute for the LORD was 32 [among them were virgin girls].”

          Even though GOD Almighty’s share of the 32 virgin girls is metaphoric, meaning that He didn’t come down and have sex with them, but if any wants to call Prophet Muhammad a pedophile or womanizer for marrying (his best friend’s daughter with both her parents’ approval) a young girl and marrying multiple women throughout his life, then he should not only call his Biblical Prophets as such, but also the GOD of Israel Himself!

          Also today, the Jewish law for marriage sets the age of consent for females at 11. (Consent is only one way of marriage) I do not know if modern Jewish law still allows (in theory) betrothal by intercourse as it was practiced in ancient times.

          Thirty years ago, the renowned sexologist R.E.L. Masters and Allan Edwardes said in their study of Afro-Asian sexual expression (_The Cradle of Erotica_, Julian Press, New York:1962) said, “Today, in many parts of North Africa, Arabia, and India, girls are wedded and bedded between the ages of five and nine; and no self-respecting female remains unmarried beyond the age of puberty.”

          **** Also, the age consent in the US and Europe only 100 years ago for girls’ marriage was as little as 10, and some popular men figures married little girls who were as young as their daughters.

          By the way, please visit: X-Rated Pornography in the Bible.  The Bible literally says that women’s vaginas and breasts taste like “wine”.

          Also : Fathers sticking their fingers into their daughters’ vaginas before marriage in the Bible.

          2-  Fathers can sell their daughters as slave girls to other men in the Bible:

          Exodus 21:7-11
          7. “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.
          8. “If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her.
          9. “If he designates her for his son [P.S “his son” means that the master is either her father’s age or even much older!], he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters.
          10. “If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights.
          11. “If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

          First of all, did the daughter have any choice to be sold off by her father, married off by her master to either himself or his son?  No!

          Also, the fact that the master can either marry her or marry her off to his son, means that MOST LIKELY, SHE IS HIS DAUGHTER’S AGE and younger than his son!!  So he’s probably at least 30+ years older than her.  Yet, he himself (her father’s age or even MUCH older) can marry her.

          Also, the fact that there is no AGE LIMIT to how girls in the Bible were sold off and married off to other men, WITHOUT ANY CHOICE, who were much much older than them as also the case with the Biblical Prophets who married 100s of wives each clearly proves the hypocrisy of some Christians who attack Islam through Aisha’s very young age, while they clearly ignore the same fact in their own Bible.  Here is a sample of the 100s of wives of the Biblical Prophets:

          In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.

          In 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3, King David had six wives and numerous concubines.

          In 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

          In 2 Chronicles 11:21, King Solomon’s son Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines.
          Aisha was “9” when she married our Prophet.  If this is weird or unacceptable to you, then are BOTH HER PARENTS and the whole Arabs’ culture BACK THEN also guilty for giving her and others like her in marriage to other men, 1500 years ago?

          Even today, girls in many third-world countries are married off at the same or similar age.  Also, it is believed by many Jews and Roman Catholics that Mary was 12 – 14 when she had Jesus.   Also as I said, the Biblical Prophets who had 100s of wives each most probably married young girls as well.

          Also, what about Aisha’s PARENTS (MOM AND DAD)?   Didn’t they see it right and fit to marry their daughter at that age and at that time?   Who are we to judge?

          Also, see why Muta (temporary) Marriage was allowed and why it was discontinued.

          A picture and news paper article about a 9-year old girl from Thailand gave birth

          A 12-year old Christian girl getting married in Romania

          Also as I said, didn’t the Biblical Prophets marry 100s of wives each?   Is it possible that some of those wives were little girls as well?  It’s both highly probable and possible!
           

          The fact that his own Biblical Prophets married 100s of wives each and fathers used to sell their daughters as slave girls to other men without any age limit makes it extremely possible and probable that several if not many of these wives were little girls between 9 to 13, while the Prophets were MUCH MUCH OLDER than them.  If his own grandmother who exited THOUSANDS of years later still married at 12, then what makes it impossible for girls during Biblical times to have married way much older men than them when they were little ones?

          Since there is no age limit for the girl to be sold by her own father as a slave girl to another man, WHO CAN HAVE SEX WITH HER, then I want to ask
          Aren’t you a total hypocrite for denying that little girls were sold off and married off during biblical times at very young age to much much older men (as I proved in Exodus 21:9 above), while making fierce charges against Islam on Aisha’s age?

          How would you respond ?
           
          Also, Other Important Related Topics:
          1.   Did Prophet Muhammad really “thigh” Aisha?  Idiots like you would say it is highly doubtful!  But despite that, I still debunked you for it!
          So here’s my challenge to you:  Since GOD Almighty enabled females in Aisha’s age to get pregnant, as it happened even in our world today with the 9-year old Thai girl giving birth, then why can’t her age be the minimum age for marriage, especially during the Biblical and Islamic days where people used to die between the ages of 40s and 50s due to diseases and malnutrition?

          Another Challenge:  Why do you fail to give a single reference, beside that ridiculous statement about her being rape?  And why is the bible not rejected for containing far worse points (virgin girls as young as 3 were raped and little boys were killed by Moses and his men) than the one raised against Islam, which is doubtful to begin with?

          Prophet Muhammad lived among pagans who literally worshiped in nakedness!
          Women as war booties in the Bible.
          Coveting the neighbor’s wife and another man’s wife.
          Judah and the prostitute. No punishment!
          Lot’s offering of his daughters as prostitutes!
          Favoritism to Lot over the innocent children!
          David committed Covet, Adultery and Murder!
          David’s selective murder was never condemned!
          Jesus too broke the Mosaic Law!
          Jesus kissed Mary Magdalene on the mouth!
          Prophet Muhammad and Aisha.
          Young girls married off to much older men in the Bible.
          Moses and his men raped 3-year old slave girls!
          Digital Defloration to virgins in the Bible.  Fingers inserted into virgins’ vaginas before marriage in the Bible!
           

          • O. Locke

            see response to your ignorant and reprehensible defense of pedophilia on “Part 3”

            • Aasiyah Sattar

              Ignorance is in all agreement is well awarded to you. If you can’t understand or make sense of what I’ve written, its not the inforrmation I’ve provided but the reciever of the information who can’t deffrentiate between opinionated writting which I’ve written from my own peersonal point of view which in theory means jack crap to anyone reading and the
              ” Quoted text is taken from” Understanding the Pedophile Psyche ” courtesy of the Police Federation of England & Wales:

              http://www.polfed.org/magazine

              OK because stupidity doesn’t allow you to identify this I’ll spell it out for you coz the stickman drawings option is still being invented..

              THE INFORMATION WAS WRITTEN BY THE POLICE FEDERATION OF ENGLAND & WALES ( YOUR PLACE OF BIRTH ) SO IF YOU FIND WHAT WAS WRITTEN USELESS THEN ATLEAST WE BOTH AGREE ON THE BRITISH BEING STUPID..BUT I HAVE NOT SUCKED THIS INFO OUT OF MY ARSE, THAT IS A MASTERED SKILL WHICH IS TOO FAMILIAR TO YOU SO COULD YOU AT LEAST PRETEND TO SOUND INTELLIGENT AND END THE REPETITION TO EVERY COMMENT WITH APOLEGIST AND DEFENCE.
              I know your stupid arse didn’t even take the time to read what I’ve written..Now in all seriousness you an arse, and your comments make no sense neither is it worth reading..You are a waste of space on this page and your arrogance and stupid hating comments which is not only deafning but irritating..When you grow a pair which actually proves to have an atom worth of intelligence you may come back to the discussion where the adults will be conversating.
              In the mean time please go back to the school or institute where your education was founded and get a REFUND..
              I never thought any normal human being could lose common sense, but you’ve proven me wrong..I advise you to hire a search party for that..

            • O. Locke

              astugfrillah! using profanity! very islamic.

              look, bud.

              this is typical. you don’t like the facts about your pederast prophet so you attack me personally. please don’t get violent, bud.

              now, it doesn’t matter where you found the information you used to support your apologetics.

              you can’t on the one hand claim muhammad’s pedophilia was alright because of the time period then use contemporary sources to show that muhammad wasn’t a pedophile. WE KNOW he was a pedophile. we have Aisha’s word on that.

              although I will say thnak you for the illustrative comments of the common muslim that can’t understand venerating a man who “talked to god” so that he could sleep with a child is a morally reprehensible position.

              thanks, bud!

              CHEERS!

            • Aasiyah Sattar

              Ohhh there we go again…another idiot who label Muslims murderers & terrorist let alone belittling my prophet (saw) as a child molester .but demands humility,respect and morality because im a Muslim? ?? R U FREAKEN KIDDING ME! !! Listen BUDDY my prophet had all those qualities and much more patience. Me on the other hand will acknowledge my sin but would not let idiots like yourself infect your ignorance around like a fashion parade..you a idiot and I’m the one person nice enough to let u know, I bet ur buddy’s are saying it behind ur back pissing themselves larfing at you. .so show some gratitude. .

            • O. Locke

              look.

              marrying a 6 year old and raping her when she turns 9 is a crime. if you want to venerate a man who did practiced pedophilia go ahead. no one is stopping you.

              But you’d better not practice that or advocate it in any western country or you will go to prison when you get caught. no religion and no religious person no matter how “holy” they claim to be can do such things to children and have their followers claim that other humans must respect them and their practice.

              shame on you for your admiration of a man that raped a child!

              SHAME!

            • Aasiyah Sattar

              Maybe u shud be imprisoned for the stupidity you are blessed with..the amount of money wasted on war should be donated to an institute that will help you to grasp what you ‘re being told..have you no common sense or maybe u cant read which is a serious disability which needs urgent recognition..I’m beginning to think you are honestly mentally challenged and that is a serious medical condition.pal don’t be embarrassed to ask for help..by the looks of It your symptoms seems fatal..I’ll assist you as a concerned citizen if need be..but I’m truly concerned about your brain damage. .
              The Catholic sex abuse cases are a series of allegations, investigations, trials and convictions of child sexual abuse crimes committed by priests, nuns and members of Roman Catholic orders against boys and girls as young as 3 years old with the majority between the ages of 11 & 14..the accusations started to receive wide publicity in the late 1980’s….the cases received media and public attention throughout Canada,Ireland and United States according to pew research centre study..from 2001 to 2010 the sex abuse allegations concerning 3000 priests dated back up to 50 Years according to the Vatican Promoter Of Justice
              A 2012 police report detailed 40 Suicide Deaths directly related to abuse by Catholic clergy in the state of Victoria. . ( again ur stupidity needs evident proof of dumb u are)..
              SHAME ON YOUR PAEDOPHILIA PRIESTS WHO ARE STILL EXISTING AS WE SPEAK …LIVING IN YOUR BULLCRAP WESTERNIZED COUNTRY WHICH IS OVER POPULATED WITH BARBARISM AND IDIOTS LIKE YOURSELF. .
              ASTAGAFIRLLAH..May God forgive your pathetic need to hate one man on false accusations and love a million holier to u who commits the worst crimes on your future generation. .
              Now that’s is truly a shame. .

            • O. Locke

              I agree with you.

              catholicism is as ridiculous as islam. but catholics aren’t committing acts of terrorism in the U.S. at the moment moslems are doing that. we could also talk about the abuse of young boys by afghan muslims. SICK!

              muslims must differentiate themselves from the moslems. you’re upset. I see it. I read it. btut hat doesn’t change the facts.

              islam must be reformed. fact.

              work on it.

              thanks!

            • Aasiyah Sattar

              Now see how idiotic you are. Your concern on worldly affairs is more important then ur daughter getting raped by a priest??? Or any girl or boy for that matter? Abuse of boys in Afghanistan done by USA military soldiers who were probably rape victims of the Catholic priests yes media covered that years ago..Just for a moment stop hating and see how stupid u sound..I’m not even close to being upset truthfully. .annoyed yes with ur childish remarks and unrealistic request .. a child can have a better conversation with an intelligent intellect then u..

            • O. Locke

              look, bud.

              I just agreed with you on the child rape in religion. that doesn’t absolve islam of its crimes against children and humanity.

              islam must be reformed.

              thanks for your input and the exchange, bud.

        • Aasiyah Sattar

          Part 3 : DON’T DRIFT AWAY I SEE YOU LOSING FOCUS : CONCENTRATE I’M GETTING TO THE BEST PARTS
          ( Bare with me , like I said I’m speaking in your vernacular here)
          And if you still don’t understand after this, I’m sorry then I don’t think your westernized country possess enough crayons and pages for me to draw stick men interpretations..

          Did Jesus and his mother Mary violate the Law when Mary made Jesus wear her garment
            
          Please pay attention to the Virgin Mary’s (peace be upon her) age.  According to Christian resources, Mary was 12-14 when she had Jesus.  You will also see proofs from the Jews’ Holiest Book, the Talmud, that girls were married off before at the age of 3, meaning that the Bible’s Old Testament has no age limit on when girls can marry, and certainly the Jews had awfully abused it in the past.  You will also see a section on the Prophets of the Bible who married hundreds of wives and some had even slept with their neighbor’s wives and some had exposed their wives in the most disgusting PORNOGRAPHIC way to the entire world in the Bible.  You will also see my response to the missionaries’ argument: “Jesus never got married, so therefore Muhammad is not truthful”.

          Every time the Muslims talk about Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to the anti-Islamic, the anti-Islamic use Muhammad’s marriage with a girl named Aisha as a point against Islam.   They claim that since Muhammad was in his 50’s and Aisha was only 9 years old, then its ok to call him a “Child Molester”:

          Narrated by Aisha:  “The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Alright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.  (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Merits of the Helpers in Madinah (Ansaar), Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234)”

          Notice here that Aisha’s mother and the Muslim women back then were ok with her marriage.  It was part of the Arab custom and still is in many of the Muslim and non-Muslim countries today for girls to marry at a very young age.  When a girl’s body starts showing up (her breasts and her height and physical size), then she would be ready for marriage.  This is further elaborated on in the “The Middle Eastern and other Cultures” and “What about Aisha’s parents (mon and dad), are they too “Child Molesters”?” and “The life span 1400 years ago was very short” .

          The “child molester” charge is a terrible unfair attack on Islam because it doesn’t apply to our beloved prophet in anyway!

          A picture and news paper article about a 9-year old girl from Thailand gave birth
           

          A 12-year old Christian girl getting married in Romania

           

          Child brides as young as 8 (eight) were common among the Byzantine emperors and nobility!

          The article specifically says they were common and not exceptional
          Aisha was engaged to someone else before she got engaged to Muhammad.

          Aisha was already engaged to a non Muslim man named Jober Ibn Al-Moteam Ibn Oday.  Back then, the people of Mecca did not object to Aisha’s engagement to Jober because she was physically big enough and tall enough to be considered for marriage.  Her parents saw that and they engaged her to Jober.

          The only reason why Aisha’s father, Abu Baker Al Siddeek, broke her engagement with Jober is because he was a non-Muslim.  Later, a woman named Kholeah Bint Hakeem suggested for Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to marry Aisha, because the Prophet and Abu Baker became best friends.   Prophet Muhammad engaged Aisha for 2 years before he married her. 

          All Muslim scholars agree 100% that Prophet Muhammad and Aisha were engaged for 2 years before marriage.  However, some say that she was 7 when she got engaged, and 9 when she got married.  Others say that she was 9 when she got engaged and 11 when she got married.

          I personally think that it makes more logical sense to say that she was 9 when she got engaged to Prophet Muhammad and 11 when she got married, because if she were 7 when she got engaged to the Prophet, then how old was she when she first got engaged to Jober?  I don’t think she was big enough and mature enough to get engaged with Jober before the age of 7.  I don’t think her parents would have allowed it.

          If you take the time to study a little bit about the history of the tribes in South America, Middle East, Africa, India and the far eastern Oriental countries 1400 years ago, you would find that many tribes even until today (as shown in the Thai girl’s and the 12-year old Romanian girl ) allow the marriage of females at a very young age.

          Do you think it is fair for you to come today and attack our beloved Prophet and call him a child molester when nobody 1400 years ago from his tribe had objected to his marriage? Not even the Pagans of Mecca, nor the Jews and Christians of Medina ever objected to it or used it as a point against Islam as anti-Islamic do today.

          We all need to understand the culture that we are talking about. Life in the Middle East is a very simple one. It is a lot simpler than what our brain can imagine, because the simplest to us here in America may be a very difficult or complicated thing to them in the Middle East especially for those folks who live in tribes in the rural areas where they don’t have TV, electricity, or any electrical equipment. They live on natural water and survive on what they have available from fruits, vegetables and animals as food.

          Parents look at the girl’s physical appearance when they prepare her for marriage. They don’t care about her age. She could be 9 or 13, it doesn’t matter.

          What about Aisha’s parents (mom and dad), are they too “Child Molesters”?

          Since Aisha’s parents both approved of her engagement with Jober and later approved to her marriage to Muhammad, is it fair for anyone to call her mom and dad and former fiancée and whole tribe all child molesters? I think whoever does that would be out of his mind and needs to study a little history about the Middle East.

          Look at the following narration:

          Narrated Aisha:  “The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Alright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.  (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Merits of the Helpers in Madinah (Ansaar), Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234)”

          Notice here that Aisha’s mother and the Muslim women back then were ok with her marriage.  It was part of the Arab custom and still is in many of the Muslim and non-Muslim countries today for girls to marry at a very young age.  When a girl’s body starts showing up (her breasts and her height and physical size), then she would be ready for marriage.
          Here are points that perhaps could be of some use in the defense of the marriage of Lady Aisha to our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).

          “Firstly – if indeed the marriage of Lady Aisha was something which was despicable even at that time and in that culture, this fact would never have been recorded for posterity and all efforts to conceal or cloud it would have been undertaken.

          But the fact that this hadith had reached us after it was recorded centuries ago and to all the Muslim generations in between proved that the marriage was culturally and morally acceptable and the fact is also that the Muslim community at that time remained unshakened in its faith in his Prophethood and the message which he had brought bear testimony to this assertion.

          Secondly – we have to look at the life of Lady Aisha afterwards.  She was without doubt one of the foremost scholars of Islam. It is even said that she had attained in her lifetime the position of Mufti – someone capable of giving religious rulings – a position very few Muslims will ever occupy.

          She was seeked by many, both men and women, who hungered for knowledge and they came to her from all directions, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria. History does not know of any woman who was approached by so many for such a noble purpose.

          If indeed she had became a victim of sexual abuse she would in most probability be devastated emotionally, psychologically, mentally and perhaps even physically but the achievements she had made in her life after the death of the Prophet proved that she was a woman who was in complete control of her faculties, becoming one of the intellectual giants of Islam.

          And the fact that she had spoken so dearly of the Prophet was indicative of the innocence of the marriage and of the impeccable character of her husband because given the trust enjoyed by her by the virtue of her relationship with him, she could have unleashed a vengeful attack against him by attributing to him words or deeds of horrendous nature if indeed she was a victim of his supposed lust, destroying both the Prophet and Islam.

          No sexual abuse victim would ever spoke positively of her attacker, much less becoming a channel that promote love and understanding of him and the message which he had brought.”
           

          Well, a lot of the things we do today are not right in the eyes of many.  Our “standards” today mean nothing to what took place 1400 years ago.  Today, anyone under 18 years old is considered a “child”, a baby still under his mommy’s and daddy’s care.  Back then on the other hand, people who reached the age of 18 were considered wise and very mature.

          Let me share this Islamic story with you:

          There is a famous Islamic figure called “Osama bin Zayd (or Zaid)”.  I was told that this man was once a leader or one of the leaders of the Muslims who met the Roman Christians.  He defeated them.  He was only 16 to 18 years old.

          So the point is, Aisha, peace be upon her, might look as child to you, but back then she certainly was considered as “woman” who was qualified for marriage.

          At about the middle of the month of Safar, in the 11th A.H., on Monday, Muhammad ordered his followers to make speedy preparations for an expedition against the people of Mauta in the Byzantine territory, and the sources go to say, to avenge the massacre of the soldiers, who had fallen in recent skirmishes. The next day, on Tuesday he appointed Osama to the command of the army. Osama was the son of Zaid bin Harith, who had been slain at Mauta, and was a youth of 17 or 18 years. On Wednesday, a violent inroad of headache and fever seized Muhammad, but the next morning of Thursday, he found himself sufficiently recovered to prepare a flag-staff, with his own hands, which he made over to Osama. The camp was then erected at Jorf, three miles from Medina on the route to Syria. He ordered all his followers at Medina to join it at once, not excepting even the renowned companions to join it at once. Only Ali, who was required to remain with him at Medina, was exempted. The malady, although gaining ground, did not confine Muhammad entirely to his house. He used to move into the mosque, through the door of his apartment, to lead the prayers. After about a week of his summoning the men to the Syrian expedition under Osama, he perceived that the progress to join the camp at Jorf was very slow and poor, therefore, he once again addressed the people to join the Syrian expedition. The sickness of Muhammad was increasing every day, and the Syrian expedition, weighed upon his mind, and continued saying to those around him, “Send off quickly the army of Osama.” According to the Shiites, Muhammad was really reprimanding his companions for not joining the expeditionary force. Knowing that Muhammad’s end was near, the companions were reluctant to leave Medina at such a critical time and fearful that, if they absented themselves, Ali might step uncontested. In sum, the army of Osama could not depart from Medina during the time of Muhammad.

          ……….

          From http://www.dawn.com/2003/08/22/fea.htm: (bold, color and underline emphasis below are mine)

          “…Assuming the responsibilities of the caliphate he was confronted with the problems that some of the tribes who had already embraced Islam broke off, many tribes declined to pay Zakat and false prophets emerged to take advantage of the situation. Hazrat Ayesha (RA) at this is reported to have uttered that the problems faced by my father if had befallen on Jibal-ur- Rasiat it would have shattered. However, credit goes to him who with courage and resolution overcame them.

          His first priority was to dispatch the expedition to Syria under the command of Osama bin Zaid originally ordered by the Holy Prophet but delayed due to his (SAW) death. It was a critical juncture for him. In the wake of alarming condition he was advised not to send, but he did not yield and without hesitation dispatched it in order to execute the wishes of the Holy Prophet. He was so much concerned that he himself came out of Madina to see the expedition off which soon returned graced by victory. It boosted the morale of the Muslims very much….”

          In order to answer this filthy slander, I went to a police website detailing the traits of a pedophile, and this is what I came up with. It seems that, even by today’s standards, Muhammad could not be considered a pedophile. 

          Okay, lets have a look at the psyche of a typical pedophile, and see how much of it fits Muhammad shall we? Quoted text is taken from Understanding the Pedophile Psyche, courtesy of the Police Federation of England & Wales:

          http://www.polfed.org/magazine/08_2001/80_2001_paedophile.htm

          “Low self esteem. Many pedophiles, although by no means all, do not have a great sense of capacity for adopting a sexual demeanor towards adults or those of their own age or older. They feel unhappy and fearful at the prospect of sexual behaviour with adults and hence turn to children due to the fact that they are unable to have the strength of personality to seek adults for sexual demeanor. When considering treatment therefore it is important to establish and develop a higher sense of self-esteem in such individuals.”

          As well as being married to Aisha, he was also married to many other women during his life. He wasn’t certainly suffering from low self-esteem. Therefore, this does not apply to Muhammad.

          “Lack of impulse control. Many pedophiles find it extremely difficult to deal with the impulsive nature which inclines them towards sexual behaviour to children. They simply cannot control their need for engaging children in sexual practices. They might be said to suffer from an obsessive-compulsive condition. Here again treatment would involve developing better impulse control and of course redirecting the sexual inclinations.”

          As has been mentioned before, Muhammad waited for at least two years before consummating the marriage. Therefore, this point of ‘lack of self control’ does not apply to Muhammad. Also, fasting during Ramadan requires abstention from sexual relations. Why would Muhammad practise this if he had no self-control? 

          “Denial. Many pedophiles deny there is anything wrong with having sexual relations with children and many will in due course paradoxically deny having carried out such practices should they be confronted. It is vital to change the attitudes of such individuals much as in the lack of empathy with their victim.”

          Muhammad never once denied having sex with his wife. Also note the use of the term ‘victim’. Aisha could not be described as a victim. Therefore, this does not apply to Muhammad.

          “History of previous pedophile activity. Many pedophiles have carried out minor or major acts of pedophile behaviour in the past and this has led to habit as well as the obsessive-compulsive nature of the act towards children. It is vital here to promote alternative habits i.e. in attitudes and demeanor of sexual behaviour with adults.”

          Muhammad has no history of pedophile activity whatsoever. Also, as I pointed out, all of Muhammad’s other wives were adult, and there is no evidence of him being obsessed with children. Therefore, this doesn’t apply to Muhammad.

          “Poor family relationships – many pedophiles have come from families that are in chaos or are lacking in stability. This has led them to view sexual behaviour with children rather than adults as acceptable especially if this has been practised upon them by a member of the family in the past. Although it is difficult to reverse what has happened in the past through discussion or attitude changes it is vital that insight must be gained by the individual into how his/her pedophile activity originated and was developed through the family dynamics.”

          Although he was orphaned at a young age, Muhammad was always very close to all his family members, and advocated that whosoever cuts the bond of kith and kin, he/she would be denied paradise. Therefore, this does not apply to Muhammad.

          “Low IQ – there are pedophiles who have low intelligence but by no means all are in this category. Where this is the case appropriate therapeutic efforts must be made to develop understanding of what they are doing wrong and what they must do to change.”

          Despite being illiterate, Muhammad had a reputation for being a very bright young boy, an excellent trader, and an extremely wise man. Therefore, this point does not apply to Muhammad.

          “Loneliness, depression and relationship needs – this particular trait is associated with low self-esteem and lack of empathy with the victim. Many pedophiles are lonely individuals who live on their own and have found it difficult to establish relationships with adults, especially for sexual purposes. Some suffer from psychological problems and even psychotic illnesses. Here intensive treatment and monitoring is in order.”

          Muhammad wasn’t suffering from depression when he married Aisha. Also, low self-esteem, loneliness, and difficulty to establish relations could not be attributed to Muhammad.

          “Having been themselves sexually abused – many pedophiles have themselves been sexually abused in the past by adults. They merely imitate what they experienced and continue their activity considering it as appropriate since it was done to them.”

          This certainly isn’t true.

          I have demonstrated that, despite the fact Muhammad married a nine-year old girl, he could NOT be considered a pedophile. 

          So if I want to be as silly and ridiculous as many of the Christians, I would respond to them by saying that Mary was psychologically and emotionally devastated for getting pregnant at a very young age.  And speaking of “child molesting”, since most Christians believe that Jesus is the Creator of this universe, then why did GOD allow himself to enter life through a 12-year old young girl’s vagina?  Please note that we Muslims love and respect Allah Almighty, Mary, Jesus and Allah’s Message to the People of the Book (The Jews and Christians).  In other words, we Muslims would never make fun of Christianity through such childish topic like this one as many ridiculous Christians do make fun of Islam through our Prophet’s (peace be upon him) marriage.  

          Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was not a child molester as the haters of Islam claim.  He was a Noble Messenger of God.  Muhammad peace be upon him lived in a society and culture that existed 1400 years ago, and even though you lack self respect and have no reason what so ever to be respectful to my prophet, I humbly request that if you don’t know who and what he was because you failed to educate yourself let alone give factual evidence in which some of your hatred may have some truth in, i suggest you rather be silent then look ignorant and stupid which you’ve just proven to be..

          *N.B the above lesson which I’ve now educated you with, out of the selflessness and goodness of my heart is PRO BONO, in return I request that you use the above links I’ve provided and investigate all I’ve said..God alone knows if your ignorance and stupidity can be cured ,if not we shall meet again at another illiterate comment which I’m certain you’d post* God Bless

          • O. Locke

            look, bud.

            “Personal insults are the last resort of exhausted minds”. – Rousseau

            I read all 8 pages of your Islamic apologetics. I must say I
            haven’t had an individual use another faith as a defense for islam in some time.

            If you want to use another religion to justify pedophilia
            you won’t get any argument from me. I agree that “other” institutions are guilty of the same reprehensible crimes as islam.

            The issue at hand is that *islam* venerates a pedophile and encourages muslim men to still practice and get away with it. And some muslim men use muhammad’s practices to justify their homosexuality which is rampant in some muslim countries. Need I educate you on the dancing boys of afghanistan? I didn’t think so. I knew you were aware of that.

            You can justify the rapes of children all you like with any religion you choose. When the article is about those religions we’ll talk about
            them. Right now this is about the muslim faith.

            Now, after subtracting your ignorant apologetics about the rape of a minor and how justifiable it is/was and further subtracting your ridiculous and quite petulant insults, I was left with very little to respond to.

            Yet, I will try.

            We have historical evidence for Muhammad. We KNOW he was a
            pedophile. There is no question about it. The man marries then rapes a pre-pubescent child. THAT is pedophilia, friend. You might dislike this fact but there it is.

            The historicity of Muhammad leaves us with quite obvious
            evidence the man was having “visions” to suit his immediate needs. You’ve done enough research. I shouldn’t have to educate you further on that point.

            Now, the islamophobia bit is becoming hackneyed. There is no
            such thing. No one is afraid of islam. No one wants the west looking like the middle east. I know that simple statement is difficult to wrap your head around when your wedded to the idea that islam has some sort of answer for all the things. But to the other 5-6 billion of us who will never practice the ridiculous and evidently fraudulent faith known as islam it’s pretty simple.

            Muhammad didn’t even write the quran or the hadith. How can
            you say it is the unalterable word of god? Wait. I know the answer to that question. You don’t have to answer.

            I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your wholly ignorant
            Islamic apologetics. A waste of time. Yes. But illustrative of what ails the ummah.

            REFORM YOUR FAITH.

            Thanks for the exchange, bud!

    • ChaoticWin

      It’s a solid article, but a bit difficult to read, as the author seems to use the terms ‘liberalism’ and ‘liberal’ interchangeably. Liberalism as a social philosophy is not identical to the political philosophy of those in America who self-identify as liberal. As a social philosophy, it also includes those who identify as conservative, libertarian, Green, and many, many others (Anarchists might be one of the few political identities which defy the social philosophical construct known as liberalism).

      To put it another way, the USA has democratic form of government, but the actual form is not a Democracy, it is a Republic. This is also distinct from the political philosophy known as Republicanism.

      Or, to put it yet another way a little “closer to home,” there is a vast difference between Islam and Islamism.

      As to the actual topic at hand, it would seem to me that the surest course for the intellectual Muslim in America is to take the opportunity to “reopen the gates of ijtihad.” In the event the Muslim is Shi’i, the opportunity is to consider opening ijtihad to the individual — not to suggest that the educated jurists should not be also listened to, but that their word should not be held to solely out of tradition, but examined to ensure that any given ruling on a topic is in fact reasonable.

      As for the youth, maybe just turn them on to Taqwacore! 🙂