This extreme tenent of Islam has penetrated to Checnya, Bosnia, Afghanistan (OBL follows this form) Iraq, Egypt Algeria and Morroco and its greatest adherant, Saudi Arabia, is there any possiblility that this form of the religion could become a serious threat to the World if its not contained? This is what I believe, just because of its sheer intolerance of any other interpretation (in a more liberal form) of Islam, everything a Muslim is to do must be followed in the strictest and purest form of Islamic codes and laws, there is no room for debate, even though allah declare ‘there should be no compulsion in religion’ and the old practise of ijtihad which means independent thought, seems to be much rarer than ever in the Muslim world.
But if this orthodox version of Islam could become more influential and powerful, could a world wide conflict arise?
Another question, following recent trends, will this war on terror become a more prolonged wider war with most of the West and the Islamic fundamentalists fighting, this seems to be a potential worry, with Iran gaining a foothold in Nuclear weapons production, then this would be bad as they would start rattling their sabres at the West, asking for concession, same with Pakistan, if the situation with Musharraf become untenable.
Yes, Wahhabi Islam is a serious threat – just because the name sounds so cool! I mean, “Sunni,” “Sufi,” “Ismaili” – they’re all just so lame and labored by comparison. “Shi’ite” is always good for a chuckle on the Beavis-and-Butthead level, but that gets old fast. But “Wahabbi”! It sounds like a war-cry! And there’s so many rhymes you could make out of it!
Most of the people Muhammed killed were armies raised up against Islam/Medina. The only “massacres” of civilians he ordered was that of some of Medina’s Jewish tribes, and that was after a series of conflicts.
Islam was mostly spread through the Middle East by the purse. People converted to be exempt from some taxes or to get government jobs or for political reasons. In fact, at various times, the Muslim authorities discouraged conversions, because they were too hard on the treasury. Wahabism is pretty divergent from historical Islam…it’s not “just Islam as it is meant to be practiced”.
I disagree. Since Wahabbism is following the Koran to the letter, it is obviously how Islam is meant to be practiced. Think about this concept: what’s in the Koran is in there for a reason; do you think that it was put in there not to be followed? Why would anything be in the Koran that was not intended to be heeded to by practicioners of said religion?
We must distinguish between culture and religion. The Arab cultures during the Medieval times which produced science and progress were at a period of laxitude regarding the Koran: they were not following it the way it should be followed. I am not arguing whether or not this is morally right.
Christians who don’t believe in Christ are not Christians. Catholics who don’t accept transubstantiation are not Catholics. Jews who don’t keep kosher are not religious Jews (they may still be ethnic ones.) And Muslims who do not follow the teachings of the Koran are not Muslims. Another way of saying this would be they are lapsed Muslims/Catholics/Jews/Christians; perhaps they believe themselves to be following the religion, but they are not.
Whoa! Gotta call you on that! And I’m sure Tamerlane will be along shortly to do the same, in greater depth.
Mohammed did not conceive of Islam the way St. Paul thought of Christianity – as The One True Faith, to which all the world must ultimately be converted. Arabs of his time believed (and probably still believe) that they were literally Children of Abraham – lineal, biological descendants of Abraham’s elder, bastard son Ishmael, just as the Jews were descendants of Abraham’s younger, legitimate son, Isaac. And to Mohammed, Islam was simply the proper mode of worship for the Children of Ishmael, just as Judaism was the proper mode of worship for the Children of Isaac. Jews under Islamic rule were allowed to keep their faith. Mohammed did massacre three Jewish tribes on one occasion, but they had rebelled, and in his time and place you had to wipe out every member of an enemy tribe or else face a vendetta lasting generations. You must understand, Mohammed was born into a society that was not a community; every tribe fought every other. His principal political goal, in which he succeeded, was to united the Arab people into one religious and political community. No more blood-feuds! From now on, we’re all Muslims and we’re all the same tribe!
Which attitude did not apply to foreigners. After Mohammed’s death, the Muslim Arabs poured out of Arabia and conquered vast territories from the Persian and Byzantine Empires – but that was just ordinary imperial conquest, not a religious crusade as such. The Arabs were dirt-poor and, at a moment when both neighboring empires were weak, seized on the chance to make themselves rich. They didn’t do it to spread the word of God – not at first. For the first 150 years or so, the conquered infidels – provided they were “Peoples of a Book,” that is, Jews or Christians – were not forced nor even encouraged to convert to Islam; they were merely forced to pay a tribute or tax from which Muslims were exempt. In fact, the Arabs outside Arabia lived as a separate military ruling caste in separate military settlements, to keep them from being contaminated by the infidels’ ways. The system gradually broke down because more and more people started converting to Islam to get out of paying the tribute. And finally the rulers changed their tax policy, deciding to tax everybody; and Islam evolved into a universalist religion, with missionaries. But in the beginning, it was not so. (I don’t know whether the Wahhabists understand that or not.)
I’m getting most of this from Islam: A Short History, by Karen Armstrong (Modern Library, 2002).
Don’t have Armstrong’s book handy – but my understanding is, they were not rebelling against conversion to Islam, which was not being forced on them, but against the political rule of Mohammed’s government.
I know I might be too pessimistic but I am increasingly convinced where I will be in a future where my rights and way of life are going to be increasingly under threat by this sort of intolerance. Great my childhood years are the best part of my life and even they sucked.
All religions are a threat to humanity. Islam is currently the greatest threat, but Christianity is not far behind. In the age of nuclear/biological/chemical weapons that can wipe out countries, it is only a matter of time before such weapons are used on a massive scale to kill millions of non-believers in the name of someone’s god. Unless someone invents a pill or surgical procedure that cures people of religious belief and forces it upon the masses, we’re all doomed (just the way the religious people like it, not so ironically).
Of course, Islam leads the current Vegas odds as to which religion will be directly responsible for the destruction of mankind.