Millennia of (Muslim) Ignorance
A year passed since entering an ocean inside the knowledge of medieval Islamic civilization that was marked significantly with a renovated version of philosophy, mainly Greek. It wasn’t just about that astounding movement of translation and Arabisation and later Islamization of ancient philosophy and adapting it into an Islamic identity. It was hard work by itself to find ways into balancing between philosophy and Islam. However, what was significantly important, for a Muslim like me; the movement itself. The debates, the explorations, the critical review, the attempt to understand, criticize, adapt …
Admittedly, and with some serious feelings of shame, I felt proud as a Muslim. An acute sense of pride, that was entirely different from that that was preached over our heads as youngsters, about the greatness of Islam in its battles and conquests and the conversion from Jahiliyyah (ignorance) to faith.
There is something that terrifically follows us as we grow up and is attached to how we perceive religion and faith no matter how old we get. There is this childish way of approaching religion that doesn’t exceed a 3rd-grade level.
A few days ago I entered with my brother-in-law who is a physician a real brief debate. I cannot even say it was a debate. I made sure it doesn’t go there when we were talking about the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Mohammad. I said that we don’t know if he was born on that particular date, but yet it is good to celebrate, exactly like Christmas, that doesn’t celebrate the real birthday of Jesus. Of course, as Muslims, we can always argue and debate how true this is, yes Jesus wasn’t born on the celebrated Christmas Eve, and we can even bring proves. But when it comes to the birth of our prophet there is no debate about it. My brother in law said quickly: “it was of course known, and it is exact, he was born on the Elephant Year .“ I said: “when was the Elephant year.” I was asking an honest question, when he blurted to me saying: “Listen, there things in religion that are discussable, I am not willing to discuss things with you that are there in the Quran, in the Shari’ah.”I was still honest in my question when I asked: “ the elephant year was mentioned in the Quran?” he was obviously getting anxious, and I thought it is best to close the unnecessary debate….
My thoughts remained echoing in the surrounding of that ridiculous minimal debate. Of course, it is not about my brother in law. I was like him; just a few years ago, when things related to religion were strictly un-discussable. They are there, they are clear. They are evident, but if they were not distinct and clear and made any common sense to me, it is my problem and my lack of knowledge, and after all, I am not a specialist on sharia. It is only specific people who can accumulate it all and bring it to us straightforward and easy and in an understandable way. And anything that is not understandable, is only an individual issue that rises to my ignorance, and I should get closer to God to understand it …
This is how it all goes on.
I have these numerous discussions with my daughters who come asking me questions concerning wearing the veils, and the moment I start explaining to them what I think of it, they stop me saying: “but mom, how dare you, it is mentioned in the Quran.” When I discuss the issue of wine, sex, marriage, and such things, it is all in the Quran. When we consider Israel and Aqsa, it is in the Quran, whatever we discuss, it is always there in the Quran.
When you tell them, no it is not in the Quran, or an opponent idea is in the Quran you will be immediately accused of blasphemy.
The problem is not about what is there and what is not. The problem is in the insistence of denial that people insist on living in. They prefer to live in ignorance decorated under the name of religion, even if that religion didn’t mention that.
They don’t want to know the truth. As if reality is threatening to faith.
There is only one truth, and that truth is what the Quran brought and it is explained through preachers.
The problem is in Muslims who in a series of ten centuries, successfully managed to pull Islam backward from a leading teaching that embraced civilizations on so many different levels. Islam was the shrine of culture and science and civilization in a series of at least three successive centuries, which marked a change in the civilization, as we know it today.
In that time when Islam produced people like Avicenna, Al-Farabi, al-Kindi, al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiya, Averroes, and fostered people like Maimonides and Ibn Adi. The debate, the changes, the differences were faced with more challenging towards working harder towards what was believed in, regardless of where you were standing. The completion that took place among such scholars, the responses they had to one another from a generation t a generation was so astounding … that you look at Islam today and think. How could such a religion, a teaching that produced those great thinkers and scholars, end up being preached by people who represent Islam today?
How come the world has moved on and on and entered categories of defining civilizations when Muslims are still chewing on the achievement of the pre- medieval centuries of the rise of Islam. Insist on sticking in the seventh and eighth centuries.
We are entering serious millennia of ignorant Islam, and we are crowning it with the rise of Da’esh (ISIS). Exactly like a thousand years ago when the Mohads sat on the Caliphate throne. The only difference is that even within the Mohads, the world witnesses the birth of thinkers like Averroes and Maimonides. In today’s world, the Islamic world has nothing to produce except repetitive ideologies that are based on extremism, hate, and ignorance.
Today, you don’t need a dictator or a Mufti to silence you; it is generations of intimidated thought that has been just going backward in time.
Anyone can accuse you of infidelity, of blasphemy, of “communism,” of being an enemy of God, if you say anything that is not within the track of ignorance that everyone insists on pursuing …