This is not about Apostasy!
06 April, 2006
By Ahmer Muzammil
Allah swt Says in Quran 'If they turn away from thee (O Muhammad) they should know that We have not sent you to be their keeper. Your only duty is to convey My message.' (42:48. ). Thank heavens that the Afghan Courts didn't do anything stupid and let that man go free. I am in complete agreement with the rest of the 'CIVILIZED WORLD' that there was no ground on which this man should have been punished 'TODAY' in the COUNTRY OF AFGHANISTAN. Why do I have 'TODAY' in caps and quotes? Because there is a basic point that everyone is conveniently missing. That point is that 'TODAY' it is not against the Afghanistan's law of the land to apostate. Who is to say tomorrow it would be the same? And why stop at Afghanistan, take any country in the world, there laws can be changed according to the wish of the majority of the people who occupy that particular land. And that is my basic point of contention with the so called 'Western Democracies'. In their narcissistic point of view there morals, rituals, laws and principles are common-sense and universal, therefore should be adhered and followed by every single breathing human being all over the world. Please understand that personally I don't agree with the religious doctrine of Ahmedi-Nijad and his world view, that's why I am not planning to move to Iran anytime soon. To me personally western democracies and there laws make more sense that's why I live here. But at the same time I also respect the voice of majority of Iranian public who has given their mandate to this man. If we keep on insisting that we have the ultimate wisdom and therefore our say supersedes majority then that's just a tad self-serving in my opinion, which creates resentment in the rest of the world.
This debate is not about Islamic Laws, this debate should be about the wishes and aspirations of the majority of any country. Whether the majority of any country wishes to be governed by Secularist, imperialist, capitalist, communist or Islamist, it should be the prerogative of the people of a particular country. I mean isn't that the definition of that famous bird 'DEMOCRACY' that everyone seems to love so much. The thing that I find amusing is that we as human beings can be so openly duplicitous. On one hand we are willing to kill more than a 100,000 human beings just so we can give the gift of democracy to the relatives of those 100,000 killed, on the other hand when people in Palestine express their wishes thru vote, we are not too hot about that, because we only like democracy when the winners are our puppets. Basically what it boils down to is that, when we say democracy for a third world country we don't really mean the type of democracy that we have here in west, what we are really saying is that let us tell you who and what is good for you, because you are too stupid to make that decision on your own. And then we wonder innocently, 'Why does Muslims Hate Us so much?'. Well maybe we should stop killing these Muslims, and just maybe we should stop supporting tyrants and corrupt kings in these Muslim countries, and while we are on a streak lets also stop stealing their natural resources and then just maybe these 'MOSLEMS' will stop hating us, it's just a theory but it just might work.
Going back to the initial topic of discussion which is whether we as citizens or residents of a particular country should have to follow the law of the land. My understanding and submission is YES, we should and if we can't whether it's for religious reasons or moral reasons or whatever then we should move and live somewhere where we are comfortable and we don't have a philosophical clash with the law of the land. We all should be law-abiding citizens of our respective countries; I think that goes without saying.
Now if we agree that we should obey and respect the law of the land then just for the sake of the argument let's say tomorrow American Congress passes a law that all men who keep their beards will be sentenced to death, because that is what the majority of Americans want, they don't want any facial hair anymore. Well if it becomes the law of the land and I for whatever reason can't shave my beard because either I am a sikh or because my understanding of religion finds it incumbent upon me to keep a beard, or I am trying to hide my acne. Whatever it maybe the logical dispensation would be to move somewhere else where beards are welcomed, or at least allowed. This beard example is an extreme, it sounds stupid, but in democracy, it's the wish of the majority, not the wish of smart people only. Besides what's stupid to me might not be so stupid to someone else. E.g. in Bombay as in most of India you won't be able to find beef, because in India Cow is worshiped as a GOD by a vast majority and understandably they don't want people eating their GOD. So if that's your poison you probably don't want to live in India.
My religion Islam forces me to follow the law of the land especially if I live in a non-Muslim majority country. If any of those laws are against the basic tenants of Islam then I have stringent instructions from Islam to migrate, defiance or breaking the law is a big NO NO. I told a congregation of Muslims once in USA that if tomorrow US congress bans SALAH (5 daily prayers) then we can't violently revolt against it, because Islam forbids us to do that. Some people there thought I was saying that Salah would not be FARD (COMPULSORY) if that happened, quite the contrary, SALAH would still be FARD, you just would have to get out of your comfort zone and move somewhere else. Plain and simple, we would have to migrate to lands where we can pray.
With the same token, if you live in a country that is governed by Islamic Law (by the way there is no country that is fully governed by Islamic Law in the world), then you might not want to apostate. You can live as a Christian but if you are a Muslim then you might not want to convert while your are still living in that country, because IT'S AGAINST THE LAW OF THE LAND. If all of a sudden you have had an epiphany and want to become Christian then instead of breaking the law and mocking the system and therefore creating anarchy, it would be wise if you move out of that land and then do whatever your little heart desire. How is this any different from having the respect of law of any other country? Who are you to tell a group of people what laws they should govern themselves with? And if you do feel compelled because you have some kind of super-intelligence and everyone else is just too dumb, then don't beat the drum of democracy.
I have said it many a times that it doesn't take a genius to figure out why there is animosity against Americans in the third world countries, especially the Muslim world. They don't hate our freedoms, what kind of a moronic reason is that to hate anyway? We need to stop living in the lala land and analyze sincerely the root cause of this rift. But our administration and the bigots are allergic with this word 'ROOT CAUSE'. 'Since we have the metal on our side right now, let's roll them flat!' This schoolyard bully mentality was the primary reason for our adventures in the near past and heavens-forbid if we don't wise up, will be catastrophically destructive in future.
Let's start minding our own business for starters. If we are truly the champions of democracy then let's engage the popular leadership of the third world countries rather than Kings, and military dictators. Running AD campaigns on Arabic channels about how great America is towards Muslims is rubbing salt on the wound. Masses are much smarter and politically savvy than we give them credit for. They are not going to sway and start dancing like monkeys on a well made AD campaign by Karen Hughes, that's an insult to their intellect, and I hear that sentiment all day long by the intellectuals who are considered mostly liberal in these Muslim countries on different TV channels.
I am proud to be an American, that's why I have chosen this land to raise my family. That's why I am worried about the reputation of my country. I ask questions and point out the flaws because I care and because I have a stake. We need to understand that America is a success because of the hard work and tolerance that American people are famous for. It is this tolerance and the opportunity to succeed regardless of their race, creed or religion that attracts people here from all over the world. We have always welcomed the individuality and cultures of different people, and that's why we are a great nation. If the American-forefathers had insisted that everyone be 'WHITE' (like many of our bigots are calling for right now) once they arrive on the shores of America, I assure you we wouldn't have been the success story that we are today.