On Thursday 2nd May 2013, the UK newspaper, the Daily Mail published an article attacking our brother, and esteemed scholar, Abdul-Hakim Murad for a recently available internet video expressing Islamic theological opinions on homosexuality given in a lecture that was 17 years ago.
Following on from this has been a myriad of calls from the LGBT students, and political pundits, such as Douglas Murray, for the dismissal of Sheikh Abdul-Hakim from his occupation teaching Islamic Studies at Cambridge University (a post he started 16 years ago). The irony is, this is the same Douglas Murray that said ‘The oxygen of free societies is freedom of speech’, of course, not when it comes to Muslims or Islam it would appear.
Unfortunately, due to this pressure, Sheikh Abdul-Hakim has since been forced to apologise for the manner in which he used to express his religious conscience. His apology we can only assume to understandably defend himself against further public stigma. But the reality of the Liberal intelligentsia’s protest, was not to the manner in which he expressed his views, as so much the views themselves, namely the Islamic view on same gender intercourse. The question is never asked as to why did he have to apologise for the expression of his opinion in a supposedly free society? Of course we know why, free society is not actually free, but merely comprised of a different set of taboos from other kinds of society. These taboos are not all necessarily enforced by legal action (although many Liberal states do use their law to effectively ban religious opinions being expressed in public), but rather they are enforced by a more powerful, and more tyrannical means of suppressing dissent – the Liberal use of social stigma.
Even the classical Liberal philosopher, John Stuart Mill, understood that censorship and oppression that occurs from society is worse than that which occurs due to government. Depriving someone of their livelihood, and attacking their reputation in society are just as effective in suppressing dissenting ideas, than locking people up:
“It is that [social] stigma which is really effective…In respect to all persons but those whose pecuniary circumstances make them independent of the good will of other people, opinion, on this subject, is as efficacious as law; men might as well be imprisoned, as excluded from the means of earning their bread…Our merely social intolerance kills no one, roots out no opinions, but induces men to disguise them, or to abstain from any active effort for their diffusion”
“Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues…any mandates at all in things with it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Liberalism, although it currently abhors torturing people within its own country (although not in other countries), has found a more ‘politically correct’ way to silence dissent. It threatens people with losing their jobs, and pressures halls, universities and community centres to not host illiberal views on their platforms. Websites can be taken down by servers due to pressure from governments. People who go out and shout illiberal opinions in the streets can be arrested for causing a disruption of the public peace. In fact, merely expressing an opinion on facebook is also punished! Although some may point to the tolerance of radical religious groups as proof of Liberalism’s tolerance – Liberalism still finds ways to punish them, for example the use of civil litigation in the case of Westboro Baptist Church which was sued for $6 million in punitive damages for ‘invasion of privacy’ (despite being approximately 300 m from the funeral, and allowed by Police to picket for only about 30 minutes before the funeral began) and $2 million for causing ’emotional distress’. It is interesting to note, that no one in the U.S. raises the issue of ’emotional distress’ caused when religious belief is insulted, and religious minorities vilified.
As we have seen, Liberalism has a variety of tools it can use to suppress dissent, and impose its opinions. Generally, in large urban societies it tolerates small and unimportant dissenters, but only because they are small and would not be able to access to mass media – effectively, Liberalism tolerates you until you are heard.
It was said that in the days of old, the function of law and social stigma is to protect public morals, but under modern ‘freedom’, morals are now a matter of private conscience. However, the function of the law and social stigma has not changed, merely the morals. Morality is still used to determine law and where social stigma should be applied, however Liberal morality is not neutral – it has a distinct and specific criteria to judge right from wrong – secular humanism. Under Secular Humanism, all morals are determined according to the criteria of individualism and materialism. As long as there is no material reason to prevent an action, all actions emanating from the individual are not immoral. Therefore, by default, all religious morals contravening what Secular Humanism has declared as ‘good’, are judged as ‘bad’ morals, and to merely utter them in public is viewed as undermining people’s ‘rights’, and is an unforgivable ‘sin’ in Liberal societies. And when it comes to rooting out these unforgivable sins, the Liberal media could give lynch mobs and the Spanish inquisition a few pointers about generating public outrage.
MDI has recently debated the issue of whether Liberalism (under the guise of ‘Human Rights’) could accomodate religious practices and conscience (see the debate here, and read the review). Although some may say that the cases of Liberal intolerance are exceptions to the rule, in the debate many cases were cited showing Liberal intolerance to religion – cases which were upheld by the European Court of Human Rights itself. The frequency of the exceptions have disproved the rule.
Abdul-Hakim presciently spoke and wrote about Liberal intolerance against Islam in 2011, and now it seems he is to be its next victim.
Categories: NEWS COMMENTARY, The Muslim Debate Initiative, UK. Europe, North America & Muslim communities in the West, WRITINGS
Bayan – a clarification
© Abdal-Hakim Murad, 5th May 2013
Allahumma salli ala sayyidina Muhammadin wa-alihi wa-sahbihi wa-sallim
The recent inquisition directed against me and by implication all Qur’anically faithful Muslims triggered by two YouTube clips has started a debate among Muslims themselves about what I actually said and believe. This note is an explanation of my position, since every Muslim has the right to know.
I begin by apologising to Muslims for having placed us once again in the tabloid firing-line, and given ammunition to the anti-Islamic BNP and the EDL.
I have stated publicly that I withdraw the comments I made in the first clip, which was recorded at a small Rihla in 1995. The clip was uploaded by IslamOnDemand three days ago as part of their policy of making some of their old material available to the Umma. I was not consulted about the release of this material. However I am not holding the brother responsible; in fact he is a faithful revert servant of the scholars.
However the clip caused consternation when somehow it was forwarded to students at my college in Cambridge, and they lodged a complaint.
When I looked at the clip I saw a young man ranting. It was probably the worst thing I have ever done, tricked out with dubious science and many errors, and presented in a very aggressive style which is alien to the manner I now use. My views, knowledge and style have mutated in 17 years. So I asked IslamOnDemand to take it off YouTube, and they did this.
I believe – and Allah is my witness – that I was right, in Sharia, and considering the maslaha of the Muslims, to dissociate myself from the lecture and to apologise. How does it serve the interests of da’wa to offend? Those who say I should not have apologised should ask why we should gratuitously offend others, whoever they are. And the basic information in the lecture was unreliable or dubious, to say the least.
The more recent DeenIntensive clip, known to its detractors as the ‘TwoTube’ clip, is much closer to my views, and I believe gives a more authentic account of the Sharia wisdom in this issue. It can be misunderstood but it is entirely different from the earlier clip.
The key point is this: mercy and understanding are better than recrimination. I have seen this in my various opportunities to work with Muslims with this orientation who have come to me. Many of our khatibs are adopting a language of hate, but these people will not respond well to this. The inclination is not a sin, since an intention that is not acted upon is not sinful. In fact, as the ‘TwoTube’ clip states, such a person who struggles with his inclination will be rewarded. Perhaps he will reach Paradise before you and me.
But the acting-out of the desire is a sin: this is known by ijma and to deny it is fisq. In this we agree with the great majority of classical orthodox believers in other religions. We should not be intimidated and bullied into failing to state this ruling.
Ours is an age which increasingly finds it hard to understand a message of dignity, restraint, and sacrifice. Instead, the age favours hedonism. Muslims in the West must witness to the truth that hedonism does not bring happiness; happiness, which is every human’s birthright, comes from surrendering to the commands of Heaven.
Those of you who are shocked by the violence of the campaign against those who stand up for our teachings should take a sobering political lesson from the whole episode. Anders Breivik was strongly pro-gay. So was Pim Fortuyn. So is Marie Le Pen. Much of Europe is now rushing to embrace a new far-right Islamophobia in which the ‘alternative sexualities’ issue is used as a tool to demonise us. The liberal elites have said nothing about this. Instead of worrying about the far-right millions who want to deport us, they hyperventilate when a Muslim peacefully states his opposition to a particular sexual practice, without calling for any kind of persecution.
In the face of this inequality, we should calmly stand firm, and remember that right-thinking people will look at the contrast, and will choose their lifestyles accordingly. All this is a test from Allah, which means that we should look for what is good in it for us.
A brother in New York has emailed me to say this: ‘We must count these persecutions as blessings, since they are totally unmerited. Today, just to be alive, if you are a Believer, counts as an act of zuhd, replacing the voluntary prayers and fastings of zuhhad and awliya of previous times.’
May Allah make us firm in our love and proclamation of the Qur’an and Sunna, which are our true, unchanging and unfaltering lights in this age of darkness.
I swear to Allah, it is not correct that we as Muslims have to accept the sovereignty of the secular liberal world order with its atheistic underpinnings before we can even begin to discuss any subject. This is not a “discussion” but “capitulation” without discussion or debate. We saw this same issue with Lawrence Krauss and his walkout of the iERA sponsored debate over “non-egalitarianism” of Muslims.
In any case, Allah is our helper.
It would be interesting to know what he changed his views to…
He has not changed his views on same-gender intercourse being a sin.
Thanks for this article. I have some questions regarding some of the points you raised about Liberalism.
1. You wrote: “…free society is not actually free, but merely comprised of a different set of taboos from other kinds of society.”
Could you expand on what these taboos are?
2. You wrote: “These taboos are not all necessarily enforced by legal action (although many Liberal states do use their law to effectively ban religious opinions being expressed in public), but rather they are enforced by a more powerful, and more tyrannical means of suppressing dissent – the Liberal use of social stigma.”
Could you please compare/contrast this with how an ideal Islamic State and Society would approach its taboos?
3. Finally, in sentences such as the following: “Liberalism, although it currently abhors torturing people within its own country (although not in other countries), has found a more ‘politically correct’ way to silence dissent.”
would it not be more accurate, in place of the word “Liberalism”, to say “States which claim to adhere to Liberalism”? I suppose it may be similar to some Islamophobes who often use the word “Islam” when they should really say “some Muslims” or “some Muslim states”. Bearing in mind that Islam is merely a set of teachings, and sets of teachings do not act. People do.
By the way, here is another interesting and pertinent quote from John Stuart Mill, taken from the following article: http://www.islam21c.com/politics/9751-does-gender-segregation-oppose-liberal-values
“Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them.”
Does anyone have a link to the “‘TwoTube’ clip” to which the Shaykh refers?