Thursday, 29 January 2009

Religious matters belong to the Civil Society, not the state!

Religious matters ...Civil Society

Last night I was having a chat with my collegue. A non-Muslim British who's doing her PhD on the topic 'Public Sphere' and religion in the Middle East. exploring Habermas' Public Sphere idea was never an easy stuff, she asserted. I could find no space to disagree with her...she is damn right (for people like us at least).

After spenidng some time in Egypt, she rather concluded that there is no way, and by no chance such idea can be so relevant in the Muslim region. It might works well in the Western world, but not in the universe of those who pray five times a day...where religion is part of their blood vessels! I couldn't agree more. Justify Full

All idea that emerged in the Western world, did not come out of the blue.They were created as reactions towards certain circumstances. The idea has its own historical ground. Hence, Edward Said's critiques on the Eurocentrism in his infamous 'Orientalism', I strongly believe was right; and I beg to reject Lewis'. The universalist approach has witnessing it's failure, or at least in some area, like governance according to Fukuyama (2004).

Believe me or not, the Cultural relativists deserved a compliment in such case (Pelase read Said's Culture and Imperialism). The Eurocentrists were but the heir of Aristotle's justification on the slavery...Mills and other 'civitas' proponents. But, the fact that religion belongs to the civil society in the Muslim world throughout the 1400 years Muslim history must also be acknowledged. Ghannouchi's discussion on the separation between the Awqaf and the State reflects such reality.

The scholars, as the guardian of the Awqaf were considered as the 4th power in Muslim states. They were the shelter for the people against the state. But unfortunately, after the nationalisation of Awqaf, the scholars became parrots to echo whatever the rulers wanted them to convey. Not only they became co-opted, the type of Islam to be preached by those people has to be approved by the state. No wonder, al-Azhar Syeikh today dare not to declare what Mubarak has done to the Gazans as blaphemy and haram! It is not suprising also to hear the Saudi scholars declared 'haram' to any rallies to protest Israeli's incursion on Gaza.

Qaradawi's initiative however should be an alternative. The scholars should be free from the state interference...


  1. Probably this news is quite amusing, but there's a Saudi Muslim scholar, Sheikh Mohammad Salah al-Munajid, who gave the fatwa on Mickey Mouse. He said that Mickey Mouse should be killed.

    Is there no other important issue than Mickey Mouse to be discussed?

  2. Salamualaikum

    Unfortunately the ulema of today, have not fulfilled their ammanh on their shoulders to speak the truth, to carry the dawah and call for the establishment of the Islamic systems in life. These state sponsored ulema have been selectively put their to legitimise the kufr of the governments in the muslims which is clear for everyone to see, how can one trust these ulema or take any thing from them- they need to remember the ulema such as sufyan thawri and abdullah ibn mubarak who were scared to go to the court of the khaleefah in case they were corrupted, but look at the ulema today, we need those like shaykh ahmad dour (ra), shaykh badri (ra), shayh abu hassan (ra), shaykh khdir al hussein (ra) and others of this nature to support the ideological revival of the ummah inshallah.