/ Jimmy's Corner: Monopolizing faith!

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Saturday, March 04, 2006 

Monopolizing faith!

I have been thinking for so long time before I put my fingers on the keyboard and start typing this post. I have been thinking if it is the right time to publish this or not. Actually I have reached the conclusion that it is just the best time to write and publish this.

It has become a fashion these days to find anyone, literally anyone, coming out of no where with his very own interpretations and understanding of faith and religion that only serve his own benefits and needs. Everybody nowadays just come out with a new interpretation of religion, negating or ignoring the main message of this religion, to justify his own ends and the means he uses to reach this end, and even preaching for his interpretation. I am not against freedom of thought or the freedom of looking and exploring religion from different perspectives. Nevertheless, I am attacking those who interpret religion in the own way ignoring the main message of this religion just to reach some very personal ends. The problem is there with every religion everywhere, however, I am tackling here how the problem affects Islam and Muslims.

It is no surprise to find Bin Laden coming out with his interpretation of Islam, ignoring the main teachings and message of Islam just to serve his ends and the means he uses to reach these ends, and even preaching for his interpretation in order to win supporters. It is no surprise to find extremists looking at religion from this very narrow angel, taking what they think is good for supporting their beliefs, leaving, ignoring or even negating any part that contradicts with what they believe or with their ends. It has even become a habit to watch preachers on satellite channels interpreting and answering questions about Islam from their own points of view, building their ideas on very weak logic that is based on solid evidence of proof in Islam. Moreover, it is now a fashion to read for writers who are not Muslims, writing about Islam from their own perspective and saying it loud and clear “I am did not read into Islam”. Therefore, it is never a surprise to find them offering the falsest ideas about Islam, simply because they do not know it. I am not saying “Don’t look at religion from different perspectives”, I am saying if you want to find a new interpretation of Islam just do it within the main frame of the main message of the religion, or else you will be misguiding people which is the last thing people need these days. You can’t bring a BMW and remove all the BMW logos from it and put Ford logos on and then ask me to believe you it is a Ford not a BMW, this is misguiding and lying. Another example, you can’t turn gold into silver, but you can make different shapes of gold, that look different in shape but they are all from the same source.

Actually what Bin Laden, extremists, pay-me preachers and non-Muslim writers do in this case is a sort of monopolizing religion. Each is treating religion as his very own commodity and asking everyone to believe in what he is preaching; one for the sake of making supporters for his wars, others for the sake of having a hold on people’s minds, others for making money out of the satellite channels and others for attracting converts from Islam. Such a monopoly of religion is the worst misguiding ever for people who try to reach the truth. Additionally, it just produces generations with distorted backgrounds and principles about what their religion really is, those who run to burn embassies or bomb innocent civilians are just a direct natural result of monopolizing religion and faith.

Ironically, monopolizing religion has become a means to achieve the most stupid goals. For example, internet users use Islam to spread chain letters. You might think it is silly that I am taking chain letters as an example, but here is a story that tells how dangerous the situation has become. Some of my friends were walking in the street when some young lady stopped and handed them a sheet of paper. The paper is a printed version of an email starting with “I swear I got this in my email”, as if whatever is received in emails is something should be taken for granted. It is talking about some unknown sheikh that went asleep in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. He dreamt of Prophet Muhammad telling him that the world has gone into a mess, 40000 people died this week, the Day of Judgment is so close and he should send this message to everyone he knows. Or else he will be cursed forever, and God will let him down in the Day of Judgment and will have no mercy on him. Moreover, anyone who receives the message and never passes it to anyone else will be cursed the same way, and the message should be passed to all contacts in less than 96 hours or the curse will fall. Then it gives examples of a man who lost his son as he read it and did not pass it, and a business man who got 45000 (of money, no currency mentioned) more on a deal he finished as he passed the message as soon as he read it.

This is the paper, it is in Arabic, read it yourself!

This message made no difference between Islam and any other old pagan religion in which curses of gods fall on those who do not respond to one order in their lives. If you just judge Islam from the perspective of the one who wrote it, it will be a religion in which all the good deeds a Muslim does can go in vain if he doesn’t respond and send a chain letter. Ironically, the ignorance of the one who wrote this message is very evident in the number of spelling mistakes everywhere in the body of the message. And the greatest problem is there as there are people who believed it, printed it and went to the streets handing it to everyone they meet. And that’s how a man who can barely know how to write Arabic, monopolizes religion and affects others making them believe in a version of Islam that has nothing to do with the real Islam.

This monopoly over religion is a natural result of the absence of effective religious institutions that work on the spread of the real word of Islam. No wonder extremists and terrorists make the best use of such absence to spread their poisons in the minds of ideologically lost Muslims, turning them into remote-controlled robots that just receive order and motivations and one press on a button is enough to make them go burn and destroy. Additionally, such monopoly over religion is one of the main reasons why other cultures have distorted image of Islam as all they see is just the ideology of those who burn and kill, and who in fact have nothing to do with the true message of Islam.

To those who ask for reform, reform the minds of Muslims and you will not need to find a way to reform Islam. The problem is there with minds not with the religion.

To those who try to show the true image of Islam to the world, start from the inside. Reform yourself, your image will be reformed and the world will see its true shape.

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