OPINION

Abdul Rahman: Infidel

March 26, 2006
Jamal

Under mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, several Afghan authorities have suggested he could be released within 48 hours. Even Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Afghan president to show clemency, although I did not see him present at the rally. Obviously his grace is not going to travel to Washington DC, but he does need to do alot more if he wants to avoid excerbating the partial Afghan belief that Rahman is part of a plot to convert Muslims. "The courts should punish him and he should be put to death;" is the reported public opinion in Afghanistan, leading to concerns that Rahman will be forced to live in fear and forced exile following release. Some await the Left's support; others wonder about the Muslim response; while a few yearn the bugle of the West. What disturbs me is that while USA, Britain, Australia, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Canada and the UN voice their concerns about this single man, not much in comparison is being said about Police clubbing demonstrators in Belarus; violence in CAR; deaths in India; fatal clashes in Somalia; attacks in Baghdad; and lack of support in Sudan.

Alongside the continued unrest and increase in opium production, Rahman's case is further evidence that Afghanistan has not been liberated? I therefore disagree with Dafydd Ab Hugh who implies that any outcome will be no stain on President Bush, but on the other hand I do not consider it Bush's duty to intervene either. From the Afghan point of view, America has already interfered far enough into their lives, politically, culturally and socially. In the West, opinions are festering in considering the Rahman case as evidence of an Islamic "threat" and a potential cause of "severe hardships" for Christians. Rather than fearing Islam and slandering the Shari'ah, people should instead follow Irfan's example and attempt to understand the political, cultural, theological and historical context within which the Rahman case unfolds. To simply condemn Islam or even Afghanistan, as many are doing, is too simple-minded when there is much more to this fascinating story as excellently detailed by Will who concludes;


"A movement to save Abdul Rahman must be indigenous and rooted in Muslim values. Otherwise, I'm afraid Abdul Rahman will either die for his beliefs or Afghanistan's legitimacy will be undercut. Afghanistan's government will be set back if he is saved from execution inorganically, meaning as the result of illegitimate external interventions."

With reference to my own understanding as provided during discussion of a related article, there is not a single authentically recorded instance that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did treat apostasy as a prescribed offence under hudud (capital punishment) only for leaving Islam. No one was sentenced to death solely for renunciation of faith unless accompanied by hostility and treason, or was linked to an act of political betrayal of the community. As a matter of fact the Qur'an is completely silent on the question of death as a punishment for apostasy which does not qualify for temporal punishment. The following is provided based on Ahmad Ibn Naqib Al-Misri's 'The Reliance of the Traveller' (from IslamOnline) with some amendments);


"In addressing the issue of apostasy it is important to keep in mind the time, circumstances and the conditions that existed at the time of a particular ruling or judgment. Most modern governments do not apply Shari`ah law. However, this does not justify individuals taking it upon themselves to kill people if they apostatize from Islam. If this were to happen, such reckless action would only lead to a vicious circle of murder and homicide in which case a great deal of innocent people would be injured. As it stands presently, the means for dealing with apostasy are appropriate. Muslims should know that Almighty Allah has promised the apostate a severe punishment in this life, and an even greater punishment in the next life."

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#1
sanman
March 26, 2006
08:58 PM

Once again, Jamal only undercuts his own credibility by acting as an apologist for those who would execute this man for his freedom to worship as he pleases. He only advertises once again that Islam is more an ethnic grouping than a set of values in a meaningful sense. Once again he predictably comes forth to defend his co-ethnic flock, regardless of who's right and who's wrong. No surprise there.

The real issue here is that this fellow was facing a death sentence for changing to another religion, which is his right to do, and not the right of any court to take away. To then distract from this and fetishize over the reactions of the infidels, which are quite natural and expected in this case, only shows the author's skewed morals.

#2
Nachiketa
URL
March 26, 2006
09:04 PM

As a matter of fact the Qur'an is completely silent on the question of death as a punishment for apostasy which does not qualify for temporal punishment

How absolutely kind and benevolent.

#3
Desh
URL
March 27, 2006
12:37 AM

This is just in on my blog...

http://www.drishtikone.com/?q=node/1307

Jamal: you need to really get a reality check dude!! There is a lot that needs to be corrected in Quran and the Psyche of the Muslim society.. if it is to survive and live with the world.. or it will shoot itself on the foot.

Your article follows (as is the case with so many pseudo-seculars in India too) the same nauseating pattern.. bring up anything negative about Islam.. (which is almost anytime you read the morning newspaper with one barbaric and nonsensical actions after another) that the only argument thatis put forward is to hastily start pointing fingers at everyone else!!

If you dont even believe that something is wrong about passing a death sentence - (state sponsored terrorism) - for conversion then there is no room for discussion here!! The same mentality made mincemeat of the Ahmediyas in Pakistan.. by state passing laws to have them killed for imagined blasphemies...

Cheers,
Desh
Drishtikone.com

#4
gibreel farishta
URL
March 27, 2006
01:53 AM

Why should people who do not consider themselves as mohemmadans submit their rights to a framework decided by quran or shariat or hadith ?

Freedom of religious faith is a universal right, a birthright - something bestowed upon us by virtue of being human.

I dont care why you support that Afghanistani mans right to convert from muhemmadanism to christianity, or if you feel the need to find justification for your support in the quran, or indeed if you can find some quatrain in the quran to support that guys right to convert, as long as you do !! Whether quran supports his right to convert or not is totally immaterial to the discussion, because one of the parties to this discussion do not agree upon quran giving any universal moral standard at all.

>> there is not a single authentically recorded instance that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did treat apostasy as a prescribed offence under hudud (capital punishment) only for leaving Islam. No one was sentenced to death solely for renunciation of faith unless accompanied by hostility and treason, or was linked to an act of political betrayal of the community.

This is interesting. Entirely to satisfy my curiosity (which is to say, this question has no bearing upon the point under discussion), Can you point to any instance in the quran where a convert into another religion from islam was portrayed as someone who did not commit an act of treason/betrayal of the muhammedan community, and hence was not punished with death ?

#5
Anil
URL
March 27, 2006
02:14 AM

I do not believe in the concept of death penalty and punishing some one for converting from one religion to another is simply ludicrous.

That said I would have waited till the sentence was passed before the international community intervened. I mean we are assuming that the judge would have found the man guilty which need not be true.

I also believe that it is these kinds of cases that whose outcome underlines the future of a country. It is these kinds of cases which show the world whether the country wants to become a modern democracy or stay back in dark ages. By intervening too soon, the international community took away Afghanistan's chance to answer this question.

#6
Ashish
URL
March 30, 2006
11:05 AM

Standard pattern here in "defence" of Islam. First, say that others are also wrong (as if it makes them right), second, say that Quran doesn't permit this, or that things are taken "out of context". Frankly, who cares if Quran permits this or not? For "infidels", Islam IS what Muslims practice, irrespective of whether they do it in accordance with Holy Prophet or not.

#7
Ruvy in Jerusalem
March 30, 2006
01:27 PM

I notice that Jamal has not seen fit to answer any or the commenters here as well as on Blog Critics. I posted comments there asking if he thought that executing a man for converting from his faith was just.

Why bother to write an article if you won't answer those who comment?

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