Abdul Rahman: Infidel
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."
Abdul Rahman: Infidel
- » Published on March 26, 2006
- » Type: Opinion
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