A short comment.

Yesterday I had the honour (yes, really it was) of being retweeted by the estimable Glenn Greenwald – a man whose work I greatly admire. [Preserved for posterity here: https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/676418447182573568 ]

Predictably Maajid Nawaz and his usual pack of faithful attack dogs seized upon a past tweet of mine wherein I was actually clarifying a technical point – that murder means unlawful killing as opposed to a judicial execution (whatever you make of the morality of it) – in order to cause Mr Greenwald (who is openly gay) embarrassment. Mr Nawaz also lied by stating that I am “pro-ISIS” despite me making clear my opposition to many of their policies and even the ethos whence such policies emanate. For my full appraisal of Islamic State you can read my blog post of last year: https://t.co/cugREd0hE4 or simply refer to the following tweet: https://twitter.com/GleamingRazor/status/676577238309994496

Anyway, to clarify the issue around homosexuality I wrote this:

A society is a collective of individuals bound together in a permanent relationship united under a common ideology. Disparate societies have widely divergent conceptions of how relations between their constituents ought to be managed and regulated as well as the criterion for enacting legislation to further the same.

Islam means (in one form of its tri-consonantal Arabic root) “submission”. It is the abnegation of one’s personal moral agency and desiderata for submission to the will of the Almighty. Life is a temporary sojourn on Earth, the purpose of which is to worship God in all that we do,  followed, after death, by an eternal existence in either eternal bliss or eternal damnation.  Quaint, frankly even absurd, as that might sound to millions of Western minds in 2015 nevertheless such is the Weltanschauung adopted by some 1.5 billion Muslims (I’m sorry but I don’t count ex-Muslims as ‘Muslims’). The ideological basis of Western liberal democracy is that the individual has the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness – whatever his personal conception of that might be – free of encumbrance from both Church and State excepting what is strictly necessary to preserve the entitlement of others to the same. As you can see, two very different outlooks on life.

The social philosophy of Islam is very much based upon ensuring the good and wellbeing of the collective even if that occasionally impinges on the freedom of the individual. In truth every society – including liberal ones – sanctions absolute personal freedom, even in instances where there is no direct discernible causal nexus between the prohibited act and the infringement of another’s personal liberty. Every society recognises, at some level, that an individual’s actions will often have an impact beyond their own personal wellbeing. When considering the legal determination of a particular act legislators will often consider the impact on the surrounding community, recognising that while the potential harm from one individual undertaking such an act might well be sufferable the cumulative effect of (potentially) millions of such acts most likely won’t be. It is for that reason that the consumption of most intoxicating substances is prohibited (although bizarrely the most destructive of all of them is permitted).

What acts deserve to be sanctioned and which deserve free license are, in a liberal society, determined by popular opinion which of course is in a state of permanent flux. In an Islamic state, by contrast, such determinations are the emanation of sincere enquiry into the divine texts and the ancillary sources indicated thereof. Where the divine texts are clear about the prohibition of an act and upon the punitive sanction applicable to it is the Muslim’s duty to hear and obey. Ultimately we recognise the limitations and fallibility of the human intellect as compared to the infallibility and omniscience of the Creator:

“…But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [TMQ 2:216]

“It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” [TMQ 33:36]

[Incidentally it is verses such as these that will ensure apostate “reformers” such as Maajid Nawaz have zero chance of success. A fact that open apostates such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali have implicitly acknowledged via her demand for Muslims to disavow concepts such as Qur’anic inerrancy.]

A regards Hadd punishments then I have already written about them here: https://maskedavenger1.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/ramadan-musing-on-the-hadd-punishments/ with a short follow up (after a comment from a Harry’s Place moderator) here https://maskedavenger1.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/a-reply-to-a-comment/

I have mentioned the case of homosexuality within these short pieces but I would like to clarify three vital points here:

  • Islamic law sanctions actions, not beliefs. The Islamic state is enjoined to preserve righteousness in the public arena, not to pry into people’s private affairs. What a man does privately and keeps private is of no concern of the state.
  • Naturally Shariah law only applies in an Islamic state.
  • “Islamists want to kill gays.” Extremely misleading and to illustrate why I’ll use an analogy much favoured by many Islam-hating demagogues. Often such rabble-rousers will draw a parallel between the Nazis hatred and want to kill Jews and “Islamists” supposed fixation on executing homosexuals. The analogy is flawed on two counts. Firstly for the reason I have mentioned in point (i) – the Nazis by contrast didn’t care whether a Jew kept their Judaism private – the fact that they were of Jewish blood was in of itself a death sentence and there was nothing the condemned could do to avert it – not even by recanting their Judaism. Secondly they had a policy of active extermination meaning they would hunt out Jews even those in hiding. The Islamic state never had and never will have such a policy. Don’t ask, don’t tell. In fact the Prophet (saw) instructed judges to find every reason possible to avert imposing the hadd punishment: “Ward off hadd punishments by means of doubts.”


May the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon our master Muhammad. Ameen.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. user says:

    It’s quite obscene that you feel entitled to defend your hatred of homosexuals by stressing that the prescribed (gruesome) death penalty does not amount to “active extermination”, and that gays would be safe as long as they stay in hiding. Also remarkable that in the several paragraphs you wrote, not once did you feel the need to address why being openly gay has a negative effect on society (and “because it says so in the Quran” is not an argument). It would be fun to see what Greenwald would have to say about your nauseating apologetics.

    1. Lenna says:

      He is entitled to express and defend his views. We are constantly reminded that free speech is sacred, so surely you don’t really mean feelling entitled the exercise thereof is “obscene.”

      “It’s in the Qur’an” would be a sufficient argument for a Muslim. What doesn’t constitute a relevant argument is your emotionally charged disapproval.

      1. Ajit Bains says:

        Avenger is entitled to express his views and user is entitled to insult his views. Ideas can be expressed and they can fairly be described as obscene without affecting free speech.

        If Avenger states that being openly gay has a negative effect on society then he needs to provide some actual empirical evidence for this claim. If he does not have any such evidence then he should stick to theological arguments such as “the Quran says so”.

      2. Lenna says:

        What a strange comment. Have I said this other person isn’t allowed to insult his views? No, of course not.

        Avenger stated the Islamic perspective on this matter, as he sees it, which you can take or leave. He only have to provide further evidence if he feels the need to convince you.

      3. Ajit Bains says:

        Your comment suggested that the use of the word “obscene” was a challenge to Avenger’s freedom of speech and therefore hypocritical from a liberal perspective. However obscene can just mean “repugnant” in which case there is no problem.

        So if I said “Islam has a negative effect on society” should I be expected to try and provide some justification or would it be fine for me to just blithely assert it?

      4. Lenna says:

        Let’s look at PRECISELY what the first person wrote:

        It’s quite obscene that you feel entitled to defend your hatred of homosexuals…

        Maybe what the person ACTUALLY MEANT was s/he finds the views themselves “obscene,” but that isn’t, in fact, what was said. I responded to what the person actually SAID. Which is the feeling entitled to express views, however unpopular, is in itself “obscene.” I thought unbridled free speech rights were to be celebrated with abandon, at least when the vanguards are busy lecturing Muslims.

        As to your question, you can “blithely assert” ANYTHING you want. Again, this is the nature of a free society. You can CHOOSE to defend or not defend that assertion, depending on whether or not you want to convince the person who questions it. You aren’t under any obligation whatseover to do so, just as the other person is under no obligation to accept you assertion as correct or true.

        If I want to say I’m absolutely convinced the earth is flat, I’m free to “blithely assert” the earth is flat. If I don’t care if you accept that assertion or not, the discussion is over. If Avenger felt the need to convince you of his position, I suppose he’d be here arguing his case. I was only commenting on the idea someone feeling entitled to exercise the much-vaunted right to FREE SPEECH was somehow “obscene.” But regardless of whether the person meant the entitlement or the view itself was “obscene,” I would like to remind all of you that YOU HAVE NO RIGHT NOT TO BE OFFENDED. That’s what Muslims are told when they don’t like something that is said, and so to be consistent, that applies to views YOU don’t like as well. This isn’t complicated.

      5. Ajit Bains says:

        Well that’s not quite the full story is it? The second half of the sentence suggests that it is the argument used by Avenger to defend his position that is obscene (that making homosexuality punishable by death won’t necessarily lead to the mass extermination of gays). Perhaps by strict literal interpretation you are correct but I think the spirit of the sentence is pretty obvious.

        More importantly it seems as though that you don’t understand the free speech argument. The point is not that speech cannot be offensive, clearly it can be. The first point is that banning such speech is not conducive to the intellectual development of society. I think a strong argument could be made that the intellectual stagnation of the Islamic world relates to the lack of free speech. I’m not an expert on the Abbasid caliphate but it does appear that intellectuals at the time were given considerably more freedom to express ideas than they are in much of the Islamic world today. Certainly freedom of speech was a cornerstone of the Western enlightenment at the expense of religious authority.

        Secondly, the overlooked aspect of free speech is that forces us to be more robust, if we aren’t forced to defend our beliefs from criticism they will ossify and we will eventually be unable defend them, looking instead to silence the critics rather than face them head on. A good example of this is holocaust denialism and the unfortunate laws that have been enacted in several European countries. Because of these laws for many year historians did not have to defend the historicity of the holocaust and as a result when eventually they were confronted by the arguments of David Irving many of them were unable to refute them. Hence the holocaust denial laws have proved to be counter productive.

        If the price we have to pay for these obvious benefits are some hurt sentiments, even mine, so be it.

  2. No name says:

    Considering that we are talking about religion and not science. There is no need for any more evidence than a proof that it says so in the Quran. Homosexuality is a sin just like drinking wine or eating in front of other people during Ramadan.

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