Monday, February 9, 2009

Is this Islamic spirituality?

Islam's prescription for how to live life is simple - live as Muhammad did and said. His words and deeds are recorded in the Kuran and Hadith, and Islam says that is the blueprint for the perfect life - the life Allah wants every Muslim to live. Islam, more than submission to Allah's will, is a religion of total submission to Muhammad's words and the example of his deeds. It is all about one man - Muhammad.

This is why you see muslims with their beards dyed red (Muhammad had his dyed red), pull their pants above their ankles, and so on. This is carried to such extremes as are hard to believe. Look at the fatwa below on "Standing and urinating", on a very respected Islamic website, where a muslim asks the Imam whether he should urinate while sitting down because that is how Muhammed urinated:

Or consider the following ahadith from one of the four most respected Hadith collections - Sunan Abu Dawud. They are all from the Kitab-i-Taharah (Book of purification)

Narrated AbuMusa: AbutTayyah reported on the authority of a shaykh (an old man): When Abdullah ibn Abbas came to Basrah, people narrated to him traditions from AbuMusa. Therefore Ibn Abbas wrote to him asking him about certain things. In reply AbuMusa wrote to him saying: One day I was in the company of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). He wanted to urinate. Then he came to a soft ground at the foot of a wall and urinated. He (the Prophet) then said: If any of you wants to urinate, he should look for a place (like this) for his urination.

Narrated Salman al-Farsi: It was said to Salman: Your Prophet teaches you everything, even about excrement. He replied: Yes. He has forbidden us to face the qiblah at the time of easing or urinating, and cleansing with right hand, and cleansing with less than three stones, or cleansing with dung or bone.

Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: When two persons go together for relieving themselves uncovering their private parts and talking together, Allah, the Great and Majestic, becomes wrathful at this (action).

I would like my readers to ask themselves a few questions:
1. Is it the purpose of religion to dictate how a man should urinate?
2. Is it the purpose of a religion to dictate what colour of dye a man should use on his beard?
3. Is it the purpose of a religion to dictate the manner of cleaning after defecation? The Hadith says use only stones, not bones, because "bones are the food of jinns." Not only that, one must use at least 3 stones, not less.

Is this a religion or some kind of total mind and body control cult that could only have existed in the harsh culture-less desert of Arabia in the 7th century?

I am a very religious Hindu. I read the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita almost daily. They talk about the spirit, about the Atman (soul) and its relationship with the higher reality. The Upanishads about whom the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said

"It is the most profitable and sublime reading that is possible in the world; it has been the consolation of my life and will be that of
my death."

The Upanishads which provide the inspiration for some of the most moving imagery of Tristan und Isolde. The Bhagavad Gita, about which Henry David Thoreau wrote:

"In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial."

These writings have no ink to waste on the trite details of one's daily excretement.

I feel the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita embody what religion is for - to satisfy our deeper philosophical yearnings because answering these questions sheds light on our relationship with a higher reality. The Sermon on the Mount performs the same purpose. These are true spiritual treasures of mankind. They do not discuss urination and defecation, because the purpose of religion is not to discuss issues like urination and defecation!

Islam is not a religion. At least not one that fulfills the spiritual needs of its faithful adherents. It does serve as a highly effective control mechanism that steals the creative spark of mankind from all of them, though. Those muslims who still retain their individuality, their creativity, their humanity, and their conscience are not faithful to Islam. They are non-practising muslims. For if they were truly practising muslims, then they would agree to abide by all the minutae of Islamic Shari'a that would completely deny them any freedom and any human expression. Every single action in their lives would be totally dictated by the words spoken 1400 years ago by one man - Muhammad.

For purposes of this article, I have not even considered ahadith such as this one:

During sexual intercourse, man must not look at his wife’s sexual organ; for, this may cause blindness.
- Hadith Fayz ul Kadir

This discussion is only about the Kuran and the 4 most respected authentic Hadith (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Malik).

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