A number of articles recently published in the Saudi press criticize the extremist model promoted by the Taliban in Afghanistan and by ISIS and the movements of political Islam. This model, they argue, does not reflect the true spirit of Islam and is based on a misguided implementation of the Islamic shari’a. It results from decades of indoctrination that promoted Islamic jurisprudence suited to past eras, before the age of progress and prosperity in the Muslim world. The articles add that the extremism of these movements reflects an “ideological crisis” in Islam, and that there is therefore an urgent need to enact reforms in order adapt the Islamic shari’a to the modern age and foster a spirit of tolerance and love of life.
The following are translated excerpts from these articles.
Saudi Journalist: The Taliban’s Islamic State Model Only Oppresses Women And Produces Jihad Fighters
In a sarcastic article in the daily ‘Okaz, columnist ‘Abdallah Bin Bakhit writes that ISIS, the Taliban and the organizations of political Islam espouse a misguided model of the Islamic state that, instead of promoting progress, only oppresses women and produces jihad fighters. This model, he adds, is the result of the extremist ideas that have been promoted by preachers in the Muslim world for decades. This, he says, is why Al-Azhar, the supreme religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world, refrained from accusing ISIS of heresy. If it did, it would have been forced to direct the same accusation at many other movements and preachers.
Bin Bakhit wrote: “I was glad when Al-Azhar refused to accuse ISIS of heresy. Many intellectuals protested and condemned this [decision], and some even accused this venerable religious university of hatching conspiracies. [But] if we consider the issue in depth, we will see that Al-Azhar took the right decision. It did not find anything in the conduct of ISIS that justified accusing it of heresy. All the decisions taken [by ISIS] and all their actions on the ground conform to the religious rulings we have constantly been hearing about for 40 years. Al-Azhar refrained from accusing ISIS of heresy because this would have meant directing the same accusation at all those who took to the pulpits to preach Islam in the era of the Islamic Awakening that spread through the Arab countries [in the late 20th century]. ISIS realized the vision of the [Islamic Awakening] movement in practice and to the letter. They implemented everything they learned from the books of tradition and everything they heard from the senior clerics. Their problem was that they implemented it too soon. They announced [their state] before they had the necessary strength, and the world pounced on them and defeated them. Nobody wants to remain on the losing side, [so] our honorable clerics distanced themselves from [ISIS], although before this they used to provide [ISIS] with funds and fighters and pray for it with all their hearts.
“I was not among those who yearned for the complete disappearance of ISIS. I wanted the world to provide it with territory to establish a state that would implement the shari’a, [the kind of state] that all the organizations of political Islam have promised [to establish] and which all the Muslim peoples have been yearning for. Whenever one of our honorable preachers is asked why the Muslim states are not leading the world, he ascribes this to the fact that we are not implementing the true Islam. Thankfully, the world continues to turn and the dream is now about to come true, because, after the world deprived ISIS of the honor of implementing the shari’a, history gave us the Taliban to perform this duty… Let’s wait and see how they implement the shari’a and how this affects the development, prosperity and welfare of the Afghan people and guides the entire world to the right path.
“The Taliban has [already] uprooted women from the universities. This is the first glimmer of the Afghans’ success. Women have no place in the university and in the job market. Keeping them at home will officially transform them into [perfect mothers] to raise the coming generations. A woman does not need to study at all, because she has nobler and more important roles, chief of which is to obey her husband, fill his heart with joy, preserve his wealth, keep anyone from entering his home without his permission, including her own parents, and refrain from giving alms without his consent. She must not take a single step outside the home without his permission, and she must dress only according to his taste and wishes. [The home] is her realm, where she sits enthroned, tall and proud, and one of her main roles, for which she was created and which suits her natural inclinations, is to care for [her husband’s] children. Her male children will become sources of creativity, production and invention, and constitute the exclusive circle from which jihad fighters and officers in the religious police [are selected]. The world is waiting [to see] the Afghans’ successful attempts at producing missiles, planes, computers, semiconductors and everything that leads to progress and [develops] culture, after the plotters deprived ISIS of the opportunity to do so.”
EDITORS NOTE: This MEMRI report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.