This was tweeted to us this morning in French. At a time where Morocco is geared towards constitutional change, and the public debate on secularism is gaining momentum, we wanted to share this analysis in English as well:
1- Minarets are not indispensable in Islam, not even Mosques. The rule in Islam is that there is no clergy, therefore promoting the institutionalization of a cult in Islam is technically impossible. That is why Islam is a modern religion, and doesn’t support religious bureaucracy ( read theocracy). Because Islam is an open religion that promotes respect, Muslims are allowed to pray anywhere they want to, and are also encouraged to do so in privacy.
2- The Burqa is a modern construction. To cover one’s face is an aberration in Islam. Even during pilgrimage to Mecca, the Burqa or Niqab or any other kind of veil that would cover a woman’s face is not an Islamic obligation. In Islam, what is not clearly mentioned as a precept cannot be invented.
3- No, in Islam a woman and a man are not equal. They are different. They do enjoy the same rights and share the same obligations. But a woman has a superior status. The prophet of Islam asked Muslims to take care of their moms three times, before he asked them to care of their father. In Islam paradise is described as being at mothers’ feet. In Islam there is only one limit: succession rules (heritage). But if one analyzes, the implementation of these rules is secondary to the conditional implementation of the following differentiation between women and men: alimony. Even if a woman is wealthy, she remains entitled to the financial support of a male relative, whether her husband, her brother, or her father. Men have given up on this fundamental rule, and that is how men are made…
4- The ostentatious practice of religion is not of Islam. In Islam, the rule is discretion. IN EVERYTHING.
5- Polygamy was not invented by Islam, and is not tolerated by Islam. In fact, according to the Koran, polygamy is materially impossible, or at least very hard to implement for anyone who fears God. The condition for this permission is perfect equality between wives.
6- Freedom of belief is protected in Islam. None can be forced into a religion or into practicing it. The Koran is very clear on this rule and forcing someone to convert is unacceptable in Islam.
7- According to Islam, the truth is not one, specifically when it comes to governance. The Koran explained that governance must take place through continuous consultation among Muslims. We can call it democracy!
8- Shariaa is not rigid. Shariaa scares those who don’t know it, and is used as a scarecrow against those who don’t understand it. Corporal punishments are heretic. It is quasi impossible to practice « Qassas » given that meeting all the conditions enumerated by the Koran is impossible. Try to slide a threat between two fornicators to see if there was any sexual act. This is one of the primary conditions! The punishment against a thief is also subject to conditions, among which, identifying if he has the means to survive and live in dignity. Who can prove that?
9- The Koran has established conditions in order to invite people to reflect on issues, and think about them. They are tools that allow an interpretation of laws and the conditions for their implementation. Because the Koran is mainly a book for people who think (who use their brain).
10- Jihad doesn’t mean war. Jihad is a word that scares people nowadays. However, beyond religions and beliefs, it is this state of mind that we, as human beings, need the most today. Jihad means struggle/fight. Struggling against oneself. Struggle against others. Struggle against ignorance. In Islam, a Moujahid is someone who fights/struggles. He is like a saint. Fighting or struggling doesn’t mean going to war. War is highly codified in Islam, one cannot go to war out of a desire to fight, or for a diversion. It is illicit to kill as none has the right to put an end to the life that God created, the only exception is to do justice.
11- Jihad is the struggle to make life better. It is to be understood in its humanist sense, where men become less egoistic, more entrepreneurial, more constructive. Those limiting jihad to a simple declaration of primitive war or terrorism don’t do so randomly.
12- No, Islam is not opposed to secularism. Quite the contrary.
13- Why does Islam attract the media buzz and attention all over the world, media that portray it in a negative way?
14- Why all of this interest around a religion when it is criticized by all and accused of the worst threats against peace and humanity?
15- Isn’t it a religion like others?
No Islam is not interesting because of its rites: praying, fasting, going to Mecca, giving to the poor. Other religions before Islam have asked for that and much more.
So what are we talking about if that is not Islam? Those who think that this religion is limited to a mosque, a minaret, or a dress code make an error of judgment.
Islam is not loved by so many millions of human beings because it proposes that you hit your head against the floor 17 times a day or kill an animal once a year. Islam didn’t reach every corner of this planet because it asks women to cover their faces or because it asks people to fast all day.
Islam carries the most wonderful message of all. Two words summarize everything about Islam. Two words to explain its strength. No leader, since the prophet, has been able to promote what is essential about Islam. All focus on secondary rites. Two words to explain what Islam stands for: Liberty and equality.
« All human beings are equal » was the first message of Islam to the world. That is perhaps why the first Muslim Muezin was a black person. The first condition imposed by Islam on every Muslim is freedom. Every Islamic practice should follow this first condition.
When one prays, it doesn’t matter what he is looking at. God is everywhere.
One must fast during Ramadan, not if one is traveling or sick.
One must go to Mecca, if able to…
One must pray, unless one is traveling, at war, or sick…
One must be free on any constraints . What is most important is the faith one has in his/her heart.
Liberty and freedom. Everything else must be solved “in consultation between them.” Dixit the Koran!