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kr’s Thoughts on the Afghani Apostate, Part III

April 4, 2006

kr’s note: My apologies for the delay in updating.

edit, 12:30 am – Table of Contents has been updated after a long time.

    Thus, the issue of meting out the
death penalty to this particular apostate becomes, I believe, trivial at best
and pathetic at worst. I found it unsettling that in the discussions that were
going on about this issue, the aforementioned options (imprisonment and exile)
were not even mentioned. Most importantly, in my mind, I think the bigger issue
was whether or not this man was a threat to the state, since apostasy warrants
the death penalty due to this reason. I would argue that this man posed no
threat to the integrity of the state; not only did he convert outside of the “Islamic
State”, but he was not going around Afghanistan trying to convert people or
incite rebellion—along religious lines—against the government. Moreover, he was
mentally disturbed and therefore not legally accountable for his apostasy—whether
or not he was metaphysically responsible to God is an issue that is beyond the
realm of the faqih.

    The million dollar statement is that I
believe this particular man should not be executed
. This is because when
one looks at the prevailing circumstances that surround this particular case, I
don’t believe that the death penalty is warranted here. Hence, the fatwah ought to be that this man is
mentally unsound, poses no threat to the state, and should be, ideally, left
alone to his own devices. But if the law demands some sort of punishment, I
believe exile is the only appropriate recourse. The important point to remember
from all this is that despite this particular case, the hukm remains. But the hukm
requires prerequisites in order for it to be carried out, and when such
conditions do not exist, then perhaps the fatwah
must move away from the hukm. Hence,
the integrity of the hukm remains,
standing beside a pragmatic solution to this particular scenario. The lessons
to be learnt from all this is that nearly all religiously legal cases are
complicated, requiring the insight and foresight of the qualified and
well-trained jurist. Therefore, only the most naïve greenback reads one hadith
or verse or text and arrives at a binding conclusion. It is only the most
emotionally incapacitated individual that demands a given hukm to be carried out without considering mitigating circumstances.

    A larger
question does loom in the wake of all this: why’s
the West getting so involved in this matter
? One thing that the world must
remember is that Afghanistan
is a sovereign state, implying that it has the right to decree its own laws and
conduct itself in a manner that its government deems appropriate. In other
words, only Afghanis should dictate what laws are mandated within their
borders; for anyone else, Muslim or non-Muslim, to interfere in that process is
trespassing on their right to sovereignty. It is therefore the pinnacle of
irony that the United States,
the same regime that installed the current Afghani government and granted it
political legitimacy vis-à-vis the global community, is suddenly crying foul
over this issue. In other words, one cannot build a house for a homeless man
and then demand that the man cook fish for dinner when he wants to eat chicken.
So long as this man is not harming or intent on the destruction of others, he
should be left to his own accord. It is hypocritical for the West to demand
that democracy prevail all over the world, yet when the people’s will is
towards something that is not congruent to the West’s ideas of how “it ought to
be”, then it becomes a problem, cloaked in vocabulary such as “human rights
violations”. My contention for everyone is to be consistent in your usūl—don’t champion them when it’s convenient
and abandon them when they suddenly get in your way.

    This is exactly what is done by the
West with democracy.  Plato defined
democracy as the “rule of the mob” (and hence thought it was idiotic), but this
is exactly what it is: popular sentiment dictates the course of action. For the
West to criticize the same political process that they champion is paradoxical.
If another country, for example, were to criticize American voting regulations
(particularly in the farce of 2000) as being undemocratic, that attitude wouldn’t
even be considered seriously. Colonialism still exists, except now it is
manifest via cultural and ideological influences over other nations instead of military—so
long as a given country follows these guidelines, then the West will award it
with a proverbial cookie. The problem also is compounded when one realizes the
West only complains about issues that are convenient and have
political/economic significance. If the West wants to complain about government-mandated
laws in Afghanistan
as human rights violations, then it ought condemn human rights violations
everywhere. Where was the West in condemning or doing something about the
Rwandan genocide of 1994? Where is the West to cry foul over the corporate rape
of South America and Africa at
the expense of millions of lives? And where will the West be when the next
human rights violation emerges in some sector of the world that isn’t
strategically convenient for their involvement? Again, the lack of consistency
in principles is the issue of the day. The greatest cosmic irony, of course, is
that this same picking-and-choosing of democracy done by the West can be aptly
juxtaposed with the picking-and-choosing of Islam by Muslims of today.

    And now, where do we as Muslims go
from here? As with nearly all our problems, it requires for us to be educated
about basic principles of religion and history from sound sources and teachers.
It further requires for individuals to be spiritually grounded in order to
develop a sophisticated intellectual maturity that can help one develop both foresight
and prudence. And all this is nothing more than following the Prophetic model
to develop an ability to remain unperturbed, resilient, and compassionate
towards all of creation. It is this insight–referenced by the best of creation
in his statement: “Beware of the believer’s
insight, for he sees by the Light of God
”—that is sorely needed to
contextualize and answer the crises of today.

Perhaps the
easier alternative is to elect me as Caliph so I can solve the world’s
problems. Maybe. You can always hope.

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16 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    first to comment….
    hmmmm i dont remember the last time i actually read one of your posts…i just prop you because you pay me to…
    nigger-ul-haq

  2. Anonymous permalink

    “Perhaps the easier alternative is to elect me as Caliph so I can solve the world’s problems.”
    KR, I’d rather vote for Musharraf.  Haha……

  3. awesome..great conclusion masha’Allah (took you long enough to update! hehe). but you’re right; the West–friggin hypocrites.

  4. well done kr, i read the other parts as well. freakonomics, great read =)

  5. no im not, He writes it like this:”–me”

  6. MashAllah KR, once again you have come up with some outstanding and sensible stuff
    My only complaint with these “thoughts” (this one and the cartoon thing) is that as amazing as they are, you write them quite late in the game… like everything about the situation is already done. Forgive me, but I wish you would write it “earlier” in the wake of the event so that more people can read it and benefit from them. Your insights are outstanding when Muslims do stupid things, and if you could share them earlier, maybe we can send them to other listservs or magazines or something… kinda like make sure the Muslims read your thoughts when they can do something.
    Anyway, bottom line, keep up the good work

  7. Anonymous permalink

    im sorry i did not prop or read this post before
    “The greatest cosmic irony, of course, is that this same picking-and-choosing of democracy done by the West can be aptly juxtaposed with the picking-and-choosing of Islam by Muslims of today. “that was a great line that whole paragraph was great.. now i have to go back and read part 1 and 2..

  8. Anonymous permalink

    hi im a random sister that wanted to eprop kr just bc he’s so dreamy <giggles> .. and I didn’t read your post bc I can’t read.

  9. ^haha, youre such an idiot krispy

  10. to almusafir: good point, no offense taken at all. i guess sometimes i wait on sharing my thoughts because i like to let our scholars/leaders say things first… also, a lot of times i don’t have thoughts to share until “late in the game” because that’s when ive finally had the time to think/read through things before arriving at my personal opinions. nonetheless, youre right, inshallah when the next crisis happens (hehe, sadly, its only a matter of time before it does), ill try to be more on top of things.to sshortyyy: apology accepted =).

  11. KamKam…thank you for being the little pointy eared red squirrel that throws nuts of reason amongst all of mere gray squirrels. 
    Good conclusion.  I too second the idea of “exile”. 
    Freakonomics is an awesome book.  I read it in a day right after I took my USMLE step 1.  I think it was the adrenalin…

  12. MashaAllah, nice post and conclusion. Thanks for writing this, I feel it clarifies a lot of things for me. But this doesn’t mean that I will vote you for Caliph though. Hehehe.

  13. I once read about the ways in which Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu anhuma) used to differ. Both were seas of knowledge, great scholars who guided many, yet Ibn Umar tended to interpret the law word-for-word while Ibn Abbas focused more on the essence. I had a question about all that. I’ve noticed how you often lean towards the essence and meaning behind the shariah. Is it because you rely on your own reasoning when you think about these things or is because you were taught to focus on the essence instead of literal, word-for-word meaning?

  14. I don’t feel like the question was clear enough. Does your tendency to think about the meaning or essence of the law come from yourself? or is this how you were taught to think? Some people tell me that Islam is not an intellectual religion but a literal, black and white, code of action.

  15. KR! I request that you read over my philosophy paper and edit it with your jedi-like master editing skillz….and make dua I get an A in philosophy…*sigh*

  16. Anonymous permalink

    good post kr.
    you were on point with the ‘trivial’ part. that statement(s) tie in a bit to my current post. the media finds any possible way to seep into our minds and infiltrate on some poor individual’s lackluster mind.
    well, now the guy is in italy. crazy italian. 

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