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08 August 2006 at 17:47

ijtihad and jihad

I lost my equilibrium a few weeks ago. I suppose it started when I had the screaming neck pain, and I couldn't use the PC for a couple of weeks. I lost sleep and lost touch with my blogfriends.

Yet since the pain lifted and I got back online, I've been blundering around offending people all over the place, in my posts and my comments. And I almost triggered a diplomatic crisis here in the UnHeard Of and McDonald Islands, when I dressed up an attack dog as a St Bernard, and sent it up the mountain to sniff out the Buddhist fundamentalists. Worst of all, I've lost the will to drink. I've got about 200 bottles under the house, and I'm not doing anything to get it down.

I need to find a way to get my mind back into balance. I was going to ask you to help, but I realise nobody can fix it except me. Which brings me to a serious point about jihad and ijtihad:



Who can fix the problem of jihad?

Nowadays everyone knows the word "jihad", which apparently has several meanings including pious duty, struggle, war on the infidels, etc. As a westerner, it is easy to get caught up in the widespread assumption that islam has to be authoritarian, that islam equals jihad, full stop.

I saw a documentary recently where a French progressive muslim thinker explained some stuff. He pointed out that islamic fundamentalists teach that the west is the enemy of all good muslims. But he says that in fact it is easier to live as a Pakistani or Iraqi in the west, than to live at home. "Let's face it, in islamic countries there is no freedom. In Saudi, you're either a slave or a prince."

And he points out that islam has another word, "ijtihad", which means independent reformist thinking. So there is already a tradition of independent adaptation of islam, evolution of islam, which western muslims actually use to improve their lives.

Lastly, this guy said that western muslims are perhaps the only ones who can "fix" the problems of islam in islamic countries, by practising "ijtihad" to modernise islam.

Regular readers and Taoists will know already that everything balances up in the end. The time is long overdue for ijtihad to balance jihad.

If only the ghastly administration in Washington knew this, they would realise that the hundreds of billions they're wasting on the "war on terror" (i.e. finding helpless countries to attack and further destabilise, just to appease to U.S. voter fears) would be better spent on helping western muslims to modernise their religion. If western democracy is really so much better than Middle Eastern life (and I still believe it is), wouldn't it be good to be able to show that Western islam is also demonstrably better than anywhere else? Another $100 billion should cover it.

Of course it'll never happen, just like the Israel/Arab solution. The only back-up policy that the neocons have is called "Nuke Iran".

One ray of hope today - the American system is starting to pick off supporters of the Iraq war, starting with a Democratic senator. Is this too little too late? If the world can just limp to the 2008 U.S. election without another 9/11 or a major conflagration, it's just possible that the Republican posse will be disbanded before they can do much more damage.



Whatever happens, I'll be safe here with the penguins on the UnHeard Of and McDonald Islands, just as soon as I've destroyed the Buddhist rebel hideout. What a fortunate creature I am!

Blogger keda said...

you pissing people off?? never. not possible is it?

good for you babe. very good points.
can't believe i came back from assos to find that they still haven't called a ceasefire. shameful. though as they have no shame i guess its more shameless.
or not. whatever.. its a bloody disgrace. as i think i've said before.. i'm glad you are safe over there. do you have space in your cellar for a few refugees? i'll help with the bottles if it gets any hotter around here;)  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! All I know about Islam is they haven't got a Pope. Everybody needs a Pope. The IRA are blowing the crap out of everything and they're supposed to be catholics, but if you ask the Pope, he's got to say: We're no intae that! This is all I know about muslims. It's going to take a while:
I am not the body
I am not the senses
I am not the mind
I am not this
I am not that
What then am I? What is the self?
It is in the body
It is in everybody
It is everywhere
It is the ALL
It is Self. I am it. Absolute oneness.
So that's supposed to be a sufi poem. You need to get a skirt and spin about, Adolf! I'm sure you could get into this sufi stuff. You get to bang a gong maybe. That would help! Hotboy
p.s. Was hoping for some abuse of dwarves or some other helpless minority after your latest efforts. I mean, nothing's got anything to do with Australia. Drink the beer. That's how to integrate!  

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Blogger LEE ANN said...

Maybe I should think about coming to the Unheard Islands!
:)  

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Blogger robmcj said...

keda - I'm only safe until the hotbolla folk get organised.  

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