Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On hippie Sufism

The BBC asks, "Can Sufi Islam counter the Taleban?", Maysaloon asks, "Does this Barbara Plett even know what she is talking about? "

It's one o'clock in the morning and the night is pounding with hypnotic rhythms, the air thick with the smoke of incense, laced with dope.

Is this Sufi Islam? The Sufism of Imam Ghazali and Ibn Arabi? Ibn Arabi, drunk from a night of revelry, claimed he heard a voice telling him, "I did not create you for this" and his nights of drinking were over from that point, his journey to Allah just begun. al Ghazali in his Revival set of books clearly believed that anything intoxicating was forbidden, haram. It is the essence of Sufism that a person dedicates themselves solely to worshipping the One, so how can these "Sufis" described in the article dance around and get high with something which separates them from their God as their own prophet himself said? These people are just stupid but then again, so is the BBC's reporting on Islam. I've heard Qawwali music before and it is indeed beautiful, but it is not a replacement to the fard, obligations of a Muslim, it is just music. That it glorifies Allah and leads to His remembrance is not contrary to Islamic belief and in fact admirable, but it becomes contrary when it is taken alone as the path to faith, or the key path to faith. al Ghazali himself pointed out the folly of some who claim Sufism when you see that they have abandoned the five prayers because they are beyond that "spiritually". He then cites what the Prophet Muhammad said, which is that whoever abandons the five prayers is no longer a Muslim. This is al Ghazali, the grand sufi master who is counted by some as belonging to the "moderate" history and branch of Islam. There isn't even a need to mention the dope in this article, which makes the BBC's writer sound absolutely ridiculous. If these Qawwali think taking hashish brings them close to the divine then they no longer belong to Islam and are something else. Sufis arise from Islam and are not exempt from Allah's laws nor are they superior to ordinary Muslims, they are just Muslim's a la Turbo mode who have turned their back on the world and on worldly desires.

In the article Ayeda Naqvi, claiming to be a 'teacher of Islamic mysticism" says "It was Sufis who came and spread the religious message of love and harmony and beauty, there were no swords, it was very different from the sharp edged Islam of the Middle East."

I see, the "sharp edged Islam of the Middle East"? Perhaps she got her qualifications to teach Islamic mysticism from the School of Oriental and African Sciences in London? As if to provide authority to this claim, we are then told that the Rand Corporation in the United States fully supports this version of "Hippie Islam" as an "open, intellectual interpretation of Islam". That's just grand isn't it? Still it gets better, our marvelous "teacher of Islamic mysticism" even offers advice. This time she is right, but it is just amazing how self-orientalising moderates love offering advice to the White Man on how to deal with the riff raff of her people:

Ayeda Naqvi, on the other hand, believes Sufism could play a political role to strengthen a tolerant Islamic identity in Pakistan. But she warns of the dangers of Western support.
"I think if it's done it has to be done very quietly because a lot of people here are allergic to the West interfering," she says.
"So even if it's something good they're doing, they need to be discreet because you don't want Sufism to be labelled as a movement which is being pushed by the West to drown out the real puritanical Islam."

What the West won't realise is that with all the different interpretations of Islam and various sects, the essence of Islam, the basis of faith is the Quran. The Quran is accessible and readable and it is clear in what it obliges Muslims to do in many matters. Whether these obligations are carried out is another matter, but in when it comes to fighting occupation and oppression, the rules of Allah are clear, fight those who fight you and who take your lands and push you out of your homes. In this case waging Jihad in any form possible, even violently, are an obligation and not just the manipulations of a few cranky mullahs in the mountains. The West will need more than just marijuana and drums if they want to try and destroy Islam.

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