| Islam's lethal certitude
By Alan Caruba
Americans and others in the West cannot comprehend why anyone would blow themselves up to kill, as often as not, other Muslims. Even if you were convinced that 72 virgins awaited you in paradise, committing suicide for the purpose of murder is so foreign to the Western mind that it remains, for most, outside the realm of any discussion.
Clearly, though, the West has witnessed and been victimized by a religion and culture for which this is a perfectly acceptable way to wage war and Islam is all about war, the conquering and reduction of an enemy to submission. The very word, Islam, translates as submission.
"Some Crusaders and Zionists, for example, doggedly accuse Islam of being the religion of the sword, claiming that it was spread by the edge of the sword," wrote Sayyid Qutb in Basic Principles of the Islamic Worldview before he was executed by the Egyptian government in 1966 as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"These people forget that Islam, being the last divine path for humanity, has an essential right to establish its own system on earth so that all humanity can enjoy its blessings…Establishing the ‘Islamic system' to have beneficial sway over all humanity, those who embrace Islam and those who do not, does indeed require Jihad as does the liberty of men to follow their own beliefs." Qutb is careful to nod in the direction of the Islamic admonition that "there is no compulsion in religion", but Islam is all about compulsion.
Qutb (1906-1966) was an Egyptian Islamist who wrote extensively about modern civilization and, with absolute certainty, the superiority of an Islamic theocracy to all other faiths and modes of governing on earth. As such, he is widely regarded as the intellectual father of the Islamic revolution that has been in play since the late 1970s and of al-Qaida. His brother, Muhammad Qutb, moved to Saudi Arabia where he became a professor of Islamic Studies and one of his students, an ardent follower of Sayyid Qutb, was Ayman Zawahiri, the mentor of Osama bin Laden.
Thus, we can begin to connect the dots of a religion that fosters a certitude and arrogance that the Western mind cannot comprehend. It is necessary to understand, however, that Islam arrived more than 2,500 years after the existence of Judaism, and 700 years after the spread of Christianity. It was the invention of Muhammad, based on his own spotty knowledge of these earlier religions and, like Muhammad, Qutb's regard for both is one of utter contempt.
"Judaism," wrote Qutb, "the religion of the Children of Israel, was polluted with pagan concepts as well as racial arrogance." Well, so much for the first and oldest monotheistic religion. Modern day Muslims are so befuddled by, not only the continued existence of Judaism, but the fact that Jews have reestablished the nation of Israel, they have waged a relentless effort to exterminate Israel's Jews.
"Christianity was no better than Judaism," wrote Qutb. "It was even worse." Hinduism is dismissed in a paragraph or two and Buddhism isn't even mentioned. Well, so much for tolerance! Despite the superficial effort to reflect some regard for the prophets that preceded Muhammad, Qutb's view is that "Islam has served as a correction to all the chaos and confusion, to all the deviations and faults into which all the distorted religions and clashing philosophies have blindly fallen, whether before or after the emergence of Islam."
By Qutb's standard, anything anyone believes that is not Islamic is just confusion and deviation. The extraordinary thing about Qutb's belief is that he clearly possessed a keen intellect. Well schooled in Islam, as a youth he moved to Cairo where he received a Western education between 1929 and 1933 before starting a career as a teacher. The turning point, ironically, was a trip Qutb took to the United States from 1948 to 1950 on a scholarship. He received a master's degree from the Colorado State College of Education.
His contact with the West radicalized Qutb because, as far as anyone can tell, he was not merely an ascetic, but a celibate who found normal human desires and behavior deeply offensive. He never married. Just about everything in those years of American rejuvenation after WWII was an abomination to Qutb who took time to write his first theoretical work of religious exegesis which was published in 1949. Writing about America he pronounced life there as "primitive" and endlessly shocking.
Clearly, he retreated into Islam as a defense against the real world and, in particular, the dynamic world of the West. The Middle East had been in decline for hundreds of years by then after its so-called golden years of conquest and expansion. Driven from Europe by 878 C.E., suffering the Crusades from 1095 to 1291, and fading under the Ottoman Empire, the Muslims of that region were locked in ignorance, poverty, and oppression.
Anything modern, anything secular, including the rise of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, the leading proponent of Arab nationalism, was an anathema to Qutb. He was not ignorant of the West, but he was utterly contemptuous of it. Despite his having read widely of Western philosophers and, apparently, science and other topics reflecting the long road to modernity made since the Enlightenment, the only truth to be found anywhere, so far as Qutb was concerned, was in the Koran.
"First and foremost," wrote Qutb, "the verses of the Koran were revealed in order to establish the correct criteria on which God wishes the concepts of humans as well as their life to be based." Everything that preceded the Koran was the "accumulated debris; beliefs, concepts, philosophies, myths, thoughts, doubts, superstitions, customs and traditions."
Prior to Islam, humans were "unable to find certitude."
The one thing Islam does provide to those born into it and to those who convert to Islam is certitude. And with certitude comes the human affliction of an arrogant belief that no other religion or form of government other than that imposed by Islamic law has any right to exist. The punishment for leaving Islam is death. The enemies of Islam are to be beheaded.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you al-Qaida, Wahhabism, and the Islamic revolution that is your obligation to resist for the sake of all mankind.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. © Alan Caruba, 2006
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