Did You Say “Christian Islam“?
Sorry, Does Not Compute!
Combining Islam with Non-Islam Is a Nonstarter
Here is the simple equation: Islam is Islam and non-Islam is, well, non-Islam. And the two do not mix.
So there is no such thing in Islam as Christian Islam, Hindu Islam, Judaic Islam, Atheist Islam or Islam patched on to something else that is non-Islam.
Islam is from God; non-Islam is from all of us: human beings. Islam, thus, is divine revelation; non-Islam is a jigsaw puzzle of human invention and ingenuity.
Non-Islam is a human effort to solve problems and find answers to pressing and often persistent human questions, whereas Islam is divine guidance with regard to all of the above: truculent and trenchant problems as well as difficult-to-decipher questions.
Islam has as its source God Almighty who is complete power and perfect knowledge. Non-Islam, on the other hand, has its roots in human knowledge and power, both of which are flawed and imperfect.
That is why while areas of overlap may and do exist between Islam and non-Islam, the two may often be quite divergent from one another.
That is also why mixing Islam with non-Islam often doesn’t give you a colorful quilt, part Islam part non-Islam, but it yields a thick brew that is fully non-Islam in its essential composition as well as in its purpose and import.
That is why to combine Islam with non-Islam is a nonstarter. It falls flat on its face ab initio – right from the very beginning.
What about Combining Christianity
and Islam then?
What about it?
Islam is Islam and Christianity is Christianity and hammering the square pegs of one into the round holes of the other may lead not so much to a harmonious fit or true enlightenment but to a lot of broken pegs and damaged holes. The sparks you may see flying are from the resulting short circuit.
As a result, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists or Atheists who have an interest in Islam, or accept Islam and become Muslim, are just that: Muslims – pure and simple. They are not, at the same time, part Christians, part Hindus, part Jews, part Buddhists or part Atheists, while the other part of their existence is now devoted to Islam.
They have willfully and deliberately left their Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Atheist past behind. They have now assumed a new identity and embraced a new culture, zeitgeist, worldview and perspective on everything including life on earth and in the hereafter.
Islam does not use a hyphen to mark its identity such as Christian-Muslims, Jewish-Muslims or Atheist-Muslims. From this point of view, there are no hyphenated Muslims in Islam.
Ascription vs. Achievement:
Islam Reverses World’s Worship
of Race, Tribe and Gender
This, however, does not mean Muslims are not, at a certain level, part of the natural milieu of life on earth such as history, geography or ethnicity. They are. Those are characterizations that arise out of the accidents of living in this world. Every one of these “accidents,” however, most meticulously planned and executed by Allah the maker and master of the humankind.
Islam recognizes them for what they are, accidents of birth and circumstance, and works with them for the benefit of all. At the same time, Islam continually invites and encourages people to leave those limitations behind and work to transcend the constraints they impose on individuals, groups, societies and cultures.
Islam wants human beings to subordinate what they cannot control to what they can. It wants them to adopt standards of excellence and reward that are based on achievement and not on birth, heredity and ascription.
Surely we made you part of various group and tribal and social structures, says the Qur’an. But that is mainly so you would recognize and easily identify one another. You should know, however, that the real mark of excellence and exaltation in the eyes of God, however, is one’s character, values and beliefs and not one’s racial, ethnic, geographic, gender or some other identity acquired through the accident of birth.
Islam to the Rescue of the World:
A Merit-Based System of Human Differentiation
and Social Stratification
Islam, thus, with one mighty swipe, reverses the world’s age-old apotheosis – worship – of race, color, gender, ethnicity, caste, tribe and territory and replaces it with a new merit-, character- and achievement-based social dispensation of human differentiation – stratification, if you will – of a certain kind.
The miracle of Islam is that it thus set in motion another social trend that came to be the lodestar of human culture and civilization for the future. It is pursuing this powerful new trend that human societies and cultures sought to distinguish and elevate themselves in subsequent ages.
You will notice this to be the case with Islam with regard to most if not all of its teachings: the world follows and moves to synchronize with Islam and its teachings and not the other way around. It is Islam that the world needs, and has always needed, to pull itself out of the morass of moral confusion, social degradation and cultural stagnation in which it found itself in the past and continues to find itself even now.
Conceit, Arrogance, Greed:
Some Reasons Why Some People Hate
Islam and Muslims
Why does the world then not see this fact? And why does it not give credit to Islam for its contributions and achievements? Why does the world not recognize Islam as its friend and benefactor?
Why do some people seem to fight Islam and Muslims against all dictates of rationality and civilized behavior? Why do some people hate Islam and Muslims so?
Reasons for this are many and complex. But at the core of many of them may lie a simple dynamic: a thing called human nature. Human beings by nature are greedy, arrogant, jealous and fearful.
They covet and lust after what others have: other people’s wealth, women, lands, beauty, resources, valuables, name, fame, good reputation and many other things. And they are afraid of losing whatever things they may themselves possess.
Other “religious” leaders and elites have a good reason to hate Islam because Islam often defeated them on the moral and spiritual planes and took followers away from them. So also, other “secular” leaders and elites have an equally powerful motive behind their fear and dislike of Islam and Muslims because they suffered centuries of military defeat at the hands of the Muslims.
So, if the world of non-Islam often feared and distrusted Islam, it was not entirely without reason or background. The question stopped being one of morality, truth and honesty and became one of rivalry and struggle for worldly wealth, possessions and domination.
Qur’an’s “Theory” of Inter-Group Rivalry:
Arrogance and Aggression
The Qur’an, as usual, makes these concepts crystal clear. And also as usual most Muslims remain generally in the dark about what the Qur’an has to say about these things.
Forgive me for referring to Qur’an’s exposition of these notions as “theory.” I believe – and I know and I have seen with my own naked and sinful and nearly blind eyes – that what the Qur’an says is not theory empty of fact, but it is truth itself. It is not a blind and tentative groping after a vague and nebulous reality, but reality itself.
In one word, what the Qur’an says is Haqq – truth – wrapped in divine radiance and shielded from human eyes and grasp by their ignorance and foolishness.
But often Qur’an places and posits these things at such high level of abstraction and universality that many times the most useful way to get a practical handle on them is to treat them as broad theoretical statements and then start finding their real-life applications in a systematic manner.
So, here is Qur’an’s summary statement on why human groups fight and why they, in the pursuit of their worldly goals, often tend to reject truth and cover up facts.
Baghyam bainahum, says the Qur’an.
And here is my extended paraphrase of it: in order to subjugate, control and dominate one another and in order to commit aggression against one another.
And this happens not always out of ignorance or in the dark, but – mark the words of the Qur’an – after things have become quite clear to them. In other words, they generally know what the truth is and then, in their effort to conquer, control and dominate others, they turn their back on truth – and on facts; and on knowledge which they themselves possess.
Hear the Qur’an now: Illaa mim ba’adi maa jaa,ahumul ‘ilm.
How much more clear can or does it get?
Muslim Failure to Articulate Answers
It was all too often the Muslims who remained ignorant of some of these things, not the non-Muslim elites and leaders, whether “secular” or so-called religious. That was because Muslims, over years and centuries, had generally managed to separate themselves from the Qur’an.
As time went by, Muslims and the Qur’an drifted farther and father apart. As a result, Muslims lost touch with the positions and teachings of the Qur’an with regard to various critical situations that confronted them in life.
With the march of time, and vicissitudes of history, Qur’an and Muslims became strangers. They became likes two ships that quietly pass each other on a dark, silent sea.
Consequently, Muslims were not quite successful in developing an effective strategy on how to approach, reach and educate non-Muslim masses about Islam. It did not help matters that Muslims themselves fell prey to the dominant tide of inter-group rivalry and competition.
They began to act more and more like bearers of the flag of “Muslim Nationalism,” rather than conducting themselves as the messengers of liberty, justice, equality and truth to all of humanity that they were supposed to be.
They often allowed Muslim Nationalism rather than Islam to be the motivation and guiding force behind their dealings and contacts with the non-Muslim world at the broadest levels.
Muslims, thus, ended up becoming just another party to a fight among various contending human groups, all focused on worldly spoils of land and wealth and power and domination. They stopped being that very special group of dedicated humans whose purpose in life was to end human rivalries on earth and build a better world for all – Muslims as well as non-Muslims.
So, Muslims ended up being as clueless as the rest of the world. They neither had answers to the problems of a suffering, contentious humanity, nor were they able to articulate them with any degree of clarity or effectiveness.