Making business out of Islam

http://http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/world/africa/officials-struggle-with-tangled-web-of-financing-for-somali-militants.html?_r=0

Interesting article. I, too, have watched with keen interest how some religious leaders, Islamists, use the religion as means of making business. Because of their influence, they can make something that was forbidden (haram) halal by proclaiming fatwas. For instance, a “sheikh” could say that money gotten from gambling is forbidden. However, when money comes from a gambling agency, the same “sheikh” would issue a fatwa proclaiming that the money is halal. How does that logic work?

There are other countless examples that leave me puzzled. Take the example of the businesses that are flourishing in the mosques as “non-profit” work. This is income that has not been declared for taxation. This, if anything, is haram. What annoys me the most is that we choose not to challenge these double standards.

The selling of fatwas is not a new thing. One country that is notorious for that is India. Why should we believe in fatwas? If we are well versed with what Islam says, then surely there is no reason for interposers. Or is there? I believe that all Muslims have a direct link with Allah and that there is no need for interposers. That is why the first verse revealed in Surat Iqra said “read”. It commands us to read and to understand with our own brains instead of assigning that responsibility to others. This, if anything, is social conditioning. Nowadays it is common to hear from women mostly that “my sheikh said this and my sheikh said that”. I sometimes wonder who they worship: God or their sheikh? Is this not shirk?

Another country that has taken fatwa to the extreme is Syria. Young women are flocking to Syria to take part in sexual jihad. This is a form of prostitution which is “legalized” in the pretext of conducting jihad. According to the Telegraph, young girls from Tunisia and Syria are having sexual relations with 20 to a 100 militiamen. Two Somali sisters were reported to have left Norway to go to Syria to participate in the jihad “in any way necessary”. One can only wonder what that means.

These double standards and mafia-style of operation is tarnishing the image of Islam. I don’t know which is worse: watching quietly or the issuing of fatwas for nefarious purposes?

What do you think?

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4 Comments

    1. Islam is a monotheistic religion. As such, we are not supposed to have an institutionalized clergy that resembles the priesthood in Christianity. Furthermore, every Muslim is tasked with the responsibility of learning the religion and does not need a third party to intercede on their behalf. However, we are now seeing some creative “Islamists” who are collecting money, gold and other things in the guise of praying/interceding on behalf of some desperate people, who mostly happen to be women. Moreover, they even go about collecting tax, as in the case of al-Shabaab in this article, irregardless of whether one has the ability to pay, while terrorizing people into submission. They are distorting the religion, making a mockery out of it and consequently tarnishing its image.

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