Monday, December 26, 2022

The Very Idea Of Shirk Is An Insult To God's Benevolence.

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 26 December 2022 The writer Arshad Alam has rightly raised the issue of Shirk (loosely, sacrilege, from Arabic Shirkat: association / involvement) in his article, " The (Im)morality of Shirk in Islam. " This extremely obnoxious and exceedingly diabolical insistence that you cannot worship any other god except for me just cannot come from a god (if at all it does exist) who's all love and who has got o be all love. All three Semitic faiths have this putrid bilge called Shirk as Judaism and Christianity also don't allow their followers to worship any other god. Islam being the last one among the three Semitic faiths, borrowed religious concepts and tenets from its predecessors and instead of changing or improving upon them (Christianity and Judaism), it has worsened the things by putting an extra ounce of adamancy and interpolations. Though a modern exegete will put his foot down and try to convince you that the Books of all other faiths are flawed barring the Quran, the reality is totally different. Coming back to Shirk, it must be noted that Shirk is a much rigid concept in Islam that has a tribal tone and tenor. It blatantly smacks of tribal supremacy as Allah was the predominant deity of the Quraish tribe of which Muhammad was a member and which from the 5th century was distinguished by a religious pre-eminence associated with its hereditary provision of the pre-Islamic custodians of the Kaaba at Mecca. More than 300-odd tribes and 10 main clans were constantly engaged in the battle of hegemony. Establishing the respective deity as the One & Only was the cardinal objective of every tribe. Here it must be mentioned, rather praised, that Muhammad was a very fine and astute leader of men and he integrated and coalesced forever embattled tribes into a coherent unit. He successfully established the superiority of his Quraish tribe and its deity Allah. Muhammad made it mandatory to follow ONLY the tribal deity Allah of the Quraish tribe. No wonder, Islamic Shirk stems from the Tribal Superiority Complex and Islam is nothing but a bigger tribal manifestation. Even a liberal critic and translator like Professor Reynold A Nicholson believed that tribalism was the essence of Islam. That's the reason, while translating Rumi and other great Persian mystics, he wrote that traditional and orthodox Islam would always consider the Upanishadic Islam of Sufis with eastern values and elements as something out of sync and incongruous with Muhammad's Islam. Mind you, he used the term, Muhammad's Islam. Mixing tribal ethos with a nascent faith (read Islam), Muhammad ossified the concept of Shirk and made it an unpardonable sin for the Muslims. The very idea of Shirk is an insult to god's benevolence. Why should he lay down conditions as to how to approach him? One ought to have fairly good knowledge of different ways to reach god. One can huddle a lot many ways together to get to the Supreme Being. This is basic human nature. Don't we all consult many doctors when the case is complex? Pinning unwavering faith on just one option is not always possible. I've seen a devout and quite educated Muslim woman visit Dagdu Seth Ganpati temple in Poona when oncologists almost gave up on his son who had been suffering from oesophagus cancer. The point is, one must have unflinching faith in Allah and nothing else is an idiotic idea. Doobte Ko Tinke Ka Sahara. When one's vulnerable, one resorts to a number of alternatives. Try out all options and remember Yaas Yagana Changezi's famous couplet, " But-Parasti Mein Kaamil Mera Imaan Hua / Ik Kaafir Ki Badaulat Main Musalmaan Hua " (My faith came to a T in idol worship/ I became a Muslim thanks to an 'infidel'). ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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