August 19, 2010
The Civilization of Islam
One of the clearest lessons about Islam is found in the Sharia. The largest part of the Sharia is devoted to regulating the life of Muslims down to the smallest detail. There is no aspect of life that is not regulated -- sex, food, art, business, education, prayer, manners, speech, and how to think and not to think. There is no aspect of life that is outside the power of Sharia -- religion, politics, ethics, and culture are included. The Sharia is the operating manual for a complete civilization. Islam is complete within itself and needs nothing from the outside.
The Sharia has one other quality that is as important as the totality of its scope. The civilization of Sharia is not just different from our civilization -- it contradicts our civilization.
Inside Islam, justice, religion, politics, law, human rights, and compassion do not mean what they mean to us. All of these ideas are based on the principles of submission and duality as found in the Sharia.
Our civilization is based on the principles of the Golden Rule and critical thought. We do not always fulfill the principles, but they are the ideals we strive for, and they can be used for debate and self-criticism to correct and improve our culture.
Our principles lead to the ideals of critical thought, self-criticism, equality of all peoples before the law, freedom of thought and ideas, freedom of religion, public debate, separation of church and state, liberal democracy, and a free-ranging humor.
These are beautiful ideals, and they are worth keeping and striving towards. Do we meet them? No, but what is more important is that they contradict the Sharia. It is one thing to fail to achieve these ideals, but it is entirely another to see them disappear as a public option under the impact of Sharia. Sharia law limits all the concepts to which our civilization's principles lead.
Part of the genius of Islam is the totality of Sharia, which includes a concept of war that attacks the host civilization at every aspect of its being. In modern times, the military power of Islam is weak, but this is more than compensated by its ability to attack along legal and cultural lines under the guise of being a religion.
As Sharia is applied to a society, the host civilization is annihilated in each and every manifestation of culture. This annihilation is demonstrated by a peculiar fact about the history of Islamic countries -- part of it is missing. Afghanistan used to be a Buddhist civilization. We see its remnants in ruins and fragments such as the Bamiyan Buddhas, which were destroyed by the Taliban. Who knows the Buddhist history of Afghanistan? Practically speaking, it does not exist. Who knows the history of how Turkey, North Africa, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq went from being Christian to Islamic?
We don't know the history because of the total annihilation of the past cultures by Sharia law. As time goes on, the customs, law, art, literature, and ethics of the host culture are replaced by Islamic values under the application of Sharia. The result is that there is nothing left of the history before the implementation of Sharia law.
There is a second aspect of this annihilation: the dhimmitude of the Kafirs (non-Muslims) remaining inside Islamic society. If you talk to Christians who are left in Islamic countries, they are an abused people who are unable to fight back after centuries of suffering and degradation under Sharia law. They are not supported by other Kafirs and are left to suffer under the oppression that will eliminate their few numbers. Whatever memory they have of the past is ignored by those who should be defending them.
If we are to go down the Sharia road, history teaches that it has always led to an Islamic mono-culture. In the end, there is no such thing as a little Sharia.
Bill Warner is the Director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam.