No God but God / A review (III)

A continuation

4.Impartiality of the author to a religion, cult or sect:
Unfortunately, Aslan failed in this area as well, his partiality to Mohammad, to his tradition (although he denied that) and to Islam, specifically to Shiite Sufism (Erfan) was obvious to the highest degree.
Idealizing Muhammad:
In his words:“It is a wonder, some would say a miracle – that the same man, who had been forced to sneak out of his bed out of home under cover of night to join the seventy or so followers anxiously awaiting for him in a foreign land hundred of miles away, would, in a few short years, return to his city of birth, but in full light of day, with ten thousand men trailing peacefully behind him; and the same people who once tried to murder him in his sleep would instead offer him both security and the keys to Ka’ba unconditionally and without a fight, like a consecrated sacrifice.”
The only wonder I see in this event is that Muhammad was a skilled tactician, and a witted military leader. He was a warlord. He did not leave any of his opponents in Medina, and he raised terror in the Arabian Peninsula. History portrays other warlords like Hitler. And although Hitler used religion to annihilate Jews when he justified his fight for the German people and against Jews by using Biblical reasoning (this was clear in one of his speeches where he said, “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”) Yet, Hitler did not claim to be a messenger of God, nor drew upon mysterious forces to be at his side in his battles, and that’s why his ideology did not withstand time, and people eventually knew his real motives. While Muhammad was much smarter, he became a model to follow by some orthodox Moslems of today. His effect is palpable especially on the Moslem Brotherhood Group, who followed his steps to the letter (Sayid Cotb, Alzawahiri, Ben Laden and Khumaini as well as Hasan Nasrulla are good examples). Aslant also idealized Mohammad’s tradition when he said,” to further his egalitarian ideals, Muhammad equalized the blood-worth of every member of his community, so that no longer could one life be considered more or less valuable than another.” This practice was not new in the pre-Islamic society of the Arab Peninsula. “An eye for an eye” or the law of retribution was practiced long before Muhammad, and it is true that there were some who broke this law, but they were minorities, and the fact that the social structure was divide into tribes that were not controlled by a single power contributed to this. So we can’t claim that this law came with Muhammad.
Aslan also paraded Muhammad’s intentions in outlawing usury, as if that was an honorary act. He mentioned that the reason for instituting that law was to eventually free the society from slavery. In the pre-Islamic society, people who did not have enough money to pay their debts, Aslan said, were forced into slavery until the full debt was paid. History tells us that this act did not stop slavery, nor people could stop usury. Banks of today cannot function without usury under the label “interest”. Even Moslems themselves had to waver this law, in the Islamic banks of today, by only changing the word “usury” to “Morabaha”, which in reality is just a deception. Mohammad had the power to abolished slavery instead of just regulating it later on if that was his origional intention, but he couldn’t have done that. Booties of his wars consisted of Sabaya (women prisoners) and slaves; they were a huge incentive (especially women) for his warriors, and abolishing slavery was not compatible with his dream of expansion. That dream which became official when Muhammad got the power in Yathrib. In Aslan’s words, “ the dramatic success of the Ummah in Yathrib had convinced Muhammad that God was calling him to be more than a warner to his “tribe and close kin”(12:221:107) and the messenger “to all of humanity”(12:104-81:27).”
On the other hand, Islam was never egalitarian when it came to women’s rights, as Aslan struggled to convey. About the law of inheritance Aslan said, “While the exact changes Muhammad made to this tradition (women’s inheritance) are far too complex to discuss here, it is sufficient to note that women in the Ummah were, for the first time, given the right to keep their dowries.”
How could Aslan make this claim when Khadeeja, the prophet’s wife inherited her first husband? If we don’t have enough information about the pre-Islamic society, that does not make Khadeeja’s case an exception. Nor it gives us the liability to assume that she was. Khadeeja inherited her husband and was free to practice her own business, and atop of that, hired Muhammad to conduct that business, and by no means she was an exception. And if there were women who still practiced business and had social activities at the time of Muhammad and Khulafa Alrashideen, it was because that was the remnant of the pre-Islamic social and economic affairs. With Islam’s system in role assignment to genders, that encouraged the dependency of women on men, businesswomen in the Islamic societies became the exception over time, and not the norm. (I will get back to this point in the conclusion).
As for polygamy, Islam prohibited it when it came to women only. Polygamy was permitted in the pre-Islamic society for both genders. And children usually took the mother’s name since “linage was passed primarily by women” and not by men. As for men, it only limited the number of wives to four per man, and did not limit owning concubines. And reinterpreting the words of Quran to prove that Muhammad prohibited polygamy for men, as Aslan did, remains to be only an individual’s interpretation that is not accepted unanimously by Ulam (Ijma).

To be continued

No God but God / A review (II)

A continuation

3. Logical and objective analysis according to chronological events:
As I mentioned in the last post, Aslan’s objective in his book was “an argument for reform”. To do so, he first presented the pre-Islamic history, and then he drew a biography of Muhammad portraying him as a messenger of peace, and trying to prove that Muhammad’s message was an egalitarian one. Then he presented contemporary Islamic history, for comparison reasons to show how Muhammad’s message was distorted with time. He specifically attacked traditional Moslems (of both Sunni and Shiite factions) , claiming that they were the main reason why Islam took a diversion from its origional message until it reached the flinty Islam that is spreading today. But unfortunately, his efforts gave exactly the opposite message he was trying to convey. Aslan stance was often more defensive than logical, and he wasn’t able to provide enough evidence for his claims.

First of all, Asaln, stretched himself too often to compare Islam to other religions in order to make a point. “Like great Jewish patriarchs Abraham and Jacob; like the prophet Moses and Hosea; like the Israelite kings Saul, David, and Solomon; and like nearly all of the Christian/Byzantine and Zoroastrian/Sasanian monarchs, all Shaykhs of Arabia – Mohammad included – had multiple wives, multiple concubines, or both.” This reminded me of my own children when they were kids, when one of them did something that he wasn’t supposed to do; he’d rationalize his action by pointing a finger at his brother, and saying, “he did the same”. And although this is expected from children of young age; but I did not expect this from a learned scholar like Aslan. If someone else committed a wrong act, that does not make the act right. The God of Muhammad was precise in Quran to the minutest details, he even instructed Muhammad to marry his adopted son’s wife; Zaynab Bint Jahsh, which was not such an important issue compared to polygamy and keeping concubines. Even his wife Aisha mocked him by saying “your God is quick to provide for your desires”. This God did not bother to stop polygamy, nor to abolish slavery because that was not to the prophet’s desires! Not to mention that by marrying his adopted son’s wife, the most inhumane act of “outlawing adoption in Islam” was instituted. But that did not seem to bother Aslan, all what he wanted to prove was that there was nothing wrong with what Muhammad did, and that other prophets did the same.

Second, Aslan struggled too hard to show that Muhammad neither was an expansionist, nor his message was political, as is understood by contemporary traditional Moslems. In fact, he even posited that Islam is egalitarian by nature, ignoring the quotes of Quran that discriminates between genders, and failing to provide historical evidences to his claims. He attempted to alienate Islam from politics, denying the fact that Islam is a totalitarian and a complete system, with laws, social system, economic rules, as well as its own method of theocratic government was in vain, he even slipped more than once when he proved the opposite, “ As shaykh of Ummah, it was Muhammad’s responsibility to forge links within and beyond his community through the only means at his disposal: marriage.” Why would someone forge links with other tribes if the purpose was not political?
Even when he touched the issue of slavery in Mecca, Aslan tried to portray it as a well-intentioned move toward social reform and not a political revolution on Quraysh, “this (slavery issue) was a radical message, one that had never been heard before in Mecca. Muhammad was not yet establishing a new religion; he was calling for sweeping social reform.” And in my opinion, this is an underestimation of the prophet’s ingenuity. The consecutive events of Muhammad’s life show that he had other priorities in mind. One was to bribe the slaves into following him for the false hope of freedom, which he never granted by abolishing slavery when he had power. And the other was to strike an arrow at the heart of Quraysh economy.
Slaves were considered a vital force on which Qurysh economy depended, especially at the pilgrimage period of the year. Not to mention the two-times a year, trade caravan trips to the North and to the South, which without the slaves could have collapsed. Quraysh didn’t care about their slave’s religions, or cared if they followed any prophet. Nor they cared about prophets, prophets at those times were dime-a-dozen, and Mecca was a pluralistic society; anyone was free to worship the God or Gods of his liking. In fact, Qurysh’s main resource depended on Ka’ba and its pilgrims who came from all over Arabian Peninsula to worship diverse Gods, all collected in Ka’ba. But Mohammad’s aim was total political control directed to a “universal Islamic rule” as the traditionalist Sayed Kutb of the Moslem Brothers said, and not just a social reform. Slaves and women in Islam were used and abused as political tools, or military incentives. War Sabayas (women slaves) whose husbands, brothers and fathers were killed in cold blood were distributed among the warriors. Muhammad even married Rayhana Bint Zaid right after slaughtering her husband with the 700 Jews of Bano Qurayza. And what was worse; is when Aslan justified what Muhammad did to Bano Qrayza by using quotes of apologetics like Karen Armstrong’s “normal reaction for treason”. That was a very cheap trick. May be Aslan thought by doing so he’d shoot a fish in a barrel, forgetting that Muhammad was the intruder who fought the Jews of Yathrib with their very means of living which he, himself confirmed when he said that Muhammad, “eradicated their (Jews) economical monopoly over Medina and greatly reduced their wealth.” And also forgetting that all what Muhammad wanted from those Jews was conversion, if they had done that, none of the 700 Jews would have been brutally slaughtered. Shouldn’t this incident at least give some indication of Muhammad’s goals? And the message of Muhammad was never egalitarian; his traditions are filled with examples to show that individual’s feelings and rights are trivialities when it comes to the benefit of the whole nation. No human being in the history of the world had come up with such a wit to enforced conversion by military as well as other tactics but Muhammad. In this respect he could be rated as ingenious warlord, but not humane and definitely not a messenger of a peaceful religion that Aslan was struggling to present.
Now going back to politics, Muhammad first used economic pressures on both his opponents, Quraysh and the Jews of Yathrib. Then he used force. As Muhammad got stronger in Yathrib, especially after his victory in Badr, his real motive started to materialize when he formalized the constitution of Medina, forcing the Jews who did not want a part in his fights to protect Moslems. Muhammad was an outsider who fought them in their own resources, how did he expect their loyalty? No wonder the Jews never ceased to betray him! But their betrayal was not the reason why Muhammad annihilated the Jews from Medina, Muhammad could not tolerate any other religion, he wanted Islam to be the greatest empire on earth, like Alexander the Great’s or other great empires of his time, only his dream was much bigger; he wanted an Islamic dominion of the world . He also was a great visionary at that when he drew a long-term plan for Islam expansion, by forbidding Moslem women’s marriage to non-Muslims unless they converted, for according to Islamic dogmas, children follow their father’s religion. Not to mention the financial pressures he exerted on Thimmis (Christians and Jews), which I will come back to later. No wonder why Islam is becoming the fastest growing religion in the world today with such a coning tactics. Enforced conversion does not only mean using the sword, I’m sure Aslan realizes that.
As for the egalitarian and pluralistic Islamic state of Andalusia (Spain), which Aslan and other apologetics are so proud to present as the real Islam, there was nothing Islamic in the Spain of the “711 AD until 1492 AD”. Abd al-Rahman Aldakhil; the one who was responsible for the civilized Islamic states of Spain was the descendent of Bano Ummayah. More accurately from the same tribe that descended from Abu Sufyan and Hind who never believed in Islam, but were forced to accept it at the Opening, or peaceful conquering of Mecca by the Muslims. And their ruling system was more of a Monarchy than Islamic. Civilization prospered in that society because it was closer to secularism and pluralism than the Islamic system of Muhammad.
Aslan did not even hesitate to twist facts when he talked about Aisha’s age at marriage: “and while Muhammad’s union with a nine-year-old girl may be shocking to our modern sensibilities, his betrothal to Aisha was just that: a betrothal. Aisha did not consummate until after reaching the age of puberty.” I really don’t know what Aslan meant by the age of puberty. There is a tradition on the tongue of Aisha herself saying that she was betrothed at six. And when she became nine, while playing on her swing, her mother took her to the prophet to be wedded. Is nine considered the age of puberty?
In another part of the book, Aslan said:” Quran- a message of revolutionary social egalitarianism must be separated from the cultural prejudices of the seventh century Arabia” . Quran was revealed, and taught to be recited in Arabic language. Any translation of the Quran to another language is considered an interpretation. That’s why when Islam spread among the non-Arabic speaking nations it was mandatory for them to learn Arabic. And language is a part of culture just as religion, so I don’t see how Aslan is proposing to take Quran out of its culture. Besides, Aslan himself admitted that the revelation received by Muhammad could have been some kind of conscious awaking or enlightenment. Where would this enlightenment come from, if not from the culture that planted its first seed? Quran is by no means egalitarian, it’s a system of life that spouses specific coded rules, and spiritual rituals are only one part of that system. A real Moslem is the one who takes the whole system, not only the parts that appeal to him. Therefore, Quran’s capability to be adopted anywhere, does not mean that one could alter its verses, but rather change the culture of that place to fit the verses. Exactly how it’s done in the West with Muslim communities. When people migrate, they take their culture of dress code, language and morals, of which all are elements of that religion, with them.
Moreover, Aslan gave excuses to the raids on Mecca’s caravans after Muhammad settled in Yathrib, and gave it legitimacy, ” in pre-Islamic Arabia caravan raiding was a legitimate means for small clans to benefit from the wealth of larger ones.” How more pathetic this statement could be, to be connected to a prophet that was calling for morals? Muhammad was respected in Mecca before Islam, and was dubbed Alameen, a word that describes a person whom one can entrust money, property, even family. Stealing is not a trait of Alameen (the trustworthy). And caravan raiding was never legitimate, trustworthiness and honesty in the old Arabia was considered an honor Arabs prided themselves for, all their pre-Islamic poetries attest to that. Otherwise, why would Quraysh be bothered to go on wars with Muhammad after the raids?
There is a proverb by Machiavelli, “the ends justify the means.” And Muhammad’s goal at that time was to take his revenge from Quraysh for kicking him out of Mecca, and also to accommodate his followers, especially the Mohajireen (the ones who migrated from Mecca). He also needed to strengthen himself as a warlord. And by doing so he set a model to follow, especially to those traditional religious leaders of today like Hamas who do not believe in democracy, yet they participate in it, for the end always justifies the means.

These were just few examples to show how Aslan, like other Moslems, never analyze Islamic history with common sense, nor portray Muhammad’s biography based on those events, but rather are directed by their partialities, which will be the theme of the evaluation on my next post.
I wonder if Aslan was analyzing the actions of someone else, would he have perceived the events through the same lens? I doubt it. And therefore I do not give him any point on his analysis, for I found it directive and not objective.

To be continued

No God but God / A Review

No God but God by Reza Aslan
I have stopped reading books about Islam and its history written by Moslems long back. And the reason was that I knew beforehand that most of them are biased, repetitive, long and full of forgeries. And in most cases one book is just a copy-paste of another. I’d rather spend my time on some books that add to my knowledge. And I wouldn’t have picked this book if it wasn’t for a commentator (Angilo) who insisted that this book is different. And different, in a way it was. But before going into the details of the review, let me give a general description of the book. This book was published in 2005, and the author is Riza Aslan. An American of an Iranian origin who fled Iran’s Islamic revolution of the late seventies with his family, when he was of a very young age. The book is of 266 pages and it is very nicely packaged, hard copy. The objective of the book, as the author declared, was an attempt on his part to reform the traditional beliefs of Islam by presenting its history and analyzing its main characters. In his own words: “ this book is an argument for reform”. Aslan had studied religion at Harvard Santa Clara University, and the University of California at Santa Barbra California. He holds an MFA in fiction from the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was also visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.
It’s been a while now since I finished reading the book. And to be honest with you, I did not know how to rate it. And to be fair to the book and to my readers, I listed some points upon which I could rely on in my evaluation.
These points are:

  1. Honesty in presenting the Islamic history (2 points).
  2. The author’s literal ability to convey the message (2 points).
  3. Logical and objective analysis according to chronological events (2 points).
  4. Impartiality of the author to a religion, cult or sect (2 points).
  5. Logical conclusions, and the ability of the author to convince the reader with his ideology (2 points)

And to be able to do that without causing any misunderstanding, I may need to write a book, but I thought that the time spent in this evaluation is well worth it since it may have an impact on the majority of his readers, provided that I summarize as much as I can and present my views in a series of six or seven posts. This way, the reader will have enough time to throughly contemplate on each point and enrich it with valuable discussions. I may not participate in those discussions since my ideas will be presented in each post, but if a point needed more clarification, I will definitely provide it.
Now let’s start with point number one;

1. Honesty in portraying Islamic history:

To be frank, I was shocked by the author’s extreme honesty in presenting Islamic history, especially the part concerning Mohammad’s life in the pre-Islamic society as well as his mastery in presenting contemporary Islamic history with high precision and without forgery, all backed with genuine, diverse sources. And although this should have been expected from someone who studied religion in a secular country like the States, but I have read for other Moslem authors who lived most of their lives in the secular West and still found them not to be honest. Alsan, for example, did not deny the fact that the boy Mohammad of the Quraysh tribe adhered to his forefather’s religion of idolatry, not like many Moslems who deny this fact and claim that he never worshiped an idol. After all, Mohammad was like any normal child who inherited his parent’s religion. He never claimed to be different or supernatural, despite the effort made by some Moslems to portray him as flawless. The prophet was not illiterate, he was exposed to the Jewish culture of the area, Aslan said, and he must have even known Aramaic language. Which I agree with completely. But unfortunately, Aslan fell (may be unintentionally) in the same trap of idealizing Muhammad, when he analyzed the Islamic events after revelation. But nevertheless I would give him a full two point on this part, at least I know he was honest.

2. The author’s literal ability to convey the message:

Aslan’s ability in writing was also so appealing and appeasing. Each chapter started with more of a prose than an introduction, as if a director preparing the scene to engulf the reader within the historical context and make him live the events instead of just reading about them. Most history books, especially the ones written by Moslems, usually list events, fill them with praise words and in the process miss the linking between those events. Aslan’s specialty was in digging those missing links and fastening the chain of events strongly together for a better understanding. His skills in story telling, I have to acknowledge, is superb and very unique and original. He is a natural writer of fiction, and I would give him the full two points for his superb skills, no doubt.

To be continued

Religiosity Versus Secularism in Politics

The infidel Al Gore won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his 20 years campaign on global warming, and before that he won the Oscar for his environmental documentary, and this is what he promised:

“Gore plans to donate his half of the $1.5 million prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan nonprofit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion worldwide about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.” More here

Although many Democrats urged Al Gore to run for presidency, he made it clear that he has no intentions at all. His mission, he said, was not directed towards political gains, but rather, towards spreading a spiritual message to all humanity.
Now he’s in the United Nations perusing a mandate on climatic emergency.

Isn’t it odd that the so called peace loving religions compete to destroy earth, while secularists campaign to save it?

On a somewhat related news:
Ramzi Ahmed Yousef denounces Islam and embraces Christianity!

اصحاب العقول في راحه

Three Dawn Songs in Summer by Robert Hass
1.
The first long shadow in the fields
Are like mortal difficulty.
The first birdsong is not like that at all.

2.
The light in the summer is very young and wholly unsupervised.
No one has made it sit down to breakfast.
It’s the first one up, the first one out.

3.
Because he has opened his eyes, he must be light.
And she, sleeping beside him, must be the visible,
One ringlet of hair curled about her ear.
Into which he whispers, “Wake up!”
“Wake up!” he whispers.

Happy Birthday Sweethearts

Few weeks ago was my twin’s birthday, and what could be better than giving them a birthday gift of entertainment fit for grownups but a trip to the city that does not go to sleep

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The trip was more than 9 hours drive, but the road was smooth for most of the distance and filled with beautiful sceneries.

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The Stratosphere hotel was also a treat for a good deal, there was no need to go outside when the hotel had everything one needs just in the lobby.

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And the real treat was

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More pictures from the magnificent city

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Click on the pics for a better view

Only one setback was that I had to drive back at 3AM the same day we attended the play to catch up with other errands we had back in Mountain View. It wasn’t as bad as I thought though, the highways were mostly empty and I slept like a baby as soon as I got back home.
This trip officially ended my summer vacation, this summer was full of excitements for me, family and friends came at different times and filled my time as well as my apartment, we took short trips together and had lots of fun, and now that everyone is gone I feel melancholic, I already miss them so much. Life here is nice, the weather is beautiful, but it was much nicer with loved ones around.
This occasion also coincides with my blog that I started three years back with blogspot, and exactly one year back with wordpress. Remember when I wrote about the time for change? Well September always brings changes, and always to the better. There is a major change in my life of which its first threads are beginning to materialize, not time to talk about it though, but I will soon enough.
Happy birthday sweethearts and may you always have better times in future.

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Does Islam Accept Reform?

Sacred scriptures that were written centuries back have their own special places in the hearts of their believers. Whether they were divine revelations or written as traditions of famous figures and prophets or philosophers. They provide codes of behaviors and rites that most can take as guidelines. They also codify morals relative to a specific culture. Codes of morals for the Hindus, for example, differ from those for Moslems. But nevertheless, most of them contain universal moral codes. They retain their holiness for many reasons; most important reason is that they were the codes of the ancestors. Primitive cultures did not have those literal codes, but still they adhered to the ways of the ancestors that were verbally transmitted from generation to generation. It aided them to face mysteries in life, as it aided modern religion believers. The only difference is that as religion evolved, it got more complex with time. In a nutshell: those scriptures, figures and rituals became a symbol for the believer.
It is also common and healthy to change some codes from generation to generation through interpretation, so long that the basics were intact. It was done throughout history with all religions. But that does pertain some dangers. Some interpretations might develop into creating sects or cults. More interpretations, or reinterpretations are also needed to comply with the needs of each new generation as per time and locations. A new generation usually follows the interpretations of his parents, adhering to their sources, but when the location changes, say someone who lived in the Middle East and his children were raised in the United States, he’d have to comply with the new rules of that place, and therefore be more flexible in his interpretations. Even if the location stayed the same, the world is getting smaller, and humans are getting smarter, each one of us would eventually develop his or her own interpretations according to what makes things more logical to ones specific logic. They may not even realize that that’s what they’re doing.
Fundamentals refuse any interpretations but the original ones, taken from famous figures in history where religion was at its purest. Fundamentalism is derived from the word fundamental, which means basics. Moslem fundamentals, for example, believe that Quran is a set of instructions on life given by the almighty, ordained from all eternity as the final and the ultimate truth for all human beings. This group considers any deviation from the fundamentals of Islam deprives it from its essence in the belief that it is the words of the divine, and therefore it becomes a human intervention and an assault on the fixed dogma. Fundamentalism can take many shapes; Wahabis for example, who take their traditions from the prophet and his following khaleefats, call the Shiites Khawarij; a word indicating the ones who went astray from the ways of God. Shiite on the other hand, who take their traditions from the prophet’s linage with a strong belief that their philosophy is the continuation of the divine revelation, and hence consider Sunnis Nawasib which means the ones who carry hate for the prophet’s linage, descending from Ali, the prophet’s cousin. Both sects claim that they have preserved the basics of Islam, and that their differences are minor, yet wars between them never ceased since the prophet’s death until today.
This was an example of the old dispute concerning different interpretations regardless of the hidden political agendas. Of which it’s implication is still evident in Iraq and Palestine.
Modern thinkers, peace loving individuals of both sects may not pay these differences any attention, but no doubt when a member of each sect meets with the other, each is sure that he’s from the salvation group and the other is destined to be burned in hell.
Yet interpretation is not a rigid phenomenon as I mentioned before, new interpreters like Amro Khalid who addresses the new generation and gives Islam a new look, is also faced with a lot of criticism from both sects. Some even consider him an apostate. And his likes are many, especially in the West, who have been bitten by the old interpretations and trying desperately to modernize Islam.
But could Islam be modernized?
Let’s look at history:
Sikhism began as Hindu reform under centuries of Moslem rule in north India; a religion that began in the fifteenth century AD with the teachings of Nanak and nine successive gurus. Its message is the one of compromise between Hinduism and Islam. And although today Sikhism is the fifth growing religion in the world, it was never digested; neither by Hindus nor by Moslems. Moreover, it was fought by both religions in fierce battles.
Modern Moslem reformers who work on the philosophy of compromising between civil human laws orchestrated by the secular West and Islam, most probably would face the same fate.
Mainstream Moslems would never accept their reform. Quran had described those who take part of their religion and leave the other part as Monafiqeen, i.e. the hypocrites. And It described them in a whole Soorah with the same labeling as:
[1] When the Hypocrites come to thee, they say, “We bear witness that thou art indeed the Messenger of Allah.” Yea, Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His Messenger, and Allah beareth witness that the Hypocrites are indeed liars.

[2] They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds.

[3] That is because they believed, then they rejected Faith: so a seal was set on their hearts: therefore they understand not.

[4] When thou lookest at them, their exteriors please thee; and when they speak, thou listenest to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of Allah be on them! How are they deluded (away from the Truth)!

Now should we expect after that, that the mainstream Moslems would take any modern interpretations? Would the people of Saudi Arabia and Iran abide to modernization?
There is a saying that goes:

هذا حلم ابليس بالجنه

i.e. this would be Satan’s dream in heaven.
Like any other religion, Islam does not accept reform. Christianity had gone through seas of blood to achieve reform in the past. And although it had come a long way, there are still many fundamental Christian sects who oppose reform and want to stick to the literal interpretation of the bible.
Religion is part of human evolution, it was accepted by our ancestors in the past, albeit with bloodshed. Time has changed, with centuries of human development, nothing can be found in religions that the people of the twenty first centuries can’t find in civil laws that started with Hammurabi, and ended with reason against faith. Humans can’t just go in circles and not learn from history; circles would only take us to the beginning point, right were we first started, humans are destined to move on. That past has to be acknowledge as part of our history, and there is no escape from the bottleneck except divorcing religion for good. Science proves everyday that religion is nothing but myths. It may have not proved the existence of a creator, even the ultimate nonexistence is solely based on logic that may have different arguments from both sides, but religion is something totally different. And it is a pity to destroy our planet earth with a mere belief in a symbol. Religion has done too much harm to humans, and all indications point that this is the time to ask rational questions, and demand religion to step aside.
An Update: meet Greydon Square

Why Women are More Pious than Men?

It was puzzling for most of us to see that the hardliners of the last elections for the parliament were mostly backed by women. Those hardliners that made it explicitly clear in the past that they do not approve of women’s political rights. It is also more puzzling that when some voices rise against women discrimination in Islam, the first to roar against them are women themselves. Defending Islam and its role in preserving women dignity. Anyone who reads Shareea can see how Islam treats women as half citizens. It decrees to them a share of half their inheritance in comparison to their male siblings. Their testimony in courts are equal to half of that of a male. They have no right to disobey their husbands except when the husbands go astray from God’s ways. They are not allowed to leave their homes without their husband’s permission. Even then, there are certain places that they can go to and others that they can’t. They are not even allowed to open the door for their husband’s male friends, nor talk to them when the husbands are absent. Some traditions also forbid women assuming high posts in leadership or in jurisdiction. Men are allowed to beat their wives for reform purposes as long as they do not leave a mark on their bodies. Even the incentives in Hereafter are not equal when it comes to genders. Islam treats women as inferior beings, they are labeled as aowrah. In looking up the word in the dictionary, it says; “genital parts”. All parts of women are her genital parts, they are the main cause of the first sin; her body is aowrah, her voice is aowrah, even her name is aowrah. When a woman is raped, most probably it’s her fault for showing her ornaments in the first place.
Looking into Islamic history; it was the second Pledge of Alaqaba, where seventy-three men and two women converted to Islam that sparked the first expansion of Islam. The prophet of Islam knew the importance of women in manipulating the minds, even if they, themselves, did not assume high positions in their Simi-primitive societies.
There is an Arabic proverb that says:

الام مدرسه، اذا اعددتها اعددت شعبا طيب الاعراق

The translation (not literal): the mother is like a school, when well prepared; a whole nation of solid genuine race is produced.
Pay attention that the simile here is not only to a school, but also to a tree. The roots have to be well established, and deeply identified with the tribe. Women are the concrete bases, and Islam did not leave any door open for women to be independent citizens. Their limited roles in the society is not much different than Hindu castes, where each level of citizens has its proper position that should not be rebelled against, nor it is permitted for the citizens belonging to a lower caste to better their position even with higher education. This matter is explicitly sacred .
But why should women accept this? Or more importantly; why should they vigorously defend Islam to the point that some argue that women are the main causes of their own miseries?
This trait is not only found in Moslem women, most male dominated societies also exhibit the same phenomena. Again looking back in human history, we find that the most religious citizens were the poorest and the slaves.

What do these share in common with women?
Oppression.

The more oppressed are the citizens the more they exhibit religious tendencies. And the more religious is a woman, the more she believe in her inadequacy and self-worth compared to that of a man. This element which is clearly shown in religious women’s discriminative behavior towards their male and female offspring.
The poor, the slave and women were all subjected to unjust treatments, and their only salvation is through religion. Religion gives them a sense of identity, a sense of belonging to a tribe, and it dismisses the sense of estrangement that they feel. Religion also provides a sense of a wishful equality in Hereafter, the thing they are utterly missing in their unjust reality.

In his book “In the Presence of Mystery”, Michael Horace Barnes said:
“The importance of achieving a meaningful identity is most visible where it is most difficult. Most of us grow into our identities with a vague sense that we are what people are supposed to be like; but we all have some doubts, some problems with who we are. Many people live an even more socially and psychologically marginal existence. Living on the margins of society, as it were, they may look to the numinous powers for a sense of personal significance…the unusual cases demand our attention, but it is the everyday patterns that are most important. The set of beliefs we take for granted about our human identity have the strongest effect on us precisely because we do not tend to question them. Our ordinary beliefs about childhood and adulthood, male and female, what is natural and what is unnatural, are the beliefs that make us who we are. To repeat, throughout human history, religious traditions have been the respiratory and support of these patterns of identity”

Moslem women do not hesitate to enslave themselves behind heavy veils even during the hottest months of desert summer. They willingly accept the slavery to their husbands for the sake of pleasing Allah, and not disobeying His orders. And the prophet used this very intelligently; a great deal of Quran verses he recited when he settled in Medina, addressed women to insure their specific position in the society. More of those also appeared in his tradition. A set of moral codes of behavior of a good person, is provided to make women value their adherence to mainstream beliefs more important than their personal rights. Any diversion from those dogmas are considered an unforgivable sin. Women should be punished first by the society, and then Hereafter. No wonder they are the first to bury their own personal rights, and vote for religious figures who insure their injustice.

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