Bism Allah, al-Rahmen, al-Raheem
SYMPATHY FOR THE KHALIFITE
by Jeremiah McAuliffe
This has been slightly updated since the last time I posted it. My rather clear accusation of lying against one of the Khalifites seems to have led him into a frenzy of posting (though not in defense against the accusation). So, as long as they are here, I'll post this periodicly. The moderators have my permission to break this into parts if they want.
The first part is my personal experience with Khalifites. Later in the paper I outline my theological andphilosophical reasons why the Khalifite position is not only absurd and contrary to reason, but is actually evil in that it is, in essence, dehumanized. The first time this was posted no Khalifite attempted to refute these points.
All Muslims have total permission to reprint this at will as long as it is printed in its entirety, with no editing (well, correct the spelling errors ), and with proper attribution.
A couple of years ago I used America Online. There was no Islamic forum in the religion discussion groups. I was the only Muslim and the folder on Islam opened and closed a couple of times. I doubt I had been Muslim for more than a year. One day I was rather excited when "AzharK" showed up... a Muslim, or so I thought. He introduced me to the idea that the Qur'an was possessed of a mathematical miracle. While I found this mildly interesting it really seemed to have little to do with actual faith and iman (more on this below). Of more interest to me were the problems he had with the sunnah... concerns that echoed mine (also more below).
For a brief period he seemed like a nice guy, and sent me (for free!) a copy of the Qur'an translated by Rashad Khalifa. I liked the translation, but those appendices in the back! Yikes! I don't think I had ever encountered so much gobbledy-gook in my entire life. There was downright nonsense as well as statements that I knew were contrary to accepted Muslim belief. This translator somehow "found" in the Qur'an references to himself based upon numerology and claimed to be a messenger from God! Well, never one for the occult (but rather knowledgable about it), and knowing there were to be no more messengers I knew I had hit upon a "live one".
I quickly learned, even before I had heard of "Khalifites" that AzharK was irrational in his views... so seemingly self-centered that he was unable to *discuss* issues. Non-Muslims began to find their way to the forum and my time was spent pointing out the errors of AzharK's thinking. Bored to tears with this I abandoned the forum and I think it died yet again. Others too, abandoned it as AzharK was a "one-note" poster... he was like a tape-loop endlessly repeating the same message and unable to dialogue. It was my opinion, coming from a strong background in psychology, that AzharK was mentally ill and used religious language to express his distubed psyche. I have since revised this assessment, as we shall see.
When I reopened the forum AOL had embarked on one of their massive advertising campaigns and more Muslims appeared on-line. Things were very interesting and then someone named "Ghazy" showed up. He was also taken with the alleged mathematical structure of the Qur'an, which I had since learned was questionable, if not down- right fraudulent. Ghazy's posts were like AzharK's in every way-- one note, unable to respond to questions, unable to discuss, to dialogue. Unfortunately, he ended up monopolizing the entire forum. Everyone was always "in response" to Ghazy who was easily the most obstinate, closed, and irrational being I may have ever met. The question of how he learned salat if he didn't follow *anything* but the Qur'an was asked over, and over, and over again and NEVER got a response.... because a response would mean an admission that he followed SOMEONE'S sunnah... and he could not bring himself to say such a thing.
Ghazy, however, was not mentally ill.... what was he? At first, people were extremely patient with him, not unlike Daniel Lomax is to the Khalifites that infest SRI. But, like we see here, Ghazy was unable to respond in an appropriate manner to the issues raised and the challenges made to his way of thinking--- but he would still not see the errors so clearly and kindly pointed out to him.
The experience was odd.... it is like someone looking at an apple and saying "it is a grape" and you say "no, it is an apple". He disagrees, so you provide a clear definition of both: apples are bigger, have a certain shape, come in these colors and varieties. You would then go on to give a description of a grape. He would say "yes, that is a description of an apple and a description of a grape". You would then, reasonably, think the problem was solved, wouldn't you? Not with Ghazy, he'd then come right back and called the grape an apple and the apple a grape! Very, very, very strange and frustrating. Actually, it was down-right *creepy*.
Ok, so it was odd, to say the least. What was worse, imho, was how he was able to commandeer all discussion on the forum. When new participants came on, Muslim or non-Muslim, Ghazy was immediately right there.... all time was spent refuting his statements rather than discussing other issues of interest to Muslims and educating non-Muslims about our din. In a sense, he had successfully shut down the forum.( We see a similar dynamic on SRI as the Khalifites are prolific and untiring in the face of all evidence....)
It was then that I reluctantly concluded that Ghazy's insane irrationality could NOT be explained as misguidance, ignorance, or even mental illness.... but only by real evil. And this is my view of the Khalifites.... they are evil. I shall explain why I think this in
greater detail below. Every Khalifite I have encountered on-line is just like AzharK and Ghazy (he was even on SRI for a while. When I resumed school and got my Internet account I thought I was free of him and them forever-- no such luck! Soon AOL had a Usenet feed.... and there he was! And of course, now, like bugs who reproduce by the millions, we have four or five of them.) One of them has even been publicly accussed of lying, and produces no defense against the charge. Those posts are reproduced at the very end of this paper.
Now, I am not saying that *every* Khalifite is evil... some, undoubtedly ARE simply misguided, ignorant of Islam AND the use of reason, or are mentally deficient/disturbed in some way... but I haven't encountered them. My hunch is that all begin like this, but once in this group its "cult-like" characteristics take over... essentially a brainwashing that is difficult, if not impossible for the individual to break out of. Frankly, I do not believe the claims of some to have been born Muslim-- how many have ever shown the slightest knowledge of Arabic (or any other language)? If indeed it is true for some, then we must conclude that they have massive oppositional disorders. Mental and or psychological problems can be a fertile ground for the seduction by the Evil One. This, however, is not the topic at present, but I would refer people to the book, available in just about any bookstore "People of the Lie" by the psychiatrist M. Scott Peck.
Here then, are my views on the Khalifite position:
1. The alleged "mathematical miracle".
First, it takes a high-level statistician to actually analyze the claims. IF there is a pattern of multiples of 19 the question becomes whether it is truly statistically significant. That is NOT a simple issue, by any means, as anyone who has studied the science of statistics knows. It is also quite clearly documented that there are errors in the counting of letters, inconsistencies, etc. But in actuality, and more importantly to my mind, THE ISSUE IS IRRELEVANT! Why? Well, any good Catholic, or ex-Catholic, as the case may be, could tell you: faith based on supposed miracles is a weak faith, perhaps it is even "not-faith". The Catholics are certainly no strangers to miracles and maintain a rigorous validation process of identifying true miracles.
I was raised Catholic, and yes, have actually read the Vatican II documents, as well as high-level theology. I'll never forget what I was told waaaay back in fourth grade. (How far back I'm not sayin')
"Tank" the principle, was a nun (at a time when when they wore hijab-in-extremis). She told us a story: There was a parish with two priests. The older one was of firm faith, the younger had doubts. One day, the younger was celebrating the Mass and lo and behold, a miracle occurred! The bread and wine, which Catholics believe actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ (called "transubstantiation") actually, visibly changed! The wine become blood and the bread became an image of Jesus! A person, breathless and excited, ran to fetch the older priest: "Father, Father, hurry! Come see! Its a miracle! A miracle! The bread and wine have changed into Jesus!" The priest calmly looked up, and without leaving his seat said "I know". Think about it. Its powerful enough to have stuck in the mind and heart of a fourth-grader. Apocryphal or not, the story makes a valid point.
If you need something extra-ordinary you are looking for magic-- not faith, and certainly not *iman* which does not even mean "faith" as we use it in English. How blind such people are to miss the miraculous of the ordinary! Reflect upon that. "And in themselves are signs, and in the seasons too..." "You have eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear."
"Signs" and the asking for signs have NEVER been within the behavioral repretoire of a believer. As Prophet Jesus said: only an evil generation seeks a sign.
2. Complete and total rejection of sunnah.
A *highly* irrational position to take that implies an almost insane rejection of plain old *reality*, not to mention the social construction of human reality.
"Sunnah" is a simple word that means a "way"... that is, a way of doing things, of approaching life, a life-style, a set of characteristics and behaviors.
You see, "no man is an island", that is, we are ALWAYS enculturated, within traditions, within a social context. Even a hermit is such only within a background of social traditions... it is IMPOSSIBLE to be wholly "individualized"-- completely unique >from others. Even when alone we are ALWAYS in a community of others. It is embedded in your very language, your thoughts, your perceptions-- there is simply no way around it-- ALL people, at ALL times, EVERYWHERE, ALWAYS are following SOMEONE ELSE'S "way"-- someone else's sunnah.
Some follow the sunnah of a sports star ("I wanna be like Mike"). Others a rock star ("Madonna wannabe"). We talk about our "heroes" or our "role models". We talk about teachers who had a deep effect upon us. We talk about how our childhood experiences effected us ("the child gives birth to the man")("he's a chip off the old block"). In psychology we talk about "family systems"-- patterns that are set up and repeated-- such as a victim of domestic violence growing up to be an abuser himself. This is "sunnah".
To deny that we follow a sunnah is insanity. The question then becomes *who's* sunnah, who's pattern, who's example do you follow?
To some extent, we can choose this. Most people follow a sunnah unreflectively... others try to learn and follow a particular sunnah. We may learn a sunnah from fashion magazines, biographies, television, parents, etc.
The absurdity of the Khalifite position should be clear from the above. It is even worse because they specifically reject the sunnah of Muhammad, who even non-Muslims acknowledge was an exceptional man, as any reader of seerah knows. What is the sunnah of Muhammad? Well, some chapter headings in Afzalur Rahman's "Encyclopaedia of Seerah: Vol. I" on the topic give us a clue: love and mercy, forgiveness, generosity, hospitality, sacrifice, simplicity, humility, modesty, sincerity, honesty and truthfulness, fair dealing, justice, fulfilment of promises, piety and righteousness, moderation, perseverence, courage and bravery, and humour. It would seem that the Khalifites thus imply a rejection of these qualities.
The Khalifite position on the sunnah is one of the ways in which they reveal themselves as evil. Real evil is rarely blatant--- it is usually subtle, hidden, sneaky. It mixes good things with the bad. It mixes falsehood with truth, thus confusing and seducing people-- even people of good will and sincerity. It especially goes after those who would love Allah, and be among the Creator's friends. It targets those who could be among the foremost of Muslims. There is a saying "The devil can quote Scripture to its own end." Evil can assume a pleasing shape.
All things created, being "not-God" have a degree of imperfection in them, as only Allah is perfect. (This is actually a subtlety-- one can say that creation is perfect *as* creation, but this is not the place for such high-level theology.) One of the traditional signs of evil is to take this element of imperfection and thus label something as "all bad", thus keeping people from the good that is present. This is what Khalifites are doing with the sunnah, or more precisely, they are taking people's imperfect understanding and application of the sunnah as a basis for condemning the whole thing.
A very simple example of this type of a dynamic can be found in chocolate. Most people really like chocolate. It tastes really good, but of course, it is extremely high in fat. It is not a perfect food. Some go to an extreme and thus never eat chocolate because of the fear of fat. They then deny themselves this delicious bit of Allah's creation.
There are certainly problems with how we (Muslims) understand and embody the sunnah of Muhammad. New Muslims especially can be put off by how some embody the sunnah-- i.e. emphasizing beards, Arab- style clothing, use of what I call "hadith bombs" to shut off questions. They may be sympathetic to Khalifites because of this. Christian reverts, in particular, may see much of this as idolization of Muhammad in a way similar to how they used to think of Jesus. Undoubtedly, for some Muslims today, there *is* idolization of Muhammad. There is a truth here... and imperfection.
Khalifites exploit this. They reason from imperfect application to total rejection, but this is not the proper use of reason. (They may say they are arguing from Qur'an, but this is not true as they misinterpret Qur'an. They use both arguments: actual imperfect practice as well as misinterpretation of Qur'an. See below.) It is the same error as those who would reject the ideal of Islam because of, say, the actions of Muslims in the Middle East, or those who reject the ideal of Christianity because of the Inquisition. It is simply invalid, as anyone of average intelligence can see. The Khalifites though, show themselves as evil by their obstinacy in maintaining their position of rejection. Most people are able to clearly see the absurdity and error of logic in this form of argument.
So, on this issue, the Khalifites clearly show one of the traditional signs of the presence of evil.
(Incidentally, it must be pointed out that the sunnah is derived not just from the hadith literature, but also the actual practice of Muslims-- particularly the actual practice of the first generation(s) of Muslims following the Qur'anic revelation.)
Consideration of the Khalifite rejection of sunnah leads to, and is related to the next point:
3. Interpretation of the Qur'an.
Like their position on the sunnah, the Khalifite position is absurd and untenable for any rational, thinking person. It is also another clue that can lead to the conclusion that they are evil.
The Khalifites maintain that the Qur'an is "fully detailed" in its religious guidelines and they maintain that translation is irrelevant to understanding. Both of these can be understood within standard Islam, but not in the way the Khalifites utilize these terms and ideas. They need to be nailed down on the definition of their use of "detailed" and "understanding". (But of course, they always strenuously resist being "nailed down" on anything!)
If by "fully detailed" we mean that the Qur'an is "enough" for a proper religious life we are ok. If by "fully detailed" we mean that the Qur'an has given us "all that we need to know" we are ok. BUT, if we mean, like the Khalifites, that it provides such detail such that there is no need for explication, interpretation, or the use of analogies to apply Qur'anic guidelines to particular situations, then we are clearly into the realm of absurdities, as we shall see.
If by "understanding" we mean that people can come to an acceptance of the Qur'an as a revelation from the One True God by only using a translation we will have no argument by regular Muslims. After all, it is happening every day. BUT, if we mean, like the Khalifites, that we can understand all nuance, all subtlety, all shades of meaning and connotation in a translation of the Qur'an than we are clearly outside the bounds of reason. No language translates cleanly and clearly into another, and this may be even more so for Arabic which is noted by all for its subtlety and shades of nuanced meaning. (And of course, it is in denial of the Qur'an itself which is self-described as an "*Arabic* Recitation".)
These issues are *intimately* related to the issue of sunnah.
The Qur'an provides very few "details" of the Muslim lifestyle. It provides many generalities. This is clear even in translation. To deny it is an almost insane rejection of reality.
For example, some of these details are the clear prohibition against pork and wine. But even here, there is a need to go outside of the Qur'an AND to refer to the Arabic language. For instance, the word translated as "wine" is a word that means "that which intoxicates". To use only the translation, and to rely upon the "Qur'an alone" one could reasonably conclude that beer or marijuana is allowed. As all but the newest Muslims know, beer and pot are *not* allowed based upon this Qur'anic statement. So, even the details in the Qur'an are not "details" as used by the Khalifites!
And of course, questions arise: well, if I'm not allowed to drink beer or smoke pot can I own a liquor store or grow pot for others to smoke? Indeed, we know from the hadith literature that this question *was* asked and answered in the negative--- no matter how hard one looks, one will not find the answer in the Qur'an, much less in an English translation. This dynamic is so obvious to any thinking person that its denial is the height of absurdity.
Of course, the issue of salat is the thorn in the Khalifite's side on these points.
Essentially, the Khalifites are rejecting the need to interpret the Qur'an, and refuse to acknowledge that they are indeed, engaged in the act of interpretation-- the interpretation being supplied by Rashad Khalifa. This is a denial of "hermeneutics", which is especially distressing to me.
"Hermeneutics" is the field of inquiry into how humans derive meaning from texts and other areas of their experience. It is a field that has, in this century, taken on an added urgency in many other fields of inquiry such as history, philosophy of science and law, as well as in its traditional place in literary criticism and religious studies (from which it emerged as a distinct field).
Without going into it, which is rather complicated, suffice it to say that the human IS the "creature-that-interprets" we are "homo hermeneuticus". It is the essence of being human. It is what makes us distinct and unique-- apart from all other creatures-- *it is by means of hermeneutics that we discover human freedom*.
By denying the importance of interpretation (by means of holding to the irrelevance of translation, as well as outside reference) the Khalifites deny and reject that which is most "human" of human being. They reject it and lead others away from it--- they are engaged in *dehumanization*! In the rejection of sunnah they are, in essence rejecting history and memory. It is through history and memory that people know who or what they are-- it is essential for human self-definition. By implicity rejecting hermeneutics, history and memory the Khalifites are engaged in a gross act of dehumanization. They are seeting themselves up as contrary to that which which is distinctively human, as against it, as enemies to the human. Now, is *that* not a good indication of evil?? Indeed, is it not one of the definitions?
The interpretation of the Qur'an, even in translation, ALWAYS begins with the sunnah, but does not necessarily END with the sunnah. (This is another side of those who are seduced into a rejection of history, but that is another group and another story.)
Muhammad, as the messenger of God bringing the Qur'anic revelation to us, it is reasonable to conclude, best understood (properly interpreted) the Qur'an. Even then, further hermeneutic work was done by Islamic scholars and has led to the four madhabs. But that is a whole other issue. Suffice it to say, it is reasonable to refer to the sunnah in order to properly understand the Qur'an-- in spite of actual Muslim practice.
And so, that concludes my understanding of Khalifite claims. I hope you enjoyed it.
On a different tone, did you get the reference in the title?? (Americans and Brits should!) Here's a hint: "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste... ...Pleased to meet you! Hope you guess my name! Ah, what's puzzlin' you is the nature of my game..."
(and who says rock 'n roll has nothing of value to give us?!)
May Allah protect us all from the evil one. May our Creator and Lord forgive us, grant us guidance, and open the gates of Paradise for us to enter into....
Here are the "caught in a lie" posts....
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (YUKSEL)
Hadith books are full of justification of terrorism, cruelty and hyprocricy. Any scholar who defend ond promote Bukhari or other Hadith books and describe them as authentic (sahih), contribute to terrorism. Hadith books are men-made Satanic teachings which today's muslims follow besides the Quran, God's word.
Here is one example:
"Prophet Muhammad gave permission for the killing of women and children in war." (Bukhari, Jihaad/146; Abu Davud/113).
If you follow hadith and believe that you are in war (jihaad), then you find a justification for all kind of cruelty. YUKSEL
Bism Allah, al-Rahmen, al-Raheem
Khalifite! Before Allah, your Creator and mine, the Lord of the universe I accuse you of lying. And what is worse, lying about Muhammad, the messenger of Allah on the following evidence:
As Allah is my witness, I performed a computer search of the word
"children" in Bukhari's hadith collection using the Alim software.
ALL statements concerning warfare talked about the killing of the warriors and the taking of women and children captive. Not killing them.
Indeed, I found at 4.257
During some of the Ghazawat of the Prophet a woman was found killed. Allah's Apostle disapproved the killing of women and children."
and at 4.258
"Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
During some of the Ghazawat of Allah's Apostle a woman was found killed, so Allah's Apostle forbade the killing of women and children."
May you finally be moved to repent, accept Islam and may Allah forgive you._