A few months before her tragic death, princess Diana started dating Dodi Al Fayed, the late son of the Arab billionaire Mohammed Al Fayed. The relationship made the headlines for weeks and was a source of happiness, even pride, to most Arabs. It is very common for Arab men to date white British women, but Diana was a special woman, being a highly celebrated British princess. The Arabs’ happiness was short lived and turned to anger after the tragic accident. Mohammed Al Fayed and the Arabs in general are still adamant that Diana was pregnant from Dodi, although forensic tests ruled that out.
Most of those who followed the story, including the Arabs, did not notice the irony. The Arabs, who are known to kill their own daughters for dating strangers, did not mind Dodi to date Diana and even have sex with her! To be fair to Islam, it doesn’t discriminate between men and women who commit adultery; adultery is an adultery. There are no exceptions in Islam and all men and women who commit adultery must be stoned to death; dating a celebrity or a royal makes no difference.
Diana’s story is mentioned because of its familiarity, but similar stories take place everyday and everywhere in the Islamic world. Such stories are so common that we don’t even notice them. I had an old friend who visited me briefly while on his way to visit his son in university. The man was obviously very proud of his son who was “handsome and the girls were mad of him”. He proved his point by showing some digital images of the young man with his mates, boys and girls. This man would kill his daughter for any suspicion of having boyfriends.
The above stories expose the Arabs’ inherent double standards in implementing Islam. They were jubilant, that one of them managed to make it to the heart of the most celebrated British princess, who became pregnant from him. They portrayed Dodi as a kind of champion, or a conqueror, and believed that the humiliated British establishment has intentionally out pregnancy to deny the Arabs that honor. In the midst of their elation, the Arabs overlooked the fact that pregnancy must be preceded by sexual intercourse, which might be OK for Diana but is a matter of life and death to Dodi, who was a muslim.
There will be more examples on how the Arabs adjust Islam to suit their interests. The above two examples do not only confirm that the Arabs automatically maneuver Islam to suit their needs, but they also expose the complex relation between the Arabs and sexuality.
Why an Arab may feel proud of his son’ actions but would be ashamed and consider killing his daughter for doing the same?
Arab societies and sexuality
The Arabs perceive sexual relationship as a game with two players with the woman being the permanent loser. While a sporty feeling prevails within marriage, the situation is completely different for extra marital relationships. Sex is the most important issue in the minds of most Arabs, whether men or women, yet they are conditioned to pretend as if the issue does not exist at all! The strict segregation rules between the sexes, and many other reasons beyond the scope of this article, all contribute to this psychological mystery. An Arab woman is brought up to believe that her priority in life is to protect her private parts from men, except her husband. Failure to achieve this protection is considered as the ultimate failure, because the ‘defeated’ woman brings life long shame to herself and to her entire family. A woman is expected to shy away from talking favorably about sex. She is expected to give an impression that she views sex as a disgusting, but unavoidable, act which she only contemplates to fulfill her marital and child bearing duties.
Women are weakness points in the Arab families, especially in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States. I have no doubt in my mind that if medical science allows parents to control the gender of their babies, the Arabs would all choose to have male babies. The Arab society would become a male only society that seeks wives from the West! Arab men do everything to guard the female members of their families them from predators’ eyes; hence the tradition of women’s full covering and the strict segregation. The aim is: from her birth to her death, a woman should not be seen by male strangers.
The deprivation that results from the lack of exposure to the other sex can force normal heterosexual men and women to resort to homosexuality. This is a big problem in the Saudi society although the media doesn’t report it or even admit to its existence. When the young Gulf Arabs travel abroad, they do so with sex in their minds and no interest in cultural refinement or enjoying the sunny beaches. In desperation, they may have sex with women of any color, but would rather prey on white European women. They may even justify having sex with Christian or Jewish women as ‘preferable’ on the basis that it inflicts humiliation on the infidels. This kind of justification is common and is ready there in the back of their minds whenever they feel the urge to hurt the enemy.
Adultery in Arab societies becomes a problem only when practiced within the Arab society, because of the consequent inter-family tension. It is difficult for the ‘defeated’ family to live with shame and may resolve to kill the shamed woman, and may be her sexual partner.
Breast Feeding the Adult
Breast feeding the adult is another salient example of the Arabs ongoing refashioning of Islam
A few years ago, Dr. Izzat Attyia, the head of hadith department at Al Azhar University, was asked about the authenticity of a little known hadith in which Mohammed allowed a woman to breast feed an adult servant in order she can keep him working in the house. Mohammed wanted to solve out a problem he created when he banned adoption. A Muslim woman who had an adopted son working for her in the house suddenly became unable to treat him as a son but as a stranger, and had to cover while with him at home, which was about all the time. Mohammed suggested to the woman to breast feed her grown up servant so that she can treat him as a son again. Many Arabs did not like this license from the beginning but many woman made use of it in Mohammed’s time. The hadith is classified as authentic and was recorded in Sahih Muslim’s collection.
Dr. Attyia’s response was that the hadith was authentic and describes how the prophet solved the problem that arises when a man and a woman need to be in the same room. He added: if you like it or not is up to you.
His opinion caused uproar in the Arab world. The conservative Arabs did not like the idea of women breast feeding their colleagues to be allowed to stay together in offices.
Most Arabs did not hear of this hadith and were shocked to know that Sahih Muslim classifies it as authentic. They believed Islam is higher than this and their must be something wrong some where. Muslim clerics from all over the Arab world came to the rescue to restore confidence in Islam. They put the blame on Dr. Attyia’s misunderstanding of the hadith. They claimed although the hadith was authentic but it was meant to be for a particular woman in a particular time. Dr. Attyia was sacked and the problem was solved!
Once again, the Arabs succeeded to shape Islam to fit their cultural needs. The great scholar Imam Muslim, would not have included the hadith in his collection if he thought it had no significance to future generations. Besides, other muslim women, in Mohammed’s time, made use of the license embraced in the hadith, which is an indication that the license was for all. The scandal highlights Mohammed’s lack of morality even if the hadith was meant to be for one woman; giving a religious license to one woman to sin is as immoral as giving the license to a group of women to sin. The scandal also exposes, or should expose, the Arabs’ selective ignorance of Islam; the muslim scholars keep the ugly side of Islam hidden away.
Before jumping to the conclusion that the Arabs demonstrated some sensibility by rejecting the above hadith think again. The Arabs rejected the hadith because it does not fit with their needs as no Arab would allow his wife to breast feed her colleagues. On the other hand, they are happy to accept other equally ridiculous, but less authentic hadiths because they happen to fit their needs. Mohammed’s hadith about “fighting the Jews until the stones and trees speak to muslims: there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him” is less authentic and universally accepted by the Arabs. All the Arabs, including their children, know this hadith because it fits perfectly well with their merciless hate towards the Jews
Mohammed married Aysha at the age of six years, the wedding was completed when she was nine years. By definition Aysha was a child and Mohammed was a pedophile. Add to this the fact that Islam did not set an age limit for marriage and you conclude that Islam accepts pedophilia. I must admit that the story of Aysha did not disgust me when I was a muslim; I simply believed the official justification that girls used to mature earlier in the hot climate of Arabia. There is no scientific or historical basis for this claim. Rarely, girls may start menstruating early but they are still children and their mental maturity still takes time. Many muslim scholars are aware of the weakness of this defense and try to create an exit by claiming Aysha was older than nine years, which is again not true.
Pedophilia is a psychological disorder; its incidence among the Arabs and Muslims is about the same like other societies. Most muslims are not pedophiles and do not approve of the practice. But the evidence as described above is that Islam permits pedophilia. The muslim countries cannot come to term with such a fact and introduced a lower age limit for marriage ( usually between 16 and 18 years) and describe it as Islamic law although it has no connection to Islam or Mohammed’s example.
The civil war that followed the murder of Caliph Uthman was nothing more than a power struggle between two groups of Mohammed’s companions (called sahaba) who understood Islam very well. Each group fought the war on the basis to serve Allah and used Islam and the Quran to justify their claims and demonize their opponents, who were also ‘sahaba’. History is rich with similar incidents but we don’t have to go that far because there are more recent examples.
After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Arabs were divided into two groups depending on whether they support or oppose Iraq. The divide was not confined to the governments but involved the people as well. Again each group used the Quran and the Sunna as they employed the Friday’s sermons to justify their cause. The clerics of each camp declared that their soldiers die as martyrs while their opponents die as infidels.
Suicide Bombing is another area where the Arabs maneuvered Islam. Up to about fifteen years ago, the general consensus among muslims was that Islam forbids suicide and classifies it as a major sin. The Quran orders muslims not to expose their lives to inevitable risks. It is generally believed that if a muslim commits suicide he/she dies as a kafir. After suspected suicides, it is common for the deceased’s family to do everything possible to rule out suicide as a cause of death in an attempt to preserve the deceased’s reputation. Islam did not make any exceptions to this rule.
Although Islamic history is all about jihad and wars there are no incidents of suicidal fighters. Back in the 1980s, the Sunni Arabs were critical of Iran’s use of human waves in its war with Iraq. However, these same people suddenly changed their minds when suicide bombing proved to be a useful tool in their hands. Muslim clerics world wide welcomed the practice and considered it a top kind of jihad. Only a handful of true pious and uncompromising muslim clerics still condemn it as a sin.
On personal level, the Arabs automatically maneuver Islam whenever the need arises and without being noticed even by themselves. It is amazing how easily and quickly they come up with their justifications.
At a social gathering many years ago, I over heard a pious bearded muslim lecturing his friend about some money saving tricks. At the end he added: ‘Remember it is all halal and ethical, because if you don’t take the money the infidels will make more profits and use it to buy alcohol and commit other sins’. The bearded muslim was actually advising his friend to steel while claiming it was ethically right and permissible by Islam. I know of an Arab who owns a restaurant that serves alcohol outside London. He justifies his practice on the basis it is difficult to make business in that area without selling alcohol. But it is all OK because he only serves alcohol to infidels to cause them liver damage and he uses the profits that come from alcohol sales to pay the government taxes and uses the the profits from other sales to sustain his family!
From its inception to the present day, Islam never ceased to be a tool in the hands of its believers, especially the Arabs. Mohammed had to change the rules of Islam many times in his life time, which meant he had to cancel the outdated verses and insert new ones to fit the changing circumstances.
Often Islam had to adapt to fit the needs of specific Arab tribes. When Mohammed noticed that many tribes were not happy to read the Quran in Quraish accent, he permitted each tribe to reade the Quran in its own accent! Compare this to the fact that todays non Arabs have to learn a foreign language (Arabic) in order to perform the prayers and read the Quran!
We may never know the true story of the rise of Islam. Mohammed did not leave Islam in a clearly recognized ‘perfect’ shape, but continued to evolve to suit the Arabs changing needs. Mohammed’s death was marked by immediate power struggle and disagreements between his followers. Waves of mass defections of dissatisfies Arab tribes was soon followed by bloody wars at a scale never known in Arabia. Later divisions between the various Muslim factions resulted in more bloodshed. As Arabia was engulfed with anarchy, the ordinary Arabs had no clue what Islam is about or what it should look like.
From the beginning, the muslims disagreed about how to collect the Quran, and what should or should not be included. While the Quran is formally the book of Islam, it is Mohammed’s hadiths that make Islam. Imams Bukhari and Muslim rejected over 95% of the hadiths that were presented to them as authentic. Those tens of thousands of rejected hadiths indicate that the Arabs had no problems in inserting whatever suits their needs. Islam was modified all the time by individuals and institutions to fit the changing needs of its believers.