Authors - About - Archive - Contact - Donate - Write
Updates
Home / Islamic Thought / Propagation / General / Is Islamic Society Barbaric?
Image

Is Islamic Society Barbaric?

Having already discussed that Liberalism has caused social breakdown and that its political values are non-cohesive[1] in that they neither facilitate social cohesion nor evoke ideas that construct positive behaviours. Since non-cohesive liberal values have directly contributed to social breakdown[2], the evident solution is to propagate cohesive values with the relevant social models and mechanisms to achieve a cohesive society.

Although cohesive values are a fundamental feature of a cohesive society, they are inadequate if they do not sit within a workable social model. It is the scope of this essay to contrast the Liberalist and Islamic social model by highlighting and discussing some of their key features in the hope to demystify aspects of Islamic law and demonstrate that in actual fact Islamic punishments are founded within a workable model, a model that has produced positive results and has a greater capacity to achieve a cohesive society.

Unfortunately many politicians and media outlets degrade and attack Islam as well as its solutions for society thereby creating a caricature of Islamic law. It is hoped that this essay will help the reader transcend the media hype and political rhetoric, and in doing so bring to light the dynamics of the Islamic model. This essay will uncover the baseless accusations and deliberate attempts to malign Islam by exposing western ideologues’ political narrative. This will be achieved by showing that Liberalism’s social model has failed and solutions provided by politicians are simply not working.


Liberal Social Model

Liberalism’s social framework is illustrated below:



1. Non-Cohesive Values: Individualism

As illustrated above a Liberal society lacks cohesive values. Liberalism’s political values of individual freedom and the primacy of individual rights, based upon the false premise of individualism, are non-cohesive.

2. Propagated Non-Cohesive Values

Liberalism’s non-cohesive values are propagated via the influential structures in society including the media and politics. For example, Leader of the Conservative Party in Britain, David Cameron said, during a speech to the Foreign Policy Centre,

“It is a shared home with values which make it tolerant and hospitable in the first place. We need to build that home together. We need to re-assert faith in our shared British values which help guarantee stability, tolerance and civility. If we lack belief in ourselves, then we transmit a fatal lack of resolution to defend liberal values against those who would destroy them. Sometimes liberalism can decay into relativism, and respect for others can become an unwillingness to proclaim confidence in what we know to be right.”[3]

3. No social model

These propagated non-cohesive values sit within an atomistic view on society, in other words, society is recognised merely as a collection of individuals and not as an entity in itself. Simply put, the dynamics of societal relationships are not entirely recognised other than through the lens of individualism which is the consideration that individual human beings are social atoms abstracted from their social contexts, attachments and obligations.[4] Individualism seeks to understand the self as an abstract entity divorced from its social reality but such a view is inaccurate as there are social and communal attachments which determine the individual.[5] For example, during the cognitive development of a child, developmental psychology has moved away from emphasising the child as the “independent constructor”[6] of his or her own development. According to research cognitive development is not so abstract but is more closely tied to social attachments including socially prescribed routines and tasks.[7]

Additionally, aims and values must be considered when determining the individual where they can only be truly understood within a social context. Shlomo Avineri and Avner de-Shalit argue this point saying, “We cannot analyse their behaviour as if they were abstract entities, as if their values existed somewhere in the distance, ‘outside’, so to speak. This is a critique of the image of the person put forward by the individualists, who tend to distinguish between who one is and the values one has.”[8]

There are dynamic links between society’s values and behaviour. Social constructionist Vivien Burr concludes that key features (or values) of a specific society will affect an individual’s personality, she uses competition as an example, “For example in a capitalist society competition is fundamental; society is structured around individuals and organisation that compete with each other for jobs markets etc…so that where competition is a fundamental feature of social economic life, what you will get is competitive people.”[9]

Similarly, Charles Taylor argues the incoherence of individualism. He contends that human beings have capacities and the affirmation of human capacities defined as the presence of characteristics and traits of individuals that ensure the possession of rights and has normative consequences in that it cultivates these capacities in a society. Liberalism’s core political value of the primacy of rights affirms the capacities that were nurtured in a society and therefore the obligation to belong to a society should be as fundamental as the assertion of rights.[10] However by asserting the primacy of rights, one cannot always claim an equally fundamental obligation because at times the assertion of an individual right is achieved at the expense of the society. To assert the rights to the point of destroying a society deprives the environment for nurturing the required human capacities as well as prevents future individuals in exercising the same capacity, and therefore, rights cannot be ensured if individual rights are taken as a priority (primacy) at the expense of society.

4. Weak Justice System

In addition to this incorrect view of society, we find that in Liberal societies there is a weak criminal justice system that is miserably failing, a key reason being inappropriate punishments. Taking the UK as an example, its criminal justice system is facing immense problems where:

  • The system is bringing justice to only 3% of offences committed.
  • Punishment does not alter the behaviour of repeating offenders.
  • The courts are still not equipped with powers to attack the problems which generate crime with the result that they continue to send too many defendants into custody.
  • Courts continue to experience delays: 24% of prisoners are not delivered to court on time; 52% of civilian witnesses come to court and do not give evidence; and 64% of prosecution witnesses come to court and do not give evidence. Files of evidence provided by police to prosecutors are on time and to a suitable standard in only 43% of cases and preparation of prosecutors are effective in only 60% of cases.
  • 44% of fines are unpaid and up to 40% of community punishments are unserved.[11]

Islamic Social Model

In contrast to this the Islamic Social Model, illustrated below, is conceptually and practically enhanced:


1. Cohesive Values

As illustrated above the Islamic Social Model has stronger foundations due to its cohesive values. Some of these values include:

  • “…judge with justice between them. Verily, God loves those who act justly.”[12]
  • “What will explain to you what the steep path is? It is to free a slave, to feed at a time of hunger, an orphaned relative or a poor person in distress, and to be one of those who believe and urge one another to steadfastness and compassion”[13]
  • “…bear witness impartially: do not let the hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, for that is closer to the awareness of God. Be mindful of God…”[14]

2. Propagated Cohesive Values

These cohesive values are propagated via the influential structures in an Islamic society which includes the media, education and politics.

3. Social Model

The Islamic model provides multiple mechanisms to prevent social breakdown. For example, the excessive agitation of human instincts (such as the survival instinct) would be monitored and managed which would be a contributing factor in preventing unnecessary crime such as theft and fraud. Liberal societies, where competition for goods is an essential feature for a functioning economy, have facilitated excessive marketing campaigns including an increase in social and peer pressure which has contributed to crime. Studies have shown that if the perception of what is required to survive is taken outside of a competitive and excessive marketing context, it reduces the desire to obtain the unobtainable. Psychologist Clive Hollin argues that if crimes are the end result of criminals seizing the opportunity to make a personal (usually) financial gain, then the opportunity or situation should be looked at as well as the criminal.[15]

4. Strong Justice System and Suitable Harsh Punishments

The Islamic model will ensure that it has a workable justice system[16] that is transparent and truly independent.[17]

The ‘Judge of the Court for Unjust Acts‘ known as Qadi al-Madhaalim is a useful example to show that Islam has a effective justice system. This judge is from a category of judges within the Islamic criminal justice system who settle disputes arising among the people. This judge has jurisdiction within a court called Mahkamat al-Madhaalim translated as ‘The Court of Unjust Acts’. In essence, the judge is appointed to remove all unjust acts within an Islamic society, whether they are committed by the ruler, governors, or any other official. In cases of disputes between the people and the officials of the Islamic society, the judge of this court has the right to dismiss the official once his negligence of the law or injustice committed upon the people is established.[18]

As examples, this court may investigate all matters executed by the Islamic system involving discrimination upon citizens, improper application of the law, improper interpretation of the law and negligence by the ruler, including forcing a tax unduly upon the citizens of the Islamic society. This is a unique process unheard of in Liberal societies. Richard W. Bulliet a professor of history at Columbia University, who specializes in the history of Islamic society and institutions, highlights this point in The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization, “…minutely studying case after case, they have shown that justice was generally meted out impartially, irrespective of religion, official status, gender…not being subject to the sharia, Jews and Christians were free to go to their own religious authorities for adjudication of disputes; but in many cases they went instead to the Qadi [Islamic Judge].”[19]

Suitable Harsh Punishments

Finally the Islamic model prescribes suitably capital punishments (hudud). These punishments are often described as ‘barbaric’ however this perception is based upon the liberal outlook to crime and society. If the punishments are viewed in the context of the Islamic social model without superimposing Liberal values on the discussion, these perceptions will inevitably change as these punishments are only a deterrent and a last resort. Additionally, an individual will have to ‘escape’ the cohesive values and the mechanisms put in place to prevent the individual from committing a crime. One of the most powerful arguments for the deterrent effect of harsh punishments and the death penalty comes from the commonsensical notion that people are conscious of pain or death more than a relatively short and comfortable life in prison. Ernest van den Haag, the late professor at Fordham University and a noted proponent of capital punishment stated, “What is feared most deters most.”[20]

Professor van den Haag also argues that harsh punishments should be, on grounds of justice alone.[21] He states, “To me, the life of any innocent victim who might be spared has great value; the life of a convicted murderer does not.”[22] The Islamic model is unlike the situation in the US where capital punishment is still enforced in certain states yet commentators argue that US capital punishment has not reduced crime. This is because capital punishment in the US does not sit within a cohesive social model where it is viewed as a last resort, after the criminal escapes the cohesive values and the mechanisms put in place to prevent the crime in the first instance.

Islamic punishments are suitably harsh, but Muslims completely reject the accusation that these rules are barbaric as they serve as a deterrent to ward off the occurrence of crime in society. The Qur’an views oppressive trials and hardship as worse than killing[23], hence for some crimes, capital punishment is more than suitable. To contextualise this even further, Islamic law requires higher burden of proof for conviction, for example, there are eleven preconditions for the punishment for theft to be applied.[24] Professor of Law at Harvard University Noah Feldman states, “Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offences, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation.”[25]

Islamic law actually gives the defendant greater basic rights, but also recognises that society has rights too. For example, with regards to burden of proof, Islam requires much higher levels of proof compared to the liberal tradition of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. In this regards the Prophet Muhammad said, “…if a person has a way [e.g., alibi, excuses] let them go for it is better for a judge to make a mistake in dismissing charges than in applying the punishment on an innocent.”[26] In other words there must be no doubt at all rather than the liberal concept of beyond reasonable doubt, which is based upon common sense rather than certainty. The Islamic concept considers certainty as the criteria for passing criminal judgements.

Islamic law exists to protect both the individual and society defining when one outweighs the other which is a point that seems to have been lost or ignored in liberal societies today. The Islamic social model is a comprehensive model that is layered with cohesive values and justice. The Liberal social model is a crude model that doesn’t fully recognise society and is layered with non-cohesive values and a failing criminal justice system.

Some of the Fruits of the Islamic Social Model

Since Islamic political values are not implemented in any Muslim country today, historical references must be investigated to highlight some of the results of its social model. The reason for this is due to the fact that Islam’s political values and its models were implemented in history. It must be noted here that the Islamic social model cannot be established successfully without a fully functioning Islamic government, also known as the Khilafah (Caliphate). This is because Islamic Governance is a comprehensive system where all of its models and mechanisms are interdependent and interlink with one another. For example the Islamic economic model is interdependent with the Islamic social model as the requirements for a cohesive society is that all essential needs are met which include food, shelter and clothing. These needs cannot be satisfied without the Islamic Economic Model which fundamentally rests on the premise that individual needs are limited and defined. This is in contrast to the Liberal economic model which rests on the false premise that there are too many needs and not enough resources. This is a geopolitical myth which has facilitated the competitive nature of Liberal economics and its lack of distributing wealth and resources. Below are some of the Islamic cohesive values with historical references exhibiting the positive manifestations of these cohesive values.

Kindness & Liberty

The Qur’an expresses kindness and liberty of belief,

“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path.”[27]

“What will explain to you what the steep path is? It is to free a slave, to feed at a time of hunger, an orphaned relative or a poor person in distress, and to be one of those who believe and urge one another to steadfastness and compassion.”[28]

Heinrich Graetz, a 19th century Jewish historian expressed how Islamic rule in Spain favoured the Jews in the context of kindness and liberty of belief, “It was in these favourable circumstances that the Spanish Jews came under the rule of Mahometans, as whose allies they esteemed themselves the equals of their co-religionists in Babylonia and Persia. They were kindly treated, obtained religious liberty, of which they had so long been deprived, were permitted to exercise jurisdiction over their co-religionists, and were only obliged, like the conquered Christians, to pay poll tax…”[29]

Tolerance and Popular Rule

Reinhart Dozy, an authority on early Islamic Spain, states with regards to Islamic tolerance, “…the unbounded tolerance of the Arabs must also be taken into account. In religious matters they put pressure on no man…Christians preferred their rule to that of the Franks.”[30]

Ulick R. Burke, a prominent historian specializing in the history of Spain, reached a similar conclusion, “Christians did not suffer in any way, on account of their religion, at the hands of Moors…not only perfect toleration but nominal equality was the rule of the Arabs in Spain.”[31]

These historical realities were as a result of the cohesive values of Islam. The Qur’an states,

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”[32]

Justice

The Qur’an resonates with teachings of justice,

“O You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, God is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, God is aware of what you do.”[33]

“… God loves the just.”[34]

“O You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to faith. Heed God [alone]. God is aware of what you do.”[35]

In Islamic history, where the cohesive values of Islam such as justice were propagated, the conclusions made by some historians are unparalleled, an Italian Rabbi, Obadiah Yareh Da Bertinoro, travelled to Jerusalem in 1486 CE and he wrote a letter to his father telling him about the country and its people under the Islamic Social Model, “The Jews are not persecuted by the Arabs in these parts. I have travelled through the country in its length and breadth, and none of them has put an obstacle in my way. They are very kind to strangers, particularly to anyone who does not know the language; and if they see many Jews together they are not annoyed by it. In my opinion, an intelligent man versed in political science might easily raise himself to be chief of the Jews as well as of the Arabs…”[36]

The Jewish historian Amnon Cohen states that the Jewish minorities sought justice from the Islamic courts rather than their own, “The Jews went to the Muslim court for a variety of reasons, but the overwhelming fact was their ongoing and almost permanent presence there. This indicates that they went there not only in search of justice, but did so hoping, or rather knowing, that more often than not they would attain redress when wronged…”[37]

Distribution of Resources

The distribution of wealth and resources constitutes the macro-economy of the Islamic economic model; the Qur’an repeatedly mentions distribution of resources and charity.

“Do good to the indigent till their economic imbalance is no more.”[38]

“Feed the indigent, without wishing any return from them, not even a word of thanks.”[39]

The famous letter from a Rabbi found in Phillip Mansel’s book ‘Constantinople’, reflects the Qur’anic reality of distributing resources, “Here in the land of the Turks we have nothing to complain of. We possess great fortunes; much gold and silver are in our hands. We are not oppressed with heavy taxes and our commerce is free and unhindered. Rich are the fruits of the earth. Everything is cheap and every one of us lives in peace and freedom…”[40]

Justice, kindness, tolerance and the distribution of resources are just some of the cohesive values that are propagated in the Islamic Social Model. It can be concluded that under this model people lived under a cohesive society full of justice and kindness, the type of society that is needed today.

Conclusion

In the dire need to realise the implications of this discussion the reader is strongly advised to understand the importance of this analysis which must not be ignored or merely taken to be ideological rhetoric. This essay has attempted to question Liberalism’s social model, something which just doesn’t happen in political and popular culture discourse. Of course, this dangerous silence is due to the insistence that Liberalism should not be questioned as it is the best that we have, yet, ‘the best that we have’ has failed at every level, whether it is its non-cohesive political values or unsuitable punishments for crime. In contrast to this Islam’s social model has strong foundations and mechanisms in place to prevent crime and a strong justice system with suitable punishments. Islamic law and its punishments can only be viewed in context of the Islamic social model, and when understood in this way, terms such as ‘barbaric’ and ‘medieval’ can no longer be applied.

Notes:

Source: www.islam21c.com

[1] Hamza Andreas Tzortzis. Liberalism and its Effect on Society. 2009. http://www.islam21c.com/british-affairs/liberalism-and-its-effect-on-society.html
[2] ibid
[3] http://fpc.org.uk/fsblob/560.pdf
[4] Marilyn Friedman ‘Feminism and Modern Friendship: Dislocating the Community’ in Shlomo Avineri and Avner de-Shalit. Communitarianism and Individualism. Oxford University Press. 1992. p 101.
[5] ibid
[6] Peter E. Bryant and Andrew M. Colman (Eds). 1995. Longman Group Limited. 1995. p. 20.
[7] See R. Hinde, A. N. Perret-Clermont, J. Stevenson-Hinde (Eds).1985. Social Relationships and Cognitive Development. Oxford University Press.
[8] Communitarianism and Individualism, p 3.
[9] Vivien Burr. Social Constructionism. Routledge. 2003. p 33.
[10] Charles Taylor. Communitarianism and Individualism. Oxford University Press. p 31 – 38.
[11] http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/aug/17/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation
[12] Al Ma’idah 5:42
[13] Al Balad 90:11-20
[14] Al Ma’idah 5:8
[15] Clive Hollin. 1999. Crime and Crime Prevention, in D. Messer & F. Jones (eds) Psychology and Social Care. London: Jessica Kingsley.
[16] See Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi. The Laws of Islamic Governance. Ta-Ha. 1996. p 116-143.
[17] See Kumo Sulaiman. The Rule of Law and independence of Judiciary Uder the Shari’ah. CILS Publications, Zaria.
[18] See Abid Ullah Jan. The End of Democracy. Pragmatic Publishing. 2003. p 133 – 135
[19] Richard W. Bulliet. 2004. The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. New York: Columbia University Press.
[20] Stephen E. Schonebaum. “Introduction.” At Issue: Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime?. Ed. Stephen E. Schonebaum. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. August 2004. 21 February 2009.
[21] ibid
[22] ibid
[23]“Fitnah is worse than killing.” Al Baqarah 2:217
[24] ‘Abd ar-Rahman I. Doi revised and expanded by ‘Abdassamad Clarke. Shari’ah: Islamic Law. Ta-Ha. 2008. p 2388-390.
[25]ibid
[26]Reported by Al Tirmidhi in his Sunan.
[27]Al Baqarah 2:256.
[28]Al Balad 90:12-20
[29]H. Graetz. History of the Jews. London,1892, Vol 3, p. 112.
[30]Reinhart Dozy. A History of Muslims in Spain. 1861 (reprinted 1913, 2002), Delhi, p 235.
[31]Ulick R. Burke. A History of Spain, London. 1900, Vol I, P. 129.
[32] Al Hujaraat 49:13
[33]Al Nisaa 4:135
[34]Al Ma’idah 5:42
[35]Al Ma’idah 5:8
[36]Rabbi Obadiah Yareh Da Bertinoro, quoted in The Jewish Caravan edited by Leo W. Schwarz, The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1946, p. 249.
[37]A World Within: Jewish Life as Reflected in Muslim Court Documents from the Sijill of Jerusalem (XVIth Century). Part One, 1994, Pennsylvania, p. 17
[38]Al Baqarah 2:83
[39]Al Insaan 76:6-9
[40]Philip Mansel. 1995. Constantinople: City of the World’s desire, 1453-1924. Penguin Books, p. 15

About Hamza Andreas Tzortzis

Hamza Andreas Tzortzis is an international public speaker on Islam, a writer, lecturer, instructor and researcher. He is particularly interested in Islam, politics, western and Islamic thought and philosophy. Hamza delivers workshops, seminars and courses on the foundations of Islamic thought. He is an instructor for iERA and AlKauthar Institute. Hamza has also delivered a short course on the intellectual foundations of Islam for the Islamic Online University for their Diploma course. Hamza is one of the main initiators of the contemporary emergence of Muslim public debaters and speakers using western and Islamic philosophy to defend and explain Islam. Hamza heads the research team and Lectures for iERA.

33 comments

  1. Jealousy?
    Salam, it looks like those who are trying to give “constructive feedback” to Br. Hamza are just jealous of his works as they are trying to be mature and sophisticated, but sadly all of you – Muhsin and Umm Sulayman are very immature and really are jealous deep down of the fact Br. Hamza is very active and passionate about his research and studies. Muhsim and Umm Sulayman what have you done productive? You keep lecturing Br. Hamza as if you know it all. Give the brother a break! YOu want to give feedback that is perfectly fine, but there is a way of doing it and you should never write childish stuff like “are you an A’Level student”. It is such a sad state of affairs – May Allah swt help you both to accept and respect the works of others and help you both to learn the etiquette in debating. Wassalam

  2. Agree
    Salaam Brothers and Sisters, I really do want to continue this discussion as I am learning a lot and it is quite a challenge. However I just want to point out that nothing what I am saying is due to arrogance, if it has come out like that then I sincerely ask for your forgiveness and seek Allah’s forgiveness. My “greekness” is coming out, which includes a little passion, however I want to continue. I do sincerely believe everything I have written and it is not out of not being able to tolerate criticism, I receive criticism all the time. I believe you can’t improve if you can’t take criticism. But in this case I sincerely believe what I said to be true regarding your comments. Anyway, please forgive me. Brother Abu Hudhaifa’s advice is sound, and I want to apologise for any hurt, it wasn’t intended. Wasalaam and love, Hamza.

  3. Focus
    I think brother Hamza’s analysis was a fair one and after the feedback everyone has given him, perhaps he will take some things into consideration and improve upon his analysis here or there. Saying that, the (pedantic) tone of discussion here is quite dismaying. We should all remember that our intention is to always “make the Word of Allah the highest” in our advice to one another. We should aspire, in the little knowledge we have, to become people of ri’aaya and not mere riwaayah, and in this respect I think Hamza’s ‘model criticism paragraph’ is something we should consider in the light of the rifq we were all commanded with, rather than superciliously mock it. It is imperative that our approach is a cordial one, especially since everyone reiterates that their on the same side. The Prophet (saw) was mindful of human feelings in his advice to others and those who, in our present situation, try and labour to please Allah, should at least be afforded some appreciation, kindness and basic Islamic etiquette.

  4. Br. Hamza, are you an A-Level student? Intellectual whipping? What kind of talk is this? What are you talking about, in fact? I think you have been subject to ‘intellectual whipping’, quite frankly. And given that you are a Muslim attempting to write, one wants to be supportive – but your on-line arrogance and charisma are very high and low respectively. Amusingly, You seem to be under some delusions of intellectual superiority – but i certainly don’t share your high opinion of yourself.

    Is it only everyone on this board that NEEDS to go and do their ‘readings'; and isn’t it amazing how many people keep ‘missing’ your points? If your profound points are missed so often perhaps it’s because your writing style is so poor, even your commentary above is laborious to follow. How many more times will you falsely accuse people of not reading your work. This debate seems to be shutting down; you’re article will not influence people hamza. The substance of your argument HAS been discredited, and quite well at that. Your belligerence in this respect means you should withdraw and not make any changes to your article. Good luck to you in your attempts to convince others. with best regards, wassalam

  5. Brother Hamza, all comments have been fair. Your inability to take on board CONSTRUCTIVE critisicm is painfully apparent and may be construed by some as arrogance. Only YOU have yourself to blame for getting yourself into this quagmire. If you don’t agree or choose not to take on board the criticisms then that is your perogative, but stop accusing all those who oppose you of being liberalist defenders. Deal with it and humbly retreat!

  6. A suggestion
    I would love you guys to comment like this on neo-con/fundamentalist liberal/right wing articles on non-Muslim sites, it may make them think twice before writing their rubbish again! Just a thought….. :o)

    I just pray you have the same zeal to defend Islam too. May Allah make it easy for you.

    We are all muslim (I assume). So there is a way of giving feedback. We all want to improve and get better at what we do. However there is a way of doing that. Frankly, providing one liners that lack guidance and substance is not the way to do it and it indicates something else to me. We muslims dont say things for the sake of it. Saying something is wrong is one thing, but saying that it is wrong and WHY it is, with examples is more helpful and constructive. However, thank you for all your comments, I have indeed found this refreshing and challenging. For that may Allah reward you abundantly.

  7. Matter is now dealt with part 3
    Social Research: The Link Between Ideas and Society’s Behaviour

    So how do societies change due to propagate ideas and values? Why do people in that society conform? Conformity represents a form of social influence in which sources of influence – such as the political and social structures in a society – steer society’s members into a particular way of thinking or behaving (M. Deutsch and H. B. Gerard. 1955. A Study of Normative and Informational Social Influence upon Individual Judgement. Journal of Abnormal & Social Psychology, 55, 629-636). Society’s thoughts and behaviours, resulting from propagated ideas and values, reflect different kinds of social influence and different kinds of conformity (Richard Gross. The Science of Mind and Behaviour. Hodder & Stoughton. 2001. p 380 – 386). Social influence can be active or deliberate, as in persuasive communication and obedience, or passive and non-deliberate, as in social facilitation and conformity. A common feature of all social influence is the concept of the social norm. Social norms are rules that a group or society develops for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours (http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/social_norms.htm). Social norms are generally adhered to and two major motives for conformity involve the need to be right, known as ‘informational social influence’ and the need to be accepted by others, known as ‘normative social influence’. (See J. C. Turner. Social Influence. Milton Keyenes: Open University Press. 1991.)

    Informational Social Influence

    Informational social influence (ISI) is a type of conformity based upon the individuals need for certainty. When an individual is in a situation where they are uncertain on how to behave or they are exposed to an ambiguous setting, the individual will conform if other peoples interpretation on how to behave or react is perceived as more certain or less subjective. This perception can be influenced by group size and the type of people the individual is referring to such as an influential figure. This will then lead the individual to comply in public and well as in private because they will genuinely believe that other people’s interpretation is more certain. (The Science of Mind and Behaviour. Hodder & Stoughton. 2001. p 385.)

    Normative Social Influence

    Normative Social Influence (NSI) is a type of conformity that leads to an individual’s compliance in order to be liked and accepted by others and society. This compliance seems to occur more strongly if society has the ability to reward or punish individuals that do not adhere to its social norms. This can take many forms including belittlement and praise. An individual will publicly comply but it does not necessarily mean that they will in private. (Ibid. p 386.)

    Since there is an established link between propagated values via a society’s influential structures and its behaviour, then social malaise and social breakdown apparent in contemporary societies is due to these predominant values.

    Liberal societies such as the United Kingdom and the United States are experiencing unparalleled and unprecedented social decay. Since these nations are liberal nations, and they propagate liberal political values in their societies, then liberal values have caused the social disasters that they face today.

    Finally Umm Sulayman is just repeating herself and she has obviously not bothered to read my essay of comments properly. I ask her this: you made a point that was already addressed in the article – doesn’t this mean you did not read the article? I think it does. Again, the rest of your points are just statements. If you wish to make statements please you are free do so, but I believe that is incongruous with the idea of making your brother improve his work and concepts. You are better off saying nothing at all if you just want to make statements that explain nothing!

    Take care guys. Wasalaam.

  8. Matter is now dealt with part 2
    You missed the point (again) I even stated in the previous article that non-cohesive values are generally the ones that are propagated and they are in competition with other more cohesive values. Let me remind you of what non-Muslim academics/reports have to say:
    Professor Daniel Bell, lecturer in Political Science at the University of Singapore, states,
    “Liberalism, it is claimed, contributes to, or at least does not sufficiently take account of, the negative social and psychological effects related to the atomistic tendencies of modern liberal societies. There is undoubtedly a worrying trend in contemporary societies towards a callous individualism that ignores community and social obligations, and liberal theory does not seem up to the task of dealing with this problem.”

    In February 2009 the Children’s Society launched ‘A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age’ report and it presented evidence that supports the thesis of this essay, stating that “Britain and the U.S. have more broken families than other countries, and our families are less cohesive in the way they live and eat together. British children are rougher with each other, and live more riskily in terms of alcohol, drugs and teenage pregnancy. And they are less inclined to stay in education. This comes against a background of much greater income inequality: many more children live in relative poverty in Britain and the U.S.” The report also supports this article’s conclusions that social breakdown and decay is due to the premise of liberalism – individualism.

    My question to you is that if a report based upon years of research with academics and professionals in the field concerning this topic have come up with that conclusion, then you – as a muslim – should be intellectually ‘whipped’ for trying your utmost to defend liberalism :o)

    You then say: “by your own admission, liberal societies do not lack cohesive values”

    I always claimed that the propagated values are non-cohesive, and if there are any cohesive values they are not part of its ideological make up. Its just human beings being good. But Liberalism has a problem, if you read more into it (which I suggest you do because you surely do know the difference between individualism and philosophical assumptions!) it claims “Neutrality” which means Liberalism will never discuss or propagate “the good” life as some philosophers call it, it is this very neutrality that means that cohesive values will never be propagated by liberalism, and they are – within liberal societies – it because of non-liberal factors. Please read up on this. So to answer your point, liberalism is neutral – it claims to be and has to be – so I am right in saying that liberalism does not propagate cohesive values as it would go against its own fundamental concept of being neutral i.e. not promulgating what should be the “good life”.

    Point 5 that you make, I agree with. Again you fail to read my article. I state that liberalism is hard to pin down and it is a disputatious family of doctrines, hence what I did was describe what political values are shared by all types of liberal thought. So in light of this, your point 5 is a waste of time :o)

    Also, you ask about how people are effected by values. Well, this is intuitive also, but here is the evidence:

  9. Matter is now dealt with part 1
    Ibn Whatever, you state: “Yet, in your first article you quote the Dictionary of Politics and speak about Liberalism’s core POLITICAL values – am I missing something?”

    I feel this statement only proves to the readers that you do not understand anything I have written and anything that you have read concerning liberalism. You fall into a logical fallacy. You think two statements are have the same meaning because they share the same word. The term “political liberalism” is different from the term “political values”, just because they share the same word (i.e. “politica”) it doesn’t mean they are the same. For example the terms “homosexual behaviour” is not the same as “homosexual rights”.

    Also your point ‘B’ is a misquote. Which just shows that your are grasping at intellectual straws here. Let me put into context for to. I said: “Similarly, Charles Taylor argues the incoherence of individualism. He contends that human beings have capacities and the affirmation of human capacities defined as the presence of characteristics and traits of individuals that ensure the possession of rights and has normative consequences in that it cultivates these capacities in a society. Liberalism’s core political value of the primacy of rights affirms the capacities that were nurtured in a society and therefore the obligation to belong to a society should be as fundamental as the assertion of rights. However by asserting the primacy of rights, one cannot always claim an equally fundamental obligation because at times the assertion of an individual right is achieved at the expense of the society. To assert the rights to the point of destroying a society deprives the environment for nurturing the required human capacities as well as prevents future individuals in exercising the same capacity, and therefore, rights cannot be ensured if individual rights are taken as a priority (primacy) at the expense of society.”
    I believe my statement speaks for itself as you have obviously pulled a small statement outside of its linguistic environment. The point above is that liberalism just focuses so much on individual rights that it destroys society.
    You said: “As far as your ‘fully recognise’ bit goes, well that’s just you wanting your cake and eating it too. What does the “fully” here imply? When is it dealt with?”
    Well if you read this statement in context of what is being said in the article you will realise that liberalisms premise divorces itself for society. From the beginning society has no say. This is a philosophical, conceptual and agreed upon reality. I suggest you do a little reading, my references should help you.
    Also when you talk about individualism you claim it is only a Communitarian argument. Well, simply put, its not. Again read around. You fall into another fallacy when you say that individualism is “takes the individual as the base unit in political thought conceiving individuals as individual thinking beings”. This is not the definition of individualism. I provided a definition, what you have provided is an assumption in political philosophy – all political thoughts address the individual thinker, but I assure you they have moved on from that. Your definitions are wrong and you confuse individualism with philosophical core assumptions.
    You further state: “You fail to tell us what makes certain values cohesive and others not so..” This I agree with you. But I think its unnecessary to elaborate further as I have provided a definition for cohesive values, and by doing so I have allowed the reader to use their individual (lol!) reasoning to apply that definition to what I am saying. I believe individual freedoms and rights are non-cohesive, this is intuitive. Because its just about individuals! It would be counter productive to go into too much detail especially when it is intuitive. Nice try though.

    You make an interesting point: “I am flabbergasted by the implication that these values are absent or even less important to liberal societies and don’t even know where to begin. Let me give you one example: a recent advert from the Transport for London is all about ‘not letting your friendship die on the road: look out for your mates’ – is this not trying to encourage compassion? If it is, then which value system is producing this advert? …. How then can you claim accountability is more Islamic than liberal?”

  10. pedantic
    I cannot believe that the author of an article is giving us a template on how to critique him. This simply deepens the absurdity of what’s occurring above in the author suggesting that none of the points in his piece had been addressed by the commentators. Well, that’s utter rubbish isn’t it? Not only were statements made alluding to the weakness of the article but points were made backing up such statements. If Hamza wants to be quoted on every point then the comment would be almost as long as the article – and such practice is not followed even in book reviews.

    That aside, however, Ibn Whatever’s coments are tremendously poignant. Quite frankly they are the death blow to Hamza’s 2 articles. If you wish to see your article’s points addressed, Hamza, then look to his comments. The criticism from the people above was very valid and contructive, despite what you may believe, and you did not take it well – at all.

    Show it to a political theorist and you may find the comments here ‘kind’. wassalam

  11. K.O.
    Sorry about the long comment, it seems Ibn whatever dealt with the matter very well indeed!!

  12. criticism cont again
    As for the points you raised (in accordance to your numbering):

    1. Again, even though I made clear, you have taken my words out of context. As the paragraph shows, I was comprehensively questioning the motives of the article and so covered both possible answers you could have given – I never said that you hadn’t stated it in the article. Please learn to follow your own advice and read things properly.
    2. As stated before, learn to take different types of criticism, there is no rule that we must ONLY comment on you premises (we wouldn’t as they are Islamic). The problem is not your premise, it is your approach to the subject and lack of depth in addressing key points (some of which I indicated above).
    3. I respect YOU believe your article is timely, yet the points you provide actually highlight the fact that this article was not needed. Instead you could have written about colonialist ambitions under the guise of liberalism and freedom, Qur’anic views of the self and society, or wala wal bara in a western context – just as YOU stated. Point d and f actually contradict each other – why exactly did you write this article? Are you refuting the implementation of liberalism in the west (point d), or the need for sharia in the east (point f)?
    4. I also believe A. Moderate to be a political naive and shallow.
    5. Again, these are not ‘ego driven one line statements’ and I have no reason to be egotistical, neither am I being attacked nor am I known. To claim such a thing shows your complex.

    As YOU said, ‘Just saying it is doesn’t make it so’, and thus you should keep that in mind when writing your article. Frankly I am extremely surprised that I’m having to simplify comments for you, maybe you should take a course in English which will help you to understand different forms of criticisms.

  13. criticism cont
    Now to make general criticism clear for you, here they are in a numbered list:

    1. Ideologically your article is extremely basic. All you have managed to establish is that sharia is good and liberalism is bad, but in order to make some sort of significant contribution to the topic you need to go beyond such a basic understanding and actually explain the inner workings comparatively.
    2. You need to dispel the myths and claims surrounding sharia (as well as Liberalism) instead of simply arguing that a harsh punishment system with lead to a cohesive society without explaining coherently how.
    3. Furthermore, you take for granted that sharia is a system based on supreme justice without explaining to the reader sufficiently exactly how sharia is more just than liberalism. It is these points that lead to your article being considered weak for if a non-Muslim were to read it they would be merely told that liberalism is bad and sharia good.
    4. Your arguments are furnished with the intricacies needed in such a topic, with proof that serves without a doubt that sharia must be adopted. In essence, you do what liberalists do in relation to sharia, they claim that liberalism is more just than sharia because people live in a state of freedom in the west whereas the Taliban will behead you for a very minor reason. They simplify their arguments to the extent it seems black and white yet reality is not that clear.
    5. You have been unjust to liberalism by implying it is totally corrupt and devoid of any goodness (crude?). For your argument to be considered you must provide a fair argument which analyses the workings of liberalism, both the good and the bad.
    6. You have not dealt with the topic academically, but instead under the guise of academia. As I said before, a few unrelated quotes do not make an article academic; they just show you managed to read a book. It is for the above reasons that your article is “weak” and “does not cut it” for if a non-Muslim were to read it would sound like the ranting of a Muslim, not a well structured academic argument with some substance (substance being well founded arguments that leave little room for other questions to pop up or for you to be refuted).

  14. criticism
    Brother Hamza, your comments seem to suggest that you’re not accustomed to being criticised so I will try to make this as simple as possible.

    Firstly, I’ll like to address certain claims you keep making so that you stop making yourself look like a weak intellectual (as all we want is your success).

    1. Stop claiming that we have a kufr outlook (with the exception of A.moderate!), we see there is a weakness in your approach and so we are commenting on it-not defending liberalism. When you keep making this claim it looks as if you have nothing constructive to say and instead you’re lashing out.
    2. Similarly, stop claiming that people are insincere when they criticise you, if you don’t like it don’t post articles on a public forum. Ego has nothing to do with commentators as we are unknown and have nothing to lose. If anything, you’re the only one who could be egotistical as your article is being attacked and you have put yourself out there.
    3. Different people are commentating so it’s extremely obtuse to treat them as one homogenous group – deal with people individually – for ex, I don’t believe anyone agrees with A.moderate.
    4. I notice how you have provided a model statement of criticism which is absolutely ridiculous. That may be how YOU want people to address your article but why should they? As a writer you should be able to accept different forms of criticism yet you explicitly demonstrate you inability to do so. YOU want us to comment on the basis of your article, but most are seeing a problem with method, approach, and timing-these are the things you need to address (before you once again jump on my words I know you addressed timing).

  15. cont…
    3)It seems somewhat arbitrary to claim liberalism’s values are individual freedom and individual rights (which you claim induce a lack of cohesion) and that Islam’s values (which you feel are cohesive) include ‘justice, compassion, empathy, distribution of resources, tolerance, and accountability’. I am flabbergasted by the implication that these values are absent or even less important to liberal societies and don’t even know where to begin. Let me give you one example: a recent advert from the Transport for London is all about ‘not letting your friendship die on the road: look out for your mates’ – is this not trying to encourage compassion? If it is, then which value system is producing this advert? Isn’t accountability, moreover, a fundamental aspect of liberal societies. Haven’t family courts just been made open to journalists in order to relay the decisions of judges to public scrutiny in order to check the hitherto singular power of the judge over matters as delicate as children being separated from parents. How then can you claim accountability is more Islamic than liberal?

    4)You say of course that Islam doesn’t create a competition between cohesive and non-cohesive values as is the case in liberal societies. So then, by your own admission, liberal societies do not lack cohesive values. But are these generated from within the core philosophy of liberalism or from elsewhere? And why does it take you five pages before you concede – even if in passing – that cohesive values do exist IN liberal societies.

    5)Okay, now for some big points: Liberlaism is what exactly? — A political schools of thought? A more philosophical perspective on life? Either way, do Britain and the United State for instance share the same political school of thought or perspective on life? Was the Labour government that gave us the NHS and slowly took the decision to dismantle the Empire a government following liberalism? Was Margaret Thatcher’s government who crushed the labour unions and de-nationalised industries a government following liberalism? If the two are distinct manifestations of liberalism – what do they share and what accounts for their differences?
    6)You do not have a methodology for how to go from “these are the values of a society” and “these affect human beings”; you simply state that values ARE in a society and that these DO affect individuals. But HOW are they present in society and HOW do they influence individuals is unclear. Where does one look to identify that such and such a society has such and such values? And how can one say that individuals’ actions are brought about by values? If a father abuses his children – is this motivated by his values? And how do you ascertain that his specific action is down to his values? And which values? Why has he at that point prioritised one value over another value (if we accept that is, that his value/s are motivating his action in the first place).

    It is ironic that you claim in the conclusion to you second essay that your work should not be taken to be “ideological rhetoric”, yet your black and white presentation of these two complex systems of thought, plus your selective choosing of what period of Islamic history to extol, plus its conceptual problems (which you gloss over in the text) your work appears as little other than ideological rhetoric.

    Although Umm Sulayman misunderstood my suggestion for editing, what I meant was that if you had your work filtered through editors who could identify the places where the argument is thin then the end product may not rouse such strong resistance (not to the idea, since we all agree that Islam is a better system for human beings) but to the lack of eruditeness.

  16. Just saying it doesn’t make it so!
    I read the Charvet and Kaczynska-Nay reference that you provided, and I have read both your articles – just in case you think otherwise.

    1) Charvet and K-Nay, you say, are talking about political liberalism while you, you claim, are talking about the fundamental core philosophy/values of liberalism. Yet, in your first article you quote the Dictionary of Politics and speak about Liberalism’s core POLITICAL values – am I missing something?

    a)If the core of Liberalism (political or not) is individualism

    AND

    b)(you say) individualism sets up a tension between the individual and society [quote: ‘at times the assertion of an individual right is achieved at the expense of society’]

    c)then isn’t it a case that if it can be shown that society IS being taken into account by Liberalism (ITS POLITICAL SYSTEM) that your claim that rights of individuals are in tension with the rights of society is INACCURATE.

    As far as your ‘fully recognise’ bit goes, well that’s just you wanting your cake and eating it too. What does the “fully” here imply? When is it dealt with? When in your ‘journalistic’ article do you provide any understanding of when Liberalism DOES recognise society? That is just poor writing and known as leaving yourself an exit clause.

    Let me also go on record as saying that I agree with Umm Sulayman and Muhsin in their assertion that we are not knocking the shariah, but drawing your attention to the fact that the articles you’ve written do not present a nuanced picture of the situation – it simply presents a black and white account of Shariah good, liberalism bad – which, if you are not a Muslim and do not already believe in the supremacy of the shariah, will do little to prove or convince anyone of the case you wish to make, since you’re presentation leaves too many exceptions (eg. Times in our history when despite the shriah things have gone a little wrong, and a stubbornness to acknowledge any good within liberalism.)

    But since you have been complaining about commentators not dealing with your essay – let me try to point out what I feel are conceptual flaws.

    1)Individualism, you say in your first essay, considers human beings as social atoms abstracted from their social context. I understand that this argument is made by many Communitarians, but I think they are a little unfair since individualism takes the individual as the base unit in political thought conceiving individuals as individual thinking beings. It affords each individual the right and freedom to associate as they will in whatever kind of group they wish to form. This is the notion of free association. I can see that this does not take group affiliations as a priori categories, but I think it doesn’t in and of itself suggest individuals do not take decisions from group perspectives, it merely says, even when group identifications influence individuals they are individuals capable of making their OWN choices. Your essay in no way present the situation in a more grainier sense capturing, even if only in a footnote, exceptions and subtleties such as these.

    2)You fail to tell us what makes certain values cohesive and others not so. You do say that non-cohesive means that these values (your examples include: individual freedom and the primacy of individual rights based on the premise of individualism [that is, people are abstracted from their social context]) do not facilitate social cohesion and do not construct positive behaviours. Yet why should that be? To explain you look to social breakdown in Western societies, yet this is merely a correlation and therefore circumstantial (compelling, I’m sure to you) but not definitive as the social breakdown in society can be to several different reasons – economics being one. You may say the economy is underpinned by liberalism but Britain after all is a welfare state and isn’t that fact in and of itself saying something against your sense of Liberalism. If liberalism is about abstracted individuals and a lack of emphasis on society isn’t a Welfare state about society and about providing a safety net for everyone and especially disenfranchised groups (unemployed, homeless, low income families [working class]). Is not the Welfare state about distributing wealth and would that not be a cohesive factor for society. If so, is Britain liberal according to your presentation of liberalism or not liberal?

  17. Constructive criticism part 2
    cont…

    Liberalism has not always sought to export itself from the west via peaceful, and some may argue, covert means . The various contemporary military expeditions, including Iraq and Afghanistan, have attempted to impose Liberalism using force, as well as achieving the goals of strategic dominance and the acquisition of much needed resources.

    b. Many Muslims describe themselves as “liberal Muslims” and claim to adhere to Islamic orthodoxy! Without even knowing that the Qur’anic view of the self and society is antithetical to the liberal narrative – or the premise of liberalism to say the least!

    c. It is a ‘al wara wal bara’ issue. We need to know what is Islam and what is not, and align our dispositions with the Islamic narrative. Not knowing what liberalism is and its negative effects on society is incongruous will this Islamic concept.

    d. There is a liberal inquisition going on at the moment. Contest 2, pro-homosexuality, liberal interventionism, secularising Islam, propagating a more liberal version of Islam, shutting doors for orthodox Muslims etc the list can go on

    e. Muslims and non Muslims simply do not know how the Islamic social model works, what values we hold, how we propagate them, what is our justice system, how do the harsh punishments fit in etc this article I believe explains all of this in a simple yet informative way.

    f. Liberalism has failed society in a huge way, there is a vacuum, so I believe Islam can fill it (in the Muslim world that is, as the perquisites do not exist for shariah implementation in the western world)

    4. The comment by ‘A. Moderate’ states “anyone can create an idea that sounds utopian but the mere fact that sharia doesnt exist should be proof enough the its neither relevant nor practicle in the 21st century.”

    I believe this to be a political naive and shallow statement for the following reasons:

    a. The Islamic model was not out dated, it was removed
    b. Islam has the ability to deal with modern problems as it addresses humanity as human beings – with instincts and needs – these needs have not changed, so the Islamic solutions still apply
    c. Islam is not implemented today because of imperialistic tendencies of certain western nations, they simply do not want the Islamic model to be practiced. This is why the Muslim world is full of despots that mostly agree or support the liberal foreign policies.
    d. According to various non Muslim polls (e.g. Uni. of Maryland, Gallup etc) over 70% of the Muslim world wants shariah back.

    5. I am still waiting to be shown how this article is “weak” or not “comprehensive” we need to go beyond the ego driven one line statements, I love feedback and would love yours! But it simply is not feedback, its just a emotive meaningless critique. I am waiting for examples on how it is weak and not comprehensive. Just saying it is doesn’t make it so.

    To conclude, I believe the article to be simple yet detailed enough to evoke questions and transcend the current political rhetoric and hype. I believe it is well referenced for every major point made which provides interesting further reading. On a side note, it will be useful to get feedback on the the response to atomism or individualism as I believe the arguments by the political philosophers challenging liberalism’s premise to be quite compelling.

    I will take your comments on board if you provide some substance. As I am in need of some constructive feedback, because there are too many people providing the same old one liners. Let us transcend that approach, inshAllah (God-willing).

    But whatever the case may be, lets continue the debate!

  18. Constructive criticism part 1
    Attention to detail is very important when someone wants to respond effectively to comments and or arguments delivered in an article.

    1. I am afraid some of the comments made reinforce my previous discussion that many of you did not read the article properly or are simply superimposing alien values or “ideological” baggage on my main points. The direct evidence of this is when many of you have made comments and questions when the comments and questions have already been answered in the article. For example:

    Umm Sulayman says “…Americans also have capital punishments but many innocent people are killed and crime rates are no better.”

    But Umm has failed to read what I said, when this point is already mentioned and answered in the article, it states:

    “The Islamic model is unlike the situation in the US where capital punishment is still enforced in certain states yet commentators argue that US capital punishment has not reduced crime. This is because capital punishment in the US does not sit within a cohesive social model where it is viewed as a last resort, after the criminal escapes the cohesive values and the mechanisms put in place to prevent the crime in the first instance.”

    There are many points like this.

    What does this say about those making the comments? For me, it indicates the inability to effectively argue and or make sincere comments. I pose the question: if someone hasn’t bothered to read the arguments in the essay or really think about what it being said, can that person really provide constructive feedback? My answer: no they can’t. It is like asking a Chinese speaker critical review Shakespeare’s works even though he can’t speak English!

    2. I appreciate that may of you may have sincere points to make. However, in all honesty, its hard to accept that from an outsider’s perspective. For example, the majority of the points are just statements – I have said this many times – a statement is not an argument or critique: statements are just words to describe your gut feeling or emotional response to the points made in the essay. They, in no shape or form, provide feedback or critical review. Let me give you some advice on what constructive criticism is:

    “Dear Hamza, thank you for your article. It was an interesting piece. I have some serious concerns with regards to you approach and argument. For example, you mention the Islamic punishments are suitably harsh, however you have not provided enough evidence for this. You have explained the Islamic model, which includes propagated cohesive values, mechanisms in place to prevent crime etc but you did not explain why they are suitable harsh. The only way I can see that you have is that you have contrasted them with the current failure of liberal justice system and its punishments. But the essence of how harsh punishments work has not been explained, and you only described them as deterrents that sit with a cohesive model. What I would like you to see is a bit more detail, maybe reference criminologists and current research, on the effectiveness of harsh punishments…..”

    You see, this is not just a statement of “does not cut it” or “weak”. It actually shows sincerity and it provides an interesting critique, in addition to show that the one commenting is mature and has actually read the piece.

    3. This article I believe is timely. The current political climate has provided the oxygen to the fuel the fire for the main arguments in the article. Why do I say this? It is for following reasons:

    a. Liberalism is an ideology that seeks to impose itself on the muslim wolrd and it does this via many methods. This is not an aberration it is a key part of any ideology. . Liberalism is a global force that seeks to transform societies in accordance with its values and practices. Under the banner of the ‘Liberal Project’ the United Nations regime on human rights is an attempt to enforce liberal values on non-liberal nations . Emeritus Professor John Charvet in his book ‘The Liberal Project and Human Rights’ comments that, “…liberal states must recognise that the liberal project for world order is unavoidably a long-term one, which they need to pursue with patience and persistence and not to be seduced by tempting short-cuts…”
    To be cont…

  19. anyone can create an idea that sounds utopian but the mere fact that sharia doesnt exist should be proof enough the its neither relevant nor practicle in the 21st century.

  20. Tom Edgar. tomedgar@halenet.com.au

    Mr
    Does that “Fairness” extend to “Apostates” AND “Atheists.”?

  21. re-reading comments cont…
    As for your refutation of my comments, I advise that you not only read what I wrote, but also in the context they were written.

    Point 1. My statement about the US was not an attempt to belittle the hudood in shari’ah (as that would be kufr) but to show how Liberalism cannot suddenly be harsh as it would make things worse. So if you say that Liberalism is weak due to inappropriate punishments, are you stating we should now apply the Hudud amidst a Liberal framework? I don’t believe you are, but you have not made yourself clear. The paragraph I wrote was in case you argue the above point.

    Same goes for point 2, and to tell the truth I can’t understand as to why you took my sentence out of context. Again, I wrote it in case you argued the above point as the sentence before the one you quoted shows: ‘If Liberalists were to impose harsh sentences would that make things better?’

    Point 3. Despite what you may claim, you link cohesive values with a strong justice system that has harsh punishments (Hudud) as well as link your social model with crime rates, and a mere look at the diagram and numbered points you provide confirms this. This is one of the conceptual problems of this essay as it lacks comprehensiveness when dealing with the vehicles by which sharia rectifies society. Although the Hudud plays a role in society as well as crime acting as a de-stabiliser, it is not the main vehicle and many other aspects of sharia play just as an important role. In giving you the benefit of the doubt we may say that within this essay for the sake of brevity you didn’t want to deal with all of the vehicles of rectification, but even then, by choosing Hudud and crime you belittle the sharia (to ignorant people) to mere capital punishment – something that serves only to reinforce ignorantly held views. As for your quotes, they are not relevant as they do not discuss the relationship between cohesiveness and Hudud, and moreover, mere historical quotes and quotes from political philosophers do not suddenly make your article a strong piece, that has to come from intellectual discussion. As for the Jews in Spain, it is undoubtedly true that best period they ever lived through outside of Palestine was in Muslim Spain to the point that Jews still feel some connection through their naming themselves Sephardic.

    However, there was also a period in Islamic Spain when Jews didn’t fare so well, namely under the Al-Murabitun and al-Muwahhidun. How come you have discussed the model in this context? This is the injustice that ibn whatever was talking about, if you want to criticise Liberalism then fine, but be just and accept what is good.

    You should stop being so defensive and realise we are not attacking you, but only criticising your article and your timing. We are questioning the argument’s suitability and timing and simply saying that if you insist on going down this road, you need to do it better and in a more innovative way than merely reproducing black vs white examples/models as was done previously by others. Yes, they may not have had the quotes but they certainly dealt with the matter in the simplistic way that you have.

    I understand that this is meant to be journalistic, but frankly an article on this subject can’t be. We have read your article so please stop making basic assumptions – maybe you need to understand our point. Please note, we don’t NEED to criticise the premises of the argument (as you keep claiming) as we accept it, we’re simply stating it’s too basic to be a decent argument (although it may work well as a plan for a new and improved version! (although the fact that it is needed at all is being questioned)

    Also, I assume we are all Muslims so you also need to stop making lame claims that we’re ‘defending something antithetical to Islamic teachings and philosophy.’ Deal with the matter which is your article and stop deflecting criticism with silly comments.

    Forgive me for what sounds rude and with Allah lies success.

  22. a re-reading of comments
    With all respect br Hamza you need to stop taking this personally and understand exactly what we’re talking about:

    1. No one disagrees with what you are saying nor are they ‘defending’ liberalism so just as you keep talking of etiquette it is inappropriate to charge them as incline to Liberalism. As Muhsin clearly stated, ‘I speak for myself in saying that I am loyal to Allah’s socio-political and ethico-legal model, but I am not convinced of the malaise of liberalism by this article and its prequel’. Furthermore, no one has relegated sharia and all accept its supremacy, we just think your article didn’t do it justice.

    2. Your article, although correct, is extremely basic failing to deal with the topic in a comprehensive manner. As Muhsin said, ‘I have stated previously that Allah’s shariah is perfect but we can definitely do a better job than that embodied in the simplicity of those diagrams and such a crude contrast between Shari’ah and liberalism’. I understand that the crude contrast is your attempt to belittle the workings of the Liberalistic model, but in reality you portray yourself as having a very simplistic approach – you don’t need to write an article to point out the obvious, you write an article to explore a subject in depth and discuss concepts in a water-tight way.

    3. Your approach is incorrect as it fails to capture the wonderful workings of sharia and simplifies the matter to a good vs bad scenario. Those who believe in the supremacy of sharia would not have gained anything, and those that don’t would be left asking more questions such as, if sharia is so great why didn’t it last? Why is it that no government wants it (if it is good for the country)? Why have nearly all governments opted for a western model instead of an Islamic one? Yes, these questions are easy to answer but the lack of insight you article produces allows such basic questions to be asked.

    4. The main point that commentators were making was in regards to the strategic importance of such da’wah (the refutation of Liberalism). Should this be a major call at the moment? What are you trying to do? Are you calling for the implementation of sharia in the UK (or call for it) as such a call would be extremely foolish (for a number of Islamic reasons). Your da’wah against Liberalism is extremely mistimed and as a da’ee you must think strategically instead of one directional. Yes, you are giving da’wah, but there are many forms of da’wah which take precedence at the moment, especially in a political setting (such as refuting neo-conservatism as stated before).

  23. Another point
    I advise you all to do a little reading. Your comments also indicate to me that you have a popular culture understanding of liberalism, this is one of the reasons I wanted to right about this, to clarify these perceptions. Please refer to reference number 1 to understand a little bit more about liberalism and its premise, which should clear the fog. Once you read that, then I believe it would put things into perspective. Definitions are important, that is why you should read the first article. It provides a referenced perspective on liberalism and its premise based on western academic sources. If you disagree with it, you should say why and not just merely state that it is “bad” or “good” because these are just statements. A good critique provides substance and another angle, simple stating this or that is just a waste of time. As the Prophet Muhammad (sas) said “The son of Adam should say something good or keep quiet”, good advice, as it should instill a sense of patience and reflection, rather than putting our neck out to defend something antithetical to Islamic teachings and philosophy.

  24. Missed the point
    Salaam Brothers/Sisters

    I have to admit that our tone in our comments is lacking Islamic values

    Anyway, first point, I love this discussion, however I thought that the brothers could give me lengthy emails rather than compromising on detail due to the limited space on the comments section, I am not hiding, I regularly debate non-Muslim intellectuals in the public square and I have no issue with that

    Let me get to the main points, you see the comments – I believe are lacking in substance and are just rhetoric – because they have failed to read the points I was making, examples:

    1. Umm Sulayman says “…Americans also have capital punishments but many innocent people are killed and crime rates are no better.”

    But she has failed to read the article when it says “The Islamic model is unlike the situation in the US where capital punishment is still enforced in certain states yet commentators argue that US capital punishment has not reduced crime. This is because capital punishment in the US does not sit within a cohesive social model where it is viewed as a last resort, after the criminal escapes the cohesive values and the mechanisms put in place to prevent the crime in the first instance.”

    2. Umm Sulayman says “…remember, in accordance with Islamic legal philosophy it is better to let a guilty man get away with his life or limb than to execute or amputate an innocent, and a harsh form of liberalism would only increase injustice in society.”

    Again not reading the article where I state: “To contextualise this even further, Islamic law requires higher burden of proof for conviction, for example, there are eleven preconditions for the punishment for theft to be applied.[24] Professor of Law at Harvard University Noah Feldman states, “Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offences, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation.”[25]

    Islamic law actually gives the defendant greater basic rights, but also recognises that society has rights too. For example, with regards to burden of proof, Islam requires much higher levels of proof compared to the liberal tradition of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. In this regards the Prophet Muhammad said, “…if a person has a way [e.g., alibi, excuses] let them go for it is better for a judge to make a mistake in dismissing charges than in applying the punishment on an innocent.”[26] In other words there must be no doubt at all rather than the liberal concept of beyond reasonable doubt, which is based upon common sense rather than certainty. The Islamic concept considers certainty as the criteria for passing criminal judgements.”

    3. Umm Sulayman says: “His simple association of punishments with shari’ah reinforces the ignorance that shari’ah has nothing else to offer – will shari’ah’s legal punishments suddenly solve the quagmire that western society is fast becoming?”

    Again I reiterate, has any of you read the article? When I mention that part of the Islamic model are cohesive values, mechanisms in society to prevent crime, justice system etc. I backed this up with historical references to show that the Islamic model provide justice, tolerance, compassion, distribution of resources, and I used mostly jewish historians and references to highlight the fact that Islam is fall everyone etc.

    This is why I am shocked at your comments, they are just rhetoric, can you please deal with the premises of the argument which I have mentioned in previous comments. My advice is simple. Read the article, make notes where you think it should be improved and provide examples and or suggestions, merely stating “simply does not cut it” is not an argument. An GCSE student in logic could tell you that :o)

    I am all for debate and dialogue, but when people consciously do not read the content or do not address the premises of the argument, what can I do? It seems you have already taken the position of judge, jury and executioner.

    My point is simple, yet referenced and doesn’t not reflect any of HT, jamati etc rhetoric. This is unknown in their writings to use western political philosopher etc against liberal thought, these groups probably – due to their overly ideological drive – have never even read a book on the premise of liberalism and its critique from a western perspective.

    Lastly, the piece was meant to be journalistic, its not a detailed paper or academic piece, if that was the case it would have been in the research section! :o)

    Please read the article.

  25. Interesting discussion cont.
    1. If Liberalism is weak, what is the solution? To implement Capital punishments? Hamza must remember that hudood (legal punishments) are just only because they are found within the ethical framework of Islamic law – Americans also have capital punishments but many innocent people are killed and crime rates are no better. If Liberalists were to impose harsh sentences would that make things better? I doubt it – remember, in accordance with Islamic legal philosophy it is better to let a guilty man get away with his life or limb than to execute or amputate an innocent, and a harsh form of liberalism would only increase injustice in society.

    2. Is Hamza calling for shari’ah to be implemented? If so, what model has he offered us? This is what the criticism of the brothers is indicating – to say something is wrong without providing a detailed and workable solution is useless. Furthermore, if Hamza is calling for shari’ah to replace Liberalism how realistic is that? Is it not naive to assume a mere round of Liberalism bashing will go some way to change perceptions and implement a demonised form of governance?

    3. His simple association of punishments with shari’ah reinforces the ignorance that shari’ah has nothing else to offer – will shari’ah’s legal punishments suddenly solve the quagmire that western society is fast becoming? Shari’ah has so much to offer but the above article only manages to reinforce the view that Islamic law is about killing and amputations.

    The general point is not that the argument needs improvement (although it evidently does), but that the argument itself is not needed. It’s a bit like those who call for freedom of speech to be scrapped yet rely on it to get their views across. There is no doubt that as a Muslim British community we have much to offer wider society, it being called the truth (!), but there must be a strategy based upon timing and appropriateness for any calls or moves we make.

    Although I was really pleased to read the discussion I was quite confounded by Hamza’s request to continue the discussion privately, and I totally disagree, the comments section is the best place to have detailed discussion. Here I also disagree with Ibn whatever as Hamza’s article allows us to critique his ideas and views as well as question their suitability – this is something the Muslim community has been lacking for ages. To have the chance to discuss ideas in a Muslim forum is key to our growth, something we’ve lacked, and so, if islam21c were not to post the article, this discussion would not take place and Hamza wouldn’t necessarily know about the problem with his approach. Furthermore it is beneficial to have a forum where duaat can discuss issues and critique ideas – something that has positively taken place here (which is good to see!).

    Hamza’s request to hide away from readers is quite shocking as either he doesn’t like being criticised in public or fears he may be overcome! So, which one is it? And moreover, is this a representation of the sharia you express (to silence all those who oppose)? :o)

  26. Interesting discussion
    I think much has been said that need not be re-iterated by me, but there also seems to be some misunderstanding as to both sides. For example, I gather that Hamza’s article to some degree is a simplification of the matter which attempts to clarify our issues with Liberalism; yet, it is that simplicity which seems to be concerning others.

    I think the question here is: what is the intellectual level of the Muslim community and is this article too much of an over-simplification? Yes, I agree with the brothers that for an intellectual audience this article just really doesn’t cut it, although newcomers may find it a good read. I think Hamza hasn’t understood that (to me anyway) the brothers are not arguing FOR Liberalism per se, but questioning the method and timing of the article.

    For example, should we be criticising Liberalism when its seems to be the best model (in the world and at the moment) that facilitates not only da’wah, but the mere right to be a practising Muslim without the fear of secret detention, torture and murder (I’m not trying to get into a debate about subjugation by Western governments who in reality contradict Liberalist ideology). The clear fact is that Hamza’s ideas are put in the public sphere at a time when the shari’ah is being portrayed in, arguably, the worst light for quite some time, with the Taliban providing the neo-Cons with all the firepower they need. What ends up happening is that Hamza discusses Shari’ah in a very basic format. Yes, it is coherent, but extremely lacking – he doesn’t manage to highlight in an academic and detailed format specifically HOW the shari’ah rectifies Liberalism’s problems – should he not be providing the audience with a contrast ‘beyond merely a philosophical musing’ (that already tells everyone what they already know, or in the case of non-Muslims confirms their beliefs), as opposed to allowing misunderstood and simplistic notions of shari’ah (some of which Hamza reinforces) dictate the perception of the reader?

    A major problem with Hamza’s discourse is that it seems to be a re-emergence (and reiteration) of basic arguments once propounded by HT, Jama’ah Islami and even some Salafi’s. However, Muslims have come far since then and so must address the matter in a more scholastic method as opposed to the black and white scenario that has been painted (the point being made by Muhsin and Ibn whatever). Moreover, the criticism of Liberalism is extremely weak – for example, Hamza claims one of the failings of Liberalism is a weak penal code yet he does not consider that: PLEASE SEE NEXT POST…

  27. Thank You
    Asalaamu ‘Alaykum Brothers

    JazakAllahkhair for your comments

    I now agree with some of them, it would have been useful to compare other models and include counter arguments, however this was not the objective of the article. To include all those things would require a research paper! :o)

    However, I still maintain that the arguments posed in both articles are coherent.

    For instance:

    1. Liberalism premise of individualism is ontologically flawed (ref: Charles Taylor, Marilyn Friedman, Daniel Bell etc)
    2. Liberalism’s core political values are non-cohesive (non-cohesive was defined)
    3. The propagation of non-cohesive values creates a non-cohesive society
    4. Liberalism’s social model is based upon non-cohesive values, no mechanisms to prevent crime and a failing justice system. For example in Liberal Political theory philosophers accuse liberalism of being too neutral in that it doesn’t call for the “good life” because humans can decide that for themselves. Also all of the point in the diagrams where referenced with studies and/or further reading.
    5. Islam has a different view on the self and society
    6. Islam’s social model is layered with cohesive values that are propagated, with mechanisms in place to prevent crime and a strong justice system

    All of the points above were referenced and explains. I am still worried about your approach as you have not even dealt with any of these points. Many still have provided sweeping statements with no adequate critique.

    On the editing point of view, Islam21c.com did edit the article :o)

    Please email me a_tzortzis@yahoo.com to have a more detailed discussion, the comments section is not the place to do that :o)

    Was-salaam

    Your brother
    Hamza

    P.s. The etiquettes of constructive criticism is that the main essence of the argument is critiqued in a way that would allow for further improvement. However in your apparent zeal to defend liberalism you have obviously missed this point.

  28. i have failed to make the essay understandable to all levels of intellect
    Dear Hamza,
    It would be inappropriate for a physicist or medic, for example, to lament over writing a paper which was unaccessible to the lay public by putting it down to their intellectual failings. If this essay had, for example, the endorsement of some political theorists, then you would still have failed in making your academic musings and a case for the problem with liberalsim potent enough to convince readers in other disciplines – bear in mind where you’ve posted this article and its predecessor.

    I regret my tone in the intial comment – but i would nevertheless stand by some core observations:
    – your article sprays terms that are not well defined within the text of your essay and the points, therefore, are laborious to follow, the reading is not smooth like it should be in the articulation of a compelling case

    – your article has not appropriately compared and contrasted competing political/sociological models.

    – your case at hand also suffers since the argument is not developed to the extent that it rubbishes liberalsim, which is certainly worthy of criticism but you have not really acknowledged its positives or outlined an alternative in detail that supercedes in its product (and not just philosophising) the liberal models of the western world which are more just and prosperous than other competing models in the world today. By suggesting we apply shari’ah – without nuancing this phrase or contrasting it with liberalsim beyond merely a philoshophical musing – is not helpful.

    Your broader premise is interesting but failed in the writing style and presentation of the argument. I dont think any of the comments above, even ibn whatever’s are necessarily in defence of liberalsim – just that a better job must be done in critiquing it and that the essay you have written does not read well.

    I maintain that i dont agree with your timing – there is a time for this and a time for that; and i maintain that those diagrams are for sure insulting to most ‘intellects’. I have stated previously that Allah’s shariah is perfect but we can defintely do a better job than that embodied in the simplicity of those diagrams and such a crude contrast between Shari’ah and liberalism

    In your articulation of your case you do not close the door for thoughts such as those mentioned in the comments and you dont address even simple counter arguments such as, say: If Shari’ah was so perfect why did the companions have a civil war during the time of Ali – those around were the best at applying the Shar’i model. Why did the mughal empire continue decline even during the time of orangzeb who was more zealous in applying the Shar’i model? And there are of course many similar and better points with which one could challenge the substance of your article

    In conculusion, i speak for myself in saying that i am loyal to Allah’s socio-political and ethico-legal model, but i am not convinced of the malaise of liberalsim by this article and its prequel.

    I look forward to your re-articulation of your case.
    your brother
    Muhsin

  29. Hamza Tzortzis

    Worrying comments
    Political philosophy is as subject with a huge scope and a depth that can get one quite lost. I believe the comment that liberalism ‘is a disputatious family of doctrines’ is true. If you read about the orgins of liberalism and its various intellectual strands of thought you will conclude that it is true that liberalism is hard to pin down. Please read any basic A-level text book on Political Theory and you will soon come up with the same conclusions. With regards to my statement concerning that the liberal view on society is crude, I believe it to be entirely true and representative of the reality of liberal philosophy and practical realities. The quotation you have taken from the same book on page 2 is totally out of context. In your quotation they are talking about political liberalism which includes procedures related to democracy etc. However, I am talking about the fundamental core philosophy/values of liberalism. This, you must appreciate, is quite different.

    If you read carefully you will see that I stated ‘doesnt fully recognise’ the word ‘fully’ here implies that I agree that it may consider society but not enough to be described as a model that has arisen via intellectual thought. Frankly it hasn’t. Take the philosophical premise of liberalism (atomism or individualism), it arose via a reaction to a specific problem. Liberalism’s core political values of individual freedoms and the primacy of individual rights emerged and were developed as a result of a specific European problem. This problem was the clash between the Catholic Church and the people who carried ideas that were incongruous with the Church’s doctrine and philosophy.

    This climate produced the emotional and intellectual environment for the likes of Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Samuel Pufendorf who developed a new understanding of natural law which was to become the philosophical basis for Liberalism. These seventeenth century theorists developed an individualistic doctrine of rights. Professor John Charvet describes this individualist view as, “…the rights held by individuals independently fitting into, and filling a function within, a God-ordered purposive whole based on the good.”

    These theorists viewed the rights of the human being as independent to that of a societal context, and therefore rested on the premise of individualism. This was perfectly consistent in preventing any further religiously inspired atrocities because this individualist view took the rights of a human being abstracted away from God’s perceived will for society. In this way an individual belonging to the Catholic or non-Catholic tradition could be tolerated. However this need for an individualist view on rights was based upon the weakness of Catholicism, inasmuch that it did not have the capacity to tolerate. In this context is the individualist view of rights valid? Since these theories were developed as a result of this clash and intolerance then it can be argued that in absence of this historical context these theories are no longer valid. The reasons for this are due to their limited intellectual scope, the scope was to ensure tolerance rather than seeking a true understanding of the human being and their standing in the world. This was problematic because individualism, as a premise for an entire political outlook, has been found to be philosophically incorrect and it has produce problems in society that have ensured its destruction (which I believe I have shown in the 2 essays on this site).

    So according to my reading I believe the liberal model is crude. Also, from a practical perspective liberal societies may consider some societal impact but it is always secondary, take alcohol and pornography as an example. There have been ample studies to show their negative affects on society but there is no adequate legislation to deal with the problem, because they will always have to reconcile with principles and processes filtered via the incorrect premise of individualism.

    I also find your defence – as a Muslim – of liberalism, quite concerning. You have not commented on the philosophical refutation or response to the premise of liberalism but you have chosen statements that do not really effect the argument posed in this essay. You have not event commented on the main argument or even a critical response to the islamic social model. I find your comments not dealing with the main argument quite worrying as it indicates that you just want to defend liberalism and ignore the cogent argument against it. How then, may I ask that conceptually it is poorly written? I think your comments indicate that you have not understood the subject, which means I have failed to make the essay understandable to all levels of intellect. Something which I will address in forthcoming writings.

  30. You need editors and filters
    I don’t mean to be rude, but Hmaza this article and your last one are poorly written for one thing and are conceptually flawed. For one thing you are not precise about liberalism. In your first essay on this website you quote Charvet and Kaczynska-Nay in their (disputable) definition of liberalism as a ‘disputatious family of doctrines’ and say yourself in this essay that the ‘liberal model is a crude model that doesn’t fully recognise society’. Yet the theorists you quote say in the SAME paper (p2) that political liberalism takes into account the fact that decisions cannot be made irrespective of the impact on the collective polity, and so there is an allowance made for the societal need to regulate the sphere of individual ‘freedom’, only, instead of using a sacred text in order to do that, it calls on the individuals IN a society to choose their leaders and representatives who can pass laws (the legislative part of liberal democracies), but to ensure that they do not abuse their powers, THEIR freedom is counterbalanced by the executive and the juridical. So while the individual and his/her liberty (individual-ISM) is foundational to liberalism, society is not outside its intellectual scope nor is its response to society crude (and why did you call it crude anyway, you provide no reason for its crudity – I trust you know what the word means [one definition is, ‘lacking in intellectual subtlety’] – liberal politics’ emphasis on a separation of powers to secure individual liberty is NOT lacking in intellectual subtleties, it is in many ways quite a profound response to how to organize human societies). You may disagree with the system but do not be unfair in your discussion, which is what you are being by calling it ‘crude’, and if that’s not what you meant then choose your words more carefully that is the mark of a true writer.

    I think that what Muhsin said in terms of your lack of nuancing was not inaccurate and so I think Ibn Zubair misses the point.

    Keep up the good work, but try to filter your work through some editors so that the end product is more thorough.

  31. Muhsin’s (above) Comment
    “Notwithstanding the fact that it’s such an imbalanced article and so simplistic it’s cringe-worthy”

    My brother this is just a statement. Why do you not deal with the points raised in the article? Do you not believe that todays liberal society is facing social decay? Can not one argue that these problems are due to the atomistic tendencies, which happens to be the premise of liberalism? Can it not be argued that liberalism social model lacks the correct propagated values? Why do you not address what is being said rather than making swiping statements?

    “Why on earth are you denigrating liberalism at this particular moment?”

    It is very simple. Liberalism is an ideology which has contributed directly to social malaise and decay based on its individualistic false premise. Have you not read the works of Charles Taylor, Will Kymlicka etc? Todays political academic is questioning liberalism because it has failed society. Also with the new “liberal inquiistion” underway Muslims need to learn how to react positively with strong arguments. Contrasting the social models is a way of showing how Islam can deal with the issues cause by liberalism.

    “Shari’ah is good and liberalism is bad, cowboys and Indians, black and white. Is there no mercy, justice and distribution of resources in a liberal society?”

    The article provides an argument. If you disagree you need to provide a cogent argument against the concepts raised by the author. Liberal society may have justice etc but you have missed the point of the article. These things are view via the individualistic (or atomistic) lens, hence their non-cohesive nature. Did you not read about the failing justice system in the UK? This is non-muslim work, not muslsim.

    “When someone looks at liberalism vs Muslim countries – who is merciful? More Muslims are tortured without reason in Muslim countries than anywhere else.”

    I agree. But again this shows you have not read the article, it clearly states that modern muslim societies do not implement the shairiah (hence referring to historical evidence). So your argument is false and it is a typical outdated argument of pointing the finger at dictatorships as a way of belittling Islam. To repeat: they are not islamic!

    “We desperately need to reconstruct the political theory of Islamic government from first principles (not in the metaphysics sense). It takes more to run a country, a society, than a single worded slogan such as Shari’ah. A penal code isn’t going to solve our civilisational crisis.”

    I agree. But this article serves to create thinking and demystify aspects of the shariah and its solutions for society. Your comments cant apply to a short essay.

    The rest of your comment resonates with an attitude that can only be described as an inferiority complex.

    “Liberalists precepts are conducive to what we Muslims want, which is a stable environment in Europe where we can give da’wa. The theoretical foundations of your attack against liberalism are, in my opinion, not only weak but very poorly timed.”

    Do you know what liberalists precepts are? You think the theoritcal foundations are weak? Thats just another statement, again please bring some subtantial critique. You do not think liberalism is based upon a false premise? Is not liberalism based upon viewing the self as an abstract entity devorced from social attachments? I would argue if you read any academic work, you will find out that this article is true, check the references. This article is fully referenced with key works on the critique of liberalism.

    “You’re talking about Islamic societies without defining what ‘Islamic’ means in an era when institutions such as the Quilliam foundation tell us – there is no such thing as an Islamic state/soc just like there is no such thing as an Islamic car!”

    Its very simple. An islamic society implements the Quranic/Sunnah injunctions, priciples and concepts. As described in this article, in the context of society, this includes: propagated values, social mechanisms, justice system and punishments. All of which the Quran and the sunnah have something to say.

    I have to admit, I found your comments very weak, as you have shown you have not read the article and that you do not even know what liberalism is, let alone how a Muslim should view alien ideologies.

  32. Assalamualaikum
    This is just palpably weak – something feels seriously wrong. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s such an imbalanced article and so simplistic it’s cringe-worthy, why on earth are you denigrating liberalism at this particular moment?
    The diagrams are unbelievable – it’s like a child’s picture. Shari’ah is good and liberalism is bad, cowboys and Indians, black and white. Is there no mercy, justice and distribution of resources in a liberal society? That entire diagram is rejected as nonsense.
    When someone looks at liberalism vs Muslim countries – who is merciful? More Muslims are tortured without reason in Muslim countries than anywhere else. The divide between poor and rich is most marked in Muslim countries and who helps Muslims in any case – other Muslims? No, it’s non Muslim, liberal humanists that help them and have them released and campaign on their behalf to receive Shar’i human rights. Who is just? The bribery, corruption and injustices in liberal societies are dwarfed by those in Muslim countries. Who distributes resources? Muslims? Rubbish – look at the rich poor divide. There is not a single top 500 university in the Muslim world and those who do manage some sort of an education are left to scour the streets unemployed.
    The reciprocating rhetoric is predictable – the Muslim countries don’t impose Shari’ah. Listen to Middle Eastern academics speak of the Islamiyyun parties in the middle east – they’re propped up by one slogan: shari’ah. Their argument is much like yours. But their ability to actually lead a nation is in fact disability. Allah’s Shari’ah is perfect and the best system for human societies – but this article is just further evidence that we’re delusional one sided fools. We desperately need to reconstruct the political theory of Islamic government from first principles (not in the metaphysics sense). It takes more to run a country, a society, than a single worded slogan such as Shari’ah. A penal code isn’t going to solve our civilisational crisis.
    I can’t believe that you quoted Cameron’s speech on the failure of liberalism. Muslims in this country need to wake up and smell the air – the far right is gaining tremendous momentum. The conservatives, despite what they say, are brothers to the neoconservatives. That speech of Cameron was about Muslims! Do you REALLY want to criticise liberalism now??? The neoconservative weltanschauung goes along these lines – European culture is the greatest mankind has ever known. The rest of the world needs it. Muslims are barbaric and backward, as is their despicable religion. Muslim immigration to Europe needs to be capped. Those that are already here need to be treated hostilely so that they leave. Those that remain behind need to assimilate or get out (like in Australia where they have said those who want Shari’ah should get out). Wars that take European culture and democracy to other parts of the world are essential. The Right may give you more conservatism and their values may be slightly closer to the Shari’ah in some aspects – but they hate Islam and wish to drive Muslims out of Europe. Please, for God’s sake, look at the bigger picture here.
    Liberalists precepts are conducive to what we Muslims want, which is a stable environment in Europe where we can give da’wa. The theoretical foundations of your attack against liberalism are, in my opinion, not only weak but very poorly timed. You would do better do write about neoconservatism and the myths they are promoting. You’re talking about Islamic societies without defining what ‘Islamic’ means in an era when institutions such as the Quilliam foundation tell us – there is no such thing as an Islamic state/soc just like there is no such thing as an Islamic car! Now is not the time to attack liberalism. Apart from Umm so and so’s may enjoy this article – you really should subject it to a variety of serious critical filtering.
    Unless we skilfully resist, the institutions of power will run our mosques, decide which books we can read – no more Ibn Taymiyyah boys and girls, it’ll be banned. No more talk of shari’ah and no more ‘salafism/wahhabism/deobandism/islamism’ – all that remains is Sufism. Be careful in this time what you write and what you say in the public sphere – there’s the risk of damaging the interests of the British Muslim diasporas.
    wassalam

  33. Another excellent article
    Another excellent article from brother Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, providing a holistic approach and the correct context, while contrasting both models using western and islamic heritages. Is Islamic society barbaric? Well, what we can conclude now is that it is actually a mercy and the Liberal model is the one that has caused acts of barbarity – such as violent crime, rape and anti-social behaviour – all due to their failed social model.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>