Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Islamic Way of Disagreement

Nonie Darwish

“Did Aisha commit adultery while married to Mohammed? Or worse, did she kill Mohammed? Is she, together with Hafza Abu Bakr, Uthman and Omar, burning in eternal Hell? Or were they rewarded with Paradise?” These are questions consuming many Muslim leaders in the Middle East today. Shiites believe the 9 year-old wife of Mohammed was an evil foul-mouth adulteress who deserves Hell, whereas Sunnis believe she is the honored ‘Om El Muminin’ — meaning mother of believers. Emotions among Islamic scholars are boiling over on Arab religious TV shows. Rather than rationally debating serious troubles within Islam, Islamic leaders have taken their religious debate to a new low. They engage in horrific cursing matches called “Mubahala” on air to solve their disagreements. This is the latest offering from the producers of constant incitement, calls for jihad, teaching children that lying is okay (if it is for an Islamic obligation), and cursing of Jews and non-Muslims. It is believed that the one on the ‘wrong’ side of the religious issue of the Mubahala, will be struck with a supernatural curse, the wrath of Allah, eternal torture, pain, be afflicted with incurable diseases, suffering and a violent death to him and his whole family.

Muslim men of Allah challenge each other to cursing, like a duel of honor, in order to find the ‘truth’. Each Sheikh starts by stating his position, then the cursing starts against the opponent, his sons and women. Words used are doom, ruin, eternal torture from heaven, early death, to be afflicted with incurable diseases and eternal Hell. The one who is harmed or dies at the end is presumed to be the liar. They warn that the curse might not be swift or right after the program and that it will come from Allah in the form of a heart attack or other disaster, soon to hurt the other side. One can just imagine how the families, especially children, of one side or the other feel about this?

The childishness of these exchanges is beyond belief; it would be comic if it weren’t deadly serious.
You can see these two Arabic TV shows ‘El Manbar’ and ‘Al Hikma’ between Shiite Sheikh Yasser El Habib, and Sunni Sheikh Mohammed Ben Abdullah El Kous.

The Internet is full of challenging calls to Mubahala between Sheikhs, stating they cannot guarantee that the other side will stay alive.

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