SSridhar wrote:Rajesh, I have to disagree with you on the 'Glory of Islam' bit. There is no opt-out possible just because somebody has contributed in 'other' areas. Islam believes in very strictly following the code and no deviation is tolerated because that would then lead to a lack of control among the flock. For this very reason, questioning and ijtihad have also been shut down.
there is not really any opt-out in the strictest sense in Islam. The prohibitions are quite clear, even though sometimes provisions are made on medical grounds.
But as you have said yourself, there is a big difference between what the Muslim elite of the world practice and that what they preach.
when I speak of an opt-out from Islamic compunctions, then I do not mean that those opt-outs are religiously sanctioned. No maulvi would in his right mind say that some Nawab XYZ may drink alcohol, or eat pork, etc. because he has done great deeds for Islam.
What I speak of are two things
1) If the Muslim elite have done commendable services for Islam - financed seminaries, built mosques, won battles, converted Kufr by whatever means, or instilled the fear of Islam in the hearts of the Kufr, then his transgressions against the various prohibitions of Islam even if suspected would be ignored by both Ulema and the mango Abdul. The Ulema would reject any petition against the Muslim nobility even if there is evidence. They will say the evidence is doctored. That is an opt-out, not in the religious sense but in the practice.
2) Secondly one would see the phenomenon of Muslim youth the world over, especially in the West, being extremely aggressive with respect to others, willing to indulge in violence at the slightest provocation all in the name of Islamic honor and Muslim brotherhood, etc. They practice a very virulent form of Muslim chauvinism. However even as they do so, they still do womanizing, drink alcohol, eat pork, etc. One would observe this often among Arabs, Turks, Pakis, Somalis, etc. This is also not necessarily a Muslim elite thing, but one would find this in the Muslim middle and lower middle class as well. By showing the 'invincibility' and 'street power' of Islam, the Muslim youth think they get an opt-out from the various prohibitions. Sure the Ulema keep on telling these Muslim youth to become more pious, but there is a quiet pride by the Ulema in them for their aggressive ways in which they keep the flag of Islam flying.
3) Let's not forget the 9/11 hijackers drank alcohol etc. in strip clubs the night before their big day!
1) The Saudis are drunkards, womanizers, pork-lovers, whatever, on the one hand but also the biggest financiers of Wahhabism and Jihad in the world, so the Ulema turn a blind eye and leave them to lead their lives as they please. Despite them indulging in all these prohibited temptations in 'private only', it is still common knowledge throughout the Gulf and beyond how the Saudis elite live.
2) Muslim Youth in the West show both debauchery on the one hand and extreme Muslim chauvinism on the other.
There is no religious sanction for the opt-out but there is a quiet social acceptance of it depending on how much Glory the transgressors bring to Islam.
In Pakistan the issue is different. On the one hand it is a question of the pious trying to push the Muslim Elite in reorienting it to take on the Greater Satan - USA and not the stupid weak Kufr called India. The Muslim Elite is seen as too cozy with the Great Satan, so the Talibs and Al Qaeda are pushing it to change its ways. Then there are other pious people trying to fight for their own place under the sun, and they are using Islamic piety as a tool and argument, so one sees the complicated relationship between the Pakistani Elite and the Ulema.
It is because the Pakistani Elite want to be left alone by the Ulema regarding the opt-outs, that we see the Elite being exceptionally anti-India, anti-Kufr as a form of compensating for their sinning ways.
One needs to understand the opt-out not as something sanctioned by Islam but rather as something negotiated by the Elite with the Ulema in lieu for Elite's steadfast support to Islamic Agenda and Islamic Glory!