Thursday, 26 November 2009

Times: Upholding spiritual and moral values

Thursday, 26th November 2009 by Muhammad El Sadi

With reference to the article What Is Wrong With Chopping Of Thieves' Hands, Imam Asks (November 19), I would like to clarify some points.

The Bondìplus edition during which I uttered the title statement was not about Sharia law, rather it was about whether crucifixes should be removed from classrooms. In spite of the fact that Islam does not believe in the crucifixion dogma and its philosophy, my position was against the removal of crucifixes because it goes against the Islamic values of democracy and religious freedom and because it creates hatred and extremism among the followers of different religions.

Besides, I consider such a precedent as a threat to all religions because it institutes the reign of atheism over religion and paves the way to remove religions from our lives and from society. Unfortunately, my positive attitude, which harmonises with that of the Church and the public, was totally ignored and blocked out by The Times article, the media in general and those who are concerned with the crucifixes' issue.

When I expressed my disagreement with adultery, homosexuality and same-sex marriages, I did it out of honesty and goodwill. I would be betraying my conviction, faith, mission, Muslims and non-Muslims and deceiving the Maltese public if I said that these practices were safe and proper, securing the welfare of man or pleasing God in any way. These practices are wrong and we will keep advising people to avoid such acts.

In fact, these practices are not accepted neither in Islam nor in Judaism and Christianity. Those who have forgotten, let them re-read their Bible to remember how God dealt with those who committed disobedience and immoral practices. God is not dead. He can interfere where, when and how He wills.

Civilisation is not only measured by its freedoms but also by its moral and ethical values and how it strikes the balance between the welfare of the body and the spirit.

When I read the comments of certain correspondents in I recalled what the people of the prophet Lot, peace be upon him, replied when he told them to abandon homosexuality: "Out of the way! Here is one who came as a foreigner, and would set himself up as a judge. Now we will treat you worse than them" (Genesis 19:9).

"Drive out the followers of Lot from your city, these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure" (Holy Koran 27:56).

Truly, humanity does not change!

Sharia does not consist of criminal laws only but it covers all essential social, economical and political aspects of life like marriage, divorce, inheritance, business, finance and international relations.

We believe in Sharia because it is a part of the Holy Koran, the divine word of God. No true Muslim can deny or alter any Islamic law. Islam is not a supermarket from which we select what we like or what pleases others. It is a matter of belief or disbelief in the perfection of God, the authenticity and validity of the Holy Koran. Sharia is implemented only in countries with Muslim majorities, where governments are also Islamic and which believe in the teachings of Islam and want to put them into practice through democracy and the rule of the people.

For Sharia to succeed, Islam should be practised as a whole because Islam is a comprehensive and complimentary system. It is unjust to cut off the hand of the thief in a society lacking social justice and social security and where people suffer famine and unemployment. It is also unjust, obviously, to apply this law to under-aged children who are not yet old enough to shoulder the responsibility of their deeds or to those who were forced in any way to commit a crime.

The severe Sharia punishments are not an end in themselves but they are means to frighten those who intend to commit a crime and make them refrain from executing their evil intentions. It is a preventive measure rather than a cure. It aims at securing justice and security for the society. These punishments are not applied except after securing all the basic needs for people and securing a just judicial system.

The judges who deal with such cases should do their best to find out the slightest evidence in favour of the accused to avoid the execution of the punishment. Governors or heads of state can also grant special amnesties to condemned persons to give them another chance to amend themselves.

There are certain people in the West who are using the Sharia issue to incite people against Islam. They are trying to frighten people by claiming that Muslims want to implement Sharia in the West. How can Muslims demand Sharia to be implemented in a non-Muslim society? If Muslims could not implement Sharia in Muslim countries because they could not secure its requirements how can they implement it in non-Muslim countries?

I hope that the hot debate on my misunderstood statements lead to more mutual understanding and respect and more adherence to the spiritual and moral values. I hope that it turns our attention to ask ourselves: Where are we vis-à-vis God and his teachings? And in which direction are we going: paradise or hell?

Through my statements, I did not mean to hurt anybody's sentiments. It was only a defensive position to a number of provocative questions. I was simply exerting my right of expression. If my words did hurt anybody, I do heartily apologise.

To those who wronged me and questioned my credibility through newspapers and the internet, I say: Oh God, guide them and forgive them.

The author is Imam at the Paola Islamic Centre.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

No comments:

Post a Comment