Epicure’s Bastards: Proponents of Religious Anarchy in Islam

The Muslim belief that Islam is the most complete religion is a thorn in the eyes of the critics of the faith. Personalities as diverse as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, UK’s Lord Bhiku Parekh, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh supremo R.S. Sudarshan, and Salman Rushdie have all, in one way or another, attacked this fundamental premise of the believers.

Tom Friedman gives his take on the issue through a software analogy. According to him Judaism and Christianity have adapted themselves to modernity by reforming their beliefs (god 1.0 and god 2.0) whereas Islam is still stuck at the eighth century “god 3.0.” R.S.Sudarshan in his inimitable style explains this through the medium of Islamic texts. Speaking earlier this year, ironically at a function organized by Jamiyyat Ulema-e-Hind, he said that Muslims are going against the strictures of their own religion by attempting to restore Islam to its original form. Quoting a hadith he said that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said that a time will come when a Muslim will still be a Muslim even if he practices 1/4th or even less of the religion. In Sudershan’s interpretation Muslims are violating the Prophetic teachings by trying to follow a complete form of Islam.

According to these critics, the Muslim conviction of absolute superiority of Islam is threatening the modern day society. They want the Muslims to shed their “theological superiority complex” and proclaim their belief in self-contradictory and shallow claims like “All religions are one.” That might be the politically correct thing to say but it does not hold any value when it comes to personal faith.

The simple answer to the allegation of supposed superiority complex is that the Muslims, while believing that Islam is the only path to salvation also believe in the Qur’anic injunction of absolutely no compulsion in religion. What will happen in the afterlife and who will and will not enter heaven should be left to God and instead everyone should concentrate on how to make this world a better place. In this regard, the Muslims are religiously mandated to be tolerant, kind, friendly and just towards the people of other faiths and to not to promote any hatred or enmity. Such explanations are however never enough to practitioners of religious relativism and they routinely condemn anyone who dares to say that “Islam is the only way to salvation.”

Promoting this agenda of stripping away Islamic beliefs in the Muslim community are the so-called “progressives,” more specifically the muslimwakeup.com and Progressive Muslim Union type, who want to reduce Islam to “just one of the many other religions” that are out there. At first glance these “progressives” appear to be some cheap self-publicists. Their histrionic attempts at self promotion like comparing the female Imam led Friday prayers stunt to emancipation and women’s suffrage movements are just one aspect of their ideology.

A deeper examination of their writings and actions reveals that they are actually followers of the widespread but little known philosophy of Epicure. According to this Greek philosopher, “the highest good that a person can achieve and should work for is pleasure. That which is pleasing is morally good; that which causes pain is morally bad.” It is this philosophy which leads them to conclude that anything and everything is allowed. The uncontrolled pursuit of pleasure is their ultimate aim and they will not let any religious barriers stop them from doing so. They made a back door entry into the Western Muslim communities in the aftermath of the events of 9-11. In those bewildering times the Muslim community welcomed and still welcomes the help of many civil rights and anti-war groups including some radical communist and activist gay rights groups. The latter’s acolytes in the Muslim community, the so-called progressives, now got a chance to checkmate the mainstream Muslim leadership and tell them : “Look those gays and communists demonstrated when you were being harassed and jailed. Now it is your time to payback. You have to support them in their struggles or at least not condemn their lifestyles.” Their biggest agenda to date remains complete sexual freedom and they want to impose their views about “gay rights” on the Muslim community.

They have also thrown out the basic belief systems of Islam. According to the Progressive Muslim Union, “you are a Muslim if you say you are a Muslim — for whatever reason or set of reasons.” This assertion explains the inclusion of self-confessed apostates like Michael Knight, who has a habit of writing trash with pornographic details and insulting prominent Muslim scholars. In a book edited by the anti-Islamic bigot Ibn Warraq called “Leaving Islam–”Apostates Speak Out,” Knight explains why he has renounced Islam and explicitly says: ” But I cannot call myself a Muslim. I am a free man.” The prominence that the “progressives” gives to such characters speaks volumes about them.

If these pseudo-progressives belonged to any other religious community, they would have been instantly rejected as jokers and clowns. But a compliant media has raised them to the level of mainstream. In order to rescue Islam from such agents of religious anarchism, it is important for all Muslims to take a public stand against them and reject their distorted, perverted and amoral beliefs.