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Islam and Knowledge vs. SocializationBy Zahir Ebrahim for Salem-News.com
The very foundation of hegemony and empire lie in the public holding largely facile views of truths essential to the rulers.
(SAN FRANCISCO) - 'On occasions, I feel Muslims ‘lose’ something when it comes to religion. I am speaking about the second last prophet Jesus or Isa (E-sa) peace be upon him... My general opinion of Muslims is that they tend to take on a facile view of Christianity ... I get the feeling that this may be because: If an increase in discussions by Muslims of Jesus (pbuh) were to take place, it would be percieved as “being Christian”.' --- article
Interesting perspective, and along the lines which reduce to the following empiricism: Human beings in general don't tend to appreciate what is not part of one's own socialization.
Furthermore, with suitable inculcation, this lack of appreciation can span the gamut of behavior from remaining largely indifferent to being outright antagonistic to what's not perceived as one's own. The limit of that of course being intense doctrinal hatred and warfare.
This is pretty much a universal trait. An observable universal truism if there is one. And just as applicable to one as to another.
Upon this truism is the manipulative jingoism of antiquity to modernity constructed. We see this from from tribalism to ethnocentrism, and nationalism to patriotism.
It is even the basis of the following formulation in Zbigniew Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard: “More generally, cultural change in America may also be uncongenial to the sustained exercise abroad of genuinely imperial power. That exercise requires a high degree of doctrinal motivation, intellectual commitment, and patriotic gratification.”
I mention that not to needlessly digress, but only to point out the universality of the principle that the article being responded to, has outlined just one instance of.
Recognizing this innate psychological trait of mankind (one presumes) is why the author of the Qur'an, which Muslims of course believe is the Creator (while other's believe was a lunatic), makes an extraordinary pronouncement on this very topic in Surah Al-Maeda:
“It was We who revealed the Torah (to Moses); therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the Prophet who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah’s will, by the Rabbis and the Doctors of Law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear Me, and sell not My Signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers. (44)
We ordained therein for them: “Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) wrong-doers. (45)
And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. (46)
Let the people of the Gospel Judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel. (47)
To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety; so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee.
To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. (48)” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48)
And to ensure that the point is not lost here, permit me to highlight the solution-space outlined in the above passage by none other than the presumed Almighty Creator of mankind: “To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.”
The author of the Qur'an is in fact rather emphatic about “matters in which ye dispute”:
“And in whatever thing you differ, its decision is unto God” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Ash-Shura 42:10, Arabic: وَمَا ٱخۡتَلَفۡتُمۡ فِيهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ فَحُكۡمُهُ ۥۤ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۚ )
If one were to endeavor to judiciously extract the core principle from that multicultural pronouncement, one discovers a governing principle that is universally applicable to all of mankind, to all beliefs, and to no belief:
1) [to] mind one's own business for what one does not feel is one's own, as in the case of what's outside one's own sphere of socialization; and
2) [to] compete with each other in virtuous conduct ( فَٱسۡتَبِقُواْ ٱلۡخَيۡرَٲتِۚ ) among each other with what one does feel is one's own.
In my humble view, this is outstanding guidance to a fractious mankind who are naturally psychologically prone to tribalism, ethnocentrism, the modern version of it being nationalism. By the admission of the author of the above verse, it is by design that the Creator made mankind into separate peoples and nations and gave each localized affiliations: “If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people” ( أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ ).
Of course, when own looks at evolutionary biology and sociology, that is the natural outcome of how mankind has developed in many different tribes and nations across the earth.
And the author of the Holy Qur'an provides the prescription taking empiricism of mankind's condition into account!
The obvious point to make here is that otherwise, the following Biblical Commandment from antiquity was, and still is, at least in my view, both complete and sufficient for governing the peaceable and virtuous conduct of mankind:
“Do unto Others as you have others do unto you.” (The Bible, Old Testament)
So, why does mankind need anything more than that one general statement? Indeed, one can easily surmise that all beneficial national constitutions, international and local laws, and inter and intra governing principles are logically derivable from just that one first principle, for a fairly equitable co-existence of mutual benefit to mankind.
While this universal pithy wisdom is Biblical, I have found evidence of its truism in both Greek and Roman antecedent writings. For instance, see Plato and Solon respectively.
Even beyond divine religion, in the realm of logic and rational empiricism alone, the following operations-research (OR) logical formulation due to Bertrand Russell, a man of considerable beliefs in no religion, is the most commonsensical recipe of governing peaceable human conduct. In my own succinct rendition, Bertrand Russell's formulation goes something like this (and I am putting it in single quotes to indicate that the formulation belongs to Russell but the words may not all be his):
'Maximize individual happiness while minimizing social conflict for optimizing the overall common-good.' (Bertrand Russell's prescription to do away with religion as the bearer of moral law, probably in 'Why I am not a Christian' and similar writings)
With just a little bit of reflection, one will see that Bertrand Russell captures the beneficial essence of many religions, including Islam, in at least so far as “haquq-al-ibad”, i.e., the rights of man upon man, otherwise known as moral law, are concerned, quite admirably.
By just using rational empathetic logic which hinges on spreading virtue rather than glory, vice, hegemony, and conquest, one can come up with reasonably equitable methods of governing oneself in any age, and among any peoples.
However, the author of the Qur'an having commanded the path to virtue, is as meaningless as man coming up with it on his own logic, if man is unwilling or unable to implement it.
That choice, is entirely man's. The author of the Qur'an also asserts that such a choice is up to man and not a diktat:
“There is no compulsion in religion.” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:256, Arabic: لَآ إِكۡرَاهَ فِى ٱلدِّينِۖ )
The point being, at the risk of being repetitious, whatever the religion, whatever the people, and whatever the culture and geography, man naturally gravitates firstly towards one's own kith and kin, and secondly towards one's own socialization. It is all but a truism that just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, one man's messiah is another man's lunatic.
And Islam, recognizing this natural tendency for partisanship, proffered the above quoted solution of Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48, to those who believe in Islam, lest Muslims become senselessly imbued with empire and its 'la mission civilisatrice', and criminally come to carry the "white man's burden"! The commandment is very explicit. Even though, the universal principle of virtuous co-existence to be derived from it evidently require at least a modicum of reflection.
Indeed, this is such a momentous concept of acceptance of others in the religion Islam, that it is even formulaically repeated countless times each day by its adherents without any reflection whatsoever. For, if one even spent 10 minutes thinking about what many "pious" among Muslims likely repeat at least 17 times daily, if not more, one would easily see that very core-principle at work for oneself.
That repetitive formulation is Surah Fatiha of the Holy Qur'an, its very first Surah. It is recited countless times daily by Muslims as a prayer. Just look at it with some reflection rather than rehearsing it as a parrot and matters become transparent. And what does it say?
First let's see what it does not say:
1) there is no mention of the word "muslim" in it;
2) nor is there any mention of the noble name of the harbinger of the Qur'an, its Exemplar.
If one were not so imbued with one's own socialization since birth, one would surely ask the following question to oneself: why not?
If Islam is the last Testament, its Prophet the last Messenger, and the Holy Qur'an the last Word on the matter of Divine Guidance to mankind, why have the following riddle:
“Show us the straight path, (5, Arabic اِهۡدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ )
The path of those whom Thou hast favoured. (6, Arabic صِرَاطَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ )” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Fatiha, 1:5-6)
Why command the reciter of that Surah to beseech the Creator to show him or her the "straight path", a path that is not named or labeled or identified in any other way other than as the "straight path", a singular path, and only identified as the path of those whom (plural) have been bestowed "divine favors" (plural), or who have been divinely favored? But no names are given!
Why send the poor seeker of divine wisdom in search of solving what appears to be a complicated riddle?
Given that the average intelligence of the masses among any nation is rather low, and the author of the Holy Qur'an, if it is indeed the Creator of man, would certainly have known that, why then did the author of the Holy Qur'an not straightforwardly say, for all and sundry to understand, in its most oft recited Surah: follow the path laid out in the Holy Qur'an, or, follow the path of Muhammad, its last Messenger and Exemplar?
How ironical that what the Surah calls a "straight path" is not identified straightforwardly!
The answer to the riddle, as invariably in all Quranic riddle cases, the Holy Qur'an itself also provides.
The author of the Qur'an has repeatedly alluded to Its Word as the Book of Reflection which none shall approach except with a cleansed heart. So, not everyone can glean the wisdom of the Qur'an even though they may be reading its words – how interesting!
And the solution to the riddle is hinted, inter alia, in the afore-quoted verses from Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48. It is still obviously not the complete solution, but we are an inch closer to solving the riddle.
For one thing, we learn that the solution is multicultural, and is very much socialization dependent.
Different peoples will naturally have different perspective on what is "divine favor", who those favored ones are, and are thus encouraged to seek out the path followed by those whom they naturally psychologically feel closer to – that is the basis for what appears to the riddle of Surah Fatiha, 1:5-6.
And Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48 is an exemplary partial hint to solving that riddle.
Wow! What an incredible Book!
And what does the Author of the Qur'an say about its many prophets and messengers? Well, read the Book to find out.
But does the Author of the Qur'an forbid reading other books?
I have not found any occasion when such a travesty has been advocated.
Does the Author of the Qur'an forbid speaking to the people of other nations?
I have not found any occasion when such a travesty has been advocated.
To the contrary, the author of the Qur'an emphatically states the following:
“O mankind! Lo! We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (13)” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujraat, 49:13)
And how can “ye may know one another” unless ye talk to each other, partake of each others joys and sorrows?
The straight forward logic of this verse demonstrates that the author of the Qur'an made the religion of Islam both non-isolationist, and non-triumphalist to the core!
Does the Author of the Qur'an forbid Muslims imbibing themselves of knowledge and wisdom from any source?
I have also not found any occasion when such a travesty has been advocated.
Quite the opposite in fact. The Author of the Qur'an commands Its own last Messenger to pray to his Creator to increase his own "ilm" as a virtue:
“and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Ta-Ha, 20:114 , Arabic: وَقُلْ رَّبِّ زِدۡنِىۡ عِلۡمًا )
And therefore, since the Author's last Messenger is also the Exemplar for his followers, the commandment is to the Exemplar's followers as well, i.e., to the Muslims, to do the same: “and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” This pithy prayer is recited by many Muslims in their daily prayers. Unfortunately, this increase evidently hasn't come to pass for a vast majority of us.
What's more, the author of the Qur'an even advocates pursuing boundless “ilm” thusly:
“Thou seest not, in the Creation of the All-Merciful any imperfections. Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure, Then return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Mulk, 67:3-4)
The profound significance of these pithy verses of Surah Mulk to knowledge, to “ilm” acquisition can perhaps also be judged from the fact that Muslim physicist Dr. Abdus Salam rehearsed it in Stockholm upon accepting The Nobel Prize in Physics 1979, boldly stating at the Nobel Banquet on December 10, 1979, before other Nobel laureates, scientists and dignitaries, the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Academy of Sciences, that: “This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.”
But does the author the Qur'an advocate such pursuits, singlemindedly, to the exclusion of all else, such that such pursuits become the self-serving pursuit of the 'American Dream'?
Or, is such an advocacy for the pursuit of “ilm” as a noble endeavor, made an essential component of a greater all encompassing moral imperative by the author of the Qur'an? A categorical imperative which devolves upon man an even greater system of personal and social responsibility for which the wholehearted pursuit of “ilm” is necessary, but not sufficient?
The answer is obvious, despite the question not being merely rhetorical.
It is plainly given by the author of the Qur'an in the pithy Surah Asr, in the verse fragment:
“and those who strive for haq” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Asr, 103:3, وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ )
The Arabic word “haq” حَقِّ (pronounced 'huq' like 'hug' and not like 'faq') is an all encompassing word and its single-word translation into English is impossible. It means all of the following (and then some): truth, Truth, justice, rights, rectifying injustice, not violating rights, not being unjust, demanding one's own rights, not permitting others to violate one's own rights, etceteras.
It is but simple logic and commonsense to deduce that the pursuit of accurate knowledge in all matters is an essential prerequisite to the pursuit of “haq” in all matters – lest one be deceived, be manipulated, end up believing in falsehoods, and act unjustly.
The aforementioned tiny but self-sufficient verse fragment of the Qur'an forms the foundational basis for what is called “jihad”, striving as a moral imperative, in other verses of the Qur'an:
“And strive they with their wealth and their lives in the way of God; they are the truthful ones.” (Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Hujraat 49:15, Arabic: وَجَاهَدُوۡا بِاَمۡوَالِهِمۡ وَاَنۡفُسِهِمۡ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ )
But what should they “strive” ( وَجَاهَدُ ) for, inter alia, with their wealth and their lives, without any expectations in return from their fellow man, to be so nobly designated as the “truthful ones” ( الصّٰدِقُوۡنَ ) by none other than the one who claims to be their Creator?
The Qur'anic answer, once again unequivocally provided by the author of the Qur'an in the Qur'an itself, is in Surah Asr.
It is to principally strive for “haq” ( وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ) with all of one's wealth, resources, talents, and energies! The lack of striving of which, the author of the Qur'an emphatically re-asserts in the same Surah Asr, leads to:
“Lo! man is in a state of loss” (Holy Qur'an, Surah Asr 103:2, اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِىۡ خُسۡرٍۙ )
For completeness, reproduced below is the full recipe of the pithy Surah Asr for a noble life which is “not in a state of loss”, one which is not perpetually full of facile views, ignorance, apathy, vile servitude to the harbingers of inequity and injustices, and wild revolutions and further injustices in the name of redressing injustices. Notice what's stated and what's omitted in this self-sufficient tiny Surah. There is no reference to Muslims, or to Islam, or to any particular people or religion. It is directly addressed to man ( الۡاِنۡسَانَ ), “insaan”, to every people of all religions, and to people of no religion, the overarching context for which has already been elucidated above:
The aforementioned few words of the author of the Holy Qur'an, as straightforward as they appear to be, still do require plenty of reflection and context to grasp the full import of its message towards an equitable and mutually beneficial multicultural co-existence without the imposition of anyone's values and/or “facile views” upon another.
It is important to re-emphasize for the first of the four clauses of verse 3 of Surah Asr quoted above, even at the risk of being repetitious once gain, that on theological matters of belief, including no belief, when one disagrees with another, the dispute is not up to man to decide. It is for some abstract entity called “God” to decide, as already quoted from the author of the Qur'an in the preceding discussion. It is not the business of man what another's beliefs are. That business is God's, and is defined as being among the Rights of God upon man, the “haquq-Allah”. No mortal may interfere in that Right even if, due to their own natural socialization and/or self-ascribed learnedness, they perceive that some Right of God is being violated by others holding a facile view. This clear demarcation of respective Rights in Islam between the Rights of God (beliefs) and the Rights of man (moral law), ends for all times, at least from Islam's point of view, all arguments of the type: whose conception of god is better; is there a god or isn't there; etc.
Everyone gets to believe in whatever theology they want! The author of the Holy Qur'an in defining the religion of Islam, already took the inherent differences in beliefs and perception biases due to the very nature of socialization of man into account! Thus, apart from friendly discourse, any forceful disputation with another on the nature of their personal beliefs is transgressing the limits set by the author of the Qur'an for Islam's practitioners:
“And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?” (Holy Qur'an, Surah Yunus 10:99, Arabic: وَلَوۡ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لَأَمَنَ مَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ ڪُلُّهُمۡ جَمِيعًاۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكۡرِهُ ٱلنَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُواْ مُؤۡمِنِينَ )
This leaves man, as per the other three clauses of Surah Asr verse 3, in his short gift of life, to not worry about saving another's soul, but to primarily contend with his own conduct with his fellow man, the previously mentioned “haquq-al-ibad”.
The commonsense advocacy of that method of conduct, of doing good to fellow man, of striving for “haq” in removing injustices from oneself and from fellow man, and being patient in adversity rather than committing suicide or becoming a suicide bomber, is beneficial guidance to all mankind no differently than the Biblical commandment: “do unto others has you have others do unto you”, and Bertrand Russell's non-religious formulation: 'Maximize individual happiness while minimizing social conflict for optimizing the overall common-good', are beneficial for all mankind.
Take from whichever system of thought that resonates with one; but don't be iniquitous to oneself or to another; and the only practicable method to achieve that enlightened state of affairs regardless of the belief system is the pursuit of “ilm” – is the prima facie core message of the author of the Qur'an.
If only man were to take heed of any of this platitudinous stuff from any of the Books of wisdom, and implement that which is his preferred choice due to socialization, in his respective tribe and nation.
That singular failure to implement moral platitudes, from time immemorial, is the one fundamental problem of failure to strive in “haq”!
It is because of this empirical fact that the author of the Qur'an, in what it claims to be its last Testament to mankind, has laid such strong emphasis on striving for “haq” – even making it the underpinning of a life which is at a loss in its absence ( اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِىۡ خُسۡرٍۙ ) . Otherwise, the Biblical “do unto others as you have others do unto you” is still sufficient general principle. However, while the latter was merely advisory, striving for “haq” has been made compulsory!
And what has man, “insaan”, done about such striving?
Caught between facile world views on the one hand, and bread and circuses on the other, man continues to be manipulated into voluntary servitude to tyrants of modernity just as he was in antiquity. While one may arguably understand the servitude in the Dark Ages to the tyrants of antiquity, in the modern information age, the Technetronic Era (term coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski), for the disease of the Dark Ages to persist is indicative of something far deeper which has not changed despite the march of civilizations, liberations, exponential increases in public knowledge, and the Technetronic progress.
Those who pursue “ilm”, knowledge, don't necessarily do so to strive for “haq”, or to redress the human condition, but for their own narrow self-interests to achieve their own version of the 'American Dream'. As the knowledge bearers, they are often either the direct harbingers of, or the silent bystanders to, the untold crimes against humanity. In the Technetronic Era of today, the former are the scientists, engineers, and technicians of empire laboring under facile delusions of all kind.
Tyranny of course only flourishes when many good men, and many good women, learned and pious, too busy pursuing their 'American Dreams', stay silent, indifferent.
That is just too well-worn a statement to be anything but one of the best moral clichés of all time. Edmund Burke wasn't the first to think of it. All the sages throughout the ages have reflected upon it. And Solon, considered one of the seven greatest law givers of ancient Rome, even made coming to the aid of fellow man in distress, a legal obligation!
Apart from the copious evidence of blood-stained pages of recorded history, the obvious import of accurate knowledge to the pursuit of “haq” as its principled primemover, can also be contemporarily judged by the empirical fact that due to the Muslims having a rather facile view of their own religion throughout history, and remaining quite ignorant of its interplay with imperial matters in every epoch, “jihad” was once again vilely harvested for an imperial agenda in the modern epoch with nothing but snake oil.
This time around by Zbigniew Brzezinski for “giving to the USSR its Vietnam War” in Afghanistan 1979-1988 by creating the “Mujahideens”. It is worth reproducing here Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1998 interview to French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur for his own confessions of the utility of promulgating facile world views to accomplish this:
'Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Question: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
Brzezinski: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Question: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Question: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Question: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.' (source Global Research)
It is also worth reproducing here how Brzezinski fashioned these “Some stirred-up Moslems”:
News voice over 1980: “US National Security Advisor Brzezinski flew to Pakistan to set about rallying resistance. He wanted to arm the Mujahideen without revealing America's role. On the Afghan border near the Khayber Pass, he urged the Soldiers of God to redouble their efforts”
Brzezinski 1980: “We know of their deep belief in God, and we are confident that their struggle will succeed. That land over there, is yours, you'll go back to it one day, because your fight will prevail, and you'll have your homes and your mosques back again; because your cause is right; God is on your side.” [enthusiastic clapping by the future 'Mujahideens']
Brzezinski in the studio speaking to the interviewer: “The purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis will be to make the Soviets bleed, for as much, as long, as possible.” (transcription is mine from the video clip: http://sites.google.com/site/
The mass ignorance and the facile world views that lay behind “their deep belief in god” among the Muslims was devilishly harvested with “god is on your side” to leave the Muslim civilization of Afghanistan into dust, and to set the stage for the future disintegration of Pakistan, with nothing but “Some stirred-up Moslems”!
It is the same fundamental lack of wherewithal today among the Muslims which is also enabling the same grandmasters to wage the perpetual 'Global War on Terror' upon the world as the age-old pretext for “imperial mobilization” on The Grand Chessboard.
In both endeavors, Muslim rulers and their intelligence apparatuses played, and are still playing, prostitutes to empire against the common-good of their own public.
Evidently, all empires, past and present, from antiquity to modernity, are built upon promoting facile views of certain truths among their public, and among their prostitutes.
St. Augustine had rightly summed it millennia ago:
“When the King asked him what he meant by infesting the sea, the pirate defiantly replied: 'the same as you do when you infest the whole world; but because I do it with a little ship I am called a robber, and because you do it with a great fleet, you are an emperor.'” (The City of God against the Pagans, pg. 148).
It is not surprising then, that the One who claims to be the Creator of man, the author of the Qur'an, correctly gauged the natural psychology of the masses among mankind and how they will be manipulated by the devil's apprentices, and for which it universally advocated the pursuit of “ilm” and “haq” for every “insaan” in a lifelong striving it termed “jihad” as the only effective counter to facile world views from which all evil follows.
It is therefore also not surprising then, that the superlative devil's apprentices too, from time immemorial, also recognized that encouraging facile views among the masses was essential in order to rule them! In this perpetual battle between good and evil, evidently both sides have been well equipped, but unfortunately it is only one side which has figured out how to capitalize on its core strengths.
This was the craft of kings from antiquity who ruled in the name of the divine for their own private interests with “all authority is an extension of god's authority”. And is now the craft of Machiavelli in modernity who showed the prince how to rule for private interests in the name of democracy with “god is on your side”.
Indeed, it is only upon that singular characteristic that the following observation of Zbigniew Brzezinski in his own bible of hegemony, The Grand Chessboard, is so penetratingly accurate even today: “Hegemony is as old as mankind.”
The very foundation of hegemony and empire lie in the public holding largely facile views of truths essential to the rulers. It doesn't matter which view they hold, in fact, they can hold any view they want, so long as it is not the whole truth, and is anything but the truth.
Like every people, such facile views are also promoted by Christians themselves of their own religion upon their own masses – never mind others doing it for them – when it is convenient to the exercise of imperial power. There is virtually no exception to this empiricism throughout the pages of recorded history. It exists among every people, including Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc. Pick an empire and its people have been subjected to facile world views which have served the interests of empire.
And modernity is no exception.
Promulgating Zionism among the Jews, and Christian Zionism in the Bible Belt of America, readily come to mind.
The following is just one example. A facile sermon ostensibly from the Holy Bible, by a Christian preacher harkening back to the divine kings of antiquity to teach his own flock to “Honor the King. Do it anyway, whether the king deserves it or not”:
“I am free to submit to authority. I am free to make myself a slave.
My friends, you are free, you are free to respect and appreciate the authority of the government that god gives to you - Honor the King!
The way you talk about your government, it's so easy to complain isn't it? It is so easy to criticize, it is so easy to find fault.
Honor the King. Do it anyway, whether the king deserves it or not.
All authority, all authority is an extension of god's authority!” ('New American Theology of Civil Submission', transcription is mine from a Youtube video of the sermon cited by prisonplanet.com, April 14, 2008)
What can be a more self-servingly facile view of Christianity than that Orwellian double-speak?
Any Muslim's facile views of Christianity surely pale in comparison!
But, in my view, talking to other morons to seek knowledge of Jesus / Isa – alahi salam is patently silly. Just because someone has divorced themselves from establishmentarian version of religion, true for any people and any religion, is irrelevant to this matter. Anyone can promote facile views, and also be the victim of it.
To finally bring this long riposte to a conclusion, the short article being keyed off here has posed a good specific question whose general answer has been explained to those Muslims who can understand the wisdom of the Qur'an. Ignorance, like being naked at birth, is the natural state of being. But we don't go prancing about as civilized adults in the au natural state of our body anymore than we should as civilized adults, of the au natural state of our mind!
Having facile views is natural, of others especially, but is not limited to the 'other'. One can be just as ignorant of what's one's own as illustrated above. And as an antidote to holding facile views, the full spectrum pursuit of knowledge as the precondition for the pursuit of a noble life – to be counted among the “truthful ones” – is rationally advocated by the author of the Qur'an as a categorical imperative for the civilized and harmonious co-existence of man.
That quest for harmonious co-existence at times requires measured and effective self-defence against predators, both physical and psychological. And the prescription for that striving against man's natural predators, the sociopaths and tyrants from among mankind itself, is captured by the universal striving for “haq”. Meaning, just as the natural state of creation is the jungle, but we don't live in one as a civilized people, the natural law of the jungle too is not the law of civilization. That law, the Qur'anic prescription of striving for “haq”, is the most well balanced and comprehensive prescription that exists in any book of wisdom from time immemorial. It prescribes how to be effective and pragmatic in standing up to barbarians without ourselves becoming one. To know what it is, one still needs to acquire its “ilm”, as with everything else. We no more naturally know it in our au natural state of ignorance and barbarianism than we are born with our clothes on.
Interestingly, it is also a commonsense wisdom. Acquire Knowledge – 'even if one has to journey to China', as the Prophet of Islam is reputed to have also stated to his followers in that Age of Jahiliya (ignorance).
The difficulty of physically journeying to China is of course considerably less today. However, we continue to suffer another Age of Jahiliya in our modernity today. One that is dominated by facile views and deception all around. The most pervasive of these facile views among Muslims today is their own self-deception to avoid taking on the responsibility for rectifying their own subjugated condition. It is that oft heard self-serving proclamation of the pious and the scoundrel alike: “Allah chala raha hai”. Meaning, “God is running the world”.
Those who actually are running the world, from time immemorial, deliberately cultivate such servile dogmas and facile views among the foolish masses living in their au natural mental state. To await their favorite savior or messiah, to patiently suffer life for the future reward in heaven, while the rulers continue to enjoy their own heavens right here on earth.
As one can hopefully appreciate very clearly by now, the observation by Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Hegemony is as old as mankind”, has only been true because of such facile views being deftly cultivated among the peoples who have lived and died for maintaining the glory of their rulers from the very beginning of civilization.
Where to seek knowledge, wisdom, when all bearers of knowledge and wisdom, both in the East and the West, appear to be shilling for self-interest? When the bearers of knowledge today also appear to be the greatest manipulators and predators of man? And when the knowledge seeker too is naturally beholden to socialization and susceptible to accepting facile world views ingrained since birth?
See the CAIR report for the difficulties faced in overcoming facile views by even the most learned and pious when their own chiefs mislead them. For writing and disseminating that response to CAIR report pointing out its significant omissions, one Muslim board member of one of the largest Muslim community and mosque of California Bay Area responded: “Whose interests are you serving? Hateful zionists or the hateful christian zioinists or both? Take me off your list.”!
To be continued someday. For now – if there's interest – please see “The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity”. It references two additional articles which shed some tangential light on how difficult this endeavor of seeking knowledge and overcoming facile views has become in our times: “The IVY League Morons Syndrome” and “Response to 'Why I'm leaving Harvard'”. A review of the FAQ: What is an Intellectual Negro? may prove useful in becoming aware of some of the mental dynamics which encourage holding self-serving facile views even among the most learned, especially among super-educated upwardly mobile Muslims.
Thank you for a thoughtful article.
A version submitted as comment to: http://lwtc247.wordpress.com/
Original condensed version PDF: http://humanbeingsfirst.files.
About the author
The author is a non-religious, almost irreverent Muslim whose entry into every mosque he has ever opened his mouth is likely frowned upon. The opinions expressed here are the author's personal opinions as an ordinary plebeian. He is not a “scholar”. He in fact detests scholars of all stripes, especially those presumptuous enough to call themselves scholars – be they Bernard Lewis, “leading Western scholar of Islam”, or Tahir ul Qadri, the leading Eastern scholar of Islam. The latter had the chutzpah to issue a 600 page Fatwa on Terrorism in service to the “leading Western scholar of Islam” as incestuous self-reinforcement of imperial scholarship. See the author's Letter to Muslims on 'Is Islam really the Last Obstruction to World Government and Absolute Scientific Global Dictatorship?', and Chapter-8 of Prisoners of the Cave titled 'The Role of American Muslims in Empire Building'.
The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley ( http://tinyurl.com/zahir-
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