Saturday, September 15, 2007

Who Are the Believers?

Tonight I am thinking about a comment a friend made recently. He asked me who the "Infidels" in Islam are. "Is it the rest of us who do not believe as Muslims do?" he asked.

I replied that the word
Infidel is not an Islamic term or value. Muslims are not endowed to refer to non-Muslims as Infidels because it is not in keeping with the teachings of the Qur'an.

Islam does not seek to contradict and undermine Judaism or Christianity. On the contrary, Islam is essentially an extension of both though there are distintive differences.

Beyond Judaism and Christianity, Islam recognizes that there are other believers. The universal strand is the emphasis on the oneness of God and living right.

There is no war, real or imagined, with other believers. And the word Infidel is not a marker, historical or other, of antagonism with non-Muslims.

Infidel also does not describe an otherness in Islam. And it is not a vengeful statement about potential enemies. Islam does not have, or describe, natural enemies.

Infidel does, however, conjure the mythical Muslim militant. This is an imagined projection seated in the "Orientalism" that Edward Said characterized.

The following verse from the Qur'an speaks to what I am trying to convey here:

Sura Al Baqara: 2:61

(61) Those who believe (in the Qur'an) and those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures) and the Christians and the Sabians, any who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

The Qur'an is clearly inclusive in the matter of who the believers are.


Nikol said...

What do you think of Obadiah Shoher's extensive reply to Ed Said at ?

Ridwan said...

Hi Nikol. I have not read it but I will and comment here.

Thanks for looking in.


Ridwan said...

Hello Nikol:

I read some of Shoher's review. It is a one-sided apologist position for Israel's brutal oppression of Palestinians.

Edward Said was a scholar among scholars who did not need to stoop to the crass crap that Shoher does.

I would not give any creedence to the nonsense he is peddling as scholarship.

And I am saying this as an academic who uses Said's work in many of my classes.

In fact, I would not even suggest that any of my readers waste their time looking at his stuff.

Are you associated with that site?