Completely Detached from the World
Wednesday 04 July 2007
Turki al-Hamad is a distinguished Saudi-Arabian
political analyst, journalist, and novelist. Al-Hamad was educated in Saudi
Arabia and the United States, where he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of
Southern California, later returning to Riyadh to teach political science. He
retired in 1995 to take up writing full-time.
With much pain and anguish, Umm Kulthum sings reprimanding her presumed lover
over his harsh treatment, she sings, “So far away you are from love. To love,
you are unfair. If you had fallen in love for just two days, your love would
have made you an angel.”
If we were to apply this song so that it refers to two worlds instead of lovers;
the Arab world and the rest of the surrounding world, the words would say, “So
far you are from the rest of the world. To the world you are so unfair. If only
you lived for just two days, it would have made you human.”
Observing the Arab world today causes such bewilderment that one can only quote
the poet who said that “severe calamities rear laughter”.
It is a strange world that cannot be compared to anything that has preceded it
or anything that has followed except for the case of the Byzantium ‘scholars’
who had busied themselves in futile debate about how many angels can dance at
the top of a pin and if angels are male or female, among other such questions
pondered in the mental fogginess that engulfed them while Byzantium was besieged
from all sides by the armies of the Sultan of Bani Othman, Mohamed al Fatih.
But if Byzantium had surpassed this stage a long time ago, it seems that the
Arab world has only just entered it; that stage of loss and confusion and the
burial of brains. We thought we had seen the end of that phase over nearly a
century ago at the dawn of the Arab renaissance. The Arab world is besieged by
nations and people who are racing in a world that does not in the least care
about angels and pins and other such concerns.
After all, what is the value of a subject when the issue in question is human
fate? The Arab world today is not unlike the Byzantium of old, or ancient Athens
in its last days, or the ancient Roman Empire before it collapsed, even Persia
at the peak of its deterioration and ancient Pharaonic Egypt in its darkest
days. All had in common the same impotent dialogue about futile issues that have
nothing to do with the people living at the time.
Around the world things are moving and developing in a way wherein everyone is
trying to contribute to the happiness of humanity in all aspects, whereas in the
Arab world there is the propagation of a culture that advocates death and
threatens with doom and evil wishes for whomever it deems to have deviated from
its rules. In the Arab world, everything that has meaning is eliminated; in
fact, anything that is beautiful and alive in humans is annihilated through
pointless arguments and scandalous behavior. It is this culture that is
responsible for our transformation into this mark of shame in the history of
At a time when the world heralds in a culture that champions hope and the
future, human rights, the value of humans and their happiness, despite all the
shortcomings that exist in this world, some parties in the Arab world are
encouraging a culture of glorifying death, despair, revenge and dwelling on the
past. They believe that man was only born to die and that his only reason for
living is to become a victim whose blood is spilled on some altar or another.
Although the massacres in our homes are increasing, still, the victim remains
the same dying on one of the altars.
To us, the world is nothing more than an experience and an examination where one
is either honored or insulted. We fail to see it as the land in which God
manifested his creation so that we may spread life and rekindle the secret of
life. But ours is a culture that kills joy, detests a smile and buries the
spirit of life. We are pessimistic when faced with happiness and are optimistic
about crises and catastrophes deeming it an expression of the love of God, which
is completely contrary to the interpretation of God’s love and will. Among God’s
attributes in the Quran are, ‘the most Merciful and Compassionate’, ‘Forgiving’
and ‘Benevolent’. And yet our culture is one where humans have no value; man is
a non-entity that has no identity or significance.
Man in today’s world is preoccupied with what he can accomplish from the
benefits of the contemporary biological revolution and the discoveries in
genetics, chemistry and physics, while we are too busy with the rules of playing
football and what is allowed and what is prohibited [by religion] and
breastfeeding adults [in reference to a controversial fatwa that was issued and
officially refuted by Al Azhar in Egypt]. Relationships between men and women
are only regarded in a sexual light, while some believe that men are predators
when women are concerned. We blame the West for its ‘sexual liberty’ and ‘moral
deviance’, while everything revolves around sex in our homes whenever any issue
that combines a man and women is brought into discussion.
And yet we search for ways to emulate it [the West], if indeed it actually does
what we say it does. This is all achieved under socially acceptable
justifications; summer-holiday marriages, or travel marriages, or temporary
marriages, and many other different types of marriage that serve the same
purpose in the end except it spares consciences and prevents embarrassment to
any involved party.
The world is preoccupied with issues such as atomic hazards, environmental
pollution and problems in the ozone layer that could confront future
generations, and yet still some of us are engrossed with whether women should be
allowed to drive, or if we should have mixed gender schools, universities,
hospitals and places of worship and the workplace. But the answers to these
questions are completely clear and fully consistent with the Islamic religion
a religion that some try to solely own while their minds are controlled by a
severe mania. Because they are overwhelmed and cannot cope with the contemporary
world, they resort to Byzantium arguments and abstract allegations that no
rational mind would accept to defend.
The world has transcended the stage of inquisitions, or at least it strives
towards that, and the assassination of reason and conscience. Gone are the days
of dishonoring humans. But at the same time, some want to regress and take us
back to that former era, abusing human dignity, which the neo-Inquisition deems
something that can be whipped, flayed, killed, burnt and impaled.
At a time when Europe was crucifying and burning at stakes whomever it believed
was guilty of heresy, even if only on suspicion, the Caliph al Maamoun gathered
advocates of different religions and sects and asked them to debate the matter
without imposing their ideologies on one another.
But those days have come to an end and we are now plagued by those who see in
Medieval Europe an example to follow. All this is achieved in the name of a
‘hijacked’ Islam whose abductors believe the aim is to hold humans in contempt
while holding whole communities to be disbelievers and practicing indulgent acts
to decide who gets to own a palace and who rests inside his grave. They decide
if people should enjoy the pleasures in heaven or suffer in the deep abyss of
This fake Islam has nothing to do with the Prophet’s (pbuh) religion, the
prophet who was sent as a messenger and a mercy to the worlds. These hijackers
have killed him and killed Mohammed’s religion. When can we be true Muslims,