Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Should Adhalath sheiks be put to death?

Under Islamic Sharia, they could well be. More than one Adhalath sheikh has at one time or other accused Gayoom of not being Muslim. Under Sharia law, the punishment for apostasy is death. But a person who accuses another of apostasy and is unable to prove it must suffer the same punishment themselves. Leading Adhalath sheikhs Hussein Rasheed Ahmed and Abdul Majeed Bari failed to prove in court that Gayoom was not a Sunni Muslim. If the Maldives had enforced Sharia punishments, it is highly probable that these two would not be alive today to voice their laughable threats against Anni.

In their most recent rants, Adhalath sheikhs have been threatening to bring Anni down from power if he continued to argue for the abolishing of Hadd punishments, which the conservatives are interpreting as anti-Islamic. In the process,  Adhalath may be overplaying their own role in the fall of Gayoom. In fact, Gayoom won in the first round despite Adhalath's open lobbying against him. On the other hand, the Adhalath-endorsed candidate Gasim, despite his unlimited powers and resources, only managed to get fourth place. When Gasim joined the MDP coalition Adhalath had no choice but to follow their master or fade into obscurity.

The truth is Adhalath never had enough support in the Maldives to field a presidential candidate of its own, which was made glaringly obvious in its failure to win any seat in the parliamentary elections. The only power it now has is the Islamic ministry, which the government must surely have realised is a big mistake. 

Adhalath's string of failures include the banning of DJs, Airtell, dissenting websites, and their much mocked plans to start a TV station with Zakath money. In contrast, Adhalath has never raised its voice against child abuse or done anything to stop the spread of terrorism in the name of Islam by a growing number of Maldives. 

But their biggest lie may be the unquestioning equation of Islamic Sharia Law with Islam. In fact the only unquestionable source in Islam is the Quran. Sharia law, while containing elements from the Quran weighs more towards Hadiths. For instance, there's no reference to stoning to death in the Quran. 

The second most important source of Islamic Sharia is a proven liar. Abu Huraira, who narrated over 5000 Hadiths (Aisha, the prophet's wife narrated just over 2,000), was accused by the Prophet's companions of fabricating sayings just to gain status in society. Indeed, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second guided Caliph, threatened to send Abu Huraira into exile if he did not stop lying about the Prophet. 

But, as with the buruga, the religious conservatives, heavily influenced by Wahhabism and the generous funds they receive for spreading it in the Maldives, tend to forget this. Many progressive Islamic scholars only regard Hadith as useful to establish a historic context to Islam. As for Sharia law, emerging scholars have dismissed it as deeply flawed and archaic. But criticism of Sharia law amounts to just that, and cannot be said to be a rejection of Islam.

But Adhalath has always worked to mislead the public and use religion as a tool for their personal gains, just like Gayoom did in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The irony is that if the Maldives implemented Islamic Sharia Law, Adhalath sheikhs, known for their blunders and buffoonery, are more likely to find themselves at the receiving end of its many cruel and inhumane punishments.