Jumaat, 29 November 2013

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Posted: 28 Nov 2013 08:48 AM PST

azlanNo, I have been thinking of what fatwas are right till today: Thanksgiving Day. I have been coming up with tens of my "personal fatwas" for  own consumption after thinking that many of the fatwas I have come across, produced even by "Islamic clerics and scholars" do not make sense nor appeal to my critical sensibility. I hope to produce more. See here for samples.

Religion is culture, I propose. Production of knowledge is a cultural act. Scriptures are cultural-bound and the stories they tell have plots, settings, characterisations, and themes that are culturally or even tribalistically bound.

Consider stories in the Jewish and Christian Bibles and also in the Quran. They speak to the culture of the people of the Fertile Crescent. Consider the Vedas, Sutras, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharatta, the Bahagavda Gita. They are cultural stories.

azlanConsider the Analects of Kung Fu Tze, the Tao Te' Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the Lotus Sutra. They are stories of specific peoples. The become canonical through the promotion of the ideology of their supremacy and through the elevation of the status of the "holiness" of these books. The become "sacred" through the process of being made "holy and sacred" via "rites, ritual, spiritual-authoritisation, legitimisation, and mystification" of these texts.

They are made "universalising" through conquest, colonisation, and imperialist expansion via the act of "civilizing mission", "crusade", "jihad" or any acts that turns religion into a reason to go to war between the "believers and non-believers" with the message of "Accept this or that religion … for your salvation"  with or without swords, guns, rocket-launchers, or missiles - so that the "empire of faith" can be established and expanded.

These are done either through coercion or by force. Through covert or overt operations. Through McDonaldisation of religion or through designer belief systems franchised via the use of broadcast and digital media, financed by big businesses backed by the ethos of this and that religious ethics and the spirit of capitalism.

Religions have evolved into this fundamental character and the call for this or that religious laws to be enacted have matured with the advancement of advanced communication technologies. And in the case of Islam, fatwas may help advance that need to control and make minds be coerced, whether these edicts appeal to pure reason or transport the mind to a cognitive world of pure ridiculousness.

What are fatwas?



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