Conceptions, inceptions and misconceptions
I’ve been having a rather interesting debate on one of the forums I frequent. And it’s again about that message from Dan Simmons Usually, I don’t like cross-posting since it feels a bit like promoting your own point of view or encouraging your cronies to go over and bash somebody up on your behalf :p However, since this particular conversation is so convoluted and drawn out, that I don’t think I could give any idea of all that it encompasses without actually sending somebody over there to read it. If that’s your cup of tea, of course.
Now the central point in the debate that has been running through today is that this particular person seems to think that there is no difference between those individuals who commit all sorts of dastardly deeds in the name of Islam and true Muslims who actually follow the Qur’an and the prophets teachings. Of course, she often mentions that she believes that Islam is not all bad and that it has the potential for good etc. But she keeps coming back to saying that Islam today is militant and that Muslims everywhere have not risen up to cast out the terrorists who commit heinous atrocities in the name of Islam and so that it is the fault of Islam in its entirety – not just a few misguided individuals.
As the discussion progressed, she threw out terms like dhimmi and Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb. To be honest, I had not heard the terms before. However, she was kind enough to provide me with wikipedia links and I noticed something. The wikipedia entry clearly states "Dar al-Islam and its associated terms are not found in the two most basic works of Islam, the Qur’an and the Hadith". Now Muslims are supposed to shape their lives based on the Qur’an and the Hadith. Those define the core rules for Islam. But these words that she tosses out to indicate how virulent and vile Islam is are not part of the core of Islam! I realized at that point that she obviously had not read the wikipedia entry herself or had not understood the implications of what that single line in wikipedia actually means.
Either way, the way I saw it, here was somebody who was talking about radical Islam and how Islam spawns (or at least nurtures) terrorism and so on but she had no real clue as to what Islam was all about. She had not actually bothered to read the core teachings – instead, she relied on what others said about Islam. At least, that was my conclusion. Of course, I might be wrong :p But it still begs the question, how many people are out there who know nothing of Islam beyond what they are told by hate mongers and other ill-informed people? How many people hate (or fear) something without actually knowing what it is that they hate? But then again, we always fear the unknown, don’t we?