Monday, March 24, 2003

here, sports fans, is

REQUIRED READING!!!

[the whole thing about of the "why" of Al Qaeda and the Muslim philosophy of Terror and Holy war!!]

I have condensed severely this artcle. after the end of the article, i give a comment or three, about it, my own feelings about what he writes.
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the
full ten page article is HERE


The Philosopher of Islamic Terror
By PAUL BERMAN
New York Times, Sunday, mar 23rd

on the Arabian peninsula. But Al Qaeda has broader roots. The organization was created in the late 1980's by an affiliation of three armed factions -- bin Laden's circle of ''Afghan'' Arabs, together with two factions from Egypt, the Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the latter led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's top theoretician. The Egyptian factions emerged from an older current, a school of thought from within Egypt's fundamentalist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the 1950's and 60's. And at the heart of that single school of thought stood, until his execution in 1966, a philosopher named Sayyid Qutb -- the intellectual hero of every one of the groups that eventually went into Al Qaeda, their Karl Marx (to put it that way), their guide.

Qutb (pronounced KUH-tahb) wrote a book called ''Milestones,'' and that book was cited at his trial, which gave it immense publicity, especially after its author was hanged. ''Milestones'' became a classic manifesto of the terrorist wing of Islamic fundamentalism. A number of journalists have dutifully turned the pages of ''Milestones,'' trying to decipher the otherwise inscrutable terrorist point of view. ................
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Qutb is not shallow. Qutb is deep. ''In the Shade of the Qur'an'' is, in its fashion, a masterwork. Al Qaeda and its sister organizations are not merely popular, wealthy, global, well connected and institutionally sophisticated. These groups stand on a set of ideas too, and some of those ideas may be pathological, which is an old story in modern politics; yet even so, the ideas are powerful. We should have known that, of course. But we should have known many things. ....................
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I Qutb wrote that, all over the world, humans had reached a moment of unbearable crisis. The human race had lost touch with human nature. Man's inspiration, intelligence and morality were degenerating. Sexual relations were deteriorating ''to a level lower than the beasts.'' Man was miserable, anxious and skeptical, sinking into idiocy, insanity and crime. People were turning, in their unhappiness, to drugs, alcohol and existentialism. Qutb admired economic productivity and scientific knowledge. But he did not think that wealth and science were rescuing the human race. He figured that, on the contrary, the richest countries were the unhappiest of all. And what was the cause of this unhappiness -- this wretched split between man's truest nature and modern life?
A great many cultural critics in Europe and America asked this question in the middle years of the 20th century, and a great many of them, following Nietzsche and other philosophers, pointed to the origins of Western civilization in ancient Greece, where man was said to have made his fatal error. This error was philosophical. It consisted of placing an arrogant and deluded faith in the power of human reason -- an arrogant faith that, after many centuries, had created in modern times a tyranny of technology over life.
Qutb shared that analysis, somewhat. Only instead of locating the error in ancient Greece, he located it in ancient Jerusalem. In the Muslim fashion, Qutb looked on the teachings of Judaism as being divinely revealed by God to Moses and the other prophets. Judaism instructed man to worship one God and to forswear all others. Judaism instructed man on how to behave in every sphere of life -- how to live a worldly existence that was also a life at one with God. This could be done by obeying a system of divinely mandated laws, the code of Moses. In Qutb's view, however, Judaism withered into what he called ''a system of rigid and lifeless ritual.'' ................
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The Philosopher of Islamic Terror

(Page 4 of 10)

Who but Sayyid Qutb, from his miserable prison in Nasser's Egypt, could have zeroed in so plausibly on the difficulties encountered by Jesus' disciples in getting out the word? Qutb figured that, as a result, the Christian Gospels were badly garbled, and should not be regarded as accurate or reliable. The Gospels declared Jesus to be divine, but in Qutb's Muslim account, Jesus was a mere human -- a prophet of God, not a messiah. The larger catastrophe, however, was this: Jesus' disciples, owing to what Qutb called ''this unpleasant separation of the two parties,'' went too far in rejecting the Jewish teachings.
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Jesus' disciples and followers, the Christians, emphasized Jesus' divine message of spirituality and love. But they rejected Judaism's legal system, the code of Moses, which regulated every jot and tittle of daily life. Instead, the early Christians imported into Christianity the philosophy of the Greeks -- the belief in a spiritual existence completely separate from physical life, a zone of pure spirit. .............
.......... But this was no good at all. Monastic asceticism stands at odds with the physical quality of human nature. In this manner, in Qutb's view, Christianity lost touch with the physical world. The old code of Moses, with its laws for diet, dress, marriage, sex and everything else, had enfolded the divine and the worldly into a single concept, which was the worship of God. But Christianity divided these things into two, the sacred and the secular. Christianity said, ''Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's.'' Christianity put the physical world in one corner and the spiritual world in another corner: Constantine's debauches over here, monastic renunciation over there. In Qutb's view there was a ''hideous schizophrenia'' in this approach to life. And things got worse.

A series of Christian religious councils adopted what Qutb thought to be irrational principles on Christianity's behalf -- principles regarding the nature of Jesus, the Eucharist, transubstantiation and other questions, all of which were, in Qutb's view, ''absolutely incomprehensible, inconceivable and incredible.'' Church teachings froze the irrational principles into dogma. And then the ultimate crisis struck................
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Church divided into two. And, under these terrible pressures, the European mind split finally asunder. The break became total. Christianity, over here; atheism, over there. It was the fateful divorce between the sacred and the secular.............
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Europe's scientific and technical achievements allowed the Europeans to dominate the world. And the Europeans inflicted their ''hideous schizophrenia'' on peoples and cultures in every corner of the globe................
................. That was Qutb's analysis. In writing about modern life, he put his finger on something that every thinking person can recognize, if only vaguely -- the feeling that human nature and modern life are somehow at odds. But Qutb evoked this feeling in a specifically Muslim fashion.....................
....................... And why had the liberal societies of the West lost sight of the natural harmony of gender roles and of women's place in the family and the home? This was because of the ''hideous schizophrenia'' of modern life -- the Western outlook that led people to picture God's domain in one place and the ordinary business of daily life in some other place. ................
................... The truly dangerous element lay in America's separation of church and state -- the modern political legacy of Christianity's ancient division between the sacred and the secular. This was not a political criticism. This was theological -- though Qutb, or perhaps his translators, preferred the word ''ideological.'' ..............
............... Qutb's vanguard was going to reinstate shariah, the Muslim code, as the legal code for all of society..............
................. But Qutb refused to regard these punishments as barbarous or primitive. Shariah, in his view, meant liberation. Other societies, drawing on non-Koranic principles, forced people to obey haughty masters and man-made law. Those other societies forced people to worship their own rulers and to do as the rulers said -- even if the rulers were democratically chosen. Under shariah, no one was going to be forced to obey mere humans. Shariah, in Qutb's view, meant ''the abolition of man-made laws.'' In the resurrected caliphate, every person was going to be ''free from servitude to others.'' The true Islamic system meant ''the complete and true freedom of every person and the full dignity of every individual of the society. On the other hand, in a society in which some people are lords who legislate and some others are slaves who obey, then there is no freedom in the real sense, nor dignity for each and every individual.''
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He insisted that shariah meant freedom of conscience -- though freedom of conscience, in his interpretation, meant freedom from false doctrines that failed to recognize God, freedom from the modern schizophrenia. Shariah, in a word, was utopia for Sayyid Qutb. It was perfection. It was the natural order in the universal. It was freedom, justice, humanity and divinity in a single system. It was a vision as grand or grander than Communism or any of the other totalitarian doctrines of the 20th century. It was, in his words, ''the total liberation of man from enslavement by others.'' It was an impossible vision -- a vision that was plainly going to require a total dictatorship in order to enforce: a vision that, by claiming not to rely on man-made laws, was going to have to rely, instead, on theocrats, who would interpret God's laws to the masses. The most extreme despotism was all too visible in Qutb's revolutionary program. That much should have been obvious to anyone who knew the history of the other grand totalitarian revolutionary projects of the 20th century, the projects of the Nazis, the Fascists and the Communists. ................
............... He wanted the true Muslims to engage in a lifelong study of the Koran -- the lifelong study that his own gigantic commentary was designed to enhance. But most of all, he wanted his vanguard to accept the obligations of ''jihad,'' which is to say, the struggle for Islam. And what would that mean, to engage in jihad in the present and not just in the sci-fi utopian future? ................
............. One of his Indian publishers has highlighted this point in a remarkably gruesome manner by attaching an unsigned preface to a 1998 edition of ''Milestones.'' The preface declares: ''The ultimate price for working to please God Almighty and to propagate his ways in this world is often one's own life. The author'' -- Qutb, that is -- ''tried to do it; he paid for it with his life. If you and I try to do it, there is every likelihood we will be called upon to do the same. But for those who truly believe in God, what other choice is there?'' ................................
On the contrary, we keep learning how well educated these people are, [his followers] how many of them come from the upper class, how wealthy they are. And there is no reason for us to be surprised. These people are in possession of a powerful philosophy, which is Sayyid Qutb's. They are in possession of a gigantic work of literature, which is his ''In the Shade of the Qur'an.'' These people feel that, by consulting their own doctrines, they can explain the unhappiness of the world. They feel that, with an intense study of the Koran, as directed by Qutb and his fellow thinkers, they can make sense of thousands of years of theological error. They feel that, in Qutb's notion of shariah, they command the principles of a perfect society. .....................
..................... These people believe that, in the entire world, they alone are preserving Islam from extinction. They feel they are benefiting the world, even if they are committing random massacres. They are certainly not worried about death. Qutb gave these people a reason to yearn for death. Wisdom, piety, death and immortality are, in his vision of the world, the same. For a pious life is a life of struggle or jihad for Islam, and struggle means martyrdom. We may think: those are creepy ideas. And yes, the ideas are creepy. But there is, in Qutb's presentation, a weird allure in those ideas. ........................
...............VII It would be nice to think that, in the war against terror, our side, too, speaks of deep philosophical ideas -- it would be nice to think that someone is arguing with the terrorists and with the readers of Sayyid Qutb. But here I have my worries. The followers of Qutb speak, in their wild fashion, of enormous human problems, and they urge one another to death and to murder. But the enemies of these people speak of what? The political leaders speak of United Nations resolutions, of unilateralism, of multilateralism, of weapons inspectors, of coercion and noncoercion. This is no answer to the terrorists. The terrorists speak insanely of deep things. The antiterrorists had better speak sanely of equally deep things. Presidents will not do this. Presidents will dispatch armies, or decline to dispatch armies, for better and for worse.
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But who will speak of the sacred and the secular, of the physical world and the spiritual world? Who will defend liberal ideas against the enemies of liberal ideas? Who will defend liberal principles in spite of liberal society's every failure? President George W. Bush, in his speech to Congress a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, announced that he was going to wage a war of ideas. He has done no such thing. He is not the man for that.
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good grief! tis very very hard for me to say anything!
a few thoughts...
......there is a *vast* difference between something which is "correct', and something which is true!
........one must get beyond "zing' and yan", and get beyond "duality", to deal with what this man writes about!
.......the Passage up the main Pyramid tunnel, to the King's Chamber, is blocked by stone: one cannot get Liberation by
LAW ALONE! That is the Old Testament way, "law alone"!
Jesus brought the possibility of personal relationship with God, with Spirit, and a personal, individual, salvation from Death, and a eternal life in heaven, in the Celestial heavens, not just in the spirit heavens!
"Fundamentalism"...is a way that is of "law-only"! matters not if Fundamentalism is of Muslum or of the "First baptist church"!!
LAW does not save your soul.

Sayyid Qutb 's Way is "Law"!

thus, what he writes about, the moral death of the West, because of separation of church and state is correct: but not True!
there is not one place, in his philosophy, for a personal relationship,
*as* an Equal, between Spirit, and an Individual soul!
[...become co-creators with God"]
thus....muslin law as *the* way of life, for all, all of the time, utterly!
...and cannot be otherwise and "the whole world must be converted, NOW, to this!"!!
Thus, if you accept that the west is corrupt *and* that this alienation from God is bought about by the separation of God's ways and laws, from one's daily life, and then cannot get beyond this "antithesis", of Al-Qaeda's Answer..... then there is no "synthesis": no way beyond! one *must* then accept the Muslum Militancy as the Correct Answer
to Humanitity's Problems!
Convert.
now!