Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Islam: Shorthand for failure.

Islam prohibits bida, innovation as we call it in English. Islam is misoneic; it is a primitive fascist ideology that fears and hates the new. And yet there is newness abounding even in the most primitive of Muslim areas, Saudi Arabia, for example. How do they cope with such a blatant contradiction? How can they accept one day riding camels across the desert and the next having Ford pick-up trucks crashing into everything solid? (See The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom, Updated Edition by Sandra MacKey.) How about resorting to pure and plain magical thinking and childish pretend? Technology from the West is not technology from the West, it is islamic technology in the hands of Muslims, as one reads in Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey by V.S. Naipaul. There's nothing deeper than that to explain away Western advances the Muslim world cannot even dream of matching. In dealing with Islam we find ourselves dealing with primitive people whose minds are stunted from birth by demands they "submit." There is no innovation allowed in canonical Islam. There hasn't been for roughly 1,200 years. We are dealing with primitive people, savages and fanatics who are literally made stupid by their religion. Allah, the moon god, supposedly speaks Arabic. The Qur'an is in Arabic. Not a word of the Qur'an is supposed to be changed or altered in any fashion. Learning to recite the Qur'an in Arabic is seen among Muslims as a great achievement. It matters not that the reciter doesn't understand the words.

Let's look at a bit of innovation in the West. Let's look at just one man and see what he did-- and what is not possible in the world of Islam.

Pitman, Sir Isaac, 1813–97, English inventor of phonographic shorthand. In Stenographic Soundhand (1837) he set forth a shorthand system based on phonetic rather than orthographic principles; adapted to more than a dozen languages, it became one of the most-used systems in the world.


International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

The IPA was first published in 1888 by the Association Phonétique Internationale (International Phonetic Association), a group of French language teachers founded by Paul Passy. The aim of the organisation was to devise a system for transcribing the sounds of speech which was independent of any particular language and applicable to all languages. A phonetic script for English created in 1847 by Isaac Pitman and Henry Ellis was used as a model for the IPA.


The IPA is used in dictionaries to indicate the pronunciation of words.
The IPA has often been used as a basis for creating new writing systems for previously unwritten languages.
The IPA is used in some foreign language text books and phrase books to transcribe the sounds of languages which are written with non-Latin alphabets. It is also used by non-native speakers of English when learning to speak English.


Innovation. We in the West do it as a matter of course. We admire those who are successful innovators. Innovation is a good thing to us. Even shorthand. It leads to the IPA, a very good thing for linguists and people who care about languages other than Arabic. And knowing other languages leads one to discoveries and innovations that will lead us to a future well beyond homicide bombing, honor killing, and mass slaughter of those we hate and fear from resentment and shame and the failure of Islamic religion. Isaac Pitman, who did not foresee the IPA, is one innovator. One guy! A billion Muslims, and all we get from them is children blowing themselves up in the hope of having sex with 72 virgins.

Google. ebay. Youtube.

Jihad. Homicide-bombing. Al Jezeera.

Shorthand for success? Innovation.


Snefru said...

What a ridiculous translation of the Arabic word. Also, how ignorant of the author to say that Islam prohibits innovation.

Even articles written by hardcore christian/jewish/atheist writers don't make such a claim.

Like I said, ignorant

dag said...

Thank you so much, Faisal, for coming to the rescue of humanity by clearing up this outrageous translation of bida. I shall immediate cut off my head.

truepeers said...

Well since neither of you guys elucidated the meaning of the word, I went to Wikipedia:
Bida: "may refer to:
* the Islamic concept of "innovation", see Bid'ah
* a town in Nigeria"

And so I went to Wikipedia's entry on Bid'ah: "In Islam, Bid‘ah (Arabic: بدعة‎ "innovation") is an improper religious beliefs, specifically religious innovation or practices that were not advocated by Muhammad.

"The role of bid`ah is a hotly debated topic among Muslim scholars. Many Sunni Muslims consider it to be a violation of fundamental Islamic principles, and thus those who engage in bid`ah are accused of practicing heresy. They base this in part on a hadith recorded in al-Bukhari and al-Muslim, reported by Aisha, in which Muhammad said, "Whoever innovates into this affair of ours something that we have not commanded it is to be rejected."[citation needed] Another is: "Every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the hellfire."[citation needed]

"However, there are also many Sunni Muslims who differentiate between an innovation of misguidance and an innovation of guidance. Such beneficial innovation is known as "Bid`ah hasana" which means "good innovation". The good innovations are those innovations that comply with the Qur'an and the narrations of Hadith, whereas the bad innovations or 'innovations of misguidance' are those innovations that do not comply with the Qur'an and the narrations of Muhammad. Every innovation created by the people of knowledge that complies with the Qur'an and acceptable hadith is a good innovation, as indicated by the following hadith of Muhammad narrated by al-Muslim:

"The one who innovates a good innovation in Islam has its reward and the reward of those who would practice with it until the Day of Judgement ­­without lessening the rewards of those who practice with it. The one who innovates the innovation of misguidance, would take the sin for it and the sin of those who practice with it until the Day of Judgement ­­without lessening the sin of those who practice with it".[citation needed] ""

I have to conclude that this doesn't take us very far. I take it as a given that it is not humanly possible for any social or religious system to remain entirely unchanged: human beings are continually eroding and reworking all systems of order - that's our nature regardless of any religion. So, the question becomes for me, how open to change or innovation is such and such an institution? - this question requires a historical perspective that goes beyond paradigmatic statements, however important the latter in helping us understand the basis of a historical process.

Paradigmatically, Wikipedia suggests to me that Islam has some problems in being fully committed to innovation, which may not be an entirely bad thing. Anyway, the proof is in the pudding - shall we debate the legacy of Islamic art, science, or ethics?

What I query most about Dag's post is his concept of fascism: " Islam prohibits bida, innovation as we call it in English. Islam is misoneic; it is a primitive fascist ideology that fears and hates the new."

Can fascism be a primitive ideology or is it - as I think - something specific to modernism, an ideology for reducing the human past to some simple terms that serve as the basis for a gnostic "progressive" ideology that makes some revolutionary claim on the future? To quote Adam Katz:

"The ultimate struggles in modernity have thus far concerned the question of which sign will represent the human. The 20th century totalitarian movements answered this question by seeking to abolish that space between past and future, in some combination reducing the future wholly to the past and dissolving the past into a projected completely transformed future (both Nazism and Communism synthesize the inflaming, hardening and directing of ancient hatreds with the promise to thoroughly transform humanity); today’s totalitarian Islam follows the same logic, but only in conjunction with White Guilt, which for its part bizarrely wants not a single crime committed by the powerful to be forgotten or mitigated while proposing a future in which human nature will be so transformed as to make such crimes impossible."

This interpretation would throw into doubt the concept of Islam being a "primitive fascism". Much of Islam today, in its relationship to western modernity, might be seen as totalitarian or fascist in a way that earlier Islam, for better or worse, could not have been. This is to suggest, I think, that Islam's traditional rejection of the Infidels, as the forerunners in matters monotheistic, is not the equivalent of White Guilt's utter abandonment of any normative western sacred from fear that the normal is always oppressive and exclusionary of someonone. In other words, classical dhimmitude - that maintained some (second class) space for practice of the the infidel's sacred norms - and hierachical Islamic society are not "fascist", however inequitous and barbarous in their own historically specfic ways.