Shima spoke to Asif Hussein, Vice President of Outreach at the Center for Islamic Studies (CIS), about the cultural contributions of Muslims and misconceptions about Islamic beliefs.
You have lectured extensively on Muslim cultural contributions. So how do you account for such national and international contributions?
Throughout history, Islam has been a very dynamic force that has borrowed extensively from cultures and contributed to them. From it came the domes of our mosques and the crescent moon symbol, originally the symbol of Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium. When the Ottoman Turks occupied it in 1453, it became a symbol of Islam. Muslims improved architecture, and the onion-shaped domes of the Bavaria Kremlin and the pointed towers of Neuschwanstein Castle resemble Islamic minarets, such as those found in the Great Mosque in Medina and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
In medicine, early Muslims borrowed from Greece, giving rise to a medical tradition known as Unani (literally Greek). Muslims improved it and passed it on to Europe, so his Qanoon Fit Tibb or Canon of Medicine of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) was the standard textbook in European universities until the 18th century.
Even in Sri Lanka we find that Muslims make a very significant contribution in terms of food, clothing and entertainment. Clothing, entertainment such as ravana and kite flying all originate from Sinhala’s Moorish and Malay communities. The nose ornament, widely worn by Tamil women, was also introduced by Muslims. In the good old days, Arab and Muslim women wore such ornaments extensively.
Is Islamic fundamentalism taking root in the local Muslim community? If so, what can be done about it?
Fundamentalism may be the wrong word to use in this context, as a fundamentalist is someone who literally sticks to the basics of their faith. The appropriate word to use might be extremist rather than fundamentalist. There are some radical interpretations of local Islam by Saudi-influenced Salafi scholars, especially on issues such as the niqab (face covering). But even in Saudi Arabia, such extremist attitudes are no longer tolerated, and that’s a good thing.Islam requires people to dress modestly and cover only their face and hands. To say faith should cover more than that goes beyond Islamic teachings and is arguably an expression of extremism. I still believe that individual liberties are important, but especially so long as they are not coerced or coerced through religion.
However, this extremism has not made much headway in Sri Lankan society and is rejected by the overwhelming majority of Muslims. Indeed, the bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday shook and shocked communities. Because even in my worst nightmares, I never imagined such a thing could happen. As we now know, there were other sinister interests behind these terrorist attacks. What these terrorists did was contrary to all Islamic teachings, especially attacks on religious places of worship and killing of innocent people.
You focus a lot on the past as inspiration for coexistence between Muslims and people of other religions.
Muslims have coexisted with other communities on the island for over 1,000 years. They did not arrive here as invaders, but as peaceful merchants, they have made great contributions to our country over the centuries by supplying essential goods to isolated communities such as Vedda and the landlocked kingdom of Kandian. did colonial power. They also married Sinhalese and, to a lesser extent, Tamils. This is probably why we find Kandy Muslims still have Sinhalese nicknames. It has been.
This means they are the most inclusive and have a very similar DNA to the Sinhalese. This is mostly true of the maternal lineage, which attests to early Moors marrying local women and settling here. But there is also a Moorish Sinhalese paternal lineage, which shows how close these two communities have been in the past. Simply by promoting in every possible way that we are one with the other communities that have made this beautiful island our home.
There is a misconception that women are not treated equally in Islam. How true is this?
This is a common misconception, largely due to the way Islam is interpreted in certain countries such as Saudi Arabia. In Islam, women are free to own and control property and conduct business transactions in their own right. They are free to marry a partner of their choice and can do so without the consent of a male guardian such as a father or brother. Many of these rights conferred in both the Ahdis or traditions of Islam are trampled on in countries like Saudi Arabia, which are more concerned with preserving tribal traditions than with the true laws of Islam.
In some cases, the West intentionally complicates the picture, especially when it comes to issues like female genital mutilation. Sure, Islam has nothing to do with her FGM, but there is something called female circumcision. Similar to male circumcision, this involves removing a small amount of skin, the foreskin that covers the clitoris, ensuring improved genital hygiene and sexual pleasure. But the West perpetuates this myth that equates it with FGM, as occurs in certain African countries. Fortunately, Islamic organizations and publications are now beginning to address these topics.The leading international Islamic magazine, Al-Jumuah, has a cover story on circumcision for Muslim women, which states that circumcision should be compulsory. It explains very well why and outlines its many health and sexual benefits. Thus, the question is not only how Islam is interpreted in a particular society, but also how Islam is portrayed in the West.
Sharia law is generally considered to be a very strict set of laws and not suitable for the modern world. what do you think about this?
Sharia law is quite different from what is commonly understood. You wouldn’t believe me when I said it was, until recently, one of the most, perhaps, the most generous legal systems the world has known. But it is a fact. Hand amputated for theft. Did you know that at least 13 conditions must be met to chop off a thief’s hand, and no penalties apply if any of these conditions are not met? In fact, in Ottoman Turkey, where sharia was applied for more than three centuries, there were only a handful of cases in which thieves had their hands cut off.
It was very difficult to establish the legal conditions requiring the execution of punishments. The stolen items must have been of a certain value, such as $40 or more in the present context, and should have been kept in storage, such as a safe, and not in a public place or in sight. It should not have happened. Even after all of these conditions have expired, it is still possible to save the thief from punishment if the victim comes forward and gifts. By contrast, in Britain he could send thieves to the gallows without the weakening conditions imposed by Islam until the early 1800s.
Then have an affair. Sure, death by stoning may be a punishment, but it would take as many as four witnesses to prove adultery, and these four would have seen the offending couple penetrated. The purpose of the is not to humiliate or mutilate, but to impress potential criminals with the seriousness of their crimes, prevent their evils from being publicly broadcast, and ensure that the day’s It’s about keeping things in order.
http://island.lk/muslims-contribution-to-sri-lanka-and-the-world-some-little-known-facts/ Little Known Facts – Islands