Sadaqallaah Al Azeem

Syed Akbar Ali

The Taliban too are an uneducated class of religious scholars who attended village madrasahs and ‘darul uloom’ (equivalent to sekolah pondok) which usually did not have water, electricity, proper toilets or even a floor. The floor was dried mud or sand. The infamous Darul Uloom in India (where many Taliban leaders were trained) has only in recent times been fitted with running water and modern toilets.

A friend who attended a sekolah pondok in Gunung Semanggol (in the 50s?) recalls how the ‘guru’ made the students fetch water from the well for him. The students were made to perform chores around the sekolah pondok for the material comfort of the guru. All humans need material comforts.

What people do not realise is that the Taliban or the sekolah pondok became removed and out of touch with reality because they did not rely too much on the use of intelligence. They were actually far removed from Islam. They also followed their own lusts and their own confused understanding of religion which really has no legitimacy in Islam. That is why they end up so poor, violent, crude and always fighting with other human beings.

Their method of proving a point is very simple – either they become violent towards you or they shut you up using state sanctioned force (arrest, trial by religious courts, imprisonment etc). That is how they preserve their religious views. This is called intellectual cowardice. When you use force or anger to project your religious views – it simply shows you are bankrupt.

This resorting to religious violence and religious anger to intimidate someone is still part and parcel of almost all people who call themselves “Muslims” – even you my dear readers.

A long time ago there was an article called “A Letter To The Prophet” The title was an offtake from a article written by the Catholic Pope titled ‘A Letter To Jesus Christ’.

The ‘Letter to the Prophet’ was a complaint to the Prophet about how the religious scholars had abused his name to corrupt Islam. Anyway I sent a copy of the article to some friends. I was shocked when one of them said the writer of the article should be killed !!

More than once since then I have met people whom I thought were educated and rational who tried to ‘expose’ me to other people by telling them about my critical views about religion. Their intention was to embarrass me or shame me in public. Now this is only possible when they know that the public can be irrational or dangerous.

I mean if someone in New York says “I dont believe in Santa Claus” you cannot really embarass such a person by ‘exposing’ his beliefs about Santa Claus. But if someone here says ‘I know that Haron Jin is a conman’ it is possible to use this information against that person. Why? Because Haron Jin has numerous supporters among the lame – including those who say that his ‘jinn’ escapades are now “urban legends”.

If placed in a free and unfettered environment where you only have intellectual debate to prove your point, too many of the so called religious scholars will feel like a fish out of water. Discussing and debating intelligently is not within their capability.

The problem now (for the rest of the world) is that the Taliban types too are benefiting from “modernisation”. They are part and parcel of the shrinking world. While we may not be reaching them, they are certainly intruding more into our lives.

Electricity has come to Afghanistan. Our sekolah pondok also have water, electricity, tv, radio and other modern conveniences. They have modern classrooms, time tables for classess, modern printed textbooks and such. None of these conveniences are the product of their own effort. These are all the products of science and technology – products of the secular west. But n’theless they take benefit from it.

But they are still backward. Why? Because they have not gotten rid of their unIslamic ways of thinking. To digress – an even bigger anomaly are the Wahabis and Salafis from Saudi Arabia. They have not changed their basic outlook from the time they embarked on their barbaric religious killing and butchering of two hundred years ago. For over two hundreds years they butchered people in the Hejaz in the name of their violent Wahhabism.

They are convinced that their backward, illegitimate form of Wahhabi religion is the true faith. They do not realise that for two hundred years (actually longer than that) their lands in the Hejaz became the home of an uncultured and uncivilised people. I am talking about them.

Then in the 20th century oil was discovered in the lands they occupied. This made them fabulously wealthy. To them the oil wealth was a “God send” – they said that it was God who had chosen them and blessed them with so much wealth as a reward for upholding the true form of their religion. To them Wahhabism was the true religion.

But their wealth has nothing to do with God rewarding their religious beliefs. Their wealth is due to Texas oilmen who extracted the oil and the millions of motorcars made with Western technology which require petrol. However this little detail has not stopped the Wahhabis from spending their money to export Wahhabism all around the world. Wahhabism and militant Shiahism now form the largest threats to peace and harmony among Muslims all over the world. The Wahhabis think that God gave them the oil wealth which they must use to save the world through Wahhabism.

The Wahhabis, the Taliban, the madrassah and the sekolah pondok people have not changed the way they think. They are still the same people who ended up in the Club of Doom.

The only problem for the rest of us is that they now have access to the whole world. They have access to us. They have oil money, they sit in ultra modern universities and populate the school hallways. They are now mainstream. Tapi otak dia masih kosong lagi.