Hugh Fitzgerald: an offer you can't refuse

Hugh Fitzgerald,  Thursday, 12 July 2012
Onerous contract
Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.–At-Tawbah : 111

For Prophet, if not for pleasure, I often dip into the website, whence came the hadith of the shoelace of fire. Today I stumbled across their Islamic Khilafah, A Manifesto for Change. Aimed at fellow Muslims rather than gullible infidels, this shamelessly advocates a worldwide Islamic Caliphate as the “only solution”. But while refreshingly free from taqiyya, it nevertheless borrows the clichés of politics and management-speak, not least in the title of one of its chapters: An Effective Visionary Executive. Lest the silliness of this title give false reassurance – aren’t the Muslims as absurd, and as harmless, as our own corporate drones? – it pays to remember that words we think we know do not mean the same in Islam.  Here are a few examples:

“Innocent” as in “Muslims are forbidden from killing innocent people” = “Muslim”. Non-Muslims are never innocent.

“Peace” = “submission”, that of the whole world to Islam.

“Knowledge” as in the much-quoted “Seek knowledge even as far as China” = religious knowledge. In practice, since only one religion is allowed, this means Koranic knowledge

“Freedom” as in the Arab Spring to which the Manifesto for Change pays tribute = freedom from secular rule and all opposition to Islam. Effectively, free rein – and free reign – to Islam.

Armed with my inner English to Muslim-English dictionary, I read the first paragraph of the Effective Visionary Executive chapter:

The Shari’ah puts extensive executive powers in the hands of the Khaleefah thus empowering him to make radical and far-reaching decisions in the long term interests of the people. There is a contract (bayah) between the people and the Khaleefah, where the people pledge obedience and the Khaleefah pledges to rule by Islam.

A contract? Something has been lost in translation. Bayah means something like “oath of allegiance”. To translate it as contract, with all the latter word’s connotations of common law, fair dealing and Englishness, is incompetent at best, or plain disingenuous.

A contract, as any schoolboy ought to know, requires offer, acceptance, intention to create legal relations and consideration. Does the empowered Khaleefah pass these tests?

Well, there is an offer, to be sure, one that the offeree cannot refuse, on pain of death or crippling poll-tax and humiliation. An invitation to threat, perhaps?

Acceptance? Indeed – in the form of inshallah fatalism. What cannot be cured must be endured.

Intention to create legal relations? Certainly if one takes the pledge one had better intend it, as there is no way out other than death.

Consideration? That’s the stumbling block. Islam has no consideration, whether of feelings or of peppercorns.

In conclusion, the Islamic contract fails on the fourth test, and will always be frustrated.

3 thoughts on “Hugh Fitzgerald: an offer you can't refuse”

  1. It is curious that muslims advocate the same failed system, without changes, that has demonstrated its complete inability to coexist with the modern world.

  2. It is curious that muslims advocate the same failed system, without changes, that has demonstrated its complete inability to coexist with the modern world.

  3. Kaw, they do not want to coexist. Their aim is to convert the whole world to Islam – by any means. To take the world back to an uncivilized barbaric 7th century cess-pool.

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