Islam is implemented according to what percentage of the population is Muslim. Hence in a country like Australia where the number of Muslims is comparatively small but increasing, Muslims will often say their responsibility is to obey the laws of the country in which they live, rather than adopt agreed common practices of Sharia Law, some of which would be contrary to a secular state’s laws.
This does not totally prevent Muslims participating unofficially in polygamy, the practice of underage marriage or female genital mutilation. There are numerous instances of secular states implementing their laws against such practices. But some analyses show that as the number of practicing Muslims within non-Muslim states gradually increases, Muslim behavior changes to be less accepting of the hitherto majority non-Muslim opinion.
This follows the example of Prophet Mohammad. When he was in an exposed tenuous position in Mecca trying to gain acceptance for his new religion, the revelations from Allah were often persuasively inclusive and inviting. After he fled to Medina, gained acceptance, social and military might and a position of power, Allah’s revelations became harsher. Later uncompromising Muslim scholars developed a theory of Abrogation in which earlier utterances were abrogated by later ones. Thus one needs to know, when a Muslim spokesperson is quoting the Quran, is he quoting an early saying to gain acceptance or is it a later final position.
In the case of the recent defeat of the Christian governor of Jakarta and the charge
against him of alleged blasphemy, Muslim imams and political activists realized that because the Jakartan population was majority Muslim they could invoke a long standing rule of the Islamic sharia that no non-Muslim can have leadership over Muslims. This is in spite of the fact that such discrimination is against the Indonesian constitution.
The charge of blasphemy and the threat of denial of religious burial rites merely ensured that all who were Muslim would conform to the wishes of the Muslim religious leaders. In Islam it is more important to belong then to believe. It is not an individualized faith like contemporary Christianity. It is communal and one must conform to whatever a leader dictates.
A further reason for apparent contradictions is that what is said is dependent on timing and context. If a Muslim considers his life or his religion is under threat, according to the precedent of the Prophet and the doctrine of Taqiyya, a Muslim is permitted to engage in deception or lying (Q.16:106). In countries where Muslims are still relatively few the statements made in public do not always align with beliefs held in private.
One national Muslim leader in Australia who approved the Quranic teaching and the Prophet’s example of wife beating had to retract his statement because of public hostility and secular political pressure. He learned his lesson. Shortly afterwards, when speaking on a contentious issue he began by saying, “What I say to the public….” Quite so!
Another common form of deception is the claim that Islam is “a religion of peace”. It is literally a religion of surrender. Islam means submission. Allah is the all-supreme master and his followers assume the status of slaves. By “peace” non-Muslim hearers are led to believe that what is on offer is an absence of conflict or war. But the Muslim understanding is that “peace” is only achieved when Islam totally dominates the world and its adherents have “succeeded” and rule over all. Along the road to that objective, the means employed are always justified by the end in view.
The words which Muslim and non-Muslim use may be the same, but the meanings differ according to one’s religious background and the values formed from that. For Christians truth is absolute, unchangeable and non-negotiable. In a Muslim society meaning may very according to context. It is therefore common practice in a Muslim society not to trust anyone until they have proved trustworthy. In a Christian society everyone is trusted till they prove untrustworthy.
That which seems irreconcilable and non-sensible becomes sensible according to worldviews constructed from religious fundamentals.
For a more in depth discussion of issues relating to Islam and Woman feel free to purchase a copy of my recently released book The Hidden Half You can do so in the Books section of this website or by clicking the link The Hidden Half .