Sunday, December 19, 2010

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Robert R. Reilly, 'The Closing of the Muslim Mind'.

A must read for any who want to understand the communal cult called Submission.

by Ferdinand III


Reilly is a well known expert on Islamic and Arab affairs having covered the topics for some 20 odd years. Reilly is a long-time journalist, a meticulously professional writer and researcher, and a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, as well as a director at the Middle East Media Research Institute – an invaluable organization which shows the poverty of Arab and Muslim 'news' or propaganda. He has also served in the White House, the Secretary of Defense and in Iraq post-2003, advising the Ministry of Information. He knows his topic.

This is probably the best one volume compendium of information as to why Islam in toto, is a system of cultish belief with no basis or premise in rationality, the necessity of acquiring knowledge before engaging in metaphysics [a Jewish creation explicitly stated in the Torah many times]; reason through faith; or the moral division of church and state. There was a period when Western thought, expressed in Aristotelian theories and ancient Greek rationality, was beginning to synthesize itself with Islamic totality and doctrine. But that period was quickly effaced. Since the 10th century 'The Closing of the Muslim mind' has been a fact which has imparted enormous, deleterious and consequential effects for the world.

Many in the West, including the usual array of Communists, Marxists, and Socialists [rebranded as 'progressives'] will reject the truth of this book. But such people are not exactly enlightened to begin with. They are beyond help. For the rest who wish to understand why Islam became a ritualized, dogmatic, violent, jihadic and bloody cult, Reilly's work lays bare the theological and historical realities of Islam and especially of Sunni Islam which is the focus on this particular book [but much of what he said can and should be applied to Shia theology]. As Reilly states,

The radical voluntarism (God as pure will) hardly a recent discovery. St. John of Damascus, Maimondes, Hegel, and many others amply noted it. However the reason many Westerner today remain perplexed by Muslim behavior is that they are unaware of the fundamental theological doctrines that animate it.”

Most in the West don't want to know. It is easier to be lazy and hope that Islam just goes away. In this vein many simply demonize all religions [though Islam is a cult not a religion]; conflate Islam with Christianity [both are evil in this view with White Christianity the worse of the two]; and make-believe that Mohammed and Christ were the same personalities [they were opposites with Mohammed being what one could clearly call an anti-Christ]. Christianity has nothing in common with Islam.  As Reilly states, Islam was a political program to unite the Arabs and turn the endless Bedouin warring onto other non Arab tribes;

As the Qur'an enjoined, 'Hold fast, all of you together, to Allah's rope, and do not separate (3:103)'......Islam divinely sanctioned a kind of mega-tribal raiding of the rest of the non-Muslim world. 'Allah has promised you much booty, over which ye have not yet had power: (48:20-21)......According to this new revelation, it was now only right and just that non-Muslims should be subdued and ruled by the true followers of God. How to conduct these raids and divide the booty from them is an important part of the Qur'an (Qur'an 8: The Spoils, 59:6 The Mustering). The first biographies of Muhammad were titled kitab al-meghazi, the Book of Raids.”

It is obvious that historically Islam was a political-military project designed by Mohammed for his own benefit, to unite the Arabs, plunder and kill Jews and Christians and transfer wealth from richer more sophisticated Jewish and Christian enclave to the relatively poor and desperate Bedouin tribes. It was a project that most Marxists or progressives today, would certainly support.

The real issue with Islam, as Reilly details, is the lack of any form of reason or rationality in its theological program. The only era in Muslim history, which endeavoured to establish some form of logic and respect for cognition within Islam occurred in the early 9th century. It was named the Mutazilite movement centered in Baghdad, which;

...embraced the propositions that the mind can know things, as distinct from having opinions about them; that objective reality exists; that there is some purpose implied in its construction; that this purpose has to do with what man calls 'the good'; and that man's soul is ordered to this 'good', which is universal.”

A well known Mutazilite philosopher was Al-Kindi who was quite similar in many ways to Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas in his desire to imbed reason, coherence and logic into Islamic doctrine, making the case that reason and faith go together, and are not opposites or antagonistic to each other:

“Al-Kindi's views (801-873) reflected the same rational orientation: 'Nothing should be dearer to the seeker after truth than truth itself.”

Thus for Al-Kindi and the Muslim rationalists, Islam was not a totality, that free-will and inquiry was necessary for a human to live both a cognitive and spiritual existence. It is exactly what the Christian Scholastics in Europe were also proposing – with great success.

The Mutazilite doctrine of church and state separation and the necessity to use reason to find faith, flowered for only 50 years. The Islamic counter-reformation was harsh and uncompromising. The three main schools of Islamic theology grouped as Asharism [after an important 9th century Sunni teacher]; and a fourth named Hanbalism [named after Hanbali an immoderate and extremist fundamentalist of the 8th century]; took over:

In the second year of the reign of Caliph Ja'afar al-Mutawakkil (847-861), the tables were turned....Holding Mutazilite doctrine became a crime punishable by death. The Mutazilites were expelled from court...and their works largely destroyed....the long process of dehellenization and ossification had begun.”

It took the Asharites some 200 years to expunge Mutazilitism from Islam. Some Mutazilite philosophers still appeared in the 10th and 11th century in the forms of Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes. But they were weak and without followers in a Muslim world quickly cementing Asharite and Hanbalist fundamentalism into every aspect of Islamic life. Free will was destroyed. Rationality mocked. As Reilly explains – the destruction of reason became an obsession of the Asharites and Hanbalites:

The Asharite view developed a theological basis for the primacy of will by claming that the revelation of Muhammad emphasizes most particularly, and above all, two attributes of God: His uncompromising omnipotence and will. 'Allah does what He wills' (Quran 14:27). God's nature is His will...But the Asharite argument reduced God to His omnipotence by concentrating exclusively on His unlimited power, as against His reason. His 'reasons are unknowable by man.”

Destroying free will is the heart of a cult. You can't communalize your members and force them into obeisance, ritual, dogmatism and unthinking devotion, if you accord them the rights of reason, cognition and will. It does not work. Reason is thus the enemy of dogmatic cult belief. By establishing the impersonal thing called Allah as the prime mover of absolutely everything, Asharite Islam extinguished any movement and quelled any debate about injecting rationality into the 'uncreated' and most perfect Koran. Goodbye reason. In fact just suggesting that this thing Allah is not all powerful, soon became a blasphemy:

As a consequence of Asharite views, Fazlur Rahman said, the endeavour to 'search for ends and purposes in His laws is not only meaningless, but also grave disobedience to Him.' The theology of pure will anathematizes the search for rational meaning, 'Theology thus monopolized the whole field of metaphysics and would not allow pure thought any claim to investigate rationally the nature of the universe and the nature of man.'”

The second greatest Muslim in history is the Sunni Asharite theologian Al-Ghazali (1058-1111). In the 11th century he wrote two books, Deliverance from Error, and The Incoherence of Philosophy. Both are prototypical-Marxist/Hegelian works of morbidity and intellectual gymnastics and gibberish. But it resonated with Muslims who wanted a special relationship with a God which allowed no free-will. According to these pious Muslims, Ghazali demolished rational philosophy and science. The Sunni preacher's convoluted and mystical refutation of science effectively closed the door on Muslim rationalism. Averroes and others attempted to dislodge Ghazali's dialectical nonsense, but they met with no success and were even threatened with punishment and death by the Muslim state if they persisted in dethroning the thing 'Allah' from totalitarian control of all occurrences in the universe. By the 12th century the Muslim mind was collectively closed.

More from Reilly's book in another posting and why Islam is very similar to Nazism and Communism.