Confessions of a Would be Muslim Reformer (sort of)
by Omid Safi
I have been doing a lot of soul-searching, and I have reached a few important conclusions. Speaking as a moderate Muslim, I realize that my community is primitive, backwards, mired in tradition, and in need of massive help from KONY 2012 people to reform this tradition to catch up with the luminosity of secular West.
I know that there is a trouble with Islam today, and everyday. I also want to have gay-friendly mosques where people can just go have a beer after the optional prayer services, ‘cause that is what it means to be a progressive Muslim.
Because all the secret jihadists (and the FBI people who have infiltrated them) just want to impose this Shari’a thing on us, and for some reason all that beer drinking and hooking up seems to be frowned upon in that Shari’a thing.
With that, and in the name of She who is the source of All-Mercy, here are the fruits of my search. If anyone wants to put me in touch with Fox News or MEMRI, please do so, I’ll recite all these on camera—just contact my agent, and he can tell you my appearance fee. I know that we are in need of a Muslim Reformation, and I am working on my “Martin Luther of Islam” speech. I can’t quite make it up to ML’s 95 theses, but I have got a good head start below. With that, “I give you permission to think freely”:
First, speaking as a Muslim, I am so disappointed in my Muslim brother Barack Hussein Obama. He eats pork, drinks alcohol, regularly attends church service, had his daughters baptized, has yet to set foot in a mosque since becoming president, kisses AIPAC’s behind, authorizes indefinite detentions, and has seen many Muslims killed by his drone attacks and ongoing wars. Really, a pathetic Muslim if ever there was one. I mean, if I wanted a Muslim ruler that would do all the above, I would move back to the Muslim countries where most of the rulers do that kind of stuff anyway, and the food is a little better than here.
Second, I have been so so wrong about Israel. It is a peaceful, peace-loving, just, democratic state, and all criticism of it is just motivated by anti-Semitism. Israel today is perfect, kind of like America before all the civil rights stuff in the 1960’s came along. As to those so-called Palestinians who do not want to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, they should just go back where they came from. (I’m not sure where that is, but I am told it used to be a “land without a people.”)
Third, the Wahhabis are unjustly criticized. We Muslim have messed up Islam, and they are just trying to restore it to its original model of purity. And I just love the changes they are making to Mecca and Medina, making it so much more traveler friendly.
Fourth, I have been way too defensive in my criticism of the erosion of civil rights and liberties in America. Fact of the matter is that we Muslims should just be honored to be allowed in this country, to consumer here, and even if we live here as second (or third) class citizen, it's better to be here than whatever country my parents came from.
Fifth, I recognize that the Islamophobes are right, and there is something inherently vile and violent about Islam.
When the Prophet Muhammad was doing the prophet thing in the 7th century, he was so sneaky smart that he immediately set about opposing the whole notion of modernity that would emerge in the 17th century. How clever he must have been… It’s like he was a thousand years ahead of his time. We backwards Muslims have to catch up with the times, because all 1.5 billion Muslims are really in a time warp, living in the 7th century. It’s like Islam is a breach in the time-space continuum. It makes perfect sense to me to have people who hate a religion be the ones to help guide us as to how to reform Islam. So I’ll be sure to tune into Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Daniel Pipes, Franklin Graham, and others.
Sixth, I testify that Sufism is just a perversion of the true Islam of the Pious Forefathers (al-salaf al-salih), and I pledge my allegiance to the driest, most boring, most hierarchical reading of Islam there is. All this talk of love and beauty and being a child of Muhammad’s soul and coming to see God face-to-face, love and service to humanity, blah blah, people are just trying to make us think that there is something beautiful and mystical about Islam. Don’t’ fall for it. Remember: Order, Discipline, Fitna (strife), Bid’a (heretical innovation), Haram (forbidden)…
Seventh, I pledge myself to making sure that Muslims, Hispanics, Gays/Lesbians, women, the Poor, immigrants, the Radical Left, everybody on the coasts, and everybody who doesn't look like me, talk like me, worship in my church, can leave this country so us proper Americans can have it all to ourselves. And it would be a much less crowded country. Love it or leave it baby!
And one last one: We civilized people have to protect Muslim women from Muslim men. And from themselves. Because Muslim women cannot and should not be trusted to make choices for their own lives, their own bodies. So it’s up to us enlightened people to tell them what to wear, how to dress, and what not to wear. Make sure that we don’t make the mistake of having them tell us what their attire means to them, because they have all been brainwashed.
Ok…. April's Fools!!!
Take a deep breath. All the above is a little April Fool’s satire about a very serious subject.
It would be all funny, except that as absurd as—I truly pray—all the above sounds, this is actually much of what we hear in today’s public discourse about Islam, from both wannabe Muslim reformers such as Zuhdi Jasser and Irshad Manji (who all too often have no grounding in Islam) to ex-Muslims (Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali), to Islamophobes (Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes) who repeatedly tell Muslims about the true meanings of their tradition. I hope that satire can be a way to recognize the absurdity of the whole situation.
We need to do better than this. May we all be participants in the redemption of our traditions, our communities, our nations. That redemption can only come about through love and participation in a tradition and a community, not by standing outside and voicing one’s shame. Love transforms us towards the better and more beautiful. May our faith traditions, our nations, be redeemed through this love and service to humanity.
This was published last year on April Fools Day on Omid Safi’s excellent blog What Would Muhammad Do?