There is a distinct rawness to today’s modish brand of Islamic radicalism one just cannot reconcile with the antiquity and supposed perfection of the faith-based cosmos mankind has demonstrated its devotion towards for centuries. Man has not been made for the moment and neither has his history on earth been a rehearsal for some macabre epilogue written in authoritarian blood. This newfangled approach to institutionalised religion, where subjects are straitjacketed into submission to the wiles of man instead of the ways of God have led the clergy to believe that man’s order must be rejected to make way for the first estate, a second coming of their power. The Muslim clergy of today have diminished man’s reason and intellect, trivialising it into a faded caricature of what it once was, bending it out of shape, sanitising it of all hope and glory.
Muslims in many parts of the world have become just that: Muslims. Period. They have pinned their progression to a crassly interpreted form of Islam, one doctored to single out virtue and douse it in error, in the garb of celestial convention. It seems the first step in making anyone a true Muslim these days is to dehumanise them first, alienate them from the love and hold of this world, to make them fully reckon with their afterlife. Individual inclinations are the true abominations, human desires and urges the wilful transgressors. In this conversion to ‘true belief’, the creation of God becomes the wind-up toy for despot dogmas. The Islam we see today is not the first wisp of a cool breeze across a dry desert landscape from some 14 centuries ago; it is a return to brutality, of the kind early Muslims liberated themselves from. Unfortunately, we have slipstreamed behind our cause célèbre who are no more than two-bit revolutionaries, promising to bring forth a rebellion against man, disguised as an act of valour for him.
Muslims are now ruled by empty vessels, left locked in a power vacuum. The clergy, neatly defined by their vitriol, have done away with debate and altercation, confining man to a narrow corridor of non-existent power. Such are these second-rate artists of the faith, these forgers who have posed as the deciphers of God’s abstract brushstrokes that they have belittled, reducing us to objectifying ourselves for the sake of global humour. We are laughed at when a bearded mentor of our mythology lambasts women drivers of cars or two-wheeled automotives for the effects this posturing of their pelvis can have on their ovaries, turning them into sex-crazed nymphomaniacs — read independent women. We are guffawed at when earthquakes strike and floods smite, and our puritans of the pulpit blame immodesty and female emancipation as the reasons behind the fatalities. God’s curse on earth, they say.
It is a shame we have left the greatest and most noble task of interpreting the poetry — God spoke through song, not venom — of our Creator to these men and women with the stiff upper lips. They have outlawed everything occasioned to bring man, woman and child joy. Do not laugh too loud, they say, do not drink from the chalice of intoxication, they forbid, do not flower your ears to the sweet melodies of the notes carried in all the tunes upon this earth, they ferment, deny the human need to see one another and talk to each other without the million and one coverings we have ordained for you, they caution, do not cohabite the same space lest it lead to the bastardisation of your soul, they scream, forever separating the sexes. Why do they do this, stripping threadbare the natural persuasions of man, demonising the harmless and entrapping man in a constant lunge towards petty perfection? It is rather simple; when man is hushed into servitude, silenced from laughter, pleasure and inspiration, he will have nowhere to go but the worship house, the seminary of suppression. Man will need the counterfeit solace provided by the mosque and the men who run it. He will need a community to which he belongs, a stage for his outpourings of falsely contrived conditioning. That is when the mosque will run and the minarets will call to the faithful; there will be a throng at the gates and an inundation of the coffers. It is only when man is denied all that enables him to rejoice will it be good for business.
And that is where this retro radicalism comes from: this need to rule man and be funded by the very souls it is destroying. Islamic fundamentalists, from the drawing room ‘scholars’ with their neat goatees and penchant to enunciate their edicts in accented English prose to the paan-spitting, orange bearded illiterates who rock to and fro to memorise words they heed little practice of, to the armed jihadists who call the shots and the suicide bombers, there is one common thread that binds them all: understanding the business of religion.
And we have handed them this power, on a silver tray with an apple stuffed in the gaping hole where our integrity used to be. The blueprint to this new theology has succeeded in choking man of all the attributes vested in him by God. It is a patented product now, endorsed by the intelligentsia of institutionalised religion and sponsored by totalitarian regimes, which have perverted faith into exploitation. The ferocity with which our desolation has come about has surprised many, and those who are unwilling to bow to this herding of the cattle are still fighting the good fight. Yes, they are being swatted like flies, space for moderate voices is shrinking and the spluttering smoking wreckage is absolute, but as long as there is a militia, a global hybrid of renegade Islamism fuelled by capital acquisition, there will always be a force standing on the other side of the line, refusing to fund these false prophets. They may be armed with nothing more than their frilly ideals but their very presence signifies that the war is not won. Bullets will continue to fly until every penny we have lands in their fountains of lost hope and negotiations will sidestep logic to ensure that, first we have a go at it civilly and, if not, they regroup and strike with surgical precision. After all, when it comes to ‘earning’ money, nothing comes cheap, especially faith.