Islam, ideal and reality

To Ali who posted on BBC WHYS his view of Islam which triggered different responses.

There is an anecdote about a man not living in a Muslim country who embraced Islam. When he visited some Muslim countries, he thanked God for having embracing it before visiting them. His conclusion was that he knew Islam in a non-Muslim country but he couldn’t see Islam in those supposedly Muslim countries.

Islam ,like major religions aims at making the human soul chaste so it can live in bliss in this world and life after this world – called the al akhira.

The point you raised are fundamental to all human beings. All religions aspire to make people honest, fair/just. The core of society is the family whereby individual have a sense of belonging and feel secure.

All these notions are grandiose. But religion or any other principle is what you make of it. To my knowledge, all the great religions have common principles by which the individual is both free and committed.

While religion is fundamentally spiritual, there are facts that make people revert to instinct for survival. When there is greed on one side and poverty on the other, one sees just the immediacy of the action. Spiritual principles are set aside.

Christianity and Islam preached peace but ironically, in their history there were the bloodiest incidents, just because religion was the pillar of power for the rulers and each tried to have superiority over the other in the name of the religion.

For Islam there was misinterpretation or ignorance of its principles even by some Muslims to justify their greed and material pursuits. As for “Women are not exploited as sexual objects”. That is what Islam preaches. But in many Muslim societies it was a common practice to have four wives ( mainly to have legitimate children)and as many concubines as possible (for sexual pleasure)

How the ills in Muslim societies can be fought depends on how Muslims can put their religion in practice without falling into extremes or seeing it as the best just to attack other religions. The same applies to Christians and Jews.

The facts that there are different tendencies among Muslims through the like of Sunnis and the Shiites which can lead to deadly and horrendous fights among them shows that individual practice of Islam alone isn’t the key to peace with oneself. There are external influences that can shake one’s upheld beliefs in what is halal “permitted” or haram “prohibited”.


  1. Ken said,

    July 17, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Great post Abdelilah. Still waiting for mine to post on the WHYS blog. I especially like the point you made about exploitation of women through the practice of polygamy and having concubines.

    Excellent blog! I’ll be sure to stop back.

  2. Bunc said,

    July 19, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    HI abdelilah _ I agree with most of what you have said here. It is a shame that many muslims are blind at the moment to the damage being done to their religion by extremist islamists.

  3. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    July 19, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Hi Bill,
    thanks for your comment. As you know moderation is the best policy. Extreme measures just begets feud. We may be different but we aren’t alone. It’s imperative to live and let live.

  4. taamarbuuta said,

    July 20, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Wow, great blog, I just discovered it (and I thought I knew all of the Morocco-based blogs by now!)

    Anyhow, my two cents on this topic – I’ve heard lots of Muslims from the US, particularly converts/reverts, say that they’re glad to have been raised there or to have discovered Islam there. Having lived in Morocco (as a non-Muslim) for a few years, I can understand this. While many Moroccans are certainly devoted to Islam and true to it as well, you know as well as I do how many cultural practices are mixed with religion here. In addition, a lot of young Moroccans are prone to blindly doing what they’re told rather than learning why they’re supposed to do it (a great example – I teach here, and have asked students many times about toothbrushing during Ramadan – many don’t do it, but have no idea why and can’t explain).

    Anyhow, I personally don’t believe in one path to God, nor do I believe that only one idea of Islam is correct, so I suppose all I just said is somewhat of a moot point, yet I understand where Ali is coming from.

  5. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    July 21, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Hi taamarbuuta ,
    Thanks for your interest in my post. At least we have something to agree upon concerning religion.

  6. August 1, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    It is interesting that a lot of the comparative religion’s values stated on the internet was, are still based on how the followers of that religion, do respect the human rights of others too, and how they now do practically treat other, and each others too, especially how they do treat the women today, equally or unfairly now too. And while that alone is a valid point, especially since women make up over half of the population of the world, and all of this is valid especially , since God himself clearly and for certainty does not allow the abuse of any persons, verbally or physically, or allow now any human rights abuses now as well, and for any reasons as well, and that now also still even includes any man, woman, child, and any seniors now as well, any abuses of self or others are sinful…While there are some common, rare similarity amongst some of the major religions in this world, The aspect of divorce is clearly one that contrasts them all.. It is true that there are many Muslims, men as well as women, who fully do not live up to the teachings of Islam, just as there are many Christian men and women who do not live up to the teachings of Jesus. You must always still judge any person now by what they say, but by what they do. Bad people do bad things, no matter what their religion is now too. Also real Reform from within Muslim societies is still even needed, first by education, knowing that over half of Muslims today, are illiterate, only 15 percent know Arabic, which is the language of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. Too Many persons do practice their own version of Christianity, and Islam it seems thus, what others have said it says too..

    What others say

    “Islam as a religion aiming to oppress women is a direct result of the abuse of Islam by some Muslim states, depending on the absolute respect given to religion by Muslim societies. In fact, Islamic law, if interpreted outside of its proper context, could be abused to justify and codify the violations of women’s rights in Muslim societies and states in the name of religion, in order to achieve certain social and political goals. The central question that poses itself, is whether there already exists a space for women to enjoy their human rights under the umbrella of Islam, or whether in general, men “have a degree” over women in Islam (Abdul-Ati). If some people are arguing that Islam ensures equity between men and women in both rights and duties, then what does it mean when the Qur’an, which is the standard revelatory source of Islamic Law, says: “And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage in some cases of inheritance) over them,” (Qur’an 2:228). How would those people explain the meaning of that “degree” that men have over women? Is it because of that revelatory verse that some Muslim societies until now treat women as second-degree creatures in the name of Islam? The existence of some specific women’s rights in Islam is now obvious, and provided with a good argument, but how about polygamy in Islam? Is it true that a Muslim man has the right to marry up to four wives? Where is equity, then? What does it mean when the Qur’an states that a Muslim man, if he has the potential, can choose to marry one or two or three, or even four women (Badawi)? Does it mean that women are that marginalized and humiliated by the name of the religion?”

    It is a sad note as well that both religious persons of all the minor, major religions too, and non religious persons, at least 90 percent ofthem, have been, or are still unacceptably guilty of false the discriminations of others, even too often the accusers of the others.

    There is still a serious, real need in changing the Muslim countries’ laws, agendas, in order to fill the gap between the supposed women’s rights afforded by Islam, and women’s rights afforded in reality by many of the Muslim societies, and most Muslim males have to accept some serious religious even re-education..
    “I don’t understand how Islam supposedly can give all these rights to women and then place the man as the head of the household in a position to abuse the woman’s rights. For instance, how can she hold on to her personal wealth if he tells her to hand it over? I do not know one Muslim family where the man is not abusing his position in some way.” Surah 4 – verse 34: *{… as to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill conduct, admonish them [first], [next] refuse to share their beds, [and last] beat them [lightly]; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means [of annoyance]: for God is Most High, Great [above you all].}* Can a wife beat her unfaithful husband according to Islam now too? Another central issue should be re-examined–the common practise of Islam where a Muslim man’s testimony in a court is counted as equal to the testimony of two Muslim women. That itself is degrading. “and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as you choose for witnesses so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her. ” (Qur’an 2:282). ” Much too many Muslim men consider this verse religious evidence that women are mentally deficient.” ” Many persons consider the standing of Muslim women behind men in prayers a practical evidence that women under Islam, are excluded and humiliated, even in matters regarding their spiritual rights and there is no justification for the standing of women behind men.”

    “My beloved wife oftentimes reminds my family to regard her with respect to her mind, but my mama and papa laugh at her. What can I say to my wife to stop her from slapping them down in anger? “. If husband can divorce his wife by saying 3 talak at a time & marriage is over, then how does Islam protect women’s right? Many husbands do abuse their divorce power. All the Muslim men who claim to be Muslims and abuse the women supposedly do not even know well their own religion or do not practice it? and for too many Muslim men it seems also it does not matter what Islam says because he is only following what pleases him, his interests, his interpreations of the laws.. sad.. Also since Islam came supposedly with higher moral laws to correct those of the Jahiliyyah, why didn’t Islam abolish enslaving women and children at times of war? Any abuse of anyone by anyone still is unacceptable. ” Everytime I ask my dad to open a bank account for me, he says I am a girl and therefore I should not get a bank account, while my younger brother has a bank account…” all about the true side of Islam.

    “O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good. Surah 4 Verse 19”
    …They (Your wives) are your garments and ye are their garments. …. Surah 2 Verse 187

    “Among the Muslims, the most perfect as regards his faith is the one whose character is most excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well.”

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