Which Muhammad? (More than a hand?)

I was watching the documentary The Rockstar and the Mullahs, and a particular segment leapt out at me. One of the self-styled mullahs (I say this because his formal education in the religious system seems to have been non-existent) says that the world will be better when we start doing things like cutting off the hands of thieves. He’s quite happy to say only he and his followers know what true Islam is, and all others who call themselves Muslim are “sons of pigs.” I’m sure he and his ilk would be more than happy to decry people like the Ahmadis as non-Muslim.

But should be the punishment for people like him? People who steal the beauty of Islam? Who steal free-will? Who steal aql, the intellect, God’s trust to mankind? What part of his body would you cut off for stealing such priceless things? Stealing is wrong, but so is poverty, so is illiteracy, so is hunger. These strike as much greater problems throughout much of the Muslim world.

What about the denial of half of God’s creation? This “mullah” believes part of the cure for society’s ills is to make sure women are in the house only. Is he saying that when God addresses both men and women in the Qur’an, that he isn’t bound by the equality commanded by God?

The Muslim world is fighting an internal war. The sides have a Muhammad each who represents what the sides hold important. For most Muslims, their Muhammad is Muhammad Mustafa (PBUH), the beloved of God. He received his revelation from the Divine. A role-model of caring and compassion. The other side has Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab; a man who wrote a short essay that his followers consider better than revelation. He espoused a philosophy denying God’s beauty and majesty, and encouraged humanity’s greatest vices: hatred, ignorance, arrogance, self-satisfaction. Unfortunately, the latter Muhammad seems to be winning the day. I take comfort in the fact that appearances can be deceiving and that the followers of Mustafa are struggling to find their voice. I just hope it doesn’t take much longer.