Sunday, March 30, 2008

Who Said Muslims Don't Have A Sense of Humor?

Last year I joined a Yahoo group called American Muslims and get daily e-mails from them that I never bothered to read.

Well, today I actually read one of the e-mails instead of hastily deleting it and came across this little gem:

Question: I would like to know if we are able to take part in April Fool's Day jokes and if not, why not. Jazakallah.

Answer: You know better whether or not you are able to take part in any activity. We do not know your physical or social conditions.

Whether you should is another matter. There the question is why do you want to take part in it? Think about it, research it, ask those who do urge or encourage you to do so. Why? When you do, you will discover that real fools are the persons who foolishly follow this practice while they have no idea why they are doing it.

A Muslim does not follow the mob. He, or she, never does things simply because other people are doing it. He is thinking, reflecting, person who does not waste any of his time in doing things that will not bring him any benefit in the hereafter or in this world.

In contrast, in Jahiliyya society people do things simply because others are doing it. They blindly follow whatever the media or the mob tell them is the latest in thing or cool idea. That is why Qur'an says that they are deaf, dumb, and blind. They are like animals. Rather they are worse than animals.

Islam liberates you from the Jahiliyya society. Indeed it would be tragic if someone, instead of cherishing it, were to question this liberation.

Not knowing what "Jahiliyya society" was, I admit I had to look it up. The definition, which I got from Austin Cline's About: Atheism site, described "jahiliyya" as:

This can mean "ignorance" or even "barbarism" and refers to the state people lived in before Muhammad received his revelation from God and brought Islam to the world. This was a time of lawlessness and idolatry, as contrasted with the period of time under Islamic rule, characterized by morality, enlightenment and divine law.

I have therefore updated my masthead to proudly proclaim my membership in Jahiliyya Society!


Anonymous said...

Great addition to the masthead, but as I was looking I noticed that your "About Me" section proclaims that you are Andrea after hours. Does this mean you like to dress up as a woman after work? Or did you just get a title from your blogroll mixed in by accident.

Tommykey said...

No silly! My friend Andrea, whose blog is also under the "Brothers and Sisters in Disbelief" blogroll, likes to refer to me as the Ned Flanders of atheism, so I thought I would squeeze that into my profile.

Anonymous said...

I just love that first line -- "Can I take part in April Fool's Day?" "I don't know, can you?"

They never did answer the question, though. Do they consider having fun something only stupid, barbaric animals do?

Unknown said...

You know, I was going to let this go, and just shake my head, but I think that I'm going to weigh in.

These would be my responses to the nuggets of wisdom within this letter:

1. Muslims are all thinking individuals.

Ok, so why do you even have to answer this person's question? If he or she is an intellectual simply by virtue of being Muslim, why waste the time? Is this person not detracting from your own intellectual search?

2. "Jahiliyya society" is a giant mob.

Right. So anti-populism is apparently better? What this subtly demagogic letter is saying is that non-Muslim thought has no worth. Why then can't this person decide for his- or herself?

3. Any non-Muslim tradition is a thoughtless fad.

Really? Humor is hard. It takes a lot of thought to pull off a good 4/1 joke. In addition, the best 4/1 jokes are the ones that point out how gullible you are.

It's a fine tradition (not a fad), that goes back quite a way.

4. "Jahiliyyas" are unthinking animals.

Hm. And Muslim men are wholly capable of free will, and that's why all women should wear hejab or burkha, so that these free-thinking intellectuals don't have to worry about their intellect being assaulted by feminine wiles.

Sorry, the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. All over April Fool's Day, no less.

This letter will probably serve to make the reader completely miss the point of April Fool's Day.

And here's the icing on the cake:

Islam liberates you from the Jahiliyya society. Indeed it would be tragic if someone, instead of cherishing it, were to question this liberation.

Classic irony. What's truly sad is that this will be lost on the reader of the newsletter.

Well, except for Tommy, of course. ;-)