By Shaker Nabulsi for Saudi Debate

Nobody – from Western ‘unbelievers’ to Eastern ‘infidels’ – has harmed Islam as much as its own scholars of darkness.

While those “scholars” issue erroneous fatwas to cover every eventuality, they think they are serving Islam in the Twenty-First Century, when in reality they are abusing Islam and sending it down the path of obscurity. For example, some Islamic jurists have quoted the words of Al-Bukhari, who wrote that the Prophet Muhammad was a superman who regularly had sex with all ten of his wives in one night. However, it is known today that Al-Bukhari lied in many of his accounts of the Prophet’s sayings. For example, he wrote that the Prophet said camels’ urine cured certain diseases, and that some of the Prophet’s companions were drinking his own urine.

We may well ask: who are these jurists who have proclaimed such absurdities, and put Islam in such a bad light? Why have they – and there are many Egyptians and scholars from Al-Azhar among their number – descended to such a low level in their abuse of Islam? All of the events they describe occurred in a society that existed over 1,400 years ago. There is no one alive from that society today. How can Islam benefit in the Twenty-First century from resurrecting the behaviour of people who lived so long ago, especially since no one knows for certain how they lived or even what they believed?

The scholars of darkness and obscurity are making Islam look bad through their trivial and nonsensical fatwas. They are not enhancing Islam in the eyes of the global community, but portraying this great faith as a barbaric and primitive religion. These scholars have transformed Islam into an encyclopaedia of ‘urinary science’, and promoted the ethics of a primitive and savage era – an era that offers little enlightenment to the people of the present day.

Recently we watched as another great jurist of darkness and deception, Izat Attiya, Chief of the Prophet’s Sayings (Al-Hadeeth Al-Nabawi) at Al Azhar University, issued a fatwa intended to solve the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Because Islamic culture assumes that a man has no control over his sexual impulses, and will rape a woman if left alone with her, a man and woman cannot be allowed to be alone together in the workplace, because he will of course abuse her sexually. The esteemed Mr. Attiya has solved this problem in a truly ingenious fashion. He has issued a fatwa declaring that if a Muslim woman is required to be alone with a man in the workplace, she must breastfeed him five times. They can then register with the Islamic Court as a breastfeeding couple, and any sexual advances would then be prohibited – because they would constitute the crime of incest.

The original story which inspired this great fatwa from the Chief of the Prophet’s Sayings, concerns the youngest wife of the Prophet, Aisha. But in my opinion this story is fabricated. We do not need such advice today. It is relevant only to a society that existed more than 1,400 years ago.

Even if the story were true, not everything that was done by the Prophet, his family, and his companions needs to be followed today. Were the Prophet, peace by upon him, to emerge from his grave today and observe our age and the values of our times, he would forbid us to follow the traditions and customs of his society, which existed so long ago. He would tell us: “You are living in a different time. Take what is useful for your time, and leave aside what is not relevant to your lives.”

If I lived in the days of the Prophet and was one of his companions, I would publicly refuse to drink his urine. I would refuse to believe his statement that camel urine can cure diseases, even if he sentenced me to hell for my lack of belief. I would warn him, may peace be upon him, that such ideas would be more harmful than beneficial to the future of Islam. Moreover, the Prophet of Islam himself would forbid such policies, because he knows they would engender disrespect for Islam.

Egypt should be held accountable for allowing the scholars of Al-Azhar to issue platitudes and nonsensical statements that abuse Islam. The Egyptian government gives free rein to the spread of witchcraft and religious nonsense because Islamic leaders are so powerful in that country. I ask my readers to note that all the social, religious, and political nonsense in the Islamic world today is coming from our blessed Egypt, and specifically from Al-Azhar. The most recent examples of this foolishness begin with the requirement that Egyptian actresses wear the veil, and they end with the old man drinking breast milk from his co-worker.

Read the whole commentary on Saudi Debate.