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Apostasy Law in Islam and Liberal Human Rights – Amsterdam

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Mohammed Hijab

Channel: Mohammed Hijab

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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We don't have a mythology we will say we can justify the existence of God from first principles, which is a different conversation for a different time. All right, so what are the entailments of social contract? And this is a key point here in the discussion, because we're talking about human rights. And some of the questions were asked as Muslims relate to fundamental human rights. So for example, equality of men and woman. This is, by the way, according to what standard feminism, second wave feminism, third wave feminism, you know, first wave feminism, even, what do we mean by equality? According to whose feminism is it? The Eurocentric understanding of feminism is that

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African feminism is the Middle East. And that's a different discussion. But they say also that we have to have

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freedom of expression of whatever religious belief you want. To what extent though, because obviously, society, even in this country, and other countries has decided that there are certain kinds of things which can't exist, which jeopardize security and so on. So the question is, one now we've come out of the state of nature. From a liberal perspective, we've come out of the state, state of nature. And we're socially contracted to this representative, which in modern parlance, would be referred to as government right? When we're now rep where we're tied to such representative. The question is, what are the things this representative can do? on our behalf? This

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is a key thing. And I want everyone to remember this, right?

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This is something which Emanuel can, which we said already was one of the biggest philosophies and all of liberal history. But not only that, but one of the biggest philosophy of all Western history.

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He basically says, I'm not gonna read this whole thing you can, you can kind of read it yourself.

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He basically says that, if the supreme sovereign, this socially contracted thing,

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or body or government or whatever it is, they can, that has pretty much ultimate authority, even if he decides to kill you, or kill some people or jail some people or hurt some people. With us, there's a hadith in Sahih Muslim that says, well, Jelena. Malik, which some people make fun of that, you know, if you gotta be obedient to the leader, even if he whips your back, or takes your money. Obviously, there's such a big discussion on this, we're not having a discussion. But this is the same kind of thing in liberal theory.

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So in liberal theory, it's conceivable that there is a law, which so limits, which so limits human freedoms, so as to allow someone to be killed as a result. And john Locke says, in one of his books,

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I think it's the two treatises of government.

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He says, if someone is commanded to stand in the face of a cannon, if a soldier is commanded to stand in the face of a cannon,

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yes, in other words, a blowing cannon, he should do it. And it's not illiberal, for someone to do that, which is kind of like suicide bombing, by the way. Think about that. No, seriously, it's this why is that, you know, tell me what is standing on the face of accounting is destroying yourself, killing yourself suicide. So according to john Locke, and by the way, also, according to john Rawls,

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who says that you can kill innocence. By the way, this is what he says, says you can kill innocence in war, it's just war, you can kill you can target the innocent, not collateral damage. No, you can target them. So you can not only be subject to a suicide type scenario, according to john Locke, but all the way through to john Rawls who said, you not only can be subject to such scenario, but you can subject others to such scenario as well. In other words, you can kill children, if it goes back to the social contract. And if it goes back to the mandated legitimate sovereign leader, we have been socially contracted to in this mythological state of nature.

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bearing that in mind, the question now is,

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what's the relevance of this and apostasy? Well, you know, the liberal would ask, What is this thing that you guys have in your old books of,

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of jurisprudence? And I said in the beginning of the lecture, that when I describe, I'll be defining what Islamic traditionalism is, so I'll do it quickly. Now, Islamic traditionalism to me, is an jurisprudential understanding of Islam, for example, through the four schools of thought, in Sunni Islam, for example, right. So that's my understanding of Islamic traditionalism.

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So, obviously, if you open a book of Islamic law, which is like a classical book, and you go to maybe the, you know, kuttabul Genie yet or something like that, you might see this hard to read

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The punishment of Apostasy. And you'll see that some of those scholars will say, the one who changes his religion, you know, they should be killed in an Islamic State. And you think, wait a minute, doesn't this strongly oppose human rights, and on the face of it, it does strongly oppose human rights. And this is not on the face of it prima facie what we believe in anyway. This is an decontextualized understanding of Islamic law. And I'll explain that in a second. But what's interesting is this, so long as something is justified through a social contract on liberalism. Look what john Locke is saying. JOHN Locke, who is the founding father of liberalism, says that there can

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be

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an apostasy

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law.

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Wait a minute, what does he say? He says, The first is those of you who are being initiated in the mosaic rites, he's talking about the Jewish states or Jewish states, and made citizens of that Commonwealth did afterwards a pasta size means become more tired. From the worship of the God of Israel. These were proceeded against as traitors and rebels, guilty of no less than high treason. Listen to this, no less than high treason for the Commonwealth of the Jews, different in that from all others was an absolute theocracy. nor was there or could there be any difference between that and the Commonwealth of the church? Now, what does this mean? What's he trying to say? He's saying

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because

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the, the state of the Jews is predicated on you're contracting with God.

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And you're being Jewish in the first instance, that is justifiable on liberalism. Listen to this carefully, is justifiable on liberalism, from this social contract, understanding that if someone publicly says I'm not a Jew anymore, for the state to say, Come hold here, come here, we're going to execute you. Now. Is that what the Quran says? The Quran doesn't make this kind of a tricky articulation. By the way, this is what john Locke says, Who is the founding father of liberalism. So how conceivable is it?

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How conceivable is it on liberalism, that these laws can be put in place? It is fully conceivable in principle, now one could argue that was john Locke. That was 300 years ago, we're no longer looking at Look, my argument is not about john Locke, he is looking at the conceivability. Through the principles of liberalism. I am saying because the principles of liberalism, through social contracts allow such possibilities. You cannot argue that liberalism is against a public apostasy law, which would entail a death of a person, you cannot argue that it's impossible to argue that you could argue as a liberal, I'm not really, you know, in tune with that, and I think it ought not to be. But

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if a country decides if a country decides, for example, that this country is not a secular country, not this country, obviously is, but we're talking about a country like, you know, a Jewish state, not talking about Israel. That's a different discussion.

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But if it decides, okay, this is not we're not our social contract is not a secular one. It's a theocracy of some sorts, let's say for the sake of it, or it's something which is predicated on religious scriptures. If that's the case, the question is, how illiberal? Is it on social contract arianism. To have such law, john Locke answers, in fact, this is not illiberal at all. And not only with john Locke say that Emmanuel, Kant would say that, I've seen manuscripts of john Stuart Mill saying that it's quite consistent.

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So the question now is, what is Islam have to say about that?

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But before I go into that question about apostasy in Islam, there's an argument I want to make. And the main argument is articulated here. This is part of my book. I've actually written a book here coming up, maybe the end of the year. Yes, yes. I've been doing the research.

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By the way, this is not something I just swept up this is I've spoken to a lot of academics about this.

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Alright, my main argument liberalism or liberalisation efforts, are epistemologically fruitless if they are predicated on the assumption that such liberalisation necessarily entails more freedom from government intervention is

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In cases which relate to administration of the death penalty for non allegiance to a state not so very long winded statement, but you have to be careful with academics. What I'm saying is, there is something similar between, for example, that which is referred to as the huddle reader, which is the what is referred to as the punishment for apostasy and treason. And the common denominator is non allegiance to a state. So, for example, if you look at the American Constitution, if my memory serves me correctly, I think article three talks about the treason is a clause on treason, treason clause.

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And basically what it says is the future of non allegiance.

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Different states have different rules in America, it could be punishable and has been punishable by death. And by the way, what's interesting is, as a side note, in terms of actual case study examples, you'll find that America has conducted many extra judicial killings outside of obviously, the parameters of the judiciary. As you know, for example, many of you may have heard of annual aulaqi. Yes, his son was killed. His name is Abdul Rahman, Allah P. and his daughter was also killed. They were kids, by the way, they were killed by a drone attack on them. Yes, they were killed by a drone attack on them. Why? Because the American government were afraid, because, okay,

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their father is a radical, the child will also grew up to be a radical, right? So they literally sent little drones to kill the kids. Now, that wasn't those kids didn't deserve to be killed. And moreover, they didn't even stand trial, if that was possible for a child to stand trial at the age of six years old, or whatever it may have been anyway. So the question of extrajudicial killing is something completely different anyway. I'm talking about when the treason law itself has been implemented. And what's interesting, if you look at constitutional law in America, is that those defendants who are subject to such encroachments from the military establishment in America actually

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try and get the treason law to be enacted on them. In other words, they try and a lot of them argue that we want to be tried in accordance with the treason law, because they know they have more chance of being not killed, for example, in that case, but there have been those extrajudicial killings. Now, that's something else. The point is this is conceivable, principally,

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it is conceivable, principally, that a government because it deems you as non ally now,

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you're no longer a citizen, depriving you of your citizenship and so on. They can make a subsequent decision to kill you. And it has been done, but it's just been named something else. This is the point. Now, the truth is this.

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In Islam,

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you have to first ask what is apostasy? And what is treason? Right. Now, who gets to the fine trees? And now someone might argue treason is this and they'll go in line and you know, this pseudo intellectual approach or treason means this Listen, spare your white man definitions, keep them to yourself. Seriously? Who wrote the dictionary? Who was it? Was it someone who we all agreed This is the authority? Yes. Let him be the one. No, come on. Be. Let's be honest. Oxford Dictionary, Webster dictionary. No, it wasn't something which we all as humankind decided, yes, this is no, no. vernacular definitions from the dictionary are fruitless to me. You can't use a secular definition,

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impose it on a religious framework and explain, trying to explain things that way. treason is defined differently. Yes, because you have a secular framework versus a religious one. Why should you impose a secular framework on a religious one? As much as Why would you impose a religious one and a secular one? They both have two different standards, right?

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However,

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the principle of non allegiance is the same. So in other words, really, and truly what is the common denominator when a state deems that you're no longer allied? Now, here's the point. Is it to do with what you believe. Now I would put to you submit to everyone here today, that it's not to do with what you believe. And the evidence is not that it cannot have a dean Katerina rose to one line, that there's no compulsion in religion there is that that's for the non Muslims. By the way, that verse by Gemma is for the non Muslims. There is no compulsion in religion. chapter two, verse 256, means you can't force a non Muslim to become Muslim. But what about my cannoli movement? And well, I'm

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sorry, I've recited that quickly. But

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where it says it was not for a man or a woman who's a Muslim or a woman, that when a line is messenger decides something that they have any choice in the matter? The point is this even then, it's not to do with belief, and it's conceivable and possible for someone to lose faith in their religion.

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As a

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Muslim in an Islamic government, government state or wherever you want to call it, I'm not talking about those things which exists, but it's conceivable and they would have no repercussion whatsoever. It's not to do what's the evidence for that two pieces of evidence. One of them is the list of beliefs are definitely a man has a list of people who are more African. What's the Mona, Mona after someone who does not believe really in Islam? He does not believe in Islam. That's the true understanding of munaf. Yes, he might walk around in society and not necessarily publicly that his left Islam but he does not disbelieve in he doesn't believe in Islam. That list, even though

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Muslims were aware that those people were not Muslims, they didn't kill those individuals, because there was no rupture of a social contract there. In other words, it's conceivable and if someone in the West becomes non Muslim, and they were Muslim, we're not going to say don't kill that individual. No way. This is an understanding of Islam, which is orientalist decontextualized and completely wrong, in my opinion, there's no way you can do that. Because there was no contract between you and that person. That Okay, you are now allied to that state in that way. There's no state. In fact, the state here says you can do whatever you want, and you can have whatever beliefs

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you want. So in fact, their contract is different to your contract. The Quran says yeah, your holiday Naboo Oh, blah, could those Oh, you believe

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fulfill the contract. So in other words, there is no contract there. There has to be a contract, you have to be under an established and you have to have agreed to the terms. If those conditions are not met,

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then we can't say there's going to be any ramification.

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Now another point is this

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is that you have and this is one of the final points I'm going to make

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is that you have another example and this is one of the biggest a hadith in Sahih. Bukhari in kitakyushu, wrote the book of conditions, and then you have a discussion between the Hamsa Salaam and the koresh and, and the Christ was saying, If listen to this carefully,

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if your people in in your state, become non Muslim, bring them back to us. Do you agree to those terms, and he agreed to those terms. Say that one more time. He said if people in your state become non Muslim, under this contract that we have now, bring those guys who have left Islam, apostates it back to us, he said no problem. He agreed to those conditions. Meaning what really this What this means is that it's totally conceivable,

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both on Islam and liberalism, for there to be some kind of social contract which would bind somebody to a state of being. Now even if they decide to change their religion. It's conceivable on both liberalism and Islam, that it's not a problem. And it's conceivable on both liberalism and Islam, that it could have ramifications depending upon how it's perceived by the state. Now,

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next,

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the reason why the topic today was referred to as liberalism as religion. And this is a really interesting quote, I'm gonna read it out. It says theories of modernization are not scientific hypotheses, but theocracies narratives of provenance and redemption presented in the jargon of social science. What we're saying is that liberalism, the reason why it's been able to have this perceived epistemological upper hand on the religious narrative, not just the Islamic one, is because it seems like you're speaking scientifically when you're talking about secular ideology. What we've been able to show today, ladies and gentlemen, is that that is not the case. And that the

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the first principles of liberalism are unfounded, unsubstantiated, unproven, we've also been able to show Ladies and gentlemen, that actually, not only are the the first principles are proven, but a lot of them are based on mythology, fiction, stories, and so on. And so to favor that kind of a narrative over and above the Islamic one, or any other religious narrative for that matter, is, frankly, academically unfair in the first instance, epistemologically unjustified in the first instance. Philosophically unjust, frankly, you can't do that, and ask us questions. So before any questions are asked, from a person who claims to be a liberal, who might be now thinking that they

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have found the ultimate truth? How can you prove liberalism as an objective moral standard number one, from a scientific perspective or otherwise, or from a rational first principle perspective? Number two, why do you expect us to believe in your myth?

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Why even even your philosophers that propounded that myth, didn't believe in it fully themselves didn't conduct any scientific experiments

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Number three, do you not realize that it's as conceivable on a contract terian understanding of liberalism to have as much punitive law, as could conceivably be the case, in an Islamic State with all of the punitive laws being implemented? So if that is the case, what do you have to offer us?

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What is modernization? Why should we be like you? What have you got for us? The answer is really you have nothing for us. Sorry to say and it's to be blunt, you have nothing to offer. liberalism has nothing to offer Islam. That's the answer. liberalism has nothing to offer Islam

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is there's nothing there for us. Everything that's conceivable in liberalism, can also be potentially conceivable in Islam, and vice versa,

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in terms of primitive laws, and so on. So what's the issue? Now they'll say human rights, human rights, and I'm gonna say this once and everyone should remember it. They human rights is a metaphysical construct, which cannot be actualized. In the real world, it's impossible to have an actualization of human rights with the existence of social contract, you can never have ultimate freedom of anything. That's nonsense, on stilts, as Jeremy Bentham said, It's impossible. Now that the answer is this, that liberals will say, we define the extent to which freedom of speech expression and so on thought and religion should be exercised to the state in accordance with

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democracy, or this or that or the other. But those things themselves are problematic, because they number one to be in conflict of liberalism. And number two could bring out results like Hitler, which had, you know, retrospectively, everyone looks back and says, How amoral was he?

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In some, therefore,

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what I want to say is, the question needs to be questioned. Whenever they ask you a question, which is predicated on human rights, you should say,

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No, thank you. You have to first justify yourself. The last thing here I've got sorry.