IslamQA

Answers to questions received on my islamic-art-and-quotes tumblr blog.

Islam, the Good Parts: Guaranteed Basic Income for Women

One thing that is rarely mentioned when speaking about Islam, even among Muslims, is that Muslim women don’t have to work. They can work if they want to, but they don’t have to if they don’t want to.

Islam makes it the duty of a woman’s male relatives to take care of her financially. Men have to provide for their sisters, mothers, wives and daughters. This is not merely an act of charity that men are encouraged to do. It is their legal duty. In a devout Muslim society, no woman can ever be homeless as long as she has a self-respecting male relative.

This provides a tremendous sense of freedom for women, including single women, who want to do creative work. They can focus on doing what they like, for example growing a small business or a writing career, while enjoying freedom from the stress of having to earn a living. Instead of having to work for potentially abusive employers or customers, they will have the option of only choosing jobs they like and leaving whenever they want.

In a country like the United States where two incomes are often necessary for a small family to maintain a dignified existence, it may seem unrealistic (and potentially unfair to men) for such a system to be implemented. How can a few men provide for so many people? The answer is Islam’s mechanisms for wealth-preservation and the encouragement of productive investment that ensure the super-wealthy can never get too financially powerful and collude to lower wages as has happened in the United States, and also ensures that a single stream of income is generally enough to feed a large family. These mechanisms, such as the ban on interest and the speculation tax, will  be discussed later on.

There is one flip side to the system that needs to be mentioned. When inheritance is distributed, women receive half as much as men. Since Islam puts all financial duties on men, it rewards them by giving them a larger share of inheritance, as men’s wealth is, after all, also partially women’s, as a man is obliged to take care of all of his close female relatives. Islam, however, doesn’t run away with the idea of a male-provider society by giving all inheritance to men, since not all men can be relied upon to be good and fair care-takers of women. It also doesn’t run away blindly with the idea of equality by giving men and women equal shares of inheritance when it has burdened men with heavier financial duties. It chooses a middle ground between the two extremes. It gives men more duties and a larger inheritance, while also providing a fall-back in case of unfair and undutiful male relatives by giving women a half-share of inheritance.

The virtues and evils of such a system can be debated. Why not give men and women equality in all things? Islam’s view is that men and women are not identical when it comes to all things. It assigns different rights and duties to each sex depending on their particular strengths and weaknesses.

The main issue at question here is this: Is a system that takes the differences between the sexes into account more likely or less likely to be fair, compared to a system that assumes men and women are exactly the same? Is it unimaginable that differentiating between the sexes can lead to a fairer system of rights and duties compared to turning a blind eye to all differences?

Feelings run high when this matter is discussed. The only way to resolve the matter is to undertake large-scale scientific studies to find out whether sex-aware systems lead to better societal outcomes compared to sex-blind systems.

Does it improve the mental health and happiness of women for them to know they will never have to work, and for them to know that there isn’t one chance in a million for them to ever be homeless (given the potentially dozens of male relatives eager and willing to take care of them if they lose their homes or jobs)?

Does it increase or decrease a woman’s chance of career advancement for her not to have to worry about making a living while she focuses on her studies or work? Or is it better to put her in debt and compel her to work as a waitress or bartender so that she can make ends meet while she studies or grows her small business as it is done in the United States?

If we cherry-pick facts and anecdotes, we can make either system look good or bad, but rigorous and empirical comparisons can be done. We can fully resolve the debate through decades of unbiased social research  that compares the outcomes of an Islamic system to competing systems.

Any comparison’s of an Islamic system compared to others will have to take account of IQ, as IQ is the most important factor in determining a population’s prosperity. India is much poorer than China, for example, not largely because of Hinduism versus Communism or Buddhism, but because India’s average IQ is in the mid-80’s, while China’s IQ is above 100. Populations of equal IQ tend to converge toward having the same level of prosperity. China is in the same league as South Korea and Japan when it comes to IQ, so it is practically certain that it will reach the same level of prosperity as these two countries within a decade or two. India, however, is in the same league as the Dominican Republic and Paraguay when it comes to IQ, so as it develops, it will converge toward the same level of prosperity as these two countries. Of course, different population sizes and natural resources will affect things, but not to a great degree, and the larger the populations of the countries that we are comparing, the smaller will the effect of natural resources become. To study this topic further, I recommend the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations by professors Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.

To have a fair comparison of an Islamic system compared to others, we can compare ethnic Japanese Muslims to ethnic Japanese non-Muslims in Japan (similar IQ, same country) and see how Islam’s system of rights and duties affects the Muslim population compared to the non-Muslim one. Are ethnic Japanese Muslim women happier, more productive, more mentally healthy compared ethnic Japanese non-Muslims, or not?

Unlike Communism, whose adherents can claim that it wasn’t properly implemented when it fails, the Islamic system can be scientifically tested. The requirement is to account for IQ and devoutness (a Muslim who uses credit cards, mortgages and for-profit insurance is not following Islam properly and should not be counted toward the Muslim side). Examples of devout Muslim populations that can be studied are the conservative Muslim middle classes of Egypt and Malaysia. Egypt’s conservative Muslim middle class can be compared to the middle classes of non-Muslim countries of similar IQ (low-80’s), such as Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. And as for Malaysia (IQ 92), we can compare the conservative Muslim middle class there with the middle classes of Greece, Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

Why there are so few Christian terrorists

Color me curious. Raised Protestant, joined American Navy and saw the world, the Dome of the Rock is a supremely beautiful building. Such beauty, why NO COMPASSION! by radicals? I don't understand the mindset. .. Beauty and hate

The issue is not religion, but politics. Radical Muslims are no different from radical communists. They believe their countries are being controlled and oppressed by evil capitalist tyrants, and that superpowers like the US are supporting the most evil governments on earth (such as in Saudi and Egypt), and that the US is against freedom and democracy if tyrants fit its needs better, all of which are true. For example, the US orchestrated a coup that ended democracy in Iran in the 50′s.

Religion just happens to be a useful tool for these groups, as it gives their followers the courage to die for their cause.

You should also not forget that many terrorist groups are funded by intelligence agencies, both Western and otherwise. If you are an intelligence agency looking to create havoc anywhere in the world, Islamism provides a great tool for this, since Islamist soldiers are brave and do not require the payments needed for hiring non-religious mercenaries.

Many in the Middle East consider ISIS a US-Israeli creation made to perpetuate war in the Middle East and prevent any Muslim country in the area from getting too strong or stable. For all we know, this might be true.

Radical Muslims could just as easily have been Radical Christians. It just so happens that the political situation in the world today has made Muslims the underdogs controlled and stepped on by mostly Christian superpowers. Christians too have a long history of justifying mass violence and murder for their own ends, but since Christians acquired supremacy over the earth after the Middle Ages, and as Christian belief weakened, Christianity stopped being an effective tool for carrying out political goals. A hot-headed Muslim is easy to convince that he is being oppressed, while it is a lot more difficult to convince a Christian, since he knows Christians rule most of the world.

Terrorism is not common among Muslims. A few in 100,000 might condone violence. But everyone ignores the remaining 99999. Why aren’t they terrorists also? Because terrorism is based on political ideas that most Muslims do not support.

Christianity can just as easily be used to create terrorism. But since modern Islamic terrorism was created by Christians (such as in Afghanistan in the 80′s) to accomplish the goals of Christian countries like those of the US in the Middle East, it is Muslims who die for it and Muslims who are mostly killed by it.

Muslim countries do not have the intelligence capacities to organize and support Christian terrorist groups in Christian countries to weaken such countries and create markets for their defense and intelligence industries. It is extremely easy to use Christianity to create terror groups, it just so happens that there is not enough money and power to be gained by the world’s superpowers through Christian terrorism, therefore they are instead spending their billions organizing and supporting Muslim terrorist groups.

And if Islamic belief weakens in the Middle East and stops being an effective terrorist-recruitment tool, the superpowers will simply switch to another ideology, such as communism or a modern incarnation of it. They would then create and organize communist terror groups to perpetuate war inside the countries they want, and Fox News will start talking about the dangerous communists next door who hate you because of your freedom.

Horoscopes and Islam

/ 1 Comment on Horoscopes and Islam

A Muslim should believe or read horoscopes or not? Because I saw a post that says the person who believes in horoscopes is a disbeliever.

Horoscopes go under the category of superstition, since there is no basis in science or religion for them. Therefore a well educated and intelligent Muslim should take them for what they are: Fancy-sounding nonsense that impress the gullible.

However, we should not be judgmental toward those who believe in horoscopes. Even though this is an obvious flaw in their faith, we ourselves may have greater flaws that are not so apparent. Those who take pleasure in attacking the obvious flaws of others almost certainly have similar or greater flaws themselves.

We shouldn’t be quick to say who is a believer and who is a disbeliever. We can say a person who is not thankful toward God is a disbeliever; but we all show unthankfulness toward God every now and then; therefore are we to say that we are all disbelievers? We should not pass final judgment on people, that is God’s job, not ours. A person who has a part of disbelief in him or her may also have many parts of belief and goodness that outweigh the disbelief.

Is reading the Quran better than listening to it?

The majority of scholars (such as Qatar’s Islamic Affairs Ministry, Ibn Baaz, and the UAE Islamic Affairs Ministry) do think that reading is better than listening, but they have no evidence for this except their own personal opinions and unauthentic sayings of the Prophet. To me reading a book or listening to it are the same thing. I listened to the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books (instead of reading them with my eyes), does this mean that I somehow understood or “benefited” less from the books than if I had read them?

I suffer from dry eyes and late at night when I read Quran, if my eyes start to feel bad, I switch to listening. Does this mean that God automatically drops my rewards because I decided to receive God’s word through my ears instead of my eyes?

To me, Islam is a religion based on logic, not magic. No good deed is magically better than another, and whether I decide to receive the Quran through my eyes or ears my reward depends on my effort and sacrifice (how much attention I give to the meaning and how much time I dedicate to it), not on some random eyes-are-better-than-ears prejudice.

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