I spent 25 bucks on Amazon for a copy of “Reliance of the Traveller.” It is not a travel guide, but a manual of Islamic sacred law( fiqh), which encompasses, and expands on, the the shariah of the Koran, according to the Shafi’i school of jurisprudence. The “traveler” is the Muslim living his life from birth to death, and the book provides religious guidance and rulings for aspects of life on which he may rely.
It sat on my bookshelf for months, a weighty read not happily anticipated, but when I finally opened he wrapping , the book surprised me with its readability, and so far has confirmed my forebodings as to Islam. In fact, things are worse than I thought,
One learns that there are more than one school of Islamic jurisprudence, of whichi the Hanafi is one, but that they are largely in agreement on matters of faith and morals, That which has been agreed on by a consensus of scholars is obligatory; that which is not ,is decided by the ummah, the muslims as a community, That which has been decided by the ummah in the past is in effect and not to be questioned, An ordinary Muslim is not to question a scholar in command of sacred noweldge,
And the purpose of sacred knowledge, that is theology and in Islam, law as well, without distinction, in obligation is to enable Muslims to follow the example of their messenger, Using the techniques of scholarship for any other purpose is forbidden:
Anyone who seeks Sacred Knowledge to argue with fools, vie with scholars,or draw people’s attention to himself, will take a place in Hell.
Thus there can be no scholasticism, as in Europe where reason was used in an attempt to justify faith, but in the end overturned its unchallenged authority over human life. Instead, in Islam a dense legalism nibbles at the edges of the religious corpus, as so much has been decided that scholars are left to debate minutiae or shoehorn unexpected situations into agreement with the precedents of a millennium or more ago,
Reading this book is instantly enlightening. That precedent cannot be overturned and that ancient consensus must hold forever the reader thinks, must be related to the stasis, and backwardness of Islamic societies.
Knowledge other than sacred knowledge or learning that may be used to advance sacred knowledge is unlawful.a
These are are areas of unlawful knowledge in Islam:(page 14, section a7.2)
the scence of the materiaists
and anything that is a means to create doubts(in eternal truths)
That philosophy and science based on material observation are proscribed likely has much to do with countries like Saudi Arabia still finding sorcery and magic to prosecute.
There is much more to read and reflect on, a task of some months, but I have seen enough to know that Islam constrains itself with iron limits on the spirit and intellect that have kept it in the state of underdevelopment that it so resents, and that may in the end be its utter undoing.
Why do I undertake this task?
To argue with fools.