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The Kaaba and the Kingdom

Posted by Scott Rohter on Saturday, February 7, 2015

 

 

 Is it possible for Muslims to reform their religion while the Kaaba is still standing and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia still exists or will the desert kingdom have to be toppled and the Kaaba destroyed before this medieval religious order can be abolished? Furthermore will America’s strategic alliance with the Saudi royal family have to be ended before an Islamic reformation can begin? Some say that the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was a reformer, but the real truth is that the Saudi royal family and the Kaaba are always standing in the way of any meaningful reforms.

 

Muslim women in Niqabs

The Niqab

To borrow a phrase from Barack Obama, the Muslim world desperately needs some hope and change and they need it fast. Time and patience are both running out for them. The Uma needs a fundamental transformation and they need it quick.  Women in Saudi Arabia are still required to wear a traditional full body covering that covers every square inch of their body whenever they go out of the house. To call it traditional is just being polite. In reality it is oppressive, stifling, and demeaning… not to mention the fact that it is unbearably hot in the intense summer heat of Saudi Arabia. Even while wearing the Niqab which completely covers their body from the top of their head to bottoms of their feet they are not allowed to drive a car or even step out of the house without a male escort. In many Muslim countries young girls are forbidden from going to school. Instead of receiving a compulsory, primary school education like other women in civilized countries… instead of learning how to read and write… millions of Muslim women are compelled to be married off to men that they don’t know at an early age and forced to remain at home. Half of the Muslim population in the world is subjugated by the other half simply because of their gender. They are oppressed by a misogynistic 7th century system of male guardianship. Most Muslim women have reluctantly accepted their fate, but some courageous  voices are beginning to speak out.

Their is no more powerful voice against Islam’s misogynistic mistreatment of women than two of the daughters of the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. According to Princess Sahar bint Abdullah bin Abdulaziz  who is the daughter of King Abdullah and Princess Alanoud Alfayez, most women in Muslim countries are the objects of a deliberate system of “gender apartheid”. Princess Sahar is one of four daughters of King Abdullah who have been held captive against their will for the past 13 years. They have been locked up at the royal compound in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia allegedly because their mother didn’t bear “His Royal Highness” a son. That is the “crime” for which her daughters are being incarcerated.

A basic grammar school education for most Muslim women in the world is none existent. A secondary school education is completely out of the question. In some parts of the Uma women are forbidden from inheriting property. In other parts of the Muslim world women are routinely stoned to death for the appearance of impropriety. When rape occurs in a Muslim country the man is seldom if ever accused.  On the contrary he is usually exonerated of the crime because it takes three eye witnesses according to Sharia law in order to corroborate a woman’s testimony.

 When they are just young boys Muslim men attend Madrassas where they are taught to hate the very thought of equality of the sexes along with various other western democratic values. They are forced to commit the Quran to memory without questioning it or even learning how to read and write. They are not encouraged to think logically or rationally for themselves.   In these Madrassas and inside the Mosques young Muslim men learn that it is honorable to murder their own sisters or daughters in order to defend and preserve the reputation of their family. Honor killings are committed all over the Muslim world when women are considered to be loose or apostate. Honor killings are even being carried out in some western countries where Muslims have immigrated.  Just being seen in public holding a young man’s hand is sufficient evidence in Iran to require an honor killing in order to protect her family’s reputation. In Madrassas all over the Muslim world young men learn how to become terrorists in order to take part in a world wide jihad against Christians and Jews in the West, and when they grow up they are allowed to beat their wives to within an inch of their life in the name of Allah and in complete accordance with the Quran and the Hadith.

What will it take to transform this intolerant and repressive 7th century religion into a religion that the rest of the world can coexist with? Can the Muslim world in its current state even tolerate a religious reformation?  Islam needs a complete makeover from the inside out, but is it even possible?   An extreme makeover for an extreme religion… that is what is required. Nothing less than that will do, but are Muslims capable of accomplishing this on their own without help from the outside world. I don’t believe that Muslims can reform their religion by themselves. In order to understand the problem with Islam we can draw parallels from what happened to another Middle Eastern civilization before their culture underwent a much needed religious reformation. That religion was Judaism.

Before Judaism went through a reformation the entire Old Testament religious order was abolished. Before God did that He provided a new religious order to replace the old order. The Old Testament sacrifices of lambs and bulls could never remove sin, but before they were done away with God first had to send his son into the world to make the final atonement for sin… to provide the only blood which can atone for sin. When Jesus willingly died on the cross to reconcile sinners with God it was the beginning of the New Testament. It was the beginning of a new religious order which did not include the Levite Priests to minister in the Temple. The death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross did away with the endless offerings on the altar and the necessity for Solomon’s Temple, the Levitical Priesthood, and the entire Old Testament system of ritual sacrifices. The blood of Jesus at the cross was sufficient to provide the final atonement for sin. All we need to do is realize that we are sinners and accept Jesus as our savior. That simple admission of truth and confession of faith transforms lives forever if we mean it.

There was no longer any need for the old religious order presided over by the sons of Aaron and carried out at Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The blood of lambs and bulls could never really fix what is wrong with us and make us right with God. It only served to point to the day when Jesus would pay for all of our sins with his own life at the cross. Yet in 70A.D. the Levites still thought they were an essential part of Jewish life. The Pharisees still argued with the Sadducees about minor points of the Mosaic Law. They were still considered to be the religious authorities of their day and the Temple they served was the center of Jewish life. This Temple was still the center of the Jewish world forty years after Jesus death, but little did they know that the Temple they served and their entire religious world order was about to be utterly destroyed by the mighty forces of Rome. What remained of their little Kingdom on the Jordan River would be scattered across the whole world, but before this would happen God first provided a way forward with a new religious order in the person of his son Jesus Christ. Only after He did that did God allow Roman soldiers to enter Jerusalem and destroy the Temple. This destruction of the Temple prevented any further access to the old religious order with all of its old ways dating all the way back to the Exodus from Egypt.

What the Jews did who survived the destruction of their country and their Temple in 70 A.D. and how they responded to the new reality gave rise to two different religious reform movements within Judaism. One reform movement became known as Christianity. This is the oldest surviving branch of Judaism. It was founded by Jesus Christ and spread to the world by the Apostles after his death. Jesus didn’t come to change the Law. He came to fulfill the Old Testament scriptures. Thus Christianity is the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the true essence of Biblical Judaism.

The other reform movement that was launched after the destruction of the Second Temple began a little bit later with the Jews who went into exile. It is Rabbinical Judaism. This is what is commonly referred to as Judaism today. Whether or not that is an appropriate exclusive use of the term is the subject for another article. Some people think that Judaism and Christianity are two completely different religions. I believe that they are two branches of the same religious stream of thought that disagrees primarily about the central role of Jesus Christ in salvation.

Bible 3Christianity or what I sometimes call Biblical Judaism predates the destruction of the Temple by at least forty years and as such it is the oldest surviving continuously practiced branch of Judaism in the world today. It wasn’t formulated in recent times by rabbis in exile after the Temple was destroyed. It was created by God as the perfect fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy before that Temple was destroyed. As you would expect God to do, He provided a new way forward in the person of the promised Messiah before He allowed the old religious order to be destroyed. What different groups of Jews in exile did with the information they were given was their own choice to make. There is such a thing as a free will and God doesn’t force His Son on anyone. Some Jews chose to follow Jesus and the Apostles while others did not. That was their choice to make with the free will God gave them.

RabinnicaljudiasmRabbinical Judaism was created by Jews who were forced into exile after their country was conquered and their Temple had been destroyed. The new religious order they created over a period of hundreds of years in the Jewish diaspora after having rejected their promised Messiah seemed necessary to them because the Temple no longer existed and they had no place or way to atone for their sins.  These Jews who were scattered across Europe gradually developed new traditions and a new religious order to suit themselves and it eventually replaced the old Levitical Priesthood with its Temple sacrifices but it is not directly linked to the original religious order established by God in the Old Testament. Rabbinical Judaism is divided into four different sects..  Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Re-constructionist. They all agree more or less about one thing or another but they all reject the idea that Jesus is the Messiah.

In order for Judaism to undergo a religious reformation two things were absolutely necessary. A new way forward had to be provided and access to the old ways had to be denied. Those two things were essential in triggering the Jewish reformation…

Now let’s turn our attention to the possibility of an Islamic reformation in the 21st Century. A new way forward has already been provided. It is the same way forward that God already provided at the cross for Jews and Christians and Muslims alike in the person of his son Jesus Christ.  This way forward was provided long before Mohammed was even born, but just like the Jewish rabbis in Eastern Europe who rejected the idea that Jesus was their Messiah, the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East did not put their faith in Christ either. The new way forward for Muslims is the same way forward that was provided for Jews and Gentiles at the cross of Calvary over two thousand years ago when Jesus agreed to become sin for us so that we could be the righteousness of Christ unto God. Nothing else is needed. It was all done at the cross by Jesus. It was not necessary to create a new religion… either rabbinical Judaism or Islam. In Jesus Christ we are all one… Jews, Arabs, and Christians. We can all become one in Christ and be the welcome recipients of God’s amazing grace. However God is unchanging and we all have a free will. Just like the rabbis of the diaspora who created their own particular brand of rabbinical Judaism the world’s one billion Muslims will be allowed to reject the gospel of Christ and reform their own religion in their own way.

Nevertheless there is still one thing that is missing from this analogy of the Jewish world with the Muslim world which is preventing Islam from undergoing a much needed religious reformation whether it be Godly or otherwise. Muslims still have access to their old religious order and all of their old religious ways which date all the way back to Mohammed. Their access to the old religious order hasn’t been abolished yet. It isn’t necessary to conquer any Muslim country in the Middle East  in order to disperse Muslims all over the world in the same way that Roman legions conquered and scattered the Jews two thousand years ago. It isn’t necessary because Muslims are already scattered all over the world through their own wars of conquest and partly through an orderly process of immigration to the West which has taken place over the last one hundred years. So what is still necessary before an Islamic religious reformation can actually begin to take place? It is the denial of access to the old religious order with all of its old religious ways…

Hajj

Muslims on their way to Mecca during the Hajj

One of the five pillars of Islam is the Hajj. It is the once in a lifetime journey to Mecca to visit the Kaaba. What has still not happened in the Muslim world is the destruction of this site that is central to their faith and holy to them. Unlike the Jews of the first century, today’s Muslims actually have more than one sacred site that is the equivalent of what the ancient Jewish Temple was to the Jews.  The three most sacred sites to Sunni Muslims are the Kaaba in Mecca, the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia, and the Golden Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock was actually built on top of the old Jewish Temple. This site has already been destroyed twice. What good purpose would it serve to destroy it again?

 

The last time the Temple complex was destroyed it provoked a religious reformation in Judaism that abolished the Levitical Priesthood and helped to spread Christianity to the rest of the world. If the Kaaba is destroyed  it might spread a religious reformation throughout the Muslim world that would make coexistence with them possible or millions of Muslims might be freed of the shackles of their religion. One little bomb that targeted the Kaaba in Mecca in the wee hours of the morning along some pinpointed air strikes on the city of Medina might trigger the desired Islamic reformation that many moderate Muslims can only dream about now…

It is hard to predict the future. No one knows for sure what would actually happen if the Kaaba was to suddenly disappear tomorrow. Would it trigger the desired Islamic reformation or would it only serve to embolden the hardliners. It’s anybody’s guess, but something needs to be done about Islam right now. We can’t be paralyzed by all of the what -ifs.

In addition to destroying the Kaaba we should go one step further and destroy the two holiest sites in Shia Islam. One of these is at Najaf and the other is at Karbala in Iraq.  All of these sacred sites are preventing Islam from undergoing a real reformation. If we destroy the two holiest sites to Shia Muslims and the two holiest sites to Sunni Muslims then it will show the Muslim world that we are serious. It will also show them that we are fair and impartial in our desire to see them reform their religion. It will show them that we are not taking sides between Sunni and Shiite. It could unite them or it could unshackle them, but I know it is the missing step that is necessary in order to trigger an Islamic reformation. Whether we are as courageous as Rome remains to be seen.  The only thing that Muslims respect is force. This is the way it has always been in their part of the world.

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