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 first and the Kaaba destroyed before their medieval religious order can be reformed? 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 standing in the way of any meaningful reforms.
To borrow a phrase from Barack Obama, the Muslim world needs some hope and change. Time and patience are both running out for them. They desperately need a fundamental transformation, and they need it fast. Women in Saudi Arabia are required to wear a traditional full body covering called a Niqab whenever they step out of their house. It covers every square inch of their body except for their eyes. Presumably that is so they can see where they are going, but since they are also required to have a male escort whenever they leave their house it would be more accurate to say that the Niqab has eye openings so they can see where they are being taken… To call this tradition clothing is being very polite. In reality it is oppressive and demeaning… not to mention the fact that it is unbearably hot in the intense summer heat of Saudi Arabia.
In many Muslim countries young girls are forbidden to go to school. Instead of receiving a compulsory, primary school education like most women in other countries… instead of learning how to read and write… millions of Muslim women are forced into arranged marriages with men that they don’t even know at a very early age and they are required to remain at home. In this way one half of the population is being subjugated by the other half simply because of their gender. Muslim women are oppressed by a misogynistic 7th century system of male guardianship which they have reluctantly come to accept over the centuries, but there are some courageous voices that are beginning to speak out and as a result of this women in Saudi Arabia have been given the right to drive a car and ostensibly without having to be accompanied by a male guardian.
Their isn’t any more powerful voice against the 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 the King 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 the late King who have been held captive against their will for the past 13 years. They have been locked up at a royal compound in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia allegedly because their mother didn’t bear “his Royal Highness” a son. That is the only “crime” for which these women are being incarcerated.
A basic grammar school education for most women in the Muslim world doesn’t exist. and 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 slightest appearance of impropriety. When rape occurs a man is seldom if ever accused, and if he is then he is usually exonerated because it takes three eye witnesses according to Sharia law in order to corroborate a woman’s testimony.
When Muslim men are just young boys they attend Madrassas where they are taught to hate the very thought of equality of the sexes along with other western values. They are forced to commit the Quran to memory without ever questioning it or even learning how to read and write. They are not encouraged to think for themselves or to question authority. Inside of these Madrassas and Mosques young Muslim boys learn that it is honorable to murder their own sisters or daughters in order to defend and preserve their family’s reputation.
“Honor killings” are committed all over the Muslim world when women are considered to be loose. They are even carried out in some western countries where Muslims have immigrated. Just being seen in public holding a man’s hand is sufficient evidence in Iran to condone such an honor killing in order to protect a family’s reputation. In Madrassas all over the Muslim world young men learn how to become murderers and terrorists and take part in the global jihad against Christians and Jews. When they grow up they are allowed to beat their wives to within an inch of their life in the name of Allah in complete accordance with the Quran and the Hadith.
What will it take to transform this intolerant 7th century ideology into a religion that the rest of the world can coexist with? Can the Islamic world tolerate such a religious reformation? Is it even possible? Can Muslims accomplish it on their own without outside help from the rest of the world? In order to understand the problem we can draw some parallels from what happened to another Middle Eastern religion before it underwent a much needed reformation.
Before Judaism went through its own religious reformation, the Temple in Jerusalem and the old religious order was completely destroyed, but before that happened a new religious order was also provided to replace the old religious that was going to be destroyed That happened when Jesus went to the cross to atone for sin. The sacrifices of lambs and bulls could never remove sin…. but when Jesus willingly died on the cross to reconcile sinners with God it did, and it foreshadowed the end of the old Jewish religious order and the beginning of a new religious order which did not require a Levitical Priesthood to minister in Solomon’s Temple.
In 70A.D. the Levites thought they were an essential part of Jewish life. The Pharisees still debated with the Sadducees over minor points of the Mosaic Law. They were the religious authorities of their day and their Temple served as the center of Jewish life. It was still the center of Jewish life forty years even after Jesus went to the cross, but little did they know that their Temple and their religious order was about to be utterly destroyed by the legions of Rome. What remained of their little Kingdom on the Jordan River would be scattered across the entire world, but before this could happen God first provided a way forward and a new order in the person of his son Jesus Christ. Only then did God allow Roman soldiers to enter the Holy City and destroy Solomon’s Temple. When it happened the destruction of the Temple prevented any further access to the old religious order and to all of its traditions that dated all the way back to the Exodus from Egypt.
What the Jews who survived the destruction of their country and their Temple in 70 A.D. did and how they responded to this new reality gave rise to two different reform movements within Judaism. One reformation became known as Christianity. It is the oldest surviving branch of Judaism in the world today. It was led by the Jewish Apostles of Jesus Christ and spread to the rest of the world by his disciples. Jesus said he didn’t come to start a new religion. He came to reform an old one He came to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. Thus Christianity is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. As such it is Biblical Judaism.
The other reform movement within Judaism that was launched after the destruction of the Second Temple was begun later by the Jews who went into exile. It is called Rabbinical Judaism to distinguish it from Biblical Judaism, but it is what is commonly referred to as Judaism today. Some people think that Judaism and Christianity are two completely different religions. On the contrary they are two different branches of the same religious stream of thought. The main disagreement is over the central role of Jesus Christ in salvation.
Christianity predates the destruction of the Second Temple by at least forty years and as such it is the oldest surviving branch of Judaism. What those other Jews did while in exile with their new reality was their own choice to make, and because God gives us all a free will and doesn’t force himself on anyone some of these Jews chose not believe in Jesus Christ. That was their choice to make with the free will that they were given. Many of the Jews who were scattered across Europe gradually developed new traditions and a new religious order to suit themselves. It eventually replaced the old Levitical Priesthood with its Temple and its ritual sacrifices. but it was not ordained by God. It was ordained by man. This Rabbinical Judaism is divided into four branches: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Re-constructionist. The one thing that they all have in common is that they all reject Jesus as the promised Messiah.
In order for Judaism to undergo its religious reformation two things were absolutely necessary. A way forward with a new order, and no access to the old order.. That had to be blocked. Those two things were absolutely essential before there could be any religious reformation …
Now let us turn our attention to the possibility of an Islamic reformation in the Middle East. A new way forward has already been provided. It is the same way forward that God provided at the cross for all Jews and Christians, and Muslims alike in the person of his son Jesus Christ. That way forward was provided before Mohammed was even born, but just like the Jewish rabbis in Eastern Europe who rejected the Messiah, the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East did not put their faith in Christ either. So the new way forward for Muslims is the same way forward that was already provided for Jews and Gentiles. It is the cross of Calvary. Nothing else needs to be done. It was all provided at the cross when Jesus agreed to be sin for us so we could be his righteousness for God. In Jesus Christ we are all one… Jews, Arabs, and Christians. We are all one in Christ and the recipients of God’s amazing grace if we accept Christ as our personal savior, but we all have a free will and just like the rabbis of the diaspora who created their own rejectionist brand of rabbinical Judaism the world’s one billion Muslims will also be allowed to reject the Messiah and reform their religion in their own way as they see fit.
Meanwhile there is one thing that still needs to happen before their religion can be reformed. There is one thing which is preventing Islam from undergoing a much needed reformation. Muslims still have access to their old religious order with all of its old religious ways and traditions which date all the way back to the 7th century. Access to the old religious order hasn’t been denied. Their sacred religious sites still stand. It isn’t necessary to attack any Muslim country and disperse Muslims all over the world in the same way that Roman legions conquered ancient Israel and scattered the Jews all over the world two thousand years ago. It isn’t necessary because Muslims are already scattered all over the world through their own patterns of conquest and emigration.
One of the five pillars of Islam is the Hajj. It is the journey to Mecca at least once in a Muslim’s lifetime to visit the Kaaba. What has not happened so far is that this place of reverence to all Muslims has not been destroyed. Unlike the old Jewish Temple… the Kaaba still stands. Furthermore Muslims actually have more than one religious site that is sacred to them which complicates the task. The three most sacred sites to Sunni Muslims are the Kaaba in Mecca, the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia, and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock was built on top of the ruins of the old Jewish Temple after it was destroyed by Rome.
The last time the Jewish Temple was destroyed it provoked a religious reformation in one of the worlds three great religions. It did away with the Levitical Priesthood and helped to spread Christianity throughout the rest of the world. If it is destroyed again along with the Kaaba it might spread a religious reformation throughout the Muslim world, but it is hard to predict the future. No one knows what would actually happen if the Kaaba and the Al Aqsa Mosque were suddenly to disappear over night. Would it trigger the longed for reformation in the Islamic world or would it serve to embolden hardline clerics. It’s anybody’s guess, but something needs to be done about Islam, and it needs to be done fast. We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by all of the what- ifs.
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