Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rapper Shahin Najafi sentenced to death...for a song.

Whenever I ask my Muslim friend his opinion about the myriad human rights abuses encouraged by the evil shariah law in Iran, his default position is always: "I don't know much about that"
Perhaps this (from the Guardian's excellent IRANBLOG INSIDE THE CRISIS) will help him and other wilfully ignorant Muslims to crystallise their views about the realities of life in a Muslim theocracy.
The latest blogpost tells the story of Shahin Najafi, a rapper who was foolhardy enough to criticise the immams and has recently released a song with references to Ali al-Hadi al-Naqi, the tenth of the 12 Shia Muslim Imams, a religious figure highly respected by millions in Iran.
Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi
The Germany-based rapper has now been sentenced to death for apostasy.

When asked for a religious ruling on the fate of Najafi and his "blasphemous music", clerics unanimously declared that such a person must be considered an apostate.
According to the semi-official Mehr news agency, Ayatollah Naser Makareme Shirazi, a pro-Iranian regime cleric based in the holy city of Qom with a great deal of influence among Muslims in the country, was the latest person to issue a fatwa in regards to Najafi.
"Any outrage against the infallible imams ... and obvious insult against them would make a Muslim an apostate," he said. [...]
Meanwhile, an Iranian religion website which runs on the regime-controlled .ir domain, Shia-Online.ir, has offered a $100,000 (£62,000) reward for anyone who kills Najafi.
"A (website) founder who lives in one of the Gulf Arab states has promised to pay the ($100,000) bounty on behalf of Shia-Online.ir to the killer of this abusive singer," the site said.


  1. Whenever I ask my Muslim friend his opinion about the myriad human rights abuses encouraged by the evil shariah law in Iran, his default position is always: "I don't know much about that" ---and as a Muslim from Southeast Asia---I too wouldn't know much about it---because there is not one "Sharia" but many. There are 4 major schools of law/sharia and perhaps some minor ones as well. Just as British law is different from American law....so too is the practice of law/jurisprudence different in every "Muslim-majority" country.

  2. Dear Anonymous, thank you for your comment. My point is that the (particular) shariah in Iran is so patently evil in its homophobic, misogynistic aims (for which we have plenty of disturbing evidence) that for anyone to refuse to condemn it for reasons of "ignorance" is moral cowardice.
    Do you refuse to condemn what is happening in Iran?

  3. I actually do not know much about what is happening in Iran as I am from Southeast Asia---However, as a Muslim and as a Human being I condemn oppression of LGBT, women, minorities, men...and any other group I've left out. The Quran opposes oppression in the strongest terms and the fight against the Meccans WAS about opposing oppression.

    In my part of the world---there is more concern about the oppressive "Purist" strain of "Islam" comming from Saudi Arabia. From my perspective---this type of "Islam" goes against the principles of universality, equality, liberty, justice and Compassion and Mercy that the Quran emphasises....

    1. With 24 hr news, internet etc., surely such ignorance is akin to burying one's head in the sand.
      I note that you say the Qur'an opposes oppression. The actions and sayings of the Prophet, however, which as a Muslim you are obliged to follow as I understand it, are disturbingly intolerant in their tone. How do you explain the Prophet advising his followers to banish from their homes effeminate men and women who adopt the mannerisms of men? I could go on and on giving you examples of reliable (Bukhari and Muslim) hadith which leave no doubt about the Prophet's views on gays.
      I asked my Muslim friend once whether he would agree with our mutual gay friend being stoned to death. His response was, and I remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday, that if our friend lived in a Muslim country and had the advantages of religious instruction and still committed sodomy then he should be stoned.
      Note this is not some raving, hairy Taliban. This is a Western educated, highly intelligent 21st century man saying he agrees with a punishment so barbaric it makes me sick just to think about it because his religion says it's the right thing to do.

  4. The hadith collections are divided into various degrees of authenticity---they also come with a historical/cultural background explaining the context. In the internet age, it is popular for muslims and non-muslims to use hadith to argue positions. As a supporter of free speech---I would not want to curtail such activity---but I do not favor such approach myself. Hadith interpretation is best left to the scholars who can bring out relevances to modern times.

    Islamic law---or what passes as such in some of todays Muslim majority countries is a mixture---colonial, tribal, Jewish, and Sharia practices and laws. However, it is still ok to generalize this as "Sharia" if one wishes because the "fiqh"(jurisprudence) aspect of "Sharia" is "man-made" deriving general principles from the Quran but arriving at the "law" through a methodology. (the differences in the methodology of arriving at Law is what makes the difference in the 4 schools of Sharia) Therefore--Sharia has embedded within it a process by which it can bring "law" to the higher standards of Justice, Equality, Compassion and Mercy that we expect today.

    stoning---it is very regrettable that we Muslims do not bother to pursue knowledge. Stoning is not advocated by the Quran---it is from Judaism---and even in Jewish law, was rarely implemented. In the Quran--Sex that happens in the privacy of ones home is a personal matter and not subject to scrutiny---only sexual activity that occurs in public or semi-public place---where 4 witnesses actually see the event/activity---is the act punishable---(and this refers to adultury). Today, in some places, the law is being used to define activities of Muslims and intrude into personal choices. This is incorrect and there is a verse in the Quran that warns against it.

    Homosexuality---I am uncomfortable with homosexuality and as a Muslim cannot go as far as to condone or encourage such lifestyle choice---however, those who do choose such lifestyle have rights that must be respected.(But this goes both ways, LGBT must also respect the rights of others in society---something that should be negotiated depending on the culture of a particular society)

    ignorance--You are right that ignorance is not excusable--but sometimes it is a fact---a decade after 9/11 one would expect that people in the west have a more nuanced view of Islam---yet Islamophobia is prevalent. One would also expect that in this internet age---when Muslims are having to actively defend themselves---that they would have a better knowledge of Islam/Quran/Sharia---etc...they sometimes don't.........So we must all try harder........

  5. Dear Anonymous,Thank you for your detailed and careful reply. I shall try to answer each of your points in separate replies as I have time.
    Stoning: You say that stoning is not prescribed as a punishment in the Qur'an. No, but it appears so many times in the hadith that one surely cannot dismiss it as a purely Judaic punishment. Notwithstanding your comments on hadith interpretation which I shall discuss in a later reply, those hadith for which there is a reliable chain form part of your religion. (My Muslim friend refuses to sit at a table with us when we drink wine yet the Qur'an simply says Muslims must not drink alcohol; it is only in the hadith where one finds advice about not sharing a table with those who drink...) As you know, Bukhari is considered to be totally reliable and this is what we read by him:
    "Ibn Abbas said: if a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death" (vol. 3, p. 1245, no. 4448)
    And more clearly still from the prophet himself we read this in Sahih Muslim, another utterly reliable hadith collection
    "Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah's Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession."17:4194
    "Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) stoned (to death) a person from Banu Aslam, and a Jew and his wife".17:4216
    There are MANY more similar hadith.
    Like my friend, you focus on the fact that these punishments are for those caught IN PUBLIC.
    So there was a rule for those who were daft enough to commit adultery and/or sodomy in public? hmm.

  6. Judaic punishment--The Halacha (Jewish law) is also God's law---in both sets of law, there are certain fundamentals---such as innocent until proven guilty, equality under the law and Justice tempered with compassion and mercy. It is true that in todays practice of "Islamic law", we Muslims need to go back to these fundamentals---in other words, reform is urgently necessary---However, the mechanisms for reform are already present in the methodolgy of arriving at law....it simply needs to be excercised....

    Public decency laws---are common also in the "west" as they are in all countries. What is considered indecent is subject to the cultural standards of each country and is something that must be negotiated within their socio-cultural understanding. Laws are not static--as society changes, laws also have to change in accomodation.

    alchohol,Quran,Hadith---There is only one Quran and all Muslims read the exact same Quran---but there are thousands of Hadith and various groups of Muslims have various preferences. For example, While I consider alchohol not permissible (except as an ingredient of medicine...), My Egyptian Muslim friend considers drinking in moderation ok. As you have noted---the Quran gives Guidelines, hadith/sunna provide the details. Islam has within it the dynamism and flexibility for adaption to the socio-cultural situations/conditions that Muslims find themselves in....yet the Quran also preserves certain parameters or fundamental principles from which people can continue to find Guidance throughout time.

    Hadith--As I have said---there is a context to these also. I have already explained the fundamental principles of law--one of which is Justice tempered with compassion and mercy. Ofcourse the standards of Justice, Compassion and Mercy were likely very different 1400 years ago than they are today---but it was a principle followed by the Prophet where possible---he tried to choose the lesser or more merciful punishment over the harsher one....he also preferred repentence and reform over punishment. Yet, the Quran also warns that compassion and mercy must not obliterate justice or lead to injustice. Upholding justice is a very important principle. There has to be a careful balance and harmony between justice and compassion and mercy.

    perhaps our conversation may become repetetive....?.....

  7. The blogger of this site is deaf, dumb and blind

  8. ... But I sure play a mean pinball!
    A Muslim Who fan! Wow!
    Oh no. I see...

  9. There is no law in Islam. This is all stupidıty to get advantage from Islam. If you deny Allah and Islam Westerner will hug you like own brother. Islam is not in Iran or Saudi or anywhere. Islam in human heart. Being best you can do for humanity. Rest is rubbish. I think you people do not try to be part of the human created Islamic rules. Be part of the original Kur'an rules in your heart. And again rest is rubbish.