Thankyou for the effort of finding and sharing this.... I hope others may be able to use it as a resource to double check information....(the tafsir is a bit shallow---but better than nothing)
Originally Posted by 37818
As you may have noticed by reading the previous verses beginning with 6:155--the Quran is explaining the human use of "reason" to find excuses not to do the right thing. A list of excuses is given so that the audience is aware that such excuses will not be accepted. God has provided Guidance as a mercy (Grace) so that people may follow the right path. In fact, I actually had a conversation with a non-Muslim similar to the proposition in 6:158---that if God had wanted humanity to believe---he should have sent a revelation/angel/sign to everyone---not just one person----then there would be no doubt. And this led to a discussion about free-will---for if God had done so, it would have compromised our ability to choose freely---but as a text, (Quran) an individual has the opportunity to use his intellect and reason---to engage critically---then to make a choice. The use of ones intellect and reason to come to the conviction of One God is the story of Prophet Abraham in the Quran---that is why verse 6:161 says it (Guidance) is the religion/way of Abraham. Verse 163 is in the context of the previous verses concluding that when one has arrived at conviction, one must submit willingly to God's will.
In this context of "submission" (Islam) ---as well as Zakat/Sadaqa (Charity) verse 6:165 is relevant.
(6:165) For He it is Who has appointed you vicegerent over the earth, and has exalted some of you over others in rank that He may try you in what He has bestowed is upon you. Indeed your Lord is swift in retribution, and He is certainly All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
The verse points out that God has given some people more and others less---those who have more, have a higher commensurate degree of responsibility as Trustees (Khalifa)---it is a test and they will be judged accordingly.
The reason why submission (to God) is important in this context is because of the juxtaposition between hierarchy and equality. In the Islamic context---God alone is superior---all creation is inferior to God. Thus, all humanity is equally inferior to God, thereby, they are all equal to one another in front of God. (to say that one group of humanity is more inferior---automatically makes another group superior---but, God alone is superior). This means that despite human diversity in form or circumstances---all humanity is equal to one another and our diversity is a test of our compassion and mercy towards each other. Therefore, the relationship between God and man is that of master and servant, or King and subject---superior/inferior---but the relationship between Man and Man (humanity) is that of equals---none is superior/inferior to another. To put it another way---God is the giver, humanity is the receiver--since God has no needs, humanity is incapable of "giving" to God---but between people, the relationship is one of sharing between equals---even in the context of charity.
Thus, the poor, needy, are receiving what is due to them (obligation)---because the right to wealth and happiness is given by God to all humanity and not the entitlement of just a few allocated by some man-made set of "rights" or systems, or laws....
This premise is a different concept of equality than that of the Enlightenment/Modernity in which one group was "more equal" than others being more civilized, or more progressive, or more whatever....and the entitlement of "equality" is built on the condition that the "other" become "like us". (equality = sameness)
Hia Siam, Have had a health issue that has kept me offline for a bit...
Originally Posted by siam
What you describe, apart from the hierarchy thing, approximates my experience of the RCC = not a religion but a way of life!
A week or so ago, on TV, I saw an interview with the Rock'n'Roller, Suzi Quatro, on one of her annual pilgrimages to Oz. I never realised she was RCC!
She made a couple of points. 1. She has a public (performance) persona and a very private persona, 2. She was RCC and therefore plagued with conscionable self doubt, and "you can't escape being Catholic", it is a way of life that governs your conscience...
As for the RCC hierarchy: the idea is something of a misnomer. Back when in history when there were competing monarchies trying to subdue the Church there was in fact a political hierarchy. Thus at one stage there were simultaneously at least 5 individuals sponsored by various principalities who claimed the papacy (2 in France, 2 in Italy, 1 in Germany). My RCC educators summed up the history as there have since the times of the apostles (Jesus' discipl;es) there have been three ecclesia (gatherings) = The church political. the church social & the Church religious. The last is made up of the "true believers" whether they be mums, dads, kids or clergy, the other two are those distracted by worldly illusions (wealth, power, poverty etc)... The apostle Paul regularly chastises them...
In my experience, the RCC hierarchy bends over backwards to keep out of peoples lives. Of course they provide guidelines but as it is often pointed out in Catholic radical literature "it is almost impossible to be kicked out of the RCC". Nobody can be prohibited from the Mass or Confessional but they can, as a public declaration, be denied participation in Communion...
As an older fellow, I am greatly amused by the American fuss about Muslim's women's attire. In the 1950s, 60s & before no descent "British" or "Australian" woman would go out in public without a head covering (scarf or hat) and wearing gloves...and modest dress...
I guess I am persuaded by the Oz experience, especially since the 1970s when the authorities pursued its policy of multi-culturism. Sure we have had issues with various ethnic groups, but largely those have been drug wars between ethnic factions. Currently, in my area (what is becoming the Sunni Arab capital here in Sydney) the issue is their indiscriminate shooting of each other and honour killings... aprt from the later, in the 1970s we had the same problem with the Italians...but that went away (or at least out of sight) as the years passed by...here is hoping...
Originally Posted by siam
Your circumstance in the Malaysian pursuit of a mono-culture, as far as I understand it, is completely different. I have had numerous Chinese-Malaysian work mates & friends that came to Oz as students but never returned (except to visit family) because of ethnic "Malay" nationalism. So I've only heard one side of the story...
Last edited by elam; 03-27-2017 at 08:05 AM.
Nationalism is also an identity---and like all identities---it can cause problems---today the problem is the mixing of religion with identity---be it the Hindutva movments of India, the Burmese-nationalism (969 group), or the Muslim nationalists of Indonesia/Malaysia, or the Nationalists of Japan and China, or the Australia first/one nation of Australia...Pegida, EDL...etc...of Europe......everyone is fighting to figure out "who" they are and what values define them. The ISIS rhetoric of Khaliphate, or the idea of Zionism...etc...are also a marriage between religion and "nation" identity-constructs----the problem with all of these is not the identity-construct itself---but the notion that only one identity construct can be supreme in one (imagined) "location"/territory (nation). But such a way of thinking is incorrect. Such thinking led to the displacement and/or forced conversion of many Aboriginals in Australia. It has led to extreme exclusivity---forgetting that all humanity is a single family---instead (arbitrary) claims are made that a person must be x and only x to "belong".
But think of our own family---in our family we have siblings that have different names, personalities and thoughts, yet, we try to get along despite these differences and tensions....and in the East, at least, even when family members have problems...we still try to provide care and compassion...This is how society should function as a larger group---like family---where we respect each others identity and differences, yet also help each other be better.
How to be "better" requires teaching "values" and these come from religion/philosophy. So, for example, in the case of Lebanese gangs (of Australia)---if the community, and the Mosques and Churches (Lebanese Arabs are both Christian and Muslim) were more active in helping their communities and guiding their young---society would improve with less trauma. Right now---society generally "outsources" their problem-makers to the police and law...instead of actively seeking compassionate solutions....(homelessness, poverty...etc and their "cure" is outsourced to the government....)
In the case of Islam (as a value-system) the pursuit of a state mono-culture is particularly problematic as Pluralism is an inherent/traditional "value" of Islam. For ex...there are many Sharia and if a state were to choose only one as state-approved....it would destroy one of the key values of Islam---that of legal pluralism....
Secular "multi-culturalism"---does not come with any "values" as it is not a philosophy itself---it therefore generally uses "Christian" values as default in Christian-majority territories it claims....and Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims use their values as default in territories with their majorities....BUT---this means that minorities in all of these territories must "conform" to a degree....and when they do not or cannot...tensions occur. Some countries such as France have tried to define "secular" values---but other than "secularism" being anti-religion---have not really come up with anything substantial....and so, this is not an attractive solution either...
So, under such circumstances, I think Pluralism (instead of secularism) is an option worth exploring....
"In my experience, the RCC hierarchy bends over backwards to keep out of peoples lives."---if so, then can you really claim it is a "way of life"?
According to Mark Koyama, the economic history of Islam and Christianity seem to have different trajectories...both Islam and Christianity have ethical principles against interest---In the case of Christianity, Koyama argues that it is based on the argument that interest lending is unjust. Thus, Canon Law was developed in the 12th/13th centuries to regulate such activities:-
1139 Second Lateran Council
Usury prohibited to laymen as well as clergy.
1179 Third Lateran Council
Manifest usurers to be excommunicated and denied Christian burial
1215 Fourth Lateran Council
Jewish usurers to be ostracised
1245 Council of Lyon I
Churches forbidden from contracting usurious debts
1274 Council of Lyon II
Usurers to be expelled. Bishops who fail to excommunicate usurers to be suspended.
Wills of usurers invalided. Those who upheld the wills of usurers are to be treated as usurers
Table 5: Sources Tanner (1990); Gilchrist (1969)
According to Koyama---the Christian economic experiment did not work---but Islamic ethical economics did---while I do not agree with his premise as to why it did not work in Europe, I think that Zakat (institution of Charity) and Awqaf (Charitable Trusts) played an important part in balancing the economic superstructure/system. As Mark Koyama notes, the regulations by the Church made entry into commerce difficult, thus creating a monopoly situation---but in the Islamic economic structure---the redistribution of wealth through zakat and awqaf mechanisms created a more egalitarian society.....(Dr Shinsuke Nagaoka has done some research on these mechanisms---both how they worked in traditional Islamic economic system and how they can work today---such as in Singapore)