COMPARTMENT SYNDROME – THE PROBLEM OF TRADITIONAL ISLAM AND SECULAR ISOLATIONIALISM
Thos who believe otherwise, that medical professionals should restrict themselves entirely to the substance of what are traditionally known as medical textbooks and ‘guidelines’ either do not wish to be involved or gain a full interest in it, which is sad (but acceptable) – for to them medicine is simply another job, simply another means of financing oneself. Or they do not understand medicine, “the office of which”, as Francis Bacon put it, “is but to tune this curious harp of man’s body and to reduce it to harmony”.
In this severe compartmentalisation of medicine, which is unfortunately what the majority of medical students and practising professionals fall into believing, there is a great analogy in what has happened to the religion of God over the years. Thanks to the efforts of the secularists, as well as ‘religious’ scholars, they have succeeded in ‘compartmentalising’ Islam, the religion of ‘submission to God’. This is a great opportunity to outline one of my deepest beliefs with regard to the religion, which I feel is of intense relevance to everything in life, including the medical profession.
The secularists have succeeded in turning the Arab people (and the Muslim world in general) into a highly irreligious, confused and lost lot, by dissociating religion from the everyday life of the human being, and announcing with the Christians of old, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. They have succeeded into making the average Arab and Muslim believe, like many Christians of today, that religion is non-progressive, static and primitive, concerned entirely with rituals such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage, and that what makes a person religious is the degree to which he or she is involved in those rituals. This is a false notion which I do not have the space to argue against here, but it ought to be clear to anyone who knows what religion is.
This notion is further reinforced, paradoxically, by our ‘religious scholars’! This they do, most significantly, by regarding themselves as ‘religious scholars’ – ‘rijal deen’. Just like the Church, they believe they have a monopoly over the religion, and because they have immersed themselves in so called ‘Islamic’ or ‘religious’ studies that they have been granted the power to manipulate people’s lives.
In the course of the next few pages, I begin one of the common threads within the course of this work, an attack on the excessive reverence, not to say worship, of tradition that the ‘Islamic world’ suffers from. This I do, because I feel that only by emancipating ourselves from the many corrupt and corrosive beliefs that our ancestors upheld can we dream of progress. This will have the great benefit of satisfaction in this life and the next, for we will not be able to use the excuse, “We found our ancestors on these beliefs, and we shall follow in their footsteps”:
“When they are told, 'Follow what Allah has sent down to you,' They say, 'We are following what we found our fathers doing.' What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided! (2:170)
When they are told, 'Come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger,' they say, 'What we found our fathers doing is enough for us.' What! Even if their fathers did not know anything and were not guided! (5:104)
Whenever they commit an indecent act, they say, 'We found our fathers doing it and Allah commanded us to do it too.' Say: 'Allah does not command indecency. Do you say things about Allah you do not know?' (7:28)
They said, 'Have you come to us to make us worship Allah alone and abandon what our fathers used to worship? Then bring us what you have promised us if you are telling the truth.' (7:70)”
Progress will only occur when we look at everything objectively, by knowing that even the greatest men and women can do great mistakes. Nothing has harmed the world more than the deterioration of the Muslims. And nothing has harmed the Muslims more than an excessive reverence and almost divination of ‘the great Muslim scholars and their books’. This kind of attitude has turned Muslims into blind sheep. And blind sheep will not be able to uphold the light and great message of the Prophets (PBUT).
Many of their ideas are ancient, unscientific and subjective, and do not appeal to a straight human conscience. The excessive reverence to them is analogous to the excessive reverence much of the world had for the ideas of men like Plato and Aristotle, Hegel and Marx, which only led to darkness and corruption. When philosophers put forward their opinions without qualifying them scientifically, and stating them as if they are facts, they become theologians, and they ought to criticised for their abuse of their profession. Their unscientific statements should always be preceded by ‘I think’. Alas many are too proud to state that. A similar attitude infiltrates the ‘religious scholars’, who have, throughout history, confused many of their beliefs and judgments with religion. Hence they ought to be subjected to the same onslaught that Karl Popper subjected many philosophers to in his ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’:
“If in this book harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, the wish to belittle them. It springs rather from my conviction that we must break with the habit of deference to great men. Great men may make great mistakes”
Bertrand Russell expressed a similar sentiment too, saying, “I suggest that philosophy, if it is bad philosophy, may be dangerous, and therefore deserves that degree of negative respect which we accord to lightning and tigers”. The names of Bukhari, Suyoooti, Tabari, Muslim, Abu Hanifa, Ibn Taymiya and others should mean nothing to our interpretation of their works; their analysis and objective criticism and filtration is key to the progress of this world. Many have confused the aims of religion, and caused it, perhaps inadvertently, much harm.
For instance, when was the last time you heard a ‘scholar’ talk about the superiority of the remembrance of God, doing good works and being humane, over rituals? When was the last time a ‘Muslim’ scholar came on TV and stated the brotherhood of man, instead of cursing and insulting the members of other faiths? For them, rituals, and especially prayer, are the only keys to paradise, and the ideal person is he or she who does everything with the sole purpose of dissipating their version of the religion. As I was reminded by one of my beloved friends of late, “the determination between ‘kufr’ and Islam and the safe guarding from hell is the adherence to the daily prayers”. And by saying this, they have neglected all that God says about the criteria for entrance to paradise:
“Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans - whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right - surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.” (2:52).
“And they claim, "None shall ever enter paradise unless he be a Jew" - or, "a Christian". Such are their wishful beliefs! Say: "Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true!" Yea, indeed: everyone who surrenders his whole being unto God,* and is a doer of good withal, shall have his reward with his Sustainer; and all such need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve” (2:111-2)
They have neglected the fact that you can do all the prayers in the world, but if you do not help your fellow man, they are null and void. Isn’t this what God is attesting to when He tells us:
“Woe, then, unto those praying ones, whose hearts from their prayer are remote, those who want only to be seen and praised, and, withal, deny all assistance [to their fellow-men]!” (107:4-7)
Furthermore, they have neglected that the remembrance of God in every action is superior to prayer, as the Quran itself tells us:
“Recite that which hath been inspired in thee of the Scripture, and establish prayer. Lo! prayer preserveth from lewdness and iniquity, but verily remembrance of Allah is more important. And Allah knoweth what ye do.” (29:45)
There are quite a few religious traditions that relate to people who did not involve themselves in ritualistic worship, yet entered paradise owing to gestures of kindness, humanity and goodwill (who also believed in God and the Last Day).
The ‘religious’ scholars give these things such intense importance (needless to say, they are important, but they are not the spine of belief – which ought to be belief in God, the Last Day and the implementation of good works) just like they give the collection of reported sayings of the Prophet (and I say reported, not actual sayings) the intense importance that they do not deserve. Mankind can live quite happily without the works of ‘Bukhari’ and ‘Muslim’, and all that the religious scholars of today utter regarding them (which, sadly, comprises the great part of their lives), but it will not be able to survive without the Quranic message for a fraction of a second.
Because of these attitudes, the Muslims have become divided into four major groups:
Firstly, there are those who devote themselves entirely to ritual and worship, neglecting their fellow man – who believe that worship means complete isolation and dedication of the life of the individual to mosques, reading the Quran and other ‘religious’ books, and immersing themselves in religious ‘da’awa’ – invitation to faith, without much attention toward the day-to-day aspects of life. Except for the ‘idiot’ bit, many of them will find a great appeal in Macbeth’s soliloquy:
"Life's but a walking shadow,
A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more:
It is a tale told by an idiot,
Full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing." (Act V, Scene V).
They believe that this ‘dunya’ (life on Earth) is ‘insignificant’, and that it:
“'Tis but a day we sojourn here below,
And all the gain we get is grief and woe,
Then, leaving our life's riddles all unsolved,
And burdened with regrets, we have to go.”
Everything is insignificant in life except for prayer, fasting, reading ancient ‘religious’ books and ‘da’awa’ (invitation to God). It is therefore better to focus on the ‘afterlife’, and may even say with Omar Khayyam:
“O foolish one! this molded earth is naught;
This parti-colored vault of heaven is naught;
Our sojourn in this seat of life and death
Is but one breath, and what is that but naught?”
The second are those who complete abandon religious practice and indulge in all that the world has to offer, while having ‘faith in God’s forgiveness’. This is something that stems from the Christian belief of the ‘Love of God’ – God will forgive all your religious nonchalance on the day of Judgement because He is so kind, so full of mercy. They believe that by having been born to Muslim parents, it is an automatic entitlement to mercy and a non-stop ticket to Paradise, and will say with Khayyam:
“Since no one can assure thee of the morrow,
Rejoice thy heart to-day, and banish sorrow
With moonbright wine, fair moon, for heaven's moon
Will look for us in vain on many a morrow.
Khayyam! why weep you that your life is bad?
What boots it thus to mourn? Rather be glad.
He that sins not can make no claim to mercy,
Mercy was made for sinners---be not sad.”
Thirdly there are those who spend the day indulging in religious ‘practice’ (as perceived by the laity) while spending the evenings indulging in the world of ‘sin’, or the whole year indulged in sin, while devoting the month of Ramadhan, the month of forgiveness, to religious practice, while like the second group, having utmost faith in God’s forgiveness. I am reminded here of the Shaikh of Omar Khayyam’s Rubayyat, who was seen by Khayyam to be consuming alcohol:
“Last night, as I reeled from the tavern door,
I saw a sage, who a great wine-jug bore;
I said, "O Shaikh, have you no shame?" Said he,
"Allah hath boundless mercy in his store.”
And equally, of Sayyid Ahmad Abdel Jawad, the key figure in Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz’s magnificent Nobel Prize winning trilogy, ‘The Cairo Trilogy’, a man who, “was in the habit of drinking to the point of intoxication every night”, yet during the day, “when he prayed, his face was humble, not the smiling merry face his friends encountered or the stern resolute one his family knew. This was a responsive face. Piety, love, and hope shone from its relaxed features, which were molded by a wish to ingratiate, cajole, and seek forgiveness. He did not pray in a mechanical way limited to recitation, standing and prostration. His prayer was based on affection, emotion, and feelings. He performed it with the same enthusiasm he invested in every aspect of life, pouring himself into each. When he worked, he put his whole heart into it. If he befriended someone, he was exceptionally affectionate. When he fell in love, he was swept off his feet. He did not drink without getting drunk. He was earnest and sincere in everything…Even after he finished praying, he would sit cross legged with palms outstretched and implore God to watch over him carefully, forgive him, and bless his offspring and business” (Mahfouz, p.18).
The ideas of the Ramadhanists, to coin a term, are depicted by Khayyam too:
“Now Ramadan is come, no wine must flow,
Our simple pastimes we must now forego,
The wine we have in store we must not drink,
Nor on our mistresses one kiss bestow”.
And he has the following advice for them and their like:
“Ye, who cease not to drink on common days,
Do not on Friday quit your drinking ways;
Adopt my creed, and count all days the same,
Be worshipers of God, and not of days.”
In this quatrain, Khayyam captured the essence of religion, which I will explain later.
Finally come the secularists, those who believe in the complete separation between religion and day to day life, those who believe, to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
Only a small proportion of Muslims have submitted themselves totally to God, with all that this belief implies.
None of these have the correct conceptions of religion. Furthermore, it is a very sad fact that our ‘religious scholars’ have become like the priests of old. They want a monopoly over the religion, forgetting that there is no such thing as ‘priesthood’ in Islam, that every person is responsible for what he or she believes, that God will judge a person based on what his or her own heart has earned and mind convincingly believed.
Muslims who take pride in the mentioning that (as one extremely popular Islamic website says under the heading, ‘No church hierarchy in Islam’), “In Islam there is no church hierarchy no priests, ministers, vicars, deans, or popes. When a Muslim prays he prays directly to God not through any intermediary. When he serves God he is not serving an institution but God alone”, should pause for a second and realise that while in Islam this might be the case, in traditional Islam it is definitely not. Prayer is a separate issue – in the history of Islam, prayer has always been to God alone. But all other activities of life are governed by God’s vicegerent on earth, the Islamic scholar. The way we enter a house, the way we eat, the way we walk. Everything has a ‘religious ruling’. It is the excessive involvement of those intellectually impotent scholars, who are of no benefit to society, who wasted their intelligence in their youth years on achieving an ‘Islamic degree’ rather than something that benefits mankind (that involves ‘good works’), into our everyday activities of life that makes them extremely repugnant. They forget that all the prophets (PBUT) were hard working men prior to their receipt of prophethood, which they were granted based on their excellent human qualities – in the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) case, it was 40 years of humanity and justice, because of which God described him in “one of the oldest parts of the Quran” (Asad, p.1008) (some say it was revealed immediately after the first five verses of the first revealed chapter, others believe it was third), as a man “of an exalted character” (68:4).
Nearly all the great prophets were shepherds. Noah (PBUH) was a brilliant carpenter, and it is owing to his skills that God commanded him to:
“Build the ship under Our eyes and by Our inspiration, and speak not unto Me on behalf of those who do wrong. Lo! They will be drowned” (11:37).
Nearly all the first khulafa, Abu Bakr, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab and Uthman Ibn Affan were merchants (Omar was also a shepherd). Ali worked as a drawer and carrier of water during the Prophet’s time, and as a farmer after he (PBUH) died, until he became leader of the Muslims.
What are we to make of a young Azhar or Mecca University graduate, who has not proved himself in the realm of life, who upon graduation with yet another thoughtless dissertation regurgitating what has been said millions of times before (yet earns a first class degree with honours because he followed in the direction of his ‘master’ fully) feels he has earned the right to dictate the lives of others, based on dubious sources and precepts, continuing this practice until he earns his place in the grave.
It is important that the Muslim works – and work, as brilliantly defined by Bertrand Russell is, “of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matters; second, telling other people to do so." It is not enough to be a man who talks – physical work is necessary.
But the kind reader may wonder, if that is what I believe, then why do I support philosophers, who just like the ‘religious scholars’ do not do any physical work. My answer to this is that, philosophers, by contrast to the scholars are men who are utilising the greatest gift that God has bestowed onto man – the ability to think rationally, which is what discriminates man from the beasts. It is not by virtue of His bestowal of the power of memory to man that He asked the angels to prostrate for man; cats, dogs, dolphins and many other animals have relatively good memories. It is by the ability to think and analyse. The vast majority of our scholars do not think. They memorise and regurgitate what they have memorised. They accept everything uncritically, provided it was uttered by their ‘masters’ and reject everything that they have not said as “an innovation worthy of the hellfire”. They have definite opinions over everything, and it is this very definiteness that causes modern minds, conditioned with cynicism and scepticism, to view them with suspicion. This contrasts immensely with the attitude of the philosopher, who simply owing of respect for his profession, does not dictate peoples’ lives, for he is merely an enquirer, a man who keeps searching for the truth until he dies. He does not profess to have answers – for he knows that once he has got an answer to a philosophical enquiry, he has exited the “No Man’s Land exposed to attack from (science and theology)” (as Russell brilliantly put it) and entered the domains of science or theology (faith). He is a philosopher no more, or at least with regards to that point that he feels he has found an answer to. When Nietzsche announced to the world, “God is dead”, he was speaking not as a philosopher, but as a theologian (albeit a foolish one). When Jean-Paul Sartre states, “I do not believe in God; his existence has been disproved by Science. But in the concentration camp, I learned to believe in men”, he too is expressing the most foolish of theological beliefs. That was not a philosophical comment.
The problem with the ‘Islamic scholars’ of today is that they do not understand that the religion is simple. Honestly, it is extremely simple, and therein lays its majesty, its beauty beauty, and its greatest attraction. It does not have the theological intricacies of Christianity, or the delving into the very minutiae of everything in life that characterises Judaism, something that the Quran deals with in many places, perhaps best in the second chapter, when they were asked to slaughter a cow:
“And when Moses said unto his people: Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye sacrifice a cow, they said: Dost thou make game of us? He answered: Allah forbid that I should be among the foolish! They said: Pray for us unto thy Lord that He make clear to us what (cow) she is. (Moses) answered: Lo! He saith, Verily she is a cow neither with calf nor immature; (she is) between the two conditions; so do that which ye are commanded. They said: Pray for us unto thy Lord that He make clear to us of what colour she is. (Moses) answered: Lo! He saith: Verily she is a yellow cow. Bright is her colour, gladdening beholders. They said: Pray for us unto thy Lord that He make clear to us what (cow) she is. Lo! cows are much alike to us; and Lo! if Allah wills, we may be led aright. (Moses) answered: Lo! He saith: Verily she is a cow unyoked; she plougheth not the soil nor watereth the tilth; whole and without mark. They said: Now thou bringest the truth. So they sacrificed her, though almost they did not” (2:67-71).
I cannot help but quote the ex-Jewish Muhammad Asad’s excellent commentary on this verse:
“Their obstinate desire to obtain closer and closer definitions of the simple commandment revealed to them through Moses had made it almost impossible for them to fulfil it. In his commentary on this passage; Tabari quotes the following remark of Ibn 'Abbas: "If [in the first instance] they had sacrificed any cow chosen by themselves, they would have fulfilled their duty; but they made it complicated for themselves, and so God made it complicated for them." A similar view has been'expressed, in the same context, by Zamakhshari. It would appear that the moral of this story points to an important-problem of all (and, therefore, also of Islamic) religious jurisprudence: namely, the inadvisability of trying to elicit additional details in respect of any religious law that had originally been given in general terms-for, the more numerous and multiform such details become, the more complicated and rigid becomes the law. This point has been acutely grasped by Rashid Rida', who says in his commentary on the above Qur'anic passage (see Mandr I, 345 f.): "Its lesson is that one should not pursue one's [legal] inquiries in such a way as to make laws more complicated .... This was how the early generations [of Muslims] visualized the problem. They did not make things complicated for themselves-and so, for them, the religious law was natural, simple and liberal in its straightforwardness. But those who came later added to it [certain other] injunctions which they had deduced by means of their own reasoning (ijtihadd); and they multiplied those [additional] injunctions to such an extent that the religious law became a heavy burden on the community." For the sociological reason why the genuine ordinances of Islamic Law - that is, those which have been prima facie laid down as such in the Qur'an and the teachings of the Prophet-are almost always devoid of details, I would refer the reader to my book State and Government in Islam. The importance of this problem, illustrated in the above story of the cow-and correctly grasped by the Prophet's Companions-explains why this sarah has been entitled "The Cow".
Listen to how an Israeli thinker, Akiva Orr describes the mitzvoth, the “religious injunctions for the conduct of life” of Judaism:
“Let us consider some aspects of the mitzvot. It is not easy to practise the mitzvoth. They are a burden. They make life much more difficult. They are a burden because they affect many mundane activities…The mitzvot determine not only when and how to conduct religious worship, but also what one is allowed – or forbidden to eat (for example, various animals are forbidden; anything milky must be totally separated from anything meaty, separate sets of dishes being required for each; no milky dish may be eaten within two to six hours of a meaty one). The mitzvot also rule on what one is allowed to wear (for example, cloth which mixes animal fibres with vegetable fibres is forbidden). They rule when one is allowed to have sexual relations, how to wear one’s hair and clothing etc. In short, the mitzvot prescribe not only worship, but also the practice of ordinary, daily, life.”
As a result of this cumbersomeness, most Jews these days are nearer to atheism than Judaism, with the majority of Israelis, in the ingenious words of Akiva Orr, being “Hebrew-speaking gentiles”. They feel, rather than harbour the pain of guilt of ‘not doing your religious duties’, it is easiest to discard religion altogether. Exactly the same attitude has, unfortunately, inflicted the average Muslim today.
It is owing to this burdensomeness of the Islamic scholars that they have contributed to the ‘compartment syndrome’ that inflicts the religion of God in this day and age. Surely by emphasising the simplicity of the faith they would welcome not just those who do not believe in it to it, but those who should belong to it, to actually return to it. But no. they would not find that appealing, for it strips them of their powers to control and manipulate, and would allow the common man to start thinking; and nothing is more abhorrent to an oppressive ruler (for whom most, if not all of those scholars of today are indebted for their livelihoods – the examples of Tantawi and Mubarak, and Bin Baz and the House of Saud in particular stand out) or religious scholar than a free thinker, one who has exposed the crimes of the former, and stripped the latter of any self-given importance.
Until the day when Arabs and Muslims start thinking, and realising the importance of using one's own faculties to understand the religion, rather than relying entirely on the views of others, they will remain in the darkness that has ruled over them for many centuries now. Until they realise that what the ‘scholars’ said is not divine, that there is both good and bad in all that they say, and that God will not accept the statement, “our scholars said so” as an excuse for nullifying the use of reason, they will remain blind, and they would have never submitted to God that way; they will remain Muslims just by name.
Until they realise that the religion was revealed for all, not just a few bearded men who we are told are ‘scholars’, they will remain decadent, and, as Muhammad Asad correctly outlined:
“would find it difficult, if not impossible, to practice true Islam in their lives, and that they would become intellectual prisoners of others who were themselves prisoners of the past and had little to contribute to the resurgence of Islam in the modern world…This was not to deny the importance of religious scholars, only that Muslims were obligated to understand their faith as best as they could using their own God-given faculties, before seeking help to enlarge their understanding. "Every Muslim ought to be able to say 'The Qur'an has been revealed for me,'" he (Asad) said in an interview a few years before his death. He was fond of quoting the Prophet. "If you use your reason and turn out to be wrong, God will still reward you. And if you are right, you will be doubly rewarded."”
This is the religion for all men and women, of all ages and times, and our ‘scholars’ who refuse to accept any version of life except that of the 7th century AD, are doing it the greatest injustice by forbidding any possibility of pluralism. They need to stop and listen to the light of reason, a light carried by very few Islamic thinkers these days, but carried nonetheless. I conclude this section with a quote from one of them, the Syrian thinker and professor of civil engineering, Mohammed Shahroor, a truly outstanding thinker of the age, who some liken to a ‘Martin Luther’ of Islam. I hope he does turn out to be like that, for our understanding of the religion is in serious need of reformation:
“The development of pluralism also depends on our understanding of the distinction between God's doctrines as handed down to the Prophet Muhammad, and the Prophet's actual conduct as a man living in a certain time and a certain society. Fundamentalists tell us that we must live as the Prophet lived, and we have to follow his sayings and example from his times. In my view, the Prophet lived an exemplary life within the limits set by God. But his behavior was only one of many choices he could have made, all within God's limits.
Thus, the Prophet is a model to us in the sense that he observed God's limits, not in the sense that we must make the same choices that he made. The life of the Prophet is the first historical variant of how the rules of Islam can be applied to a tribal society of the time. But it is the first variant, not the only one or the last one.
Fundamentalists today confuse the Prophet's choices with Muslim rituals as the whole of Islam. In this way, they would prevent people from making legitimate choices, and they would prevent pluralism in the name of the Prophet's choices. Everything is compared to what the Prophet did, not to the way the Prophet made choices. My interpretation puts the sunna, or the traditions and sayings of the Prophet, in a new light.
As to ritual, these are specific to Muhammad's teaching of how to worship God, and Muslims know them as the five pillars: bearing witness to Muhammad as God's messenger, praying five times a day, giving charity, making pilgrimage, and fasting. But this is only the ritualistic side of the universal message of God. Rituals may differ from one branch of Islam to another, that is, among muiminun, Christians, and Jews.”
 Prayer, fasting and pilgrimage are actions that we have learnt from the Prophet (PBUH) by imitation, and not verbatim.
 We shall ignore, for the time being, Bertrand Russell’s infamous comment, “It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.”
 Compartment syndrome, as a complication of surgery and fractures, is “a limb and life threatening complication”. In an analogous fashion, compartmentalizing Islam in the fashion of the secularists, and reinforced by the ‘Islamic scholars’, will lead to the great suffering of mankind.
 This was a man who throughout his life, as explained by Asad Abu Khalil in his book, 'The Battle for Saudi Arabia', "played a very important role in religious and political legitimisation for the House of Saud", the man "responsible for the reactionary religion - or version of religion - that has been consolidated in Saudi Arabia. He is responsible for the promotion and propagation of an extremely exclusivist and conservative interpretation of Islam through the standpoint of Wahhabiyyah...The perpetuation of the strict and puratinical moral order in Saudi Arabia throughout the last century, and beyond, has been facilitated and rationalised by Ibn Baz”