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The following article was originally published by the Stonegate Institute. It is written by Ahmad al-Baghdadi and translated and introduced by Raymond Ibrahim.
Provided they can be objective, members of a civilization are often best placed to critique that civilization. Accordingly, the following article, which recently made the rounds on various Arabic websites, is a good example of honest criticism of the Islamic world, by one of its own. Written by the late Dr. Ahmad al-Baghdadi (died 2010)—one of Kuwait’s best known liberal activists and scholars (he held a PhD in the philosophy of Islamic thought and taught political science)—the article recounts how Islamic civilization is the eighth, and greatest, wonder of the world. We quickly discover this is not a compliment, as the article highlights some singularly troubling aspects of the Islamic world, from a liberal—in this sense, “rational”—point of view. For the record, Ahmad al-Baghdadi is not the first Muslim to portray Islamic culture as a fantastic anachronism that has outstayed its welcome; the prophet of Islam himself, Muhammad, made a similar prophesy in a canonical hadith: “Verily, Islam started as something strange, and it will again revert to being strange, just as it began, and it will recede between the two mosques [Mecca and Medina, birthplace of Islam] just as the serpent slithers back into its hole” (Sahih Muslim 1:271).
As we know, the wonders of the world are seven; but there is an eighth “Wonder -of-Wonders” not counted among the seven: this is the “Muslim nation [umma].” I specifically did not say the “Islamic [or Islamist] nation,” for within this Muslim nation are wondrous matters not witnessed by any other nation since Allah Almighty created Adam. Here are some of these wonders:
1. It is the only nation that believes it is in the right—in every way—while all others are wrong;
2. The only nation that exonerates or lightens the punishment of an indicted criminal if he is Muslim and has learned some Quranicverses;
3. The only nation where a cleric evades indictment for inciting murder if he describes one of his adversaries as “an apostate”;
4. The only nation that does not penalize a murderer if he kills “an apostate”;
5. The only nation that shows leniency and assuages punishments for the “honor killing” of a sister or a wife;
6. The only nation whose holy book [Quran] starts with the word “read” [iqra’] and yet it is among the least nations that reads books, if any at all;
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