The Islamic Way of Disagreement

Two Arabic TV shows reveal the nature of "dialogue" in the Muslim world.

“Did Aisha commit adultery while married to Mohammed? Or worse, did she kill Mohammed? Is she, together with Hafza Abu Bakr, Uthman and Omar, burning in eternal Hell? Or were they rewarded with Paradise?” These are questions consuming many Muslim leaders in the Middle East today.  Shiites believe the 9 year-old wife of Mohammed was an evil foul-mouth adulteress who deserves Hell, whereas Sunnis believe she is the honored ‘Om El Muminin’ -- meaning mother of believers.

Emotions among Islamic scholars are boiling over on Arab religious TV shows. Rather than rationally debating serious troubles within Islam, Islamic leaders have taken their religious debate to a new low. They engage in horrific cursing matches called “Mubahala” on air to solve their disagreements. This is the latest offering from the producers of constant incitement, calls for jihad, teaching children that lying is okay (if it is for an Islamic obligation), and cursing of Jews and non-Muslims. It is believed that the one on the ‘wrong’ side of the religious issue of the Mubahala, will be struck with a supernatural curse, the wrath of Allah, eternal torture, pain, be afflicted with incurable diseases, suffering and a violent death to him and his whole family.

Muslim men of Allah challenge each other to cursing, like a duel of honor, in order to find the ‘truth’. Each Sheikh starts by stating his position, then the cursing starts against the opponent, his sons and women. Words used are doom, ruin, eternal torture from heaven, early death, to be afflicted with incurable diseases and eternal Hell. The one who is harmed or dies at the end is presumed to be the liar. They warn that the curse might not be swift or right after the program and that it will come from Allah in the form of a heart attack or other disaster, soon to hurt the other side. One can just imagine how the families, especially children, of one side or the other feel about this?

The childishness of these exchanges is beyond belief; it would be comic if it weren’t deadly serious. You can see these two Arabic TV shows ‘El Manbar’ and ‘Al Hikma’ between Shiite Sheikh Yasser El Habib, and Sunni Sheikh Mohammed Ben Abdullah El Kous.

The Internet is full of challenging calls to Mubahala between Sheikhs, stating they cannot guarantee that the other side will stay alive.

A friend of mine in Cairo called me after the show to tell me that his father, a Ph.D. math professor, was crying while watching Mubahala on TV while rooting for the Sunni side and calling the Shiites apostates. Accusation of apostasy between Islamic sects is all over the Internet calling each other every dirty word in the book. The Qur'an itself, and other Muslim scriptures, uses much cursing of non-believers, the Jews, the Christians and the pagans.

The Sheikhs point to the Qur'an and the Hadith as the source for the Mubahala, stating that Mohammed himself practiced it. They give Sura 3, verse 61:

“If anyone disputes with you concerning him, after full knowledge has come to you, say: Come! Let us gather our sons and your sons, our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves: then let us earnestly pray and invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie.”

Muslim clergy and scriptures are an undeniable source of hate speech, anger and incitement. Their preaching of hatred and ill will has become the norm, even between Muslims. This poison is preached on government sponsored Islamic TV shows and from the pulpit of mosques in front of children. But the West still buys the claim that it is a small number of extremists who represent "the problem."

The fact of the matter is that even if there were no infidels, Israel or America, Muslims would still be fighting each other because their religion has no core value for peace, forgiveness and redemption. It is clear that Islamic values and morality contradict those of the West and what’s worse is that hate speech and cursing in Islam is so prevalent and deep within the culture that most Muslims do not even consider it sinful or bad.

I challenge the American Left to see the truth of an irrational tyrannical doctrine dressed up as a religion. Those who advocate that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ need to watch these episodes and judge for themselves. This is not just hatred of Jews, Christians and non-Muslims, but it is intrinsic hatred rooted in a dysfunctional system that cannot appreciate life, liberty and happiness.

Nonie Darwish is the author “Cruel and usual Punishment” and the President of