Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Attacking ancient shrines is Sunna

Islamists destroy a shrine in Timbuktu. Photo: Adam Nossiter via NYT.
People are understandably upset by the attacks on ancient shrines in Timbuktu, by an Islamist outfit called Ansar Dine ("defenders of the faith").  The UN Secretary General has said they are "without justification" and the International Criminal Court threatens to charge them with crimes against humanity.   Others say the attacks are non-Islamic.
They're all wrong.
Ansar Dine are simply acting on the Sharia.
I consulted my trusty "Umdat al-Salik", the Classic Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence, authorised by Islam's most ancient Sharia authority, al-Azhar University in Cairo.
At g5.7, the Umdat says:
"One should raise the grave's surface to 1 span (about 23cm)..."
Now this is interesting, as I'd only just heard on BBC TV that the Ansar Dine were saying that they had to reduce the size of the shrines to 20 cm, as that was what was authorised in Sharia law.
They're spot on (give or take 3cm, or about an inch...). They know their sharia.  Their critics don't.
[The reason for the stipulation, by the way, is that there should be no shrines that may "confuse" Muslims and divert them from their veneration of their Prophet Muhammad]
So those like Ban Ki-Moon and others scandalized by the actions of Ansar Dine should stop huffing and puffing that these reprehensible attacks are some-how non-Islamic. They should face the fact -- and say -- that they are clearly part of Sharia.
In other words: they should direct their criticisms at Sharia.
Or is that too buttock-clenchingly uncomfortable for them?  Too much of a danger to their life and well being?
LATER: interesting article in New York Times, 9 July: "Mali Tomb Raiders".