Religious Absolutism

By Saad Hafiz

Religious absolutism

Arguably, absolutism has played a part in some of the worst social and political evils throughout history. While there is little doubt that religion has made a valuable contribution to civilisation, religious absolutism has also exercised a pernicious influence at times. No one can deny the atrocities of the Crusades or the Inquisition and other evils started by the Church. Bloodshed justified by religious dictum became a widely accepted doctrine. People were branded dissenters, apostates and heretics, and ruthlessly eliminated. The terrible absolutist extremes of unbridled secular nationalism, Bonapartism and fascism are well documented. Recently, though, in contrast to a decline in secular sources of violence, the peace and prosperity of the world is being seriously threatened primarily by extremists who believe in using violence to promote and defend Islam. This violence has reinforced the perception in the west that Islam more than any other religion is amenable to absolutism. It is no longer enough to say that the spirit and letter of Islam works against absolutism.

See More: ‘Islam is in danger’ and ‘pure’ Islam must be protected at all costs from heretics and corrupting western influences. | A war of narratives

A problem with religion seems to be too much public faith, a loyalty to an absolute that excludes accommodation of other realities. Every religion is exclusive, lays claim to absolute truth and demands blind obedience. Judaism views the messiah-ship of Jesus as blasphemy. The greatest sin in Islam is to associate anything or anyone with Allah. Therefore, Christians who believe in the Holy Trinity are guilty of this sin. Buddhism and Hinduism deny the existence of a personal God while Hinduism refuses to bend on its teachings of the law of karma and reincarnation. Secular or less observant Jews in the US and Israel are considered no better than equally disparaged gentiles by ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews. Some very conservative segments of evangelical Protestantism do not consider Roman Catholics to be authentic Christians. Salafi Muslims in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are dismissive of any deviation from their interpretation of Islam by more moderate Muslims, especially the Sufi branch of the religion. Many Sunni Muslims in Arab states and their leaders view the Shia branch as heretical.

See More: There are analysts who argue that Muslims are not ready for democracy and that elections would only translate into victory for hardline Islamists. The facts tell a different story. | Living with political Islam

While the vast majority of Muslims today are kind, generous and peace-loving people who are committed to social justice, there is also a large number of believers who have been brainwashed into believing that every word of the religious scriptures are true, and so they reject scientific explanations. They oppose democracy and freedom of speech because they fear that modern democratic values will eventually replace conservative, religious ones. This set of believers is often absolutist, self-righteous, arrogant, dogmatic and impatient of compromise. They practice intolerance of other religions as well as of internal dissent and have a propensity towards violence. They are selective in their interpretation of their sacred texts: the Quran and hadith, not to mention sharia and Islamic history. They dream of a world purified by Islam and dedicated entirely to the worship of a vengeful God. For them, disbelief is the main cause of evil and democracy breeds disbelief by encouraging people to satisfy their own interests instead of living to serve the will of God. They believe that secular forms of government are a violation of God’s sovereignty over the earth and, therefore, all nations must submit themselves to the rule of Islamic theocracy. They are strongly convinced that Islam is the way to a perfect world. They can arouse powerful and sometimes irrational impulses, and can easily destabilise society, cause political havoc and create a veritable hell on earth. This goes against the original intent of religion, which was to encourage people to abandon greed, hatred and perversion so that they might make their own enlightened moral judgments based upon honesty, equality and compassion rather than following the often barbaric moral dictates of ancient religious scriptures.

See More: In the closed, fearful world of Islamic discussion, a discourse on these issues is considered offensive, dangerous or both. | A time for introspection

As with all organic symbols rooted deeply in human identities, Islam — like all other religions — is open to abuse by those seeking to wield power and terror. Whatever Islam’s problems and failures, they are the result of human fallibility, not some contrived view of religion or God. The issue, rather, is absolutism. Every human being has their own conception of how to achieve ‘the good life’ but, besides very limited exceptions, it is wrong and unnatural to impose these onto anyone else. One of the most important things in common with belief systems that turn into absolutist ideologies is that, despite their supposedly noble aims for humanity, they begin to violently enforce these beliefs onto people regardless of whether or not they agree. Islam is no different because, like all other beliefs, it is a spectrum and can be manipulated to its extremity for the sake of power. For the human community to eradicate intolerance, hatred and violence between faiths, and even within the same faith family, in this new century, will require that freedom of conscience and respect for believers of all faiths, and no supernatural faith, become paramount. Also, anti-absolutist ideals that are respectful of all religious stances must be revived.

See More: Part of the problem is that, in Islam, it is not the religious message that promotes the faith into the halls of political power as in Judaism and Christianity; it is an original state of political and military strength that promotes the religious message. | Islamic reformation

For More Articles by Saad Hafiz click here.

  • Arzu

    One of the reason why Islam and Quran was revealed to the prophet by Gabriel was that all the earlier revelation by god were either moderated or rationalized and even abandoned by followers in the course of time.In short followers of Judaism and Christianity today are not following god’s commandment.
    Quran was revealed again to bring everyone back again to the fold of Ibrahim’s god and every word of it is to be protected, defended from any dilution at any cost as it is the last word of god and god shall not reveal again…
    Their is nothing for Muslims to defend or reform , god itself shall defend and punish those who digress or stand against it.

  • Raqibul

    Different between an extremist Muslim and a moderate Muslim.
    Extremist Muslim kill non believers citing verses from Quran.
    Moderate Muslims criticise their fellow Muslims for such killings but endorse the book which advocates these killings.

  • saadhafiz

    Gora Bandar: We should be glad that Christianity has evolved into a peaceful religion from this awful legacy.


    Crusades (1095-1291)
    First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
    Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]
    9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]
    Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]
    after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
    Here the Christians “did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy’s] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies,” according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]
    Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine “the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians” said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]
    Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
    (In the words of one witness: “there [in front of Solomon’s temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes”, and after that “happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour’s tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude”)
    The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: “It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished.” [TG79]
    Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that “even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition”. One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]
    Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered “in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. [WW45]
    Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
    Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]
    Note: All figures according to contemporary (Christian) chroniclers.


    Religious Wars
    15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]
    1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]
    1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain. [DO31]
    1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]
    17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, “cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals… and then dumped him into the river […but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [… and] dragged what was left … to the gallows of Montfaulcon, ‘to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows’.” [SH191]
    17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. “In a single church fifty women were found beheaded,” reported poet Friedrich Schiller, “and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers.” [SH191]
    17th century 30 years’ war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]


    Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.
    In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]
    17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]
    The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]
    First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]
    Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]
    Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]
    Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]
    1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]
    1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]
    1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]
    1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]
    1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]
    1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]
    1391 Seville’s Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored “badges of shame” that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.
    1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492. [MM470-476]
    1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain. [DO43]
    (I feel sick …) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz.

  • saadhafiz

    Romain sb: we are all in agreement about the evils of all types of absolutism. I think I have made the point in the article that Islam is very susceptible to this abomination.

  • saadhafiz

    The Express Tribune 15 May 2015

    Religious scholar says anti-Muslim fervour is rising in America

    Religo­us schola­r says everyt­hing said about Muslim­s today was said about Jews in the ’40s and ’50s

    Reza Aslan, who is an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, appeared on the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday night, to discuss the idea of ‘reformation’ in Islam and the threat of ISIS.

    Aslan conceded that ISIS is Islamic, however said if you are okay with calling them Muslim you should also acknowledge their victims are also Muslim.

    “I’m okay with you saying that ISIS is Islamic as long as you also realise that the tens of thousands of people that they have kill are also Muslims and that the tens of thousands of people who are are fighting against ISIS are also Muslim,” Aslan said.

    “What drives me absolutely bananas is this constant refrain, that you know what Islam really needs? It needs a reformation,” Aslan said on The Daily Show. “My answer is to that is: open your eyes, man. What do you think is going on? People think that reformation is about holding hands and singing Kumbaya. Reformation is about a cataclysmic debate about who has the authority to define a faith. Is it the individuals or is it the institution? ”

    Aslan blamed anti-Muslim fervor in the US on “fear manufactured by a news channel that has spun it into ratings gold.” Aslan was referring to FOX News, a network Stewart targeted earlier in his show.

    “It’s both sides, by the way. If you look at one of the greatest drivers of anti-American sentiment overseas are the fear-based rhetoric of their leaders, of punditry, of everything else.” said Stewart.

    “Both sides have decided that to perpetuate their own power it makes best sense to play to the basic sense of fear of your constituency.” added Stewart

    Aslan said about anti-Muslim fervor that it is a very real thing. “Two thirds of Americans think that Muslim and American values clash conflict with each other, Half of Americans think Muslims can’t be loyal to America and one-third of Americans -which he insisted is a very large number- want Muslims to be forced to carry special I.D. that identify them as Muslims,” he said citing a poll.

    “There’s a historical analogy there somewhere. I can’t put my finger on it,” Aslan sarcastically said, hinting at Nazi sentiment towards the Jews.

    “The good news is that everything that is said about Muslims today,” Aslan said, “that they are not American, that they are fearful, that they don’t belong here. Everything that was said about Muslims today were said about the Jews in the ’40s and ’50s, was said about Catholics at the end of the 19th century.”

    ‘”The bad news is then we will find somebody else to hate,” Aslan added.

  • romain

    Saad Sb,

    its a catastrophe that even in the US peeps would not like Rumi and RHR mians along with a all my Paki friends.

  • saadhafiz

    Yes it is Romain sb. I just missed Woodstock in 1969 but I remember a different America when we marched against the Vietnam war and visiting US friendly dictators. This was before I became a capitalist drone!

  • timely

    Fascim and finalism are two sides of the same coin.
    The arab religion is a finalist ideology.
    There is no fascism without finalism and no finalism without fascism.

    Monotheism is by nature anti-pluralist and totalitarian.

    All holy books end up as sources or causes of fascism. The good in them is always overwhelmed by the arrogance and the evil in them.

    To call a book as holy means to start a fascist ideology centered on this book.
    To call person as prophet means to start a fascist ideology centered on this person.

    These are analytic truths. The quislings of this arab religion have not the intelligence, the wisdom and the honesty to understand this.

  • romain

    Saad sb,

    Woodstock !!??!! My kids call it ancient history and even I was too young to know what it was all about. But 458 cu inch cars must have fun what with 10c gallon gas. My uncles who came here around that time use to tell me that they could buy a dozen eggs and a large loaf of bread for under a dollar. Alas, when I came gas was already about 40c per gallon and everyone in the Univ thought I was a Mexican and wanted to practice their Spanish on me. It didnt help that the Univ was in So Cal. There was a Paki I met, and I thought he was Indian and he thought I was a paki. OF course, I use to believe all Pakis had horns and tails and he thought the same about Indians. Imagine our mutual surprise and disappointment. We still continue to disappoint each other.
    Hearing RHR’s experiences in the Univ is comforting that the disappointment continues. There is hope yet.

  • tajender

    MUMBAI: Aruna Shanbaug, the Mumbai nurse who was raped by a hospital staff member in 1973 and has been in coma ever since, is in a critical condition. Doctors at Mumbai’s state-run KEM Hospital, where she worked and was raped, said Ms Shanbaug is suffering from pneumonia and is on ventilator support, but added that her condition is improving.

  • romain

    Tajinder Mian,

    you forgot to mention that it was a Muslim who raped her

  • tajender

    sorry romain,

    Ms Shanbaug was a junior nurse at the hospital when she was brutally assaulted and raped by a ward boy-cum-sweeper, Sohanlal Bharta Valmiki. He also throttled her with a dog chain, leading to her current state.

  • tajender

    Hillary and Bill Clinton earn more than $25m for giving 100 speeches

  • Rex Minor

    A problem with religion seems to be too much public faith, a loyalty to an absolute that excludes accommodation of other realities. Every religion is exclusive, lays claim to absolute truth and demands blind obedience. Judaism views the messiah-ship of Jesus as blasphemy. The greatest sin in Islam is to associate anything or anyone with Allah. Therefore, Christians who believe in the Holy Trinity are guilty of this sin. Buddhism and Hinduism deny the existence of a personal God while Hinduism refuses to bend on its teachings of the law of karma and reincarnation. Secular or less observant Jews in the US and Israel are considered no better than equally disparaged gentiles by ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews. Some very conservative segments of evangelical Protestantism do not consider Roman Catholics to be authentic Christians. Salafi Muslims in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are dismissive of any deviation from their interpretation of Islam by more moderate Muslims, especially the Sufi branch of the religion. Many Sunni Muslims in Arab states and their leaders view the Shia branch as heretical.

    What a waste of talen. The religion is something one believes in whether true or false, whereas ideologies are selected on the basis of what they represent and what they claim to achieve. The religion of Islam like that which the christians call christianity, present a way of life which the one follows will assure him a place in the paradise after death and if practice the forbidden will land him in hell. Those who do not believe in life after death are infidels and non believers.
    There is a great difference between Islam the religion and so called muslims who claim to be practicing the religion of Islam.
    Nevertheless, either ignorant and fools or the brave ones who direct xenophobia against muslims without calculating the consequences from those who are reaching the two billion count. The crap from the American society which include talk show jewish comedians are just blowing carbon in the clean air.

    Rex Minor

    For Bandar Gora, read the definition of the term ‘barbarian’ which was first used by the cardinal mayor of Milan for Arabs , who very soon soon came with their ships and conquered the entire meditrenian lands. And when you write about the Ottomans, you should also not omit that they ruled once Europe and have defended Europe since ww2 ith the largest military contingent. In Budapest one finds no mosques despite Ottoman rule for more than two centuries since they used beautifully constructed churches as the place for worship. Reading history without understanding it places the reader equivalent to the level of ignorance.

  • Nehru

    Survey Results: How Corporate India Feels After Modi’s First Year
    More than 50% of respondents from India Inc, SMEs, MidCaps and HNIs rate Modi Sarkar’s first year between excellent and very good. That is across all the classes of capitalists, those who rate Modi Sarkar average or lesser is below the 50% threshold. When it comes to confidence in service delivery, the sentiment of industry is unambiguously clear. 68% HNIs aver that PM Modi is walking the talk and he will deliver on his promises. Similar figures for India Inc, MidCaps and SMEs stood at 58%, 63% and 62% respectively.

    Make In India policy of Modi sarkar has been touted as one of the seminal policy stances of the NDA II government. While IndiaInc, SMEs and HNIs are convinced by its benefits to the industry with affirmation rates of 64%, 59% and 57% respectively. The MidCaps are not that enthused by the same with only 38% affirming the policy move. Maybe this a lot to do with time-lapse between policy making and policy-implementation.

  • gora bandar
  • kaalchakra

    Tajender, after Bangladesh has been hanging Muslims to death for fighting for their rights, Egypt has awarded a death sentence to the heroic Morsi. Can’t the government of UAE do something to stop this travesty of justice?

  • Rex Minor


    Who do you reckon they should hang instead, if they are determined to kill and have not the drones to go for foreigners? Is it very different from what Pakistan and the United States of Ameerica are doing? The year 2015 is earmarked for the killing spree to streamline and balance the demographics.

    Rex Minor

  • saadhafiz

    Romain sb: I certainly feel ancient! Came over over in late 72 for undergrad/grad school in Southern Cal. Played cricket in Griffith Park where ZAB had played a decade plus earlier. Moved to Northern Cal in 1982 and moved away from the US in 1983. My point is that California/US was a generally liberal and accepting place where one could express his/her views. The Islamphobia of today while understandable after 9/11 is sad to witness.

  • Rex Minor

    The Islamphobia of today while understandable after 9/11 is sad to witness.
    Equaly sad is to witness the police outrage against the black skin citizens and the jewish comedians scum in talk shows and the illegal hordes of migrants including hispanics who have fully legal American children and not to ignore the million plus living in prisons mostly foreigners and blacks. The Imperial America is on its haunches, which flourished long; Nunc minus est!! The ship is sinking for sure as rhe pacific no longer wants to remain pacifist and eager to meet the atlantic.

    Rex Minor

  • timely

    to rex

    all your pretensions of being better than USA will only sink islam and muslims further into fascism.
    Ridding muslim societies of fascism (caused by islam) will not be achieved by blaming or ridiculing USA.

    But since you are a closed-minded muslim chauvinist you don’t have the intelligence to comprehend this simple truth.

  • Rex Minor

    Take a hike like Saad says and read and watch what is occurring around you in Germany where NSA has been caught red handed spying on 80 million Germans by misuse ofGerman BND. Islam is the religion of Gott and the angels will look after it. I am only a sinner.

    Rex Minor

  • romain

    Saad Sb,

    I guess we almost overlapped in the bay area. Ca has always been very liberal and more accepting. Even kooks like Tejendir and Ahem could find a home on Venice Beach without anyone raising an eyebrow 🙂 me thinks all residents of Venice beach would be misfits elsewhere. I go at times to check out Haight Ashbury and I no longer find flower children there.
    There are stories I could tell you about yAllabama when I use to go for some projects. Perhaps, we should keep the kooks there for a week.

  • tajender
  • tajender

    rex can u do something for them,

  • Rex Minor


    I can not but the German Government has sent two marine ships to rescue those whom the criminals mafiosis are trying to smuggle thousands who are seeking asylum in Europe.

    Rex Minor

  • saadhafiz

    Romain sb: I guess we did. Venice/Manhattan Beach had its share of kooks but Alabama/Mississippi would be better for the names you mentioned.They can broaden their horizons through dialogue with the remnants of the KKK…

  • saadhafiz


    80,000 Pathans meet in the Peshawar Stadium for a “Pathans Are Not Stupid” Convention.

    The leader says, “We are all here today to prove to the world that Pathans are not stupid. Can I have a volunteer?”

    A Pathan works his way through the crowd and steps up to the stage. The leader asks him, “What is 15 plus 15?”

    After 15 or 20 seconds he says, “Eighteen!” Obviously everyone is a little disappointed.

    Then 80,000 PAthans start cheering, “Give him another chance! Give him another chance!”
    The leader says, “Well since we’ve gone to the trouble of getting 80,000 of you in one place and we have the world-wide press and global broadcast media here, gee, uh, I guess we can give him another chance.”

    So he asks, “What is 5 plus 5?” After nearly 30 seconds he eventually says, “Ninety?” The leader is quite perplexed, looks down and just lets out a dejected sigh — everyone is disheartened – the Pathan starts crying and the 80,000 men begin to yell and wave their hands shouting, “GIVE HIM ANOTHER CHANCE! GIVE HIM ANOTHER CHANCE!”

    The leader, unsure whether or not he is doing more harm than damage, eventually says, “Ok! Ok! Just one more chance– What is 2 plus 2?”

    The man closes his eyes, and after a whole minute eventually says, “Four?”

    Throughout the stadium pandemonium breaks out as all 80,000 pathans jump to their feet, wave their arms, stomp their feet and scream…


  • tajender

    12000 old historical urdu books thrown in sacred ganga.

  • tajender

    asaram tu na dar bail hojaegee.

  • awesome

    saadhafiz. shame on you.

  • timely

    rex writes:

    “Islam is the religion of Gott and the angels will look after it. I am only a sinner.”

    Islam is the religion of a fascist god-concept and the so-called angels (like IS etc. and tajender, rex etc.) will look after it. You are only a tiny sinner in this apparatus created for exterminating non-muslims.