No room for separate brands of Islam

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:17 PM, 11 Sep, 2021
No room for separate brands of Islam
File photo.

The Taliban government that has taken over after the US pullout from Afghanistan has disallowed Afghan women, including the women’s cricket team, from playing sport. 

In an interview with the Australian broadcaster SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said women’s sport was considered neither appropriate nor necessary. 

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” Wasiq said. 

“In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this. 

“It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.” 

Following this decision Cricket Australia said it may cancel a men's cricket test between Australia and Afghanistan

"If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobart," it said. 

In view of their mindset there is little possibility of the Taliban budging from this decision, no matter what the consequences. 

But there are Islamic countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh that have women cricket teams. Women are also allowed to take part in sports in many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam.  

The Taliban government’s decision will provide the non-Muslim countries with an opportunity to raise questions about differing practices in the Islamic countries. 

To set right the image of Islam and about permissibility for women to participate in sports the Islamic countries should have one position. For this purpose they should hold a special conference to hammer out a joint position. 

Unfortunately, there are many important subjects on which the Islamic injunctions remain un-implemented. Riba, or interest, usury, is one such subject. In Islam it is haram but it remains in practice. 

In Pakistan the banking system is based on the Riba, although the PTI, committed to converting the country into a Madinah-like state, has been in power for the past three years. 

Without exaggeration, no effort has so far been made to rid the country of this “un-Islamic practice” and there is little ray of hope that it will be uprooted in the foreseeable future.  

Even the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology and Federal Shariat Court ruling on the subject remain un-implemented. 

After the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan and their firm commitment to adhere to Islamic injunctions this is time that all Islamic countries should identify all matters of religious importance on which they should have identical policies. Matters on which there are sectarian differences should not be touched for the sake of unity of the Ummah. 

Another subject needing immediate consideration is the limits of veil for women. 

Likewise the role of women various walks of life should be decided through discussions among the scholars of Islamic countries. 

The use of alcohol is yet another area on which Islamic countries should have identical policy. 

In Islam it is haram and described as mother of all evils. But, unfortunately, it is available in almost all Islamic countries. 

Big hotels provide alcohol to their customers. 

In Pakistan, Muslims get alcohol from non-Muslims as they are legally allowed to possess and consume it. 

Many non-Muslims have made the sale of alcohol as their business. 

The same is the case with narcotics. 

Their use is not allowed in Islam but they are readily available everywhere.  

All this means that Islamic countries should have similar policies about the permissible and impermissible things. This would improve their image in the eyes of non-Muslims. 

There is no room for Islamic countries to have their own brands of Islam.