Monday, July 12, 2010

Should Religion be Imposed by a Zaidi Government?

Two Zaidi intellectuals we have heard from so far say that Democracy, not an Imamate or a Hashemite Monarchy, is the model of government which best suits the Zaidi criteria of good and just government.
Zaidism emphasizes the importance of a having a just Hashemite leader, a figure head, at the very least, who would serve as (a) a role model (b) the symbolic head of the state religion (presumably Zaidi Islam) (c) a source of continuity, given that elected governments come and go every few years. What role should this person have in implementing Zaidism in peoples’ lives?
There would obviously be a range of opinions on this subject. We intend to present all of them, starting with perhaps the most controversial one.
Abdullah Hamidaddin, a writer from a Zaidi family, (who points out that he does not affiliate himself with any group as he is opposed to sectarianism), has questioned the need for the government to impose religion on individuals, preferring that religion be a matter between the individual and God. He speaks of a type of spirituality that transcends the boundaries which a state organized religion inevitably sets up. To read more, click on comments:


  1. Abdullah Hamidaddin writes:

    “I dream of a spirituality that does not draw a sharp existential boundary between the soul and the body; that doesn’t restrict sublimeness to the former and neither confines the latter in the domain of the degraded.
    A spirituality in which profane, sacred, devout, and reverence are not essential.
    A spirituality that expands to include many so called “worldly” experiences.
    A spirituality which can flourish in the heart of one who is neither ascetic nor austere.
    It is a spirituality with the potential to be inclusive of so many diverse belief systems and experiences; excluding no one from the quest.
    It restricts our tendency to project our characters into that of Deity, and transforms our image of Deity from very human one transcending matter only, to one which utterly transcends human imperfection, emotions, egos, as well as limited material existence.
    It emphasises an image of a Deity that does not need, and does not pick on the little things human do in their personal spaces.
    A spirituality for whom the greatest value is to give; and the greatest sin to harm with evil intent.
    A spirituality that starts, not with connecting to Deity, but connection to one’s essential humanness and empathy; and moves on from there to an awareness of one’s state of being; and then one’s origin of being and sustenance.
    It harmonises, though not necessarily equalizing, the spiritual world view with that of the scientific.
    A spirituality that is pre-religious; and is actualized, shaped or constrained by different religious institutions.
    A spirituality that doesn’t identify people according to their different religions; and that doesn’t place itself as a defining marker between one and another.
    It is a spirituality that spontaneously diminishes the complete authority of religious institutions; transforming the relationship between the pious and the clergy from that of dependence to that of mutual interdependence.
    It redraws the relationship between man and Deity in a way that limits the domains in which religious identity operates.
    One that resists the restrictions and limitations imposed by state organized religion.
    Spirituality that acknowledges that the mind plays an integral role in shaping it and defining it.
    A spirituality that metamorphoses through reflection; a spirituality that is cultivated through the mind; the mind in the sense of an objective source of potential knowledge.
    Such a step is a major challenge in a world where religion holds a monopoly on spirituality, perpetuated by the separation of spirituality and the human intellect.”

  2. To Abdullah: Are you implying that all religions are the same, when you speak of a spirituality which "has the potential to be inclusive of so many diverse belief systems and experiences"? Please clarify...

  3. i did understand nothing from Abdullah Hamiddedein writes

    i cant reply bcz i dont know what he is saying :) sorry

  4. No, I am not saying religions are the same at all.
    What I am saying is that we need to connect to God and that there are different ways for that. Some are better, some are less effective, and some may actually take us away from Him. You can say that the differences between religions are epistemic and pragmatic. Epistemic in the sense that they offer us different views towards Reality and Truth. Some more accurate others less. Pragmatic in that some lead to different outcomes relative to our objectives. A better religion means we can benefit more from God in our lives. A worse religion means that we miss on some or all of those benefits. But when it comes to afterlife punishment being epistemically or pragmatically wrong will have no consequence. You cant go to hell for simply being wrong there. You go to hell for being evil, not for being wrong.

  5. To Abdullah: If a Zaidi government does not make Zaidism the official religion, and leaves religion/spirituality as a matter of personal choice, what is to stop the over-zealous Salafi/Wahhabi bullies from over-running a Zaidi state, like they are doing right now in Yemen?