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FP: Tell us a bit about the Center for the Study of Political Islam.
Warner: The Center for the Study of Political Islam is a group of scholars who are devoted to the scientific study of the foundational texts of Islam—Koran, Sira (life of Mohammed) and Hadith (traditions of Mohammed). There are two areas to study in Islam, its doctrine and history, or as CSPI sees it—the theory and its results. We study the history to see the practical or experimental results of the doctrine.
CSPI seems to be the first group to use statistics to study the doctrine. Previous scientific studies of the Koran are primarily devoted to Arabic language studies.
Our first principle is that Koran, Sira and Hadith must be taken as a whole. We call them the Islamic Trilogy to emphasize the unity of the texts.
Our major intellectual breakthrough is to see that dualism is the foundation and key to understanding Islam. Everything about Islam comes in twos starting with its foundational declaration: (1) there is no god but Allah and (2) Mohammed is His prophet. Therefore, Islam is Allah (Koran) and the Sunna (words and deeds of Mohammed found in the Sira and Hadith).
Endless ink has been wasted on trying to answer the question of what is Islam? Is Islam the religion of peace? Or is the true Islam a radical ideology? Is a moderate Muslim the real Muslim?
This reminds a scientist of the old arguments about light. Is light a particle or is light a wave? The arguments went back and forth. Quantum mechanics gave us the answer. Light is dualistic; it is both a particle and a wave. It depends upon the circumstances as to which quality manifests. Islam functions in the same manner.
Our first clue about the dualism is in the Koran, which is actually two books, the Koran of Mecca (early) and the Koran of Medina (later). The insight into the logic of the Koran comes from the large numbers of contradictions in it. On the surface, Islam resolves these contradictions by resorting to “abrogation”. This means that the verse written later supersedes the earlier verse. But in fact, since the Koran is considered by Muslims to be the perfect word of Allah, both verses are sacred and true. The later verse is “better,” but the earlier verse cannot be wrong since Allah is perfect. This is the foundation of dualism. Both verses are “right.” Both sides of the contradiction are true in dualistic logic. The circumstances govern which verse is used.
(Koran of Mecca) 73:10: Listen to what they [unbelievers] say with patience, and leave them with dignity.
From tolerance we move to the ultimate intolerance, not even the Lord of the Universe can stand the unbelievers:
(Koran of Medina) 8:12: Then your Lord spoke to His angels and said, “I will be with you. Give strength to the believers. I will send terror into the unbelievers’ hearts, cut off their heads and even the tips of their fingers!”
All of Western logic is based upon the law of contradiction—if two things contradict, then at least one of them is false. But Islamic logic is dualistic; two things can contradict each other and both are true.
No dualistic system may be measured by one answer. This is the reason that the arguments about what constitutes the “real” Islam go on and on and are never resolved. A single right answer does not exist.
Dualistic systems can only be measured by statistics. It is futile to argue one side of the dualism is true. As an analogy, quantum mechanics always gives a statistical answer to all questions.
For an example of using statistics, look at the question: what is the real jihad, the jihad of inner, spiritual struggle or the jihad of war? Let’s turn to Bukhari (the Hadith) for the answer, as he repeatedly speaks of jihad. In Bukhari 97% of the jihad references are about war and 3% are about the inner struggle. So the statistical answer is that jihad is 97% war and 3% inner struggle. Is jihad war? Yes—97%. Is jihad inner struggle? Yes—3%. So if you are writing an article, you can make a case for either. But in truth, almost every argument about Islam can be answered by: all of the above. Both sides of the duality are right.
FP: Why, in your view, is there so much ignorance about the history and doctrine of political Islam in the West?