Speech at Princeton University on
Draft by Edip Yuksel, J.D. and Layth Saleh al-Shaiban
(The following is outline of the PowerPoint presentation by Edip Yüksel at the conference titled
Constitution and Islam, organized by NAAIMS and Princeton University)
The Origins of Sectarian Teachings
After the death of the prophet Muhammad, a diabolic event happened. In direct contradiction to the teachings of the Quran, male clerics dedicated the religion not to God alone, but to a “holy” corporation consisting of:
- God +
- Muhammad +
- Muhammad’s companions +
- The companions of Muhammad’s companions +
- Early sect leaders +
- Late sect leaders +
- Early scholars of a particular sect +
- Late scholars of a particular sect, and so on.
The product of this corporation was the hadith (teachings attributed to Muhammad), the sunna (actions attributed to Muhammad), the ijma (consensus of a select group of early scholars), and the sharia (religious decrees by early scholars). The result was numerous hostile factions that afflicted a great amount of division and atrocities in the land about thirty years after the departure of Muhammad (6:159; 23:52-56). This concoction of medieval Arab/Christian/Jewish cultures was introduced to the masses as God’s infallible religion, as delivered by the last prophet. The only thing actually delivered by God to Muhammad, however, was the text of the Holy Quran, which is set out as the final and authoritative divine message to humankind.
Soon after Muhammad’s death, thousands of hadiths (words attributed to Muhammad) were fabricated and two centuries later collected, and centuries later compiled and written in the so-called “authentic” hadith books.
- to support the teaching of a particular sect against another (such as what nullifies ablution; which sea food is prohibited);
- to flatter or justify the authority and practice of a particular king against dissidents (such as stories about Mahdy and Dajjal);
- to promote the interest of a particular tribe or family (such as favoring the Quraysh tribe or Muhammad’s family);
- to justify sexual abuse and misogyny (such as Aisha’s age; barring women from leading Sala prayers);
- to justify violence, oppression and tyranny (such as torturing members of Urayna and Uqayla tribes; massacring the Jewish population in Medina; assassinating a female poet for her critical poems);
- to exhort more rituals and righteousness (such as nawafil prayers);
- to validate superstitions (such as, magic; worshiping the black stone and the Kaba);
- to prohibit certain things and actions (such as, prohibiting drawing animal and human figures; playing musical instruments; chess);
- to import Jewish and Christian beliefs and practices (such as, death by stoning; circumcision; head scarf; hermitism; rosary);
- to resurrect pre-Islamic beliefs and practices common among Meccans (such as intercession; slavery; tribalism; misogyny);
- to please crowds with stories (such as the story of Miraj, that is ascension to heaven and bargaining for prayers);
- to idolize Muhammad and claim his superiority to other messengers (such as numerous miracles, including splitting the moon);
- to defend hadith fabrications against monotheists (such as condemning those who find the Quran alone sufficient); and even
- to advertise products of a particular farm (such as, the benefits of dates grown in a town called Ajwa).
Federal Secular Constitution
The Quran REMINDS us universal laws governing human societies, the right balance between the rights and duties of a society and its individual members.
They are not just utopic ideas, but realistic laws that reflect reason and respect nature, which when applied during the era of last prophet, worked like a miracle. Not Sword, but Mind and Heart!
Islam: a Natural System
The Peacemakers Constitution is drafted under the light of hundreds of Quranic verses. Of course, we are not devoid our cultural biases as every generation was. But, we argue that an Islamic constitution based on God’s signs (ayaat) in scripture and nature, provides the most advanced map for the best possible society.
Islamic System can be summed up in a few words. Let’s call them the 5 Principles of Islam:
- Use your Mind. Use your reasoning faculties
- Seek Freedom. Search for truth and submit to the truth alone
- Care about others and stand for Justice. Protect the poor, weak, children, needy, and the oppressed.
- Be a Peacemaker. Peace with self, God, people, nature.
- Be Appreciative. Don’t waste God’s blessing; protect the environment.
Few Examples of Quranic Signs
Before sharing with you some of the features of Peacemakers Constitution, I would like to remind you some signs (verses) of the Quran that provides basis for it.
Question! Think for yourself!
ولا تقف ما ليس لك به علم ان السمع والبصر والفواد كل اوليك كان عنه مسولا
Do not uphold what you have no knowledge of. For the hearing, eyesight, and mind, all these are held responsible for that. (17:36)
ويجعل الرجس علي الذين لا يعقلون…
He casts the affliction upon those who do not reason. (10:100)
وما لهم به من علم ان يتبعون الا الظن وان الظن لا يغني من الحق شيا
While they had no knowledge about this; they only followed conjecture. Conjecture is no substitute for the truth. (53:28)
Be Free! Seek and serve the truth!
We are all Equal. No intermediary between God and us! God is Haq (truth). Thus, submit to the Truth alone!
انما الهكم اله واحد
You have only ONE lord. (6:19; 41:6 …)
لا اله الا الله
There is no god but the god. (3:18; 37:35…)
ولا يتخذ بعضنا بعضا اربابا من دون الله
… do not accept each other as lords besides Him.
(3:64; 12:39; 3:80; 9:31…)
Be Equal! You are all brethren.
Each is created with honor
يايها الناس انا خلقنكم من ذكر وانثي وجعلنكم شعوبا وقبايل لتعارفوا ان اكرمكم عند الله اتقيكم ان الله عليم خبير
O people, We created you from a male and female, and We made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Surely, the most honorable among you in the sight of God is the most righteous. God is Knowledgeable, Ever-aware. (49:13)
… ولقد كرمنا بني ادم
We have honored the Children of Adam … (17:70)
Be a Peacemaker!
Fight only against the aggressors
يايها الذين امنوا ادخلوا في السلم كافه ولا تتبعوا خطوت الشيطن انه لكم عدو مبين
O you who acknowledge, join in peace, all of you, and do not follow the footsteps of the devil. He is to you a clear enemy. (2:208)
… ان الدين عند الله الاسلم
God’s system is peacemaking and peaceful surrendering (islam). (3.19)
…لا اكراه في الدين
There is no compulsion in the system (2:256)
Freedom of Expression
اذا سمعتم ايت الله يكفر بها ويستهزا بها فلا تقعدوا معهم حتي يخوضوا في حديث غيره انكم اذا مثلهم
… when you hear God‘s signs being rejected and ridiculed in, then do not sit with them until they move on to a different subject; if not, then you are like them… (4:140)
ما افا الله علي رسوله من اهل القري فلله وللرسول ولذي القربي واليتمي والمسكين وابن السبيل كي لا يكون دوله بين الاغنيا منكم
Whatever God provided to His messenger from the people of the townships, then it shall be to God and His messenger; for the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the wayfarer… (59:7)
Election, consultation, justice
ان الله يامركم ان تودوا الامنت الي اهلها واذا حكمتم بين الناس ان تحكموا بالعدل
God orders you to delegate the responsibilities to those who are qualified. If you judge between the people, then you shall judge with justice. (4.58)
والذين استجابوا لربهم واقاموا الصلوه وامرهم شوري بينهم ومما رزقنهم ينفقون
Those who have responded to their Lord, and they hold the contact prayer, and their affairs are conducted by mutual consultation among themselves, and from Our provisions to them they give. (42:38)
يايها الذين امنوا كونوا قومين لله شهدا بالقسط ولا يجرمنكم شنان قوم علي الا تعدلوا اعدلوا هو اقرب للتقوي واتقوا الله ان الله خبير بما تعملون
O you who acknowledge, stand for God as witnesses for justice, and let not the hatred towards a people make you avoid being just. Be just, for it is closer to awareness, and be aware of God. God is Expert over what you do. (5:8)
Rule of Law
يهاجروا وان استنصروكم في الدين فعليكم النصر الا علي قوم بينكم وبينهم ميثق والله بما تعملون بصير
… if they seek your help in the system, then you must support them, except if it is against a people with whom there is a treaty between you… (8:72)
واوفوا بعهد الله اذا عهدتم ولا تنقضوا الايمن بعد توكيدها وقد جعلتم الله عليكم كفيلا ان الله يعلم ما تفعلون
You shall fulfill your pledge to God when you pledge so, and do not break your oath after making it, for you have made God a sponsor over you. God is aware of what you do. (16:91)
Some Features of
the Proposed Draft Constitution
The following is a progressive constitution for peacemakers. It is not a utopia. Let’s discuss it, improve it, promote it, and work hard to make it the constitution of our countries!
The proposed Peacemakers Constitution:
- Balances modern powers, such as media and corporations, to create the government of people by people and for people.
- Aims to eliminate the role and influence of money in political system through separation of government from corporations. As Jesus expelled the money-changers from the temple, we should also expel the corporate lobbyists, the hoarders and greedy pigs from bribing public servants and spreading their disease in public offices.
- Bans the privatization of military industrial complex to promote domestic and global peace, to eliminate the wars-for-profit.
- Proposes federal secularism and allows more room for reflection of cultural and religious differences within the limits of the constitution. Provides protection for atheists and heretics.
- Creates three houses through three different election processes. National Congress will consist of National House of Elected Politicians (EP), National House of Elected Experts (EE), and National House of Semi-Random Citizens (EE) with equal number of members. First house will be elected through national votes, the second through academia, the third will be determined through lottery election to monitor the financial transactions of the members of both houses and other high ranking public officers.
- Introduces automatic expiration date for the constitution so that each generation will be given the opportunity to live under their own constitution.
- Guarantees for each citizen the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, education and primary health care through work or social programs.
- Reduces the power and profits of banks, speculators, and financial institutions. As the government is for the people, not vice versa, the corporations will be for the people, not vice versa.
- Promotes competition and excellence, yet at the same time promotes cooperation and sharing among citizens.
- Requires critical thinking and philosophy among the core curriculum in education.
- Rejects the capitalistic dogmas, propaganda and consumerism that allowed big corporations to recklessly exploit workers, manipulate consumers, waste limited natural resources and pollute the environment.
- Provides maximum protection for individual freedoms and rights.
- Emphasizes the importance of human life, compassion and respect to nature and reflects those values in the proposed design of the new flag.
For the full text of the Peacemakers Constitution click here: