Q Society’s Spin on the Spinner

by Suleiman Ali Baig – exclusive for

From the Friends of Q Society Australia (the Q society has friends? Who knew?) comes the latest in bigotry:

Q Society and VB logo

(Screenshot: “Friends of Q Society of Australia” Facebook page)

As it is by no means clear as to who actually wrote the post, we are only left to assume that the facebook page is run by members of the Q society (as opposed to management or mere well-wishers of the organisation). For the purposes of this article, we will then simply refer to the author/s as the Q society – That being said, we wish them a hearty congratulations for outdoing themselves not just in Islamophobia but general ignorance (we knew you could do it guys!).

Q society’s crack team of experts (or in this case is it perhaps experts on crack?) have unabashedly asserted through their sarcasm that Muslim spin-bowler, Fawad Ahmed’s decision to not wear the VB logo is perhaps inspired by a newly revealed surah as “it can’t possibly be from the original of the hadith or sunna.” Let this sink in, the poster is claiming (on behalf of Muslim scholarship) that there is no Islamic prohibition on the consumption of alcohol. Is this some kind of discovery which has managed to elude Muslim scholars for centuries?

No such luck. Alcohol (or any intoxicant for that matter) is forbidden not merely through the very specific wordings of the Qur’an’s Arabic text, but by the historical consensus (ijma) of Muslim scholars also. Yes Q society, consensus or ijma is a basis for Islamic law. The basis for its prohibition is explained by al-Qurtubi:

“This, combined with [the use of] the imperative form [“avoid”], the texts of the ahadith [narrations], and ijma of the ummah, led to the “avoiding” [in the verse] to be [understood] in regards to prohibition, and by this alcohol was prohibited.” [1]

Given that the Q society refers to themselves as “Australia’s Leading Islam-critical movement,” [2] one would imagine that they would take more time studying the intricacies of Islamic law before actively trying to ban it for the small minority that it means something to.

After ignoring what Islamic scholarship has to say about the matter, Q society’s resident mufti (or whoever it was that posted) further proceeds to explain that neither cricket nor VB sponsor logos were invented during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him)… are they then implying that according to their superficial readings of Islam that Muslims should give up on driving, shopping from supermarkets, using refrigerators, microwaves or even using facebook? Maybe the last one is not such a bad idea if it will stop people from viewing the trash on their page.

Using one of the most reliable sources of Islamic knowledge – Wikiislam! (that was sarcasm again Q society members), the Q society childishly assert that the Prophet (peace be upon him) drank and performed ablution with wine. The Wikiislam page which they directed users to reveal two hadiths:

Narrated by Gaber bin Abdullah: We were with the messenger of Allah, PBUH and he asked for a drink. One of his men said: “Oh Messenger of Allah, Can we offer you wine to drink?” He said Yes. He (Gaber) went out looking for the drink and came back with a cup of wine. The messenger (Peace Be Upon him) asked, “Have you covered it with a twig in a transverse manner” He (Gaber) said, “Yes” and he (Muhammad) drank. [Sahih Muslim – Hadith #3753]

Narrated by Abdullah bin Masoud (May God be pleased with him): He was with the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him on the night of the jinn when he asked him if he had water. He answered that he had wine in a pot. Mohammed said: Pour me some to do ablution and he did. [The] Prophet peace be upon him [said]: “O Abdullah bin Masood it is a drink and a purifier.” [Musnad Ahmed – Hadith #3594]

The irony here is that the Wikipedia page also managed to include the original Arabic text for both translations. According to the original Arabic for both texts, the word used is “nabidh” (نبيذ) and not “khamar” (خمر), which is the word typically used for wine in the Qur’an and the prophetic traditions.  Even more astounding is that the page includes a link to another Wikiislam page which clearly indicates that nabidh can be “a drink traditionally made from fruits such as raisins/grapes or dates. Nabidh may be non intoxicating, mildy intoxicating, or heavily intoxicating depending on the level of fermentation.” This meaning is confirmed by Lisaan al-Arab, a comprehensive classical dictionary on the Arabic language, which only adds that nabidh can be made from honey, wheat or barley as well as just dates, raisins and grapes. [3]

ARIJ’s (Academy of Research in Islamic Jurisprudence) Mufti Muhammad Zakariya Panchbhaya had this to say in regards to the misleading mistranslation of both hadiths:

“Negligence and lack of sufficient knowledge sometimes leads a person to make such statements that are contrary to the truth and further yet propelling it to others. It is incorrect to translate nabidh as wine. The correct translation of nabidh (i.e. in this context) is that drink which has been sweetened by putting dates, grapes or honey (flavoured water with these items) in it but has not reached the stage where it is fermented and becomes an intoxicant.” [4]

As for the second hadith which indicates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used nabidh to perform ablutions, it is simply inauthentic as noted by Bayaan al-Islam:

“There are no authentic, historically verified narrations of the Prophet drinking or performing ablution with alcohol; rather, what is reported is that he (peace be upon him) once performed ablution with nabidh made from dates, and even this narration isn’t authentic. The contemporary historiographer Albani found all chains of transmission in the collections of Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah to contain defects. Likewise, the author of the book Mishkat al-Masabih also found these defects in the narrations of Ibn Mas’ud and Ibn Abbas (may God be pleased with them).” [5]

My commiserations to the Q society’s researchers – it may come as a surprise to them that the Shariah which they are quick to refer to as a totalitarian idealogy [6] and an “…anathema to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” [7] is protected by relatively sophisticated field of study called hadith criticism.

To further place a nail in the proverbial coffin (for this point at least), we may further quote a small number of statements from the many statements compiled by scholars of hadith regarding this particular narration:

1) According to al-Arna’ut: “Its chain is weak.” [8]

2) According to ad-Daraqutni: “Ibn Luhay’ah was alone in narrating this and he is weak.” [9]

3)  Concerning, ahadith narrated by Ibn Luhay’ah, Ibn Hibban said: “He cannot be used as a proof.” [10]

4) Likewise, an-Nasaa’ee said of him: “He is not thiqa (i.e. trustworthy).” [11]

If the Prophet (peace be upon him), of all people, were to have truly drank wine or even used it for ablution, it logically stands that his practice would remain as a tradition emulated by the Companions or a practice utilised by the scholars of Islam to formulate rulings out of.

Speaking of odd rulings, the Friends of Q society post also adds:

“Cricket Australia had of course obliged in instantly and submitted to the wishes of this brave jihadi.”

Perhaps the post intended to use the ‘j-word’ as a slur in order to liken Ahmed to terrorists. In another context entirely, a non-violent one, the term (or variations of it implying the same meaning) could actually be used to fittingly describe Ahmed. According to Merriam-Webster’s simplistic definition, a jihadist is “one who advocates or participates in a jihad.” [12] In turn, Merriam-Webster’s definition of jihad is:

“1: a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline.

2: a crusade for a principle or belief.” [13]

The whole fiasco could indeed be rendered as a “personal struggle in devotion” due to the way it seems to have inflamed the tensions of bigots such as the Q society and of course newly-ousted Islamophobe, Doug Walters, who said:

“I think if he doesn’t want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team.” [14]

To put things into perspective, Ahmed is wearing the team gear, he’s just not wearing the VB logo. Are alcohol companies’ logos now a part of the Australian green and gold simply by default? Come on Doug! It’s not as though he is turning up to games wearing a Pakistani Cricketer’s uniform or worse a kurta.

Apparently this Islamophobe’s outburst was able to draw out another one out, David Campese tweeted the following gem:

“Doug Walters tells Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed: if you don’t like the VB uniform, don’t play for Australia Well said doug. Tell him to go home.” [15]

In wanting to clarify himself, Campese digs a deeper hole:

“They is a lot more kids who would love to play for Australia. And they would t complain.” ”we were supported by XXXX and I was not a beer drinker. So Doug is right go back to where you come from.” [16] [Not a spelling mistake, the actual quote is “they is.”]

In other words, his inappropriate response could be translated to mean: “there are a lot more kids out there with no values who will do whatever we tell them to do. Doug is right in saying that Ahmed should go back where he came from because when I played we were supported by XXXX and I did not drink beer that often.”

Interestingly enough, the only part we didn’t really need to translate was the part which suggests that Ahmed return back to where he came from if he is unwilling to promote a beer company. Joe Gorman, a sports writer, in his article entitled “David Campese is wrong: Fawad Ahmed is already home” discusses whether loyalty to the sponsor equates to loyalty to the country, [17] he aptly concludes by stating that:

“If we pride ourselves on being a free country that stands by those with personal conviction, Ahmed should be praised, not scorned, for his decision.” [18]

Although Campese did apologise, he did so only after a South African television station suspended him as a rugby pundit over his remarks. [19] It strikes as odd how Campese felt the need to criticise Ahmed’s decision in the first place when none of his team-mates took issue to what he wore. [20] As for Ahmed himself, the team’s vice captain, George Bailey, said:

“I think he’s probably had to deal with a lot more important things than what’s on the front of his shirt.” [21]

Given the reality of Ahmed’s situation (i.e. a person who had to leave his birth country for physical safety only to face bigotry in his newly adopted country) one can genuinely sympathise for him. Unfortunately, as for as far some Australians are concerned, it is not enough to merely become an Australian citizen and join the Australian cricket team to gain acceptance, in order to avoid the “go back to your country” knee-jerk response that racists and bigots are all too known to use, one must renounce their values also.

It is of note that when Islamophobes aim to diminish these values, they do so by wildly taking matters out of proportion. In the case of Walters and Campese, it was the assertion of ingratitude and lack of compliance on Ahmed’s part, whilst in the case of the Q society, this is evidenced by the fact that their post concludes:

“Thankfully Ahmed has not (yet) taken offence with the shirts of his team mates, banner ads, other printed materials with sponsor logos or the audience tending to a hard earned thirst.”

The Q society who are known to perpetuate the notion that Australian Muslims want to completely Islamise Australia, have done the same here by implying a fictitious motive to do away with all instances of alcohol in cricket. Goreman gives an interesting summary of the situation:

“While Australians aren’t big on newly arrived brown people, we also have a nasty Good Samaritan complex about us. When a refugee gets a bit angry at being locked behind barbed wire in Nauru or Villawood, we wonder why they aren’t more appreciative of their overcrowded, privatised prisons and squat beds. Or in this case, when Ahmed respectfully declines to wear an alcohol sponsorship on his kit because it fundamentally contradicts his deeply held religious beliefs, there will always be those who want to pull out the “love it or leave it” bumper sticker.” [22]