Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti says chess is Haram (impermissible).
Okay, no problem.
Do you know what else is Haram?
Six of the seven worst countries for child mortality (deaths at birth) are Muslim. In Afghanistan, one in seven children die at birth, while in Japan it’s 1 in 500.
Seven of the ten worst countries for literacy in the world are Muslim-majority. In Niger, a country where 99% of people are Muslim, only 19% of people know how to write their name.
Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Algeria and Nigeria — with a combined 800 million Muslims — don’t have a single university ranked in the world’s top 300 (QS, 2015).
California, a US state, has a bigger economy than Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan combined.
Pakistan has had 70 polio workers killed in the past five years, has the world’s highest volume of internet searches for gay pornography, and shows more collective emotion over a cricket game than the mass-slaughter of Syrians.
Bosnia’s unemployment rate is 43%. Lebanon is a rubbish dump. Cairo is the sleaziest city in the world and one of the most polluted. Jordan is overrun with refugee girls having to prostitute themselves to eat.
200,000 killed in Syria. Thousands forgotten in Egypt’s prisons. Iraq, Libya and Yemen are death. The Mediterranean Sea is a graveyard for the Ummah’s children.
You want to talk to me about Haram? You want to talk to me about chess and Mawlid? You want to tell me Jinn stories and the seven thousand steps to a successful marriage?
But the leaders, scholars and preachers of the Muslim World need to wisen up to the political, social, economic and military catastrophes paralysing us; we should talk about Syria, endemic poverty and modern ideological confusion a thousand times more than we do about chess, moonsighting or whether it’s permissible to eat mermaid meat (yes, there’s a fatwa on that).
The Ummah’s discourse and focuses MUST mature and change to the big and pressing issues before we can lift ourselves out of this mess.