Merchant, New Age Islam
all Muslims say that the Quran is the Word of God. If anyone says anything to
the contrary, he is likely to be beaten up. ‘Religious sentiments’ are likely
to be hurt by such assertions. For all that, do Muslims really and truly
believe that the Quran is the Word of God, for which they would be prepared to
assault anyone who disagrees?
Muslims, the Quran is a book of prayer. It is kept in a special place, and
before touching it, Wazu has to be done, and the head covered. After this, the
person assumes a ‘Holy Look’ and opens it. Or kisses it or places it on a
departing guest’s head by way of blessing. Miniature Qurans are placed in
lockets and hung around the neck. Except for reading it in a language they
understand, which is the stated purpose of the Book, the Quran is used in all
sorts of ways.
from the Quran is recited to sanctify a wedding. Even though marriage in Islam
is a social contract between two consenting adults, generally, the bride and
groom are seated in different rooms, and their consent is assumed without even
explaining the terms of this contract. An explanation that would have made the
union so much more meaningful. A recital from the Quran is considered enough to
seal the bond.
funerals, we have a Maulana who will make a lengthy recital from the Quran,
before and after the burial. This apparently ensures that the dead person will
get a fair deal from God on the Day of Judgement. Quite often, relatives and
friends of the deceased have already done their bit by reading portions of the
Quran among themselves until the whole book has been read. This is dedicated to
the deceased, and supposedly will add to the merits the deceased has earned
while still alive.
really believed that The Creator of The Universe actually communicated in
writing something, then surely there would be efforts to find out what exactly
had been communicated.
the impression has spread, that the sound of the words of the Quran are more
important than their meaning. Efforts are made to make the sounds as pleasing
as possible, and as near to the Arabic pronunciation as possible. There are
people who are specialists in tunefully reciting the Quran. Such recitations
are heard from Urdu TV channels, and people piously listen as they go about
their activities at home, declaring that this is the best music. I have even
come across Quranic recitations as caller tones. Never mind if the recitation
is rudely interrupted when the phone is picked up.
I know of
one holy gentleman, who has engaged a Maulana to recite the Quran for an hour
every morning in his liquor shop. I have always wondered if this would
miraculously make the items sold from the shop ‘Halal’.
Ramzan, on many channels one comes across ‘Naat’ recitations. These are praise
of The Prophet, and often ask Him to help us in our daily lives. The Prophet
had always maintained that the only miracle he had was the Quran which would
always be available for our guidance. When such guidance is available, how much
sense does it make to keep asking The Prophet for help?
I think The
Prophet wanted Muslims to read and understand the Book, re-interpreting it in
changing circumstances, so that it would always remain a Living Guide to help
us better the quality of our lives, and the lives of everyone on the planet. A
civilisational force like no other.
it from this point of view, one has to conclude that somehow, The Prophet’s
mission has been sabotaged. Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, the ninth President of
India has expressed it emphatically in this poem he wrote almost forty years
Ki Kitaab Thi.
Ki Taab Banaa Diyaa
Ki Kitaab Thi.
Ki Kitaab Banaa Diyaa.
Kaa Dastoor Thaa.
Ka Amanshoor Banaa Diyaa.
Ilm Ki Kitaab Thi.
La Ailmon Ke Haath Thamaa Diyaa.
Kaa Dars Denay Aayi Thi.
Madrason Kaa Nisaab Banaa Diyaa.
Qaumon Ko Zindaa Karne Aayi Thi.
Ko Bakhshwaane Per Lagaa Diyaa.
Musalmaano Ye Tum Nay Kiaakiyaa?
It was a
Command for action.
it into a book of prayer.
It was a
Book to understand.
You read it
It was a
code for the living.
it into a manifesto of the dead.
was a book of knowledge;
abdicated to the ignoramus.
It came to
give knowledge of Creation.
abandoned it to the madrasa.
It came to
give life to dead nations.
You used it
for seeking mercy for the dead.
What have you done?
Dr. Sharma has truly hit the nail on its head. How far have we strayed from the
path shown by The Prophet?
Asif Merchant is an independent thinker, based
near Panchgani, Maharashtra, India He writes an occasional column for New Age
Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic
Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism
intellectuals, like dropping a hint -- an apple on Newton’s head; if you
believe that – who search for answers to problems affecting them. Then they
write books on their findings in their own language.
If God was to write a
Book it would have been in some universal language common to all humanity so
that the ‘churches’ would not be able to corrupt it.