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Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam (04 Jul 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Most Muslims Don’t Really Believe That the Quran Is the Word of God

By Asif Merchant, New Age Islam

04 July 2016

Practically 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?

For most 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.

A passage 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.

At 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.

If Muslims 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.

Somehow, 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’.

During 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.

Looking at 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 ago:

Amal Ki Kitaab Thi.

Duaaki Ki Taab Banaa Diyaa

Samajhne Ki Kitaab Thi.

Parhne Ki Kitaab Banaa Diyaa.

Zindon Kaa Dastoor Thaa.

Murdon Ka Amanshoor Banaa Diyaa.

Jo Ilm Ki Kitaab Thi.

Usay La Ailmon Ke Haath Thamaa Diyaa.

Taskheer-E-Kayenaat Kaa Dars Denay Aayi Thi.

Sirf Madrason Kaa Nisaab Banaa Diyaa.

Murdaa Qaumon Ko Zindaa Karne Aayi Thi.

Murdon Ko Bakhshwaane Per Lagaa Diyaa.

Aye Musalmaano Ye Tum Nay Kiaakiyaa?


Translation by

Humayun Gauhar

It was a Command for action.

You turned it into a book of prayer.

It was a Book to understand.

You read it without understanding.

It was a code for the living.

You turned it into a manifesto of the dead.

That which was a book of knowledge;

You abdicated to the ignoramus.

It came to give knowledge of Creation.

You abandoned it to the madrasa.

It came to give life to dead nations.

You used it for seeking mercy for the dead.

O’ Muslims! What have you done?

The late 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 Islam

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/asif-merchant,-new-age-islam/most-muslims-don’t-really-believe-that-the-quran-is-the-word-of-god/d/107853

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  • I always thought that way but could never have articulated it that well.  Excellent.
    By Syed Rizvi - 7/5/2016 1:34:22 AM

  • God “inspires” 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.

    By One of them - 7/5/2016 12:48:12 AM

  • "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.". . . .

    Instead of doing that we have made the book itself an object of worship!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 7/4/2016 2:07:21 PM

  • Excellent!
    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/4/2016 12:25:40 PM

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