By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
31 July 2018
Poetry, literature, and rhetoric use words
to influence, rather than to communicate precise ideas. This type of language,
without precise meanings, is unsuitable for the pursuit of any discipline such
as Science, Mathematics or Philosophy but eminently suitable for the arts.
Every discipline for serious study therefore develops its own precise language
for communication and there is little chance of misunderstanding what a
Mathematician or a Scientist or a Logician or a Jurist or even a Social
Scientist is saying, when they are discussing their subject. We therefore, do
not need to interpret textbooks. Imagine the chaos and confusion if students
were to interpret their text books each in her own way!
Mathematicians think in precisely defined
and mapped objects and relations, jurists and legal thinkers in constructs,
logicians in logical operators or connectives. Philosophy developed rigor in
discourse to avoid mixed-up notions by insisting on clearly defining every term
it uses. We find every academic discipline is driven by precision in mapping
terms. Speaking of the language of mathematics, a word in general usage has a
specific meaning within mathematics. For example, words such as group, ring,
field, category, term, factor, union, intersection, set, etc. have a specific
meaning in mathematics not to be confused with the range of meanings of these
words outside mathematics. Every discipline also has its jargon with specific
meanings and stock phrases such as “necessary and sufficient”, “if and only
if”, “without loss of generality” etc. Words with precisely defined meaning,
jargon specific to the discipline, conventions and rules, make communicating
ideas within the discipline very precise with no scope for any misunderstanding.
A mathematical theory and its proof is therefore never misunderstood whether
the same is presented by a person whose native language is German, English,
Chinese, Hindi, Turkish or any other language.
The language of the Quran is similar. The
Quran makes clear through multiple verses what every key word means and what it
does not mean. It therefore does not make any difference whether the native
language of the reader is Arabic or not and every sincere reader of the Quran
can understand its message correctly. If this is so, why is the Quran not
understood uniformly by all people? It is because our scholars do not wish to
take literally, what the Quran says, because what it says does not agree with
How do the theologians distort the message
to suit their prejudices? There are three powerful tools they have developed
invoke the doctrine of abrogation to sweep aside verses that are inconvenient
to their bigoted ideas. The Quran only talks of abrogation of previous verses
which are replaced by better ones. For example, the principle of reciprocity,
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is replaced by the doctrine
of “Ehsan” or returning with what is better and forgiveness. As mankind
progressed on the path of civilization, the doctrines changed for the better.
Abrogation does not apply to the Quran at all but to the previous scriptures.
The proof that no verse of the Quran is abrogated is in the fact that no verse
of the Quran contradicts another verse. Why are many of the verses then treated
as abrogated? Because these verses expose the lies peddled by the bigots.
Take for example, the verse:
anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it
be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who
have lost (All spiritual good).
means submission to God our Creator, is what all people described in verse
Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah (by whatever name) and is a doer
of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor
shall they grieve.
The word Islam and Muslim have a broad
meaning in the Quran and these words do not mean that Islam is only the
religion of the followers of Muhammad or that Muslim only means those who
accept Muhammad as the Messenger of God. Verse 22:78 “It is Allah Who has named
you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation)”. The followers of all
previous prophets are also Muslim which is why the verse 2:112 cited above,
covers a broad spectrum of people.
However, the common understanding among
both the followers of Muhammad and others, is that only the religion brought by
Muhammad is Islam and only his followers are Muslim. This common understanding
is exploited by the bigots to claim that only the religion taught by Muhammad
is Islam and only this religion is the true religion and accepted by God and
all others will be the losers. To do that, they must treat verses such as
2:112, 5:69 etc as abrogated, because these verses contradict the bigots’
2. Shan-e-Nuzool or the context of the
revelation. This is invoked to limit and constrain the meaning of the verses.
For example, take the verses 8:36 to 8:40
kafaru spend their wealth to hinder (man) from the path of Allah, and so will
they continue to spend; but in the end they will have (only) regrets and sighs;
at length they will be overcome: and the kafaru will be gathered together to
(37) In order that Allah may separate the
impure from the pure, put the impure, one on another, heap them together, and
cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost.
(38) Say to the Kafaru, if (now)
they desist, their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the
punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them).
(39) And fight them on until there is no
more Fitna (tumult or oppression), and there prevail justice and faith in Allah
altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that
From a plain and literal reading of the
The Kafaru are those who spend their wealth
and might to hinder people from following the path of Allah or in other words,
these are the religious persecutors.
The command is to fight them until they
continue to persecute but if they desist from their persecution, to forgive
them all their past deeds of persecution.
The fight must continue until there is no
more oppression and there prevail the justice of Allah and the Law of Allah
according to which there can be no compulsion in religion (2:256) and everyone
is entitled to peacefully follow their own religion (109:6). The Kafaru in
general, could be people of any faith (including those who call themselves
Muslim) persecuting other people for their faith and the command is to fight
all such persecution until Allah’s justice and laws prevail, under which people
have freedom to practice their religion if it does not involve persecuting
others for their religion.
Now Let Us See How The Bigots Twist The
Unbelievers spend their wealth to hinder (man) from the path of Allah, and so
will they continue to spend; but in the end they will have (only) regrets and
sighs; at length they will be overcome: and the Unbelievers will be gathered
together to Hell;-
(37) In order
that Allah may separate the impure from the pure, put the impure, one on
another, heap them together, and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to
(38) Say to
the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be
forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is
already (a matter of warning for them).
fight them on until there is no more Fitna (polytheism), and there prevail
worship for Allah only everywhere; but if they cease (give up their
polytheistic beliefs and accept Islam), verily Allah doth see all that they do.
The Kafaru have become “Unbelievers” and
therefore these verses do not apply to those who call themselves “Muslims” even
if they persecute others for their faith. This is because the context of the
verse is the polytheists of Mecca persecuting the Muslims. Kafaru however does
not mean “Unbeliever” or “Disbeliever” or even “polytheist” but considering the
context of the verses, the Kafaru were among the polytheists of Mecca.
Since the context of the verse is the
polytheists persecuting the Muslims for their religion, polytheism itself is
equated with Fitna and the fight must go on not until the persecution ends, but
until polytheism is eradicated and everyone accepts Islam!
Whereas the verse speaks of Allah’s justice
and law prevailing, the meaning is twisted to “only worship of Allah prevails”
which means polytheism is to be annihilated!
The generality of the verses, which apply
to every persecutor, irrespective of his faith, is curtailed, by confining it
to only the context of the verses which results in the Muslims never being able
to see themselves as religious persecutors, especially, if they are persecuting
the polytheists and the followers of every other religion, are polytheists even
according to the Quran!
Wherever the context is necessary for
understanding the verses of the Quran, the Quran itself provides the necessary
contextual information. Importing context from outside of the Quran in no case
helps understanding the Quran better, and is only used to distort its meaning
to suit the prejudices of the bigots.
The substitutions the scholars make while
interpreting, such as “Unbeliever” for “Kafaru”, “shirk” for “Fitna,
“giving up polytheism” for “giving up persecution”, “Until worship is only for
Allah” for “until the law of Allah prevails” is specifically frowned upon in
the Quran. Such changing of the words and/or substitution in the Ayats of Allah
is brazenly and unashamedly now practiced by the Muslims. They follow the
example of the previous people, about whom we were warned. Alas, for most
Muslims, the warnings are in vain.
because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their
hearts grow hard; they change the words from their (right) places and forget a
good part of the message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them-
barring a few - ever bent on (new) deceits.: but forgive them, and overlook
(their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.
How accurately the description of the
people in verse 5:13 fits such Muslims today. Their hearts have grown hard and
they have forgotten or corrupted a good part of Allah’s Quran to suit their own
(2:211) Ask the Children of Israel how many
clear Ayats We have sent them. But if any one, after Allah´s favour has come to
him, substitutes (something else), Allah is strict in punishment.
their purpose was to tempt thee away from that which We had revealed unto thee,
to substitute in our name something quite different; (in that case), behold!
they would certainly have made thee (their) friend!
However, these Ayats will have no effect on
the bigoted scholars who will argue that from the context, these verses are
about the Jews, and therefore it is alright for the Muslims to do what is
prohibited to the Jews!
3. The third tool that is used to twist the
meaning of the Quran is to concoct “Ahadith” and falsely attribute the sayings
to the Prophet (PBUH). These Ahadith contradict the Quran on every subject
which means that twisting the meaning of the Quran to suit the prejudices of
the bigots, is an organized effort and virtual industry.
The Quran renders itself capable of being
read as any textbook without the need for interpretation, as it painstakingly
makes its meaning clear. There is however an industry of bigoted scholars who
are bent on not taking its clear literal meaning, but bending the same to suit
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an
independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private
sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent
contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
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