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Islamic Society (23 Jan 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Unholy-ness Of the Language of Holy Scripture


By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

23 January 2017

Most Holy Scriptures are believed by their followers to be the verbatim utterances of the Supreme Being- the God; annunciating ‘Truth’ by dictating it to His messengers. For Muslims, that being Allah, and the scripture Quran is the Kalaamullah- Logos, the word of God, and generally contended as being holy. However some verses of the Book itself, as understood from translations and comments, does not support this contention. Couple of the verses are given here as examples:

42:51-“Man (including woman!) is not worthy that God should speak with them except by inspiration or from behind a screen or through a Messenger…”

It is argued therefore, that since all the Messengers were ‘Bashar’- human person, a well-established fact in the Book; hence even the Messengers of God as human beings were not given the honour of spoken to directly by Him.

Referring to itself, the Book the Quran declares that it is the word of Messenger, as ‘inspired’ by the Creator, to propagate the message:

69:40-“For sure it is the word of an honoured Apostle”. And so, mankind in turn received the message through the Apostles.

The Arabic language of the time as used by the Messenger Muhammad is the language that the desert dwellers used so that the message imparted by him could be understood by them clearly:

13:4- “And We sent no messenger but with the language of his people, so that he might explain to them clearly. …”  That seems to be a logical statement in this regard.

Since the message is reputed to be for mankind as a whole and mankind speaks many different languages, it is logical that the messengers should be from amongst the audience too and speak the language of the people to whom the message is given.

It is therefore argued that, since the message is the same, propagated to humanity as a whole, then, if Quran’s Arabic was God’s language, it would have been the universal language and used by all previous Messengers. Clearly, that was never the case.

One aspect of the language of Quran that is intriguing is that the Creator though did not speak directly to His creation the messengers, yet strangely would take ‘oath’ after oath on His created objects in the universe to emphasise His statement. Objects such as the sun, the moon, the stars, the morning, the morning star, the night, the day, the skies the earth, the fig, the olive, the mountain of Tur, the city of peace and other functionalities of the universe like rain and its life giving benefits.

It is said that even today it is the custom of the desert Arabs, during normal conversation to utter oaths on any object that is considered important at the time, to put emphasis on the statement being made. On reflection this is not as strange as it may seem since many other people converse in the same style that appear idiosyncratic: wallaah, qasam-say, by god, I swear on my mother’s head and so on.

Messenger Muhammad has used God’s created object in his language to swear upon to emphasise that he was from amongst them and spoke their folksy language. The spoken words therefore of the Book are those of a ‘Bashar’, an Arab human messenger and not those of God.

The infatuation with Arabic language being God’s, has led Muslims to believe that everything of Arabs and Arabia is therefore holy and godly. No different to the belief that if one is God’s son then he must also be god! Hence the clamour to go to Hajj in Arabia as the culmination of one’s religious achievement!

The essence of the proposition made here is:

·       The medium of communication, Arabic has no significance and is not holy.

·       The Book itself is not holy and therefore not an object of reverence.

·       The associated personality, the messenger is honoured but not holy and not reverential and worshipful.

This then sets the tone for “laa” - there is nothing what so ever else in the Logos of laa Ilaaha.  This is the message of the Book and eliminates all icons and cults, that is, idols for reverence which then become the object of worship. The worship, a human act that is exclusively reserved and dedicated in service for the Universal Creator; whatever is ones concept of the creator, he, she or it. The ‘He’ with which that being is referred to in the Book, in common parlance indicates the masculine, the Powerful as in all languages.

The Book seems to solve this conundrum by saying that human imagination and vision cannot comprehend His form, the nature and Kalam, it is infinite 31-27 etc. So, mankind is free to choose whatever form for him but not to “associate” any other ‘he, she or it’ sharing His power.

The above dot points are the seminal ingredients which when negated generate the basis for tangibles, visible and conceived objects placed in the niches and on altars for mankind to worship. To quote an Urdu poet –Meher who expressed his dismay in a lengthy poem: The Lament of Quran, at what Muslims have done to a mere Book the Quran, and expressed it beginning with the first couplet:

طاقوں میں سجایا جاتا ہوں، آنکھوں سے لگایا جاتا ہوں

تعویز بنایا  جاتا  ہوں،  دھو دھو کے  پلایا  جاتا  ہوں

As decorations I’m placed in the niches, kissed and caressed with eyes,

Written as protective charms, I’m dissolved and made to swallow (as cure)!

Such sentiments have been expressed by many more poets and thinkers who are dismayed and even shocked at how many objects Muslims hold as reverential and worthy of worship, negating the principle of laa -  but then hypocritically condemning others for having idols!

Reverence and worship is not limited to bowing, prostrating and rubbing one’s forehead on prayer rug or humming chants, ringing bells and blowing horns, but the effect it has on one’s mental attitude to those things. The submission to the revered tangibles, visible and conceived, because it is believed they possess some sort of “power”, divine, military or material over the worshiper; is what “associating” or “shirk” in the Apostle’s language means.

In daily life when one comes across or close to a high ranking official, dignitary, national international leader or rich business tycoon; there is generated an awe and sense of expectation that this closeness with the ‘lesser god’ will result in some benefits. And if that dignitary happens to be a revered religious personality, the heaven is the limit.

This ignorance of worshiper results in the loss of human dignity that the laa- of the scripture came to eliminate. Nothing else in human life matters and so has no place on its intellectual altar except the one infinite force, he, she, it or god, that created the complex entity, the universe whether with a Big Bang or just a whimper.

Inherent in this laa is the benefit that humanity is equal and worthy of dignity under one master, whatever his form. Those in positions of wielding any power on earth, if they were to grasp this simple theology, philosophy, wisdom or knowledge, would see the permanent benefit accruing to them as they would not need to wear the protective armor and hire armed body guards, engage soothsayers and tie amulets against bullets! Ms. Bhutto of Pakistan had visibly dozens of these tied on both arms and yet was killed by a single bullet, supposedly riding in an armour-plated car!

A Japanese friend passed this pearl of wisdom as an example of humility of the true leader:

Tao Te Ching- The text of the Taoist Scripture,

How did the great rivers and seas get their kingship over the hundred Lesser streams?

Through the merit of being lower than they:

That was how they got their Kingship!

Therefore the sage, in order to be above the people,

Must speak as if he were lower than they.

In order to guide them he must put himself behind them.

Then when he is above, the people will have no burden,

When he is ahead, they will feel no hurt.

Humility, in the language of a similar Apostle, it seems is the hallmark of the learned and knowledgeable people 35-28!

---

A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/rashid-samnakay,-new-age-islam/unholy-ness-of-the-language-of-holy-scripture/d/109820

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   15


  • Please note that the verse Rashid quotes does not mean that man is "unworthy" but it lays out a medium of communication between man and God:

    Muhammad Asad (The Message Of Quran)
    42:51 And it is not given to mortal man that God should speak unto him otherwise than through sudden inspiration,52 or [by a voice, as it were,] from behind a veil, or by sending an apostle to reveal, by His leave, whatever He wills [to reveal]:53 for, verily, He is exalted, wise.

    Note 52
    This is the primary meaning of wahy, a term which combines the concepts of suddenness and inner illumination (Raghib); in the usage of the Qur'an, it is often, though by no means always, synonymous with "revelation". The above passage connects with the first paragraph of verse 48, which speaks of the divine message entrusted to the Prophet.

    Note 53
    Cf. 53:10.
    When Allah says "By the moon [for example] that does not mean He is swearing by it. He is just giving an example of one of His signs/objects that He has created !

    By Mubashir - 2/11/2017 9:56:14 AM



  • There is a difference between “inspired by God” and “the verbatim word of God”. For instance, Bible was written by about forty ordinary people inspired by God over a period of 2000 years without knowing each other while maintaining the same theme and the moral code. If the Bible is the verbatim word of God, then, there cannot be a single error; for God, as we know, cannot make an error. If the Bible is claimed to be the verbatim word of God and if there is an error, then the whole Bible can be a fake one.


    By Royalj - 2/5/2017 3:11:20 PM



  • is dr. m. a. haque working with al azhar al sharif as chief scientist?
    By hats off! - 1/25/2017 8:28:53 AM



  • I read the article with total disbelief. I could never imagine that an educated person can write something of this sort. Earlier too I had commented on one of the articles of the same author that he should concentrate on Engineering and he should not enter in 'areas of ignorance'.
    To be doubly sure, I forwarded the article to a senior friend who is a renowned scholar of Islamic matters and also a Professor of Communication. He sent me his short comment. I am quoting the same below:
    "Haque Sahab Walaykum Assalam
    It is a simple case of an idiot helping another - the writer of this great piece of work and the publisher.
    He simply doesn't know the basics of what he was talking about. 
    Their agenda is quite clear - they are anti-Islam and anti-Muslim at the least and must be getting paid for it.
    Instead of engaging them with logical answers, they should be left to themselves and ignored. There are answers to their stupid thesis but they don't deserve attention by replying to them.
    I do not know why you even bother to follow New Age Islam or its publisher. I would leave them alone.
    The Truth followed by 1.5 billion people cannot be shadowed by these idiots or even hundreds and thousands of such bastards. It never was. As a matter of fact with every Islamophobic wave, Islam got stronger with an equally strong wave of conversions to Islam.
    The Qur-"an will remain revered by Muslims despite what these idiots say or write about it."
    I doubt that you will like to print this comment as it will be uncomfortable to you as well. Still I am sending it expecting that you may show some honesty and print it.
    By Dr. M.A. Haque - 1/25/2017 2:59:53 AM



  • Is it possible there is only one message in all religions? Maybe the differences we see are superfluities. Maybe we need to look deeper.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/25/2017 12:09:08 AM



  • sirjee conduct more seminars and involve more for knowledge management. What is required religion should be spritual not political controlled or power - musle control , it is all round development. Regards.
    By Kolipaka Sudeep Kumar - 1/24/2017 9:00:48 PM



  • Mr Sharma- I only said what the Book says. If “What happens to the mutually conflicting ideas in these religions?” then WE must ask the religionist. You have drawn your own conclusions it seems.

    I say that 'Yes', it is so because the Book says that ALL apostles were given the SAME message. What happened to the message given in different languages over time is a guess work.


    By Rashid Samnakay - 1/24/2017 8:33:46 PM



  • Dear Mr. Samnakay, 
    If your argument is right, why don't you declare that all religions wherever they originated are the same and equally valid ? What happens to the mutually conflicting ideas in these religions ? And, then why Islam or, any other religion can claim to be the only true religion ? Your argument means that the God is a confused entity who tells different things to different people and makes them fight. He also speaks complicated language which means different things to different people. Whom are you going to fool and for how long ? Let us accept that we do not know many things and the concepts of God and religion were invented to explain the unknown and to maintain some order in the society according to the level of knowledge in those times. Now many of these these ideas seem funny. Still, people keep clinging to them in the name of identity. We should invent better ways to fight anxiety and depression. Fake ideas perpetrated by religions and so-called holy books have become ineffective. Science may not be able to reply all our questions in the near future, but it does not mean that we keep believing in fairy tales and bogus claims of religious books and preachers.

    By Ashok Sharma - 1/24/2017 4:11:15 PM



  • Is inspiration possible without words? Even our dreams involve verbal language. If the Prophet received the message in the form of an inspiration, then he received those words of inspiration which have formed the Quran.

    Let us look at just one verse:
    (7:172) When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful":

    What we understand by this verse today is that belief in God is instinctive or part of genetic memory passed on from our ancestors through our genes. Now imagine communicating this except through precise words to a person who does not know anything about genetics! This verse is even today not understood correctly and has given rise to the utterly nonsensical myth of Alam-e-Arwah! You can read about it at:
    aalamearwah.wordpress.com/


    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/24/2017 4:32:46 AM



  • Most likely the Quran must have come to the Holy Prophet's mind as some sort of inspiration. Naturally, The Prophet would have expressed this inspiration in his own words.

    By Asif Merchant - 1/24/2017 2:06:04 AM



  • The Quran does not elevate the Arabic language to a higher status nor does it bestow divinity on Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran is only the last of the revealed scriptures and the earlier ones were in the languages of the people to whom the messengers were sent.  Language is simply a medium for communication and it has never been a barrier to understand. The works of scientists, philosophers, poets and litterateurs are freely translated and understood. We do not ignore any great work simply because it was not originally written in our language.

     

     The Prophet is revered but not worshiped and this is established through several verses of the Quran. There is not an iota of doubt that the Messengers of Allah are to be revered and not worshiped. Neither does the Quran elevate the Arabs because Muhammad was sent to them. As a matter of fact, the Quran says:

     

    (9:97) The Arabs of the desert are the worst in kufr and hypocrisy, and most unlikely to know the limits of what Allah has sent down to His Messenger: But Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise. 

     

    “Not likely to know the limits of what Allah has sent down to His messenger” applies till this day to many Muslims and they struggle with the simplest of concepts although they read the Quran. It would appear therefore, that the Arabs were chosen to receive the last revelations not because they are the best of the people but because they are the worst! There are several other verses that warn the Arabs that if they don’t behave, they will be replaced by other people and the leadership of the Muslims has indeed slipped out of the hands of the Arabs and today, they form just 15% of the Muslims. The Arabic language or the fact that the Messenger was from among the Arabs has never been a barrier to either the spread of Islam or to non-Arabs leading the Muslims.

     

    The adjurations in the Quran are not oaths as commonly understood but a literary device to put across a point with the help of what is familiar. These commonly point to natural phenomena with a distinct characteristic of either faithfulness, beauty, certainty, predictability or purity. These are the “Signs of God” with which what is being said is paired with to give it the right emphasis. Why does it surprise anyone if God draws attention to His signs? At times, these are directly relevant. Take for example, Surah 95:

     

    (1) By the Fig and the Olive,

    (2) And the Mount of Sinai,

    (3) And this City of security,-

    (4) We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,

    (5) Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,-

    (6) Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.

    (7) Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the judgment (to come)?

    (8) Is not Allah the wisest of judges?

     

     

    The first three verses refer to the place associated with Messengers of God. The Fig refers to the Fig tree under which Buddha received his enlightenment, the Olive to the Mount of Olive associated with Jesus, the Mount of Sinai associated with Moses and the City of Security or Mecca associated with Muhammad. The rest of the verse is what is common to all. The Surah is also an endorsement of the different paths. Can there still be any doubt about the universality of the message of the Quran?

     


    By Naseer Ahmed - 1/24/2017 1:38:04 AM



  • @ Ashok Sharma: "God ...must learn all languages".

    God, whatever our concept, did indeed know ALL languages for He, She or It sent Messengers in every nation and ‘inspired’ them in their own languages to pass on the message. That is what is said in the Book!


    By Rashid Samnakay - 1/23/2017 9:01:41 PM



  • Dear Mr. Rashid,
    Thank you for gorging out your conceptual trash so old but still insulting and annoying for any sincere believer. The Title and the Very first Para of your Article is enough to expose your unholy mind prone to hurting the sentiment of Believers. I am not going to argue with you on this longstanding polemics and historically undecided issue. I just criticize your immoral approach  towards asserting  you right of criticism.    Thanks.
    Wadud Nawaz


    By Kazi Wadud Nawaz - 1/23/2017 7:07:39 PM



  • "The word of Messenger, as ‘inspired’ by the Creator."

    That seems to be an apt description. However it leaves an onerous burden on man to distinguish between what was "inspired" and what was not inspired.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/23/2017 2:37:53 PM



  • This idea of God is now outdated. God should come out in the open and must learn all languages. Instead of playing hide and seek, he should be frank and clear. He should send the humans on this planet with a pre-installed chip or, at least better software, so that they do not have to go through the torture of learning his teachings from semi-literate and crooked preachers. After all, the God has to be merciful and kind.
    By Ashok Sharma - 1/23/2017 1:47:47 PM



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