By Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam
26 September 2017
UNHRC, Item 9, General Debate, September 26, 2017,
Oral Statement by Sultan Shahin
On behalf of: Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum
Sixteen years after 9/11, the issue of Jihadi terrorism has become even more complex and widespread.
First, though Jihadism is a violent offshoot of Wahhabism and Salafism, the international community has allowed the fountainhead of Wahhabi/Salafi ideology to continue to spend tens of billions of dollars to Wahhabise the world Muslim community.
Second, we recently saw with horror, but without any protest from the international community, the sight of a UN-designated terrorist, with a ten-million-dollar bounty on his head, launch a political party and nominate another US-designated terrorist to contest democratic elections in Pakistan. Apparently, some countries can ignore UN directives with impunity.
Third, the Muslim community has failed to grasp that Jihadism spread so rapidly around the world because at its core it is not very different from the theology of consensus that informs the religious beliefs and practices of all Muslim sects. That is why Jihadis are not impressed when we Muslims either proclaim that Islam is a religion of peace and pluralism or when we try to wash our hands off Jihadism by claiming that it has nothing to do with Islam. If we Muslims want to live as honourable citizens in the 21st century’s globalised world, we must rethink our consensus theology in all its dimensions and make revolutionary changes to bring it in line with the needs of present times.
Let me elaborate a little on the similarities in the core theologies of Jihadism and mainstream Islam as well as suggest the contours of an alternative theology of peace and pluralism, inclusion and acceptance of diversity, respect for human rights and gender justice. What are the fundamental elements of theologies of all sects including Jihadism that are the same and what can be done about them. Let us discuss a few here briefly.
1. Infallibility, universality and uncreatedness of all verses of Quran, regardless of the context in which some of these instructions came from God to guide the Prophet and his followers on matters that needed to be urgently taken care of then, but are no longer relevant in the vastly different circumstances today.
This belief is common to all sects and sub-sects of Islam today. There is a consensus around it. So Jihadis are not inventing a new theology if they say that those Muslims who do not follow the war-time verses of Quran literally by fighting the kuffar constantly or staying away from all non-Muslims in day-to-day matters are hypocritical, and that a good, honest Muslim is one who is perpetually engaged in offensive Jihad against non-Muslims. After all, this is what is taught in all religious schools or madrasas, regardless of the sect. We are told in our theological books that the only relationship between a Muslim and a non-Muslim is that of war, and that it is the religious duty of all Muslims to bring Islam to power in all corners of the world, either by persuasion or force.
A new theology would seek to break this consensus and try to convince Muslims that war-time verses of the Prophet’s time maybe important as a historical account of the near insurmountable difficulties the Prophet had to face to establish Islam but do not apply to us today in the 21st century. We cannot possibly be fighting similar wars. Muslims were fighting existential battles in the early seventh century. Islam was in its infancy and infants do need to be taken special care of. Now the seed that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) planted in the inhospitable terrain of the Arabian desert has grown into a giant tree with branches across the world. There is no need for us to be fighting offensive Jihad “at least once a year” as Imam Ghazali advised in late 11th and early 12th century CE.
2. There is a consensus among ulema (religious scholars) of all sects that Hadith narrations (the alleged sayings of the Prophet) are akin to revelation, even though these were collected up to 300 years after the demise of the Prophet and contradict many of the core teachings of the Quran, the exhortations of God whose messenger the Prophet was. This theology of consensus implies that the Prophet spent the better part of his prophetic career preaching against the messages revealed to him in the holy Quran.
What has actually happened is that in the 48th year of the demise of the Prophet, his entire family was massacred and reins of power taken over by scions of the inveterate enemies of Islam who had fought battles against the Prophet and joined Islam only after his victory at Mecca, in a clear bid to subvert Islam from within when they failed to destroy it from outside. But they had to rule Muslims for whom Quran was the only holy scripture, which they understood, as well as had mostly memorized and written down. To undermine Quran, and create a distance between Muslims and the Quran, they evolved over the coming decades and centuries two institutions that remain very powerful until today. One was Hadith, that was called akin to revelation, and the other was that of Ulema or clerics who were proclaimed to be of the status of heirs to the Prophet, much better able to explain religion to Muslims than they themselves could.
The new theology will have to bring the focus back to Quran, and seek to dislodge both Hadith and Ulema from their present position of pre-eminence. These institutions evolved in the era of dynastic, despotic rulers, called Khalifas. It was natural for them to look for scriptural justifications for their exploitative, tyrannical, imperialist, expansionist, and supremacist policies. Not able to find justification for their policies in the Quran, which essentially guided Muslims on a spiritual path to salvation, they naturally created another scripture and put that on the same pedestal as Quran. The ulema were also deployed to subvert the meaning of Quran’s verses of war and make contextual verses into universally applicable instructions for permanent war.
3. Sharia Laws were first codified 120 years after the demise of the Prophet and have been changing since from time to time and place to place. It is only marginally based on Quran, most of it has been borrowed from pre-Islamic Arab practices. But the theology of consensus insists on calling it divine.
The new theology will go strictly by the spirit of Quran and allow Muslims to formulate their laws according to the needs of their time and place. Laws are and should remain dynamic and just.
4. The theology of consensus propounds a Doctrine of Abrogation, whereby earlier Meccan verses preaching peace and pluralism, patience and perseverance, religious freedom for all, etc., have been abrogated by later Medinan verses of war, asking Muslims to fight, and talking about virtues and rewards of contributing to war efforts in the way of God. It is said that the so-called sword verse (9: 5) alone has abrogated 114 verses of peace and pluralism revealed in early Islam at Mecca.
The new theology of peace should emphasise that the Meccan verses are the foundational and constitutive verses of Islam. They cannot be abrogated by any later verses of war. The Doctrine of Abrogation will need to be rejected in toto. It is the latter Medinan verses of war that have lost their relevance not the original Islam preaching peace and pluralism as revealed at Mecca.
5. The concept of Caliphate has no basis in Quran, but our theology considers it almost mandatory. This consensus view needs to be corrected in the new theology.
6. The theology of consensus is of the view that Muslims should migrate from Land of Conflict (Darul Harb) which is dominated by non-Muslims to Darul Islam (land of Islam). This has no basis in Quran. This is not even practical in contemporary world, though ulema keep using these terms. Even individuals have great difficulty getting visas to visit any country, these days, what to speak of millions of Muslims settling down in, say, Saudi Arabia, the pre-eminent Darul Islam. Saudis did not take even one Syrian refugee despite their horrible situation, though Germany (so-called Darul Harb) took a million Muslim refugees out of compassion for the suffering humanity. The new theology will have to reject such medieval ideas as completely irrelevant and un-Quranic.
Clearly Muslims have much hard work to do. We will need to bring about revolutionary changes in our theology to make it compatible with the holy Quran as well as the needs of modern times.
New 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
Dear Naseer Sahab,
Dear Naseer Sahab, As you will know we have exchanged scores of emails over the issue of the definition of kufr and kafir as used in the Qur’an and your acclaimed methodology of reading / interpreting the Qur’an; but have not have gone nowhere except exchanging emails. The problem is differences in perception/ views
In my view, the following definition of kufr/kafir as tabled in my jt. exegetic work, Essential Message of Islam under Glossary, adequately capture the usage of this word and its roots in the Qur’an:
“kufr: Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition. The Qur’an refers to its recalcitrant audience by the plural noun forms kafirun, kafirin, which, for want of any appropriate English counterpart have been rendered as disbelievers or deniers. The Qur’an also connotes kufr with canceling or effacing something (29:7, 47:2), being thankless or ungrateful (17:27, 76:24).”
You seem to hold similar views but claim to be the first person in Islamic exegetic history to have evolved this view. I simply do no agree with your claims as even my book which predates your allegedly novel views by 8-9 years.
You also claim to follow a methodology of explaining the Qur’an by the Qur’an an, but understandably having not read my book, you do not realize that my book follows this very same methodology. Shaykh al Saeed Ghars Eldin, Representative Muslim world league, Canada testifies to this on p.xxii in these words:
‘The work utilizes a well established methodology to explain the Qur’an primarily through the Qur’an with supporting proof (dalil) in deriving the core commandments / interpretations. The message is based on the fundamentals of the Qur’an- its muhkamat verses ‘
The citation apart, the book itself declares on p. xxxix/xl:
“The Objective of this work
“This book attempts to interpret the various facets of the Qur’anic message by drawing explanations primarily from its (the Qur’an’s) own text. Thus, the meanings of the critical words, idioms, figures of speech, and phrases of the Qur’an have been derived from their usage across its text. Likewise, the essence of its guidance and its criteria of right and wrong, permissible and forbidden have been derived primarily from its own illustrations to provide the reader with a broad moral trajectory of the Qur’an.”
In view of above hard facts, you simply cannot convince me or any Islamic scholar of expounding a new definition of kufr/kafirin or a new methodology of interpreting the Qur’anic messag, no matter how many Qur’anic verses you quote to support your views or methodology.
Finally as regards my comment ““I agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin” which I said was in the context of all the mushrikin of Arabia, you are now connecting it with the verse 9:4. The thing is why get into hair splitting argument about the interpretation of some selective verses of the Qur’an to evolve a definition of kufr/ kafir that is already there – at least in my book published some nine years ago.
Hence my request to you is to direct you energy and scholarship to promote my book given that it already (some 8-9 years predatedly) accommodates your definition of kufr/ kafirin and your methodology, and see if you can reach it to some Islamic/ Indian universities as a reliable and authenticated source material on Islamic knowledge. I have Dr. Aboul El Fadl’s following recommendation for this on p.xx of the book:
I wish we lived in a world in which this book would become a standard reference source for students of religion who are interested in an accurate introduction to the religion of Islam. The best thing I can say about this book is that it is the product of a labor of love that lasted for more than a decade. The authors do not offer a personalized view of their own religiosity; they explain in a very straightforward and accessible fashion what mainstream Muslims believe in and especially, what the Qur’an itself teaches. Non-Muslims will understand why well over a billion people call themselves Muslim and also how Islam inspires Muslims to deal with and improve upon the world in which they live. Indeed this book manages to translate the Muslim vision or the way that Islam heals the ailments of humanity in the current age and every age. Readers who wish to learn the theological and moral dogma of Islam will find this book indispensable. But this book is not just an informative tool for the fair-minded and interested reader. This book is an educational tool for both Muslims and non-Muslims—it is an authoritatively reliable text to teach young Muslims, or even Muslims who never had the time to study the Qur’an, or the fundamentals of their religion. The book is written with the kind of balance and fair mindedness that makes it equally valuable for Muslim and non-Muslim students of Islam. The least I can say about this text is that it was written by two ethically conscientious and principled Muslims in order to share their religion with every ethically conscientious and principled reader in the world. They must be heard.
Dr. Khaled M. Abou El Fadl
Alfi Distinguished Professor of Islamic law
UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW
GM sb says “Naseer sab now flaunts my agreeing with him that kufr is a faith neutral term, forgetting that it is not faith-neutral in Surah at-Taubah, which is the surah under focus in this discussion.”
The lying troll that GM sb is, he forgets that he agreed kafir is a faith neutral term while discussing Surah 9 which is Surah Taubah. Moreover, the discussion is about what it means and does not mean in the Quran considering the whole Quran and not in any Surah or verse alone.
You are right in calling kuffaru a faith-neutral term. I stand corrected.
I do not however know how you translate "kuffaru" into "religious persecutor" or "oppressor" from 9:3, 9:4 and 9:5.
By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/18/2016 3:14:40 PM
The monkey has tied itself up with its own tail!
You now say “The truth is my comment 1 related to the ‘polytheists among the direct audience ‘ of the Prophet who were adamant in their denial of the Qur’anic revelation though it was unfolding before their eyes with all hallmarks of its miraculous character.
My comment 2 related to all the polytheists of Arabia a large majority of which were not among the direct audience of the Prophet and hence the Qur’an could not regard all of them as kafirin.
This is what you said in your comment 2:
“I agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin (9:4).”
This is what 9:4 says: (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Mushrikin with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loveth the righteous.
Verse 9:4 does not make any distinction between direct/indirect audience and certainly includes the direct audience. You agreed citing 9:4 that the Quran does not treat all the mushrikin as kafirin. On what basis are you then now trying to make a distinction between direct/indirect audience? Is there any verse of the Quran that makes such a distinction?
Surah Al-Kafirun is an early Meccan Surah. Who are the Kafirun referred to in this Surah? Are they all the Mushrikun of Mecca who were certainly the Prophet’s direct audience? If so, what was the course left open for the Prophet after having said very early in his Prophetic Mission to all the Kafirun of Mecca “To you be your deen, and to me mine” except stopping further dawa to those Meccans who had not accepted Islam? And what of the Surah telling them “Neither do you Kafirun worship what I worship nor will you worship what I worship”? Is it not falsified if after the revelation of the Surah any of the Meccan Kafirun accept Islam? Is it therefore not correct to say that Kafirun does not mean Mushrikun in this Surah? In other words, the Surah considers only some of the Mushrikin who were active opponents of the new faith as kafir and not all the Mushrikin?
You did concede after I argued as above “those mushrikin who were not “adamantly dismissing it” may not have been regarded as kafir.” You made no distinction between direct/indirect audience nor is it possible to make such a distinction since the Surah starts with “Say” and you can say only to your direct audience. So, you did concede that there were those among the Mushrikin and among the direct audience who may not have been regarded as kafir.
Verse 98:1, 6. Are these not referring only to the Kafaru among the Mushrikin and not to all the Mushrikin? The textual analysis of the verse is presented for the nth time for your response.
لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ مُنفَكِّينَ حَتَّى تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ(98:1) The Kafaru, among the People of the Book and among the Mushrikin, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence,-The above verse is speaking of the kafaru among the Pople of the Book and from among the Polytheists from which it is clear that not all the People of the Book and not all the Polytheists are kafir. However, those who argue that it is impossible that the Mushrikin of Mecca among whom the Prophet lived and preached could be considered not kafir, translate the above verse as “The Kafaru, among the People of the Book and all the Mushrikin,………”We are not dealing here with the loose speech of fallible men but of the infallible speech of God in which not one word is out of its proper place. The least we may expect is some consistency. Let us look at another verse with an identical construction grammatically.رَبَّنَا وَأَدْخِلْهُمْ جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ الَّتِي وَعَدتَّهُمْ وَمَن صَلَحَ مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
(40:8) "And grant, our Lord! that they enter the Gardens of Eternity, which Thou hast promised to them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their posterity! For Thou art (He), the Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom.
In this verse people have no problem accepting the meaning of the verse to mean:the righteous among their fathersthe righteous among their wivesthe righteous among their posterity or childrenWhy do they then have a problem accepting in another verse with identical grammatical construction that it means:the people of the bookAnd the Kafaru among the polytheists?Now if Allah had intended to say what the scholars say the verse means, then there is a simple and direct way to do that with complete clarity and without any ambiguity. The verse would have been worded as follows:
لَمْ يَكُنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مُنفَكِّينَ حَتَّى تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ
(Modified 98:1) Indeed the Mushrikin and the Kafaru, among the People of the Book, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence,-
Do we then accuse God of being One who loves ambiguity? Or One who is a poor communicator who does not know the simple rules of clear communication? That would-be blasphemy. Equally blasphemous is taking the wrong meaning which amounts to falsifying the Quran. The correct meaning of verse 98:1 is that ‘kafaru’ refers to a sub group of the Mushrikin guilty of the kufr described in the verse/surah and not to all the Mushrikin.
Your following comments were in the context of the debate on 98:1, 6
In the Qur’anic epistemology, all the polytheists among its direct audience stood as kafirin in God’s sight.
Naseer Sahab, to be frank with you, I really fail to understand how can you split the polytheists of the Prophets era into two categories (kafir and not kafir) by pure scholasticism.
By muhammad yunus - 5/11/2015 8:20:30 AM
It is not I who is splitting the polytheists of the Prophet’s era into the categories kafir not kafir but the Quran itself. The Quran never considered in any verse, all the Mushrikin who were the direct audience of the Prophet, as Kafir. What do you have to say now?
You have presented a chart with the title: ’Shifting stance of M.Yunus.'
The fact is the content of the charts as quoted from thread are fully consistent as noted below in yellow highlight:
Top left hand box: All Mushrikin are kafir.
As per the commentary quoted under this title, the Qur’an regarded those immediate audience of the Prophet mushrikin who witnessed the truth of Qur'anic revelation unfolding before their eyes but dismissed it.
The Top right hand box
My commentary is : “those mushrikin who were not “adamantly dismissing it” may not have been regarded as kafir.I agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin.
Bottom Left had box.
I never made that comment under this thread. So it is not a part of this debate. In.all probability the comment was in relation to your research on nafs. Can you please pass the reference.
Bottom right hand box: So virtually you are adopting the interpretation tabled in my jt. publication and claiming it as your innovative theological insight.
MY FRESH COMMENTS:
The title of the top left hand column: “All Mushrikin are kafir” is phrased by you and not suggested or claimed or endorsed by me..
As regards my position on the meaning of the word kufr/kafir, I have already said this with immaculate consistency in ten of my comments under this thread and in not a single comment have I changed my position. If you claim I said otherwise in some other thread, please provide reference. Here are all my comments under this thread in chronological order.
1. Dear Naseer Sahab:
“What you said about the dictionary based translation of Qur’an is perhaps true for most modern translations though… If you have time, do take a look at my work. Now coming to your interpretation of the word Kufr please tell me precisely how it differs from the one tabled in the glossary of my work copied below:
Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition. The Qur’an refers to its recalcitrant audience by the plural noun forms kafirun,kafirin, which, for want of any appropriate English counterpart have been rendered as disbelievers or deniers as appropriate. The Qur’an also connotes kufr with canceling or effacing something (29:7, 47:2), being thankless or ungrateful (17:27, 76:24).
By muhammd yunus - 8/28/2017 6:30:57 AM
2. Dear Naseer Sahab,
Thanks for your enlightening response. I still want to know precisely how your interpretation of the word kufr/ kafir differs from mine: "Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition."I have only added the following explanatory bit under my above interpretation of the word 'kufr', shedding light on how this word has been translated traditionally "for want of any appropriate English counterpart (the words kafirun, kafirin) have been rendered as disbelievers or deniers as appropriate."By muhammd yunus - 8/28/2017 7:28:20 PM
3. Dear Naseer Sahab,
Your last short definition of Kafaru brings all those believers in its pale “who are inclined towards self-indulgence and will go wherever their lusts take them.” It is a very tricky interpretation as it will enable Muslims to call fellow Muslims a kafir who in their perception are “inclined towards self-indulgence and slave to their lusts”…..I think this topic has been discussed very extensively and it is time to leave it here.
As far as my position is concerned I am happy with the following definition of kufr/kafir appearing in the Glossary of my jt. publication as I earlier mentioned:
kufr: Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition. The ..The Qur’an also connotes kufr with canceling or effacing something (29:7, 47:2), being thankless or ungrateful (17:27, 76:24).
By muhammd yunus - 9/1/2017 5:38:41 AM
4. Dear Naseer Sahab,
I believe Surah al-kafirun is addressed to the 'mushrikin' among the Prophet's immediate audience who were witnesses to the Qur'anic revelation and were adamantly dismissing …I think let us terminate our discussion here for a great deal of time has been devoted to it and we are going round and round in a closed circuit debate. By muhammd yunus - 9/1/2017 7:55:58 PM
5. Dear Naseer Sahab
As I understand and also put in my exeg work, there is no category of people called 'kafirin.' I believe the Qur'an regarded the mushrikin in its immediate audience as kafir because they witnessed the truth of Qur'anic revelation unfolding before their eyes but dismissed it. Thus the kfirin in the opening verse of Sura 109 were the inveterate denier of the Qur'anic revelation among the mushrikin. Thus my position remains unchanged on the issue and i think we must terminate this conv. and move on to any new topic.By muhammd yunus - 9/4/2017 7:31:29 AM
6. Dear Naseer Sahab,
I never 'banked' on Picthall's translation. I merely quoted him to illustrate to you that different interpreters have interpreted 98:1 differently.The bottom line is as I mentioned earlier I find nothing wrong with the following interpretation of the word 'kufr' as noted in my exeg. work and much as I may find your research exhaustive, I am still not very clear how You interpret this word. Can you tell me in very simple terms how it differs from mine below:
"Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition. The Qur’an refers to its recalcitrant audience by the plural noun forms kafirun,kafirin, which, for want of any appropriate English counterpart have been rendered as disbelievers or deniers as appropriate. The Qur’an also connotes kufr with canceling or effacing something (29:7, 47:2), being thankless or ungrateful (17:27, 76:24). By muhammd yunus - 9/6/2017 1:49:08 AM
7. Naseer Sb,
Frankly speaking i find my definition of kufr - blatant denial or violation of what is just and rightful - no matter the semantics - fitting all the following cases that you illustrate to derive the meaning of kufr from the Qur'an:
1. Oppression and Religious persecution
2. Active opposition of belief, denial of the clear Signs of God shown to the people in the haughty/conceited manner of Pharaoh. Simple disbelievers who do no harm are not kafir.
3. As far as the believers are concerned, ingratitude to God in the form of being niggardly or consuming usury or ill treating the less fortunate.
4. oppression and injustice is also kufr for the believers. Do we close this debate. Only then we will discuss 98:1 By muhammd yunus - 9/6/2017 7:48:14 AM
Here is my point by point response in blue ink to your comment dated 9/7/2017 2:53:43 AM
….. You have not evolved any new meaning of the kafirun. All you are saying after your extensive research is what is noted– in my exeg. Work published in 2009. Copied below:
kufr: Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition. The Qur’an refers to its recalcitrant audience by the plural noun formskafirun, kafirin, ..The Qur’an also connotes kufr with canceling or effacing something (29:7, 47:2), being thankless or ungrateful (17:27, 76:24).
So virtually you are adopting the interpretation tabled in my jt. publication and claiming it as your innovative theological insight. I do not claim to be any innovator in religion. I write what my probe into the Qur’an dictates to me. Surely there must be countless other scholars holding the same view.
By muhammd yunus - 9/9/2017 5:49:55 AM
9. Dear Naseer Sb
Your comment dated 9/10/2017 1:16:01 begins with the following para that presumes the I am falsifying the Qur’an…:
The fact is the following definition that appears in my jt publication dated June 2009 is consistent with what you have concluded above and so your concern for me for falsifying the Qur’an is misplaced.
Kufr is Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition. The Qur’an refers to its recalcitrant audience by the plural noun formskafirun, kafirin, ... The Qur’an also connotes kufr with canceling or effacing something (29:7, 47:2), being thankless or ungrateful (17:27, 76:24).
Kindly note I have already said this four of five times during recent exchange of mails and going to say this again and again if you go on charging me of misinterpreting the notion of kufr or claiming that what I have written is your original understanding of the term kufr. I of course do not make any such claim.
By muhammd yunus - 9/10/2017 3:38:49 AM
Kindly also note, while posting the last comment above I wrote ‘I said this four or five times’ without realizing that was the 9th time I was saying. I stand by my above definition appearing in my jt publication the tenth time with this commentary.
Dear Sultan Shahin Sahab,
Under your Sep 26 article [Make revolutionary changes.....] Naseer Sb quotes my following two comments which read cursorily point to my shifting stance on the notion of ‘kafirin’ in the Qur’an:
1. In the Qur’anic epistemology, all the polytheists among its direct audience stood as kafirin in God’s sight.
2. I agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin.”
By muhammd yunus - 8/8/2017 9:01:11 PM
The truth is my comment 1 related to the ‘polytheists among the direct audience ‘ of the Prophet who were adamant in their denial of the Qur’anic revelation though it was unfolding before their eyes with all hallmarks of its miraculous character.
Thus both my statement are consistent with the definition of kafir as one who “wilfully rejects or denies of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition as the Qur’an applies “to its recalcitrant audience.” – as tabled in the Glossary of my joint publication
Actually I am on an overseas medical trip (in Singapore) and have had very extensive exchange of mails with Naseer Sahab on the subject in the following link that lists a long series of my comments, repeatedly stating my views on the definition of kufr / kafirin in the Qur’an which remain unchanged and are no different from that of Naseer Sahab,who wishfully claims to be the first one in Islamic exegetic history to have expounded it.
PS: This is how kufr is defined in my jt publication:
kufr: Willful rejection or denial of any self-evident or irrefutable proposition. The Qur’an refers to its recalcitrant audience by the plural noun forms kafirun, kafirin, which, for want of any appropriate English counterpart have been rendered as disbelievers or deniers as appropriate. The Qur’an also connotes kufr with cancelling or effacing something (29:7, 47:2), being thankless or ungrateful (17:27, 76:24).
To say that nobody agrees with my conclusions is factually incorrect and nobody knows that better than GM sb.
“You are right in calling kuffaru a faith-neutral term. I stand corrected.”By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/18/2016 3:14:40 P
“I agree with you that the Qur'an does not treat all muhsrikin as kafirin” By muhammd yunus - 8/8/2017 9:01:11 PM
GM sb admits that I did not say that Shahin sb agrees with my conclusions. He is blaming me for his own faulty conclusions and will go on arguing about it endlessly! Isn’t that trolling?
However, Shahin sb deprecates those who refuse to consider seriously what I say when he says “……This is linked also to our refusal to even look at the possibility of terms like kafir, kufr, kafaru, having meanings, at least in some verses, different from the generally accepted one of non-believer or polytheist, infidel, etc.”
And what about those who flip flop like GM sb and then lie about themselves when they have agreed before? The consummate hypocrites!
GM sbs objective is to troll and he is absolutely shameless about his intentions.
On the question of shirk, there is no doubt that considering Jesus as the son of God and believing in the concept of Trinity is both shirk and kufr. Shirk is also an unforgivable sin for the People of the Book. Will the Christians be forgiven or not for this sin? The answer is found in the Quran and there is hope of forgiveness. This is covered in my article:
Is the Quran a Book of Contradictions?
While the Quran expresses horror at the kufr/shirk, Allah does not make punishment for it incumbent on Himself and clearly shows that there is hope for forgiveness when Jesus (AS) is allowed to intercede for them. The exact way Jesus (AS) will intercede is also described.
For the believers the order of sins is:
Shirk is an unforgivable sin
Consumption of usury, not giving charity, giving charity but with insult and injury, or neglecting salat will make them be among the ranks of the Kafirin and deserving of Hell
Shameful deeds, adultery
Dietary and other prohibitions such as games of chance
For the rest of mankind:
Shirk, trespasses against reason and shameful deeds are among the prohibitions. Needless to say, these rank lower than the prohibitions for the believers and if they have done enough good deeds, and lived by what they believed to be the truth, they could be admitted to Heaven. The caveat being that they did not “reject” belief and died ‘rejecting’. Rejection from out of arrogance or other considerations rather than from lack of knowledge or conviction.
"The Quran explains one verse with the help of another and it is therefore important to take the meaning considering all the verses."If that is the case Naseer Saheb, and it makes sense that it should be the case, then why have the original compilers of the holy Quran, our Salaf, destroyed the context, by destroying the order in which God sent the book. How can we understand one verse of the Quran with the help of another, if we don't know which verse came first and which came later? How do we know which verses are relevant in helping us understand the verse we are trying to understand?
The order of the verses becomes important if the later verses abrogate the previous ones. No verse is abrogated, and I have shown that the principles enunciated in the Meccan period were never violated even while discussing the so called “sword verses” which are among the very last verses revealed.
Take any article that I have written. For example on kufr/kafir. I have considered every verse that deals with this subject.
Take the article: Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth Half That of A Man?.
There are only two verses that are relevant and yet I have arrived at a conclusion different from others which is fully supported by the Quran and the view/opinion/rulings of the jurists of Islam is without a basis in the Quran.
Take the article on whether the Quran supports the concept of soul. Every verse that contains the two Arabic word nafs and ruh which are generally translated as soul have been examined and every verse that speaks of birth, death and resurrection is considered to establish that the Quran does not support the concept of soul at all.
Take the article: The Politics of Religion and the Changing Concept of Shuhuda over the Years
Every verse that speaks of those slain in the cause of Allah has been examined besides every verse that contains Shuhuda/Shaheed. The Quran does not use this term for those slain in the cause of Allah. It is a later corruption of the meaning.
Take the article: The Role Models in the Quran
It picks up from Surah Fateha and the dua for guidance (1:6) Show us the straightway, (7) the way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace (AnʿAmtaʿAlayhim) …..
Then I look for the people on whom is Allah’s grace and find it in
(4:69) All who obey Allah and the messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah (Anam Allah O Alaihim) ,- of the prophets (Nabi), the Siddiqin (sincere lovers of Truth), the Shuhada (witnesses who testify), and the Saliheen (Righteous who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship!
Then I look for the verses that describe the Siddiq, Shuhuda and the Saliheen.
Take the meaning of the verse 3:7 examined in: The Mutashaabihat Or The Allegorical Verses Of The Quran
Every verse that uses a “tashabaha” or metaphor has been examined to establish that all such verses are clear as to their meaning and none of them is ambiguous. The verse only warns about not treating a metaphor as metaphor and speculating beyond the intended purpose of using the metaphor. Which verse employs metaphors, and which does not is never in doubt.
Take the article: Does The Quran Ask Us To Follow The Sunnat Of The Prophet?
Every verse that uses the word Sunnat and every verse that asks us to obey the messengers has been considered to establish that the Quran contains the sunnat of the people that the Quran wants us to follow.
Take the article: Science and Religion
It examines the challenge of the Quran to produce a Surah like that of the Quran. It first establishes the basic objective of the revelation. The Quran describes itself and the previous scriptures primarily as the furqan or provider of the criteria to distinguish right from wrong. It also contains the deen or the moral way of living which is confirmed as perfected and completed establishing that giving a perfect and complete deen is the primary objective of the Quran. If the source of furqan and deen has been exclusively revelations or inspiration from God, then clearly human effort without inspiration from God cannot produce anything like it. The evidence is the failure of philosophy to produce a single moral principle or furqan in its entire history starting from 600 BC. The literature and mythologies are full of stories of gods who were immoral. If it is about morality, then it is only about religion based morality.
The article: Deen-e-Islam or the Moral Way of Living in Islam
and the article An Exposition of the Verse of Light (Ayat al-Nur)
further expand on the same theme of establishing the excellence and inimitability of the Quran. The meaning of the metaphors used in Ayat al-Nur has been established through other verses of the Quran and differs from Imam Ghazali’s famous treatise on this verse. Imam Ghazali’s treatise contradicts the very next verse of the Surah!
The article in 6 parts on the Prophetic mission of Muhammad (pbuh) covers the whole of the Quran in chronological order. It is a seamless Quran with continuity and without contradiction from the Meccan period to the Medinian period. There is an important lesson in why war was not permitted during the Meccan period and why war was ordained in the Medinian period.
The test of whether every relevant verse is considered and whether the conclusions follow logically from the evidence is whether the conclusion contradicts any verse of the Quran. If it does, then I know that I have more work to do and if it does not, then I know that I am right. To disprove any conclusion is very simple. All that is required is to show that the conclusion contradicts just one verse of the Quran. It is impossible that a conclusion based on the Quranic verses that does not contradict a single verse of the Quran is not the meaning of the Quran. If this was possible, then we have the proof that the Quran’s claim of being Kitabum Mubeen is false.
The Question Shahin sb will ask is why no one else has done what I do. What I do is not easy. All other tafsirs are impressionistic tafsirs. Take any point on which I have differed with others and I will show precisely what verses their view contradicts. Take Pickthall who translated the Quran and mistranslated kafir as disbeliever. He was apparently left with an uneasy feeling and had the following to say:“In the Qur’an I find two meanings (of a Kafir), which become one the moment that we try to realize the divine standpoint. The Kafir in the first place, is not the follower of any religion. He is the opponent of Allah’s benevolent will and purpose for mankind - therefore the disbeliever in the truth of all religions, the disbeliever in all Scriptures as of divine revelation, the disbeliever to the point of active opposition in all the Prophets (pbut) whom the Muslims are bidden to regard, without distinction, as messengers of Allah.”
The above is a fairly accurate meaning but remains impressionistic and leaves out the believers who are considered kafir for their kufr and the positive sense in which the word is also used in the Quran. It simply misses the point that Kafir is used in the Quran in a faith neutral way. Anyone can be a kafir in a negative or positive way if they are guilty of the kufr which is the subject of the verse. For example, in 8:36, the faith of the kafaru is immaterial. He could be a Muslim hindering a Christian from following his religion.
The point that I am making is that one who has translated the entire Quran also ended up with impressionistic conclusions that are only correct in a limited context. To arrive at the single meaning of any verse requires a methodology and a process and if this is followed, anyone can arrive at the same meaning. Two persons following the same process will quickly converge by correcting each other. The kind of research that I do to write a single article would have required years of research earlier and yet remained error prone. I do the same using technology in a few hours. The prolific output, completeness and accuracy that I produce is simply impossible without the use of technology. The strength is in the methodology, the process and using modern tools besides a good knowledge of every subject. Logic is the most important – the ability to judge when the data necessary and sufficient to arrive at a conclusion is available and then to test out this conclusion with every other relevant verse. If for example, a person simply ignores the contradictions that equating Kafirun with Mushrikun in Surah Al-kafirun produces, then it does not matter what process he follows. He is simply illogical and will never arrive at the correct meaning. Such a flaw in any scholar is a very serious flaw. If he refuses to accept his mistake and correct himself, it would be a waste of time to discuss anything further with such a person. If there was another person who follows logic with this kind of rigour, then we would both agree on every verse. The meaning of Kitabum Mubeen, and the conviction in the truth of the claim, is a result of following the process and discovering that it holds each time.
The simple challenge to all is to establish that any of my conclusions contradicts any verse of the Quran to show that I have erred. If someone does so, I will gratefully acknowledge and correct my conclusion.
Establish that another conclusion based on the Quran from what I have drawn is also possible without contradicting a single verse of the Quran. This will prove that the Quran is not Kitabum Mubeen but it is like any other book capable of multiple meanings.
If it is indeed Kitabum Mubeen, and it is possible to logically derive the single meaning of every verse, then why bother about the unreliable ahadith and Sira and what any other scholar/imam/mufti from the past or present has to say?