He who knows not that he knows not is a fool- Leave him
He who knows that he knows not is ignorant- Teach him
He who knows not that he knows is asleep- Wake him
He who knows and knows that he knows is a leader- Follow him
With all due respect to the above four lines from the Arabian nights, I would like to add a fifth one…
He who knows and acts as if he knows not is a %$&^*, &@#% him
This is exactly what I feel about most of my fellow beings that I come across in the plethora of online debates and discussions that are currently being raged about the proposed Quran burning stunt.
“The Quran preaches violence, it exhorts Muslims to kill Jews and Christians, it urges Muslims to kill disbelievers”.
It’s amazing how sane adults dare to make such blatantly uninformed comments. Lots have been said about this subject before and one can find scholarly articles and discourses on the same everywhere. Just go to Google or YouTube and type “Quran + Violence” and voila…. You will find hundreds of links that give you the right information. Just make sure that you choose to listen and internalize information from Muslim scholars. Do not choose to accept distorted propaganda material from sources with vested interests. Here are a few good sources.
People have to realize that the Quran was revealed over a period of 23 years and verses were revealed to address particular situations in Islamic history. Taking the verses literally without understanding their historic context and arguing that they are applicable today is totally against the way the holy book has to be read and understood and followed.
Let’s look at one example. The below verse is used frequently to argue that god has commanded Muslims to kill non believers.
“And slay them wherever ye catch them..” (2:191)
Anyone who can understand English will enjoy paradigm shifts if they read these verses in their textual and historical context. One should read the whole verse along with a few verses before and after.
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” (al-Baqarah 2:190-194)
For 13 long years, Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and his followers endured severe persecution in Makkah. Believers were tortured and killed in hundreds. But they were forbidden by god to fight back. They were advised to patiently endure all suffering instead. Finally the prophet and his followers left their home town and migrated to another land. The disbelievers of Makkah repeatedly attacked them. Many Muslims were ruthlessly killed. Though Makkah welcomed pilgrims from all over the world, Muslims were not allowed to visit the Kabah for worship. During these days of hardship and unfair persecution , the Muslims worked out a peace treaty with the disbelievers. Though the terms of the treaty were totally one sided and unfair, the Muslims abided with the same. Then the disbelievers unilaterally broke the terms of the treaty and attacked the believers. These verses were revealed following this transgression. Through these verses, god gave the Muslims permission to defend themselves . It is also important to note that the verses mention the sacred mosque. This refers to the pilgrimage that the Muslims wanted to make. It was forbidden to bear arms or fight when one was on a pilgrimage. But knowing the intentions of the disbelievers, Muslims were permitted to fight back (only) and kill opponents to avoid being killed themselves. It clearly refers to a situation of mortal combat. One may say using contemporary jargon that there were constant terrorist attacks on Madinah and in this situation Muslims were given permission to fight back the “terrorists”. These verses are not a permission for “terrorize” but they are a warning against the “terrorists.” But even in these warnings you can see how much restraint and care is emphasized. Though permission to fight back is given, there are about 5 instances in the same verse where believers are cautioned against transgression.
It is important that we study the religious texts in their proper context. When these texts are not read in their proper textual and historical contexts they are manipulated and distorted. It is true that some Muslims manipulate these verses for their own goals. But this is not only with Islamic texts, it is also true with the texts of other religions. One can quote dozens of verses from the Bible which seem very violent, if taken out from their historical context. These Biblical texts have been used by many violent Jewish and Christian groups. Crusaders used them against Muslims and Jews. Nazis used them against Jews. Recently Serbian Christians used them against Bosnian Muslims. Zionists are using them regularly against Palestinians.
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you. And when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. (Deutronomy 7:1-2)
Even in the New Testament we read the following statement attributed to Jesus saying to his disciples:
“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence. (Luke 19:26-27)
My dear fellow beings…. Please don’t flaunt your ignorance so openly by quoting verses out of context. READ….. UNDERSTAND and then make INFORMED COMMENTS.
1+ 1 = 2. Please spare us from the torture of being preached and taught otherwise.