OPINION

Does the Quran Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse, Part 2

February 18, 2009
MA Khan

I am responding below to Mike Ghouse's reply to Part 1 in this debate. I regret that I wasn't able to respond with immediacy.

Let me start by addressing Ghouse's favorite argument regarding the Quran, which I encountered in his emails and postings in Websites quite a few times. He frequently says that, in the colonial era or before, the Westerners intentionally mistranslated the Quran to harm Islam. "The Quran was mistranslated three times (by Europeans)", he asserts. Thereafter, Muslim rulers (as pious as the Saudis, who are main sponsors of translations of the Quran) also embarked on the same mission to mistranslate the Quran, obviously to harm Islam and Muslims, as Ghouse would have it. "The Kings on the Arabian lands had to fool their people too to get their support", as he puts it.

To him, these translators distorted the Quran so badly that, by reading it, Muslims are becoming terrorists all over the world in the name of Islam--the religion of pristine peace and tranquility. Let me first ask Ghouse a few questions:

1. First, what is his scholarship, expertise in Arabic, to judge translations of the Quran of most famous scholars like Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Dr. Muhshin Khan et al.? May I ask, if Ghouse, probably an India-born student of business/commercial studies, is fluent in Arabic or understand Arabic at all?

2. Secondly, would Ghouse sit in Saudi Arabia and dare distorting the Quran intentionally. I can assure Ghouse that the kind of "gross distortion" he accuses other famous translators with, if he does the same level of distortion of whatever kind sitting in Saudi Arabia, he would not last a day. Well, Ghouse may even give a try of the same at Islamabad, Khartoum, Cairo or Kabul. His is unlikely to last much longer, if at all. Let me inform readers that Muhshin Khan and his co-translator, Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, taught at the Islamic University of Medina, the city of Muhammad, where Islam was born. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, another brilliant translator, was sponsored by the Saudis.

3. Thirdly, Ghouse has found a good translator in Muhammad Asad (d. 1990), an Austro-Hungarian Jews, who converted to Islam and later ended up in India, where, in the company of fanatic Allama Iqbal, he became a scholar of Islam. "Go to Mohammad Asad's translation of Quran, it is one of the most accepted translations", he asserts. In fact, Asad's translation is not correct enough for Ghouse, as he say: "If I live longer, Insha Allah, God willing, I will do the translation to reflect the intent of the Quran".

Although Asad's credential in Arabic was undoubtedly good, he had no real training in Arabic at its crown centres of Baghdad, Cairo, Saudi Arabia, which scholars like Muhshin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali had. Moreover, born in a Jewish Rabbi family and well-acquainted with developments of the 20th-century Europe, I leave it to readers to reflect on how his background could have influenced his English rendering of the Quran and on Ghouse's wisdom of picking Asad as a more reliable translator.

4. Fourthly, does Ghouse want to tell us that all the Imams, Muslim clerics--from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world--who keep spewing hatred on Quranic justification, read the Quran in English translations? Do Arabs like Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, late al-Zarqawi and all those Islamic terrorists read the Quran in Arabic? Ghouse would obviously have us believe so.

I must point out another great point of this sagacious Islamic scholar, Mike Ghouse. The University of Southern California [probably with association of CAIR, MSA (Muslim Students of America] etc., hosts the Compendium of Islamic Text, which says:

There were about 360 idols around the Ka`abah. He pulled them down with his sword while reciting: "And say: 'Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish.'" (Al-Qur'an, 17:81) Also "Say: 'Truth has arrived and falsehood neither creates anything new nor restores anything.'" (Al-Qur'an, 34: 49) The idols tumbled on their faces.

On the basis of such info, Wikipedia notes that:

In 630, Muhammad and his followers returned to Mecca as conqueror, and he destroyed the 360 idols in and around the Kaaba.[28][29] While destroying each idol, Muhammad recited [Qur'an 17:81] which says "Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish."[28][29]

But to Ghouse, this information is all false. That means leading Islamic organizations in American, like CAIR and MSA, are out to harm Islam and Muslims, too. It is false even when most of the greatest classical scholars of Islam say so. Ibn Ishaq [Karachi, p. 552], Muhammad's first pious biographer, says that after capturing Mecca, Muhammad ordered the destruction of all idols of the Ka'ba, shouting out: "Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish".

But to Ghouse, those greatest were ignorant or were out to harm Islam and Muslims. So, where lies truth? Who knows the truth? It is Michel Wolfe, a non-Muslim filmmaker of our time and the producer of the film "The Message". When Ghouse asked Wolfe, the latter replied, as Ghouse puts it: "From his (Wolfe's) understanding the idols were 'removed'", not destroyed, the latter remark being "blatantly misleading".

Allah or Muhammad probably paid a visit to Wolfe lately to furnish him with the correct information. He has no other way to discover this truth. I wonder how Ghouse's wisdom failed to ask Wolfe as to how he discovered the truth.

Nonetheless, the moral of the story is: You can take over a temple and remove there idols therein, not destroy them. Idolaters of the world can drive this message of Ghouse home.

Now let me turn to the Quranic verses Ghouse has addressed. I will not respond to his comments on other religious scriptures, because my expertise doesn't lie there. I have spent the last 5-6 years researching Islam extensively, on which I am confident of commenting. If other scriptures have violent content, they incite violence too.

In explanation of verse 7:179, despite whatever unnecessary things he has written, Asad's translation still says that the Kafirs, such as Hindus, "are like cattle -nay, they are even less conscious of the right way". That means a non-Muslim, heedless to Allah's messages, is worse, more evil, than animals like cattle, which the original author put as: they are "like brute beast." I need someone explain what's the difference between the two. Therefore, the claim of the original author that "In the eye of Allah, these kafirs [Hindus] are no better than animals" is roughly right, although he would been accurate had he said "kafirs [Hindus] are worse than animals (cattle)". That's what Asad affirms and Ghouse agrees.

Why does Ghouse not give a fitting treatment to his non-Muslim neighbors deserving of animals like cattle, nay, worse than cattle as Asad puts it. I grew up in the countryside, we raised cattle. Worse than cattle around us were foxes that grabbed our chickens or spoiled sugarcane plantations. We used to kill them at the first opportunity. Tigers, hyenas, wolves are worse than cattle, too. What treatment would Muslims render, if they happen to come across animals like these in their neighborhood? Heads of the kafirs should roll.

Concerning my quoted verse 4:56, Asad's translation basically say the same thing: For those rejecting Islam, "We (Allah, there are few Allahs it seems) shall, in time, cause to endure fire: [and] every time their skins are burnt off, We shall replace them with new skins, so that they may taste suffering [in full]..."

This horrible cycle of punishment--that a Hindu, Christian or Jew deserves--would continue for eternity; so vile a people are they. No doubt, Allah's psychopathic punishment would surpass the barbarity of Hitler by infinite folds. Again, the original author is accurate in emphasizing that Allah has intense hatred of non-Muslims.

I will now touch upon three verses that Ghouse did not address. First verse 3:56:

"...moreover, as for the non-believers, I will punish them with grievous punishments in this world, and in the world is to come."

The question of how Allah will punish the kafirs in this world? Not by Himself but through the hands of his followers, aka Muslims. Muslims must engage the vile unbelievers in Jihadi wars and inflict grievous punishment on them; and those, who perish in the process, will receive Allah's succor in paradise (loaded with eternal virgins of immaculate beauty) as says the Quran [Quran 47:4]:

"Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost."

Next verse 8:13:
"Therefore cut off their heads, and strike off all the ends of the fingers. This shall they suffer because they have opposed Allah and His Prophet, and whosoever shall oppose Allah and His Prophet, verily Allah will be severe in punishing them".

The message is crystal-clear here. This means, Muslims must endeavor to take hold of those vile unbelievers, who oppose Allah and Muhammad mission (i.e., reject Islam) and "cut off their heads, and strike off all the ends of the fingers." Allah's clear words are enough; nothing more is needed to be said on this.

Let me move on the last verse 9:111:

"Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.."

This can be accurately dubbed as the verse of 9/11 attacks. Life of Muslims has been purchased by Allah for fighting in Allah's cause (i.e., Jihad), in which they must slay and be slain. That is, they must wage Jihad and try their best to slay the kafirs. Obviously some Jihadis would be killed in such holy wars. But this death in Jihad battles, called martyrdom, is no loss for Muslims; instead, it the greatest, the most desirable, thing ever can happen to a Muslim; because, this martyrdom gives him a ticket for straight landing in Allah's paradise. Getting a ticket to paradise, believe Muslims, is the central aim of their every action in this world.

Some master deceivers of Islam would tell us that Jihad means struggling with the self, which will help them gain paradise. I hope, some of them will come forward and explain to us as to how struggling with the self would result in slaying the kafirs and getting killed in the process. Probably Ghouse can enlighten us on that.

Let me emphasize that Ghouse has done little research on the Quran. Moreover, he is either a good-hearted person with little knowledge of Islam or he is on a mission of deceiving the gullible kafirs. The fact that he said, "However, the verses that have been quoted "as from Quran" are actually manufactured a 1000 years ago and the neocons have been recycling it to malign a religion, that is their business and livelihood", means that he is undoubtedly out to deceive his willing audience.[ED: ASSERTION]

Has Ghouse torn away those pages of his Quran that contain these manufactured verses of brutality?

Let me emphasize to the reader that engaging with ignorants or deceivers takes us to no meaningful enlightenment on the subject. Therefore, I may wish to conclude this debate here, unless Ghouse comes forward with some solid, well-researched, arguments that deserve a response.

However, if readers are keen to get a full picture of the incitement of violence (i.e., Jihad) in Islam, I urge them to get a copy of my just-released book, Islam Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery

I am getting some very encouraging assessments on the book from experts, including top professors (see in the link). I believe this book will have strong humanizing impact on Muslims (the radical ones), while help everyone understand why the world today is mired in the horror of terrorism.

MA Khan is a liberal humanist and the author of Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism, and Slavery. He also edits the Islam-watch.org website.
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Does the Quran Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse, Part 2

 

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#1
Ruvy
URL
February 18, 2009
06:33 PM

I have two comments to make here.

One regards the formatting of the text of the article. The whole second half of the article is in bold and in italics. It is possible that the author neglected to close an HTML tag or two and thus the article came this way to the editor. But the editor should have seen the error and corrected it. This is the least the readers at DC are owed.

The second deals with the fact that there are large parts of this article that do not make sense at all. I'm not talking about the views of Mr. Khan, I'm talking about the fact that there are run-on sentences, sentences that appear to have been chopped off, whole thoughts that appear to have been left unfinished, dangling in mid-air.

This piece is not fit for publication as it stands. It needs re-working, so that the points that Mr. Khan desires to make can be made with the clarity he seeks and deserves to have, and so that Mike Ghouse can attempt an intelligent answer.

Again, this is an editor's job to tell the writer, not mine.

Mr. Khan, my quibble here is not with you or with what you say, it is with the editor who allowed this article through.

#2
Ledzius
February 18, 2009
10:57 PM

Is there some kind of a mini tutorial/write-up for the use of these HTML tags? I never use them since the only time I did, it screwed up the whole formatting.

#3
Deepti Lamba
February 19, 2009
12:18 AM

Ledzuis, you can google them but generally its better to have one of those O'Reilly or HTML for Dummies books to refer to.

#4
Mike Ghouse
URL
February 19, 2009
02:06 AM

Response to Mr. MA Khan's article: Does the Qur'aan Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse, Part 2

Feb 18, 2009
Mike Ghouse

Mr. Khan interprets me, "Thereafter, Muslim rulers (as pious as the Saudis, who are main sponsors of translations of the Quran) also embarked on the same mission to mistranslate the Quran, obviously to harm Islam and Muslims, as Ghouse would have it. "The Kings on the Arabian lands had to fool their people too to get their support", as he puts it.

I have decided to stick to the subject, "Does Qur'aan incite violence? Mr. Khan's stand is it does, and I do not see that way - Religion, yes, and every religion allays fears of the unknown, mitigates the apprehensions, gives hopes and brings a balance to an individual and what surrounds him; people and the environment.

It is my choice not to respond to the first eight paragraphs as they are about me, rather than the subject matter.

Here we go again, with a few more verses that are mis-quoted:

I have quoted the entire paragraphs from Mr. Khan's articles and they are sandwiched between the dotted lines.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I must point out another great argument of this sagacious Islamic scholar, Mike Ghouse. The University of Southern California says:

There were about 360 idols around the Ka`abah. He pulled them down with his sword while reciting: "And say: 'Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish.'" (Al-Qur'an, 17:81) Also "Say: 'Truth has arrived and falsehood neither creates anything new nor restores anything.'" (Al-Qur'an, 34: 49) The idols tumbled on their faces.

On the basis of such info, Wikipedia notes that:

In 630, Muhammad and his followers returned to Mecca as conqueror, and he destroyed the 360 idols in and around the Kaaba.<28]<29] While destroying each idol, Muhammad recited <28]<29]

But to Ghouse, this information is all false. That means leading Islamic organizations in American, like CAIR and MSA, are out to harm Islam and Muslims, too. It is false even when most of the greatest classical scholars of Islam say so. Ibn Ishaq

But to Ghouse, those greatest scholars were ignorant or were out to harm Islam and Muslims. So, where lies truth? Who knows the truth? It is Michel Wolfe, a non-Muslim filmmaker of our time and the producer of the film "The Message". When Ghouse asked Wolfe, the latter replied, as Ghouse puts it: "From his (Wolfe's) understanding the idols were 'removed'", not destroyed, the latter remark being "blatantly misleading".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. Khan, you have the freedom to write as you choose and promote your book as you wish. Wikipedia is not necessarily the truth, the fact it is there and the scholars have not questioned it does not make it the truth. I have discovered a gross error on the part of USC website as well where they quote Qur'aan and there is no such verse in Qur'aan.

You will discover the danger in the Wikipedia without verifying it. A statement is made "While destroying each idol, Muhammad recited [Qur'an 17:81] which says "Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish."[28][29] . A few of my Hindu friends have assumed that Terrorism has it's origin in the above act, of course the very same statement is a fodder to the Neocons, who rejoice and pass it one to every one with a comment, "I told you so, Islam is an intolerant religion".

Muslims have mountains of work to do. I cannot believe Wikipedia is wrong, of course, it is an open game. A friend scratched his head and wanted to know the truth. "I have been struggling between your view and Internet historical references from trusted sources [wiki, Universities]. I wish you are right."

The Wikipedia gives you the impression that the Prophet recited those verses after "destroying the idols". That is blatantly misleading the readers. The verse has nothing to do with it; the chapter is about Prophet's journey. I have not only place the actual verse, but have added 12 verses before and 4 after the referenced verse to make sure nothing about Idols is in there, and there ain't. The article would become too long with quotes, please visit a full article on the subject.

http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/WorldMuslimCongress/Articles/Kaaba-and-the-wikipedia-blunder.asp

It is time for the Neocons to stop chasing their own tails aka going on a circular logic. Please push the refresh button; this is the game they are playing since 10th century, with intent of maligning another people or faith. Of course, there is money in it for authors such as the one on Front page magazine and others. I wish Mr. Khan spends his energy in trying to go to original source; the Qur'aan, rather than quote the recycled quotes from over ten centuries.

Mr. Khan writes "Therefore, the claim of the original author that "In the eye of Allah, these kafirs [Hindus] are no better than animals" is roughly right, although he would been accurate had he said "kafirs [Hindus] are worse than animals (cattle)". That's what Asad affirms and Ghouse agrees."

The above statement is intended to frighten the Hindus, and normally it is an item to gain support from the extreme element and cash in on selling hate - the word "Hindu" is inserted in the quote above with mal-intent, it is neither in the Qur'aan nor in the translation by Asad, nor have I affirmed it. It is wrong to misquote me right here in these discussions.

I see the viciousness intensified in this statement of Mr. Khan, "This horrible cycle of punishment--that a Hindu, Christian or Jew deserves--would continue for eternity; so vile a people are they. No doubt, Allah's psychopathic punishment would surpass the barbarity of Hitler by infinite folds."

The following sentence lacks knowledge of any understanding of Qur'aan "We (Allah, there are few Allahs it seems) shall, in time, cause to endure fire:". Mr. Khan knows that the word "we" is "I" used when the sentence is framed as God speaking.

I am debating at this point, should I continue this debate or not? I don't run from things; let me face a few more paragraphs.

The following statement has no relevance for me "But this death in Jihad battles, called martyrdom, is no loss for Muslims; instead, it the greatest, the most desirable, thing ever can happen to a Muslim; because, this martyrdom gives him a ticket for straight landing in Allah's paradise. Getting a ticket to paradise, believe Muslims, is the central aim of their every action in this world."

What you fight for and die for may make sense or may not. Dying for the country, dying defending our democracy, dying to safeguard our freedom, dying for motherland... and dying for justice... are all glorified in India as well as America or any country.

Dying in Vietnam and dying in WWII or dying in Iraq... and Muslims dying to defend their freedom, fighting against oppression are all glorified. However, Islam does not allow any Muslim to kill others; you can fight only against a war on you. Many a presidents in behalf of their nation (without authorization of the people) have butchered other people and destroyed other nations. Many a Muslim Kings have done the same. In neither case it is the religion, it is the greed of the people in play. If they follow their religion and their scriptures, they won't kill any one.

The language in the above quote (two paragraphs above) is geared to pitch the world against Muslims, and when you do that, you are guaranteed to have the Neocons (extremists in every faith) touting it and funding it. I believe, the moderate majority, the bulk of the population does not buy it.

I am surprised the editor of Desi Critic over looked this statement of Mr. Khan, "Let me emphasize to the reader that engaging with ignorant or deceivers like Ghouse takes us to no meaningful enlightenment on the subject. Therefore, I may wish to conclude this debate here, unless Ghouse comes forward with some solid, well-researched, arguments that deserve a response."

Mr. Khan, no more rhetoric, or re-cycled quotes, please give me the originals from Qur'aan that is verifiable from the Qur'aan and debate with me without the first eight paragraphs. And please don't run. I am here to defend the goodness of religion, every religion from the Neocon attacks. Every religion is beautiful, and it is our understanding that is short fused not God's word.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, interfaith, Islam, India, Multiculturism, Terrorism, Peace, Politics and Civic issues. He co-chairs the center for interfaith inquiry of the Memnosyne Foundation, and presides the Foundation for Pluralism a He is the president of World Muslim Congress a think tank with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world and vice-Versa. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town.

Mike's Profile, he is a Neighborhood Commissioner at the City of Carrollton, and a Board Member of Dallas Peace Center and has initiated the annual events like Thanksgiving, Unity Day USA, Holocaust and other events. He was Past President of Indian Creek HOA and North Texas Cricket Association and has been a member of several Boards.

#5
Mike Ghouse
URL
February 19, 2009
02:10 AM

Aaman; as suggested I was going to post my response as an opinion, however, I have lost my password and waited for a while for recovery and still waiting... it is 1AM, so I posted here, you are welcome to post it as an opinion. Thank you.

#6
Aaman
URL
February 19, 2009
10:49 AM

Mike, mailing you the reset password

#7
Morris
February 19, 2009
02:20 PM

MA Khan and Mike Ghouse

This is getting too complicated. I honestly do not understand who among you is making more sense when it comes to all these writing and verses.
I have a simple question. Am I right when I say that both of you agree that there is more violence in Islam than say there is in Budhism, Hinduism or Christianity. If not, then why are we even discussing this subject to begin with? We should not even talk about verses, interpretation and misinterpreation.

Mike Ghouse, Implicitly you seem to agree that there is more violence in Islam. If not, you would not talk about verses and misinterpretation. Am I wrong? If yes, to me who is to blame is irrelevant. After 1400 years if we cannot reach consensus on interpretaion of these verses then we have unsurmountable problems. I do not believe it is sufficient to explain by pointing out the correct interpretation. You, since you seem to know the answers should show the way to remedy this problem. If the problem lingers on it does not matter what Quran says its message is doing exactly what MA Khan is saying.
You cannot deny it. Result speaks for itself.

If we have a car which is unsafe and have safety records below industry norm, we can blame how to read operating instuctions for a short while.
Eventually we have to rewrite the instructions or scrap the car. Is'nt it?

#8
Chiclets
URL
February 19, 2009
04:09 PM

No one religion is better than any other religion.
bearing that in mind,just a pointer to Mike, hey Mike please stick to koran in your defense of koran, and so far your defense of koran has been nothing but full of logical fallacies.

-regards,
C

#9
MA Khan
February 19, 2009
08:15 PM

Morris, I don't need to be an scholar of Buddhism, Hinduism, or Christianity to prove that Islam fuels hatred and violence. I cannot be an expert in all religions and their history. I have done sufficient research on Islamic scripture, prophetic tradition and Islamic history to make a judgement on Islam.

Violence in Islam can be proven without reference to other creeds. If there are violence in those creed, their scholars, too, can prove the same without reference to Islam.

#10
Mike Ghouse
URL
February 19, 2009
09:49 PM

Morris;

Mr. Khan quotes some words as verses, that are not in the Qur'aan - Pick up the Qur'aan and read his quotes and my quotes - Mine are direct from Qur'aan not recycled words. You have to find the truth for yourselves.

#11
Morris
February 19, 2009
10:21 PM

MA Khan

You missed my point. All I was trying to say if violence in Islam is no more than violence in other

#12
Morris
February 19, 2009
10:47 PM

MA Khan

You missed my point. All I was trying to say that if violence in Islam is no more than violence in other faiths, then what is the problem. Are'nt we all equally violent? If muslims get their incitement from Quran, where do the rest of us get from? We should be looking for reason for all of all of us.

Muke Ghouse

If the followers of Islam are no more violent than the rest of us why debate the subject. But if you agree that there is more violence in Isalm and it is not because of Quran, then there must be a reason. Do you have any idea why? Perhaps you are suggesting that it is not the genuine Quran that is inciting violence but it is the phony verses and misinterpretations etc. that are the cause for incitemet. Is it so?

#13
Ravi Kulkarni
February 19, 2009
11:59 PM

Dear Mike,

I have a few questions regarding Quran for you:

Do you believe that:

1. Quran was the true and final word of God?

2. Quran was the only word of God apart from Bible and Torah?

3. Quran is perfect?

4. Quran is immutable?

5. Prophet Muhammad did nothing wrong or bad in his life?

From the previous blog and you reply to my comment, it is obvious that you want to keep the dialogue civil and logical and I appreciate that. But in my opinion you are trying defend the indefensible. I am not saying this to point finger at Quran or Muslims per se, but to show that no book is infallible and no people are perfect. By trying to make Quran sacrosanct, you are playing into the hands of fundamentalists. Perhaps it is hard being a Muslim and criticize Quran and the Prophet - even fatal in some cases. But we need more moderates among Muslims, more introspection and more questioning of the establishment.

Regards,

Ravi Kulkarni

#14
MA Khan
February 20, 2009
12:15 AM

Morris and all,

Mike is accusing me that I am inventing my own verses and pasting them here as if they belong to the Quran.

I have already thrashed agruments in his own favorite translation (of Muhammad Asad) of some verses. But as Mike has requested you to check the Quran yourself to establish my forgery, I am giving a link of three most accepted translations put side by side for easy following. See here: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/

It will take 10 minutes as best to confirm 'how blatantly I am lying' in this forum. You can cross-check other translations including Muhammad Asad's (http://www.geocities.com/masad02/), Mike's favorite.

#15
Mike Ghouse
URL
February 20, 2009
02:33 AM

Dear Ravi;
I have chosen to stick with the subject "are the verses in Qur'aan incite violence", they don't. They may appear to be if you just read one sentence that is the case with any sentence in any setting. Read the whole context.

Thanks for the warning about the fundamentalists; the hard core ones don't like my comments at all, as they do not want to see an understanding other than what they subscribe to. One of them wanted to issue a fatwa against me and I invited him to go ahead and make my day, he backed off.

Let me make a declaration that I have made several year ago; "Islam works for me, as Hinduism works for you and other faiths work for others; and I will never claim my faith is superior to others as it amounts to sheer arrogance - Arrogance and spirituality are inversely proportional to each other" and I further add "that every faith is beautiful and brings the same desired results to the follower; peace within and peace with what surrounds."

Some of us are too eager to point the finger at the "apparent words in the scriptures of Qur'aan or any book", my urging is not to get stuck in the given understanding of the scripture and re-examine and understand it from a perspective of inclusiveness, as God cannot be exclusive, if he (she or it) does, then he is not the God. Some one wrote earlier that I acknowledge that there are violent verses in Qur'aan, no sir, I did not subscribe to that idea at all.

Now your questions and my answers;

5. Prophet Muhammad did nothing wrong or bad in his life?

He never claimed to be divine, he was a human like you and I and he mentioned that he will die like any one else and wanted to be buried like others. He made mistakes and he made a lot of Good decisions, his life was a model for living the life with human fallibilities and how to get up and be the best human you can be, despite the adversities.

4. Quran is immutable?

Qur'aan offers broader understanding of the human issues and as such it has room to absorb diversity. It is not a dogma to be against an idea and become immutable, it is rather a book of guidance and you are free to practice it or ignore it, the choice is yours. You are accountable for your Karma and not any one else. What some Muslims have done in enforcing their way upon others is wrong, there is no compulsion in faith, and one can choose to be a Muslim or not any number of times. The apostasy laws were politically motivated and go against the grain of Islam to have free will. To get another perspective, visit - www.ApostasyandIslam.com.

3. Quran is perfect?

Muslims believe, it is the word of God, as in the case of Bible and Torah. However, serious research has not been done about including the Vedas, Gita, Avesta and other books of wisdom, which are as perfect as Bible, Torah or Qur'aan. The problems we see stem from our myoscopic view.

2. Quran was the only word of God apart from Bible and Torah?

Qur'aan has never claimed that, it acknowledges that God has sent a messenger to every nation, every community and every tribe to convey his message of living a just and a peaceful life. Indeed, it uses a number 124,000 to denote presence of the messengers in every nook and corner. This message resonates in Gita, when Lord Krishna says whenever people go astray and become Adharmic, he will appear among them and bring the dharma back. The Qur'aan does claim that it is God's word (wisdom) that has been imparted before.

1. Quran was the true and final word of God?

It is the true and final word of God for the Muslims who believe in it, it is not for the Christians, Hindus, Jews or others who are not familiar with it. However, if one sincerely reads the Qur'aan, they will find the essence of Justice, fairness; truth and peace resonate in Qur'aan as they may find it in their own scriptures.

Finding the truth is your own responsibility, as you will be one to bear the joys and miseries of life based on what you believe or not.

Mike Ghouse

#16
Ravi Kulkarni
February 20, 2009
07:37 AM

Dear Mike,

Excellent answers and I have no dispute with what you say. I am sure you could be in trouble for just saying what you did, and I applaud your courage. I have not studied Sufism, but from what I have heard it almost appears to coincide with what you say.

May your tribe grow.

Regards,

Ravi Kulkarni

#17
Morris
February 20, 2009
02:33 PM

Mike Ghouse

I read your answers to questions by Ravi Kulkarni. I am not sure what you are saying. One could interpret almost anything to suit your intention. I have no doubt about your sincerity. But does it really help us in discussing the suject? I think not. With your admission you agree that there are others who interpret Quran differently. They want to issue a fatwa against you. So it is not how you interpret Quran is important, but it is how Quran is interpreted by general public is of utmost important. I agree how you interpret Quran is very important to you but it is of no use for the rest of us who are normal human beings with all kind of failings. To that extent I have to agree with MA Khan.

When I read Quran some years back I got the impression that it does divide people as believers and non-believers, non belivers being inferior, a kind of aprtheid. It clearly talks about destruction of idols. These concepts in todays world would be considered as promoting hatred. I do not believe I am alone in getting this impression about what Quran says.

Suppose some one wrote a similar book today discussing merits of deviding world in two parts and promoting destruction of specific type of images, what would happen? Perhaps nothing. But we certainly would not include such a book in schools for teaching. Human right activists will vigorously protest and call such a book as promoting hatred.

So is promoting hatrerd the same as inciting violence? I don't know. May be my impression of Quran is wrong. It is possible. I just picked up a copy from a library.

#18
Ravi Kulkarni
February 20, 2009
02:55 PM

Dear Morris,

In my opinion, what Quran says is really irrelevant. It is true that some people interpret it in a violent way, but they don't really need Quran to tell them to be violent. The inspiration could come from anywhere. That's why I applaud Mike's response to my questions. Faith is one thing, and imposing it on a group of unwilling people is quite another. We need more Muslims (and people of other faiths) like Mike who are willing to admin the possibility that there are other equally valid paths and no path is inherently superior to others. That's the essence of secularism.

Regards,

Ravi Kulkarni

#19
Mike Ghouse
URL
February 20, 2009
06:30 PM

Ravi,

Most Muslims would express the same sentiments,as would Christians, Hindus, Jews or others, except the idea that my faith does not have to be superior for it to work for me, and others faiths do not have to be wrong for my faith to be right.

Most people accept that, but it will take time to openly acknowledge it, it is all about domino's effect, a few will say, other find that it was their expression as well. Agree with you, we need more people to believe that as the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of beleiver. I have found to my delight, many a Muslims are willing to say this in the right forums.

#20
Mike Ghouse
URL
February 20, 2009
07:40 PM

Morris,

Ravi had five questions and I have given the answers to them, indeed, all the questions are intact and are preceded by the answers.

I hope you do not have to take any one's side, whatever you believe, let that work for you.

The only item of issue in this whole debate is Mr. Khan's belief that the Verses from Qur'aan incite violence, I differ with that. Furthermore, the verses he has quoted as from Quraan are not in the Qur'aan as he has presented.

It is confusing to you or any one, because we belive what we read in the text is presented honestly, what is in the paper has got to be truth. We still have about 15% of Americans who believe that Saddam had Weapons of Mass destruction, and I hope you are not in that set.

Go to the website www.WorldMuslimCongress.com and on the right panel there is a phrase Quraan Search... click that, it will connect you to the website of Islamicity.com. On the right hand panel you will find boxes where you can insert the verse numbers that Mr. Khan has presented, you will find them to be different. then read three verses before and after the subject verse, the given story does not jell. Or Simply pick a Quraan (except the Hilali Translation)or MOhammad Asad's Quraan from the store, look it up for yourselves. Don't beleive me, believe your eyes with an open mind that you have to know at least three translations to ensure confirmation of the verses..

No one needs any support when they rely on facts.

#21
Morris
February 20, 2009
08:43 PM

Ravi #18

I wish you started by saying that my reading of Quran was incorrect. And I probably would have said may be I am wrong. But when you say "In my opinion, what Quran says is really irrelevant." that is difficult to understand. And yet Mike Ghouse says "It is the true and final word of God for the Muslims who believe in it." Don't you think millions of people believe in it? And don't you agree that Quran does devide the world in believers and non-believers? Is'nt it a totally unacceptable concept in any democratic secular society today?

I have a great deal of difficulty to accept what Mike Ghouse says on the one hand and what Quran says on the other hand. With all due respect to him, I wonder whether he is either deceiving himself or trying to put one over us. I respect your views very much as I have followed some of your writings but I remain confused at best about what Mike Ghouse is telling you in #15.

I don't think it really matters what Bible or Gita says. To my knowlwedge these books are not that specific and emphatic about such human relation issues as Quran is. And if they are the followers do not seem to be stuck with it. Time will come when muslims too will start ignoring it. But at present it seems to be an important issue. Therefore, I have to agree with MA Khan to the point that Quran does promote devision, that is a step below hatred which is a step below violence. And we are seeing that all around us now. That is why it is a burning issue to day. And that is why we are duscussing it.

#22
Morris
February 20, 2009
08:47 PM

Ravi #18

I wish you started by saying that my reading of Quran was incorrect. And I probably would have said may be I am wrong. But when you say "In my opinion, what Quran says is really irrelevant." that is difficult to understand. And yet Mike Ghouse says "It is the true and final word of God for the Muslims who believe in it." Don't you think millions of people believe in it? And don't you agree that Quran does devide the world in believers and non-believers? Is'nt it a totally unacceptable concept in any democratic secular society today?

I have a great deal of difficulty to accept what Mike Ghouse says on the one hand and what Quran says on the other hand. With all due respect to him, I wonder whether he is either deceiving himself or trying to put one over us. I respect your views very much as I have followed some of your writings but I remain confused at best about what Mike Ghouse is telling you in #15.

I don't think it really matters what Bible or Gita says. To my knowlwedge these books are not that specific and emphatic about such human relation issues as Quran is. And if they are the followers do not seem to be stuck with it. Time will come when muslims too will start ignoring it. But at present it seems to be an important issue. Therefore, I have to agree with MA Khan to the point that Quran does promote devision, that is a step below hatred which is a step below violence. And we are seeing that all around us now. That is why it is a burning issue to day. And that is why we are duscussing it.

#23
commonsense
February 20, 2009
09:53 PM

Morris:

"Therefore, I have to agree with MA Khan to the point that Quran does promote devision, that is a step below hatred which is a step below violence. And we are seeing that all around us now. That is why it is a burning issue to day."

right you are! the quran is the manual that all believers carry with them to incite violence. hence it is that there is no need to analyze anything beyond the "text". all actions, thoughts, behaviour etc. all go back to this text; fish the context, the politics, the thekedaari, the schisms, the geopolitics etc. etc.



The solution to all this is clear - replace all the text in question with this:

"I urge them to get a copy of my just-released book, Islam Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery"

#24
Ravi Kulkarni
February 21, 2009
02:46 AM

Dear Morris (#21),

I agree with you that a lot more muslims follow Quran than Christians follow Bible or Hindus the Geetha. Therefore your inference is that Quran has a bigger impact on the society is correct.

But my point is this: all books have a certain validity only in a given context and for a certain period. They become obsolete and that should be acknowledged. That's why I said what Quran (or choose your book) says is irrelevant. That message has to be emphasized again and again until it becomes the common mantra. There is no value in trying to invalidate a person's faith. You can argue about Quran's short comings until you are blue but you would hardly convince anybody. Instead you will antagonize a whole bunch of people.

Instead let us talk about what are the enduring values; what is common to all of us; what are our aspirations and how can get there as one humanity.

Please note that I am not proposing that we should stop debating Quran. It is a healthy thing for people to talk about it - especially when muslims put forth their points of view. I appreciate MA Khan's efforts in this regard, but I only wish he takes a little less accusatory tone.

Regards,

Ravi

#25
kaffir
February 21, 2009
10:27 AM

cs, read, listen, learn from the discussion that's going on, instead of jerking your knee and exaggerating the points being made. Your comment #23 does not help.

#26
commonsense
February 21, 2009
12:21 PM

yaar kaffir, #25, i'm saving my thought processes for the discussion of GM food.

religion, whether it is attacked or defended, rubs me the wrong way, so i'd better stay out of it. You being "Kaffir", I can see why you get riled up when you WRONGLY assume that I'm defending the Quran etc. My point, like Ravi Kulkarni, is that all so-called revealed, non-revealed, yet-to-be revealed so-called holy texts are fine as long as they are rendered irrelevant. I have nothing against Kaffirs :)

#27
Morris
February 21, 2009
02:07 PM

Ravi

In general terms I am completely in agreement with you. Unfortunately, I was speaking specifically about an issue and may be I got carried away. Thanks anyway for your sobering thought.






#28
Anamika
February 21, 2009
02:11 PM

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=630b8c69-4672-4e12-ac2a-a9073f5165d4&MatchID1=4932&TeamID1=7&TeamID2=8&MatchType1=1&SeriesID1=1247&PrimaryID=4932&Headline=Stand+up+to+the+mullahs

Just some food for thought...

#29
commonsense
February 21, 2009
02:33 PM

good piece anamika. i hung on to every word in the thoughtful article. what a shame, this "my sentiments are hurt" business.

#30
Morris
February 21, 2009
02:43 PM

Mike Ghouse

I am sure you must have noticed that I did not quite agree directly with MA Khan. I indirectly agreed with him using general impression of Quran as I had aquired. When I read your discussion on various verses both of you appeared to be making sense and I could not decide who is right. I do find that indirect assocition very compelling and relevant. I have nothing more to add. If I antagonize you, please forgive me I did not mean to.


#31
Morris
February 21, 2009
03:33 PM

CS #23

For a while I thought you have found some thing wrong with what I said. Not so. As always you are trying to derail the discussion particularly when you do not like the way it is going. It is too late to do so because there is almost nothing more to add.

I can't help but make a few parting comments. You say
"right you are! the quran is the manual that all believers carry with them to incite violence. hence it is that there is no need to analyze anything beyond the "text". all actions, thoughts, behaviour etc. all go back to this text; fish the context, the politics, the thekedaari, the schisms, the geopolitics etc. etc."
I suggest to you that the issue I have raised about division of believers and the others, a kind apartheid is well ingrained that one does not need a copy of Quran to live with. They have been living with it for centuries. What is happening in Kashmir? It is a part of a secular democratic country. There is no reason for them to break away. But they are majority muslims and are ready for that division of us and them. Well, they can declare that Islamic Republic of Kashmir or join such a republic next door. The story is being repeated many times. So many Islamic republics in the world. What is the message? Us and them.

The picture is already there, you and your fellow belivers refuse to join the dots. I must say for time being it is working. Even the non-believers are now accepting the concept of the division. No one is questioning. Look at the constitution written for Afghanistan under the watchful eyes of the Americans. It too establishes Islamic republic.

I wonder how many countries there are that call themselves Christian repbulic. Why don't you do a search and list such countries for our info. You are good at such a search. I am sure you will be able to find some and that will allow you to refute what I am saying no matter how insignificant such counties are.

#32
kaffir
February 22, 2009
03:40 AM

Anamika, thanks. As they say, der aaye, durust aaye. Finally, finally, Vir Sanghvi has realized that the emperor is naked, which was pointed out by many a long time ago. Chalo, at least now "liberals/progressives" will start toeing this line, after all, everyone wants to eat the food only when it's served in their favorite thali. There's still some hope for secularism in India.

#33
commonsense
February 22, 2009
08:23 AM

Morris:

"CS #23

For a while I thought you have found some thing wrong with what I said.""

morris i'm glad you realized the error of your ways...

#34
Morris
February 22, 2009
01:40 PM

kaffir and Anamika

I read this article by Vir Sanghvi. Very good and true indeed. Even the EU countries are caving in. And perhaps they will succeed partly in their effort to curtail freedom of speech. Such is their power.

#35
Ruvy
URL
February 22, 2009
03:40 PM

Aaman,

My internet connection was cut off for a while due to an electrical storm that appeared to have fried everything. But all is well - until the next electrical storm or until I have the sense to buy a surge protector!

Anyway, the reason I am commenting at all is that in light of the article having been fixed, my comment #1 is unnecessary here and contributes nothing to the discussion at hand. It can be erased and nothing will be lost from the comment thread.

Wishing you and Deepti a good week,
Ruvy

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