Does the Quran Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse, Part 2
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. 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."
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.
Does the Quran Incite Violence? A Debate with Mike Ghouse, Part 2
- » Published on February 18, 2009
- » Type: Opinion
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