One Verse That Can Catapult Our Understanding of the Quran in Our Global Age

Epigraph:

We did not send you Muhammad, but as mercy for the whole mankind. (Al Quran 21:107/108)

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The Mosque of Medina, first built by the prophet Muhammad himself

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Some 44 million Muslims live peacefully as law abiding citizens in Europe.  They have not been brought there as slaves but they, their parents or their grand parents came there out of their sweet will and volition for better economic or other opportunities.

Travel back to 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus reached the American soil, the last city-state of Granada fell to the Christian rulers and every Muslim in Europe was either killed, banished or converted by force to Christianity.  There was then no one openly Muslim in the Christian Europe for a couple of centuries.

Today the Christians are their neighbors, colleagues and mentors.  Sometimes they are spouses and family members.

Obviously these are two polar opposite circumstances.  If the holy Quran is read as a rigid set of instructions about the Muslim-Christian interaction to create human societies, then it can obviously not handle both situations.

The way the Muslims of the fifteenth and the sixteenth century read the Christian-Muslim relationship in the Quran cannot be true for the twenty first century.

It is projected by the Pew Research Center that the Muslim population in Europe is growing; they project 10% of all Europeans will be Muslims by 2050.

Better paradigms for coexistence between the Muslims and the Christians are very much needed and for the Muslims it starts with their understanding of the Quran.

If my articles are boring to you, it may be that you need to read more of them, as was suggested by John Cage, an American composer, “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

Going back to the subject at hand: understanding the Quran:

A large majority of the Muslims read the Quran for blessings and delegate their understanding of the book to the scholar of their choice, who often defer it to the scholar of their choice of the past centuries.  This emphasis on the past scholarship leads to extreme conservatism and changes the Quran into a rigid document.

Omar Naseef writes in his article, God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead?:

There’s a vigorous debate in the United States about the nature of our constitution. Liberals tend to argue that the constitution is a living document, while conservatives, like the late Justice Scalia, claim our constitution is “dead, dead, dead”.

If the authors of the constitution were alive today – having lived through 239+ years of U.S. history – do we really think they would ask their 1787 selves how to interpret the constitution?

In secular law, the debate is reasonable. Because the authors are dead and a “living” constitution risks judicial tyranny, we do need to find some way to reasonably restrain the interpretation, especially since we can amend the constitution if we aren’t happy with its meaning.

This same “living” versus dead argument often happens in religion. Those who argue for dead” are often conservatives, and they are hurting their own cause. It is proper for all of us to deliberate before breaking with long-held tradition. However, insisting that the understanding of sacred text is frozen puts the most fundamental belief of religion at risk.

When any religious person claims that a sacred text is “dead” – in that the understanding of its meaning is fixed forever – they are directly at odds with their own idea of a living, active God.

This relatively unknown author is not alone in his opinion. A polymath from the last century, Sir Zafrulla Khan who was the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan and President of United Nation General assembly for a term, among other accomplishments agrees:

It is this comprehensiveness of the Quran, the need to make provision for guidance in every respect for all peoples for all time, that made it necessary that the guidance should be conveyed in verbal revelation. The Quran is literally the Word of God and possesses the quality of being alive, as the universe is alive. It is not possible to set forth at any time the whole meaning and interpretation of the Quran or, indeed, of any portion of it with finality. It yields new truths and fresh guidance in every age and at every level. It is a standing and perpetual miracle (18:110).

The world is dynamic and so is the Quran. Indeed, so dynamic is the Quran that it has always been found to keep ahead of the world and never to lag behind it. However fast the pace at which the pattern of human life may change and progress, the Quran always yields, and will go on yielding, the needed guidance in advance. This has now been demonstrated through more than thirteen centuries, and that is a guarantee that it will continue to be demonstrated through the ages.

The Quran has proclaimed that falsehood will never overtake it. All research into the past and every discovery and invention in the future will affirm its truth (41:43). The Quran speaks at every level; it seeks to reach every type of understanding, through parables, similitudes, arguments, reasoning, the observation and study of the phenomena of nature, and the natural, moral, and spiritual laws (18:55; 39:28; 59:22).[1][2]

For the Quran to be dynamic it needs to be read in the context of the time.  The majority of the Spanish Christians may have been blood thirsty enemies in the 16th century but today in Europe they are neighbors, colleagues, teachers and mentors. They are benefactors of the Muslims in several capacities.  For some they are even spouses or blood relatives.  Unless we can read the Quranic principles according to the circumstances we are vulnerable to box ourselves into fixed paradigms to our and others’ detriment.

I believe that we need to grasp what is fundamental in the holy Quran and for that matter in any book or writing and not go after the allegorical. Let the fundamental define the allegorical and not vice versa. The Quran says:

He it is Who has sent down to you (Muhammad) the Book; in it there are verses that are fundamental or decisive in meaning — these are the corner stone of the Book — and there are others that are susceptible of different interpretations. But those in whose hearts is perversity pursue those that are susceptible of different interpretations, seeking discord and wrong interpretation of such ambiguous verses. And none knows their right interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge; they say, ‘We believe in it; the whole is from our Lord.’ — And none heed except those gifted with understanding. (3:7/8)

So, what is a fundamental teaching?

A fundamental teaching is what is substantiated not from one perspective but from multiple or all angles. It is something which does  not leave the slightest doubt in your heart and mind. It is something that you can easily defend,  no matter who the audience. It is something that you like to preach to your children and you don’t hide from anyone. It is something that is true whether you are on the receiving end or the opposite. It is true whether you are a leader or a follower. It is true whether you are among the ‘haves’ or the ‘have-nots.’ It is not what is preached by one scholar, one leader or one sect of Islam. It is true if it follows the Golden Rule.

It is a fundamental teaching if it fulfills all or a majority of the above conditions.

A fundamental Quranic teaching is one that is not mentioned once or twice in the scripture, rather dozens of times from different angles and perspectives.

Once you have a few fundamentals going for you, you will be able to understand more and more of the Quranic text. The Quran will be made easy for you. You will begin to resolve the apparent conflicts in the Quran. Because your understanding would be in keeping of the Divine understanding and rise above the vulnerability of human inconsistencies and contradictions.

I believe that the verses about compassion and justice in the holy Quran are fundamental. As there are, Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran and scores of verses about justice in human affairs.

Let us read the whole of the Quran in light of the verse that has been mentioned as the epigraph and I promise you that you will not go wrong in your worldly or heavenly life:

We did not send you Muhammad, but as mercy for the whole mankind. (Al Quran 21:107/108)

This is the best pluralistic message, which as Muslims we can never forget or make it secondary to any other commandment or teaching.

May Allah grant us the courage and wisdom to read the scripture for ourselves and not through the limiting eyes of the scholar or the leader of our choice only.

Additional suggested reading: Scope, Style and Preservation of the Quran

Reference

  1. https://themuslimtimes.info/2019/02/01/sir-zafrullah-khan-introducing-the-holy-quran-to-the-world/
  2. This quote is from the chapter about the Quran. Read the whole book online: ISLAM – Its Meaning For Modern Man

Hollywood Actress Emilie Francois, Now a Muslim, Speaks of Social Justice in Islam

Collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

Forty Hadiths or Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad about Compassionate Living

The Quran Applauded as a Landmark Contribution to ‘Words of Justice’ by Harvard

A British Convert to Islam: ‘I found Qur’an mother of all philosophies’

The Concept of Justice in Islam by Sir Zafrulla Khan

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Myriam Francois-Cerrah

From Wikipedia

Myriam Francois-Cerrah (born Emilie François; 1983) is a Franco-British writer,[1] broadcaster and academic on issues related to Islam, France and the Middle East. She writes a monthly column for the New Statesman online and is also a regular contributor to Middle East Eye.

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Contents

Career

Francois-Cerrah currently works as a freelance journalist, in both print and broadcast media. Her articles have been featured in The Guardian,[2] The Huffington Post,[3] New Statesman,[4] Your Middle East,[5] The London Paper, Jadaliyya,[6] ABC,[7] The Daily Telegraph,[8] Salon,[9] Index on Censorship,[10] the F-Word[11] and the magazine Emel.[12]

She is the presenter of a BBC documentary on the genocide at Srebrenica,[13] which aired on BBC 1 on Monday 6 July 2015.

She is a former correspondent for the Huffington Post (2014-2015), where she broke a headline story on an exclusive 36-page document written by alleged al-Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,.[14]

She has worked as a programme researcher at the BBC, and currently works as a freelance programme producer on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head (2013-).

She is former assistant editor and features writer at Emel magazine (2008–2009).

She is a regular guest on BBC Big Questions (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)[15] and Sunday Morning Live.

She has appeared on Newsnight (2009), 4thought.tv (2011),[16] BBC News (2010),[17] Crosstalk (2010), BBC Radio (2012), Sky News[18] and documentaries including Divine Women, presented by Bettany Hughes.[19] In 2012, she commented the French presidential elections for Sky News, as well as the French presidential inauguration and 2012 local elections and regularly comments on current affairs, in particular related to France or the Middle East. She has been a frequent guest on Tariq Ramadan’s television show Islam & Life broadcast by Iran’s PressTV.

Film

A former actress, her screen career began at age 12 in Ang Lee‘s Sense and Sensibility (1995) in which she played Margaret Dashwood alongside Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.[20][21] She went on to star in Paws (1997) alongside Nathan Cavaleri and Heath Ledger, and New Year’s Day (2000), in which she played Heather.[citation needed]

Academia

She is currently a Research Associate at SOAS, in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East where her work focuses on issues related to British Muslims, integration and racism.

She previously worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS), Georgetown University (2005-2007) in Washington DC. While undertaking her doctorate, Francois also works as an academic tutor in the Oxford University Department for Politics and International Relations, where she teaches Middle East politics.

She has guest lectured at universities including Harvard University (2014), Birmingham, (2014), Luther College (2015) and an annual guest lecture at Kingston University, UK (2012-2014). She is due to deliver a lecture as part of the 2015-16 Ebor Series at York St John University.

Education

Francois-Cerrah is studying for a PhD at Oxford University in Oriental Studies focused on Islamic political movements in Morocco.[22]

She has an MA with honours in Middle East politics from Georgetown University, and a BA from Cambridge University in Social and Political science.[citation needed]

Personal Life

In 2003, at 21 years old, Francois-Cerrah became a Muslim after graduating from Cambridge. At the time, she was a skeptical Roman Catholic. She rejects the use of the words “convert” or “revert” as “exclusionary”, describing herself as “just Muslim”.[23]

References

External links

Interview with pioneering Islamic thinker Fehmi Jadaane What is the essence of Islam, and does it need reforming?

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Interview with pioneering Islamic thinker Fehmi Jadaane

What is the essence of Islam, and does it need reforming?

Renowned Jordanian Islamic scholar Fehmi Jadaane vehemently objects to the transformation of Islam into an ideology. The religion ends up mired in a political swamp, he says, its message nothing more than an instrument of governance. Interview by Alia Al-Rabeo

In recent years some authors and intellectuals have shown increased interest in the so-called “reformation” of Islam. Do you address this issue in your book “The Liberation of Islam”? Does the modern Arab world need this kind of reformation? And would it help in countering religious fundamentalism?

Fehmi Jadaane: Let me make it quite clear that I am not interested in a reformation of the faith in its essence, nor with questioning what the revelatory scripture contains, implies or aims at. Because that would imply that there is a defect in the structure of the text that needs to be repaired. Which is not at all my conviction. What I’m really getting at is this: the text of revelation, inscribed for all time on God’s “well-guarded tablet”, is confronted today with numerous contradictions in the reality that manifests itself to believers – that is to say to individual human beings. These contradictions stem from the fact that man is imperfect through and through, in all facets of his existence. For there is nothing more contradictory than a human being.

This has implications for how the text is understood, how it manifests itself and materialises in experienced and imagined reality. The obstacles and contradictions to which Islam has been and still is exposed are countless. If we want liberation, we must face up to this fact.

There is no doubt that the upheavals triggered by religious fundamentalism are currently the most prominent phenomenon in this scenario. But there are also other deep-seated contradictions that are wreaking massive damage on the global image of Islam. I dealt with some of them in my book “The Liberation of Islam”. We must resolutely censure, reject and remedy these contradictions – just as we must the notion of an Islam reduced to its ideological-political aspects.

You call for a dialogue between all groups across the social spectrum so that the Arab region can enter into modernity. Do you really believe it is possible for such dialogue to take place, given the massive polarisation and divisive tendencies that run through Arab society – sectarian, political and ideological?

Fehmi Jadaane: I would like to take this opportunity to throw in a quote: ‘where justice is manifest, divine law comes into its own’. The just state is thus quite capable of providing for the needs of the general public. Of course, fanatics won’t let themselves be dissuaded from their dogmatism and entrenched views just like that. Because they are ruled and controlled by “passions”, not by reason and pragmatism.

I therefore share your fears regarding the question of whether current generations in the Arab countries – at least the older ones among them, who have experienced politics as senseless conflict their entire lives – are ready for such new approaches to thinking and action.

I am pretty sure that this will only be possible for future generations – provided that an early start is made to inculcate in them paedagogical values based on what Jurgen Habermas called “communicative action”. In other words, the values of free debate, dialogue, exchange, openness and mutual respect.

Read further

shah_zia
Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

We Will be Judged by Our Compassion and Deeds and Not Our Dogma

Book Review: Islam Without Extremes by Mustafa Akyol

A Nobel for Karen Armstrong will bring the Christians and the Muslims closer

Nobel Prize for a noble woman

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

A Message of Compassion and Love from the Holy Bible

True Fasting: A Message of Compassion and Love from the Old Testament

Abou Ben Adhem, A Compassionate Man

‘Love Hormone,’ How it works in Hospitality?

‘Love Hormone’ Oxytocin May Enhance Feelings Of Spirituality

 

The Bible, The Quran and Science: Is the Quran copied from the Bible?

the Quran and the Torah, the Bible and science

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

The Bible, The Quran and Science is a book by a French surgeon Dr. Maurice Bucaille and could be described as a commentary of the following verses of the Holy Quran:

The disbelievers say: This Quran is naught but a lie that Muhammad has fabricated, and other people have helped him with it. They have, thereby, perpetrated an injustice and an untruth. They also say: These are fables of the ancients which he has got someone to write down for him and they are recited to him morning and evening. Say to them: The Quran has been revealed by Him Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth. Indeed, He is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful. (Al Surah Al-Furqan 25:5-7)

He examined the Holy Quran in the light of modern science and found, ‘The Quran has been revealed by Allah Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth.’
Many Christian writers and clergy claim that the Holy Quran is borrowed from the Bible. Allah refutes this allegation in the words, “The Quran has been revealed by Him Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth.” The most effective proofs of this Quranic claim were to come after the scientific revolution. Dr. Maurice Bucaille’s book is indeed a landmark achievement in this regards. However, it needs to be understood that the Holy Quran is a book of ‘religion’ and not a ‘book of science’ and Bucaille’s book is a book of ‘metaphysics’ and not of science. Metaphysics is a term, which means literally ‘what comes after physics.’ So, it is a branch of philosophy that studies the ultimate structure and constitution of reality, correlating religion and science.

Aside: Here is a video by Garry Wills to promote religious tolerance and better understanding of the Quran and the Abrahamic faiths

The Christian apologists often accuse that the Holy Quran is borrowed from the Bible. How can they be disabused of this self indulgence? This post or thread is dedicated to this issue.

This book by a French Surgeon, Maurice Bucaille has gained general popularity in the Muslim world. Today when I searched this title of the book on Google, I came up with more than half a million possible links. I want to start this knol to compare and contrast the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible in light of science. Even today some Christian apologists have the audacity to suggest that the Holy Quran is copied from the Bible. Let this thread be a discussion and an international repository to disabuse them of such ideas.

Here I quote from the introduction section of Maurice Bucaille’s book:

Another fundamental difference in the Scriptures of Christianity and Islam is the fact that Christianity does not have a text which is both revealed and written down. Islam, however, has the Quran which fits this description.

The Quran is the expression of the Revelation made to Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel, which was immediately taken down, and was memorized and recited by the faithful in their prayers, especially during the month of Ramadan. Muhammad himself arranged it into suras, and these were collected soon after the death of the Prophet, to form, under the rule of Caliph Uthman (12 to 24 years after the Prophet’s death), the text we know today.

In contrast to this, the Christian Revelation is based on numerous indirect human accounts. We do not in fact have an eyewitness account from the life of Jesus, contrary to what many Christians imagine. The question of the authenticity of the Christian and Islamic texts has thus now been formulated.

The confrontation between the texts of the Scriptures and scientific data has always provided man with food for thought.

It was at first held that corroboration between the scriptures and science was a necessary element to the authenticity of the sacred text. Saint Augustine, in letter No. 82, which we shall quote later on, formally established this principle. As science progressed however it became clear that there were discrepancies between Biblical Scripture and science. It was therefore decided that comparison would no longer be made. Thus a situation arose which today, we are forced to admit, puts Biblical exegetes and scientists in opposition to one another. We cannot, after all, accept a divine Revelation making statements which are totally inaccurate. There was only one way of logically reconciling the two; it lay in not considering a passage containing unacceptable scientific data to be genuine. This solution was not adopted. Instead, the integrity of the text was stubbornly maintained and experts were obliged to adopt a position on the truth of the Biblical Scriptures which, for the scientist, is hardly tenable.

Like Saint Augustine for the Bible, Islam has always assumed that the data contained in the Holy Scriptures were in agreement with scientific fact. A modern examination of the Islamic Revelation has not caused a change in this position. As we shall see later on, the Quran deals with many subjects of interest to science, far more in fact than the Bible. There is no comparison between the limited number of Biblical statements which lead to a confrontation With science, and the profusion of subjects mentioned in the Quran that are of a scientific nature. None of the latter can be contested from a scientific point of view. this is the basic fact that emerges from our study. We shall see at the end of this work that such is not the case for the Hadiths. These are collections of the Prophet’s sayings, set aside from the Quranic Revelation, certain of which are scientifically unacceptable. The Hadiths in question have been under study in accordance with the strict principles of the Quran which dictate that science and reason should always be referred to, if necessary to deprive them of any authenticity.

These reflections on the scientifically acceptable or unacceptable nature of a certain Scripture need some explanation. It must be stressed that when scientific data are discussed here, what is meant is data definitely established. This consideration rules out any explanatory theories, once useful in illuminating a phenomenon and easily dispensed with to make way for further explanations more in keeping with scientific progress. What I intend to consider here are incontrovertible facts and even if science can only provide incomplete data, they will nevertheless be sufficiently well established to be used Without fear of error.

Scientists do not, for example, have even an approximate date for man’s appearance on Earth. They have however discovered remains of human works which we can situate beyond a shadow of a doubt at before the tenth millenium B.C. Hence we cannot consider the Biblical reality on this subject to be compatible with science. In the Biblical text of Genesis, the dates and genealogies given would place man’s origins (i.e. the creation of Adam) at roughly thirty-seven centuries B.C. In the future, science may be able to provide us with data that are more precise than our present calculations, but we may rest assured that it will never tell us that man first appeared on Earth 6,786 years ago, as does the Hebraic calendar for 1976. The Biblical data concerning the antiquity of man are therefore inaccurate.

Whereas the scriptures are books of religion, what Bucaille is writing or the theme of his book is ‘metaphysics.’ A certain amount of humility is in order to comprehend the distinction between religion, science and metaphysics. In the words of Sir Charles Darwin, as he quoted Francis Bacon from his book Advancement of learning in the later editions of Origin of Species to establish the proper relationship between religion and natural science:

“To conclude, therefore, let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.”  Review of the scriptures in light of science and appropriate commentaries by the initiated will lead a casual but honest reader to truth.

Now let me offer a detailed excerpt from the writings of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as he defends the Holy Quran against the allegation of plagiarism:

The author of Yanabi-ul-Islam has tried to prove that the Holy Quran has been copied from certain accounts or books, but his effort is nothing compared to the effort made by a learned Jew to determine the authenticity of the Gospels. He has established, in his own estimation, that the moral teachings of the Gospels have been taken from the Jewish scripture Talmud and certain other books of the Israelites, and that this act of plagiary has been so blatant that whole paragraphs have been copied word for word. The scholar has proved that the Gospels are a collection of stolen material, and has gone so far as to prove that the ‘Sermon on the Mount’—in which Christians take such pride—has been copied verbatim from the Talmud. He has shown that the text has also been copied from various other books, and has thus astonished many people. European researchers are also taking a keen interest in this research. I recently came across a book written by a Hindu in which he, too, had tried to prove that the Gospels have been taken from the teachings of Buddha, and he cited Buddha’s moral teachings to establish this point. The story about the devil, who took Jesus (as) from place to place to tempt him, is also prevalent among the Buddhists. Everyone is, therefore, entitled to believe that the story has been copied in the Gospels with minor alterations. It is an established fact that Jesus (as) came to India and his grave is to be found in Srinagar, Kashmir, as I have proved with categorical evidence. And in this context, the detractors are further justified to believe that the existing Gospels are merely a sketch of Buddhism. The evidence in this regard is so overwhelming that it can no longer be concealed.

Another incredible fact is that the ancient book of Yuz Asaf (which most English scholars believe to have been published before the birth of Jesus (as)), and which has been translated in all European countries, is so similar to the Gospels that many of their passages are identical. The parables used by the Gospels are also found word for word in this book. Even if the person reading it were so ignorant as to be practically blind, he would still be convinced that the Gospels have been borrowed from the same book. Some people, including some English scholars, believe that this book belongs to Gautama Buddha, and that it was originally in Sanskrit and was later translated into other languages. If this is true, the Gospels would lose all their credibility and Jesus (as) would be considered a plagiarist in all his teachings—God forbid. The book is available for everyone to see. My own opinion, however, is that this book is Jesus’ own Gospel which was written during his journey to India. I have proved with many arguments that it is indeed the Gospel of Jesus (as), and is purer and holier than the other Gospels. The English scholars who consider this book to be that of Buddha, call Jesus (as) a plagiarist by implication, and thus they dig their own grave.

It should also be remembered that the clergy’s collection of scriptures is completely worthless and even embarrassing. They whimsically declare some books to be divine and others to be forged. They judge these four Gospels to be authentic and the rest—about fifty-six of them—forged. But this belief is based on mere guesswork and speculation, rather than on any concrete evidence. They have had to make these decisions by themselves, for there is a marked discrepancy between these and the other Gospels. Researchers, however, believe that it is not possible to determine which of them is actually forged and which is not. This is why, on the occasion of King Edward’s coronation, the Church fathers of London presented him with the books which they presume to be forged along with the four Gospels, all bound in one volume. I possess a copy of this Bible. Now, if these books had really been forged and were unholy, would it not be sinful to bind the holy and the unholy in a single volume? The fact is that these people are unable to say with any degree of conviction whether any of these books are authentic or forged, and everyone goes by their own opinion. Out of mere prejudice, they declare those Gospels to be fabricated which are in accord with the Holy Quran. Hence they have declared the Gospel of Barnabas to have been forged because it contains a clear prophecy about the Prophet of the Latter Days [the Holy Prophet]. Sale, in his commentary, has related the story of a Christian monk who was converted to Islam after reading this Gospel. Remember, these people declare a book to be false or fabricated for either of these two reasons:

1. If an account or a book contradicts the current Gospels.

2. If an account or a book has some similarity with the Holy Quran. Some mischievous and black-hearted people first try to establish the principle9 that these books are fabricated, and then claim that the Holy Quran contains stories taken out of them, and in this manner they try to deceive the ignorant.

The fact is that only Divine revelation has the authority to prove the truth or falsity of past scriptures. Any account confirmed by Divine revelation has to be true, even though some ignorant ones declare it otherwise. Similarly, the account which Divine revelation rejects, has to be false, even though some people declare it to be true.

To think that the Holy Quran is made up of such well known accounts, tales, books or gospels, is the height of ignorance and something to be ashamed of. Is there anything wrong with a book of God being in agreement with some past accounts? Many truths of the Vedas, which were not even known at the time, are to be found in the Holy Quran, but can we conclude from this that the Holy Prophet (saw) had studied the Vedas? The Gospels that have now become available—thanks to the printing press— were not known to anyone in Arabia, and the people of that land were simply unlettered. If there happened to be an odd Christian among them, he was not likely to know much about his own religion. It is therefore despicable to think that the Holy Prophet (saw) plagiarized from these books. The Holy Prophet (saw) was unlettered and could not even read Arabic, let alone Greek or Hebrew. It is now upon our opponents to produce any manuscript of that time from which these accounts are supposed to have been taken. If the Holy Quran contained material copied from other sources, the Christians of Arabia, who were bitter enemies of Islam, would at once have cried out that it has been taken from their own accounts.

Remember, the Holy Quran is the only scripture in the world that proclaims itself to be a miracle. It forcefully asserts that its prophecies and narratives are from the realm of the unseen, it contains prophecies about the future down to the Last Day, and that it is a miracle in respect of its eloquence and beauty of expression. It would have been easy for the Christians of that time to produce the books from which passages were supposedly copied in the Holy Quran, thus dealing a severe blow to Islam. But now they only cry over spilled milk. It is unthinkable that the Christians of Arabia would have kept quiet despite being in possession of books—whether genuine or forged—from which they suspected the Holy Quran of having copied certain material. Thus there can be no doubt that the Holy Quran is totally composed of the revealed word of God, and that this revelation was a great miracle, for, no one could produce anything like it.

Just consider, can a person dare to give such a challenge to the whole world, while being a plagiarist and having cooked the whole thing up on his own, and knowing full well that this knowledge has not come to him from the unseen, rather he has stolen it from such and such books, and to think that no one should be able to accept his challenge and expose him!

The fact is that the Christians are extremely annoyed with the Holy Quran, for it has destroyed the very basis of their religion. It has refuted the concept of deifying a human being, shattered the doctrine of the cross, and proven beyond all doubt that the teachings of the Gospels—which the Christians are so proud of—are extremely flawed and ineffective. It was, therefore, only natural for their egoistic passions to have been aroused, and their imputations [against the Holy Quran] are quite understandable. The example of a Muslim who wishes to convert to Christianity is like a person who, having been born from his mother’s womb and having attained maturity, wishes to return to her womb and become a sperm once more. I wonder what the Christians are so proud of! If they have a ‘God’, he is the one who died long ago and lies buried in Mohalla Khanyar, Srinagar, Kashmir. And if he has any miracles to his name, they are no greater than those of other Prophets, indeed Prophet Elijah showed greater miracles than he ever did.

This is from the book Fountain of Christianity. Please see the actual book for some of the references cited and the footnotes.

We have saved the above video in the Muslim Times as well:

Every Thing You Wanted to Know about Compilation and Preservation of the Holy Quran

Epigraph:

Indeed, We (Allah) Ourself have sent down this Quran, and most surely We will be its Guardian. (Al Quran 15:9/10)

topakapi manuscript
Topkapi manuscript of the Holy Quran

New Light on the History of the Quranic Text?

Source: The Huffington Post By Joseph E. B. Lumbard; Assistant professor of classical Islam, Brandeis University. General Editor for The Study Quran (HarperOne, 2015) The recent discovery of an early manuscript of the Quran has received extensive media attention, appearing on BBC, CNN and even above the fold on the front […]

Samarkand Kufic Quran Manuscript

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Tests reveal Quran manuscript is among oldest in the world, says UK university

Epigraph: Indeed, We (Allah) Ourself have sent down this Quran, and most surely We will be its Guardian. (Al Quran 15:10) By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN London (CNN) For years, the two…

An Everlasting Miracle of the Holy Quran

By Anwer Mehmood Khan, USA One of the great characteristics of the Holy Quran is the fact that the reader’s heart is welled up with awe and reverence the very…

A Debate Challenge: the Holy Bible versus the Holy Quran?

Written by Zia H. Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times I read today with great concern, the news, Florida pastor Terry Jones burns copies of Koran outside church. …

The Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Quran

“The life of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, was a life of grand success. In his high moral qualities, his spiritual power, his high resolve, the excellence and…

Compilation of the Holy Quran into a text

This is a short article to introduce the subject to fellow Christians. The Holy Quran says about them: And thou shalt assuredly find those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ to…

Why the Oldest Qur’an Is so Important for Muslims

Source: The Huffington Post By Nafees Syed; Lawyer, Former Congressional staffer The most important miracle in Islam is located in Birmingham, United Kingdom. On Wednesday, the headline of the New York…

New Light on the History of the Quranic Text?

Source: The Huffington Post By Joseph E. B. Lumbard; Assistant professor of classical Islam, Brandeis University. General Editor for The Study Quran (HarperOne, 2015) The recent discovery of an early manuscript…

Discovery of ‘oldest’ Qur’an stirs new passions in UK city

Source: Arab News LONDON: For decades, an ancient relic from the Middle East was unknowingly tucked away in an unlikely place: A library in the British Midlands, thousands of miles…

Quran dating back to Akbar’s period recovered in Mysuru

Source: The Hindu The last page bears the year in which it had been written. “It was written in 1050 of the Hijri calendar, which works out to 1605 AD,…

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Book Review: The Bible, The Quran and Science

universe-and-man
The Muslim Times has the best collection for the theme of religion and science

Book by Dr. Maurice Bucaille

Book review by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

As I was growing up in Pakistan and studying in King Edward Medical College, Lahore, 1979-1985, enamored by the success of science and technology, I had come to have agnostic and atheistic tendencies.

Then I read the book by Dr. Maurice Bucaille, the Bible the Quran and Science, and every thing changed for me.

For centuries the Christian apologists have called the Holy Quran a forgery of the Bible and I had some reasons to think that the Bible itself is a forgery, and in a recent book a New Testament scholar, Prof. Bart Ehrman, presents evidence and claims that half of the New Testament is a forgery.  After reading Bucaille’s book I thought to myself, how could an alleged  forgery of a forgery, the Holy Quran, get its facts straight in the court of science, as Maurice Bucaille presented?   Over time I have come to admire the Holy Quran more and more!

In presenting the Islamic scriptures to the agnostics and atheists, now I also realize that as they mostly grew in Christian background, they  learn about the vulnerabilities of the Bible and without genuinely studying the case for the Holy Quran, attribute those vulnerabilities and some more, to the Quran also.

Additionally, when interpreting a given verse of the Quran, they invariably accept the most cynical interpretation of the Holy Quran without trying to determine which interpretation is more probable.  However, if they were to objectively and honestly study the Holy Quran they may relive the experience of the famous German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

As often as we approach the Quran, it always proves repulsive anew; gradually, however, it attracts, it astonishes, and, in the end forces admiration.

The Holy Quran states:

The disbelievers say: This Quran is naught but a lie that Muhammad has fabricated, and other people have helped him with it. They have, thereby, perpetrated an injustice and an untruth. They also say: These are fables of the ancients which he has got someone to write down for him and they are recited to him morning and evening. Say to them: The Quran has been revealed by Him Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth. Indeed, He is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful. (Al Surah Al-Furqan 25:5-7)

Many Christian writers and clergy claim that the Holy Quran is borrowed from the Bible. Allah refutes this allegation in the words, “The Quran has been revealed by Him Who knows every secret that is in the heavens and the earth.”

The most effective proofs of this Quranic claim were to come after the scientific revolution. Dr. Maurice Bucaille’s book is indeed a landmark achievement in this regards.  By showing that the Quran co-relates with modern science, whereas, the Bible often does not and is self contradictory, one can put to rest propaganda of the Christian apologists!

However, it needs to be understood that the Holy Quran is a book of ‘religion’ and not a ‘book of science’ and Bucaille’s book is a book of ‘metaphysics’ and not of science. Metaphysics is a term, which means literally ‘what comes after physics.’ So, it is a branch of philosophy that studies the ultimate structure and constitution of reality, correlating religion and science.

A certain amount of humility is in order to comprehend the distinction between religion, science and metaphysics.

In the words of Sir Charles Darwin, as he quoted Francis Bacon from his book Advancement of learning in the later editions of On the Origin of Species, to establish the proper relationship between religion and natural science:

To conclude, therefore, let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.

If we read the book of Dr. Maurice Bucaille with this humility there is much room for learning for both the Muslim and the non-Muslim audience.

To order the book please go to Amazon.com, the Kindle version is available for $2.99

Some Argue Islamism from the Quran and others Secularism and Many argue Both on the Same Day

Secularism
Secularism in our view implies religious tolerance, equal women rights and emphasis on human reasoning than orthodox understanding of scriptures. We have the best collection to promote secularism in every country of the world, which in turn is the best tool to overcome sectarianism among the Muslims as well

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

In 1989 I moved to USA. I had been raised as a Sunni Muslim and joined Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1984, but it had not been advertised in all circles.  I remember at a family dinner at my uncle’s house a very learned and well respected physician, who was considered an Imam and a religious scholar, who will go nameless, during the small talk started elaborating the merits of religious freedom.  He highlighted the history of Russia and communism and how it failed to suppress both Christianity and Islam. I was impressed by his eloquence.

shah_zia
Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times and author of this article

A few minutes later discussion shifted to Pakistan and the same physician was full of praise for General Zia ul Haq, for his introduction of a dictatorial ordinance of 1984 to take away the religious freedoms of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

I was taken aback! Does the learned physician believe in religious freedom or not? Is the freedom only for his religion and sect and not for others?  In the last 30 years I have come to know that such myopia is common place and was not only his short coming but of most religious scholars, regardless of their creed, religion or sect.

Ahmet T. Kuru, who is professor of political science at San Diego State University and author of a few books on the theme of Islam and politics, wrote, “Islam is neither an instrument of identity politics, nor an ideology offering political solutions.”

For the first half of the title of my article, Some Argue Islamism from the Quran and others Secularism, let me suggest: Urdu Videos: Dr. Israr Ahmad Versus Ghamdi: Islamism Versus Secularism.

Moving on to the second half of my title, invariably all scholars of Islam regardless of the denomination realize and acknowledge that the Quranic teachings are to be read in our present day circumstances.  In other words they know that they have to read the Quran as an alive document and not as a dead one, which is written in stone and does not cater for changing needs.  But, they pick and choose and allow this flexibility only when they want to and withdraw it and present black and white, binary, choices on other issues of their liking.

There are several verses in the Quran that have discussed marriage without consent with the female slaves under certain circumstances.  However, no reputable scholar today would suggest that those verses are applicable to the present day circumstances.  Suggested reading: A Sexual Offender from ISIS: Is the Quran to Blame?

Polygamy is discussed in many places in the holy Quran and most scholars would think that it is permissible at least in some circumstances, but authors do make a case for monogamy from the holy scripture also: The sunnah of monogamy and Polygamy in Islam: What It Means?

Many understand that the cutting of hands of thieves is not to be taken literally in our contemporary times and can be implemented metaphorically with prison sentences: Benjamin Franklin: ‘Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed!’

All scholars agree that different waiting periods prescribed for remarriages of the divorced or widowed women is to settle the paternity issues: Video: What are cryptic pregnancies and why do they matter in Islam?  I know of no scholar of good repute who have opined on the use of pregnancy and other tests that are now becoming 100% accurate for these purposes, in place of the waiting periods when necessary.

The debate between Islamism and secularism shows no sign of abating after 1400 years is because many a scholars speak from the both sides of the mouth.  They are for human rights but at the same time they are also for Shariah Law, even when they are shown that some of their understanding of the Shariah Law is clearly violating human rights as we best understand them in this day and age.

It seems most scholars and religious leaders want to insist on conservative approach, as much as they can, perhaps for their personal zeal or not to test the loyalty of their followers.  May, I suggest for them, Do Muslims Prefer Camels Over Modern Cars? and Is God Alive or Dead: A Metaphor for the Scriptures from the US Constitution?

President Mohamed al-Khosht
The new president of Cairo University, Professor Mohamed Osman El Khosht

A verbal duel between al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb and Cairo University President Mohamed al-Khosht overshadowed discussions at a recent international conference on religious renewal.

Khosht, one of the few non-al-Azhar scholars invited to the conference, called for scrapping Islamic heritage and forming a new kind of religious thought. He said it was impossible to renew current religious discourse because it “was made to suit a different age.”

“Creating a new discourse cannot happen without creating a new religious thought,” Khosht said.

Khosht said Muslims are held hostage by the thoughts of people who lived a long time ago and that “renewal makes it necessary for us to change our way of thinking and the way we see the world.”

I want to conclude with highlighting that I by no means am minimizing the importance of the holy Quran.  To the contrary, I am constantly applauding and apologizing for the literal word of God: Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran, The Quran Applauded as a Landmark Contribution to ‘Words of Justice’ by Harvard and The Holy Quran as the Miracle of the Holy Prophet.

But, I want to constantly emphasize the truth and not indulge in misplaced zeal.  For after all Islam and the Quran are the sum total of the most important theological and moral truths and goodness for the human family, nothing more and nothing less!

Suggested reading

In Defense of the Secular Narrative of the Holy Quran

BBC Big Questions – Are Religions Unfair To Women?

Reason or Orthodoxy: Which One Should Rule?

Ghamidi’s Urdu Interview: Rationality Versus Orthodoxy in Islam?

‘Islamic Law’: A Myopic Reading of the Quran

Islamism — the Political Islam: The Challenge for the 21st Century

Kripkean Dogmatism: The Best Metaphor to Understand Religious and Political Debates

A Book Release: Peace of Mind — Islam and Psychology

Book by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times, in 2000

PREFACE

The purpose of this book is to show that peace of mind can be acquired only through developing a moral personality, and developing relationship with God. This thesis is inferred from one of the verses of the Quran, “Those who believe, and whose heart find comfort in the remembrance of Allah (and putting this into their actions). Aye it is in remembrance of Allah that hearts can find comfort” (13:29).

The book is aimed at well informed western audience both Muslim and non-Muslim.

As the book is mostly based on the teachings of the Holy Quran, all references are to the Holy Quran, unless specified otherwise. There are 114 Suras or chapters in the Holy Quran. The first number of a reference is the number of the Sura and the second number the verse. In some writings of the Quran the first verse of each Sura which is common to all Suras is not counted. In such writings the verse number, therefore, will be one less than quoted in this book.

The first Appendix is devoted to introduce the Islamic Scripture, the Holy Quran. It describes how the Quran was compiled, and the immutability of its text. When quoting from the Holy Quran the Arabic word “Allah” is often used instead of “God.”

There are several books of collections of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), of which, the two most renowned are “Bukhari” and “Muslim”. You will also find numerous references to these books in the text. Wherever I have borrowed ideas from other sources these have been freely acknowledged.

In some of the lengthy chapters the subject matter is divided into subheadings for easy reading. For the sake of simplicity the use of the masculine third person “he” and “his” will refer to both genders. The term “Believer,” used in the book, refers in general to the person with monotheistic belief, and occasionally it’s use is limited to Muslims only. It implies one’s acceptance of the existence of God, the complete or partial truth of some of the scriptures, and life after death.

To get maximal advantage from this book, readers attention is drawn to the advice given by Dale Carnegie in his book, “How to stop worrying and start living,” and I quote:

I once spent almost two years writing a book on public speaking; and yet I find I have to keep going back over it from time to time in order to remember what I wrote in my own book. The rapidity with which we forget is astonishing.

So, if you want to get a real, lasting benefit out of this book, don’t imagine that skimming through it once will suffice. …. Glance through it often. … Remember that the use of these principles can be made habitual and unconscious only by a constant and vigorous campaign of review and application. There is no other way.

… Bernard Shaw once remarked: ‘If you teach a man anything, he will never learn.’ Shaw was right. Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. So, if you desire to master the principles you are studying in this book, do something about them. Apply these rules at every opportunity. If you don’t, you will forget them quickly. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.

So, as you read this book, remember that you are not merely trying to acquire information. You are attempting to form new habits. Ah yes, you are attempting a new way of life. That will require time and persistence and daily application.[i]

To put these principles into practice it may be useful to memorize some of the quotations described in this book, especially the short verses of the Holy Quran. By repeating and rehearsing these quotations when the situations demands one will be able to make them an integral part of one’s personality. In this regards it may be very practical for the Muslims to memorize short verses of the Holy Quran in Arabic.

At times the reader will note that there are certain repetitions in the book. These are intentional and meant to explain the view point from different angles for varied readers, and may help persuade them to put these principles in practice.

To reiterate, the purpose of this book is to show that peace of mind lies in development of “moral personality” (Al Quran 13:29), and then going onto develop a spiritual personality, and how it can be achieved.

Another purpose of this book is to bridge the gap that has developed in the secular understanding of Psychology and the teachings of true Islam.

An effort has been made to offer several different lines of proof on each topic. Whereever possible assertions are based on the authority of the Holy Quran and for the nonbelievers on the authority of expert witnesses, logic and scientific data.

Any corrections or suggestions for improvement are not only welcome, but are sought.

Zia H. Shah MD.

ziashah@hotmail.com

[i] Dale Carnegie. How to stop worrying and start living. Simon and Schuster. Page 18.

Read the book further in the Word file, I update the file often, sometimes on a daily basis, so please get the latest when you are ready to read: Peace of Mind – February 3, 2020

Did you know Harvard recognizes Quran as one of best expressions for justice?

Harvard University
John W. Weeks Bridge and clock tower over Charles River in Harvard University campus in Boston with trees, boat and blue sky. The Muslim Times has the best collection about the holy Quran

The university references a verse from the Quran, regarding it as one of the greatest expressions of justice in history.

Source: Step Feed

When it comes to the law, both legislation and implementation are deemed relative. But the same can’t be said for justice as by definition it is the offering of what is morally fair and right. As we know, the law should seek justice and Harvard knows exactly how Islam is doing so.

Harvard Law School, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions (No. 7 in the world, to be exact), actually speaks of justice at the entrance of its faculty library. In doing so, it references a verse from the Quran, regarding it as one of the greatest expressions of justice in history.

The phrase at hand is Verse 135 of Surat Al-Nisaa (The Women), which is posted on a wall facing the faculty’s main entrance, a wall that portrays some of the best phrases with regards to justice. The first media reports of the news date back to February 2014, but the news resurfaced on our newsfeed this week. We thought it’s worth a reminder especially in the age of rising Islamophobia in the U.S., particularly.

Read Further

Ayat Harward

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A British Convert to Islam: ‘I found Qur’an mother of all philosophies’

Myriam Francois-Cerrah
Myriam Francois-Cerrah

Source: Arab News

By Myriam Francois-Cerrah, who became popular when she was a child for acting in the 90s hit film ‘Sense and Sensibility.’ Now she is gaining more popularity for being one of a growing number of educated middle class female converts to Islam in Britain. She has recently contributed to a series of videos on Islam produced in the UK titled, “Inspired by Muhammad.”

I embraced Islam after graduating from Cambridge. Prior to that I was a skeptical Catholic — a believer in God but with a mistrust of organized religion.

The Qur’an was pivotal for me. I first tried to approach it in anger, as part of an attempt to prove my Muslim friend wrong. Later I began reading it with a more open mind.

The opening of Al-Fatiha, with its address to the whole of mankind, psychologically stopped me in my tracks. It spoke of previous scriptures in a way, which I both recognized, but also differed. It clarified many of the doubts I had about Christianity. It made me an adult as I suddenly realized that my destiny and my actions had consequences for which I alone would now be held responsible.

In a world governed by relativism, it outlined objective moral truths and the foundation of morality.

As someone who’d always had a keen interest in philosophy, the Qur’an felt like the culmination of all of this philosophical cogitation.

It combined Kant, Hume, Sartre and Aristotle. It somehow managed to address and answer the deep philosophical questions posed over centuries of human existence and answer its most fundamental one, ‘why are we here?’

In the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), I recognized a man who was tasked with a momentous mission, like his predecessors, Moses, Jesus and Abraham (peace be upon them all).

I had to pick apart much of the Orientalist libel surrounding him in order to obtain accurate information, since the historical relativism which people apply to some degree when studying other historical figures, is often completely absent, in what is a clear attempt to disparage his person.

I think many of my close friends thought I was going through another phase and would emerge from the other side unscathed, not realizing that the change was much more profound.

Some of my closest friends did their best to support me and understand my decisions. I have remained very close to some of my childhood friends and through them I recognize the universality of the divine message, as God’s values shine through in the good deeds any human does.

I have never seen my conversion as a ‘reaction’ against, or an opposition to my culture. In contrast, it was a validation of what I’ve always thought was praiseworthy, while being a guidance for areas in need of improvement. I also found many mosques not particularly welcoming and found the rules and protocol confusing and stressful.

I did not immediately identify with the Muslim community. I found many things odd and many attitudes perplexing. The attention given to the outward over the inward continues to trouble me deeply.

There is a need for a confident, articulate British Muslim identity which can contribute to the discussions of our time. Islam is not meant to be an alien religion, we shouldn’t feel like we’ve lost all trace of ourselves. Islam is a validation of the good in us and a means to rectify the bad.

Islam is about always having balance and I think the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) message was fundamental about having balance and equilibrium in all that we do.

The Prophet’s message was always that you repel bad with good that you always respond to evil with good and always remember that God loves justice so even when people are committing serious injustices against you, you have a moral responsibility and a moral obligation in front of God to always uphold justice and never yourself transgress those limits.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ‘Forgive him who wrongs you. Join him who cuts you off. Do good to him who does evil to you and speak the truth even if it be against yourself.’

Islam’s beauty really becomes to its own when it becomes manifest; and it becomes manifest when you make it into a tool for the betterment of society, human kind and the world.

The ideal from an Islamic perspective is for ethics to become living ethics, to become an applied body of values and not remain unfortunately as it often is cloistered somewhere which is some more divorced from reality.

Reference