Rise of the Sun (Not the Song!)

I love the song ‘House of the Rising Sun’ from end scene of the film Casino. It was about the destruction of what the Mob built in Vegas. Very dramatic.

Was reading about dhul qarnayn today and came to this aya:

Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for
whom We had provided no covering protection against the sun (18/90)

The phrase for ‘rising of the sun’ is ‘mathla’il shams’ and this is a negative development for people who are unprotected by the sun. This is not talking about a day at the beach without sunblock! Rather, it’s talking about a source of power for certain people (like the people of saba who adored the sun besides Allah).

My focus was on the word ‘mathla’/rise though which also appear in 97/5 : peace it is until the rise of the dawn. 97/5 seems to say that after the coming of ‘the angels and spirit’ , there will be peace (salam) UNTIL the rise of the dawn. Could the dawn/fajr symbolise the breaking through of EVIL after the coming of peace?



Justified rage

Last night’s Newsnight on BBC2 saw Ayaan Hirsi Ali give her unique insight into the protests by Muslims we’re currently witnessing around the world today. As I listened to the insipid and predictable back and forth between the presenter Kirsty Wark and Ali, I was reminded of a recent article by Michael Muhammad Knight:

When asked to explain Muslim rage, I have an answer, but I already know the response to my answer. A defender of “Western civilization” will tell me, “Yeah, but we aren’t violent. They’re the ones who kill people over religion.” If numbers matter, however, the mythology of “America” kills many, many more people today than any myth of “Islam.” To sustain a pseudo-secular military cult, we have produced a nation of cheerleaders for blood and murder. We speak of the cult’s heroic work as “sacrifice” and say that it’s all for a divine cause of “freedom.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of those cheerleaders Knight refers to. She was on hand to tell us that Western governments should stand firm against those who are protesting and make it clear that freedom of speech will not be curbed due to Muslim sensibilities. She argued that Western leaders should not “indulge” the Muslim countries who are not at the level of Europe and America. When asked if Muslims had the right to be offended, Ali responded by saying freedom of speech included the right to offend. When pressed further about Muslims being offended, Ali was incredulous. She pointed out that the atrocities that happen daily in Muslim countries do not evoke the kind of rage being seen over the film. She claims the Muslims have no credibility when they, for example, refuse to protest over a 14 year-old girl who was recently gang-raped in Pakistan, but instead be enraged at a film made in California. Get your own house in order before you protest our art, was the basic message.

Painting them as backwards, not having the good sense to ignore a film and respect Western enlightenment and having no priorities, serves to dehumanise Muslims. It also distracts from what I think these protests are really about. Western drones patrol the skies, their tanks tend the streets and their soldiers rape and murder Muslims daily. Muslims around the world know full well that their property is not sacred, nor their livelihood, and not even their bodies. But to dishonour the Prophet is the final straw, the violation of the one thing that gives Muslims hope: their religious tradition. It’s disgusting because it demonstrates that nothing is respected; pillaging and murder isn’t enough for these thugs, they will attack the very essence of the Muslim spirit. Knight continues:

That’s what we send out there, at them. This is not simply a world in which one side has a sense of humor and the other does not, or one side is “modern” and “enlightened” while the other side needs to catch up. The modern, enlightened side is burning people alive. Innocence is simply the playground bully calling your mother a slut after already breaking your jaw, and then wondering why you can’t take a joke…But in the big picture, this isn’t really about violent religion vs. nonviolent art; it’s violence vs. violence.

I think it’s important for Muslims to represent these protests correctly and always draw attention to the underlying grievances whenever Muslims protest an insult to Islam.  It’s deeper than just an insult.

Quranist Vs Quranic : Subjectivity vs (Pretext of) Objectivity

I was quite touched by the grievance of a close compatriot in the Quranist struggle yesterday who said:

Self-professed experts in certain groups have NO CLUE what the heck they are talking about. The more sure people are about what they think is right, the more off-mark their theories and self-imposed meanings on the Quran are

This is where I believe, language can help us understand the difference between our voices and the voice of the Quran.

Often we hear people (including me) saying ‘The Quran says bla bla bla’. This in reality is actually ‘I THINK/BELIEVE/OPINE that the Quran says bla bla bla’. I suppose this lapse may be forgiven if we have the best intention and act accordingly.

But we don’t. At least not a lot of the times.

I see quranists (whether or not they subscribe to the term) to have a tendency to assume ownership of the Quran! Meaning, we have no problem saying ‘ok see, the Quran says in which HADITH do you believe in after Allah and his ayat’ (45/6) Therefore you Sunnis who believe in hadith are disbelievers.

What if the Sunnis didn’t believe that the word ‘hadith’ in 45/6 refers to Hadith literature? Don’t they have a right to their opinion?

This is why I think we need the term ‘quranist’ and we need to make a separation between what is ‘quranIST’ and what is ‘quranIC’.

The quranist is subjective. He is interpreting the Quran according to the knowledge he has at that point. Later on, he may disagree with himself! I know this because I have gone through it myself (several times in fact!) . He can infer that the meaning of ‘salah’ is connection but it will always be his inference. The Quran NEVER says the meaning of salah is connection.

On other hand, ‘quranic’ denotes what is objective. I can say ‘Quranic personalities’ (like ibrahim, nuh, musa , isa) because they are objectively there in the Quran. I CAN’T say ‘the meaning of the story of nuh is about deliverance and survival’. This is purely my opinion and I appreciate people might disagree.

This is why it surprises me to see people say ‘The Quranic concept of riba’ for example and analyse 2-3 verses to claim ‘this is ‘quranic”. It’s not, it’s simply your limited attempt to understand the concept. If it works for you, great. Keep up the good work but don’t be so quick to put down other ‘quranic opinions’

The fact is, in the Quranist world (a little world in the World of Islam), we have a large degree of diversity and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We just need to respect the fact that we’re all on a journey. Dial down the trash talk. Be nice. If you can’t say, just say WATDIP (We Agree To Disagree In Peace) and move on 🙂

My Foray into Quranic Language pt 4

So here’s how the discussion is turning out. Basically, I am investigating how a Lingocentric Quranist (basically the best one in the business) thinks,. Here is a statement he made:

I cannot give you the usage per Quran, because that does not exist. But I can give you the Classical Arabic usage

I ask him this question: Does this mean that the Quran isa passive container of meanings? If so, how does the Quran act as a furqan?

lets see how this turns out.

My Foray into Quranic Language pt 3

So this brings us to the question – what does the Quran have to say about it’s language? Does it tell us to go to dictionaries? Or does it assume that we are contemporary readers as opposed to past readers (who understood the language perfectly). This is the subject of my inquiry.

Can we get to a truly objective language of the Quran?

My Foray into Quranic Language pt 2

Introducing the Lingocentric Quranists:

I have a deep respect for the Lingocentric Quranists (LQs). They have been instrumental in helping me see beyond the religious paradigm of the Q. I remember when I first read Lughatul Quran by Ghulam Ahmed Parwez. Not all of it, mind you. Just maybe 10 percent of it was available at the time in English. It was enough though, Parwez’s use of non-religious Arabic was enough to see the potential of Quranic concept.

But is this the end of the story? That all we had to do was look at the dictionaries and hey presto, there were our answers? Well I found Parwez actually had problems in his Lughatul Quran! If you look up entries for tawraat, injeel, ahlul kitab, bani israil and a few others, what Parwez entered did not make sense. This was especially true in light of works by Dr Kamal Omar (The Ultimate Truth) and Mohamed Shiekh’s videos.

to be continued….

My Foray into Quranic Language pt 1

Since 2010, after the founding of Quranology Discussions , people at Quranology discussions have been getting a lot of criticism by some people, who accuse us of being ‘language manipulators’. Those accusations bothered me a lot as I did NOT want to be one who interjects his voice into the Quran, rather than let the Q speak for me.

However, to find the right meaning isn’t easy. One must remember that the Q is a valuable asset. Whoever controls the meanings of the Q controls how 1.2 billion people think. So you can expect people to at least attempt to control its meanings…

more tomorrow…