Getting a read on the Qur'an
by Salim Mansur
I will not rehearse here, since space forbids, the arguments on how ludicrous is the display of Gordon Brown's Labour government in banning Geert Wilders from entering Britain.
What needs noting, however, is the irony that Brown, Wilders, the liberal elite in the West with their insistence on limiting free speech, and the Muslim thugs – from the potentates who rule in the Arab-Muslim world to those who riot in the streets – are all in agreement that Muslims generally are programmed by Islam and its sacred text, the Qur'an, to engage in violence.
The difference between Wilders and Muslim fanatics is in how they assess the rightness or wrongness of violence to be found in the Qur'an. Wilders sees the Qur'an as a Muslim version of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, and Muslim fanatics see the Qur'an as heavenly license to trample over those in disagreement with their views of the world.
But the Qur'an does not speak. The verses of the Qur'an – if we go by Muslim belief – were heavenly words spoken to Muhammad or impressed into his heart by the angel Gabriel.
It was Muhammad who spoke the heavenly words and acted upon them. After him there is silence, and the words of the Qur'an as we have them are scratches on parchments collected into a text by those who heard Muhammad utter them.
After Muhammad it is the tongue of man, of Muslims, that speaks and gives meaning to the words originally addressed to him. The tongue of man can be straight or forked, pure or vile, and what such tongues utter reveal the state of men's minds and hearts.
The wonderful poet-philosopher from the 13th century, Jalal ad-Din Rumi – many revere him as the greatest mystical poet of Islam – likened the Qur'an to the mysteriousness of women. His exact words cannot be quoted here due to the political correctness code of our time.
What Rumi alluded to was how a woman chose to disclose her mystery depended on the circumstances, with whom and under what condition she engaged with that person. Similarly, the Qur'an's mystery remains locked or gets gradually unfolded in relation to the man, given his abilities, who engages with it.
Rumi cautioned Muslims rape is not love even though the motions might appear to be similar.
My mentor and friend the late Wilfred Cantwell Smith – he was perhaps Canada 's greatest scholar of Islam – would remind his audience the Qur'an is to Muslims what Jesus is to Christians. Hence, in terms of belief the Qur'an, not Muhammad, is divine to Muslims as is Jesus for Christians.
The Qur'an categorically instructs there is no compulsion in religion. Muslim thugs read the text even as the Qur'an's instruction fails to register in their hearts and minds while its mysteriousness completely eludes them.
The Qur'an is violated by Muslim thugs. The result is to be found in the misery of the Arab-Muslim world as a broken civilization.
One of the profound mysteries surrounding the divine in its descent into our corrupt world is the response it generates, and the extent to which it is mutilated.
Jesus was crucified. The Qur'an is daily mutilated by Muslim fanatics, and they insist their reading of it is an act of devotion.