Let's not monkey with Qur'an
by Salim Mansur
There is not a day passes when the world does not hear cursing of Jews pouring out of the Arab-Muslim world.
The verses from the Qur'an cited in these hate fests masquerading as prayers, are ones in which Muhammad was reminded how Jews in transgression of sacred laws were admonished.
In Yusuf Ali's translation the verses – Qur'an chapter 2: 65-66 – read, "Those among you
who transgressed in the matter of Sabbath We said unto them: 'Be ye apes, despised and rejected' So We made it an example to their own time and to their posterity, and a lesson to those who fear God."
In Yusuf Ali's commentary the verses are to be understood allegorically. Ali's commentary also recalls the Qur'an's cautionary note to readers that the text contains verses at minimum of two kinds (3:7), those of clearly understood meaning and those being allegorical that require careful reading to avoid discord.
The context for these verses was Muhammad's encounter with Jews of Medina. Any relevance of these verses, or verses of similar kind, after Muhammad, lies in understanding the allegory as a warning to all people – not Jews alone – that transgressors of sacred laws and universal moral codes will resemble apes by their conduct.
As I wrote in an earlier column, the Qur'an does not speak. It is the tongue of men, pure or vile, that gives meaning to words of the Qur'an.
The most important distinguishing characteristic between man endowed with God's gift of free will and lesser creation such as apes, lies in the human capacity to reason, to choose between good and evil – in other words assume responsibility for one's deeds – and to be introspective.
The Qur'an was revealed to an Arab of noble lineage born among idol worshippers so that they may learn of Abraham's God. Muhammad's mission was to bring to pagan Arabs what God revealed to Jews through prophets raised among them.
The unambiguous words of the Qur'an instructing Muhammad on how to contend with evil are of universal import. It would be right to suggest, for instance, when the Allied leaders insisted by force of arms on the unconditional surrender of the German Nazis and Japanese militarists they acted in accordance with the Qur'an's precept.
We do not need to fast forward to our times to know who greatly violated the Qur'an. Among the immediate followers of Muhammad were those who would have shamed Macbeth as they committed murder and mayhem, including killing members of the prophet's immediate family.
Iran's ayatollahs, imams and potentates of the Arab-Muslim world, and some Muslims – wherever alone or collectively spewing anti-Jew bigotry overflowing from their blackened hearts – are the progeny of those from Islam's earliest days of post-prophetic history who gave tongue to the Qur'an to varnish their evil deeds.
The Qur'an is regularly mutilated by some Muslims, and in keeping with its warning no other people in our time may be more likened to apes than those Muslims who engage in or condone terrorism, honour killing and oppressing minorities.
History is a cautionary tale of civilizations ruined when wicked people go unchecked and unpunished. Hence, those who fight those Muslim perpetrators of evil to protect civilization are the just warriors of good faith acting in accordance with the teachings of Islam's sacred text.
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