Books and Documents

Books and Documents (17 Mar 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Falsity of the Thesis ‘Clash of Civilizations’ That Insists, Muslims and Others Simply Cannot Live Together In Peace and Harmony

By Roshan Shah, New Age Islam

17 March 2017

If the Ocean Were Ink—An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran

Author: Carla Power

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co., New York

Year: 2015

Pages: 326

Price: $19


There is probably no more effective way to demolish walls and build bridges between people than close personal friendships, as this wonderful book poignantly illustrates. It is the story of what many might think to be a very unlikely friendship, between an American woman writer (Jewish on her mother’s side, Quaker on her father’s, and who identifies herself as a ‘secular feminist’) and a traditional male Muslim Islamic scholar of Indian origin, as narrated by the former.

Power, who writes for the Time magazine and was correspondent for Newsweek, was introduced to Islam and Muslims as a child, when her father took up a job in Egypt. She renewed her interest in the subject after 9/11, in the face of shrill rhetoric about the alleged ‘clash of civilisations’ and the wars that ensued. She began to study the Quran, reflecting on the diverse ways in which Muslims interpret it and the different political stances that flow from these interpretations. In this journey, she turned for assistance to her friend of many years, Muhammad Akram Nadwi, a traditional Sunni Muslim Alim or scholar, who had trained at one of India’s most well-known Islamic seminaries, the Nadwat ul-Ulema, in Lucknow, and later joined the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, in the UK, where Power, too, worked. At that time (this was in the 1990s), Nadwi was engaged in a project that would win him wide acclaim—a collection of biographies of  Muslim women religious scholars, bringing to light a little-known history of Muslim women as religious authorities.

When they first met, Power, as she puts it, was “a miniskirted twenty-four-year-old, unsure of herself except for her own importance.” Nadwi was just a few years older than her. The two worked together on a study on Islam in South Asia at Oxford, and soon, despite their differences of background and belief, they discovered considerable common ground—“in the commonplace”, as Power puts it, even in such things as “sipping tea, grumbling about our boss and sodden English winters”.

Over time, Power and Nadwi grew from being colleagues into friends as they grew to realise how misleading generalisations about entire communities can be and how dangerous the rhetoric of elements bent on fuelling conflict between communities (Power specifically refers here to Muslim extremists and American neocons) is.  Their friendship, as Power beautifully portrays it, exposed the complete falsity of the ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis that insists that Muslims and others simply cannot live together in peace and harmony.

Power went on to spend around a year studying the Quran with Nadwi, attending some of his lectures and having occasional lessons with him. She wanted to learn how the Quran shaped Muslim worldviews and discern where Western and Muslim worldviews overlapped and where they did not. Over that year, Power did scores of interviews with Nadwi and dropped in at his home numerous times, meeting his wife and children, too. She even travelled with him to India, where she visited his ancestral village and the madrasa where he had studied.

“We made an odd little caravan, the Sheikh [Nadwi] and I, a pious believer and a sceptical secularist”, Power narrates. Her year of study helped Power appreciate ample goodness in Nadwi, as well as in the faith that he sought to follow, which was the source of his virtues. She talks of Nadwi’s “humane and educated manner” and notes that he “enjoyed the peace of a man who observed his duty as a Muslim: being a ‘slave of God’”, which brought him “considerable calm”. She appreciates his “cultural scope”, that “spans continents”, and suggests that his “near-seamless transition from a village prodigy to a global scholar” is a “stunning example of Muslim cosmopolitanism”. She refers to Nadwi’s kindness, reserve, politeness and patience, and his open-mindedness and respect for differences while being deeply-rooted in his faith. She exults in the fact while being a traditional Muslim religious scholar, he is also committed to women’s rights. She writes of his deep spirituality, his insistence on the reform of the self, and his opposition to extremism and violence in the name of Islam, to politics-centric misinterpretations of the faith and to narrowly-inscribed Muslim identity politics. She notes how he regularly counsels his fellow Muslims to ignore provocation, to be patient in the face of adversity, to desist from blindly following religious authorities, to abstain from confrontation, to change themselves rather than seeking to change political systems, and to reach out to people of other faiths in a spirit of goodwill.

Clearly, as Power suggests, Nadwi just does not conform to widely-held stereotypical ideas about Muslim clerics, or even about Muslims generally.

Power does not conceal the fact that on some issues Nadwi and she think differently. This, however, did not come in the way of their friendship. Studying Islam with Nadwi did not lead her to convert to the faith, but it did help Power gain a more appreciative understanding of it and those who seek to live by it. Learning about Islam provided her, she says, “many moments of grace”. “Even as a nonbeliever”, she explains, “I still found myself taking refuge in the Quran classes as a calm inlet from daily life.” Studying with Nadwi, Power was led to appreciate the beauty of his firm conviction, rooted in his faith, that many of the ups and downs of this world that people get so worked up about “all were nothing next to the fact that from God we come and to God we return.”

This book is a beautiful testimony to the power of personal friendships in bringing together people of different faiths and cultures and helping them realise that goodness is something that is truly universal, intrinsic to our common humanness, and is to be found in every community and individual. The friendship that this book celebrates will powerfully resonate with just about everyone concerned about healing our world that is being torn apart by divisive ideologies.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/roshan-shah,-new-age-islam/falsity-of-the-thesis-‘clash-of-civilizations’-that-insists,-muslims-and-others-simply-cannot-live-together-in-peace-and-harmony/d/110431

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  • A bunch of hardcore christian theologians says Hats Off! He is not only in denial but resorting to a blatant lie. I repeat that the sources are the research publications of the following behavioral scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists whose works have been cited.

    Koster, Vitz, Lepp, Hood, Hill, Soilka, Granqvist,  Kirkpatrick, Hagekull, Brinkerhoff, Mackie, Hunsberger, Altemeyer, Exline, Rose, Murken, Pargament, Koenig. Perez, Novotni, Peterson and Mahoney.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/28/2017 2:16:52 AM

  • A scholarly debate with an apostate would be a waste of time. A scholarly debate with an apostate full-time heat merchant is sheer foolishness.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 3/27/2017 1:01:05 PM

  • a bunch of biased hard core christian theologians are expected to support christian theism (not islamic). this is known as bias. just like mr. naseer ahmed is expected to support every horrible thing in the Holy Qur'an because of his own bias in its favor.

    believing hindu scientists diss christianity and islam. believeing muslim scientists diss christianity and hinduism. believeing christian scientists diss islam and hinduism. between themselves they disprove each other. where do you come in?

    you do not figure anywhere.

    shall i bring in "references" such as your inadmissible ones? read faithfreedom. read answering islam. read jihad watch.

    if christian theologians are good enough to bring in freudian nonsense, these must be good enough to bring in anti-islam nonsense. why support one and decry the other? is that not bias?

    the word of a bunch of christian theologians is negated by a bunch of muslim theologians aka ulema. christian theologians believe in the trinitarian theory. muslims negate the trinitarian theory. taken together they call each other atheists. christians believe muhammad to be a false prophet and his followers to be deviants.

    in effect what these christian extremists are saying applies to muslims as according to the christian theologians muslims are apostates and renegades and vice versa. so one set of fools (dis)prove the other.

    theologians discussing atheism are inadmissible. they are biased against atheism. but you are not expected to understand these nuances of research.

    if these theologians are acceptable to you, why do whine when someone quotes from"islamophobic" sources? they should be good enough for you.

    you have no argument and yet are trying to "win" it. first of all produce a coherent, valid argument. then try to do something about it. first learn about burden of proof. the theists should provide proof of theism. atheists are not required to provide proof of atheism. first of all get some real education. pseudo science never worked.

    listen to david wood if you want an anti-islam argument. listen to yasir qadhi if you want an anti-christianity argument. listen to rajeev malhotra if you want an anti-christianity plus anti-muslim argument. read ambedkar if you want an anti-hindu plus anti-islam argument. each cancels out the other. read all of them if you want an atheist argument.

    each one of your arguments are without logic, without knowledge and always with false references. you have been caught before. don't do it again.

    if you think the arguments of christian theologians are support for freudian theory of atheism, it is clear that you neither understand freudian theory nor christian theology not atheism. so do not bother.

    better stick to market research and prove god, or prove divinity of scriptures by null hypothesis. don't dabble in something for which you are clearly not equipped.

    By hats off! - 3/27/2017 10:05:45 AM

  • Hats Off asked for sources to support what has been said about his probable motivations for turning out to be such a die-hard hostile apostate. The sources are the research publications of the following behavioral scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists whose works have been cited.

    Koster, Vitz, Lepp, Hood, Hill, Soilka, Granqvist,  Kirkpatrick, Hagekull, Brinkerhoff, Mackie, Hunsberger, Altemeyer, Exline, Rose, Murken, Pargament, Koenig. Perez, Novotni, Peterson and Mahoney. 

    He got what he asked for which apparently he didn’t expect. His response ob being exposed is therefore understandably gibberish nonsense.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/27/2017 8:49:44 AM

  • any analysis of atheism by theologians masquerading as freudians is like old world monkeys speculating on why new world apes don't have prehensile tails or ischial callosities. sadly they will never know - however hard they "think".

    mr. naseer ahmed should perhaps analyse his own upbringing as to how he became capable of defending sex with right-hand posessions, destruction of statues in the kaba, blackmail of khusro, extorting jizya and offensive ghazwas rather than going out on a limb and trying to prove athiesm as a freudian disorder or hatred of fathers, mothers, cousins, nieces or little johns. this is not like market research and divinity, or even a null hypothesis.

    the last people who should be lecturing on atheism is die hard atheist-hating catholics/protestants/muslims/hindus pretending to be social scientists.

    By hats off! - 3/27/2017 6:04:07 AM

  • The following is for Hats Off to understand, accept and to come to terms with the roots of his neurotic hatred of his father's religion. 

    Extract from:  Atheists, Agnostics, and Apostates by Prof. Heinz Streib, Ph.D. Faculty for History, Philosophy, and Theology University of Bielefeld/Germany & Constantin Klein Dipl.-Psych. Dipl.-Theol.

     “….. the relationship between children and their parents in general may be of relevance to atheism, agnosticism, and apostasy. In their psycho-historical studies of the impact of “defective fathering”, Koster (1989) and Vitz (2000) argued that, in their childhood, many famous atheists (like Darwin, Nietzsche, or Freud) suffered under the demands of their dominant and bigoted fathers who failed to express feelings of love and esteem to their sons. The sons became apathetic, unhappy, and melancholic and tried to flee from their family situation. In later life, they rebelled against the demanding beliefs of their fathers calling the complete worldview they were raised in into question. The denial of their own roots, however, caused psychopathological symptoms including depression or self-hatred, so that their fight for autonomy resulted in what Lepp (1963) called a “neurotic denial of God”.

     Hood, Hill, and Spilka (2009) have criticized the theories of neurotic atheism because of their exclusive focus on males and their fathers, and the lack of broader empirical support. More solid empirical data come from research on religion and attachment (Granqvist & Kirkpatrick, 2008; see Granqvist & Kirkpatrick, Volume 1 for overview) which shows that, in religious families, closer parent-child attachments in childhood correspond with closer attachment to God and more positive images of God in adulthood. Secure parent-child attachments can thus lead to more stable religiosity, whereas distant or avoidant relationships between parent and child increase the likelihood of sudden conversions and religious switching or of secular exits (Granqvist & Hagekull, 2003; Granqvist & Kirkpatrick, 2004; Kirkpatrick, 1997; 1998).

    Motives and developmental factors. A body of research has focused on motives and biographical factors associated with the development of atheism, agnosticism, and apostasy. This research includes studies about religious doubts (Brinkerhoff & Mackie, 1993; Hunsberger &Altemeyer, 2006) and personal experiences of disappointment with religious professionals, communities, or with God, or anger against God (Exline, 2002; Exline & Rose, 2005). In a comprehensive content analysis of 1226 statements which atheistic/agnostic internet users had posted on a Catholic webpage “www.ohne-gott.de” (“without God)”, Murken (2008) identified five clusters of statements which articulated doubts, disappointments and frustrations with respect to religious beliefs and institutions: (1) an opposition against Christianity because of faults of the Catholic Church (e.g. the crusades or witch-hunting, clergy sexual abuse) and its rigid sexual morals regarding contraception, premarital sex, and homosexuality, (2) experiences of religious hurt and disappointment, in particular the feeling of being abandoned by God in times of burden and loss, (3) negative and critical images of God (e.g. the feeling of incapacity to meet God’s demands and of being supervised and punished by God), (4) the question of theodicy (if God is just, loving, and all-powerful, why does he allow evil and suffering to exist?), and (5) the yearning for God and for faith to find meaning and comfort. These factors may support the emergence of skepticism against religious beliefs, groups and institutions and, as a consequence, raise serious questions about religion in general. In particular, experiences of personal suffering can throw an individual’s fundamental system of religious beliefs into question, producing religious/ spiritual struggles marked by feelings of abandonment and punishment by God as well as questions about whether God really exists and is truly loving and almighty (Exline, Volume1; Pargament et al., 1998; Pargament, Koenig & Perez, 2000). Research shows that experiences such as severe illness, the loss of a loved person, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and other traumata can provoke spiritual struggle which can transform former beliefs and lead to spiritual disengagement, apostasy, atheism/agnosticism, but potentially, spiritual growth, too (Pargament, 2007). Pargament andMahoney (Pargament, 2007; Pargament & Mahoney, 2005) argue that the experience of a desecration, the perception that things which have been perceived as sacred (e.g. my body, my integrity, my beliefs, my relationships etc.) have been violated, is particularly likely to shake the individual to the core. In a similar way, Novotni and Peterson (2001) describe “emotional atheism” as the result of a process of repression and emotional distancing from God. They view the conflict between the need to blame God in difficult situations and the recognition that God must not be blamed as a trigger for the onset of emotional distancing. Thus, “emotional atheism” emerges from the stepwise loss of an unsatisfying faith. In short, experiences of spiritual struggles (Exline & Rose, 2005; McConnell, Pargament, Ellison, & Flannelly, 2006; Pargament, 2007) represent important developmental factors that may generate atheism/agnosticism”

    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/27/2017 12:36:54 AM

  • It is not just the meaning of kafir that has undergone change since the revelation of the Quran, but also the meaning of Shuhuda as I have brought out in my article:

    The Politics of Religion and the Changing Concept of Shuhuda over the Years

    Many of the Arabic words are part of my mother tongue Urdu and these have the same wrong meanings that they have acquired in Islamic theology which is common across the world.

    The correct meanings of the keywords used in the Quran have to be understood from the Quran itself (ignoring meanings ascribed to the words outside of the Quran) in the same manner a baby learns a language since the Quran makes the meaning amply clear - both what it means and what it does not mean.

     It is easy to see how and why the bigots have distorted the meaning. They apparently judge non-Muslims as deliberate and willful rejecters of Islam out of sheer perversity and therefore call them kafir. Non-Muslim is not the meaning of kafir but non-Muslims are simply judged by the Muslims as kafir. They are just unable to see why anyone would reject Islam. However the Quran does not judge all the polytheists of Mecca as kafir even at the end of the Prophetic mission of Muhammad (pbuh). While the distortion started with judgment, today people simply take it as the meaning forgetting that it is not the meaning but their judgment of non-Muslims as kafir.

    Moderate scholars such as Javed Ghamidi, Saleem Shehzad and Muhammad Yunus do not consider/judge all non-Muslims today as kafir,  but they nevertheless argue that all the polytheists of Mecca were kafir as they had no excuse for disbelief after the Prophet had lived among them and preached for 13 years before being driven out of Mecca. They also ignore the plain text of the Quran according to which it does not consider all of them as kafir in any verse and always refers to the kafir among them. Apart from the text of the Quran, if at any point of time Allah had judged all of them as kafir, none would have believed after that and He would have destroyed all of them after the Prophet migrated to Medina, just as He destroyed the people of Noah, Hud, Saleh, Lut and Shoeb.

    The people of Noah are judged by God as kafir after which none believe and all perish in the flood

    (11:36) It was revealed to Noah: "None of thy people will believe except those who have believed already! So grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds.

    Such judgment was never passed on the polytheists of Mecca and they were expected to eventually accept Islam which they did which is clear not only from the events as they unfolded, but also from the following verses.

    (8:32) Remember how they said: "O Allah if this is indeed the Truth from Thee, rain down on us a shower of stones form the sky, or send us a grievous penalty." (33) But Allah was not going to send them a penalty whilst thou wast amongst them; nor was He going to send it whilst they could ask for pardon.

    Contrast the judgment on the people of Noah “No more of them will believe.”

    The judgment of the polytheists of Mecca “they could yet ask for pardon”

    All except a few who perished in the battles (or otherwise), eventually accepted Islam including Abu Sufian, the commander of the polytheists after their leader  Abu Jahl perished in the battle of Badar. And as we learn from the very last verses revealed, those who sought refuge and were not defiant, were treated as people without knowledge and not as kafir, and escorted to safe places where they could hear the word of God and make up their minds.

    The Quran is a Book that is to be understood and not interpreted and there is only one meaning which leads to a holistic understanding of the message without a single contradiction. The problem however is that everyone interprets without bothering to find its meaning. Finding the meaning is also through the process of interpretation and the correct meaning is that interpretation that leads to no contradictions. What makes Quran a Book that makes things clear is precisely this quality where it provides a check on our understanding. This rigour in the study of the Quran is completely lacking and the rigour that is followed is to interpret it in the light of the ahadith!

    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/26/2017 1:00:18 AM

  • Hats Off does not seem to know what he is talking about! What does psychiatry have to do with what I said? All I had said earlier was that your inordinate hatred for Muslims may have oedipal roots, but I was not making any categorical statement. Most atheists and apostates do not exhibit such seething hatred for the community they have left but you seem to be stuck on the fence. You can neither leave nor re-enter! Sad!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 3/25/2017 11:14:43 PM

  • so mr. ghulam mohiyuddin cannot cite any sources to support his pop psychology or quack psychiatry. this is what happens when islam meets psychiatry. 

    only his uptight stupidology.

    By hats off! - 3/25/2017 7:25:54 PM

  • Hats Off's  abusive diatribe is totally misguided. He falsely accuses me of saying, "lets just ignore those silly things in the scriptures." I said let us derive the meaning from the verses that is consistent with our modern day ethos just as the contemporaries of the Prophet did when they derived the meaning that was consistent with the ethos of their time.

    Such an approach would not suit Hats Off whose sole purpose in life is to trash the Quran, to bad-mouth Islam and to frustrate any possibility of a progressive Islam emerging.

    At the same time, any attempt to redefine words will meet with skepticism and will not succeed however well-intentioned it may be. It would make more sense to speak up as modern Muslims, reject literalist interpretations, and assert that the Quran condemns those who are evil-doers and oppressors.

    The scriptures are one source of the truth. The other source of truth is one's heart. When those two truths coincide, we have a religion.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 3/25/2017 1:06:45 PM

  • "The kind of feel we acquire for languages learnt informally without books early in life, is never there for languages learnt formally with the help of books later in our adult life. These are understood only in translation."

    so when you do not have the feel for arabic as it is not your mother tongue, how can you doubt the meaning of the word "kafir" as it is understood by native arabic speakers?

    they all without exception understand "kafir" as it is given by me.

    in fact i have come to the conclusion that you have no idea of what you are talking after i went through many forums where native arabic speakers participate and invariably they refer to non-muslims as "kafir".

    so it you who have no understanding of what you say. try telling you new fangled meaning of "kafir" to any one from the al-azhar.

    let's see what they say.

    finally so long as you continue to use the word "truth" without bothering to define it, you have absolutely no argument. you simply fail. you are just hedging and side-stepping the issue.

    no one including all prophets put together and all their revelations put together cannot know what "truth" is.

    By hats off! - 3/25/2017 5:40:54 AM

  • The meaning of kafir in the Quran is derived logically from how the Quran uses this word. We do not learn our mother tongue from dictionaries and books of grammar but from our interactions as babies. A baby has the capacity to learn all the world’s languages but what the neurologists call synaptic pruning in the early years reduces that child’s capacity to the languages around her. We learn the precise meanings of words and its connotations and the idioms of our language not through books but from our early interactions. The kind of feel we acquire for languages learnt informally without books early in life, is never there for languages learnt formally with the help of books later in our adult life. These are understood only in translation.

     The Quran makes clear the meanings of keywords used by it. However, if one reads the Quran with the incorrect meaning of the word learnt elsewhere, then he ends up with several contradictions. If he remains fixed on the wrong meaning of the word and tries to resolve the contradictions, then he falls prey to the false theory of abrogation! Can you show me a scholar who does not invoke the false theory of abrogation if his understanding is different from mine? So what such scholars may have to say is falsehood as far as I am concerned. Without doubt, in Islamic theology, kafir has acquired the meaning of non-Muslim over the centuries through the bigotry of its scholars, and this development is covered in detail in my article. This is however not the meaning of the word in the Quran.

     My understanding of the Quran is without a single contradiction. Nothing that I have explained of the Quran in one article contradicts any other article and I have covered almost the whole of the Quran. I have taken head on questions from commentators who wanted to point out “contradictions” in the Quran.

     Quran’s way of making sure that we have understood its message correctly is to put our understanding to the test of consistency. If we fail this test, we have not understood some part of it correctly. This is how the Quran is a Book that makes everything clear, is a Book without contradictions, consistent with itself and its own explanation.

     None of the above was necessary to prove my point. My articles clearly bring out the meaning of Kafir as used in the Quran in the most logical manner possible which can be understood by any person whose intention is to understand.

     The Misrepresentation of the Quran through Mistranslation

     1.     How can kafir mean non-Muslim when there are several verses in different Surahs of the Quran that speak of the kafir among the Polytheists as well as the Kafir among the Muslims clearly mentioning the kufr of those called kafir implying that not all are kafir but only those indulging in the kufr specified in the verse? And how  can it mean non-Muslim if there isn’t a single verse that refers to all the polytheists as kafir?

    2.     How can kafir mean non-believer if it is used for Satan and for Moses? Satan is an ingrate rebel against God and Moses was an ingrate rebel vis-à-vis the Pharaoh. Neither of them are “non-believers”

    3.     How can kafir mean non-Muslim if in Surah Taubah, in chronologically the very last verses, it does not mean all polytheists but only those who fought wars against the Muslims and broke their treaties and who remained defiant but not even those who although they did fight or broke their treaties but sought refuge who were to be merely treated as people without knowledge and taken to places of safety?   

     In the Quran therefore,  “Kafir” as it applies to the polytheists of Mecca, refers to those who were the enemies of Islam and the Muslims and practiced religious persecution in its various forms.

     As it applies to the Muslims, Christians and the Jews, it refers to those who willfully disregard the guidance and injunctions in their respective scriptures, or willfully distort the message. For the Muslims, the word Munafiq or hypocrite is more often used as outright kufr was rare in the Prophet’s times when the Quran was revealed.

     As far as the spiritual dimension is concerned in which God alone is the judge because there is no compulsion in religion, it means those who reject the religion of truth after the truth has become clear to them and die rejecting. One is not a kafir unless God has confirmed the verdict of kafir on a person and once God does so, he will die a kafir no matter how long he lives after that. Example, Abu Lahab lived for ten years after his place in Hell in the hereafter was confirmed and died without repenting. The other examples are Abu Jahal referred to in surah Al-Alaq and WalidibnMughiyrah referred to in Surah Al-Qalam. Abu Sufiyan on the other hand, who led the polytheists in all the battles against the Muslims after Badar, accepted Islam. It is not for Muslims therefore to worry about the non-believers in Islam as who among them are kafir is known only to Allah and indeed there are many who are kafir among those who call themselves Muslim. We can judge only by deeds and an oppressor is indeed a kafir whose oppression must be resisted and fought against no matter what religion he professes.

     To summarise, Kafir does not mean non-Muslim or even a disbeliever (taking the broad meaning of believer to include all theists), but it means an ingrate rebel or an oppressor. Those who reject the religion of truth after the truth becomes known to them are not disbelievers but rebels like Satan who knowingly reject. Lack of belief is from lack of knowledge and not kufr. We therefore pray to Allah to increase our knowledge so that we may correctly understand the Deen of Allah.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/25/2017 12:44:46 AM

  • the appalling hold that "political correctness" has gotten hold of our tongues and the stranglehold it has on our consciences is poignantly brought out by the the over-cautious and nearly meaningless comment (as usual) by mr. ghulam mohiyuddin. (i could bring in a diagnosis of anal retentive personality, but i will not - for freudian psychoanalysis has been somewhat discredited and is not in wide use today. especially after discovery of effective chemotherapeutic agents to manage a wide variety of psychiatric conditions. only literary criticism seems to be holding on dearly to freudian paradigms, but that is just pass time.)

    he has something in his mind, but that something is so garbled and rendered so meaningless that one has to not only read between his (very few lines) lines, but also between the words and between the letters as well to get even a hazy glimpse of what it might be trying to say.

    he is (to my understanding) trying to say - "lets just ignore those silly things in the scriptures" - but not in so many words. for fear is the foundation of religious exegesis. either fear of fatwa or fear of hell fire. that is understandable.

    he is therefore unable or unwilling to address what is destroying us.

    that the Holy Qur'an is literally and metaphorically taken as "absolute" truth by the vast majority of muslims is what is so wrong with us. but he cannot get himself to say it.

    when mr. naseer ahmed proudly claims that he does not "interpret" the Holy Qur'an on account of its clarity (as it appears or appeals to him), and that he only understands it literally, he is even then driven to complex texts analysis and word counts to somehow derive strange and implausible meanings of a word that produces such dissonance in his mind.

    as an example, the very common english swear phrase s-o-b (in acronym) is used in a variety of contexts and situations by native english speakers. almost always derogatorily. almost never in a respectable way. only as an exclamation is it used in any innocent sense. even then it does not lose its dictionary meaning.

    this vastly varied usage does not at any time negates its etymological meaning and semantic content. it always means the male child of a female dog and can never be re-formulated to mean any other less embarrassing thing.

    but political correctness gets to him just as it gets to mr. ghulam mohiyuddin. seeing the current world tragedy in so far as rising religious hatred and intolerance (especially in self designated islamic nations) mr. naseer ahmed succumbs to another form of political correctness. to get over the jarring sense (to a non muslim) in which the word "kafir" (or its variations) is used in the Holy Qur'an, leads him in another direction. the direction of denial. specially the denial of the most common meaning of the word as understood by practicing muslims as well as denial of its dictionary meaning.

    on the one hand he has to accommodate his baseless conviction that the book is a word of god and on the other he has to address the issue of the denigration of non-believers therein.

    but his best bet seems to be to contest the dictionary meaning - especially since he "believes" that there can be no fault in god's words.

    this dissonance and this tying of one self into knots trying to 'euphemize' hateful scriptural doctrines ultimately leads him to complex word counts, textual interpretations, denial of dictionary meanings through which he tries to sanitise toxic contents of holy scripture.

    but the very complexity of his efforts gives away the essentially intolerant nature of scriptural injunctions that he is trying to bowdlerize. if they were benign, they would never have been "misinterpreted" or "mistranslated" in the first case, even if they were so misunderstood, it would not be of such import.

    this does not occur to mr. naseer ahmed on account of his fundamental belief about the "divinity" of the Holy Qur'an.

    it perhaps occurs to mr. ghulam mohiyuddin, but his approach is to depend upon a crippling, suffocating political correctness.

    one either owns a so-called divine text - warts and all, or one accepts that there are troublesome passages.

    unfortunately today one is a rock and the other is a hard place.

    naturally recourse is eventually taken by mr. naseer ahmed as well as mr. ghulam mohiyuddin to (discredited and disproved) methods of freudian psychoanalysis of those who take the texts at face value without hanging on to an imaginary "divinity" (i can provide on demand authors' names and bibliography to support my assertion regarding the doubtful nature of freudian psychoanalysis).

    this freudian psychoanalysis and the effort to posit apostasy as oediepal complex just proves my point.

    i request mr. ghulam mohiyuddin to provide me even a single reference to any scientific text or research paper that indicates apostasy to be either based on oedipal, or electra complexes or as defects of psycho-sexual development or as effect of parental cruelty to children.

    but i can provide a number of references to hyper-religiosity as significant component (either as causative or as effects) of many psychiatric disorders.

    i am reasonably sure mr. ghulam mohiyuddin cannot give me any such refernce.

    i do not make this demand of mr. naseer ahmed because he is just a part time player, with no foundation in either tafsir, psychology or linguistics. his only qualification is blind loyalty to prophets and triggered hyper-religiosity.

    By hats off! - 3/24/2017 10:55:16 PM

  • The message that we derive from the Quran is influenced by our own understanding of what our religion stands for in our day and age. Our Islam is a more inclusive and universalist religion than it was in the days of the salaaf or as understood by Wahhab. While at one time all non-believers were the enemy, today we condemn the evil-doers and the oppressors instead.

    Instead of making it a semantic debate about certain words, we should proactively assert that the message we derive from certain verses is at variance with the message derived in earlier times.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 3/24/2017 12:27:00 PM

  • just what IS the "authentic message" of the Holy Qur'an?

    according to a majority of the most influential islamic scholars from all over the world, a non muslim is referred to a a kafir.

    so how does mr. naseer ahmed claim that his in possession of the "authentic" meaning of the Holy Qur'an?

    By hats off! - 3/24/2017 8:37:39 AM

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