By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009
August 8, 2013
Part-1 The Fatwa begins with the redefinition of 'innocence' in a relative manner to suggest that the civilians killed in 9/11 attacks shared ‘the guilt’, and deserved to be killed. This notion negates the principle of universal justice as enjoined by the Qur'an (VI Terms of Reference, Part-1). It then argues that "If the infidels kill Muslim women, children and the elderly, meting out the same treatment to the infidels is justified” and moves on to a very gory and totally unrelated topic: mutilation of the corpse of the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle Hamza in the battlefield of Uhad, giving revolting details. It repeatedly references unrelated Qur'anic verses/passages 2:194, 16:126-128, and 42:39-42 exhorting restraint and patience in warfare, apparently to lend authority to its statements.
This incongruous referencing is conceivably tailored to give an association of the barbaric act of mutilation with the Qur’an to its ignorant and unsuspecting readers, unaware that mutilation of corpses was purely a pre-Islamic tradition and is neither mentioned in the Qur’an, nor ever practiced by any Muslim army. Some of the arguments tabled contradict the Qur'an on many counts, are self contradictory, bizarre and untenable, and others, suicidal for Islam and the broader Muslim community and a grave threat to human civilization. The discourse, however, concludes by citing authentic Hadith (Imam Bukhari and Muslim) on the forbiddance of this sadistic practice.
The discourse is laid out in a scholastic style that the present day reader may find complex, discordant and challenging and succumb to it rather than questioning its logic and rationale.
Part-2 continues to dwell on the gory theme of mutilation of corpses, repeats the unrelated verses 2:194 and 16:126 and adds another unrelated verse, 17:15 and a tradition on the Prophet’s forbiddance of this pre-Islamic custom. However, as in Part-1, it adopts a complex discourse structure, that, with tautological impact, creates an association rather than disconnection between the barbaric custom of mutilation and Islamic message. Thus, a casual, fanatic or not too critical reader may appropriate sadism in his religious thoughts and thus get spiritually indoctrinated to committing acts of wanton terror.
Part-3 cites following three already repeatedly quoted unrelated Qur’anic verses:
· 2:194 quoted once each in Part-1, and 2 respectively
· 16:126, quoted four times in Part-1, and once in Part-2, and
· 42:30, quoted once in Part-1 as part of the passage 42:39-42.
It also refers to the themes of two other verses, 2:178 and 59:6 (without mentioning their Sura/ serial) in a superfluous manner to force fit them with the ongoing theme of the Fatwa – inflicting barbaric punishments, like forcing to drown or chopping off body parts or mutilating corpses, stoning to death, pushing from a height, battering to death with wood or confining without food and water until death in like for like retaliation.
The Fatwa, cumulatively, continues to draw on the past Fatwas. But as mentioned under the terms of reference, point II (Part-1), the validity a fatwa as 'religious edict' remains contingent to its compatibility with the Qur'anic message. Since the Fatwa’s theme is incompatible with the Qur’anic message, citing past Fatwas to justify the theme carries no religious/ Qur’anic legitimacy.
Hence, this third part, and cumulatively, the first three parts of the Fatwa fail to draw any legitimacy from the Qur’an and stand refuted.
Part-4 abruptly changes its theme, fast forwarding to this era and merits elaboration.
It singularly blames America for all the sufferings and devastations of the Muslims and charges it of “overt and covert interference in the Muslim countries in order to cause bloodshed and kill innocent people.” It also blames America for whatever is happening in Philippines, Indonesia, Kashmir, Macedonia and Bosnia and thus holds it responsible for all the trials and tribulations the Muslims are going through. It charges US of attacking and laying siege from remote bases, adopting a policy of “punishing the people for the crimes of individuals”, refers to Israel’s military actions and gross human rights violations of Palestinians as acts of terror even by the definition of US policy (on protection of human rights) and thus describes the Jews as terrorists and the US, a supporter of Zionist terrorism in Palestine, and accordingly claims the right to pursue a corresponding course of action as part of like for like retaliation it falsely argued in the preceding part (Part-3) of the Fatwa. It invokes two previously cited verses (2:194, 16:126) and introduces a Maslah (principle) that purports to conflate America’s foreign policy with common American people and concludes: “The killing of American women, children and the elderly people and other non-combatants is permissible (by Shariah), rather it is one of the categories of jihad God and his prophet (PBUH) have ordered.”
The Fatwa is refuted on five key grounds – one political (i), two recent histories (ii-iii), one religious (iv) and one (v) Islam’s early history:
i) Political: America’s foreign policy that plunges it into war and dictates sanctions is drawn by its political-cum-military bureaucrats and legislative bodies (Congress and Senate) based on their joint assessment of the political realities and global strategic issues and threats of the times. If anyone in America is to be held accountable for the terrible consequences of sanctions and wars, it must be those persons who were directly involved in policy making at the given historical points that saw sanctions and wars. Common Americans at those or later historical points (such as today) cannot and must not be held responsible. If the principle of like for like retaliation were accepted as a ground-rule for humanity regardless of changing politico-historical realities, Bangladesh will have to take military action against Pakistan for its killing of allegedly three million civilians in the liberation war, Israel will nuke Germany to avenge Hitler’s barbaric and en-masse liquidation of Jews, China will annihilate Japan for its atrocities against Chinese citizens during the world war and all the nations of the world will be caught in a frenzy of retaliatory wars, massacres and genocides as the case may be against their past tormentors.
ii) Its disregard of historical relativism: Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been killed and many times more put to grievous suffering by their own Islamic regimes or neighbouring Muslim invaders such as Bangladesh war of liberation, Iran-Iraq war, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and oppression of Muslims outside of America or American sphere of influence - notably China, Russia, Albanian peninsula, the central Asian states in the erstwhile Soviet Russia. So, America cannot be singled out as the archenemy of the Muslims.
iii) Its disregard of America’s historic military role in defending and preserving the Albanian Muslims and thus ensuring the presence and growth of Islam in Europe and by extension, the Western hemisphere. This is besides its food aid, emergency relief, technological/ infrastructural development role in all Muslim countries, and being home to some five million Muslims – who enjoy greater political and religious freedom and civil rights than in any other Muslim country of the world.
iv) Religious considerations: The following Qur’anic verses exhort the Muslims / broader humanity to de-escalate violence through collective forgiveness of past enemies (5:2), personalized justice (5:8) unlawful killing of any innocent person (5:32) and returning evil with good (13:22, 23:96, 41:34):
“...And let not the hatred of a people who (once) obstructed you from (entering the) Sacred House, lead you to be hostile. Therefore, help each other to virtue (birr) and piety (Taqwa), and do not collaborate with each other in sin and enmity. Heed God, and (remember,) God is severe in punishment” (5:2).
“You who believe, be upright before God as witnesses to justice (Qist), and let not the hatred of any people prompt you to detract from justice (‘Adl). Deal justly: this is nearest to heedfulness (Taqwa); and heed God. Surely God is Informed of what you do” (5:8).
“For that reason We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills any person - unless it be (in punishment for) murder or causing corruption on earth - it shall be, as if he had killed all humanity, and whoso saves a life, it shall be, as if he had saved the life of all humanity…” (5:32).
“Those who patiently seek the Countenance of their Lord, keep up prayer and spend out of what We have provided them, secretly or publicly and repel evil with good – such will attain the eternal life” (13:22).
“Repel evil with that which is good. Indeed We are aware of what they are working (in their minds)” (23:96).
“Goodness and evil are not equal. Therefore repel the latter with that which is good, and then the one between whom and you is hatred, will indeed become your friend (41:34).
v) Islam’s early history: There are irrefutable historical records that demonstrate the application of the above noble principle even at times of war. Thus the eminent historian Thomas Arnold quotes a contemporaneous Church record on the compassionate treatment of the survivors of the 2nd crusade who were deceived by their Greek allies (who refused to ship them back home to Europe) and lay at the mercy of the Muslim warriors: “The situation of the survivors would have been utterly hopeless, had not the sight of their misery melted the hearts of the Muhammadans to pity. They tended the sick and relieved the poor and starving with open-handed liberality... So great was the contrast between the kind treatment the pilgrims received from the unbelievers and the cruelty of their fellow-Christians, the Greeks, who imposed forced labour upon them, beat them and robbed them of what little they had left, that many of them voluntarily embraced the faith of their deliverers.”
Conceivably, a subconscious or conscious awareness of the Qur’an’s emphasis on mitigating violence, the fatwa concludes with an abrupt about turn in its arguments by declaring that “under no circumstances it is permissible and appropriate for them to kill more than 4 million non-combatant Americans and render more than ten million Americans homeless. If they do so they will be among those who transgress in the act of Maslah.” However, recurrent quoting of unsupportive Qur’anic verses 2:94, 16:129 reflects an indoctrinating strategy: bombard the simple and innocent Muslims with what is most awe-inspiring and obscure to them – the verses of the Qur’an and capitalizes on their reverential obscurity to the meaning of the Qur’anic verses to sell them their own fatwa, however un-Qur’anic it may really be – as God knows best.
Part–5 is built entirely around a Hadith that contains a cryptic response of the Prophet regarding the permissibility of attacking enemy citadels at night when children, women and the elderly could be killed. It lays down several tiers of arguments, all drawn on mostly apocryphal traditions (none from Bukhari or Muslim) and ‘unanimous opinion’ of scholars to establish a Maslah (core principle) allowing for the killing of children, women and the elderly among the pagans only when they are in a place or situation when a distinction between a combatant and non-combatant cannot be made. In its scholastic style of argument, the Fatwa parallels the enemy’s ‘citadels’ with strategic centres and thus justifies sudden attack on the strategic centres of the enemy killing its warriors. It then conveniently concludes that “he (the Prophet) who permitted the killing of innocent people because of their inability to be distinguished from the warriors will also permit the killing of those killed as a result of the 9/11 attacks because they also could not be identified and singled out in the strategic centres who were comparatively more important than the combatants.” The Fatwa was refuted on the following grounds:
1. It contradicts the Qur’anic ordinance to protecting the non-combatants and reaching them to safe havens (9:6) and not to transgressing limits (2:190).
2. It contradicts the Prophet Muhammad’s Qur’anic title of ‘mercy to all humanity’ – Rahmat al ‘Alamin (21:107) and militates against the Qur’anic evidence made in full light of history (Terms of Reference IX) that the Prophet was mild to his men even after their lapses in Uhad expedition (3:159) and readily excused others from taking part in Tabuk expedition (9:43).
3. Being essentially built around a very cryptic response of the Prophet translated as ‘they are from among them’- it can be interpreted as an instruction to protecting the non-combatants.
4. In an absurd analogy, it treats the civilian casualties of 9/11 attacks as more important than combatants.
Part-6. Like its preceding part (Part-5), this part also draws entirely on Ahadith and ‘unanimous opinion’ of scholars. It begins with pronouncing Islam’s prohibition of the killing of women and children, elderly, clergy and non-combatants caught in war,” which is consistent with the Qur’anic message (9:6, not referenced), but in the same breadth justifies their killing when “they put up arms against the Muslims or render such service that comes under co-operation or support in the fight against the Muslims, be it through espionage, providing aid or taking part in similar activities.” The discourse refers to the prohibition of killing civilians/ non-combatants four times and quotes the justification for killing them with slight textual variation eleven times. The monotonous reference to the theme of ‘killing of children, women and the elderly’ either in prohibition or justification argument conceivably aims at registering this crude and sadistic notion as religious edict in the mind of its target audience – the traumatized and disoriented witnesses to the horrifying human tragedies of high-tech and politically justified wars. Thus, by the time the target reader reaches the end part of the Fatwa, he/she is mentally conditioned to accept as a religious dictate its concluding statement: “the killing of women, children and the old will be permissible when they co-operate with the enemy in any form.” Regardless of its political justification or otherwise, the principle expressly violates the Qur’anic commands to ensuring safety of the civilians from the enemy camp caught in armed encounter (9:6), and prohibition of killing any innocent person except by due process of law (5:32) as noted in Parts 5 and 4 of refutation. As such the Fatwa stands refuted as a religious edict.
Part-7 begins with “unanimous opinion of scholars” that giving indirect support to jihad is synonymous with directly taking part in jihad,” connects this proposition with a ruling from Imam Ibn-e-Taimiya and infers “whatever applies to the fighters will also apply to the rich and resourceful civilians of a nation at war against the Muslims.” It stretches the argument further to appropriate the “innocent and weak (women, children and the old) - whom we call civilians in modern times” in this category. It then tables politically matured arguments to implicate the American civilians in the second term election of President Bush despite his invasion of Muslim lands, thereby speciously appropriating them in the fighter category and as accomplice of the enemy and justifying their killing.
As in the last two parts (5 and 6) it draws entirely on the opinion of scholars and a few very sparsely worded self-contradictory Ahadith and does not cite a single Qur’anic verse in its support. It refers to an alleged burning of date palms of the Jewish tribe Banu Nadir based on Hadith sources (Imam al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Acc. 365, 366, not expressly mentioned in the Fatwa), thus distorting the Qur’anic testimony regarding the cutting down (not burning) of some date palms (59:5). In a macabre twist of argument, it parallels arson with gruesome acts like “leaving snakes, scorpions and other dangerous insects among the defence establishments (domain) of the enemy and, notably the abode of common Americans reflecting the Kharijite ideology that justified “the killing of the children of the infidels, their own parents, and all the non-Muslims of the world.” . This calls for a brief introduction to the Kharijites:
The term Kharijite means “those who are expelled from the realm of Islam.” The sect was born within decades after the Prophet’s death when an extremist band of the followers of Caliph Ali broke away from the community in protest against his holding negotiation with his rebellious governor of a province (Syria), Mu‘awiyah. Philip K. Hitti refers to the Kharijites as a brutally fanatic puritanical sect who abhorred the veneration of saints, readily killed their opponents and “caused rivers of blood to flow in the first three centuries of Islam” .
Part-8. This concluding part singularly focuses on brutal and mass killing of the enemy. It begins with the lawfulness of burning the enemy as it established earlier, and symbiotically appropriates “opening the dams of rivers and lakes” to drown the inmates of a fort or besieged town, launching mortar attack and “releasing snakes and scorpions on the enemy even if the women and children are also mixed with the men”. It then lays down a few tiers of argument on the strength of several jurists on the lawfulness of these measures to which It adds ‘demolishing their buildings, spreading poison and smoke” if it is not possible to capture or dominate them without resorting to these practices”. Having thus imperceptibly established the justification of a terror attack through a succession of arguments the Fatwa leapfrogs from medieval battlefield to the American cities and questions the sanity of any Muslim who declares “killing the Americans even in New York and Washington is unlawful.”
The concluding claim of the Fatwa of being authenticated by the Qur’an and the Hadith is a blatant lie, as each of its proposition is refuted on the strength of the Qur’an and this concluding part of the Fatwa and the eight parts cumulatively do not table a single Qur’anic verse or authenticated (Sahih) Hadith narration (such as from Imam Bukhari or Muslim) to support its theme - though any Hadith narration would not have lent it any credence as the Qur’an refutes each part of the Fatwa and all the eight parts cumulatively.
Concluding remarks of the author of this detailed refutation
1. The Taliban ideologue's Fatwa is targeted at the oppressed, dispossessed, bereaved and marginalized segment of the global Muslim community. These are the people who never hit the media and are largely forgotten by the world or blamed for their misfortunes and seldom if ever compensated for their losses. They do not belong to al-Qaida or the Taliban. They are the unfortunate civilians – the underdogs of the global society who have borne the brunt of the recent allegedly just invasions of Muslim lands (Afghanistan, Iraq), the war on terror by any country - non-Muslim (America, France, Britain) or Muslim (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria), Israel’s occupation of Muslim lands and allegedly defensive military operations, India’s counter-terror activities in Kashmir, repressive actions and marginalization in any Muslim minority country from China in the East to Spain in the West.
2. Violence is contagious and breeds violence. Despite the escalating human and material cost of violence - whether of terror or counter-terror nature including just wars, the sceptre of terror continues to haunt the world and threaten its peace and stability. Hence, a peaceful path must be explored to tackle the growing menace of Kharijite brand of Islam as appropriated in the preservationist, puritanical Salafi/Jihadist ideology.
3. From a purely political and secular perspective, if those in power in the democratic and self proclaimed just and civilized world can redefine civilians caught in some military operations as terrorist and remain mute witnesses to the colossal loss of civilian life in modern high tech wars, the terror ideologues, groomed in the atavistic theology of early terror outfits of Islam (the Kharijies) can do likewise by drawing on their theological archives, and this refutation on religious ground may fall on deaf ears, and this entire exercise beguiles like mirage on the compassionless terrain of 21st century civilization – an era when greed, glory, power, bigotry and overt or covert hatred occupy human mind and justice, compassion and neutrality are mere rhetoric for public consumption.
4. This Refutation can have no, or at best a marginal impact in stemming the rising trend of militant jihad unless:
· General Muslim public as well as target readers of the Fatwa are counter-indoctrinated against jihadist-Kharijite ideology through exposure to Qur’anic message on the “universal brotherhood of humanity that allows people of diverse faith, culture, colour and language to live together, to know each other and to assist each other to make life easy and peaceful for all human beings.” 
· The profoundly humanitarian crisis of the Palestinians is resolved and Injustice and excessive use of violence against Muslim civilians such as in wars and counter-terror measures is mitigated.
· All kind of violence - riots, ethnic cleansing against the Muslims in Muslim minority countries is curbed.
· The mainstream Muslim people are exempted from any blame for the terror-crime of a lone or a handful of ideological terrorists, for they may be as unconnected with a terror attack as any non-Muslim citizen.
· The Muslim majority countries treat the non-Muslim minority as their co-equal, effectively ban any form of mob violence against them and extend them all the rights and privileges they expect for themselves in Muslim minority countries.
· The Muslims in Muslim minority countries take active part in pursuit of universal knowledge and all forms of sports and cultural activities to gain equitable representation in professions, academy, corporate business and all lawful sectors of society and appropriate the cultural paradigms of the mainstream societies within the inclusive framework of the Qur’an.
1. Thomas W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, (First publication 1896, 2nd extended edition 1913). Delhi 1990, p. 88.
2. Ghunit al-talebin, Urdu translation by Shahir Shams Barelwi, Arshad Brothers, New Delhi p.178-180.
3. History of the Arabs, 1937, 10th edition; London 1993, p. 247.]
4. Muhammad Yunus and Ashfaque Syed, Amana Publications, Maryland, US-2009, Chap. 9.7]
Refutation Of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Appearing In Taliban Website Nawa-E-Afghan Jihad Supporting Wanton Killing Of Innocent Civilians And Thus Justifying The 9/11 Attacks - Part-1
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's fatwa appearing in Taliban website Nawa-e-Afghan
Jihad supporting wanton killing of innocent civilians and thus justifying the
9/11 attacks - Part-2
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Supporting Wanton Killing Of Innocent Civilians
Of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Appearing In English Translation
In New Age Islam Website Supporting Wanton Killing Of Innocent Civilians Under
Special Circumstances And Thus Justifying The 9/11 Attacks - Part-4.
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Supporting Wanton Killing of Innocent Civilians
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Supporting Wanton Killing of Innocent Civilians-Part
Refutation of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa
Supporting Wanton Killing of Innocent Civilians – Part 7
Up: Refutation of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Abeeri's Fatwa Supporting Wanton Killing of
Innocent Civilians under Special Circumstances and Thus Justifying the 9/11
Attacks – Part 8
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
comments printed in blue.
You state: ‘ the word "Hum"( هُمْ) in Arabic is attached pronoun, masculine gender, plural number.
It refers only to males.’
If you do read the Qur’an in Arabic, you
must be familiar with the oft repeated expression: ‘hum fiha kahlidun, meaning
‘They (men and women) will abide in it eternally. Thus, your statement is
You state, “It should also be noted that the word , ABKARA
which means virgins, in (56:36- "fajaalna hunnaabkaara"
in the Arabic Quran) "having
resurrected them as virgins" ), is plural of BIKR in Arabic, which means
The verse 56:36 offers an earthly image
of the ‘ashab il yamin.’ The preceding verses tell us about this expression: On
the day the Final Event (waqea) occurs (iza waq ‘atil waq‘ia (opening verse of
the 56th Sura), God will grade humanity into three categories: al
sabiqun (the foremost in good deeds), the ashab ul yamin (56:27) and the sahab
ul shimal (56:41). The Qur’an does not furnish any evidence to suggest feminine
sexual orientation of the ashab il yamin.
In an earlier passage (90:17-18) the
Qur’an describes ashab al maimana as those who believe and bid to patience and
mercy – obviously the expression is applicable to both the sexes.
The Qur’an’s rich vocabulary allows diverse
shades of meaning of the same word. The word bikr is used in the verse 2:68
with the connotation of youth or underage. Hence the verse 2:69 refers to an
age between bikr (too young) and farith (old).
You state, “Moreover
the pronoun HUNNA,(femles) also proves it. the word HUNNA, هُنَّ is used for personal attached noun, feminine
gender, plural number”
In the verse 56:70, ‘fi hinna khairat in
hisan’ the Qur’an uses feminine pronominal un form for the Paradise. So, in the
Qur’anic diction, feminine pronominal form is not the same as a female or a woman.
Like Urdu and French, Arabic employs a
gendered grammar (wash shames wad duhaha in 91:1) and use of a feminine
pronominal form is not necessarily any indication of any reference to the e feminine sex.
I hope this answers your queries.
Dear Unus Saheb ,
You did not address the more relevant second part
of my comments.
In (44:54) And We shall pair them with companions
pure, most beautiful of eye. ( kazalika zawwajna “hum”
bi hurin ein). the word "Hum"( هُمْ) in Arabic is attached pronoun, masculine
gender, plural number. It refers only to males.
When God says, "We shall pair them (hum, هُمْ , in Arabic i.e. males)
with companions pure, most beautiful of eye (who have feminine descriptive
qualities, as we have seen in (56:35) (Inna
ansh’na hunna (هُنَّ) insha’an- in Original
Arabic Quran) "for, behold, We shall have brought them
(هُنَّ) into being in a life renewed, (56:36) having resurrected them (هُنَّ) as virgins)", it is
obvious that the word HUR is refering only to women because if we accept the
neutral gender theory, we will have to assume that God will pair males with
males- A thing that we can never imagine. It is quite clear that , those who
are promised are HUM i.e. males and the promised object is HUNNA i.e. females. It should also be noted that
the word , ABKARA which means virgins, in (56:36- "fajaalna hunna abkaara" in the Arabic Quran)
"having resurrected them as virgins" ), is plural of BIKR in Arabic,
which means virgin. The term only refers to
sexually inexperienced women, as far as Islam is concerned. This
term has never been used for males in the Quran or Hadith. Moreover the pronoun
HUNNA,(femles) also proves it.
HUNNA, هُنَّ is used for personal attached noun, feminine gender, plural number” , and
the same pronoun has been used in most of the verses in which Hur has been
mentioned. As far non-living beings, the word HA’( هَا) is used as attached pronoun for both singular and plural. I
have tried my best to prove my point. But if you are still adament to stick to
your point, you have every right to do so.
Thanks for sparing so much of your precious time
I have a comment to make, and I hope, that concern too is addressed. This time Junagadhi got caught for using feminine reference 'badi badi aankhon wali'. This 'wali' is clearly feminine and as clarified by Dear Mr. Mohd Yunus Sir, a wrong. I take his point.
My point is that some people get stuck with 'badi badi aankhon' thing too and take it literally. They think, there really would be some one with big eyes not realizing that 'big eyes' is only usage of words to denote 'beauty' perhaps because in Arab culture or perhaps everywhere else too, big eyes is associates with beauty. And since it is specially done so for women, this idea of putting a feminine tone comes from that.
My understanding is, and may be I am wrong for that but would like to be corrected, that these words are to be taken as allegory only and should be understood as ‘good people will meet “beautiful fate”, not even mate, in the Hereafter.
To support my view, I present an example of self help books, the motivational ones, where there are lots of examples of cats and dogs and crow and eagle and hen and chicken, but all those stories are not to be taken literally, but to understand an idea. I read a beautiful quote somewhere by someone called Brendan Gill saying: ‘Words are not things, existing “out there” in space, with immutable denotations and connotations, but are instead temporary approximations of our ideas about things.’
Even when I write, I write lots of nonsense to support an idea, but do not ever budge from a central theme and I guess that is also a style of writing. When the objective is to communicate, three fourth of it is done non-verbally, when the communicators are physically present but perhaps, when they are not, then all non-verbals too needs to be translated verbally apart from the actual idea that is to be communicated by verbal means. I think we should be reading Quran with its theme in our mind. Call it a biased approach, but it works beautifully that way. If you read good meanings there, everything falls in place properly. If you read with a prejudice against it, you may spot only those things which you think is absurd or ugly. But one should ask oneself, why would an ugly thing be appreciated by so many good people of yore as well as of present? Those people who believed/believe in good things and who did/do good?
Dear Khalid Sahab,
I am grateful that you acknowledged the error. What frustrates me profoundly is the tendency of some Muslim commentators to constantly shift theme and try to keep an argument alive all the time. But I see you are focused and linear in your arguments. So please read the following closely before raising your next question. We are human beings and none is above error, but the Qur’an indeed is or else the Arabs, who had hones their language to the highest level of perfection would have torn it into pieces, and for that matter I personally would not have taken the trouble to defend it for a book that suffers literary flaw cannot be a word of God. Let me answer you point by point.
1. You quote the following rendition of the verse 44:54 from Asad and Junagadhi saying, ‘The readers can campare the two translations to find if there is any deference between the two”
(44:54) And We shall pair them with companions pure, most beautiful of eye.
Ref: The Message of The Quran, translated and explained by Muhammad Asad
(44:54) Aur ham badi badi aankhon wali horon se unka nikah kar denge.
Ref: Quran Kareem,Mae(with) Tarjumah wa Tafseer, by salafi Alim, Maulana Muhammad Junagadhi, Printed by K.S.A
1. On comparative translation:
Assad’s translation is gender nutral, Junaggadhi’s is gendered – it presents the word hur as a feminine entity.
Assad translates the root ZWJ (zawwajna) in gender neutral fashion which is consistent with the Qur’anic usage of this word in neutral gender form as a ‘mate’ of either sex, or simply ‘species’ (see verses: 2.25 (neutral), 2.230 (masculine), 2.232 (m), 2.234 (feminine), 2.240 (f), 3.15 (n), 4.12 (f), 4.20 (f), 4.57 (n), 20.131 (n), 23.6 (n), 24.6 (f), 30.21 (f), 31:10 (n), 53.45 (n), 56:7 (n) 64.14 (n), 70.30 (n).
Jungadhi’s translates the root ZWJ in feminine gender and concludes his translation with the expression, “unka nikah kar denge.” If you do understand Arabic, you will know that the word “zawwajanhunna” can only mean ‘pairing’ as Assad has done, and not ‘performing the act of nikah’ which has a gendered and sexual undertone.
2. Many Arabic words have been adopted in Urdu with different connotations to those used in the Qur’anic Arabic: husn for personal beauty against hasana for goodness in Arabic; zauja for wife against mate or pair in Aarbic, as relevant to the above exercise.
3. The traditional translations at times misinterpret key Qur'anic words/ notions for their reliance on dictionaries which table the adapted meanings of the Arabic words. However, you can take the highly researched and internationally acknowledged work of Muhammad Assad and critique my comments in an objective manner.
4. I will request you to focus on the theme of the article rather than the diction of the Qur’an that had overwhelmed its Arab audience and is being debated and explored for the last 14 centuries. If it were flawed, it would not have stood up to its claims of excellence and being unparalleled and rejected in the Prophet’s era.
5. As regards quoting hadith to prove the Qur’an, you can turn Islam into a cult of seventh century Arabia if you were to interpret it in light of hadith – as you ought to know.
6. The gender dynamics of the Qur’an is too technical a subject to be discussed be discussed by way of a commentary.
I am elaborating on your comments to share my knowledge with you and not being overwhelmed by your criticism. If you speak in a high handed or contemptuous tone, I will be as good as dead for you and will not respond to any of your mails, though I may post comments to any sincere query aimed at understanding rather than maligning the Qur’an and the Prophet, for the Qur’anic message touches the heart of only those who approach it sympathetically: “la yamuusushu illal mutahhirin.”
Dear Muhammad Yunus Saheb,
Yes I could not not see this reference (44: 54) given by you, thus I wrongly accused you of skipping this verse. This was a big mistake.I apologise for this .
But when you say that, "The word hur connotes the purest form of whiteness (Note 8, Ch. 56). The word also appears in the verses 44:54 and 52:20 with a qualifying epithet, ‘ayin, which means ‘the large eyed ones’. This has led the classical interpreters to associate this term with a female being - a woman, of fair complexion and large eyes. Such an interpretation has no Qur’anic basis, and is merely speculative", I do not agree with you.
I am qouting bellow the translation of Muhammad Asad , along with the classical Urdu translation of a Salafi Alim "Quran Kareem,Mae(with) Tarjumah wa Tafseer" printed by the Saudi government. The readers can campare the two translations to find if there is any deference between the two,
Ref: Quran Kareem,Mae(with) Tarjumah wa Tafseer, by salafi Alim, Maulana Muhammad Junagadhi, Printed by K.S.A.
, (52:20) And [in that paradisel We shall mate them with companions pure, most beautiful of eye.
, (52:20) Aur Ham unka nikah badi badi aankhon waaliyon se kar diye hain.
56:34 And [with them will be their] spouses, raised high, (56:35) for, behold, We shall have brought them into being in a life renewed, (56:36) having resurrected them as virgins, (56:37) full of love, well-matched (56:38) with those who have attained to righteousness:
56:34 Aur oonche oonche farshon mein honge, (56:35) Ham ne unko (unki biwiyon ko) Khas Taur par banaya hai, (56:36) Aur hamne unhe kunwariyaan (virgins) bana diya hai, (56:36) muhabbat waliyaan aur ham umr hain, dahene hath walon ( those who have attained to righteousness) ke liye.
1-All the descriptive qualities of "HUR" are feminine as alluded to, by the hadiths. The Arabic 'wa kawaa'iba atraaban' in verse 78:33 (buxom girl)is also a feminine noun.
2- (44:54) And We shall pair them with companions pure, most beautiful of eye. ( kazalika zawwajna hum bi hurin ein). Please note that "Hum" in Arabic is personsl pronoun, plural masculine gender.
When God says, "We shall pair them (hum, in Arabic) with companions pure, most beautiful of eye (who have masculine escriptive qualities), the word HUR gives no meaning other than women.
This also has to be noted that for personal noun, plural masculine gender” Hunna”is used, and the same pronoun has been used in most of the verses in which Hur has been mentione, for example in (56:35) “ Inna ansh’na ‘hunna’ in sha’an fajalna’ hunna’ abkara”. As far non-living beings, the word HA’ is used as pronoun for both singular and pliral. Unfortunately, non-Arabic knowing peaple can hardly undestand this and therefore can be easily fooled.
3- Proof from Hadith, "...everyone will have two wivesF from the houris, (who will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that) the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh."
—Muhammad al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 54 "The Beginning of Creation", hadith 476)
They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their censers. Their wives will be houris. All of them will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in stature), sixty cubits tall.
—Muhammad al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 55 "Prophets", hadith 544