Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Relevance of Humanistic Interpretation of the Quran

 By VA Mohamad Ashrof, New Age Islam

4 November 2020


At this historical juncture when Islamophobia has become fervent in the global scenario, it is relevant to see how Islamic interpretation is adding fuel to it. Oblivious of this bare fact will not solve Muslim problem, since it is some archaic and dangerous interpretations are acting as a vicious circle in the perpetuation of Islamophobia. The International Human Rights Declaration of 1948 was a great leap of progress that mankind has achieved from the pre-modern stage. It legally abolished slavery and listed all acts that disgrace humans as criminal offence. Democracy, secularism and human freedom have accepted as the unbreakable principles of modernity. This paper attempts to mark out the imperfections and failures of some Muslim interpretations from an Islamic humanistic perspective.


Islam is commonly understood as a religion which competes (1) with other religions and can be established through argumentative debates with others. In Malaysia, Muslim organizations have even earned court orders (2) entitling them to use ‘Allah’ monopolistically. Popular Muslim imagination is that Islam is a ‘religion’ which is competing the other religions and that it is the only one accepted by God.(3) This is a clear deviation from the Quranic conception of a universal philosophy which acts as the ethical consciousness (4) which is inherent in human mind as God consciousness (5) even before the creation of man and which was propagated by the Prophets (6) and through Revealed Books. (7)

It is frightening to see Islam as ‘Muhammadanism’ which merely originated in the sixth century. A study in 2010 (8) which concludes that Islamic values still exist in the western societies reveals the tragic consequences of this sabotage. The roots of Muslim backwardness in the arena of science should be sought in the very hermeneutical process that Muslims have employed. It is also remarkable that Muslims do not offer to science even one tenth of the contributions of the Jews, who come about mere one percent of Muslims, though Muslim fundamentalists would not hesitate to damn the Jewish community as accursed. What motivates scientific explorations now is the two-dimensional view of the text in which not only the verses themselves but the nature is considered as Ayat (evidence).(9)

There is no Quranic basis for the argument that those who do not believe in Prophet Muhammad and enter the fold of Islam as inhabitants of hell. Heaven is not made a monopoly of any particular religious group. (10) Religious and linguistic diversity is divine-ordained. (11) The real ‘Kafir’ is someone who does an aggression against humanitarianism. (12) It does not have the meaning of “unbeliever.” True jihad is a liberation struggle against exploitation, oppression and tyrannical religious authorities which is motivated by sheer sacrifice. (13)

The sabotage attempts were started right in the period of the third Caliph Usman Ibn Affan. Muawiyah exacerbated these attempts by the formation of a private army with the money from the public exchequer against the fourth Caliph Ali. (14)By appointing his son Yazid as the Sultan, Mu’awiya started autocracy in the Muslim world. A new form of Islam which oppressed and silenced opponents, justified aggression and violence and recognised a hierarchical social structure was also formed. Priesthood which controlled production of knowledge also appeared in the disguise of authority.

The distortions that were made in the Quran translation and commentary and the ultimate purity specifically accorded to the learned people in the first three centuries were a continuation of this process. From an open scripture which constantly demands re-reading, the Quran was changed into a book of liturgy. The door of ijtihad (research) was touted as being closed and the Scripture came to be read in the light of knowledge that was prevalent till the 9th century. Instead of the universal humanism in the Quran, priesthood, racism, feudalism, monarchy, capitalism and patriarchy claimed the monopoly over knowledge. Formulating the concepts of concordance and difference (Al Wala' Wal Bara') (15), they spread mischief on the earth by sharply dividing the world into the ‘abode of Islam’ and ‘abode of Kufr.’ (16)

The Hermeneutical Sabotage

Israeli Myths have influenced the early Quranic hermeneutics. Tabari (CE 838-923) confirmed the myth that Eve was created from the rib of Adam (Ayoob,  p.82). He did not hesitate to support the Hebrew myth; either, that menstruation is the reprisal for Eve’s downfall. (Tabari, p.280)

The word ‘Adan’ in the verse 2:222 was translated so as to mean ‘a state of disease or illness.’ The direct meanings of the word such as ’displeasure or uneasiness or travail’ (Q.2:196, 33:57, 61:5) were hidden. (17) When the word carries the meaning of ‘impurity’ with reference only to women, it is clearly misogynous.

When the medieval jurists interpreted the word ‘Yahidna’ (65:4) as ‘girls who have not yet started puberty’, they were justifying child marriage. (18) Salafi scholars Ibn Baz, Ibn Jibrin and Sheik al Uthaymeen (Fadl, 2014, p. 550-598) supported the practices of child marriage and cutting of female clitoris (Fadl, 2014, p. 550-598), while Saleh Al-Fawzan issued the Fatwa demanding the rejuvenation of the practice of keeping slave woman as consorts (Fadl, 2005, p. 255).

They interpreted the word ‘Qanitat’ in verse 4:34 as ‘strict obedience to one’s husband’, thereby justifying the concept of patriarchy. (19)

The Word Houri, which means ‘eye-catching’ and ‘pleasing’, was interpreted as the female enchantresses in the Paradise. (20)

Their misinterpretation of the Quran verse 24:4, which actually proscribes slandering against women, gave legal validity to the hudud law, which prevents a raped woman from raising complaints against aggressors, as it stipulated the presence of four witnesses. (21)

They used the Quranic phrase ‘Lahw Al-Hadith’ (entertaining reports) in 31:6 to ban music. (22)

When the classical jurisprudence defined marriage on the basis of a woman’s submission to her husband (Tamkin) and man’s spending for her livelihood (nafaka) (Kamali, p. 188), it actually made marriage a commercial deal and humiliated womanhood.  (23)

The Quran verse 33:59, which instructs the wives and daughters of the Prophet to draw their upper dress over them, was bracketed with an addition, “hiding all except their eyes or one eye.” (Hilali, p. 570)

The Fiqh text of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, instead of problematically considering social inequality, openly admitted them, even to the extent that it stressed the nobility and higher status of the Quraish and Arabs in marital relationships. (Fiqh, p. 28-29) (24)

To copy the classical version of Mada’hibs will create deleterious social consequences. The four schools do not acknowledge the witness of a woman in Hudud cases. They declare death sentence to heresy and apostasy; they permit triple Talaq; dismiss music; permits mutilation of clitoris; dismiss female guardianship (excepting Hanafi madhab) they permit the parents to forcefully marry their daughter off to someone whom they prefer; they deny women to assume political leadership. (25) Al-Umm of Imam Shafi categorically states that a husband does not have the accountability to bear the medical expenses of his wife (8:337). In Fathhul Mueen of Sheikh Zainuddin Makhdum, which is a noted work in Shafi jurisprudence, the same argument is spelled out. (Makhdoom, p. 543). This is explicitly anti-Quranic. (26)  People like Ibn Baz issued Fatwa supporting the Misyar marriage which is similar to Muta’a. (Al Rashid, p.127)

According to the World Economic Forum, of the 25 countries, where women find it difficult to live, 20 countries are those of Muslims. (Ra’uf, P.111).

The first biographer of Islam Ibn Ishaq (P 166, 237) raised the argument that Prophet Muhammad was subjected to Satanic consciousness (Satanic Verses) in such a way that he made a conciliatory pact with the Quraish in Mecca; Ibn Taymiyya supported this argument. (Ahmed, p. 67-124). (27)

Ibn Ishaq wrote quite unashamedly that Prophet Muhammad was subjected to sorcery. (Ibn Ishaq, p.240).

The fabricated story of Prophet Muhammad being attracted by the beauty of Zainab is quoted by Tabari at some length (Armstrong, p.167). However, Orientalist historian Montgomery Watt disproved this allegation. (Watt, p.157-8)

Using the Quranic verses (Q.16:101, 2:106) which underline the slight deviation of the Quran from prior scriptures, the medieval jurists put forth the strange argument that all Quranic verses that espouse peace and humanism are cancelled. (28) They argue that as many as 564 such verses were cancelled. (Burton, p.184-187).

Sheikh Abdul Rahman al Jibrin, a prominent Jurist in the Salafi group of scholars, said in a fatwa: “It is essential not to mingle with non-Muslims. We feel love towards them and our piety will be decreased.” (Aziz, p. 263-265)

Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, former Imam of Grant Masjid, Mecca, confessed in an interview that ISIS leaders are saying all that is written in our books. (Al-Kalbani)

Though the Quran is a spotless Scripture (Q.15:9), we cannot dismiss the possibility of its being misinterpreted. Singling out independent verses (Quran 15:91-93), hiding other parts from the Scripture (Q. 6:91); and sabotaging the true essence without considering the context and time (Q. 5:44) are the ways in which the vested-interest group will work out their plan.

Prejudices and understanding of the meanings of some technical words always influence the interpretation. Moreover, there are attempts to insert one’s ideology inside the Quran using brackets. The most shocking example for this tendency is to bracket ‘like Jews’ and ‘like Christians’ in the verse 1:7 of Fatiha “not the way of someone who were subjected to your wrath and those who transgressed.” (Hilali, p.14)

Humanism: The Essence of Islam

Man is a special being into whom the spirit of God has been blown. (29) His creation is done in the perfect structure. (30) Literacy, skill of thinking, power of seeking knowledge, and freedom to explore reason and logic makes man unique and magnificent. (31) Man was entrusted with a burden which even the mountains could not bear. (32) The whole nature and the cosmic laws are subjected to humans.(33) Man has a divinely sure nature inherent in him. (34) Therefore, each human being is pure and sacred; and killing is a horrible offence. (35)

All humans who were born of common parents are siblings to each other. (36) Behaviour and approach to other humans is the measurement of humanism. If one’s sin is to be expatiated, the wrong committed on others should be redressed. (37) We have to defend evil with all that is good. (38)

Monotheism is the foundation of Islam. (39)  Since all humans are the creations of One God, they are entitled equality and justice. All human values (dignity of man, mercy, compromise, co-operation, and desire for peace) emerge from nothing but a monotheistic concept of God. That is the very argument of the Quran. That is the reason why our behaviour as citizens in the human society is related by the Quran to monotheism. (40) 

God is so self-sufficient that He does not require anything from man. (41) Man performs prayer and other worships for the benefits and betterment of themselves. (42) Only when we serve God’s creations, we can actually serve God. (43)

All those theories and systems that disgrace and denigrate the children of Adam should be disregarded and thrown away. All that the Quran offered to the world are universal values like human dignity, justice (44), brotherhood, right for personal self-determination (human freedom) (45) and societal self-determination (democracy). (46)

Racism of all sorts, communalism, capitalism, religious supremacism, and nationalism etc. are the products of a devilish consciousness. (47)

It is the responsibility of all believers to destroy the systems that claim monopoly over the resources that God has provided to mankind and that enforce poverty and hardship. (48) All Islamic interpretations that do not expose capitalism which is based on ‘Hawa’ (human desires and urges) should be rejected downright. The Quran openly attacks the tendencies that render selfishness, wealth and scholars as god. (49) The Quran also rejects the arguments of religious conservatives that poverty, the product of a man-made system, is caused by God.

Theology which shows no concern to the oppressed is irrelevant. (Boff, p.9) Earth has been entrusted to the mankind (trusteeship). (50) An important lesson we should learn from this is that all humans on the earth have equal rights over the earth. God stands by the side of the oppressed sections from sects. (51) The terms ‘Adl’ and ‘Qist’ were used in the Quran synonymously. (52) The first step towards piety is justice. (53) The Quranic declaration that God resolves to show mercy to the oppressed and to make them inheritors of the earth has to be underlined as a believer’s motto. (54) We have to read alongside this command about the statement of the Prophet who liberates from the heavy burden and the shackles which were chained them. (55) The stand of the elites in the society (mala’) will always be that of exploitation and oppression. (56)

The critical question regarding the state of humans on the earth is the way of earning and spending of wealth. (57) The scripture prevents all sorts of exploitations.(58) Wealth is not supposed to be circulated merely among the rich.(59) The highest state is the one in which people live in equality and justice and in which people do not disgrace or denigrate one another.(60) The warning of the Quran against accumulators

 of wealth is doomed is actually directed at the exploitative Capitalism.(61) Only when we spend the wealth in the way of God that we earnestly love, will it be the token of piety and righteousness. (62) To help the poor and the needy is the most rewarding responsibility.(63) Money which we hoard without creatively investing it will backfire against us. (64) Ethics is real test of acquiring and spending wealth. (65) The capitalist-racist-autocratic-and priestly nexus represented by Qaroon, Pharaoh, and Haman will spread mischief in the earth (Quran 29.39). Since God has arranged resources on the earth for all who need them, it is human actions that always lead to poverty. (66) The fundamental clash is between materialism that is rooted in luxury and extravaganza and ethics which is a provision of God. (67)

Resources that God mercifully gives all humans (Q.2:29, 45:13) should be made available to them. Spending wealth in order to help humans is described as ‘giving loan to God.’ (68) The Quran deals with welfare and benefits for society and people as if they are the right of God. (Emon, p.329). Success remains in our willingness to sacrifice with one’s wealth and body. (Q.61:11).

They ask you about what they should spend. Say: ‘Spend what is superfluous.’ (Q.2:219). This is the mainstream translation of the verse. How does the word, afvan, which means ‘generously or in a compromising manner,’ acquire the sense of ‘what remains after spending” in the context of financial dealings? Also, the verb ‘Yunfiqun’ in the verse is translated as ‘giving alms.’ In fact, this verse means in reality the spending of all blessings and benefits, including one’s wealth, in a creative and reproductive manner.

‘There is nothing but those whose treasury is with US.’ (Q.15:19) The real owner of the earth, resources and wealth is God. Then, the Qurans says that ‘we send them all down according to a due measurement (Qadr).” (15:21 ) Qadr (measurement), which God maintains in allocating resources has been usurped by the fanatic followers of desire, i.e. humans, and spent by them without maintaining equality and with so much greed. As a result, a section of people has been cut off from their required resources. They destroyed the Qadr of God by appropriating wind, rain, stones, sands, mountains, forests, and rivers for themselves (Quran 15:21). The contemporary ‘’shirk‘(polytheism) and its form of political power is the Neo-Liberal capitalism, which is based on exploitation and expropriation of resources, its coterie of agents and beneficiaries.

We should creatively spend or donate the wealth which is the surplus after meeting our base necessities. (69) After Caliph Umar implemented this system of trusteeship, poverty was eradicated from Arabia in CE 640.

All luxuries will lead to disaster. (70) We intend to achieve a just and equitable economic order when the Quran lays stress on interest-free order. Most systems that exploit humans are interest-oriented. (71) The existential question faced by humans is: who it is who does noble acts by preserving and protecting the earth. (72) 

However, it is power-centric Islamic hermeneutics which forsakes all liberation ideals that has been mainstreamed in the world. The ninth standard textbook in Saudi Arabic reiterates that ‘the destruction of the Jewish people is a certainty.  (Stark, p.97)

‘Islamic’ interpretations that support all sorts of perversions like slavery and concubinage, patriarchy, monarchy, and child marriage exacerbate Islamophobia. This upsets the moral equilibrium of the world and gives birth to warfare. Anti-intellectualism that persists in the Muslim world is also one of the causes of Islamophobia. It is quite natural that the world will treat in derision the society which celebrates someone who believes that the earth is flat as the Universal Muslim scholar (former Saudi chief Mufti Ibn Baz). (Sardar p. 48)

It is also problematic to follow the medieval fiqh rulings as such. It is not Shariah, but the contemporary interpretation of Shariah imbibing the higher objectives (Maqasid al Shariah) which is truly relevant. Many Muslim children whose father died are denied inheritance in their grandfather’s property (Q. 2:220, 4:2, 4:6, 4:10, 6:152, 17:34, 51:19). This is the tragic consequence brought about by an interpretation that does not regard the spirit of the Quran. The Quran outlines the noble objectives (Maqasid) of Namaz, fasting, and zakat. (73) By Maqasid al Shariah, we do not mean mechanic implementation of the Shariah rulings, but determination of their purposes and objectives for the modern world. (74)

Renouncing Priesthood

Jesus’ criticism that priestly class lays stress on inconsequential things and deliberately neglects serious issues in the Scripture like justice and mercy is always relevant (Mathew 23:23). God is nearer to man than even their jugular veins. (75) Therefore, there need not be mediator between God and man. The Quran proclaims a rational belief, not blind obedience. (76) The Quran declares that different peoples were given different forms of worship, making religious differences irrelevant, and that fundamental humanistic values are all the same. What the Quran contains are the ideas enshrined in earlier scriptures. (77)

All people will be subjected to trail according to what they were given. (78) However, Quran exegete Ibn Kathir opined that the ‘different societies’ which the Quran outlines in 5:48 are earlier societies that precede Prophet Muhammad and with the arrival of the Prophet, all those communities had become invalid. However, we can see that the renowned exegete hides the significance of the vocative ‘Isthabiku’, which signifies present tense and means ‘vie with one another in virtue.’ (Ibn Kathir,  p.1351-1357). How could invalidated communities be exhorted to vie with another in virtue?

All information and news have to be rationally assessed. (79) Earlier understandings and traditions should be subjected to rigorous critical scrutiny; those who do not dare to do so will become inhabitants of Hell. (80) To blindly imitate scholars is tantamount to attribution of peers to God (shirk). (81) Since ‘enforcement’ is not permissible in the affair of deen, the political structure should inescapably become secular; theocracy is anti-Islamic. The discourse of Muslim politics validates Hindutva politics, as well. An ‘Islam’ which is centred on rituals and worship has been established, by undermining Quranic philosophy of liberation. Rituals are not self-directed; they are mere means to an objective.

Scriptures have been exploited to justify war, colonialism, expropriation, slavery, economic exploitation, child marriage, lustfulness, priestly interests etc. No scriptures, whether they are of Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus are not exempted from this. The Quran has openly declared the end of those who sabotage the Message of God.  (82)

Freedom of expression, freedom from the clutches of the priestly class, social and economic justice, urge for peace, a programme for getting united for virtue are all essential for the existence of a merciful society. (83) All these are the fundamentals of Islam. However, pluralism, stress on human rights, democratic concept, concept for human freedom and tolerance were all extensively undermined in the Muslim world by the active connivance of priestly class. American Law Professor David Forte said in amazement that Muslims should have been the first to ban slavery, to declare complete freedom of religion and to ensure social equality of women. (Cited by Aykol, p.62). However, Muslims let themselves be overtaken by others in all these issues. It was only in 1962 that slavery was prohibited in Saudi Arabia, that too, under the pressure of the international community. (Lewis, 2002, p. 89)

Saudi Arabia disgraced Islam by discording on the International Human Rights Declaration of 1948; it said that it could not agree with an individual’s right to change his/her religion! (Little, p. 32-52).

The contemporary tragedy is that ISIS puts forth Islamic arguments to subjugate Yazidis. They have done this through a hermeneutic sabotage of the Quranic programme which exhorts abolition of slavery. The mission of the Prophets and Scriptures is to lead people from darkness to light (Q. 57:9). It is such a reading of the Quran by which we aim to reclaim the liberationist values of the Quran that the oppressed people and societies, both in the east and the west, are eagerly waiting for.


1. The Arabic equivalent of the word religion is madhab. Deen means ‘eternal ethical system’ (Sanatana dharma) (Q. 3:83, 2:256, 30:26-30). Divine Deen has supremacy over non-divine Deen (Q. 9:33). Islam is a divine system which is different from human perspectives (Q. 7:59, 11:50, 7:65, 29:16). It is submission (Q. 3:19), which is the system of life in God. All Prophets and scriptures propagated Islam (Q. 3:67, 2:132). This system of life is above all man-made systems of life. (Q. 61:9).

Even at the lifetime of Prophet Abraham, there were Muslims (Q. 22:78, 42:13, 21: 73). Noah and Jesus were Muslims (Q. 7:59, 3:52). Muslims believe not only in the Quran, but in the divine commandments in Evangel and Torah (Q. 5:47-48, 5:59, 5:68). All creations have submitted themselves to the divine program, by force of obligation. Being Muslim is that one’s wilful choice becomes suitable to the divine program. Therefore, the ethical system with God is always ‘Islam’ (submission) (Q. 3:83, 22:34, 3:20, 4:125, 3:85).

2. The notorious Malaysian court judgment in 2013 is the correction of the judgment in 2009 which had stipulated that anyone can use the word ‘Allah.’ The argument that ‘Allah’ is the word restricted for the followers of the Prophet is anti-Quranic (Q. 5:17, 5:18, 7:110, 5:72, 5:73, 2:111, 12:38). All that the Quran contains are already there in previous scriptures (Q. 26:196, 87:18-19). To privatise the Lord (1:1) of both the east and west (2:115) in this way is flagrant violation of the universality of Islam. The argument that Islam is another religion which outshines all other religions and Muslims are a special community sans specific system are mere erroneous interpretations (See the Q. 9:33, 3:11, 2:148, 5:48). However, the Quranic perspective is vaster and more elaborate: We have believed in whatever is sent to us and whatever is sent to you; our God and your God is One (Q. 29:46). You may call Him Allah or Rahman (Q. 17:110). “God is the Lord of us and you. You are responsible for what you do, and we are responsible for whatever you do. So, there should not be any arguments among us. God will assemble all of us.” (Q. 42:15)

3. Such an idea has been formulated through the narrow, and mistaken interpretations of certain verses (Q.3:85, 5:3, 61:9). The correct meaning is: ‘No other way will be accepted than the one that you completely submit yourself to God.’ (Q. 3:85) Submission to God has been acknowledged as the system of your life (Q. 5:3) so that His philosophy should get the better of all (man-made) ideals. (Q. 61:9)

4. See Quran 7:172

5. For example, the Quran considers Noah, Abraham, Jacob and their children as Muslims (Q. 10:72, 2:31, 5:51). The Universe is a Muslim as it is submissive to the divine laws (Q.3:83).

6. All divine scriptures espouse one ‘single Deen” (eternal dharma) (Q. 2:285, 3:3-4, 5:68, 57:26). Eternal dharma is to build a moral living in accordance with monotheism and eschatology. Islam is a verbal noun, not a noun. (Smith, p.103) All those who are completely submissive to God are Muslims.

7. See the Q. 91:8, 30:30, 32:9, 16:78, 46:28, 7:179.

8. In the study which compares 208 countries, nations such as Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, Britain, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Norway were singled out for enshrining Islamic economic values. It was Malaysia at the 33rd place which turns up the first among the Muslim countries. Afghanistan turns up as the 189th in the list. (Rahman, Askari, 2010, Askari Iqbal, 2014)

9. Q. 96:1-19, 41:53, 3:189-190, 30:11-27

10. The Quran condemns people who harbour such superstitions (Q.2:111, 2:112, 2:113). Those among the people of scriptures who maintain an eternal dharma will enter heaven (Q.3:113, 3:116, 3:115, 5:82 3:199). The reward of none will be wasted (Q. 42:40, 99:7, 4:49). Things are not decided as per your delusions, and not the delusions of the people of the Book. Whoever does an evil will have due recompense (Q. 4:123). Those who believe in God and in the process of reward and embrace a way of virtue (dharma) will not have to fear. (Q. 5:69, 2:62, 22:17).

11. The Creation of Day and Night as well as the diversity of your languages and colours are His signs. (Q. 30:22). Had God willed, He would have made you all one community. (Q. 5:48). The Divine imagination of the life in this world is that of an Olympics in which all Scriptural societies vie with one another in virtue (Q.3:114, 2:148, 5:48). It is part of the divine plan that there are different legal systems (Shariah) as per different people (Q..22:67, 22:69, 5:48). See also Quran10:99, 6:149, 39:18, 39:55.

12. Kafir is someone who denies and hides the truth despite their knowledge of it (Q. 2:109; 47:25). Kafir hesitates to spend wealth for the welfare of the poor (Q. 2:254, 3:179, 9:34-35). He becomes participant in the process of oppressing the weak (Q.4:168, 14:13, 5:79). The basic meaning of Kafir is ‘ungrateful.’ (Izutsu, p.54). Not all the people of the Book and polytheists; some of them would be (Q. 98:6, 98:1). Muhammad Ibn Qasim who captured Sindh by defeating King Dihr considered Hindus and Buddhists as people of the book as advised by scholars of the time, including Hasan Basari. This fact has been pointed out by Sayyid Sulaiman Nadvi in his Seerat al Nabaviyya. (Srivastava  p.43). Rulers from Muhammad Ibn Qasim to Aurangzeb considered Hindus as the People of the Book (Char, p.127). Prominent scholar Shah Abdul Aziz (1746-1824), grandson of erudite scholar Shah Waliullah, considered Hindus as people of the Book and said that their idol worship is meant to focus their memory on God. (Hasan, p.6). Muslim scholars who unequivocally said that Hindus were the people of the Book are Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958), Allama Iqbal (1876-1938), and T. Muhammad (1916-1988).

13. Jihad, sacrifice for struggle, is the implementation of divine justice by ending all sorts of oppression (Q. 2: 193); It is sacred war against oppression and exploitation (Q. 4:75). Jihad is also the struggle waged to preserve churches and synagogues (Q. 22-40). Islam is the way of peace (Q. 2: 208). An important method of jihad is the propagation of ideas using the Quran (Q. 25:52, 29:69). Injustice is not permissible anywhere (Q. 5:2, 5:8, 2:191). True Jihad is the struggle for preserving freedom of faith which is part of the Abrahamic ethics (Q.60:9-10). There is the Prophetic saying that Jihad is to tell truth to an oppressive regime (Musnad Ahmad: 18074). American Orientalist Bernard Lewis, who is propagandist of Zionism, said, “None of Islam’s foundational texts calls for terrorism. They do not instruct the killing of the innocent people.” (Lewis, p.30)

14. Ali divided the revenue in the country among people as per the law instituted by Umar. This infuriated the elites who had become wealthy during the previous rules. (K. Assan, p58). Syrian Governor Muawiyah then organised a private army using the income from the province. With the help of this army, he challenged the Caliph. (K.Assan p.58). In the ensuing clash, Ali’s army had the upper hand. When Muawiyah attempted to flee the battlefield, Amr Ibn As used a trick. He got the copies of the Quran impaled on spears and shouted: “Let this Book solve the issue.” (K. Assan, p.59). Muawiyah used the revenue from the states for amassing armaments. (K. Assan p. 63). He had may prominent leaders murdered by poisoning and cheating. He broke the promises given to Ali’s son Hasan in order to crown his Yazid as the king (K. Assan, p. 68). Contrary to the custom of electing Caliphs, he crowned his son as his successor (K. Assan, p. 69). By declaring himself as a leader in CE 657, Muawiya attempted to sabotage the righteous rule of the fourth Caliph using his private army. His aim was to spread mischief on the earth. He was claiming power through aggression and violence by destroying the system of consultation (Shura) (Fadl, 2012, p.49). By initiating the practice of cursing Ali from Minbar, he exacerbated divisions among the Muslims. He encouraged spreading of fabricated Ahadith which extolled his praise. Exponents of the Umyyad rule spread ahadith which praised Muawiya and decried Ali. (Brown, p.22). Mu’awiya reinstated all the pomp of the monarchy. Even his deputy governor lived in luxury equaling that of the royal seats of Rome and Persia. (Roberson, p.336).

15. Those who do not maintain relationship (wala’) and opposition (Bara’) in due measure are at the brink of heresy (Al Qahtani p.34-35)

16. Darul Islam and Darul Harb are categories that are not mentioned either in the Quran and Sunnah (Haleem, p. 68). That is merely a human attempt to describe a geo-political strategy at a particular stage in history. Such situations no longer exist (Ramadan, p.69).  Majid Qadduri observes that such categories and terminologies were introduced in CE 732, when the advance of the Muslim army was blocked. (Bennett, p.158)

17. For example, in Tafsir Jalalyn, the word has been translated as ‘disease’ (Suyuti, Page 58). Even English translator like Yusuf Ali (1872-1953) considers this word to mean ‘painful and impure.’ (Ali, Page 87)

18. For example, See Tafsir Jalayni (Suyuti Page 689). A closer reading of the Quran makes it clear that the situation here is amenoria in which menstruation is abnormally delayed or hindered. The Quran clearly gives us hint about the ideal age for marriage. (A) Quran relates the maturity in the age of marriage to the age for taking correct decisions (Q. 4:6). (B) Quran instructs to marry spouses who are scrupulous about ideals (Q. 2:221) (C) Prevention of forced marriages (Q. 4:19). (D) The economic responsibility of the groom to the bride (Q.65:6) (E) Description of marriage as a solemn contract (Q.4:21). Marriage is not a child’s play. Mental and physical maturity is essential for entering the contract (F) Mutuality and love in the marital relationship (Q.2:187, 30:21). It was on the basis of a Hadith (Bukhari 58:234) that the medieval interpreters and their blind imitators are standing against the raising of marital age. An analytical research will bring to fore that the Hadith is a myth which could pave the way for anachronism. For more details, see Yasin Mol 2001. These suggest that the age of Ayisha at the time of her marriage was 19.

19. See Tafsir Jalalyni, for example (Suyuti, Page 108). The correct meaning of the word is ‘submission or obedience to God.’ The word ‘Qunut’ is used for men and women (Q. 3:17, 33;35), Mariyam (Q. 66:12) and non-humans (Q. 30:26, 2:17). If Qanitat in 4:34 is translated as ‘women who obey their husbands’, other verses would conflict with it. For example, Qaniteen in 33:35 would mean ‘husbands who obey their wives.’

20. ‘Hur’ is a word that is applicable to both the genders. The Quran uses the word to mean ‘sacred spouses’ (Q.2:25, 3:15, 4:57, 55:72).

21. Patriarchy has undermined the Quranic injunction that there be four witnesses to establish allegation of adultery against women (Q.24:2-5). The failure to differentiate between rape and adultery was, indeed, the rape of justice. Abominable injustice wore the garb of Islam and established its course of action against women. That was the tragic consequence of penalizing one’s declaration of having been raped! Rape is not adultery. It should be categorized as ‘harb’ (stealing) of another’s right using force (Q. 2:279, 5:33-34). However, Maliki jurists have included rape under the category of ‘Hiraba.’ (Web, p.130). Such crimes need only circumstantial evidences like DNA testing and fingerprint (forensic evidence) as proof.

22. In the official Quran translation of Saudi Arabia, the phrase ‘lahval Hadith’ in 3:16, is translated as ‘useless talks’ and glossed using bracket as ‘music and singing’ (Hilali, p.562). Humans have no right to prohibit what God has not clearly proscribed. The Quran mentions about the signing of Prophet David (Q. 21:79, 38:18-20, 34:10). In Hadith, we see the Prophet chiding his disciple Abubakar for trying to prevent the signing of women (Bukhari 2:15:72, 2:15:70, 2: 58: 268). For an analytical study of Hadith (See Magrini, p. 270). Some people are leaving no stones unturned to create a boring and dry Islam.

23, According to Malki School of law, ‘when a woman gets married, she is selling her genitals.’ (Ruxton,p. 106), However, the Quran describes marriage as a perfect model of mutuality, warmth and love (Q. 9:71, 2:187, 2:228, 2:229, 2:231, 65:2, 30:21). It prevents using force against women (Q. 4:19, 33:28)

24. Among South Asian Muslims, there is the practice of a system like caste in the name of suitability of marriage proposals. This has distanced even social reformers like Ambedkar from Islam (To read more about the social hierarchy among Muslims, Falahi 2007)

25. All Prophets were subjected to cruel allegations like lunatic, mad poet, fabricator of falsehood and sorcerer (Q. 30:58, 44:14, 37:36, 34:8, 21:3). All Prophets should be given equal respect like the Prophet Muhammad. Discrimination among the Prophets are against the Quran (Q.4:164, 2:21, 35:24, 10:47, 21:7). Approach to apostates is clearly marked out in the Quran (Q.6:68, 4:140, 28:55, 7:199, 73:10, 25:63, 16:128, 9:47). They will receive punishment in the Hereafter (Q. 33:57, 33:61). Muslims are instructed not to do heresy or apostasy (Q. 6:108). Law against apostasy and heresy in the Muslim world is flagrant violations of the Principles in the Quran. The law which makes someone a criminal for wrong beliefs and heresy violate freedom of religion and undermines the divine program for human destiny in the world (Q. 2:250, 18:29). Even the Prophets are not allowed to forcefully take people to the right path (Q. 88:21-22, 13:40, 3:20, 5:92). The verse 4:137 destroys the possibility of all misinterpretations in this regard.

Triple Talaq is definitely against the Quran. The scripture stipulates that there should be two witnesses for divorce (Q. 65:2) and all waiting periods should be complete altogether (Q. 2:228, 2:229, 2:231, 65:1, 65:4). The mutilation of clitoris is motivated by devil (Q. 4:119) to violate human dignity (Q. 17:70) and perfection of creation (Q. 95:4, 23:14, 17:88). Verses 2:282, 4:6, 2:230, 2:34, 2:32, 9:71 have been cited to prove the opinion of the Hanafi jurists that women are allowed wilayat or agency. The Quran completely rejects the denial of a woman’s political leadership. (Q.23:27)

26. Q. 16:90, 4:36, 4:19, 4:34, 2:187, 30:21

27. It was the allegation of the deniers that the Prophet was affected by sihr (black magic). The Quran states that the Prophets Sulaiman, Ibrahim, Moses, Aron, Jesus and Muhammad were subjected to such fabricated allegations (Q.21:102, 43:30, 10:76, 27:13, 5:110, 74: 24, 17:47, 25:8-10).

28. See, for example Tafsir Jalayni (Suyuti, p.19). The problem is caused by the mistranslation of ‘ayat’ in the verse as ‘Quranic verse’. The word ‘ayat’ is used in the Quran in other senses (Mir, p.24). Certain jurists opined that the verse 9:5, which was revealed in the context of warfare abrogated as many as 124 verses in the Quran which espouse peace and tolerance (Fadl, 2002, p.101). Ibn Kathir argued that the verse 2:109, which exhorts compromise and patience to one’s enemies was abrogated by other verses (Q.9:5, 9:29) (Ibn Kathir, p 333-334). It is by pulling the verses revealed in the context of war from the context that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Boco Haram are staging their terror activities. The theory of abrogation would help them.

29.Q. 38:72-73, 15: 28-29, 32:7-9

30. Q. 33:72, 95:4

31. Q. 96:4- 5, 21:67, 40:57, 2:256, 17:70

32. Q. 33:72

33. Q. 45:12-13, 14:32-34

34, Q. 30:30, 7:172. At the same time, human being is weak, impudent, ingrate, misery, argumentative, unjust, and ignorant (Q.4:28, 70:19, 14:34, 17:100, 18:54, 33:72).

35. Q. 42:49-50, 5:32, 17:33, 6:151

36. Q. 23:52, 49:13, 4:1, 49:10, 9:71, 59:10

37. Q. 24:22

38. Q. 41:34, 28:54, 2:148, 28:54, 13:22, 16:126, 23:96

39. Q. 2:255

40. Q. 18:30, 19:76, 42:38-43

41. Q. 23:1-2, 2:3, 24:41

42. Q. 29:45, 22:37

43. Quran 6:141, We can see in the saying of the Prophet: “May I Inform you something better than Namaz, fasting, zakat? It is to build concordance among people.” (Tirmidhi: 2509). Show mercy to people on the earth. Those in heaven will show Mercy to you.” (Tirmidhi 1924)

44. Q. 5:8, 4:135, 4:58, 2:188, 5:89. The very appointment of the Prophet is meant to establish justice (Q. 57:25)

45. Q.2:256, 76:3, 18:29, 52:21, 20:121, 90:8-10, 10:99, 22:78, 18:1

46. Q. 42:36-38, 3:159, 43:54, 58:11, 4:59. In the earthly systems where the argumentative freedom of individuals and society is permitted, the Will of God is rarely implemented, willingly (Q. 47:38, 13:11, 11:117, 8: 54,3:182). It is such a system where even Iblis was granted the freedom of thought (Q. 15:36-8). Even the Messengers have the merely mission of giving Message (Q. 5:92, 5:99, 13:40). Humans cannot lead anyone to guidance (Q. 28:56, 2:72).

47. Q. 7:11-12, 15:28-29, 35:6. Supremacism by which someone places oneself or one’s group over others is the strategy of human mind to overcome one’s inferiority (Adler, p117). The Quran which opposes traditionalism informs that Noah’s son belonged to the unbelievers (Q. 11:46, 57:26). Abraham’s covenant is not applicable to his progeny who are not righteous (Q.2:124, 37:113).

48. Q. 45:23, 25:43, 18:34, 18:42-43, 9:31

49. Q. 36:47, 3:117

50. Q. 2:30, 6:165

51. Q. 2:83

52. Q. 49:9, 45:22, 55:1-10

53. Q.5:8

54. Q. 28:5

55. Q. 7:157

56. Q. 7:66, 7:75, 7:88, 7:90, 7:103, 7:127, 10:75, 10:83, 10:88, 11:38, 11:97, 23:24, 23:33

57. Q. 2:168, 5:88, 16:114

58. Q. 85:7, 2:279, 4:1

59. Q. 59:7

60. Q. 49:11

61. Q. 104:1-9, 102:1-2, 9:34

62. Q. 3:92

63. Q. 2:177, 51:19

64. Q. 9:35, 59:7

65. Q.2:188, 4:29, 25:67

66. Q. 41:10, 3:108, 3:117

67. Q.2:245, 57:11

68. Q.17:16, 4:60, 4:76, 2:256

69. Q. 2:219.  Prophet Ibrahim’s prayer suggests that the safety and food security of the whole people in the country should be the objectives of a believer (Q.2:126).

70. Q. 11:16, 7:16, 23:64, 34:34, 43:23.

71. Q. 10:93, 16:73, 17:70, 20:81, 23:51, 40:94, 45:16

72. Q. 18:7

73. Q. 29:45, 2:183, 2:271, 64:16, 92:18

74. For a detailed reading see Auda  2008; Kamali 2009

75. Q. 50:16

76. Q. 2:170, 5:104, 7:70, 8:22, 7:33, 39:18

77. Q. 87:18 - 19, 10:37, 3:81, 5:43, 53:36

78. Q. 5:48, 22:67, 22:69

79. Q. 39:18, 17:36, 49:6, 46:26

80. Q. 37:62-71, 17:60, 31:21, 44:43, 56:52, 12:26-27, 2:170, 7:128, 5:104-5, 17:36, 7:70, 11:62

81. Q. 9:31

82.  Q. 4:46, 5:13, 5:41, 10:64, 18:27

83. Q. 5:2

84. The Quran puts forth several programmes for the liberation of slaves (Q.2:177, 4:25, 4:92, 5:89, 4:36, 9:60, 14:31, 24:33, 58:3-4, 24:33, 3:79, 16:71, 21:105, 90:12-13). The verrse 47:4 which demands the capture of prisoners of war does not stipulate slavery; rather the verse espouses the freeing of slaves either in lieu of ransom or free. Bernard Freeman, famous Islamologist, Q.points that the verse 3:64 clearly proscribes slavery (Freeman, p.285)


Adler, Alfred, Superiority and Social Interest, Toronto: WW Norton & Co, 1979

Ahmed, Shahab, Ibn Taymiyyah and the Satanic Verses, Studies Islamica, No: 87, 1998

Al Qahtani, Sheikh Muhammad Said, Al-Wala Wal Bara Fil Islam, Cairo: Al Nur Al-Islam, 1980

Ali, Abdulla Yusuf, The Holy Quran: English Translation and Commentary, Lahore: Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, 1946

Al-Rasheed, Madawi, A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics and Religion in Saudi Arabia, Cambridge: CUP, 2013

Armstrong, Karen, Muhammad, Prophet for Our Times, New York: Harper Press, 2006

Ashrof, V.A. Mohamad, Pakistan Hudud Ordinance and Its Implications, Bodhanam Bimonthly (Malayalam), July-August 2008 and September-October 2008

Askari, Hossein, Iqbal Zamir, Abbas Mirakhor, Challenges in Economic and Financial Policy Formulation: An Islamic Perspective, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014

Assan K, Islamic History (Malayalam) 5th edition, Trivandrum: Kerala Bhasha Institute, 1972

Auda, Jasser, Maqasid Al-Shariarh: An Introductory Guide, Herndon: IIIT, 2008

Aykol, Musthafa, Islam without Extremes, New York: W.W.Norton, 2011

Ayoub, Muhammad, The Quran and Its Interpreters, Vol 1, Albany: SUNY Press, 1984

Aziz, Muhammad Ibn Abdul (Ed), Fatawa Islamiyah Vol 1, Riyadh: Darussalam, 2001

Bennett, Clinton, Muslims and Modernity, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2005

Bernard K. Freeman, Isis, Boko Haram and the Human Rights to Freedom from Slavery Under Islamic Law, Fordham International Law Journal, 39:1, 2015

Brown, A.C. Jonathan, Misquoting Muhammad, London: Oneworld, 2014

Boff, Leonardo, Clodovis Boff, Introducing Liberation Theology, New York: Orbis, 2001

Burton, John, Islamic Theories of Abrogation, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990

Char, Desika S. V, Hinduism and Islam in India: Caste, Religion, and Society from Antiquity to Early Modern Times, NJ, Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997

Emon, Anver, ‘Huquq Allah and Huquq Al-ibad’ A Legal Heuristic for a Natural Rights Regime’, in Islamic Law and Society, Vol.3:13, Leiden: Brill, 2006

Fadl, Khaled Abou El, Speaking In God's Name, London: Oneworld, 2014

Fadl, Khaled Abou El, The Centrality of Government and Constitutionalism In Islam, In Rainer Grote and Tilmann Röder, Tilman Roder (Eds.), Constitution In Islamic Countries, New York: OUP, 2012

Fadl, Khaled Abou El, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists, San Francisco: Harper, 2005

Falahi, Masood Alam, Hindustan Me Zaat-Paat Aur Musalmann (Casteism among Muslims in India), New Delhi: Al-Qazi, 2007

Fiqh, Compendium of Islamic Laws, New Delhi: All India Muslim Personal Law Board 2001

Haleem, Abdel, Understanding the Quran: Themes and Style, London: IB Tauris, & Co, 1999

Hasan, Qamar, Muslims in India: Attitudes Adjustments and Reactions, New Delhi: Northern Book Centre, 1987

Hilali, Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Translation of the Meanings of the Noble Quran, Madinah: King Fahd Complex, 1998

Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul-Allah, Tr: Alfred Guillaume, Krachi: OUP, 1998

Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged; 1- 10 Volumes (Ed. by: Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri), Second Edition, Riyadh: Darussalam, 2003

Izutsu, Toshihiko, God and Man in the Koran, Tokyo: Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Society, 1964

Kalbani, Sheikh Adil,

Kamali, Mohammad Hashim, Maqasid al-Shariah Made Simple, Herndon: IIIT, 2009

Kamali, Muhammad Hashim, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, London: Islamic Texts Society, 2003

Kandhalvi, Allama Habib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui, Age of Aisha, Tr: Nagar Erfany, Karachi: Al-Rahman Publishing Trust, 1997

Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2003

Lewis, Bernard, What Went Wrong? New York: OUP, 2002

Little D, J. Kelsy and A. Sachedina, Human Rights and Conflict of Cultures: Western and Islamic Perspectives on Religious Liberty, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1988

Magrini, Tulia, Music and Gender, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2005

Makhdoom, Zainuddin, Fathul Mueen (Abridged Malayalam Translation: ‘Islam Niyama Samhitha’), Kozhicode: Poonkavanam Books, 2008

Mir, Muntassir, Dictionary of Quranic Terms and Concepts, New York, Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, 1987

Rahman, S. Scheherazade, Hossein Askari, An Economic Islamicity Index, Global Economy Journal, Vol 10, Issue No: 3, September 2010

Ramadan, Tariq, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, New York: OUP, 2004

Rauf, Feisal Abdul, Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to A New Vision Of Islam In America, New York: Free Press, 2012

Rogerson, Barnaby, The Heirs of Muhammad, New York: The Overlook Press, 2007

Ruxton, F.H, Maliki Law: Being a Summary from French Translations of the Mukhtasar of Sîdî Khalîl, London: Luzak, 1916

Sardar, Ziauddin, Reading the Quran, New York: OUP, 2011

Smith, Wilfred Cantwell, The Meaning and End of Religion, New York: Mentor, 1962

Srivastava, Ashirbadi Lal, The Sultanate of Delhi (711-1526 A.D), Agra: Shivalal Agarvala & CO., 1964

Stark, Rodney, The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious Than Ever, Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2015

Suyuti, Jalal al- al-Mahalli, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Tr: Feras Hamza, Amman: Royal Aal-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, 2007

Tabari, Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn Jabir al, The History of al-Tabari: General Introduction and from the Creation to the Flood, Vol 1, Tr: Franz Rosentahl, Albany, New York: SUNY Press, 1989

Watt, Montgomerry, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, New York: OUP, 1961

Webb, Gisela, Windows of Faith: Muslim Women Scholar-activists in North America, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000

Yasin Mol, Arnold, A Modern Matn Criticism on the Tradition of Aisha's Age of Marriage, Leiden: Universteit Leiden, 2001


V.A. Mohamad Ashrof is the Joint Secretary of Forum for Faith and Fraternity .


New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism

No comments:

Post a Comment