Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Let's Scrutinise Certain 'Facts' In the Al-Furqan

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 7 May 2022 The Undotted And Oddly Vowelled Quran Was Generating Wildly Different Explanations Of Itself, As It Still Does Because The Written Arabic Has Two Features That Make It Difficult For An Outsider To Learn ------ Where is the need to justify verses such as, "Take not the Jews and Christians for friends/protectors (5:51)," When it comes to rejecting verses that are of doubtful divinity, we Muslims are either too cowardly or too lazy. We would tie ourselves in knots trying to justify the unjustifiable rather than admit honestly that some man-made verses have crept into our holy book. By Ghulam Mohiyuddin 04/05/2022 16:13:40 “Justification, clarification and interpretation are manifestations of dishonesty, “wrote Pakistani apostate of Islam Ibn Warraq, quoting Rene Descartes. That the aforementioned verse in the Quran needed laboured and completely unconvincing interpretation for being authentic and justifiable is a sure sign of it being SPURIOUS and a later-day INTERPOLATION. Why's the god, creator or Allah so ambiguous as to concoct every verse that needs an elaborate explanation at some point in time? Shouldn't every message, passage and verse in a holy book be unambiguous and unequivocal for every human to understand? Why do poor followers require a battery of exegetes, interpreters and apologists for greater and better understanding of religious verses? --------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Qur'an 5:51 - A Humanistic Interpretation --------------------------------------------------------------- When I was a student of comparative religions and theology, I'd often laugh with my erudite professors seeing the anomalies, inconsistencies, aberrations and discrepancies in the scriptures of all man-made faiths, not just Islam. The laboured and ludicrous explanations to justify the scriptural passages of all faiths made them all the more recondite and abstruse. When Truth is so meandering and full of empty verbiage, it can be anything but Truth. Truth is and should be axiomatic. In other words, it must be self-evident and self-explanatory. Despite the theo-scriptural boorishness of any religion, all faiths have accepted the fallibility of their holy books, albeit grudgingly, except for Islam. Christopher Hichens tellingly wrote in his epochal book, ' God is NOT great' that ' Reformation' has meant, for Jewish and Christians, a minimal willingness to reconsider holy writ as if it were (as Salman Rushdie so daringly proposed in his turn) something that can be subjected to literary and textual scrutiny. The number of possible ' Bibles' is now admitted to be immense and we know for example that the portentous Christian term ' Jehovah' is the mistranslation of the unuttered spaces between the letters of the Hebrew ' Yahweh.' Yet, no comparable project has ever been undertaken in Quranic scholarship. No serious attempt has been made to catalogue the discrepancies between its various editions and manuscripts, and even the most tentative efforts to do so have been met with almost inquisitional rage. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: According To Quran 5:51, Can Muslims Not Accept Non-Muslims As Friends? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Though Christianity and Church executed those who questioned the outlandish claims in Bible during the medieval times, it mellowed down with the passage of time and accepted that Bible is fraught with factual and scientific errors such as Seven-Day Creation, Tower of Babel, Human Evolution, A Global Flood, about Stars (The Bible makes it clear that stars are objects in the sky that will fall down when Jesus comes back) and many more. Now a SANE Christian will concede that these are indeed embarrassing 'facts' in his holy book written by our cave-dwelling, prehistoric ancestors. But will a Muslim openly accept that a great many Quranic 'facts' have failed the test of time and science? Earth and heavens created in six days, Earth created before stars, similar size of the sun and moon (by the way, modern science has revealed that 64.3 million moons could fit in the sun!), moon split in two, meteors as stars fired at devils, Flat-Earthism, the sky/heaven as a ceiling, humans created from clay, Adam and Eve (Sahih Hadiths say Adam was 60 cubits-or 90 feet-tall!), sperm originating between the backbone and ribs! Humans were created from a clot of blood, Gender decided at clot stage, Bones formed before flesh and many more. Critics typically argue that an all-knowing, perfect communicator would nevertheless have been able to avoid statements in the Quran that reinforced misconceptions of the time, caused future generations to have doubts about its perfection, and on a scale that critics contend is an overwhelming weakness. Now come the linguistic and stylistics aspects: Quranic Arabic is a little over 1400-yr-old. In other words, the Quran is a 7th-century scripture. But in reality, Arabic script itself wasn't standardized until the later part of the 9th century and in the meantime, the undotted and oddly vowelled Quran was generating wildly different explanations of itself, as it still does because the written Arabic has two features that make it difficult for an outsider to learn: it uses dots to distinguish consonants like ' b ' and ' t, ' and in its original form, it had no sign or symbol for short vowels, which could be rendered by various dashes or comma-type marks. This INTERPRETATIVELY AMORPHOUS and SEMANTICALLY SPECULATIVE nature of written Arabic was keenly observed by an American scholar of Islam and modern and ancient Arabic when he wrote that the Arabic words written on the outside of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem are different from any version that appears in the Quran! Secondly, Muslims' claim that Quranic Arabic is the quintessential example of the finest Arabic, spoken by Allah. Sorry, read passages from the books penned by the blind scholar of Arabic, Dr Taha Hussain, Naguib Mahfouz (1988 Nobel laureate for Literature), Dr Edward W Said (Jerusalem-born Dr Said could speak better Arabic than the native speakers in addition to speaking sublime Hebrew) or even The Seven Golden Odes of Pagan Arabia (Mu'allaqat). I'm afraid, pitted against these exquisite samples of literary and oral Arabic, Quranic Arabic simply pales in comparison. In a nutshell, Quranic Arabic is too obscure to be understood even by the scholars of Arabic. It has been further obfuscated by the exegetes and apologists of the Quran and Islam. Now the point is: In spite of all these absurd inaccuracies, the Islamic apologists will continue to call their Quran, the INFALLIBLE book of Allah and even a mere suggestion to scrutinise these verses and 'facts' may result in the severance of your head from your torso. ---- An occasional columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-pluralism/facts-al-furqan-quran-/d/126950 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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