Qur’an is the "threat"

If anyone has reservations to the fact that no amount of “moderation,” “enlightened moderation,” or, in plain words, dilution of Islam will ever please the modern crusaders, he must read November 14 lead editorial of the New York Times.

It reveals the mentality at work behind the ongoing struggle in the name of democracy and war on terrorism. The 308 words editorial is sufficient for shattering philosophy of the neo-mods of Islam who still have doubts to believe that terrorism, fundamentalism, Islamism and a whole lot of such rancid notions are just ruses for alienating Muslims from the Qur’an.

Commenting on the constitution formulating efforts in Afghanistan, the New York Times writes that the draft includes some “promising aspirations…but there are also troubling aspects of this crucial document.”

It is a happy occasion for the editors to see that the “document does not invoke Shari’ah,” because they believe “among other restrictions, [it] does not tolerate dissent.” Without going into any debate, these words tempt one to ask the editorial board of the NY Times that of what use is dissent in a “democracy” when it does not hold its “democratically elected” leaders from going to war on the basis of chicanery, lies and deceit?

The answer is simple. The New York Times is not talking about dissent to the ways the government of a few rules the rest with lies and deception. The dissent the paper is talking about the dissent to accept the Qur’an “the final manifesto of god” like Irshad Manji. The dissent is what Abdullahi An-Na`im is engaged in by rejecting parts of the Qur’an revealed in Madina.

The portions that are revealed in Madina, in his view, give rise to discrimination by placing the solidarity of male Muslims above women and non-Muslims. To remove these “contradictions” he proposes the application of reverse naskh, i.e. the abrogation of the portions of the Qur’an revealed in Madina that contradict the earlier parts. [1] That is what the New York Times wants.

What hurt it the most is: “it says that no law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam. And it says the members of the Supreme Court should be educated in either civil law or Islamic law, a provision that raises the possibility of more judges who base their rulings on the Koran rather than civil law.”

So, basing “rulings on the Koran” is a problem because it jeopardize “the protection of core human rights in this document.” The paper asks the United Nations and American officials “to push for language” that does not refer to the Qur’an. Then it extends its appeal to the so-called international community: “The time is right for the international community to weigh in. This constitution must provide an enduring promise to all the Afghan people that their most basic freedoms are inalienable, not to be granted or withdrawn easily by a government, its courts or its religious leaders,” as if any reference to the Qur’an directly undermines the “most basic freedoms.”

The point to note is that the grave concerns shown and the appeals made to UN, international community and US authorities in November 14 editorial of the New York Times are not the result of any direct threat of terrorism against the US, the “curse” of Wahabi-ism or any other misinterpreted “brand of Islam,” calls for Jihad against the US, or any other such propaganda themes that have been made the cornerstones of the war on Islam. It directly calls the world to help alienate Afghans from the Qur’an.

They cannot be liberated; they cannot live free lives and their rights cannot be guaranteed unless every reference to the Qur’an is eliminated from their constitution. The Qur’an is what the Afghans can read in privacy at home for blessings, but any attempt to practically implement its guidance and live life in the light of its guidance is a threat to the world order as envisaged by the US for itself and its allies.

In the end, all liberalism and all enlightened moderation has clearly boiled down to saying good bye to the Qur’an. The same idea is being promoted for application in Iraq. Both Saudi government and opposition are being presented as evil. Eyes are set on Syria and Iran and the marriage of convenience with Pakistan would not last any longer. Madrassas have already been demonized to the maximum possible extent. Only their physical destruction is awaited, which in the light of prevailing propaganda would hardly raise any voice of protest.

After success in Afghanistan and Iraq, others will join the New York Times to demand saying good-bye to the Qur’an in the rest of the Muslim world. Are Muslims, irrespective of the artificial divisions, ready to accept that, as it is called by the New York Times?


[1]. In his words: “Unless the basis of modern Islamic law is shifted away from those texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Medina stage, which constituted the foundations of the construction of Shari’ah, there is no way of avoiding drastic and serious violation of universal standards of human rights. There is no way to abolish slavery as a legal institution and no way to eliminate all forms and shades of discrimination against women and non-Muslims as long as we remain bound by the framework of Shari’ah. (Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`Im, “Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and International Law,” Syracuse University Press, July 1996.)