The very foundation of hegemony and empire lie in the public holding largely facile views of truths essential to the rulers
By Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
I sometimes like to tee off my writings on the human condition from the opinions I hear being expressed among the common man, in the grapevine, or in the news media. The quoted perspective below is from an unknown website written by an anonymous person. It expresses the seeds of a crucially pertinent topic to the human condition which is examined in considerable depth in this article.
The interesting perspective embodied in that quote which inspired me to address this issue, is along the lines which reduce to the following empiricism: Human beings in general don't tend to appreciate what is not part of one's own socialization.
Furthermore, with suitable inculcation, this lack of appreciation can span the gamut of behavior from remaining largely indifferent to being outright antagonistic to what's not perceived as one's own. The limit of that of course being intense doctrinal hatred and warfare.
This is pretty much a universal trait. An observable universal truism if there is one. And just as applicable to one as to another.
Upon this truism is the manipulative jingoism of antiquity to modernity constructed. We see this from tribalism to ethnocentrism, sectarianism to religionism, racism to culturalism, and nationalism to patriotism.
It is even the basis of the following formulation in Zbigniew Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard – American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives: “More generally, cultural change in America may also be uncongenial to the sustained exercise abroad of genuinely imperial power. That exercise requires a high degree of doctrinal motivation, intellectual commitment, and patriotic gratification.” (pgs. 211-212)
I mention that not to needlessly digress, but only to point out the universality of the principle that the seeding theme being responded to and developed, has outlined just one instance of.
Recognizing this innate psychological trait of mankind (one presumes) is why the author of the Qur'an, which Muslims of course believe is the Creator (while other's believe was a lunatic), makes an extraordinary pronouncement on this very topic in Surah Al-Maeda:
“It was We who revealed the Torah (to Moses); therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the Prophet who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah’s will, by the Rabbis and the Doctors of Law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear Me, and sell not My Signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers. (5:44)
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ ۚ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُوا لِلَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُوا مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاءَ ۚ فَلَا تَخْشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلَا تَشْتَرُوا بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
We ordained therein for them: “Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) wrong-doers. (5:45)
وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالْأَنْفَ بِالْأَنْفِ وَالْأُذُنَ بِالْأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ ۚ فَمَنْ تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَهُ ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. (5:46)
وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنْجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
Let the people of the Gospel Judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel. (5:47)
وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ الْإِنْجِيلِ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety; so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee.
To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way.
If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues.
The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. (5:48) ” Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48
وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
Caption Holy Qur'an Surah Al-Maeda verses 5:44-48 on Islam's fundamental acceptance of plurality of beliefs, and its enjoining mankind to strive for good alone, as in a race in all virtues, while staying within their own socialized belief systems and following their own prophets. Observe that there is no “saving” by conversion in Islam as in the religion of the Christian; and there is also no everlasting certificate of virtue as “god's chosen people” as in the religion of the Jew; and nor class hierarchy by birth as in the religion of the Hindu. Man is judged by his or her acts alone, of both commission and omission, in Islam. How much more explicit can Islam's singular scripture, the Holy Qur'an, be? And yet, the incessant propaganda barrage against Islam and its noble Messenger, as in the FBI training presentation graph (see below), continually succeeds among the “information-age” soaked Western mind – just as indifference, apathy, and fatalism of “god is running the world” continually succeeds among the religion-soaked Muslim mind. Facile? Or the success of The Mighty Wurlitzer? ( http://tinyurl.com/mightywurlitzer )
And to ensure that the point is not lost here, permit me to highlight the solution-space outlined in the above passage by none other than the presumed Almighty Creator of mankind: “To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.”
The Author of the Qur'an is in fact rather emphatic about “matters in which ye dispute”:
“And in whatever thing you differ, its decision is unto God” ( Arabic: وَمَا ٱخۡتَلَفۡتُمۡ فِيهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ فَحُكۡمُهُ ۥۤ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۚ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Ash-Shura 42:10
If one were to endeavor to judiciously extract the core principle from that multicultural pronouncement, noting that the Author of the Holy Qur'an affirms that It did not deny Its Message or Its Messengers to any among mankind (even though only a very few are explicitly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an such as in Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48 above):
“And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods” ( Arabic: وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah An-Nahl 16:36 ;
“And for every nation there is a messenger. And when their messenger cometh (on the Day of Judgment) it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged.” (Arabic وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولٌ ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ رَسُولُهُمْ قُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Yunus 10:47 ;
“Surely We have sent you with the Truth as a bearer of good news and a warner; and there is not a people but a warner has gone among them.” (Arabic: إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا ۚ وَإِنْ مِنْ أُمَّةٍ إِلَّا خَلَا فِيهَا نَذِيرٌ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Faatir 35:24 ;
and that furthermore, the Author of the Holy Qur'an even requires anyone who accepts Its teachings to also accept all Its past Revelations to all peoples as an article of faith:
“And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter.” ( Arabic: وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara 2:4 ;
one discovers a governing principle that is universally applicable to all of mankind, to all beliefs, and to no belief:
- [to] mind one's own business for what one does not feel is one's own, as in the case of what's outside one's own sphere of socialization; and
- [to] compete with each other in virtuous conduct ( فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ Surah Al-Maeda 5:48) rather than religious or any other upmanship.
In my humble view, this is outstanding guidance to a fractious mankind who are naturally psychologically prone to tribalism, ethnocentrism, the modern version of it being nationalism – all by the natural artifact of birth and socialization. By the admission of the author of the above verse, it is by design that the Creator made mankind into separate peoples and nations and gave each localized affiliations: “If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people” ( أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ Surah Al-Maeda 5:48).
Of course, when own looks at evolutionary biology and sociology, that is the natural outcome of how mankind has developed in many different tribes and nations across the earth. And the Author of the Holy Qur'an provides guidance du jour taking empiricism of mankind's present and future condition into account while also clearly recognizing that in the past, it was but one people:
“Mankind was but one nation, but differed (later). Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, their differences would have been settled between them.” (Arabic: وَمَا كَانَ النَّاسُ إِلَّا أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَاخْتَلَفُوا ۚ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِنْ رَبِّكَ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ فِيمَا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Yunus 10:19
What is apparent from even these few quoted verses in accurate and full context of the Holy Qur'an, is that for all future times from its Last Messenger's revelation of the Holy Qur'an, which was itself declared by the Author of the Holy Qur'an as the completion of its favors and the perfection of its religion which it named “Islam” (see verse 5:3 Surah Al-Maeda below), the Holy Qur'an accepts and guarantees diversity of beliefs based on the natural artifacts of individual and group socialization.
If you don't prefer the message of Islam, no problem – “there is no compulsion in religion” declares the Holy Qur'an (see verse 2:256 Surah Al-Baqara below). Follow the guides, imams, that were sent to your own people and on the Day of Judgment, declares the Holy Qur'an: “One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” (see verse 17:71 Surah al-Israa' below) and “it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged.” (see verse 10:47 Surah Yunus above).
The clear message of the Holy Qur'an to everyone among mankind, Muslim and non Muslim, whatever sect, whatever ethnicity, whatever nation, and whatever epoch, is to compete for virtuous conduct ( فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ) amongst themselves – not for resources, not for territories, and not power! The Holy Qur'an continually harkens mankind towards dealing with each other in full justice, even unequivocally averring that God loves those who are just and deal equitably with each other:
“For Allah loveth those who judge in equity.” (Arabic: إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ ) Holy Qur'an Surah Al-Maeda 5:42
That straightforwardly puts to rest all religious and sectarian arguments for all times! Just that much is sufficient to both repel all propaganda against Islam, and eliminate all internecine fracture points and facile views among Muslims. But we have only just begun.
The obvious overarching point to ponder here is that why go through all this repetition once again if justice among mankind is the core first-principle the Holy Qur'an is teaching for mankind's conduct amongst each other? Everything else of course naturally follows from that core first-principle. But it is not a new or unfamiliar concept.
The following Biblical Commandment from antiquity was, and still is, at least in my view, both complete and sufficient for governing the peaceable, equitable, and virtuous conduct of mankind:
“Do unto Others as you have others do unto you.” (The Bible: Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31; Old Testament Mosaic Law; Socrates; Confucius; Solon)
So, why does mankind need anything more than that one primary fundamental Biblical statement? Indeed, one can easily surmise that all beneficial national constitutions, international and local laws, trade treaties, foreign policies, inter and intra governing principles, and even effective principles for dispute resolutions, are logically derivable from just that one ancient first principle, for a fairly equitable co-existence of mutual benefit for all mankind. There'd be no room for masters and slaves under the corollaries derived from such an egalitarian first principle!
While that universal pithy wisdom is deemed Biblical, I have found evidence of its truism in other antiquity as cited above. For instance, Solon the Athenian law giver, according to Plutarch's Lives, when asked which city he thought was well-governed, said: “That city where those who have not been injured take up the cause of one who has, and prosecute the case as earnestly as if the wrong had been done to themselves.”
Even beyond divine religion, in the realm of logic and rational empiricism alone, the following operations-research (OR) logical formulation due to Bertrand Russell, a man of considerable beliefs in no religion, is the most commonsensical recipe of governing peaceable human conduct. In my own succinct rendition, Bertrand Russell's formulation goes something like this (and I am putting it in single quotes to indicate that the formulation belongs to Russell but the words may not all be his):
'Maximize individual happiness while minimizing social conflict for optimizing the overall common-good.' (Bertrand Russell's prescription to do away with religion as the bearer of moral law, probably in 'Why I am not a Christian' and similar writings)
With just a little bit of reflection, one will see that Bertrand Russell captures the beneficial essence of many religions, including Islam, in at least so far as “haquq-al-ibad”, i.e., the rights of man upon man, otherwise known as moral law, are concerned, quite admirably.
By just using rational empathetic logic which hinges on spreading virtue rather than glory, vice, hegemony, and conquest, one can come up with reasonably equitable methods of governing oneself in any age, and among any peoples.
However, the Author of the Holy Qur'an having commanded the path to virtue in its perfection of its favors upon mankind which it called “Islam”, is as meaningless as man coming up with it on his own sensible logic and reason, if man is unwilling or unable to implement it:
“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Arabic: الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ۚ ) Verse fragment Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:3, 632 AD
“Hegemony is as old as mankind.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard – American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, 1996 AD, pg. 3 – the book's dedication reads: “For my students—to help them shape tomorrow's world”
Thus, if nihilist followers of Zbigniew Brzezinski's predatory foreign policies which predicate upon primacy and its geostrategic imperatives because they believe that “Hegemony is as old as mankind” so why change it, choose sociopathic mass psychology to mobilize the public to villainy and infamy by bequeathing to them only facile worldviews, well, that's not because there is any shortage of great platitudinous recipes in either the divine books of antiquity, or the modern mind of reason as the Deistic philosophers of eighteenth century enlightenment argued (of which Bertrand Russell was the atheist legatee).
That choice, of exercising villainous hegemony or equity and benevolence upon the 'untermenschen', is entirely man's of course. The Author of the Holy Qur'an itself asserts that such a choice between life's governing principles is entirely up to mankind in all its diversity of existence, and is neither a monolithic diktat of triumphalism, nor a choiceless matter like being born to one's parents:
“There is no compulsion in religion.” ( Arabic: لَآ إِكۡرَاهَ فِى ٱلدِّينِۖ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:256
“There surely came over man a period of time when he was a thing not worth mentioning. ( Arabic: هَلْ أَتَىٰ عَلَى الْإِنْسَانِ حِينٌ مِنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُنْ شَيْئًا مَذْكُورًا )
Surely We have created man from a small life-germ uniting (itself): We mean to try him, so We have made him hearing, seeing. ( Arabic: إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا )
Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” ( Arabic: إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-insaan 76:1-2-3
The overarching point being, at the risk of being repetitious, whatever the religion, whatever the people, and whatever the culture and geography, man naturally gravitates firstly towards one's own kith and kin, and secondly towards one's own socialization which principally gives birth to one's dominant worldview. It is all but a truism that just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, one man's “messiah” is another man's lunatic.
And Islam, recognizing this natural human tendency for partisanship and tribalism due to socialization from birth, proffered the above quoted solution of Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48 to those who believe in Islam, and also to those who wish to learn about Islam, that this religion, this way of life, this “deen” which Allah perfected for those who wish to believe in it of their own free will, does not bring the threat of forced triumphalism to mankind.
That Islam cherishes diversity and enjoins the people to compete only in virtuous conduct ( فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ) amongst themselves even as they live in their own respective socialization of birth, faiths, tribes and nations, forming a diverse multicultural milieu of mankind.
That, if God wanted to, mankind could have been made into all one people just as they were in the past and “their differences would have been settled between them” (see 10:19 Surah Yunus above).
That, if people disagree in matters of theology, religion, and other esoterica upon which faith is often based, to leave the resolution of such disagreements to God alone (see 42:10 Surah Ash-Shura above) --- lest the Muslims at any time in the future, senselessly imbued with empire and its 'la mission civilisatrice', criminally come to carry the 'white man's burden':
“And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by Allah's permission; and He casts uncleanness on those who will not understand.” (Arabic وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنْتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Yunus 10:99-100
Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48 and other supporting verses quoted above in full context, put to rest in finality, all false charges brought by Western war-mongers, of their merely defending themselves from Islam's “Triumphalism” in their holy war against “Islamofascism”.
As these unambiguous verses in their complete context clearly convey in the direct words of the Holy Qur'an itself, there isn't any “Triumphalism” in Islam. It is a charge more suited to Pauline Christianity (today's mainstream Christianity of almost every denomination and sect), whereby, to “save” mankind from eternal damnation, the unworthy humanity has to all be converted to belief in Christ!
All such charges are vulgar propaganda against Islam, conveyed today no differently than it was conveyed during the Christian Crusades, by some very diabolical “Western scholars of Islam” in order to cultivate facile views among their ignorant Western peoples. (See for instance, Bernard Lewis: Crisis of Islam – Holy War and Unholy Terror)
Without such facile views, the masses cannot be readily mobilized against “Islamofascism” in the fabricated “clash of civilizations”. As Zbigniew Brzezinski self-servingly but accurately presaged in The Grand Chessboard: “democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization ... except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being.” (pg. 36) See Pastor Terry Jones below.
The directive of Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48 is also very explicit for Muslims. There is no ambiguity in it. These are not allegorical verses ( مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ); their meaning is very straightforward, established, and unequivocally clear ( آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ ). (See verse 3:7 of Surah Aal-'Imran for Qur'an's own definition of the two types of verses in the Holy Qur'an; every verse and verse fragment of the Holy Qur'an has to be understood in the entire context of the Holy Qur'an, and not just in isolation of its occurrence or else it can easily lead to constructing a facile or even false understanding of the topic. See the case study “Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? Part-I”)
Although, it must be admitted that, the universal principle of virtuous and amicable co-existence among the diversity of nations as those outlined in Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48, and the corollaries to be deduced from it and from several verses like it in the Holy Qur'an, requires at least a modicum of reflection and some basic ability to reason.
Parrots memorizing the Holy Qur'an as an inheritance, can no more come to understand it than any other talking parrot, regardless of the beauty of its voice and feathers!
Were such reasoning a characteristic of Muslim scholarship, the scholars of Islam would have long extinguished the flames of sectarianism among the Muslims which had originally arisen in the epoch of the Prophet of Islam itself, not due to any misunderstanding of the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's teachings for the Exemplar lived and taught among them, but purely due to vested interests. These vested interests ab initio planted the pernicious seeds of absolutist kingdoms and empires to come in the future. These empires subsequently endowed their scholars to interpret and canonize the imperial religion – the hijacking of Islam into an unsurpassed Muslim empire lasting 700 years in the name of Islam's God – for their masses. (Ibid.)
Today, we are merely their inheritors and unable to go back to the fundamental teachings of Islam beyond the superficial rituals. For the only original sources we have beside the Holy Qur'an, are the works of these very partisan and sectarian scholars of empire who had hijacked Islam! More details can be gleaned in the investigative case study on how the Holy Qur'an itself contributed to its own subversion: “Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? Part-I”.
But pertinent to the topic at hand, Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48 bears such a momentous general concept of acceptance of others in the religion Islam, that this concept is even formulaically rehearsed countless times each day in daily prayers by its adherents without any reflection whatsoever. For, if one spent even 10 minutes thinking about what many "pious" among Muslims likely repeat at least 17 times daily, if not more, one would easily see that very core-principle at work for oneself.
That repetitive formulation is Surah Al-Fatiha of the Holy Qur'an, its very first Surah. It is recited countless times daily by Muslims as a prayer. Just look at it with some reflection rather than rehearsing it as a parrot and matters become transparent. And what does it say?
First let's see what it does not say:
- there is no mention of the word “muslim” in it ;
- nor is there any mention of the noble name of the harbinger of the Qur'an, its Exemplar.
If one were not so imbued with one's own socialization since birth, one would surely ask the following question to oneself: why not?
If Islam is the last Testament, its Prophet the last Messenger, and the Holy Qur'an the last Word on the matter of Divine Guidance to mankind, why have the following riddle in its the most essential Surah:
“Show us the straight path,” ( Arabic اِهۡدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ )
“The path of those whom Thou hast favoured. ...” (Arabic: صِرَاطَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Fatiha 1:6-7
Why command the reciter of that Surah to beseech the Creator to show him or her the “straight path”, a path that is not named or labeled or identified in any other way other than as the “straight path”, a singular path, and only identified as the path of those whom (plural) have been bestowed “divine favors” (plural), or who have been divinely favored? But no names are mentioned for any further identification!
Why send the poor seeker of divine wisdom in search of solving what appears to be a complicated riddle?
How is he, or she, to know what those unknown “quantities” are?
Is the man of faith simply to be socialized into fixing those unknowns – like choosing a value for the variable “x” in an elementary school level algebraic expression – by his parents, grandparents, teachers, scholars, culture, civilization, by osmosis, diffusion, vicariously?
Given that the average intelligence of the masses in any nation is rather low, and the Author of the Holy Qur'an if it is indeed the Creator of man would certainly have known that, why then did the Author of the Holy Qur'an not straightforwardly just say for all and sundry Muslim to understand in its most oft recited Surah: follow the path laid out in the Holy Qur'an, follow the path of Muhammad, its last Messenger and Exemplar?
How ironical that what the Surah calls a “straight path” is not identified straightforwardly!
All Muslims feel they already know (by virtue of their socialization) that that's what is implied. But that's not what the Surah Al-Fatiha says at all. One is only interpreting it to mean that based on one's own socialization bias!
The answer to the riddle, as invariably in all Qur’anic riddle cases, the Holy Qur'an itself also provides.
The author of the Qur'an has repeatedly alluded to Its Word as the Book of Reflection which none shall approach, except with a cleansed heart.
So, not everyone can glean the wisdom of the Qur'an even though they may be reading or mouthing its words – how interesting!
And the solution to the riddle is hinted, inter alia, in the afore-quoted verses from Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48. It is still obviously not the complete solution, but we are an inch closer to solving the riddle.
For one thing, we learn that the solution is multicultural, and is indeed very much socialization dependent.
Different peoples will naturally have different perspective on what is “divine favor”, who those favored ones are, and are thus encouraged to seek out the path followed by those whom they naturally psychologically feel closer to – that is the basis for what appears to the riddle of Surah Al-Fatiha, 1:6-7.
And Surah Al-Maeda 5:44-48 quoted above is an exemplary partial hint to solving that riddle.
Wow! What an incredible Book!
Nevertheless, it is still a Book of reflection first and foremost, which none shall penetrate, except with a cleansed heart. The rest are naturally misled. The Author of the Holy Qur'an even asserts that only It Guides Whom It pleases and leads others astray. Is this just rhetorical tautology? The Western mind un-attuned to the language of the Qur'an often thinks so.
That this is indeed a Qur'an Most Honourable, 56:77
إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ
In a Book well-guarded, 56:78
فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ
Which none shall touch but those who are clean (purified): 56:79
لَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ
A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. 56:80
تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem? 56:81, Surah Al-Waqia, 56:77-81
أَفَبِهَٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَنْتُمْ مُدْهِنُونَ
Those are they whose hearts, ears, and eyes Allah has sealed up, and they take no heed. Surah An-Nahl, 16:108
أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ
Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom. Surah Al-Baqara, 2:7
خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie. Surah Al-Baqara, 2:10
فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ
Do they not then reflect on the Quran? Nay, on the hearts there are locks. Surah Muhammad 47:24
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
Caption A few verses from the Holy Qur'an on the cleansed heart metaphor.
The understanding of the message contained in the Holy Qur'an is only made accessible to those who try to approach its contents not with pre-conceptions, or agendas bearing the diseases of the heart, or other prejudices, but with a genuine desire to learn what exactly is the Book Saying! Only the purified ones, “al-muttaharoon” الْمُطَهَّرُونَ may approach its full understanding. The meaning of the Qur'anic word الْمُطَهَّرُونَ in the context of the Holy Qur'an is layered and nuanced. The Holy Qur'an explains الْمُطَهَّرُونَ itself, as it continually points them out in terms of various defining characteristics in its own emphatic explanation of whom it is intended for, who will be able to extract its message, who its custodians are, and who it is not going to benefit at all:
“This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil).” (Arabic: ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara 2:2
The Holy Qur'an by its own statement is a guidance only for those who are “muttaqin” ( هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ), and not for others! The “muttaqin” characteristics are further defined, inter alia:
“Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful.”
(Arabic: ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِٱلْءَاخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ
أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara 2:3-4-5
These “muttaqin” (must) approach the scriptures with a cleansed heart in order to effectively endeavor in seeking its meaning. And they will succeed in comprehending its message dependent only on the level of their spiritual cleansing – that's a promise of the Holy Qur'an! Different seekers of guidance will have different levels of comprehension of the Holy Qur'an based on how much “muttaqin” and how much “al-muttaharoon” they are! This is why the Holy Qur'an further differentiates among them – all Muslims, believers in Islam, are not equal in the sight of the Author of the Holy Qur'an who identifies Itself as “the Lord of the Worlds” ( رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ):
“Is one who worships devoutly during the hours of the night prostrating himself or standing (in adoration), who takes heed of the Hereafter, and who places his hope in the Mercy of his Lord― (like one who does not)? Say: "Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?" It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.” (Arabic: أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ ۗ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ۗ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Az-Zumar 39:9
“Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (Arabic: إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujraat, 49:13 (see full verse below)
How does one embark on such a mission of a cleansed hearted journey to understand the Holy Qur'an today and overcome, in a meaningful way, one's socialization biases and natural tendencies, to actually be counted among those even mildly “honoured in the sight of Allah” rather than being among those who are “in a state of loss” (see Surah Al-Asr below)? If the Holy Qur'an claims to be a book of guidance for all mankind for all times rather than merely a revered scripture of antiquity, then clearly it must be comprehensible today in today's epoch, offer prescriptive principles to adhere to which are vibrant, effective and pertinent for today's living conditions, just as they must be for tomorrow's living conditions, and just as they were for the time of the Prophet of Islam when the Holy Qur'an reputedly revolutionized that Age of Jahiliya.
Well, the answer the Holy Qur'an itself provides in its very first Surah, Surah Al-Fatiha, verse 1:6-7 quoted above – to beseech the Creator in daily supplication to “Show us the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favoured.”
Evidently, according to the prima facie prescription of Islam itself, the cleansed hearted journey to understand the Holy Qur'an for Muslims (like all other peoples seeking divine guidance) can only be undertaken by seeking out the path of some unnamed people whom God has favored. This is further underscored:
“O ye who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him,” (Arabic: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:35
It follows therefore, rather straightforwardly in fact from the logic of the Qur'anic Message, that ONLY “the path of those whom Thou hast favoured” as proclaimed in Surah Al-Fatiha 1:7, and subsequently clarified as “seek the means of approach unto Him,” the “Wasilah” ( الْوَسِيلَةَ ) in Surah Al-Maeda 5:35, can exemplify, interpret, and explain the journey of the straight path ( الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ )!
Verse 1:7 teaches the supplicant to beseech the Creator to show the path of His favored ones. And verse 5:35 commands the supplicant to first seek the means of approach unto Him as his duty to the Creator, in order to even approach the straight path!
In simpler words for the language and logic challenged, by the proclamation of the Holy Qur'an itself, the supplicant cannot approach the Creator directly, but only through the designated means of seeking the “Wasilah”. For emphasis, it is even couched as a “duty” of the “believers” to first seek the “Wasilah”! And it is further emphasized that only the Author's own favored ones can delineate the straight path unto Him for the rest of mankind. The favored ones are the Wasilah, “the means of approach unto Him.”
The Holy Qur'an straightforwardly informs us that the straight path is guided journey by the divinely favored ones, the Al-Wasilah, and not a solo journey by one's own interpretation!
Mind blowing... putting to bed all facile views pertaining to the path of spiritual guidance and spiritual ascendance in Islam.*
Putting it together with verse 39:9 of Surah Az-Zumar (quoted above) then makes that rhetorical question obviously prescriptive, rather than being merely tautological: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?”
Meaning, these “Wasilah”, the show-ers of the straight path upon whom God has bestowed favors, must also be the ones highest in knowledge and in-errant in their understanding of the divinely crafted straight path. Otherwise, how can they guide others more knowledgeable than themselves? Or, if their own understanding concerning this straight path was error prone? Especially of an obscure path which Allah ordained that no man may otherwise know of his and her own accord, except through those who were divinely favored. Which, of course, also automatically implies that their teacher can be none among those whom they have been divinely chosen to guide!
That there is a didactic significance to the notion of “Wasilah” for knowing and approaching the straight-path, and which is not to be dismissed as merely allegorical ( مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ), is emphasized again:
“One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” (Arabic: يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Israa' 17:71
A brief explanation of the word “Imam” ( إِمَا ) is perhaps in order as few Muslims evidently comprehend it – judging from the honorific which they continually adopt for themselves and ascribe to every tom dick and harry who can regurgitate in Arabic or tie a turban on his head. The word “Imam” is frequently used in the Holy Qur'an. Its meaning fortunately is unambiguously explained by the Holy Qur'an itself. We don't have to use a language dictionary nor hijack Qur'anic terminology as a common noun when it clearly is not intended to be. (See Hijacking the word 'Islam' for Mantra Creation for how Qur'anic terminology is routinely hijacked with semantic overload by vested interests).
In the language of the Holy Qur'an, the terminology “Imam” refers to leaders of men (and women) whom Allah chose above all others – as in the following verses where its clearest meaning is made manifest for those upon whose eyes there is no covering, and upon whose ears and heart there is no lock of self-interest or self-deception:
“Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations. Offspring one of the other; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.” (Arabic: إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱصْطَفَىٰٓ ءَادَمَ وَنُوحًا وَءَالَ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ وَءَالَ عِمْرَٰنَ عَلَى ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ ذُرِّيَّةًۢ بَعْضُهَا مِنۢ بَعْضٍ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ) Holy Quran, Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:33-34
“And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He” (Arabic: وَإِذِ ٱبْتَلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِۦمَ رَبُّهُۥ بِكَلِمَٰتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّى جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِى ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِى ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:124
Thence we see that when verses 17:71 and 10:47 (quoted above) respectively state: “One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams”, “And for every nation there is a messenger. And when their messenger cometh (on the Day of Judgment) it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged.”, the word “Imam” sensibly refers to those guides whom Allah has chosen to lead men (and women) onto the straight path. But being perpetual victims of facile views, Muslims tend to follow anyone with a turban on the pulpit with the title “Imam” – and therein lies the pièce de résistance of conundrums.
Apart from the logical reasoning noted earlier for the solution to the obvious puzzle that why can't one just read the Holy Qur'an and be done with the dispensation of divine guidance directly from it rather than seek out the path of some favored ones who are not even straightforwardly identified in the most common Surah; that why does one, even today fourteen centuries later, in obligatorily repeating Surah Al-Fatiha in mandatory daily prayers, have to seek that straight path of divine guidance via some “Wasilah” who also remain unnamed in the Holy Qur'an? But that's not the end of the conundrum, only its beginning!
If only the business of divine guidance were so straightforward – for the average intelligence level of humanity is certainly not up to solving complex riddles in order to pursue faith by way of reasoning about it (which is why the vast majority are simply socialized into their respective belief system by birth, and stay in it for their entire life). That empirical reality must be accounted for otherwise the Holy Qur'an remains just un-implementable theory.
The first of these accountings for the empirical reality of socialization already mentioned above, is to compete with each other in virtuous conduct ( فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ Surah Al-Maeda 5:48 above) as individual behavioral responsibility, rather than in theological upmanship among God's religions brought by different Messengers among whom there is no difference (Surah Al-Baqara 2:285 below).
Now, we have the second empirical reality. It is proffered to not only “seek the means of approach unto Him”, but also that “We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” on the Day of Reckoning.
What if the socialization is outright, or partially, based on falsehoods, half-truths, three-quarter truths, and subtle distortions that have crept into the divine teachings? What if that which is followed is not accurately the teachings of the Messengers and Imams dispatched by God to every people – including to the Muslims?
Since: “We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams”, and the false “imams” will disclaim their followers (see verses immediately below), we have both, a practical and a theological problem. Finding the “straight path” just got a lot harder and trickier – because now there is a penalty attached to getting it wrong and following false teachers and false leaders despite the best of plebeian intentions!
Therefore, to ensure correct guidance for the supplicant of the straight path that they don't end up mistakenly following false paths, false prophets, false leaders, false imams, false pontiffs, false kings, false khalifas, false pulpits, and false paths laid out by usurpers, tyrants, and impostors, while thinking they are following the divinely guided straight path, the following verses of the Holy Qur'an proffer the clearest admonishment ( آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ ) of perpetual vigilance as the caveating qualifier to seeking the straight path ( الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ ) of only those people whom God hath favored ( اَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ):
“(On the day) when those who were followed disown those who followed (them), and they behold the doom, and all their aims collapse with them.” (Arabic: إِذْ تَبَرَّأَ الَّذِينَ اتُّبِعُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا وَرَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِهِمُ الْأَسْبَابُ )
“And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire.” (Arabic: وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا لَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَتَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُمْ كَمَا تَبَرَّءُوا مِنَّا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ اللَّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ حَسَرَاتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ وَمَا هُمْ بِخَارِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:166-167
And specifically, the following admonishment is especially for the Muslims, in their blindly casting about for guides and imams, and ending up with false friends:
“The Day that the wrong-doer will bite at his hands, he will say, "Oh! Would that I had taken a (straight) path with the Messenger!" (Arabic: وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا )
"Ah! Woe is me! Would that I had never taken such a one for a friend!" (Arabic: يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا )
"He did lead me astray from the Message (of Allah) after it had come to me! Ah! the Evil One is but a traitor to man!" (Arabic: لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنْسَانِ خَذُولًا )
Then the Messenger will say: "O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense." ” (Arabic: وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Furqaan 25:27-28-29-30
Speak of facile views! The Prophet of Islam, vouches the Holy Qur'an, will himself complain on the Day of Reckoning that: “Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense.”
What a challenge for the earnest seeker of the straight path ( الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ ), especially when religion intersects with imperial mobilization and its diabolical confrere, the Machiavelli, as it has done since time immemorial.
How is a Muslim, born and raised under the cloud of sectarian schisms and empire's favored version of Islam, to navigate this minefield which is replete not just with socialization artifacts of birth, culture, and historical baggage, but also ongoing false friends cultivated from the highest pulpits in every generation?
Not a single Muslim thinks these admonishing verses apply to him or her – as is typical of all self-righteous indoctrinations. See “Hijacking the word 'Islam' for Mantra Creation”, the 600 page Fatwa on Terrorism, and the CAIR report for contemporary examples of false friends and institutions devilishly implanted among Muslims for precisely this purpose of diabolically manufacturing consent and controlled dissent for aiding imperial mobilization. Well-intentioned people seeking guidance hither and thither continually fall for them!
One needs to be fully awake and thinking in the matters of faith no differently than in any other matter of political science – for faith and political science continually intersect to ensure both the support of religion, and no interference from religion, in the pursuit of empire's business. Whereas God's “deen” has nothing to do with empire! And this is the most significant fact of the matter from which all macro good and evil follow, for every people, of every religion, and no religion.
Furthermore, the cleansed hearted learning for the journey of the straight path ( الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ ) is not just with the intellectual left-half brain, i.e., cognitive, analytical, logical, reasoned, based on empirical knowledge. But also with the poetic and linguistic right-half brain, i.e., with feelings, emotions, empathy, intuitions, insights, inspiration, all of which may transcend the causality principle of cold objective intellectual empiricism. (Think Mr. Spock vs. Captain Kirk in the fable of Star Trek television series of the 1960s). For a discussion of why these are independent human faculties and why both are necessary to pilot human wisdom and spiritual learning towards the straight path, see the essay Morality derived from the Intellect leads to Enslavement!. The report Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? Part-II further dwells upon this bifurcation of left and right half brain metaphors and what the language of the intellect (verses like 67:3-4 see discussion below), and the language of the heart (verses like those quoted above), respectively speak to in the context of the overarching spiritual teachings of the Holy Qur'an (such as in verse 20:114 discussed below). One without the other is at best one-eyed! More often, usually blind.
Seeing with the spiritual eye is how the journey of the straight-path even becomes discernible. But it is not a spiritual journey of the Sufis and dervishes withdrawn from the affairs of this world – it is a bold physical life's journey of striving in this world amidst all its travails and tribulations as further outlined in the recipe of a successful life in Surah Al-Asr discussed below. The inner motivation to embark and to stay on that journey of the straight path is principally seeded only with the spiritual eye to even perceive the straight path ( الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ ), and the urgency to be on it – for one does not know how much time one has remaining to one's life .
This is why the Holy Qur'an refers to the spiritual condition of being lost in darkness away from the straight path in similitudes like: “on the hearts there are locks” and “Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering.”
Caption Image Pastor Terry Jones burning the Holy Quran
That's the cleansed heart metaphor – inter alia, a genuine desire to learn using all human faculties at our disposal. Whereas anyone may pick up a copy of the Qur'an, read it, torch it, defecate on it, shoot at it, and of course, even recite it in in the most surreal and melodious of incantations that is prized by all Muslims worldwide. The cleansed heart is an empirical demand not just of the Author of the Holy Qur'an to those who seek its teaching, but also of rational commonsense.
Don't bring perceptual, ingrained, residual, or prejudicial biases to reading any book or else you won't comprehend the complete message that was put in the book by its author. You'll only get what you want to hear, believe, or argue to serve your own narrow interests! That's how fine literature is supposed to be read, argued, and enjoyed – using one's own interpretation and imagination. A fine book of poetry or allegorical fiction can reasonably mean different things to different people – and they can argue about it all day if they like without loss of sensibilities.
But try doing that to a city's handbook of traffic laws, or the tax laws. One has to precisely understand what the authors of the traffic regulations – the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) – mean in the full letter, the full intent, and the full spirit of the regulations if one wants to pass that pesky written test to get one's driver license. More importantly, in order to be a safe driver which only comes about by repeatedly putting into best practice what one has learnt in theory. The practice helps clarify the theory, and the theory helps refine the practice.
Indeed, the Holy Qur'an is like any other convoluted law book – one has to absorb it with concentration, contemplation, and with the clear motivation to exactly comprehend what its Author had in mind. This is also a common topic of exposition by genuine scholars of Islam. But unfortunately it has been relegated to dusty old books in local Muslim languages which few ordinary people read. The advent of the internet has made at least some of these works accessible in translation to anyone today and there is hardly any excuse for the lack of commonsense on how to sensibly study the complex and unusual text of the Holy Qur'an.
Acquiring such non-facile theoretical Qur'anic knowledge, and living it in practice in the straight path ( الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ ) established by those whom God hath favored, just made both the comprehension and practice of the Religion of Islam a lot harder than the prostrations stamped upon the forehead! (See: Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? Part-I, Part-II)
Furthermore, hijacking the Qur'an for vested interests also just got easier. Deliberately purveying facile views on Islam serve their own diabolical agendas. Let's take a moment to examine the intent behind Terry Jones', the 'Burn a Quran' pastor in Gainesville Florida, statement to CNN.
Caption Image bookcover of Pastor Terry Jones “ISLAM is of THE DEVIL”
‘(CNN) — In protest of what it calls a religion “of the devil,” a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an “International Burn a Quran Day” on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it’s causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times,” Pastor Terry Jones told CNN’s Rick Sanchez earlier this week.
Jones wrote a book titled “Islam is of the Devil,” and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.
“I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they’re on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy?” Jones asks in one of his YouTube posts.
“No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil.”
“In Islam, many actions that we consider to be crimes are encouraged, condoned or sheltered under Islamic teaching and practice, though. Another reason to burn a Quran.”’ (CNN, July 29, 2010)
When someone utters of a scriptural religion of 2 billion peoples which unequivocally enjoins justice and equity among mankind regardless of religion, which unequivocally forbids committing excesses in the land, unequivocally forbids the killing of innocent people, and unequivocally likens the virtue of saving one innocent person from injustice being akin to saving an entire peoples, that: “to me it looks like a religion of the devil”, is not just simple ignorance:
“For Allah loveth those who judge in equity.” Holy Qur'an Surah Al-Maeda 5:42
“... so strive as in a race in all virtues.” Holy Qur'an Surah Al-Maeda 5:48
“On that account We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it would be as if he slew the whole people; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our Messengers with Clear Signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” Holy Qur'an Surah Al-Maeda 5:32
Furthermore, to go to the bother of writing a full book-length treatise egregiously titling it: 'Islam is of the Devil', seems to be following directly in the footsteps of the propaganda manuals written by the “foremost Western scholar of Islam”, Princeton University professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies, primarily of Islamic history, Bernard Lewis, such as Crisis of Islam – Holy War and Unholy Terror.
Clearly Terry Jones' case isn't the simple situation of mere prejudice, of being mistaken about Islam in the information age of 2011, of an orientalist misreading the Holy Qur'an. Pastor Terry Jones actually went ahead and torched a copy of the Holy Qur'an in March 2011. Such demonstrated malice is beyond ignorance. It is designed to inflame, to hurt, to elicit an uncontrolled response from the Muslims. No hate laws were applied to Pastor Terry Jones of course in the name of free speech any more than these were applied to the Danish cartoonist drawing hideous caricatures of the Prophet of Islam in 2006 under guidance from his own Jewish confreres in America, Daniel Pipes and company. Instead, Terry Jones is now smugly mounting a campaign for becoming the president of the United States for 2012!
It is easy to misread into Terry Jones' misanthropy as being either an isolated case of a crackpot jackass (as the Western media projects it to be), or an example of revived Crusades against Islam (which Muslims holding facile views are wont to believe). It is neither. Apart from perhaps personal malice, it is entirely political science in the same vein as all propaganda manuals are. And the word “Islam” is the scapegoat! As I had summed it up in September 2010:
'(yawn.... sooo reminiscent of Bible Burning in Zionistan and pissing-spitting on the symbols of Christianity for advanced entertainment and mirth –– common progenitors and instigators harboring more or less equal contempt for the faith of all 'untermensch' and thenceforth, without fear of accountability or retribution, nurturing the figment of a “clash of civilizations” to justify the ongoing murderous “Imperial Mobilization”)'
That Machiavellian maligning of Islam as “doctrinal motivation” (see Brzezinski quote at the beginning) is examined in the report “Hijacking the word 'Islam' for Mantra Creation” where I take an in-depth look into the Dynamics of Mantra Creation of Islamofascism, starting with the crafty Jewish penmanship of Bernard Lewis in the service of “imperial mobilization”.
I should just add in passing that the unenviable destiny of all such vulgar propagandists who at the peak of their hubris fuel unspeakable war-mongering upon mankind, is perhaps timelessly captured in the Goebbels family's fate! But only under the spectre of victor's justice.
Returning back to inadvertently misunderstanding the Holy Qur'an as opposed to deliberately distorting it for vested interests as illustrated above, it should be obvious to any sensible person that memorizing the Holy Qur'an like a tape recorder has zero pertinence to understanding its message, never mind comprehending it sufficiently as “muttaqin” for practicing its spirit beyond its daily rituals. I hope I can be forgiven for drawing the apt parallel of the pleasure of daily Qur'anic recitation with daily reciting the DMV driver's handbook just for the pleasure of hearing the sound of the latter's instructive words!
That is in effect what the Muslims have done with the Holy Qur'an – read the DMV handbook for the sheer pleasure of hearing the sounds and rhythm of its words and sentences! As useful as that might be to wean oneself from sleeping pills, can one pass the DMV test that way? “Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem?” demands the Author of the Holy Qur'an, while simultaneously asserting “In a Book well-guarded, which none shall touch but those who are clean”!
Clearly, the warning to Muslims (and non-Muslims alike) by the Author of the Holy Qur'an to not make a mockery of the “well-guarded Book”, is very emphatic, repetitive, and unequivocal ( آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ ). Even verse 25:30 of Surah Al-Furqaan vouches a severe condemnation of the Muslims themselves by none other than the Messenger who brought them the Holy Qur'an: “Then the Messenger will say: 'O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense.'” The primary focus is veritably on understanding the message: “Do they not then reflect on the Quran? Nay, on the hearts there are locks.” (refer to Surah Muhammad, 47:24 quoted above) as it commonsensically should be, and not on its mere recitation, memorization, ritual reverence, and ritual practice: “Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem?” (refer to Surah Al-Waqia, 56:81 quoted above). Of course, as all Muslims will surely testify, there is a more profound effect upon the spirit on hearing or reciting the Holy Qur'an in its original Arabic than doing the same to the DMV driver's handbook in any language!
The Holy Qur'an, first and foremost, is an aural recitation, not a written word. The authenticity and correctness of the written copy of the Qur'an, as Muslims are aware, is testified by a hafiz of the Qur'an, one who has memorized it in its exactness, like a tape recorder, and the memorization has itself been authenticated by his teacher – successively going back to the time of the Prophet of Islam when the Prophet himself (the historical narrative unanimously states) approved the full recitation as it exists today. (For a history of its written compilation see: Some Old Manuscripts of the Holy Qur'an )
As divisive as Muslims are, and in as many sects as we are divided in, and in as many languages we speak on all five (or six) continents that we live, one thing we agree upon is the text of the Qur'an – that it remains unchanged.
There is nothing which unites the fractious 2 billion Muslims more than the text of the Holy Qur'an. The following verse asserts that unlike previous scriptures, the Author of the Holy Qur'an takes the responsibility of protecting its Message from man's corruption:
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (Arabic: إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Hijr 15:9
This is perhaps why there is so much emphasis among Muslims of all nations, cultures, and civilizations since the very time of the Prophet and the spread of Islam, to learn the memorization of the Holy Qur'an as both a sacred as well as a utilitarian virtue. Its verbatim perfect memorization continually protects the Holy Qur'an from tampering by those who own the printing presses. And it protected the Holy Qur'an in antiquity from malicious scribes working for kings, and from copying errors. And we see the proof of the pudding in its eating even today, fourteen centuries later. But while the text of the Holy Qur'an all Muslims agree remains the same, they all slightly disagree on what it means! See Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? Part-II for a first of its kind forensic examination into this matter.
Sticking with the recitation of the Qur'anic Word for the moment, there is also something undeniable and uncanny about the calmness and feeling of spiritual peace which comes with reciting a Surah from the Holy Qur'an as an act of worship. Such calmness does indeed benefit many Muslims temporally – meaning, in the here and the now. Our psychiatric bills are almost negligible (unless we are physically being bombed to smithereens on a daily basis), and ProzacTM sales never took off among the Muslim nations as it did in the West. Empirically speaking, it is undeniable that even memorization, recitation, and parroting by the ordinary peoples has brought Muslims throughout the fourteen centuries some very unique benefits of spiritual strength and empowerment to withstand daily vicissitudes of life and tyrants.
Nevertheless, commonsense tells us that something has terribly gone wrong here.
We have kept the shell and thrown away its fruit!
The Muslims have come to believe, or been led to believe, collectively, that making the Arabic offering of the Qur'an to Allah with its attendant rituals will take one to Heaven!
More recitation offerings to Allah will bring more Heaven in the Hereafter by compensating for our failings in the here, of both commissions and omissions.
Personal elevation of the spirit notwithstanding – the Shaman priest too derives much elevation of the soul in reciting his mantras as does the Hindu swami reciting the Vedas (for man, evidently, is naturally endowed with a spiritual bent of mind that seeks psychological comfort in the pursuit of the “why” of existence) – often times the words being recited are in a foreign tongue (Arabic) which the vast majority of Muslims on earth don't even speak or understand!
Of the nearly 2 billion Muslims on planet earth today, just about 10% are native speakers of Arabic. A few others speak it as a second language.
But most Muslims mouth the words of the Holy Qur'an formulaically in its original Arabic, or in its transliteration into their local language script, for some vague notion of reaping rewards in the Hereafter.
Acts of courage, valor, dignity, self-respect, standing up for what's right, standing up to oppression, tyranny, breaking the bonds of servitude, have all been replaced by joyous recitations.
Muslims do such pious recitations every opportunity we get, which is mostly on deaths and death-anniversaries of loved ones. We solemnly bring down the Qur'an from the topmost shelf of our choicest closet or bookcase, often kept wrapped in many layers of fine silk to preserve its dignity from dust and spiders, and gather around with friends and family to “finish” mouthing the Qur'an a maximum number of times as blessings and reward for the dear departed. More often than not, because of our busy lives, unable to gather sufficient number of people to mouth the Qur'an, we farm off the task to the nearest mosque and get children studying there to come-over and do so in proxy services in lieu of some food and generous gratuity to the mullah. More money we spend in such efforts, more we feel our prayers have traveled farther into purgatory relieving the burden of accountability on our loved ones!
As per the concept of sadqa-jariya, it is believed by many Muslims that such Qur'anic recitations and prayers of good-will help those who are no longer in this world when their loved ones miss them and pray for mercy for their souls (as opposed to forget them or curse them). Let's just accept, to avoid any red herring contentions, that it helps the damned to be less damned in purgatory if they leave a good legacy of love and charitable works behind. For those rare virtuous people not damned, perhaps the prayers of the living helps them gain greater Heaven. Sadqa-Jariya is a unique concept in Islam which helps foster love, brotherhood, and charitable works that keep on accruing benefit to one even after one has left this abode, so long as the good-will left behind keeps bearing fruit for those still living.
But does such ceremonial mouthing of the Holy Qur'an help us while we are still living?
And during Ramadan of course, we again rush to “finish” mouthing all its 114 chapters divided into 30 sections, in just under 27 days as the fast-path to Heaven. If we overshoot by one day, we are in panic mode to finish the remaining sections quickly before the night of moon-sighting for the next day's Eid festivities.
When do Muslims actually study the Holy Qur'an to comprehend its message for the here and the now, as one would study the DMV handbook? Or more aptly, as one studies to learn one's profession and trade?
How much more facile than that can anyone get?
Returning back the topic of the remarkable pluralism of Surah Al-Fatiha and Surah Al-Maeda, what does the Author of the Holy Qur'an say to Muslims about His many prophets and messengers?
“Say (O Muslims): 'We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.' ” (Arabic: قُولُوٓا۟ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِۦمَ وَإِسْمَٰعِيلَ وَإِسْحَٰقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَٱلْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَآ أُوتِىَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَآ أُوتِىَ ٱلنَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُۥ مُسْلِمُونَ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara 2:136
“The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. 'We We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.' And they say: 'We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys' ” (Arabic: ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦ ۚ وَقَالُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara 2:285
This is principally why Muslims do not return the villainous propaganda warfare waged against Prophet Muhammad by the Judeo-Christian soldiers carrying the white man's burden – for instance, like the Danish cartoons of 2006, and the American movie of 2012, dehumanizing the noble Prophet of Islam – with counter propaganda warfare against the prophets of antiquity whom the Christians and the Jews revere. For, the Holy Qur'an enjoins the Muslims to revere these same prophets of antiquity and to “make no distinction between one and another of His messengers.” (See many similar verses, e.g. 4:163, 6:83, 57:26).
This is despite the Holy Qur'an simultaneously vouching that the earlier messages brought by these prophets of antiquity had been lost or distorted by the impudence of human hands (see Surah Al-Maeda 5:12-16), and that Islam now superseded them all as the last Testament to mankind which the Author had Himself undertaken to safeguard: “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:9 quoted earlier), with no more Messengers and Testaments to come in future times (see Surah Al-Ahzaab 33:40).
But does the Author of the Holy Qur'an forbid Muslims reading other people's books?
I have not found any occasion when such a travesty has been advocated.
Does the Author of the Qur'an forbid speaking to the people of other nations?
I have not found any occasion when such a travesty has been advocated.
To the contrary, the author of the Qur'an emphatically states the following:
“O mankind! Lo! We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” (Arabic: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujraat, 49:13
And how can “ye may know one another” ( لِتَعَارَفُوا ) unless ye talk to each other, partake of each others joys and sorrows?
The straight forward logic of this verse in full context demonstrates that the author of the Qur'an made the religion of Islam both non-isolationist, and non-triumphalist to the core!
Does the Author of the Qur'an forbid Muslims imbibing themselves of knowledge and wisdom from any source?
I have also not found any occasion when such a travesty has been advocated.
Quite the opposite in fact. The Author of the Qur'an commands Its own last Messenger to pray to his Creator to increase his own "ilm" as a virtue:
“and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (Arabic: وَقُلْ رَّبِّ زِدۡنِىۡ عِلۡمًا ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Ta-Ha, 20:114
And therefore, since the Author's last Messenger is also the Exemplar for his followers, the commandment is to the Exemplar's followers as well, i.e., to the Muslims, to do the same: “and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” This pithy prayer is recited by many Muslims in their daily prayers. Unfortunately, this increase evidently hasn't come to pass for a vast majority of us.
What's more, the author of the Qur'an even advocates pursuing boundless “ilm” thusly:
“Thou seest not, in the Creation of the All-Merciful any imperfections. Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure, Then return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.” (Arabic: مَا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنْ تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِنْ فُطُورٍ ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنْقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Mulk, 67:3-4
The profound significance of these pithy verses of Surah Mulk to knowledge, to “ilm” acquisition can perhaps also be judged from the fact that Muslim physicist Dr. Abdus Salam rehearsed it in Stockholm upon accepting The Nobel Prize in Physics 1979, boldly stating at the Nobel Banquet on December 10, 1979, before other Nobel laureates, scientists and dignitaries, the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Academy of Sciences, that: “This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.”
But does the author the Qur'an advocate such pursuits, singlemindedly, to the exclusion of all else, such that such pursuits become the self-serving pursuit of the 'American Dream'?
Or, is such an advocacy for the pursuit of “ilm” as a noble endeavor, made an essential component of a greater all encompassing moral imperative by the author of the Qur'an? A categorical imperative which devolves upon man an even greater system of personal and social responsibility for which the wholehearted pursuit of “ilm” is necessary, but not sufficient?
The answer is obvious, despite the question not being merely rhetorical.
It is plainly given by the author of the Qur'an in the pithy Surah Asr, in the verse fragment:
“and those who strive for haq” (Arabic: وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Asr, 103:3
The Arabic word “haq” حَقِّ (pronounced 'huq' like 'hug' and not like 'faq') is an all encompassing word and its single-word translation into English is impossible. It means all of the following (and then some): truth, Truth, justice, rights, rectifying injustice, not violating rights, not being unjust, demanding one's own rights, not permitting others to violate one's own rights, etceteras.
It is but simple logic and commonsense to deduce that the pursuit of accurate knowledge in all matters is an essential prerequisite to the pursuit of “haq” in all matters – lest one be deceived, be manipulated, end up believing in falsehoods, and act unjustly.
The aforementioned tiny but self-sufficient verse fragment of the Qur'an forms the foundational basis for what is called “jihad”, striving as a moral imperative, in other verses of the Qur'an:
“And strive they with their wealth and their lives in the way of God; they are the truthful ones.” (Arabic: وَجَاهَدُوۡا بِاَمۡوَالِهِمۡ وَاَنۡفُسِهِمۡ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Hujraat 49:15
But what should they “strive” ( وَجَاهَدُ ) for, inter alia, with their wealth and their lives, without any expectations in return from their fellow man, to be so nobly designated as the “truthful ones” ( الصّٰدِقُوۡنَ ) by none other than the one who claims to be their Creator?
The Qur'anic answer, once again unequivocally provided by the author of the Qur'an in the Qur'an itself, is in Surah Asr.
It is to principally strive for “haq” ( وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ) with all of one's wealth, resources, talents, and energies! The lack of striving of which, the author of the Qur'an emphatically re-asserts in the same Surah Asr, leads to:
“Lo! man is in a state of loss” ( اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِىۡ خُسۡرٍۙ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Asr 103:2
For completeness, reproduced below is the full recipe of the pithy Surah Asr for a noble life which is “not in a state of loss”, one which is not perpetually full of facile views, ignorance, apathy, vile servitude to the harbingers of inequity and injustices, and wild revolutions and further injustices in the name of redressing injustices. Notice what's stated and what's omitted in this self-sufficient tiny Surah. There is no reference to Muslims, or to Islam, or to any particular people or religion. It is directly addressed to man ( الۡاِنۡسَانَ ) , “insaan”, to every people of all religions, and to people of no religion, the overarching context for which has already been elucidated above:
By the declining day, (1)
Lo! man is in a state of loss (2)
اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِىۡ خُسۡرٍۙ
Save those who believe,
and do good works,
and strive for “haq”,
and are patient (3)
اِلَّا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا
وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ
ۙ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ
Caption Surah Al-Asr, Chapter 103 of the Holy Qur'an (see full exposition)
The aforementioned few words of the author of the Holy Qur'an, as straightforward as they appear to be, still do require plenty of reflection and context to grasp the full import of its message towards an equitable and mutually beneficial multicultural co-existence without the imposition of anyone's values and/or “facile views” upon another.
It is important to re-emphasize for the first of the four clauses of verse 3 of Surah Asr quoted above, even at the risk of being repetitious once gain, that on theological matters of belief, including no belief, when one disagrees with another, the dispute is not up to man to decide. It is for some abstract entity called “God” to decide, as already quoted from the author of the Qur'an in the preceding discussion. It is not the business of man what another's beliefs are. That business is God's, and is defined as being among the Rights of God upon man, the “haquq-Allah”. No mortal may interfere in that Right even if, due to their own natural socialization and/or self-ascribed learnedness, they perceive that some Right of God is being violated by others holding a facile view. This clear demarcation of respective Rights in Islam between the Rights of God (beliefs) and the Rights of man (moral law), ends for all times, at least from Islam's point of view, all arguments of the type: whose conception of god is better; is there a god or isn't there; etc.
Everyone gets to believe in whatever theology they want! The author of the Holy Qur'an in defining the religion of Islam, already took the inherent differences in beliefs and perception biases due to the very nature of socialization of man into account! Thus, apart from friendly discourse, any forceful disputation with another on the nature of their personal beliefs is transgressing the limits set by the author of the Qur'an for Islam's practitioners:
“And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?” ( Arabic: وَلَوۡ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لَأَمَنَ مَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ ڪُلُّهُمۡ جَمِيعًاۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكۡرِهُ ٱلنَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُواْ مُؤۡمِنِينَ ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Yunus 10:99
This leaves man, as per the other three clauses of Surah Al-Asr verse 3 quoted above, in his short gift of life, to not worry about saving another's soul, but to primarily contend with his own conduct with his fellow man, the previously mentioned “haquq-al-ibad”.
The commonsense advocacy of that method of conduct, of doing good to fellow man, of striving for “haq” in removing injustices from oneself and from fellow man, and being patient in adversity rather than committing suicide or becoming a suicide bomber, is beneficial guidance to all mankind no differently than the Biblical commandment: “do unto others as you have others do unto you”, and Bertrand Russell's non-religious and secular formulation: 'Maximize individual happiness while minimizing social conflict for optimizing the overall common-good', are beneficial for all mankind.
Take from whichever system of thought that naturally resonates with one; but don't be iniquitous to oneself, or to another; and the only practicable method to achieve that enlightened state of affairs regardless of the belief system one is socialized into, is the pursuit of “ilm” (in order to minimally be able to differentiate truth from falsehoods), social justice, and benevolence, as if in a race in all virtues instead of being in a race for Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives – i.e., imperial mobilization. This is the prima facie principal message of the Author of the Holy Qur'an. There is absolutely no drive for empire, or triumphalism, in the principled teachings of the Holy Qur'an which describes itself as the completion of a divine favor of a “deen” in verse 5:3 ( الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ), and a divine guidance only to the “mutaqeen” in verse 2:2 ( هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ).
(The Holy Qur'an's self-description naturally begs the obvious question which is addressed in the aforementioned case study Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? Part-II: where is empire in the Holy Qur'an? Especially, as were witnessed in the Ummayad, Abbasside, Fatimide, the Spanish Moor, and the Ottoman dynastic empires during the heyday of Arab and Mongol Muslim domination of the world for nearly a millennium?)
If only man were to take heed of any of this platitudinous stuff from any of the Books of wisdom among mankind, and implement that which is his preferred choice by socialization or natural inclination, in his respective tribe and nation.
That singular failure to implement moral platitudes, from time immemorial, is the one fundamental problem of social failure to strive in “haq”! That social failure is the first cause for the creation of unjust empires and tyrants, and their subsequent quest for hegemony and domination of tribes and nations of the world as was justified by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his own American Mein Kampf of 1996 titled The Grand Chessboard – American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives: “Hegemony is as old as mankind.”
It is because of this empirical fact that the author of the Qur'an, in what it claims to be its last Testament to mankind, has laid such strong emphasis on striving for “haq” – even making it the underpinning of a life which is at a loss in its absence ( اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِىۡ خُسۡرٍۙ ). Otherwise, the Biblical wisdom “do unto others as you have others do unto you” is still sufficient general principle among any enlightened peoples. However, while the latter was merely advisory, striving for “haq” has been made compulsory in Islam! In order to comprehend just how difficult that is in practice, and always has been, which is evidently why it has been made a cornerstone of Islam in the Holy Qur'an, please see the full exposition of Surah al-Asr. (op. cit.)
And what has man, “insaan”, done about such striving for “haq” as the principle engine of social development and progress?
Caught between facile world views on the one hand, and bread and circuses on the other, man continues to be manipulated into voluntary servitude to tyrants of modernity just as he was in antiquity. While one may arguably understand the servitude in the Dark Ages to the tyrants of antiquity, in the modern information age, the Technetronic Era (term coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski), for the disease of the Dark Ages to persist is indicative of something far deeper which has not changed despite the march of civilizations, liberations, exponential increases in public knowledge, and the Technetronic progress.
Those who pursue “ilm”, knowledge, don't necessarily do so to strive for “haq”, or to redress the human condition, but for their own narrow self-interests to achieve their own version of the 'American Dream'. As the knowledge bearers, they are often either the direct harbingers of, or the silent bystanders to, the untold crimes against humanity. In the Technetronic Era of today, the former are the scientists, engineers, and technicians of empire laboring under facile delusions of all kind.
Tyranny of course only flourishes when many good men, and many good women, learned and pious, too busy pursuing their 'American Dreams', stay silent, indifferent.
That is just too well-worn a statement to be anything but one of the best moral clichés of all time. Edmund Burke wasn't the first to think of it. All the sages throughout the ages have reflected upon it. And Solon, the Athenian law giver, as noted previously, even made coming to the aid of fellow man a legal obligation (as opposed to solely being a moral one imparted by religions)!
Apart from the copious evidence of blood-stained pages of recorded history, the obvious import of accurate knowledge to the pursuit of “haq” as its principled primemover, can also be contemporarily judged by the empirical fact that due to the Muslims having a rather facile view of their own religion throughout history, and remaining quite ignorant of its interplay with imperial matters in every epoch, “jihad” was once again vilely harvested for an imperial agenda in the modern epoch with nothing but snake oil.
This time around by Zbigniew Brzezinski for “giving to the USSR its Vietnam War” in Afghanistan 1979-1988 by creating the “Mujahideens”. It is worth reproducing here Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1998 interview to French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur for his own confessions of the utility of promulgating facile world views to accomplish this:
'Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Question: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
Brzezinski: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Question: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Question: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Question: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.' (source Global Research)
It is also worth reproducing here how Brzezinski fashioned these “Some stirred-up Moslems”:
News voice over 1980: “US National Security Advisor Brzezinski flew to Pakistan to set about rallying resistance. He wanted to arm the Mujahideen without revealing America's role. On the Afghan border near the Khayber Pass, he urged the Soldiers of God to redouble their efforts”
Brzezinski 1980: “We know of their deep belief in God, and we are confident that their struggle will succeed. That land over there, is yours, you'll go back to it one day, because your fight will prevail, and you'll have your homes and your mosques back again; because your cause is right; God is on your side.” [enthusiastic clapping by the future 'Mujahideens']
Brzezinski in the studio speaking to the interviewer: “The purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis will be to make the Soviets bleed, for as much, as long, as possible.” (transcription is mine from the documentary video clip)
The mass ignorance and the facile world views that lay behind “their deep belief in god” among the Muslims was devilishly harvested with “god is on your side” to leave the Muslim civilization of Afghanistan into dust, and to set the stage for the future disintegration of Pakistan, with nothing but “Some stirred-up Moslems”!
It is the same fundamental lack of wherewithal today among the Muslims which is also enabling the same grandmasters to wage the perpetual 'Global War on Terror' upon the world as the age-old pretext for “imperial mobilization” on The Grand Chessboard. The enemy in yesteryear was crafted as Communism. The enemy today is crafted as Islam. (See Hijacking the word 'Islam' for Mantra Creation, op. cit.)
Caption As reported by Wired on September 14, 2011, an FBI training presentation titled “Militancy Considerations” measures the relationship between piety and violence among the texts of the three Abrahamic faiths [ the god's chosen people obviously coming out on top!!! ] As time goes on, the followers of the Torah and the Bible move from “violent” to “non-violent.” Not so for devotees of the Koran, whose “moderating process has not happened.” The line representing violent behavior from devout Muslims flatlines and continues outward, from 610 A.D. to 2010. In other words, religious Muslims have been and always will be agents of aggression. (Image source) Watch FBI Presentation Video artfully Hijacking Islam. See its full deconstruction in FBI Muslims and Militancy Considerations --- Heads up. See Islam vs. Secular Humanism and World Government by Zahir Ebrahim for its full implication upon future generations of Muslims in the West. See the guide book Hijacking the Holy Qur'an and Islam, adapted from the voluminous The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity for ease of self-study .
In both endeavors, Muslim rulers and their intelligence apparatuses played, and are still playing, prostitutes to empire against the common-good of their own public.
Evidently, all empires, past and present, from antiquity to modernity, are built upon promoting facile views of certain truths among their public, and among their prostitutes.
St. Augustine had aptly summed it millennia ago:
“When the King asked him what he meant by infesting the sea, the pirate defiantly replied: 'the same as you do when you infest the whole world; but because I do it with a little ship I am called a robber, and because you do it with a great fleet, you are an emperor.'” (The City of God against the Pagans, pg. 148).
It is not surprising then, that the One who claims to be the Creator of man, the author of the Qur'an, correctly gauged the natural psychology of the masses among mankind and how they will be manipulated by the devil's apprentices, and for which it universally advocated the pursuit of “ilm” and “haq” for every “insaan” in a lifelong striving it termed “jihad” as the only effective counter to facile world views from which all evil follows.
It is therefore also not surprising then, that the superlative devil's apprentices too, from time immemorial, also recognized that encouraging facile views among the masses was essential in order to rule them!
Thus was created the narrow specializations and superficial generalization of education systems since the dawn of the Industrial Age, to craft the “likkha parrha jahils” of modernity, meaning, literate morons with pieces of paper proclaiming their august qualifications. It wasn't just by the happenstance of rapid knowledge expansion of the Technetronic Era, as Zbigniew Brzezinski speciously implied in his 1970 book Between Two Ages, that the following has transpired:
'... it can be argued that in some respects "understanding" ... is today much more difficult for most people to attain. ... It is simply impossible for the average citizen and even for men of intellect to assimilate and meaningfully organize the flow of knowledge for themselves. In every scientific field complaints are mounting that the torrential outpouring of published reports, scientific papers, and scholarly articles and the proliferation of professional journals make it impossible for individuals to avoid becoming either narrow-gauged specialists or superficial generalists. The sharing of new common perspectives thus becomes more difficult as knowledge expands; in addition, traditional perspectives such as those provided by primitive myths or, more recently, by certain historically conditioned ideologies can no longer be sustained.' (Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970, pg. 15)
Let me highlight the two key empirical observations from that aforementioned passage: “make it impossible for individuals to avoid becoming either narrow-gauged specialists or superficial generalists. The sharing of new common perspectives thus becomes more difficult as knowledge expands;”. The self-serving cyclic argument of Brzezinski is that firstly, ignorance about knowledge, due to the sheer explosion in knowledge, is the natural outcome of scientific modernity. Secondly, that people can no longer easily reach a common “understanding” of their common condition. Both those observations are empirically true today. But one can easily imagine an alternate modernity where that need not be the case despite the abundance of knowledge explosion. It was the corporatization of knowledge in the service of empire in the vast military-industrial-academe complexes of the industrialized world, and its tight coupling to the exercise of hegemony, that has made it so. Science and technology today equate with hegemony. Therefore, since the quest for hegemony is perpetual, those pursuing science and technology have to continue slaving in the service of empire as “narrow-gauged specialists.” It is a self-serving, self-sustaining game of flourishing ignorance. And it isn't just incidental to knowledge explosion as Brzezinski has tried to portray it. It is in fact according to a premeditated plan, deftly put into motion at the very onset of Western industrialization, for the crafting of “a large number of men who are content to labor hard all day long.”
Here is Bernard de Mandeville in the eighteenth century, cleverly planting the very seeds of modern self-serving ignorance of the people for a production-consumption economy wherein, human masses are deemed only useful as economic widgets for the economic well-being of a nation:
'The economic well-being of the nation depends on the presence of a large number of men who are content to labor hard all day long. Because men are naturally lazy they will not work unless forced by necessity to do so.' (Bernard de Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, 1705)
This man-made value system of human beings as economic widgets “content to labor hard all day long”, has today spread like a virus across the full gamut of gainful employment in the globalized corporate world, from blue collar to white collar, from traders to craftsman, from superficial generalists to narrow-gauged specialists.
That philosophy, to create “a large number of men who are content to labor hard all day long ... forced by necessity” espoused in The Fable of the Bees, inspired Adam Smith, the author of Wealth of Nations, to propose the pursuit of selfish industriousness for the overall common good. Of course, common good primarily of the ruling class with trickle-down economics, but that's just buried in the definition of common good where the common man labors hard all day long, and the elites enjoy the good. Patterned upon the bees collectively making that marvelous tasting honey, each bee narrowly staying busy in its own specialized micro-task, while the queen bee rests and enjoys all the benefits, lies the entire edifice of modern civilization. It hinges entirely upon what Bernard de Mandeville stated 300 years ago. At the risk of being repetitious, it needs to be emphasized once again: “The economic well-being of the nation depends on the presence of a large number of men who are content to labor hard all day long ... forced by necessity.”
This 300 years old philosophy of inculcating selfish, myopic, narrow-gauged industriousness for the common good has been easily adapted to the high-tech Technetronic Era of modernity which naturally requires highly specialized, passionate, skilled, ultra-hard working bees “content to labor hard all day long” due to their natural fascination with the subject. It goes hand in glove with creating specialized narrow-gauged morons with advanced university degrees who can very patriotically “United We Stand” for the common good while staying productively engaged in narrow specializations in the economy.
Kept perpetually too busy to either think independently from the herd even when capable of doing so, or to pursue knowledge outside of their narrow-gauged spheres of specializations by the sheer demands of time and the endless debt-bills in pursuit of their endless “American Dreams”, statecraft today relies on inflicting exactly The Fable of the Bees upon man for its own functioning as an empire. In this scheme of things, vast amounts of useless information has been recast as knowledge, and parrots have been turned into learned savants. While wisdom and commonsense have been driven out from the acumen of men and women “content to labor hard all day long ... forced by necessity.”
That pursuit, by its very nature, promotes holding only facile world views among the dreamers of the 'American Dream'. The more one is invested in one's American Dream, the more averse one automatically becomes to losing that dream if one wakes up to “ilm”. Natural psychological forces do the rest, by automatically bringing to the cognitive surface incessant rationalizations and self-delusions to maintain status quo in order to suppress the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. (See Leon Festinger's study of mental gymnastics for harmonizing dissonance.) The end result is that one prefers to maintain only a nodding acquaintance with “ilm”, remaining mostly content with what's salutarily written on that piece of decorative parchment necessary for becoming an economic widget. The devil's apprentices building their palatial heavens right here on this earth, have further ensured that the very nature of participating in modernity also only permits the hardworking bees just sufficient time and inclination for either very superficially-broad, or very narrow-gauged specialized acquaintance with “ilm”.
We have already seen above that without “ilm”, striving for “haq” is impossible. Thus, between self-deception, deception by Machiavelli, and full time engagement in bread and circuses, one automatically becomes a captive audience to one's ignorance in all important matters which occupy the elites enjoying all that common good from the work of those “content to labor hard all day long.” This diabolically induced state of ignorance makes one easy putty in the rulers' cold calculating hands. The cumulative impact of this to society is exactly as presaged by Brzezinski in Between Two Ages – a must read ode to legitimizing the tyranny of the elite in the Technetronic Era (subtitle of the book). The era of global scientific dictatorship.
The proof of this is the empirical evidence that the most industrialized, most powerful, the greatest and richest Republic on earth today whose economic foundation was laid by Adam Smith, trumped the foundation of liberty and separation from empire laid by its founding fathers with the prime directive that it was to be a Republic. It has silently descended into a police-state without a murmur of protest from either its super-educated or its rank and file. They both today stupidly stand together in line to have their body cavities examined, groped, molested, humiliated, or irradiated with deadly radiation every time they travel by air. Soon, it will be every time they visit a shopping mall, governmental office, school, and perhaps even getting on and off highways to and fro from work. Mobile radiation scanners are already deployed in many cities which scan all passerbys, cars, trucks, for the so called “terrorists”. The rulers meanwhile have their own private jets which take off and land on private runways and terminals bypassing the fate of the masses. No radiation scanners violate their physical being, and no perverts molest their women and children.
All this travesty only exists because the public is continually taught the facile view, or forced to acquiesce to the facile view at the threat of themselves being labeled “terrorist”, that they are under mortal threat from the “terrorist”. Referring back to Zbigniew Brzezinski's ode to hegemony quoted at the very beginning, the method of circumventing domestic impediments to the “sustained exercise abroad of genuinely imperial power” become empirically self-evident: “Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat. [Because] the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being.” (pgs. 211, 44) Q.E.D.
As the aforementioned examination discloses, in this perpetual battle between good and evil, strong and weak, hegemons and victims, wolves and sheep, rulers and masses, evidently both sides have been well equipped. But unfortunately, it is only the one side which has continually figured out, from time immemorial, how to capitalize on its own core strengths and others' weaknesses. And it has artfully trapped the other in bread and circuses.
This was the craft of kings from antiquity who ruled in the name of the divine for their own private interests with “all authority is an extension of god's authority”. And is now the craft of Machiavelli in modernity who showed the prince how to rule for private interests in the name of democracy with “god is on your side”. Indeed, it is only upon that singular characteristic that the following observation of Zbigniew Brzezinski in his own bible of hegemony, The Grand Chessboard, is so penetratingly accurate even today: “Hegemony is as old as mankind.” (pg. 3)
The very foundation of hegemony and empire lie in the public holding largely facile views of truths essential to the rulers. It doesn't matter which view they hold, in fact, they can hold any view they want, so long as it is not the whole truth, and is anything but the truth.
Like every people, such facile views are also promoted by Christians themselves of their own religion upon their own masses – never mind others doing it for them – when it is convenient to the exercise of imperial power. There is virtually no exception to this empiricism throughout the pages of recorded history. It exists among every people, including Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc. Pick an empire and its people have been subjected to facile worldviews which have served the interests of empire.
And modernity is no exception.
Promulgating Zionism among the Jews, and Christian Zionism in the Bible Belt of America, readily come to mind.
The following is just one example. A facile sermon ostensibly from the Holy Bible, by a Christian preacher harkening back to the divine kings of antiquity to teach his own flock to “Honor the King. Do it anyway, whether the king deserves it or not”:
“I am free to submit to authority. I am free to make myself a slave.
My friends, you are free, you are free to respect and appreciate the authority of the government that god gives to you - Honor the King!
The way you talk about your government, it's so easy to complain isn't it? It is so easy to criticize, it is so easy to find fault.
Honor the King. Do it anyway, whether the king deserves it or not.
All authority, all authority is an extension of god's authority!” ('New American Theology of Civil Submission', transcription is mine from a Youtube video of the sermon cited by prisonplanet.com, April 14, 2008)
Caption New American Theology of Civil Submission
What can be a more self-servingly facile view of Christianity than that Orwellian double-speak?
Any Muslim's facile views of Christianity surely pale in comparison!
As is amply evidenced above, anyone can promote facile views, and also be the victim of them. To remove facile views on any subject, including Christianity and Islam, it is commonsensical to go directly to its source. Approach the Good Book with a desire to understand what the Book actually says, whether or not one believes or accepts it – as when writing an A+ book report for a high school English honors class – and one shall know.
Worn out from holding facile views in the land of absurdities, journalist and “accidental theologist”, Lesley Hazleton tried it. She sat down one day to read the Holy Qur'an as “an agnostic Jew reading someone else's Holy Book” – by her own description. And what she found -- as a non-Muslim, a self-identified “tourist” in the Islamic holy book -- wasn't what she had expected. It ended for her the tyranny of facile views on Islam and the Holy Qur'an. Watch.
Summation and Impact Analysis
To finally bring this long riposte to a summation, the short theme being keyed off here has posed a good specific question whose general answer has been explained to those Muslims who can understand the wisdom of the Qur'an. Ignorance, like being naked at birth, is the natural state of being. But we don't go prancing about as civilized adults in the au natural state of our body anymore than we should as civilized adults, of the au natural state of our mind!
Having facile views is natural, of others especially, but is not limited to the 'other'. One can be just as ignorant of what's one's own as illustrated above. And as an antidote to holding facile views, the full spectrum pursuit of knowledge as the precondition for the pursuit of a noble life – to be counted among the “truthful ones” – is rationally advocated by the author of the Qur'an as a categorical imperative for the civilized and harmonious co-existence of man.
That quest for harmonious co-existence at times requires measured and effective self-defence against predators, both physical and psychological. And the prescription for that striving against man's natural predators, the sociopaths and tyrants from among mankind itself, is captured by the universal striving for “haq”. Meaning, just as the natural state of creation is the jungle, but we don't live in one as a civilized people, the natural law of the jungle too is not the law of civilization. That law, the Qur'anic prescription of striving for “haq”, is the most well balanced and comprehensive prescription that exists in any book of wisdom from time immemorial. It prescribes how to be effective and pragmatic in standing up to barbarians without ourselves becoming one. It offers the criterion for resolving the existential dilemma often faced by all peoples of conscience, whether to confront, or to be co-opted. To know what it is, one still needs to acquire its “ilm”, as with everything else. We no more naturally know it in our au natural state of ignorance and barbarianism than we are born with our clothes on.
Interestingly, it is also a commonsense wisdom. Acquire Knowledge – 'even if one has to journey to China', as the Prophet of Islam is reputed to have also stated to his followers in that Age of Jahiliya (ignorance).
The difficulty of physically journeying to China is of course considerably less today. However, we continue to suffer another Age of Jahiliya in our modernity today. One that is dominated by facile views and deception all around. The most pervasive of these facile views among Muslims today is their own self-deception to avoid taking on the responsibility for rectifying their own subjugated condition. It is that oft heard self-serving proclamation of the pious and the scoundrel alike: “Allah chala raha hai”. Meaning, “God is running the world”. Its natural corollary then easily follows: “let Allah take care of his world while I take care of my camels.”
The devil's apprentices who actually are running the world, from time immemorial, deliberately cultivate such servile dogmas and facile views among the foolish masses living in their au natural mental state. To await their favorite savior or messiah; to patiently suffer life for the future expectation of reward in heaven; to focus on taking care of one's own camels and to leave the affairs of state to god, president, or king, except to vote every four years as that's called “democracy” which one must worship; etceteras, while the rulers continue to enjoy their own unlimited heavens right here on earth.
The devil's apprentices also find an irresistibly natural fertile soil among the Muslims for imperial plowing and harvesting. Divided into partisan sects from birth, each having not just a different understanding of the early history of their religion, but also a slightly different understanding of the religion of Islam itself despite possessing the same Holy Qur'an that they all share, Muslims rush to draw upon their respective sectarian narrations of history and doctrinal mumbo jumbo (that's the only way I can fairly describe what pious Muslim scholars utter from their highest pulpits to indoctrinate their flock), to dignify their pathetic silence to tyranny. That's the “good Muslim” variety (sic!). The “bad Muslim” of course rush to join “Al Qaeeda” (sic!). The Muslim ethos, born in servitude, cultivated into co-option, and dreaming of rewards in heaven, lends naturally to the Hegelian Dialectic of “good Muslim” vs. “bad Muslim”.
And precisely that facile world view was engaged from the very day of 9/11 by Muslim scholars with assistance from the many Trojan Horses and Uncle Toms. It made, and still continues to make ten years later, the otherwise un-congenial task of “imperial mobilization” all that much more un-impedimental for invading and occupying “bad Muslim” nations while the “good Muslims” who stay silent, or support the empire's narratives, are applauded and rewarded for their “United We Stand”. See for instance, the 2010 600 page Fatwa on Terrorism which earned its Uncle Tom author a place next to the massa at the World Economic Forum in 2011.
As one can hopefully appreciate very clearly by now, the observation by Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Hegemony is as old as mankind”, has only been true because of an almost infinite gamut of facile views being deftly cultivated among the peoples who have lived and died for maintaining the glory of their rulers from the very beginning of civilization.
Where to seek knowledge, wisdom, when all bearers of knowledge and wisdom, both in the East and the West, appear to be shilling for self-interest? When the bearers of knowledge today also appear to be the greatest manipulators and predators of man? And when the knowledge seeker too is naturally beholden to socialization and susceptible to accepting facile world views ingrained since birth?
See the CAIR report for the difficulties faced in overcoming facile views by even the most learned and pious when their own chiefs mislead them. For writing and disseminating that response to CAIR report pointing out its significant omissions, one Muslim board member of one of the largest Muslim community and mosque of California Bay Area responded: “Whose interests are you serving? Hateful zionists or the hateful christian zioinists or both? Take me off your list.”!
It will be noticed that I have refrained from offering any specific solutions here beyond what is naturally obvious by way of commonsense, or automatically falls out from the text of the quoted passages from the Holy Qur'an. Instead, I have focussed mainly on highlighting the myriad dimensions of the problem-space surrounding the cultivation of self-serving facile views birthed by socialization but aliased as “knowledge” and “wisdom”. Apart from vested self-interests, it is the improper rush to solutions by short attention span sincere peoples which often preclude really understanding the problem domain to the depth of ab initio, which in turn precludes any effective redressing. Thus, it is observed that most invariably end up applying palliative ointments to symptoms of systemic diseases which instead of healing, continue to eat-away a people from within. See “The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity” for more aspects of the problem domain.
That vile curse of modernity, wrought by hectoring hegemons, is the common challenge for all people of faith, as well as no faith. Namely, self-preservation from predatory forces disguised as friends and governments who thrive mainly by cultivating facile and outright nonsensical views among the public as gospel truths! Even the best and the brightest often get taken in by both socialization and self-interests, and end up 'United We Stand' with what is in fact absurdities.
Additional real world examples of how very difficult this endeavor of seeking knowledge which can help separate truth from falsehoods, has become in the super-abundance of our information-age due to a) self-absorption in the pursuit of the proverbial 'American Dream'; b) being perpetually kept busy between bread and circuses throughout our adult lives; and c) Machiavellian total perception management being the cornerstone of modern statecraft; can be found in “The IVY League Morons Syndrome” and “Response to 'Why I'm leaving Harvard'”.
A review of the FAQ: What is an Intellectual Negro?, and the report on Behavior Control titled “The Mighty Wurlitzer”, will I hope help in becoming self-aware of some of the mental gymnastics of servitude routinely inflicted upon mankind which naturally encourage holding self-serving facile views.
How we ended up in this tortuous New Age of Jahiliya where everything the public is made to believe is either facile or false; where liberty is to get people to love their own servitude obeying orders; and where happiness is in the public being content laboring hard all day long for the benefit of the few; is examined in depth in my response to a brilliant scientist inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011, “The Fable of the Bees”.
* A non-Muslim inquisitive reader may sensibly stop to ponder that why did the Author of the Holy Qur'an not directly impart its self-proclaimed divine guidance directly to each human being instead of employing the “Al-Wasilah”, His Messengers and Imams? Instead of mandating seeking “the means of approach unto Him,” the “Wasilah”, in an alternate system every human being could have just as easily been his or her own Imam, his or her own Wasilah, employing his or her own inner moral compass – the perfect egalitarian system with direct connection to the Creator – thus obviating the need for chosen Messengers and Imams to start with. It may be argued that this could have perhaps avoided the corruption of the pulpit and the concomitant bloodshed of several millennia altogether! Why such an obvious earthly measure was not adopted by the self-proclaimed All Knowing and All Seeing Author of the Holy Qur'an, may at best only be baselessly speculated upon by the brilliant intellectual – for that's clearly not the method adopted by the Author of the Holy Qur'an – leading to even more idle chatter and furtherance of even more facile views of Islam.
 An early version of this article was submitted as comment for the article to the anon website: http://lwtc247.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/jesus-isa-alahi-salam/#comment-5241
 A straightforward exposition can be found in Murtada Mutahhari, Understanding the Uniqueness of the Qur'an, http://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/unique-quran.htm albeit with the characteristic presuppositions common to all ingrained sectarian socializations already examined in Part-I of Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? http://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2011/08/islam-why-is-quran-easy-to-hijack-pt1.html This fact of socialization is unfortunately not acknowledged by Mutahhari in his exposition even though it is embedded in the teachings of the Holy Qur'an in its emphasis on the separation of righteous beliefs (haquq Allah 42:10) from righteous acts (haquq-al-ibad 5:48). The Holy Qur'an calls itself Al Furqan, the criterion, by which to judge both for one's own strivings in the path of “haq”. That lack of recognition fortunately does not detract from Murtada Mutahhari's sensible examination of how to study the Holy Quran despite that fact that he does lend an a priori conclusion to such study based on his own socialization which is amply in evidence in his exposition. It is in fact hard to find a scholar of any religion who fervently believes in that religion, who would be immune to such a priori conclusions even as he might endeavor to teach others how to study the religion and letting them arrive at their own conclusions AFTER that study! This appears to be the inherent nature of socialization and of the subjectivity, and hence the religiosity, conferred to it by the right-half brain. This is perhaps why the Holy Qur'an while accepting socialization as a human fact, has also laid so much emphasis on striving for “haq” under all conditions for everyone among mankind whereby, striving for overcoming the nafs, the personal inclinations due to proclivity and socialization, is termed the greater jihad and a co-requisite to the reflective study of the Holy Qur'an. See Part-II of Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? (Ibid.) for some inherent impediments in its path.
 European media provokes Muslims to inflame Zionist "CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS" by Christopher Bollyn, American Free Press, 3-Feb-2006 http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=84976
 Some Old Manuscripts of the Holy Qur'an by Kazim Mudir Shanehchi, Astaneh-ye Quds-a Radawi, Mashad, Iran http://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/manuscripts.htm
PDF Book The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity Edition 5f, September 15, 2012: http://humanbeingsfirst.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/the-poor-mans-guide-to-modernity-5f.pdf
PDF Book Hijacking the Holy Qur'an and Islam, October 2012: http://humanbeingsfirst.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/why-hijacking-quran-islam-easy-zahirebrahim.pdf
Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/Islam-Socialization
Source URL: http://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2011/07/islam-and-knowledge-vs-socialization.html
Mirror URL: http://bloghumanbeingsfirst.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/islam-and-knowledge-vs-socialization-by-zahir-ebrahim/
Source PDF: http://humanbeingsfirst.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/islam-and-knowledge-vs-socialization-by-zahir-ebrahim.pdf
Arabic text and translation of Qur'an verses is courtesy of: http://tanzil.net
Audio of Qur'an verses is courtesy of: http://www.versebyversequran.com
The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley ( http://tinyurl.com/zahir-patents ), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by numerous publishers and can be read on the web at http://PrisonersoftheCave.org. He may be reached at http://Humanbeingsfirst.org. Verbatim reproduction license at http://humanbeingsfirst.org#Copyright.
First published on June 11, 2011 | Audio Qur'an verses added 10/22/2012 03:01 pm 20154
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