Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
This article is also Part-IV of the Raahe-Nijaat series on Pakistan:
Path Forward: Conclusion and Recommendations Excerpted from Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack? Part-III Section V
We set out to address the question posed at the top in this Part-II:
What are the inherent impediments for studying the message of the Holy Qur'an which make the Book so amenable to self-serving interpretation, socialization, and even bastardization by anyone?
If the reader's mind hasn't been entirely asleep through this long perusal, the discovery that the presence of Indeterminates in the Holy Qur'an which necessitates going outside of its pristine pages to resolve them, is primarily responsible for the paradox that the Holy Qur'an has itself contributed to its subversion, must be disconcerting to the honest mind. The Muslims, generation after generation, have themselves contributed to this state of affairs by remaining ossified in the narratives of history rather than progressively evolving their understanding of the principles of Islam as espoused directly in the text of the Holy Qur'an. That lamentable fact has arrested their evolution as a people, mired them in rituals and rites which dominate their socialization and their practice of religion, and opened them to sectarian schisms which has made them easy prey to the supermen and Machiavelli. The unfortunate truth of these observations is straightforwardly validated by the lamentable fact that even in today's modernity, one which is run exclusively by superior intellects who use game theory, psychology, social engineering, and political science to orchestrate “imperial mobilization” under the primacy imperatives of the new White Man's Burden for one-world government, even the best among the Muslim scholars and intellectuals, politicians and statesmen, poets and dreamers, pressmen and prostitutes, remain nonetheless wiser. In fact, many have become house niggers willingly carrying the White Man's Burden. And like the Muslim masses, many also offer their daily prayers on time, keep all their fasts, feed the poor, and perform their Hajj, preferably multiple times. And if one informs them that they are in fact destined for hell, hell right here on earth, they confidently reply that they are looking forward to Heaven elsewhere.
The ease with which the masters of religion divided the Muslims since its very inception, with even far greater ease the Muslims can become united on the Holy Qur'an by acquiring intimacy with the abstractions natural to the Holy Qur'an: Determinates and Indeterminates. The Muslims have been made victims by their own pulpits no differently than the Christians. Neither the Sunni nor the Shia pulpit is able to reason, nor logically prove their differentiating theology from the Holy Qur'an directly, blanket assertions with appeal to authority and historical sources being their only blunt instrument of argumentation. This is clearly visible among both the Shia and Sunni pulpits each of which have created their own sacred axioms that they each swear by, based exclusively on the scribes of history and selective fixing of the Indeterminates to suit their respective socialization bias. That has led to the senseless differentiation which is guaranteed to be irreconcilable under any one sect's ideological banner, remaining perennially ripe for a good harvest by Machiavelli in every era.
Adoption of abstractions Determinate and Indeterminate in promulgating the understanding of the religion of Islam from both the Shia and Sunni pulpits, permits a mutual co-existence with greater amity and friendship among all the major Muslim sects. It simultaneously raises awareness of the actual sources of their own religion from which the Muslim mind draws its various beliefs. These simple abstractions lend a vocabulary and nomenclature to even begin sensible and rational discussions of matters that have previously often been steeped in blind faith, shrouded in ignorance, clothed in baseless assertions, and ripe for gratuitous cognitive infiltration into the religion of Islam.
It permits the Muslim mind to “legally” agree to disagree on matters which are Indeterminate without calling each other misguided or kafir, while automatically permitting rational agreements to be forged on what is Determinate. This also resolves forging agreement on matters that fall on the delicate boundary between what is Determinate and what is Indeterminate, as for instance is betrayed by the two different parsing of verse 3:7 along the Shia-Sunni sectarian divide. Which parsing is correct is itself an Indeterminate. Therefore, what is not categorically deemed Determinate by both pulpits is sensibly treated as Indeterminate by definition, rather than sow discord. That approach is counseled by verse 3:7 itself.
Only under that singular categorical banner of the Determinates of the Holy Qur'an, can Muslims ever forge themselves into one Muslim nation. The Determinates also easily permit expunging abhorrent ideologies and practices which have vilely or inadvertently been aliased as part of the religion of Islam as amply demonstrated by the examination of the question of “taqlid” above. Self-interest of both the pulpit and the throne is clearly self-evident in that examination because the question is clearly a Determinate question, most emphatically and straightforwardly answered in the Holy Qur'an. Similarly, the Principle of Inerrancy is stated so plainly in the Holy Qur'an that the self-interest of the entire Sunni pulpit in asserting the contrary in service of the caliphates and Muslim empires is most clearly visible. Without vilely negating that first Determinate principle of the Holy Qur'an, the very first Caliph after the death of the Prophet of Islam could never have occupied the rulership of the nascent Muslims – and perhaps the history may have unfolded differently! These are clear examples of guile, deception, subterfuge, and hijacking, among both Shiadom and Sunnidom. If it is so easy for power to subvert the Determinates, just imagine how easy it is to fill the Indeterminates! By the same yardstick, sympathetic power can equally affect the alternate outcome. But why would power slaughter its own prized goose that lays the golden egg in every epoch?
The benefits of rational assemblage of the worldwide Muslim public mind on the Determinates of the Holy Qur'an today is so obvious that to even state it fourteen-fifteen centuries later sounds entirely platitudinous; sort of like rehearsing the lofty Ten Commandments in wonderment as if they were just revealed yesterday! Only narrow self-interests of both the pulpit and the throne preclude that assemblage!
Nevertheless, the lead principle to drive this Muslim umma unification process globally while retaining the rich diversity among Muslims, is the verse of unification, verse 5:48 of Surah Al-Maeda of the Holy Qur'an. Its rational adoption as the political and spiritual mandate of all Muslim sects, tribes and nations in its myriad civilizations from the East to the West, organically launches the Muslim public mind on that road to political and spiritual recovery without being under the headmastership of any sect and their specious dogmas. The rest will happen naturally, over time, by the natural system dynamics unleashed with the adoption and active promulgation of that simple political science first principle from the Holy Qur'an itself.
This evolution of the understanding of the religion of Islam among the Muslims is the only choice to survive in the coming age without both, internecine warfare that is diabolically crafted by Machiavelli, and losing the spirit of their religion further to the shell of empty rituals.
The Machiavelli in the meantime is active by way of divide and conquer to spread the scourge of Secular Humanism, now on the engineered rise in all civilizations to wipe out all traces of theism. The religion of Islam, evidently, is its most resolute obstruction (see http://tinyurl.com/Islam-vs-Secular-Humanism ). It is foolhardy to not capitalize on one's natural advantage in the art of war! The full spectrum capitalization of that asset is the principal raison d'être of this report.
As the first baby step towards better understanding their own differences – the Shia and Sunni pulpits are invited to proclaim their own beliefs at their own learned scholarly level, using these new abstractions. Then let's sit together to examine what each sect has itself determined to be Determinate vs. Indeterminate on matters that are differentiating between Shia and Sunni pulpits. It will surely surprise them both! Just as it has surprised this scribe how easy and straightforward the resolution is – its only obstruction being the hectoring hegemons and their insidious vassals throughout the Muslim world. It is perhaps for this insightful realization that a pen awarded to this scribe's little boy a score years ago by the Sunday School in California in the United States of America, for Qur'an recitation on stage at age 4 or 5, had inscribed on it the farsighted statement:
“Those who differentiate between Shia and Sunni are neither of the Sunnis nor of the Shias.”
Incestuous self-reinforcement is the bane of objective scholarship. This is why the scientific process came into existence to study any matter objectively. Putting the data and its analysis before others to scrutinize and adjudicate, enables defeating all forms of crippled epistemology and ingrained bias which are often a consequence of incestuous self-reinforcement. One has the opportunity to examine the same data, and examine the analysis performed on that data, conduct one's own experiments so to speak, and either substantiate or refute the thesis and conclusions so reached. This process, when honestly followed, itself advances not just the state of understanding, but enables new discoveries.
But the scientific process itself, carried out by human beings, is also beholden to the limitations of the human being in his subconscious ability to be perfectly objective on any matter. This means all the natural forces of bias that the human mind is unconsciously susceptible to that work their magic to co-opt the rational mind from seeing matters, reality, existence, the way it actually is, have to be overcome to ensure objectivity at the cognitive level and accuracy in the pursuit of understanding by the scientific method. A faulty method in implementation, or its deliberate corruption due to vested interests, will only lead to faulty results and false conclusions in the name of science and objectivity. This is all the more crucial in social sciences where subjectivity is inherent and inescapable – the species is studying itself. And also because the social sciences can be used to foist unpopular political agendas.
The forces of subconscious bias infecting the human mind include:
- (1) socialization bias (nurture) ;
- (2) perception bias (nature, natural inclination, psychological bent of mind, intellectual capacity to think, reflect) ;
- (3) data availability bias (what data is used, what books one reads for instance) ;
- (4) confirmation bias (how data is used to preselect the desired outcome, narrowing the scope of data, massaging the data to confirm the a priori conclusion) ;
- (5) presuppositional bias (ingrained presumptions or prejudices or affinities, loves and hates, that transcend the individual and are rooted in the value system of the civilization one grows up in, such as: Orientalism - looking down upon the East, uber alles, master race, exceptionalism, superiority complex, and its opposites: inferiority complex, house niggers, Uncle Toms, Occidentosis - East always looking to the West or to the white man for solutions, etceteras).
The question posed in Part-I is empirical and not rhetorical: “everyone quotes their favorite verses to justify their own narrow positions;”. However, has the author of this report done anything different, as far as the alert reader is concerned, when the report inter alia asserts in Part-III :
It sure explains empirical reality coherently, but most importantly, in self-sufficiency and self-consistency drawn solely from the Holy Qur'an and no other source!
How is the skeptical reader, and the seeker of understanding desirous of being counted among those addressed as أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ in the Holy Qur'an, to defend their levying that same charge of Part-I against this report beyond their own knee-jerk emotional reaction which the report is sure to induce in a Muslim?
Only by following the scientific process! And by being aware of the natural forces of bias infecting the mind. This study is not about faith, or about questioning faith. It is about epistemology – how we know what we know. It is about rational examination of data and its analysis akin to what one might pursue in any academic science. Here, logical reasoning as the standard of analysis, “aqal ki kassoti” as one might say in Urdu, and not faith, is applied to the study of a complex Book whose author is named “Author” in this examination. What is the Author specifying in His Own Words? That is the primary yardstick driving this investigation of what the Author means and wants to convey in his own Words.
This endeavor of due diligence is as simple and as straightforward as the effort expended for any honest book report written by a college, or even high school student, nay even elementary school student. The student can cheat and read the Cliff notes, seek other writers' opinions and commentaries, ask his parents, or he can faithfully read the assigned book directly and see what its own author is saying in her own words without projecting his own a priori conclusions and presuppositions upon it. This is so basic an academic value that even to state it in the classroom implies that there is a basic need for making this statement --- because all the students in the class are cheating! The Holy Qur'an itself condemns such short cuts taken by the lazy mind, or the mind prejudiced by all the artifacts of bias enumerated above, as not the best way of understanding its Message: “Do they not then reflect on the Qur'an? Nay, on the hearts there are locks.” (Surah Muhammad 47:24)
That minimal level of basic due diligence, the prerequisite to acquiring “ma'rifat” on any subject, makes it apparent what the Author of the Holy Qur'an in his own best wisdom has chosen to leave ambiguous, metaphorical, open ended, temporal, timeless, accessible only to the “Rasikhoon-fil-ilm” (3:7), and what He has chosen to state categorically, straightforwardly, without being colored by others projecting their own two cents worth on what the Author means from the tunnel vision and co-opting constraints of their own epoch, both time and space. For indeed, in comparison to any author's own words for what he wants to convey, everyone else's description of what that author wants to covey pale in comparison. Own words always trump others' explanations of it. The truth of that statement is universal and without doubt. It is self-evident. When that is a truism for even ordinary authors, it is a grotesque perversity and corruption beyond measure to not apply it sensibly to the Author of the Holy Qur'an. The fact that one see this travesty transpiring timelessly in virtually every Muslim microcosm where pulpit is big business, is the state organ, or the state itself, is its own self-incriminating condemnation.
The lazy mind, the foolish mind, the socialized mind, the undisciplined mind, the uninformed mind, the conformant mind, the parrot mind, and societies that nurture them, all lose for the simple want of individual due diligence. Co-option takes care of the rest who do try to overcome these mental chains. Co-option is a pivotal and defining constraint for not just honest scholarship, but for the ordinary individual as well. See The Art and Science of Co-option (http://tinyurl.com/art-and-science-of-co-option).
This author, an ordinary engineer in Silicon Valley California in a past life, well-versed in building systems that work and interoperate from initially incomplete or ambiguous specifications or merely wish lists, and in developing and writing specifications ab initio to create systems which work and solve customers' problems and for which customers paid real money to purchase, has explored the stated inquiry question from that analytical perspective, of a systems architect who is hypothetically tasked to engineer the system specified in the Holy Qur'an. In order to do so, the Qur'anic specification must first be understood by him. And understood in terms of what its Author has specified, and not what this author has imagined the Author has specified, interpreted, or what others have thought what the Author has specified. Compliance testing reins in the fertile imagination of an engineer to ensure that the specification is followed rigorously and accurately:
- by “Functional Tests” (employing the electrical engineering parlance) which the Author will administer for pass or fail on the Day of Accountability (this means no interpretation, akin to understanding the DMV driver's manual correctly in order to pass the road test, or an engineering spec in order to build the product as specified by the authors of the spec);
- by seamless interoperability with others pursuing similar mandate (this means being constrained to the Determinates, akin to driving on the public roads in harmony and without causing fatal accidents or discord with all the other drivers).
This study of the Holy Qur'an, and Part-IV that follows which looks at the primary sources of understanding the religion of Islam outside of the Holy Qur'an, have principally been conducted thus far with the left-half brain, logic-only mind, of a practical scientist engaged in existential battles like the metaphorical Mr. Spock (and not an ideologue ensconced in some ivory tower who has never lived in the real world, never competed for livelihood, never fought an enemy, never stood up to Machiavellian power with courage and fortitude, and never lived the hell on earth except on paper and on television).
Often called upon to make urgent split-second factual analysis of weighty matters – at times ambiguous with incomplete or probabilistic data, at times concrete with accurate data, and at times cloaked in layers of deception by the enemy where the data itself is misleading – on which depend the life and death survival decisions of his Captain, Mr. Spock cannot ever be wrong in his analysis, logical deductions, and recommendations. But his recommendations may or may not be acceptable to the Captain who steers his own decision making process by more than just his own left-half brain. The Captain can never refute Mr. Spock's analysis and deductions, and at times his right-half brain led decisions appear illogical to Mr. Spock. And yet, invariably turn out to be more effective in certain cases that require gut-feel, intuition, insight, faith, spiritual know-how; all esoterica that remain beyond the purview of empirical analysis and logical reasoning. The limitations of Mr. Spock and this approach to studying a divine text have already been addressed in the preamble of Part-II.
The fact that Mr. Spock classified the divine text as a ciphertext which must be deciphered correctly to a single plaintext, i.e., uncover the meaning intended to be conveyed by the Author of the Holy Qur'an as in a law book or the DMV driver's manual, rather than as a book of literature and poetry which may interpreted according to each individual's bent of mind and proclivity, is the first axiom that could itself be perceived as being in error by the right-brain dominant human mind that feels more than it is able to think and reason. Is the Holy Qur'an not intended as guidance for them too? They can neither reason effectively nor think clearly – but who is to say that they do not understand the spiritual essence of the Divine Guidance better than those empiricists who can think and reason? No reference decoding is available today to adjudicate! The Messenger and those designated “ulul-amar” of verse 4:59 are no longer living among us to tell us who is right, and who isn't.
Which is why the sensible remnant of Allah, “That which is left you by Allah is best for you”?, بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ , inter alia is the verse 5:48. It is the categorical best for all of us: “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.” It works for both types of people, those who think and analyze, and those unable to reason for themselves and follow by faith, sect, emotionalism, socialization, indoctrination, and whatever or whoever appeals to their own subconscious mind.
One useful way to think about this abstraction for those who possess both half brains in some balanced non-zero quantity, might be:
- the right-half brain feels a compelling need to climb a specific mountain but does not know how except to extol the virtues of climbing that mountain in verse and oratory;
- the left-half brain comes up with the practical analysis for such a journey, the engineering and logistics plan to get there, and the battle plan to defeat the many anticipated obstructions lurking in the path including those that are unpredictable like the bad weather, flash floods, and robbers hiding in bushes;
- the right-half brain sustains the human spirit with faith and fortitude throughout that agonizing journey to finally be able to climb that mountain with any kind of engineered plan rather than to merely have dreamed of climbing it.
One can no more engineer a plan with one's right-half brain than one can imagine success with one's left-half brain in the face of hopelessness and dark clouds. The reader's job is to verify the engineered plan, which means to first understand the specification in order to even be able to adjudicate, before he and she embarks on that arduous journey to climb that mountain with nothing but faith sustaining thine spirit, and nothing but shrewd planning guiding thine little “zulfiqar”. Just another way to think about how to engage the human mind (intellect plus intuition – respectively the left and the right half brains) to its fullest potential. The analysis presented here therefore, to be of any use to anyone, should be examined solely for what it is, and not with “religious” sentiments (right-half brain) interfering with the facts and logical analysis (left-half brain).
For the reader's convenience, the table below lists all the verses of the Holy Qur'an which appear in the examination of the question: Why it is easy to hijack the Holy Qur'an and the religion of Islam, and upon which the analysis and deductions of this report are based. But only to the best ability of this scribe who is obviously not Mr. Spock, is as socialized into his own ethos, and is as limited in his intellectual capabilities by virtue of being fully human, as anyone else. The only difference from other earnest seekers of understanding perhaps being, that this scribe has cognitively endeavored to rise to the many challenges outlined in this report; to remain aware of his own limitations in perfectly overcoming all the subconscious forces of bias working against the cognitive mind, cradling it, cajoling it, luring it, enticing it, towards comfort zones. The ancient adage: know thy self to know the world, has never been more true than in this endeavor to become objective about what pertains to one self. Anyone with even a modicum of seriousness in their disposition can surely rise to the same challenges of epistemology, how do we know what we know, and better the analysis!
Minimally, the profound scholar of Islam who claims a higher station by virtue of greater learning, the “muballig”, the ayatollah, the imam, the exponent of the religion of Islam as an authority figure claiming to be the inheritor of the Prophetic mission and its authority, is invited to demonstrate what he or she might believe is in logical error. Silence is not just plain cowardice, but also a bold admission of the inability of the pretenders who have seated themselves comfortably on the pulpit of the noble Prophet of Islam to engage intellectually once the aura of their untouchable robe is stripped off. Silence of learned scholars is an equal admission that “iss hammaam mein sub nungay hain” (every one is naked in the bath hall)!
About The Author
The author, an ordinary justice activist, formerly an ordinary engineer in Silicon Valley, California (see engineering patents at http://tinyurl.com/zahir-patents ), founded Project Humanbeingsfirst.org in the aftermath of 9/11. He was, mercifully, most imperfectly educated in the United States of America despite attending its elite schools on both coasts. This might perhaps explain how he could escape the fate of “likkha-parrha-jahils” (educated morons) mass produced in its technetronic society with all his neurons still intact and still firing on all cylinders. He is inspired by plain ordinary people rising to extraordinary challenges of their time more than by privileged and gifted people achieving extraordinary things. He chose his byline to reflect that motivation: The Plebeian Antidote to Hectoring Hegemons. Bio at http://zahirebrahim.org. Email: email@example.com. Verbatim reproduction license for all his work at http://humanbeingsfirst.org/#Copyright.
Source URL: http://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2013/02/path-forward-impacting-muslim-existence.html
Excerpted From URL: http://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2011/08/islam-why-is-quran-easy-to-hijack-pt3.html
Read Book Online at URL: http://hijacking-quran.blogspot.com/
Read Book Online at URL: http://hijacking-islam.blogspot.com/
First Published Friday, August 19, 2011, 19th day of Ramadan in the US, Muslim year 1432 | Extended March 2015 for 2nd Edition.
Excerpt Condensed April 17, 2015 12:00 am 4280
Path Forward Islam: Why is the Holy Qur'an so easy to hijack?