Whither Indian Muslims – Part One

Jun 2, 2009

Walking in the Vistas of the Qur’an

The Qur’an blew my mind, as they say, when I found it full of questions, statements and remonstrations such as the following:

  • Don’t you see, the Qur’an asked repeatedly.
  • Can’t you think, the Qur’an challenged time and again.
  • Why can’t you understand, the Qur’an cajoled and teased.
  • Don’t you get it, what is wrong with you, the Qur’an remonstrated.
  • Go ahead and check things out, the Qur’an encouraged.
  • Do you have padlocks on your hearts that you are so completely incapable of thinking straight or understanding the simplest and the most elementary of things, the Qur’an asked.
  • Let us assume for a moment, said the Qur’an most disarmingly and in a most conciliatory fashion, as if trying to negotiate the best deal it could get out of us mortals. Let us assume, the Qur’an said, that this Qur’an is really from God, let us just make that assumption for a moment and then let us talk about it. The Qur’an made this offer as if it was talking to the most stubborn and unreasonable children; as if it had some stake at the outcome; as if the Qur’an did not want a foolish, headstrong and stubborn humanity to lose out, to fail; as if the Qur’an were vested in our wellbeing and success.
  • And then there were places, issues and moments when the Qur’an was totally unbending. In those places, the Qur’an said at its most magisterial best: if you all thought that this man, Muhammad, (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), made this whole thing up, why don’t you try and produce a document of comparable merit – or at least a small portion of such a document? Thus the Qur’an inexorably threw down the gauntlet. It raised the bar beyond what anyone imagined possible.
  • In this context, to say “Put up or shut up” will be a trivialization and vulgarization of the grand and yet most fair and frank challenge that the Qur’an made to all bull-headed humans who acted more out of arrogance and malice than out of rationality and a spirit of inquiry. And yet that is what it seemed to be. And lo and behold, 1400 years and yet the Qur’an towers astride the horizons of time and space awaiting a proper response to its challenge.
  • And then there were times when the Qur’an demanded in the most cool, calm, fair, dispassionate and professorial manner, why can’t you examine the empirical evidence before you – evidence of your own senses – that is out there in front of you and then in the light of that evidence come to your own conclusions, one way or the other?
  • Why can’t you analytically evaluate the arguments that are put forth by all parties to this debate and then decide for yourself, the Qur’an suggested?

And so on and so forth, as they say.

The Qu’an, a beacon of rationality and logic? The Qur’an, a tower of analytical thinking? The Qur’an, the inventor par excellence, centuries before Bacon and others, of the empirical method of scientific observation and analysis?

Quote-Unquote a so-called 7th-Century “religious” book reading like a 21st-Century science manual?

Unbelievable! Impossible!

These and many other similar things blew my mind away. And I had no choice but to end up as a fan of the Qur’an the way I did.

I try to read it as much as I can. I spend hours, days, years, thinking about it. I try to understand what little I can of its meaning as well as of its implications in practical life.

And my heart dances like the daffodils as Wordsworth would say whenever the Qur’an throws a crumb of its bounty and a bit of its light or Noor in my direction, which it does in the direction of all those who come to it on bended knees, bowed heads and with a beggar’s bowl in their hands.

So, I am a fan of the Qur’an. Absolutely, unconditionally. No question about it.

Even though the fact is, as I said earlier, I came to the Qur’an questioning it closely and wrestling with it on every count. At least so I thought.

Little did I realize that it was not me, but the Qur’an, that was in command, every step of the way. And in total and complete command and control was the one whose immortal and eternal word the Qur’an is. It was they who were in charge of the situation all the time. Not poor little ignorant foolish mortal me, full of holes in every part and prone to err on the drop of every hat.

So, there is no cure for an ailing heart or a sick mind like the cure of the Qur’an. Nor is there a solution to human affairs, both individual and collective, better than the solution offered by the Qur’an.

But the ongoing challenge is for human minds in every age, clime, culture and place to have the intelligence and the wisdom – Hikmat – to grasp it and work out its details.

That is why the Qur’an says: Wa man yu’tal hikmata, faqad ootiya khairan katheera – that is, Hikmat is a lot of good stuff to have as a blessing from God Almighty.

And provided of course human souls have been touched by the divine flame leaping out of the words of the Qur’an. Man-yahdillah fa-huwal muhtadi, is how the Qur’an frames the broader paradigm.


© 2009 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.

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