Thursday, November 4, 2010

Muslims Favorite Verse to win over Non Muslims: To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islam).

When I was relatively new to Islamic doctrines i.e. yet to complete the reading of Koran, I was participating in a discussion in a forum on the topic of persecution of religious minorities in Bangladesh; a woman from Bangladesh wrote, quoting a verse from Koran, proudly that Islam is a religion which teaches “to you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islam)” to showcase Islamic tolerance towards others and that there was never any compulsion in religion in Islamic theology and history.

When she wrote this I was bit taken back and started searching for it in Koran, which I am yet to complete at that time. A bit of search on net informed me that this verse is in the chapter 109 (total no. of chapters is 114), among the last in Koran. As I reread it few more times, I felt it was just neutral; neither tolerant nor intolerant.

When I checked out from Al-Azhar University’s chronological order of Koranic chapters, I found that it was reveled in Mecca, 18th in chronological order of chapters, when Mohammad was very weak politically and militarily. I felt that even if it is tolerant it was abrogated by later Medinan verses like 2:193, 9.005 and 9:029 as the Koran says that when two verses contradict each other in their ruling, the verse which comes later abrogates the earlier verse. (One Koranic rule that should be understood is rule of abrogation which is unknown to many people. Just because there is a verse in Koran saying something does not guarantee that it has legal standing in Islamic opinion i.e. one can not take all Koranic verses at face value.)

Quoting the entire chapter, 109nth:
Shakir (109.01-05):  Say: O unbelievers! I do not serve that which you serve, Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve; Nor am I going to serve that which you serve, Nor are you going to serve Him Whom I serve:
Shakir (109.06): You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion. (Here)
This is the one of two verses many Muslims recite to Non Muslims and in media to showcase Islam means peace and tolerance when ever it faces scrutiny. People might ask why Muslims as a community have to face scrutiny. No one has asked them; self appointed Muslim spokesmen were just replying to incidence of Muslim terrorists citing verse from Koran to justify their violence and their goal of Islamic rule over the entire world.
This verse is also used in da’wa centers, for conversions, to show to potential converts to Islam about how Islam means justice, peace and tolerance.

This kind of misinformation and ignorance has ill results; Our Historians have cited this verse 109:06 along with another (2:265) in our school text books to show that Islam as a religion is never a motivation behind atrocities committed on Hindus in the past.

{Note: Below, my comments are in purple color, italics and parenthesis.}

Knowing the context behind this verse from (late) Abdul Ala Maududi, the most influential  Islamic scholar in South Asia in modern times and also the founder of Jamait-Islaami (here) will make every thing clear:
There was a time in Makkah when although a storm of opposition had arisen in the pagan society of Quraish against the message of Islam preached by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace), yet the Quraish chiefs hall not yet lost hope that they would reach some sort of a compromise with him. Therefore, from time to time they would visit him with different proposals of compromise so that he accepted one of them and the dispute between them was brought to an end. In this connection, different traditions have been related in the Hadith. 
According to Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas, the Quraish proposed to the Holy Prophet; "We shall give you so much of wealth that you will become the richest man of Makkah. We shall give you whichever woman you like in marriage. We are prepared to follow and obey you as our leader, only on the condition that you will not speak ill of our gods (Muslims would love to ignore Prophet Mohammad abusing Gods and culture of Pagans of Mecca, which was the primary root cause of discord and strife between Pagans and Muslims.)  If you do not agree to this, we present another proposal which is to your as well as to our advantage." 
When the Holy Prophet asked what it was, they said that if he would worship their gods, Lat and Uzza, for a year, they would worship his God for the same space of time. The Holy Prophet said: "Wait awhile; let me see what my Lord commands in this regard." 
Thereupon the revelation came down: Qul ya-ayyuhal- kafirun... and: Qul afa-ghair Allahi... (Az-Zumar: 64): "Say to them: ignorant people, do you bid me to worship others than Allah?" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani). According to another tradition from Ibn Abbas, the Quraish said to the Holy Prophet: "O Muhammad, if you kiss our gods, the idols, we shall worship your God.Thereupon, this Surah was sent down. (Abd bin Humaid). 
Said bin Mina (the freed slave of Abul Bakhtari) has related that Walid bin Mughirah, As bin Wail, Aswad bin al-Muttalib and Umayyah bin Khalaf met the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and said to him: "O Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings), let us agree that we would worship your God and you would worship our gods, and we would make you a partner in all our works. If what you have brought was better than what we possess, we would be partners in it with you, and have our share in it, and if what we possess is better than what you have brought, you would be partner in it with us and have your share of it."At this Allah sent down: Qul ya-ayyuhal-kafirun (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Hisham also has related this incident in the Sirah). 
Wahb bin Munabbih has related that the people of Quraish said to Allah's' Messenger: "If you like we would enter your faith for a year and you would enter our faith for a year."(Abd bin Humaid, Ibn Abi Hatim). 
These traditions show that the Quraish had proposed such things to the Holy Prophet not once, in one sitting, but at different times and on different occasions; and there was need that they should be given a definite, decisive reply so that their hope that he would come to terms with them on the principle of "give and take" was frustrated for ever.
(Late) Maududi continues:
If the Surah is read with this background in mind, one finds that it was not revealed to preach religious tolerance as some people of today seem to think, but it was revealed in order to exonerate the Muslims from the disbelievers religion, their rites of worship, and their gods, and to express their total disgust and unconcern with them and to tell them that Islam and kufr (unbelief) had nothing in common and there was no possibility of their being combined and mixed into one entity.......
Many Muslim apologists in trying to mislead Non-Muslims say that violent verses in Koran are meant for particular time and towards particular community and never explaining why a book - considered to be uncreated and valid for all times - has to contain such verses? (Late) Maududi addresses this dilemma:
Although it was addressed in the beginning to the disbelieving Quraish in response to their proposals of compromise, yet it is not confined to them only, but having made it a part of the Quran, Allah gave the Muslims the eternal teaching that they should exonerate themselves by word and deed from the creed of kufr wherever and in whatever form it be, and should declare without any reservation that they cannot make any compromise with the disbelievers in the matter of Faith. That is why this Surah continued to be recited when the people to whom it was addressed as a rejoinder, had died and been forgotten, and those Muslims also continued to recite it who were disbelievers at the time it was revealed, and the Muslims still recite it centuries after they have passed away, for expression of disgust with and dissociation from kufr and its rites is a perpetual demand of Faith.
(Late) Abdul Ala Maududi further says (here) on this sura and this verse (above explanation by Islamic website is also based on Maududi’s work) in the following manner:
“This is not a message of tolerance to the disbelievers, but a declaration of immunity, disgust with and dissociation from them as long as they are disbelievers. Its object is to disappoint them absolutely and finally that in the matter of religion the party of Allah's Messenger and his followers would ever come to terms with them. This same declaration of immunity and expression of disgust has been made in the Makki Surahs revealed after this Surah successively.”
.... And He (Allah) has classified the people also into two groups, one group will go to Paradise and this consists of the believers (Muslims), and the second group will go to Hell and this consists of the disbelievers(Non-Muslims) collectively. And He has declared the two groups only as the potential opponents of each other:
SHAKIR: These are two adversaries who dispute about their Lord; then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire, boiling water shall be poured over their heads.
Al-Hilali: These two opponents (believers and disbelievers) dispute with each other about their Lord; then as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them, boiling water will be poured down over their heads. (22:19 and also here)
Here, this verse tells Muslims to move away from every thing that can be associated with beliefs and practices of Non Muslims in disgust and with contempt. But, Islamic theology goes beyond this as we have already seen that hatred towards Kafirs is must and a parcel of Islamic faith.

Such extent of misinformation is the gulf between what Muslims say for the public face, on one hand, and what their books say, on the other. But all goes well as long as it serves the purpose of advancing Islam. One of famous quotations of Islamophobes, like me, is: Moderates keep the Non Muslims in false security while extremists c*t their throats.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice job