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Shawwal 23 Wednesday Hijrah 1443
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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

 

Chapter 9: The Politics of “Using” The Qur’an

 

It is now some thirteen centuries that the politics of “holding the Qur’an upon a spear” has been more or less prevalent among the Muslims. It becomes especially rife among those who wish to profit from it whenever sanctimoniousness and exotericism increases and it becomes fashionable to display one’s piety and asceticism. There are two lessons to be learnt from this.

Firstly, whenever the ignorant, the unknowing and the uninformed put on a show of sanctity and piety, and people take them to be the symbol of the practicing Muslim, an excellent tool is available for unscrupulous schemers. Such schemers always turn these people into an instrument for their own ends, and make their presence a strong hindrance to the ideas of real reformers. It is quite common to see anti-Islamic elements making quite open use of this means, that is to say, setting the power of Islam itself to work against Islam. Western colonialism has had much experience in the use of this means, and has in its turn profited from deceitful arousal of the sentiments of the Muslims, especially in the field of the creation of schisms between them. What a disgrace it is when, for example, afflicted Muslims plan to drive out foreign influence, and then see the very people they wanted to save turn into a barrier in their path in the name, and under the banner, of religion. Indeed, if the masses of the people are ignorant and uninformed, hypocrites will use the fortress of Islam itself. In Iran, where the people have the honor to love and follow the Household of the Prophet (Ahlu’l-bayt), hypocrites are creating a fortress against the Qur’an, Islam and the Household of the Prophet to help the usurping Jews, out of the holy fortress of love of the Household of the Prophet, and in their sacred name, and this is the most abominable part of the injustice against Islam, the Qur’an, the Prophet and his Household. The Prophet said:

“I am not anxious about the incursion of poverty among my community; that about which I am afraid for them is crooked thinking. That which poverty of thought will bring my community is much worse than that which economic poverty will bring them.”

Secondly, we must try to make our methodology of derivation from the Qur’an a true one. The Qur’an is a leader and a guide when it is subjected to true reflection, when it is interpreted wisely, when guidance is taken from the people who really know the Qur’an, who are firmly rooted in the sciences of the Qur’an. As long as our methodology is wrong, and as long as we do not learn how to benefit from the Qur’an, we shall not drive any profit from it. Profiteers or ignorant people sometimes read the Qur’an, and then follow up an incorrect possibility. Just as you have probably heard in the words of Nahju ‘l-baldghah, “they say the word “truth”, and then set their minds of falsehood!” This is not practicising the Qur’an or bringing it to life, this is putting it to death. The Qur’an is put into practice when it is understood with a true understanding.

The Qur’an always presents its project in a general and fundamental form, but the deduction and harmonization of the particular to the universal depends on our correct understanding and conceptualization. For example, we do not find written in the Qur’an that in a war that took place on a certain day between ‘Ali and Mu’awiyah, ‘Ali was in the right; all we find in the Qur’an is that:

If two parties of believers fight, put things right between them; then, if one of them is insolent against the other, fight the insolent one till it reverts to Allah’s commandment. (al-Hujarat, 49:9)

This is the Qur’an and its way of explanation; but it does not say in such-and-such a war so-and-so was in the right and the other was in the wrong.

The Qur’an does not spell out names; it does not say: after forty years, more or less, a man called Mu’awiyah will appear who will fight with ‘Ali, and you should fight in that war for `Ali. And neither should it enter into particulars. The Qur’an’s task is not to make a list of subjects and point out which is right and which is wrong; such a thing would be impossible. The Qur’an came to stay forever, so it has to make fundamental and universal things clear, so that falsehood can take its place face to face with truth in every age and people can act according to the criterion of these universalities. It is therefore a duty for people to open their eyes to the basic advice: “If two parties of believers fight. . . “, and distinguish between the party doing the terrorizing and the one that is being terrorized; and to accept if the unruly party ceases to be unruly. But if they stop, and try to be cunning so as to save themselves from defeat, and prepare themselves for a new attack, and become unruly again, and, in the words of the Qur’an, “if one of them is insolent against the other”, be firm, and do not give way to their cunning.

It is up to the people themselves to discriminate in all these matters. The Qur’an seeks that the Muslims should be intellectually and socially mature, and a necessary consequence of such intellectual maturity is the ability to differentiate between the just man and the unjust man. The Qur’an did not come to be always for people like a guardian over a juvenile, to carry out the particular details of their lives like a personal protector, and to specify each special case by a material sign and indicator.

Actually, knowing people, the degree of their competence, and the limits to their fitness for, and relationship to, Islam and Islamic realities is itself a duty, and frequently we neglect this duty.

`Ali, may peace be upon him, said:

“You will never know truth and follow the right way unless you know the person who has abandoned it.” 21

Knowing the principles and the generalities is alone not enough unless their correspondence and reference to particulars has been found, for it is possible that, through an error of judgment concerning persons and individuals or through ignorance of the situation, one will act in the name of truth and Islam and under the banner of Islam against Islam and truth and for falsehood.

Injustice and the unjust, justice and the just are mentioned in the Qur’an, but their applications must be sought out. We must not mistake injustice and justice for injustice, and then cut off the head of justice and truth in the name of what we imagine to be a universal principle and the judgment of the Qur’an.

Notes:

21. Nahju ‘l-balaghah, Sermon no. 146.

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