‘Surely We have revealed the Reminder, and surely We are its Guardian.’
[The Holy Quran, Al-Hijr (The Rock) 15:9]
The insane threats of Quran burning by Pastor Terry Jones are an example of extreme bigotry against another religion. Islam, a religion which stands second in the world after Christianity based on the number of adherents, is being portrayed by this person as an extremist religion. The paradox is that he who dubs Muslims as extremists and sets out to burn the Holy Scripture of Islam forgets that he is an extremist himself.
The Muslims as well as non-Muslims, leaders as well as common people, scholars as well as the illiterates; citizens of many Nations and their peoples have condemned the very thought of such an act as ‘an act of intolerance’ and ‘provocation’ and ‘aggression’.
The world at large has taken a sigh of relief as the Pastor has ‘retracted’ his threat to burn the Holy Quran. He may have gained some mileage through his evil plan with some like-minded fanatics, but the majority of Muslims have a strong belief in the Quranic verse that I have cited above. The truth is that Quran is not a name of a collection of bound papers but a Book that is preserved respectfully in the minds, hearts and souls of every adherent to Islam. And it is also revered by many non-Muslims. So much is the love of this Book that as expression of love for it even the dots in Arabic scripture, the language in which the Holy Quran was revealed, have been counted to 1,015,030.
I do not for a moment suggest that counting the dots was the purpose of the Revelation of this Book. The main purpose lies in acting on the injunctions laid down by the Book that matters. However it does mean that a person who counted loved the Revelation from the core of his heart and that is what matters. It is such hearts that have been hurt by the senseless stance the Pastor adopted.
As a Muslim, I would be swayed by my devotion to the Holy Quran, but let me quote a non-Muslim source on this matter:
‘However often we turn to it [the Qur’an] at first disgusting us each time afresh, it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces our reverence. Its style, in accordance with its contents and aim, is stern, grand, terrible; ever and anon truly sublime. Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence.’ (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Quoted in TP Hughes’ Dictionary of Islam, p. 526)
This Book was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who God had chosen to guide the entire mankind and bring them out of darkness into light. Though in the name of freedom of press and speech this great person is much maligned, there are many fair-minded persons who revere him even when they are not Muslims. I quote below an example of a tribute paid to Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:
‘My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.’ (Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, New York, Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, p. 33.)
Then there is the matter of Muslims as fanatics. I fully agree that some of those who call themselves Muslims are misguided or exploited and do some mad things in the name of Religion. A ‘bad Muslim’ does not make Islam bad just like a ‘bad Christian’ does not make Christianity bad. In this matter I would quote another non-Muslim who plays the game by fair rules:
‘History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.’ (De Lacy O’Leary, Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8.)
Now let me draw the attention of the fair-minded people to what the Holy Quran has to say about the various Religions of the world, and I quote verse 2:62:
‘Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does good, they have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.’
(My interpretation of Sabians is that it encompasses all the Religions of the world that believe in God and the Last Day. It excludes cults created as religion by men to serve their own interests and personal gain.)
So, such is the teaching of the Holy Quran which the Pastor planned to burn. It is stated that one who wears dark spectacles sees everything dark. It is time that the Reverend removed his spectacle and read the Holy Quran with an open mind; not just study and quote ‘out of context verses’ to incite hatred and rebellion amongst the peoples of the world. This world is a place created for all and ‘God is far, far too big to fit into just one religion’ especially the ‘one’ the Pastor advocates and uses it to gain popularity by doing senseless acts.
I request all Muslims to practice the Holy Quran’s true teachings and not be misled by the false interpretations and misinterpretations of selected verses, out of context. Any religion that teaches hatred cannot be a religion from God Who has ordained Mercy for Himself. He has placed His two attributes, Al-Rahman (The most MERCIFUL) and Al-Rahim (The most COMPASSIONATE), in the beginning of this Blessed Book.
Questions I ask are: ‘Can a Merciful and Compassionate God advocate senseless killing?’
‘Can the One Who calls Himself as Rabb-ul-Aalamin (Lord of the Worlds) be partial to Muslims, Christians, Jews or Sabians only?’
As we revere the Holy Quran and follow its teachings we should also make an effort to remove all the misunderstandings about Islam that are being portrayed in the world, especially the West.
As the Holy Quran has been revealed by Allah for all mankind and its protection is assured by Him, as the verses above state, this message is not only for Lahori Ahmadis who have the sole mission of spreading Islam through the teachings of the Holy Quran, it is for all people who dwell in this global village.
If today hatred for Islam has incited some people to plan the burning of the Holy Quran, this would only reflect the intolerance of the very people who stand there declaring that Islam is intolerant.
It is time for all the residents of this global village to realise that misinterpretation of Quranic verses by some of those who profess Islam do not make these verses ‘unholy’. All Scriptures have to be interpreted in the context of their revelation, otherwise, many, including the Bible and the Bhagavada Gita, have passages in them in which killing enemies while fighting is allowed. Just like we, as Muslims, interpret them in context it would be fair to ask the non-Muslims not to lose sight of the context in which the Quranic verses were revealed.
I appeal to the worldwide community to abandon aggressive and extreme steps like the sacrilege of Holy Books to score points against one another. Burning of pages neither brings us closer together nor closer to our common goal of a peaceful world for all to reside in. Following the teachings of our Scriptures, however, will unite us, as all Religions teach love, peace and harmony amongst the people created by Rabb-ul-Aalamin, the Lord of the Worlds (Not Rabb-ul-Muslimeen [Lord of the Muslims] or Rabb of another Religion).
The protection of the Holy Quran we leave to Allah, Who says:
‘Surely We have revealed the Reminder, and surely We are its Guardian.’
All Muslims should make an effort to protect it and its honour by being good and practical followers of its teachings and teachings of Islam (literally meaning Peace and Submission to God).
I pray for a better understanding amongst all religions and all the peoples of the world. I pray for those facing difficulties resulting from misdeeds of some who call themselves Muslims but don’t practice Islam.
I pray for the souls of all those, Muslims and non-Muslims, who lost their lives in the tragic events of 9/11 and the relatives they left behind.