Vade Retro Me Satana
Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
Submitted by Alo Kievalar (Saudi Arabia), Jan 17, 2006 at 14:24A short commentary:
---> "The Koran, like the Bible, has a history."
Not really. Not for a Moslem. In Islamic tradition, the "history" of the Koran covers the span of Mohammed's lifetime during which time it was revealed to him, and ends upon its "compilation" into a "final" rendition by the Caliph Uthman (d.656), about 20 years after the Prophet's demise. And that was that, no questions allowed.
Especially within the last 20 years or so, Western scholars have questioned this tradition with all sorts of consequences too numerous to mention here. For these Western scholars, the Koran indeed has a history. But this is not the view of even the most moderate Moslems.
---> "Islamic courts in reactionary Iran, for example, have broken with Islamic tradition and now permit women the right to sue for divorce …"
This is a vast over-simplification of the realities. All Islamic nations "permit" women to divorce.
The fact that a "right" or an action is not specifically spelt out in the Koran or the Hadith does not mean it isn't practiced or that it is "forbidden".
In fact, most social practices in Islamic countries (up to and including divorce) are determined not by the "Koran" but by the social standing of the individuals involved. The higher the social standing, the "looser" the practices. But this sort of thing is true in any country, including the good ol' USA.
---> "Mahmud Muhammad Taha (1909-85). Taha built his interpretation on the conventional division of the Koran into two."
This is true. And for doing so, he was summarily executed in 1985 in Sudan on the charge of apostasy (at least, that was the charge).
The few Moslems who have questioned or even dabbled into the "authenticity" or the "tradition" (Arabic: Taqleed) of anything Islamic have been exiled, executed, stabbed (Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel Laureate in 1988), "fatwasized" (Salman Rushdie) or otherwise crushed.
Even the Egyptian genius, Taha Hussein, who questioned the authenticity of pre-Islamic poetry (poetry?) in his phenomenal book (On Pre-Islamic Poetry) was roundly trounced and he had to write a "retraction" to his thesis.
If I questioned the "authenticity" of Chaucer, The Faerie Queene or Paradise Lost, would anyone even care?
Of course, this works both ways. The Egyptian fundamentalist Sayyid Qutb, an intellectual precursor of Al-Qaeda, most noted for his book - at least in English - (Signposts on the Road), was hanged in 1966 by Nasser for going too far in advocating establishing an Islamic state.
The idea that Islam can be "reformed" is pie in the sky. Not only is it "stuck", it is ossified.
What Westerners fail to understand is that the vast majority of Moslems don't care whether
it is "stuck" or not.. They see absolutely no contradiction between modernism and Islam. When Westerners "advise" them that massive contradictions do indeed exist, they are ignored.
What's the solution? There isn't any. And what are the consequences of that? You can decide for yourself.. They are very clear to me.
PS...For a "fresh" perspective on this whole issue, read the infamous but illuminating book by
by T.P Hughes [Notes on Muhammadanism, London 1894....a 1975 reprint is available].
Hughes was an eminent Christian missionary (!) in Afghanistan (!) during the latter part of the 19th century. Like many significant documents, this book is hard to find and is NEVER mentioned as a source. Why this should be so will be made clear from the reading. (HINT: talk about something NOT being politically correct....)
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