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Pipes, Pope, Taha & Interpretability of the Qur'an re Pipes' response

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Pipes, Pope, Taha & Interpretability of the Quoran

Submitted by Nomad Tanru (United States), Jun 12, 2006 at 19:00

> Daniel Pipes: "I gave Taha as an example of the sort of Islamic thinking that takes place. I did not state or imply that he has succeeded in finding a large following for his message. That's not the issue here. The issue, rather, is whether Islam can evolve and Taha's example, plus the Iranian actions, point precisely to that."

Mr. Pipes, with all due respect, JOverton makes a valid point on the non-interpretability of the Qur'an. Whatever schools of thought that have developed in Islam, Islam over and over has demonstrated the draw to elements within it back to sola scriptura, e.g. the Kharijites, the Fatimids, the Wahabbites, which clearly promotes the independent action of radicals to kill infidels and apostates "where you find them"1. It is Islam's powerful self-correcting mechanism. Essentially, Reformation in Islam is a reinvigoration of conquest and intolerance.

Your example of Taha is not only atypical, but Taha's philosophy turns the long and widely held doctrine of abrogation2 on its head by giving primacy to the earlier tolerant Meccan chapters over the later warlike Medinan verses. It is truly a shame and bodes ill if that is the best sort of example you could come up with.

1 Apostates: Qur'an [4.89] "They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper."
Infidels: Qur'an [9.5] "So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

2 Abrogation doctrine to resolve contradictions in the Qur'an as well as rejecting "corrupted" scriptures of Judaism and Christianity:
Qur'an [2.106] "Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?"
Qur'an [16.101] "And when We change (one) communication for (another) communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say: You are only a forger. Nay, most of them do not know."

Source: Qur'an (Shakir translation): http://www.hti.umich.edu/k/koran/

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