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How can I express the expressable?

Reader comment on item: Niqabs and Burqas - The Veiled Threat Continues
in response to reader comment: Salah Ali: Criticism is a vital part of free expression

Submitted by Salah Ali (Norway), Sep 13, 2009 at 04:27

Dear Plato,

Many thanks for your pains-taking comments. There is always the other side of the coin in almost everything. Years ago I was avid reader of Kant, Hegel, Sartre, Husserl. Phenomenology and philosophies of perception were my topics of interest indeed. Then, I tackled English literature and after my first degree went to England where I studied translation of the Qur'an for my degree. Back to my home, I started teaching, researching and reading.

As you see my first introduction was not to Islam, but to Existentialism and German philosophy. I owe much of my mind and personality formation to the West and to European man. Even in the domain of taste, both classical and modern music occupy a golden place. Living with Europeans has shaped my personality. In speaking about world-view, it is not mind alone that must be depended on. The whole of man's experience. I would define man as a just creature or creature of justice. In other words, we cannot keep to our impressionistic experience and conceptualize or internalize what we purely received as perceptions because we will image what we like as the truth.

I never deny that much of our world, mental world, is sensual and our judgments follow our senses. There is no mathematics in belief but we believe in mathematics.

I tried to use my mind in judging the Qur'an (not Islam). Because I am not historian or Shari'a specialist but I read the Qur'an for understanding while I have at the background in my mind Richard Bell, Watt and Theodor Noldeke with a book like that of Hagerism among many others references that questioned the truth of the Qur'an.

I find that the truth of the Qur'an lies in something that lies beyond words but is in the words too. First, I see all translations (being a translator myself) are different books. For example there had been two translation of Rilke's Leapard, one was of my colleague in Vienna University the late Mr. Robert de Beaugrande. It is on the perception of a caged leopard. The experience of writing the poem by Rilke differs from the experience of translating it. Then how can it be possible for me to transfer the experience of a poet to a reader who comes third in the transmission process.

Even when my mind rejects the the tyranny of God, the Qur'an still is so impressive and powerful. Its language cannot be understood by 90% of Moslems all over the world. I measure that from an atheist standpoint, which is mine. I cannot see in it but a speaker who cannot be Muhammad. For how can Muhammad be so comprehensive in vision? And let's suppose that he was like Plato, was so clever to compose such a work, how could such a work be rhythmically consistent. It beats my strong unbelieving mind. Still, it is difficult for non-Arabs to see eye-to-eye or feel heart to heart as I do. The eye that sees in the Qur'an is cosmic eye. And this was by no means available to Muhammad.

Best regards



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