The holy books of Islam consist two of the great message all time. “Do not worship Idols”, and “Engage in constructive Jihad, continuous introspection”
The first message is “Do not try to capture and confine God in idols.”
What is an idol? Idol is not something just made of sand and stone. It is more like a metaphor, a concept, a symbol. You make something an idol when you insist that only that thing contains holiness and all other equivalent things are unholy. You insist that that thing carries more important than living beings and humanity as such.
Today fundamentalists in Islam have exactly violated this message. They have made an idol out of Koran. They have helped destroyed stone idols, but they have created paper one. Too many boundaries are drawn around Koran that should not be crossed. Not a single book exists in Islamic society that will critic Koran. I ask you, what are you afraid of? Koran consists of timeless message. Bring it under hammer and anvil and let it shine. The more you hammer it, the more you will see chips and impurities falling off you and the more you will become purer person. No need to worry about Koran.
Insisting to use any book word by word is impossible. There is saying in Bible,” Love thy neighbor”. Now some people will include neighbor in the list of people they love and some people will strike out all but neighbor from the list of people they love. They are going in opposite directions, but both can claim to follow Bible. This confusion occurs because we are focusing on words and missing higher order meaning. This higher order of meaning can be focused upon by encouraging people to think critically, not by making them follow something blindly.
Every religious holy book today consists of mythology and applied philosophy. According to Joseph Campbell, “The mythology is a dream of society.” Dream is a story created in subconscious mind using symbols at hand. The creation is raw and sometimes inconsistent with reality. Dream is not reality, however the emotions behind this dream are as real and valid as real life emotions. Mythology is just meant to point us to the great journey of prophets. It’s a story of journey, not journey itself. It’s left there to add spice to the philosophy part. However at times people focus too much on this spice and ignore the meat, which carries the main nutrition. This is how idols are created. People forget the end and focus on the means.
Today’s scholars in Islam seem to be overly focused on mythology in Koran and forgetting the meat.
Second message in Islam is “Engage in continuous introspection, higher Jihad.” This message seems to be largely forgotten. Whole Muslim world seems to be blaming the non-Muslim world for all its woes. Face it. The world is not fair. It never was. Neither are you. Lot of things done by Muslim community are not considered fair by other communities. But when you begin the blame game, you lose an opportunity of introspection. It’s not matter of who is right and who is wrong. It’s matter of how you process it and introspect on it for your own personal growth. As long as you keep blaming others, you will never find closure and inner peace. It can be only found inside you.
The big Muslim empire lost to western juggernaut of modernization. Muslim world did not lose because west was superior. Muslim world lost because they came in their own way. Islam spread and progressed because the greatest writers, kings and wise men served the world using Koran and made significant contributions. Today, blinded by the glory of the past, Muslim leaders stand in their own way. Islam progressed because it made significant structural contributions to society. If Muslims stop making such contributions, Islam will stop spreading, no matter how great the message in Koran is.
There is an ancient Chinese saying that goes “No flower under the sun blooms forever.” All religions, empires, kingdoms will have good days and bad days. The earlier followers of Islam open their eyes to the truth of Islam, the shorter will be the dark period of Islam.
World waits for the day when Islam is out of it’s insecurities and starts shining again to bring another renaissance. There is no such thing as Islam in danger. Had Islam been so shaky to be endangered by what others say about it, it would not have survived for centuries. To get to the glorious days of Islam again, the followers of Islam must completely lose, completely let go of the old glory and start afresh.