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Islam, Koran and Jihad


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.

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20 Responses

  1. Hi.
    I in no way mean this to be agressive or abrasive.

    I read your post and was wondering..will you be posting the second half soon?

    Also, you used terms I didn’t expect: “mythology” and Koran in the same sentence. Do you practice a different form of Islam than say, Bin Laden or Hamas?

    Please forgive my unfamiliarity with Islam. but I’m trying.

    Thanks!

  2. Hi icanplainlysee,

    You are so polite.

    Actually I am not muslim, but I have received a lot of exposure to Islamic culture. These are just my thoughts.

    For learning basics of Islam, you will be better off with other sources on net. Perhaps wikipedia or something.

    Thanks,

    K

  3. The Qur’an is the book of Islam, the words on which the religion rests. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said on his deathbed, “To the Muslims I leave two things, The Holy Qur’an and my Ahlul Bayt”, so it’s clearly a pretty central part of the religion.

    I don’t think that the fundamentalists ‘worship’ the Qur’an, but more take everything they read with literal meaning, our of context completely, instead of reading between the lines.

    Have to disagree with the statement ‘Today’s scholars in Islam seem to be overly focused on mythology in Koran and forgetting the meat’. We can learn a lot from those stories.

    • But, as far as I know, Quran was compiled/written after the death of the prophet ? And What is Ahlul Bayt ? But, if U are a Muslim I’m surprised at ” UQ – ” Today’s scholars in Islam seem to be overly focused on mythology in Koran and forgetting the meat’. We can learn a lot from those stories.”

  4. Thanks for this great understanding to the Koran … I hope muslims be able to understand it like this!

  5. “Do not try to capture and confine God in idols.”
    I see almost all religions violating this rule. Abraham stone in kaba is an idol. Millions of Muslims travel to hajj to worship.
    Among Christians, I saw them carrying mother Mary and Jesus in processions.
    Siddhartha gautam told not to worship idols. They made idol of him and started worshiping.

    Great post , I would love to read if part two is coming.

    • But, as far as I know, Quran was compiled/written after the death of the prophet ?

  6. Thanks Bachodi,

    🙂

  7. Hi
    This is the first open letter I have ever written to any open source…..However,last three columns of your article are okay. But,the others are full of misunderstandings..Since you are not a muslim and are learning Islam,I felt mixed feeling when I started reading your article…..I am glad to see that you tried to understand Islam…Internet and other sources except authentic translations and interpretation of the Quran cannot give you proper understanding of Islam.Study more on Islam…May Allah honour you with Iman.To Bachodi:that stone is the Hazr al-Aswad(Black-stone),we kiss it as symbol of love.A Muslim cannot bow to any body except Allah.I n Hajj,you see,we bow to the cubic house…But,we just face it when pray to Allah.A Muslim will become “Kafir” or non believer if he bows to the house except Allah,the Almighty.A Muslim only submits to Allah…….Finally,if you do not understand the basics of Iman as Islam wants you to understand,you will never understand Islam…please read
    the Quran,Hadiths wih the help of authentic Interpretation.Thanks.

    • ?????????

    • The Original Quran is in Arabic, and I am not in a position to learn arabic and U refer to authentic interpretation, but U fail to mention even an authentic translation of “THE BOOK”

  8. Hi Syed,

    Thanks for responding.

    No point in telling me that I am misunderstanding. Let me ask you one thing. If the prophet says “Love thy neighbor”, one person will decide to add neighbor in the list of people he/she loves and another person will decide to delete everybody but neighbor from the list of people he/she loves.

    Whatever holy books say, it can always be interpreted in several ways. There is no point about talking “True nature” of Islam or any religion, because there is none. There is no “Proper understanding” of anything because every understanding is preached or passed down by ultimately un-proper and imperfect people like us all.

    It is always about what the followers are doing right? And followers of same religion have done different things at different points in time.

    That’s what I am trying to say.

  9. Kedarsoman,
    That was a nice answer.
    I don’t know if you entertain me coming and commenting on someone else’s comment. But I couldn’t help since he mentioned my name. (Usually this kind of arguments goes uncontrolled in blogosphear, so I won’t poke my nose again on this particular thread).

    Syed,
    Technically Idol worship is not just offering flowers, taking a procession (etc etc) to an idol which looks very similar to a human or a living creature. Worshipping idol is to have a physical object and consider it holy (nobody shall dishonor it etc etc) and which is also a mean to concentrate your prayers. The idea “you can worship a physical object, but it should not have a face and should not offer flower. If you do it is call idol worship “looks less logical isn’t it?”
    Kedar completely stole my words on “understanding”. No matter how wonderfully a book is written, what matters end of the day is, what interpretation it gives to its followers/readers in the language it is written.

  10. Even if they would never admit it, Moslems also worships Mohamed – considering him an “untouchable”= a person, who cannot possibly be wrong. They also kill anybody (or consider him/her as deserving death) who does not believe in infallibility of Koran or Mohamed as a person. Even if he was eating, went to the bathroom and made mistakes as anybody else who ever lived and died on this planet.

    Only Jews have no idols. Torah scroll is honored as an authority but it is not a square or a round stone or a sculpture or anything visible – it is a book. There are thousands of books written by Jews and non Jews talking about Torah – analytically or critically. Not a single person in 4000 years history of the Hebrews was killed by the Jews just for “talking” od disagreeing with a certain interpretation. Jews in Koran are called “PEOPLE OF THE BOOK” with great respect. Torah (Jewish Bible or for Christians Old Testament) is a text leading to tolerance and peace. It contains 10 Commandments. None of it made it into Koran. Koran contains no tolerance to anybody and anything. It preaches submission to religious leaders. Shiites kill Sunnis and vice versa because of different interpretation of Koran or the right to represent it. It will go like this for ever and ever.

    In discussion about idolatry, I prefer Jews and Judaism.

  11. All semitic religions which classify or call the followers of all other religions as pagans or idolators forget the fact that they themselves make idols and icons out of many things from their religious belief and worship. I have seen Jews revering pictures of Dome of Rock, menorah etc, Christians blatanly worshipping the crucifix and the pictures of Jesus, Mary and other saints, Muslims revering the photographs of Ka’aba of Mecca, the mosque surrounding the same.. This is classic example of how religions are no different from political ideologies, burying their own faults in the sand and accusing the others of the same faults.

  12. Dear Orbit
    Your comments read like a child’s argument which puts forth “My dad is the best in the world”.
    FYI, I have studied and am even now a student of religions, their genesis, evolution and current processes. Pentateuch or Torah which you claim is a text leading to tolerance and peace would seem a book of tales and some collection of law to a non Jew or non semite. In a similar vein, the popular books of today would be billed as religious texts in the years to come.
    It is true that all religious texts contain words of wisdom and messages for peace and brotherhood. But at the same time you cannot deny the fact that the religious leaders toting religious books and interpretations have always caused war, strife, misery and mayhem to millions of humans beings. From Romans till date in the Middle East. Jews cannot absolve themselves of the misdeeds they have done in the name of religions (Palestine/Lebanon), so does other (Muslims-across the world in the name of Jihad, Christians for their atrocities against Natives in all the continents they have colonized and proselytsied)

  13. Orbit and Seethi, thanks for your comments.

    I agree with Seethi here. As somebody has said, ‘Difference of opinions is most of the times difference of definitions.’

    Different religions define idols differently. If we say idol is something which is representation of God, then everybody has some kind of idol.

    About the preaching of the books, there is one funny story I can relate to.

    In Mumbai, there was a famous comedian. His jokes were almost always double meaning and below the belt. Once he was asked why he always cracks jokes like that. He said “You can find double meaning and vulgarity in anything.” Then he proceeded to recite a children’s poem. The way he said it, he totally made it seem vulgar.

    Holy books are no exception. You can take a peaceful verse and say and act it out in such a way that it would mean violence.

    Finally it’s all about what we want.

    K

  14. Very interesting. Of course, most Muslims are moderate and peaceful. Of course, most Muslims are not terrorists. BUT, most terrorists of the past 30 years have been Muslims. Radicals yes, but they threaten with death the moderate Muslims who have the courage to speak out. If Islam ruled the Earth it would eventually become one big Taliban type planet.

    Here are some good sites to learn about the facts of Islam, and hear from some xMuslims, or apostates, as they are called.

    http://www.apostatesofislam.com/

    http://www.wikiislam.com

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

    Thank you for being curious.

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    surrender to jihad

    sell out your great grandchildren
    so theirs live Taliban life
    .

  15. I just came across this googling to see if anyone else is remarking Koranolotry, the analog in Muslim orbit of Bibliolotry in the Christian orbit. Very well done, very well done, thanks!!!

  16. came across this on google too. your insight on the muslim community is interesting. There might be a truth to what you said about muslim leaders idolising the Quran but you should know that for us, the Quran is pure, perfect and without flaws so criticising it is actually something that is impossible for a muslim to do. you have a really interesting blog though…

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