The former chairman of the Shia Central Waqf Board in Uttar Pradesh- Waseem Rizvi has come out with a ‘new Quran’. After facing the broil of the Islamic community on mentioning the controversial Surahs of the holy book of Muslims and being charged with a fine of Rs.50, 000 for filing a PIL in the Supreme Court to amend the same, Waseem Rizvi himself took up the task and omitted almost 26 Surahs that according to him was the cause of radicalism within the community.
UP Shia Waqf Board Chairman Waseem Rizvi writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to shut madrasas across the country as ISIS ideology is being promoted there to influence the students. (pic 1- File pic of Wasim Rizvi) pic.twitter.com/uAyL1cVGxJ
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 22, 2019
Around the world, various scholars time and again have pointed out the texts in the holy book that indeed promote fundamentalism, radicalism, expansionism, and even violence.
Some parts of the text that showcase the same are as follows:
- Allah has sealed their (the non-believers) hearts and their hearing, and their sight is covered. They will suffer a tremendous punishment. Al-Baqarah (2:3)
- As for those who disbelieve and deny our signs, they are the residents of the Hellfire. An-Nisa (4:56)
- Allah has promised those who believe and do good (His) forgiveness and a great reward. As for those who disbelieve and deny our signs, they are the residents of the Hellfire. Al-Ma’idah (5:9, 5:10)
- But once the Sacred Months have passed, kill the polytheists (who violated their treaties) wherever you find them, capture them, besiege them, and lie in wait for them on every way. But if they repent, perform prayers, and pay alms-tax, then set them free. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. At-Tabwah (9:5)
- That is the reward of Allah’s enemies: the Fire, which will be their eternal home—a (fitting) reward for their denial of our revelations. Fussilat (41:28)
Apart from these, the book also contains verses that talk about the treatment of women who don’t follow the dress code, marriage out of the religion, etc. However, there exist many arguments that try to paint a different picture too. While some say the interpretations in themselves are wrong, some give the reference of other religious and spiritual books like the Torah of the Jews, the Bible of the Christians, the Bhagavad Geeta and the Manusmriti of the Hindus, etc. calling them equally fundamentalist in certain stances, even claiming that books like the Geeta show their support for wars. There also are few who label anyone and everyone calling onto the radical approach of the quran as ‘Islamophobe’.
Now coming to the arguments one by one, the wrong interpretation logic doesn’t tend to hold much substance. It is mostly the Muslim scholars and maulvis who are followed by the majority of the Islamic community. It is not only in India that they hold 99% of the power over religious places and interpretations, around the world a large part of the community follows people like Zakir Naik who spread hatred. Thus, the responsibility of enforcing the right interpretations of the text lies on the shoulders of the people of the religion only. It is the responsibility of those who genuinely believe that the holy book, which is largely peaceful, is being misinterpreted to exploit the young minds. It is for them to take the charge. Now as for the reference of other religious texts- though the argument that books like Geeta support war are an attempt to establish false equivalence as it nowhere talks about ‘believers and non-believers’ but ‘right and wrong’, books like Manusmriti or Bible do instil a sense of the difference between human beings based on their identity. Nevertheless, the point stays that it is not about how non-Muslims, non-Christians, or non-Hindus see their holy text. It is the people from the community whose ideas and beliefs show how much impact their religious ideas can have over them and thereby, how much and what kind of impact they have on the larger society.
Here, one makes a relevant point that radicals exist in all religions and communities, terrorists might exist too. It is true that in spite of such a large Muslim population around the world, it is not even 10% who have been caught in the act of terror. Nevertheless, the fact that 90% of the organizations that the UNSC marks as ‘terrorist organization’ incline towards the radical Islamic ideology and extract their authority of terror based on the verses of the Quran must attract attention from within the religion for reforms.
No one shall be discriminated against for their beliefs and there indeed exists a large part of this holy book that preaches peace. However, even if one verse has the potential to turn youth into an assassin, the religious scholars must conduct serious discussions over the solution to it. The masses shall promote such debates and discussions too. Rather, the masses from any religion must speak against those lines in their religious texts that could be misused to provoke terrorism, assassination, discrimination, etc. One of the many reasons why Ambedkar is revered in India is because he showed the courage to question what he found wrong, even to the extent of burning the Manusmiriti. The courage to keep humanity above everything should be shown by anyone blessed with human life.
On one side we have people like Waseem Rizvi who are facing life-threat even after the honourable Supreme Court gave its verdict in favour of the community. On the other side, we have globally renowned intellectuals like Mehdi Hassan, Audrey Truschke, etc. who openly justify radicalism.
If you choose the latter, remember that even though Mehdi apologized for his statement against the atheists, saying that it was out of the whims of a young mind, many don’t reach past that young phase as this type of thought makes them turn into a suicide-bomber or an assassin. It is the privilege of these intellectuals that allows them to rectify their statement or get matured to deny what they believed in once.
Meanwhile, many youths in the community, struggling with poverty and fighting for education and health turn to the holy book for refuge, ending up becoming destructive for the society and themselves. Let us strive together to change this scenario. Indian Muslims have the credibility to be the leader in giving the world legends like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Bismillah Khan. Let’s work together to popularize their version of Islam that indeed was capable of establishing a progressive society that embraces peace and humanity above every other thing.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author