Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pluralism and Quran, verse 5:8

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Alhamdu Lillah., most Muslims are blessed with an inquisitive mind, and I am so glad we are doing the right thing by clarifying and questioning what is said and written. Indeed, Islam started with the premise that we read, write and learn. That’s how Quraan began; Iqra, the first word.     

Pluralism and Quran, verse 5:8

5:8 (Asad),  " O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one [19] lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do."

Pluralism in the broadest sense is respecting the otherness of others, and accepting God’s will in creating each one of us as a unique being.  It implies fair treatment and justice to fellow beings.

Justice is the foremost value of Islam as it is with all religions and traditions. When law and order is the way of life in a given society, people live in peace, and prosperity is the natural outcome.

When there is justice, fears dissipate knowing that no one can take advantage of you, and if they do, society will fix them, and if the society fails, God will.  Nothing in the world goes unaccounted; everything has to achieve its own balance at the end, and every re-action is a product of an action.

Historically prophets have made their presence felt when things were chaotic. Whether it was Moses or Krishna, Jesus or Muhammad, they fixed the problems and restored trust in the society.

The message in Verse 5:8 is to be just, no matter what happens, but be just.   Prophet Muhammad further urges mankind to tell the truth even if it incriminates you. He said it liberates you from endless anxiety and paves the way for a regret-free life.

Justice is respecting and accepting others rights and pluralism is respect the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of his creation.

God’s will as I understand is taking responsibility to maintain “BALANCE AND HARMONY BETWEEN ALL ELEMENTS OF HIS CREATION.” Because he created everything with balance, and has sent a peacemaker to every tribe, community and the nation, the message is same. A majority of people in each group get the message, some don’t.

Waalssamaa rafaAAaha wawadaAAa almeezana

55:7 (Asad) And the skies has He raised high, and has devised [for all things] a
measure [The noun meezan, usually denoting a "balance", has here the more general connotation of "measure" or "measuring" by any means whatsoever (Zamakhshari ), in both the concrete and abstract senses of the word. (Cf. also the parabolic use of the term meezan in 42:17 and 57:25.)]

Waaqeemoo alwazna bialqisti wala tukhsiroo almeezana

55:9 (Asad) weigh, therefore, [your deeds] with equity, and cut not the measure short! 

Quraan does not address Muslims exclusively; it is a book of guidance for humanity. As Muslims we tend to see the general meaning of “righteous path” as Islamic path (3:85), the path we have pounded with our culture and rituals, rather than the spirit of Islam.

Each society has strayed away from the meaning of justice. For example, until now, Muslims were misled by the men scholars of the past that the husband can beat the wife (4:34), how wrong the entire Ummah has been on the topic. You may not agree with it, but that is your choice.

It is a haunting question for women of conscience, and of course men of conscience. It is a shame that we took advantage of women, belittling them when they questioned the meaning of it, leaving an imbalance, thus injustice. It has bothered most Muslims, including me, that how can God say such a thing? But most did not dare asking the imams who misinterpreted it.

 Thank God for the hidaya Allah gave to Dr. Lelah Bakhtiar, who has finally corrected the gross error.  Now that she has fixed the problem, it gives more meaning to the phrase; Islam is the Deen of Fitra, of human nature.  

I am thankful to Allah for blessing America with freedom, this freedom will pave the way for understanding the egalitarian and pluralistic nature of Islam that Prophet Muhammad practiced, but we dusted it up.

This was just one example, Insha Allah, in my next article, “What Sunnah?”  we will explore Hadiths, that Prophet (pbuh) could not have said it all.  He was a mercy to mankind, and we simply cannot ascribe  those Hadiths to him, that are contrary to his personality.

The second most critical value of Islam is to be non-judgmental and non-prejudiced; a derivative of the first value.  A Muslim, who observes the ritual part of Islam, utters the verse, “Maliki yawmi alddeeni” from 17 to 51 times a day. Stephen Covey says, if you utter something 7 times, it becomes a part of you. God is generous, he gives us the opportunity to utter more number of times, so it becomes a part of our psyche, that we do not judge others in the matters of faith, only Allah knows and only Allah will judge.
Maliki yawmi alddeeni
 1:4 (Asad) Lord of the Day of Judgment! 

Most Muslims get it, some don’t. It is easy to become a Mushrik by declaring others to be not a Muslim , or even declare that they will go to hell. Have you ever thought about that as a Shirk? That is the goddamned greatest form of Shirk, a major sin in Islam to judge others Imaan, the belief.
So my friends, verse 5:8 fulfills the values of God’s critical values to create pluralistic societies, and Islam is guidance to all humanity, even though we attempt to monopolize it as our property.  Islam is about acknowledging the otherness of other, and Islam is about keeping the Meezan within his creation. We are the Ashraful-Makhlooqat, the superior (independent and intelligent) species, endowed with the responsibility to maintain the balance. 

As we seek the truth, we will find that Islam is about Pluralism, about building cohesive societies where no human has to live in fear of the other. Look at all the examples of the Prophet; he created Models for us to follow. Insha Allah, we will catch up with it, at least within a generation or two.

Mike Ghouse is committed to nurturing the pluralistic values embedded in Islam and invites discussions with an open mind. Together, we can learn to be a productive citizen to our family, community, nation and the world - thus serving God’s purpose of peace; Islam the verb.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .Dear Mike Sahab

Please explain how you link Qur'an 5:8 with your pluralism. Below is the what this Ayaat says

8. O You who believe! stand out firmly for Allâh and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and Hatred of others make You avoid justice. be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well-acquainted with what You do.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .

This was in reference to article:
TEXAS FAITH: How can the media better cover religion?

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.