Material on the Authenticity of the Qur’an & Allah
The Strange Case of the Fundamentalists
The Muslim world is at present a patchwork of competing nation sates, ruled by political, social and judicial systems that can by no means be termed "Islamic". Indeed in many of these countries there are laws in direct opposition to what has been revealed by Allah to His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him,. It seems the only Islamic quality about some of these nations is that they happen to have Muslims in them. A large portion of the Muslim World has, for the last two hundred years, been under the occupation, or “protectorate”, of one or another of the European powers, who gradually dispensed with the Sharee’ah (Islamic Law) and supplemented it with various Western systems. After gaining so called “independence” these alien political and judicial systems remained, or were replaced by other Western influenced hybrids. The “Nationalism” of Attaturk in Turkey, the “Ba’athism” of Iraq and Syria, the “Pan-Arab Nationalistic Socialism” of Egypt’s Jamal Abdel-Nasr, and its various offshoots such as Qaddafi’s "Islamic Socialism". All of these movements freely used “Islamic” slogans when, and if, it suited their aims. The simple multitudes were caught up in the fervor of the new found "freedom", and in order to maintain it they were told they must "modernise". To the so-called “intellectual elite” this meant abandoning everything from the past, and taking on board everything that was new. Thus the “Modernist” movement arose, lead by the likes of Muhammad Abdu, that explained away every miracle of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and even many of the basic acts of worship. For the first time riba (dealing usury/interest) was legalised and the adoption of Western dress and lifestyles was encouraged. They tried to make all of this acceptable by bypassing the traditional methods of Islamic scholarship for personal itjihad (i.e. juristic reasoning) and interpretation of the texts.
For others, Islam itself was merely an enemy to progress, especially in the Soviet Union where veils were burnt, mosques demolished and scholars exiled to Siberia - or executed. Street walls were painted with the words: "There is no God and Lenin is His Prophet". In many places throughout the Muslim World mosques, became empty, and women walked in mini-skirts on the street. Then things started to change. In the face of Western and Communist power, medicine and technological wizardry, of men on the moon and aircraft that could circle the globe in days, of weapons of mass destruction that combined were able to destroy the world seventeen times over, the computer chip and nations that seemed to have reached unrivalled material prosperity and personal freedom, there was a gradual, yet unavoidably noticeable return to Islam. Not, mind you, only by the uneducated, impoverished peasants, but the educated, prosperous, middle classes. Furthermore, this was not merely a return to the mosque five times a day, and the veil for the woman, but a call for Islam in its TOTALITY - to be re-implemented once again. For indeed the reality that Islam makes no distinction between the private and public, between the religious and political, had been apparent to Muslim scholars long before the The Economist’s survey deemed to point it out. Indeed it was obvious that the situation within the Muslim countries, with their hybrid socio-judicial-political systems, was in contradiction to the very essence of Islam itself! So various movements started to seek to bring the Muslims back to the correct state of affairs. This of course met with some considerable opposition from the various governments supporting such systems. This opposition was, and still is, often brutal in the extreme. These governments received either direct, or tacit approval from their Western and Communist overseers, who in reality were more aware of the potential threat of such a Muslim revival to the status quo, and their own virtual world economic and political domination which they had striven so hard to achieve. The last thing they wanted to see were the Muslims back on their feet. Yet the revival continues . . .
Perhaps the reason why the rise in Islamic fundamentalism has been so phenomenal is because the point the fundamentalists are making is so, well, FUNDAMENTAL! After all, once a Muslim has become aware that believing in the validity of laws and ways other than those ordained by Allah is to commit the unforgivable sin of “shirk”, then, as the Qur’an states: "It is not for a believing man or woman, once Allah and His Messenger have decided on a matter to have any choice therein" (Surah al-Azhab 33:36) . . . "and their response is none else than we hear and we obey" (Surah an-Nur 24:51). Indeed, that is exactly what makes a Muslim what he or she is: someone who submits him or herself to Will of Almighty God. Of course the incompetence, corruption and brutality of the governments, the inevitable failure of their ideologies, and their frequent national and international humiliation has made the task of the fundamentalist easier. Yet it is naive to presume that this alone has given impetus to the rise in fundamentalism. Surely, if anything, the poor and desperate condition of the Muslim masses should drive them more earnestly to "modernization", "Westernisation" and "Democracy", of which their countries have hardly been shinning examples! Indeed, even the most common peasant sees daily a barrage of images on the television screen (that has become as essential as a bed in even the most humble households) portraying the materialistic success of the Western World!
The true reasons for this persistent rise in Islamic awareness are not at all those to which Western analysts constantly refer. The reason for their inability to understand this phenomena is part due to their submergence in the purely material. Science and the “Theory of Evolution” has given them, so they believe, proof that man is at most no more that an advanced animal, a progressive monkey, and man’s basic needs are little different, fundamentally, to those of our supposed ancestors: food, drink, sleep, safety from predators and sex. Satisfy these, and man should be content. The Muslim World still has, by and large, kept more in touch with the reality of the human condition: that happiness is not at all merely a material thing, but in fact something more profound, and that understanding this is as important, perhaps more important, to the well being of the human condition, than mere material gratification. The evil results of this materialistic attitude is all too apparent in the rotting social conditions of Western society. Its effects have also become apparent in the Muslim lands themselves.
The second reason that the Islamic revival has proved so popular is that it is obvious to many of the Muslims, especially the more literate and educated, that the West itself does not really believe in “democracy”, or indeed any of those ideals, such as “Freedom of Speech”, “Human Rights” and so on, which it claims to cherish so dearly - except when it suits their self-interest. Both of these points of view are not confined to the Muslim fundamentalists. Indeed a growing number of Westerners are beginning to voice similar sentiments. In fact, past defeats, the need to prove oneself, incompetent and corrupt governments is hardly an explanation for the phenomenal rise of Islam among Westerners. Recent estimates have, on average, put the numbers at three converts to Islam every day in England alone. The rise is even higher in the U.S., and all this in spite of the incessant distortions and fabrications against Islam by politicians and the media. Indeed in those very countries were Islam is growing most visibly (Egypt and Algeria), the government, radio, T.V. and press are all firmly controlled by the Secularists. In spite of all of this, millions and millions are dying (sometimes literally) to go back to a book fourteen hundred years old. How can this be? Surely “science” and “reason” has dealt a death blow to the Qur’an and Islam, the same way it has the Bible and Christianity? It seems not, and there are good reasons why!
This brings us on to the third reason, and in fact the most important of all, why there is a phenomenal growth in fundamentalism, and that is Islam itself. As the The Economist article said: " . . . there is good reason why the culture of the Muslim world is regarded by many people as the West’s only real ideological competitor at the end of the twentieth century. Unlike the Confucians-and even more unlike Latin Americans, Slavs and Japanese - Islam claims to be based upon a transcendental certainty. The certainty is the Word of God, revealed syllable by syllable to Muhammad" . . . "As a means of binding a civilization together, there is no substitute for such a certainty. More-over, and this is not happening anywhere else - new recruits are flocking to join this claim to certainty" (p. 4, c. 2).
Why is it then that the survey does not, before its call for Muslims to practically abandon their religion and commit the unforgivable sin of “Shirk” - by replacing the laws of Allah with the laws of men - simply illustrate the Qur’an is not the Word of God, or at least some good parts of it, so that a few adjustments hear and there would only be in tune with what has happened before. After all, this has already been thoroughly accomplished with the Bible. Recently some of world’s top Biblical scholars delegated a good seventy percent of the words of Jesus as never having been said by him, and priests with impunity state that sections of the Bible, such as God’s destruction of homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah, are not from God. Indeed science and modern Biblical scholarship has cast so much doubt upon the authenticity of the Biblical text as a whole that a derogatory term was coined for those who persisted in the untenable position that it was the "Word of God": Fundamentalists! Indeed the Christian fundamentalists claim about the Bible what the Muslims claim concerning the Qur’an. Why could the Christian claim not prove an equally powerful force, and a similar ideological competitor? The reason is that merely making a claim is no basis for anything. The claim needs to be proven, and the weight of evidence gives the claim force. It is very hard for the Christian to maintain the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, because the evidence belies it. The illusion of "Gospel" truth was maintained in the Middle Ages because it was only available to very few, and they were priests! Others were forbidden by Papal Decree from reading it, sometimes on pain of death. With the spread of literacy and the dawn of the “Age of Enlightenment”, the Bible reached the hands of the people. Its internal contradictions and scientific discrepancies became apparent and thus it gradually became discredited.
The Modern World’s claim to certainty is “science” which, it claims, has been the cause for advancement in medicine and technology. Its results are proof of its worth, and the results have been achieved under the wing of “democracy”. Thus the two are intertwined. One of the other arguments in favour of “democracy” is the lack of major conflict between those democratic nations for the past fifty years, and another is the material prosperity it seems to have provided. Indeed, it was in the The Economist where I recall reading that "the Western nations have, more than any other civilization, succeeded in satisfying the material needs of man". All powerful arguments. Thus there is a claim, and evidence provided to support it. ( We shall, insha’llah, examine the validity of these claims later.) However things do not stop there. From the claim and subsequent supporting evidence, the ideology should then be implemented, otherwise the author of the survey would not be so audacious as to suggest that anyone (let alone the World of Islam) should adopt his ideas, merely because of his say so! He believes the weight of evidence in support of the “Modern Way of Life” is sufficient to give his suggestions force. Part of what makes “democracy” what it is, is the spirit of compromise and pragmatics: quite rational in the light of human ignorance and fallibility. The problem is that the The Economist survey somehow expects Islam to operate within a similar frame work. Islam, however, is built upon the certainty that it is revealed by Almighty God. This has consequences, the most important being that Allah is not ignorant and fallible like the human being, rather He is All-Knowing and completely perfect, and therefor when it comes to His Word there can be no question of compromise, nor a philosophy of pragmatism except were specifically allowed.
The survey tries to get round this obstacle by putting it all down to a matter of interpretation, but in fact Allah had already pre-empted this supposed loop hole when He revealed Islam fourteen hundred years previously by appointing someone to explain the verses of the Book: "We have revealed to you (O Muhammad) the Reminder (i.e. the Qur’an) and we have made you the one to explain it" (Surah an-Nahl 16:44). So the explanation of the Qur’anic text is given exclusively to Muhammad, peace be upon him,, and things were not left there. The Qur’an also explains: "Whoever contends with the Messenger and chooses a path other than the path of the believers, then Allah will leave them in the path they have chosen and land them in Hell what an evil refuge!" What is this path of the believers? The Prophet, peace be upon him, explained: "That to which I and my companions are upon". The Prophet, peace be upon him, furthermore told the Muslims to cling to his way and the way of the rightly-guided successors. These successors have transmitted the knowledge and the way from generation-to-generation until this day, just as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said they would: "There will always be a group among this Ummah (nation of believers), firm upon the truth, unharmed in their faith by those that oppose them". It is exactly this type of comprehensiveness that makes Islam so frustrating to its critics and so convincing to its adherents, and this comprehensiveness extends through all the various aspects of Islam and its disciplines. The claim of Islam to be based on the certainty that it is from the All-Knowing Creator is no mere claim, but it is rather a claim backed by powerful evidence. Powerful enough for its adherents to prefer it over that offered by the Modern Word!