The Quranology Diaries (vol. 5)

A call to common sense

"People of idolatry! Think attentively about this scenario; surely you would agree that the idols you invoke instead of God, will never be able to create a fly, even if they combined forces, and also if a fly were to take off something from them, they will not be able to regain it. Henceforth, don't you think in such a scenario this makes both the worshipper and the object of worship profoundly senseless!" (22:73)

English rendition by Adam Sayid

Quran vs. Clerics

The clerics appeal to the emotions, whereas the Qur’an appeals to the intellect, which inturn reinvigorates the emotions.

Unfortunately, the clerics have appealed to our emotions for so long, that we can no longer appreciate or understand the appeal to the intellect!

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Myths are often truth mixed with falsehood

There are many myths immortalised amongst Muslims, that have developed over time, which were originally based on a true event. Recently some posters that have become viral on social media depicts a picture of an aggressive-looking bird with the caption saying, “Allah sent a flock of birds to destroy the army of Abraha. This Ababeel bird is from heaven and no one on the planet earth has ever seen them eating or drinking on earth.”

As is the case with all myths, this story is coloured with a supernatural brush. The story says that when the Ka’bah was under foreign attack, the Makkans left the matter to God, and then a swarm of birds showered the aggressors with pebbles, which defeated the army. However, though the Qur’an records this event to remind the Makkans to be grateful to God, the supernatural element has been added in the commentaries and extra-Quranic literature later, to the point where even the translation of this passage has been heavily infringed.

The Qur’an seems to simply relay that a victorious defensive war took place by the Makkans against the much stronger foreign attacker, and thereafter the army was humiliated further as their corpses were totally defenceless against a wake of vultures chewing upon their flesh. Here is the passage from the Qur’an:

"Do you remember how your Lord dealt with the army fortified by elephants; how he caused their strategy to utter failure, when you pelted them with baked lava, and when he sent a wake of vultures, making their corpse look like chewed up chaff?!" (Qur'an 105:1-5)

The exodus from Egypt

A rational rendering of the exodus story.

"Indeed, I inspired Moses to find a dry path across the sea of reeds to immigrate with my devotees during the cover of night, whilst assuring him to not fear pharaoh capturing them, nor to fear the sea drowning them. And although shortly after pharaoh was in hot pursuit with his troops close behind them, they were unsuccessful in apprehending the Israelites, as the tide suddenly returned and the torrent overrun and completely submerged them." (20:77-78)
"It was at sunrise when the Egyptians closed in on the Israelites, and when the two parties came face to face, the people of Moses panicked and cried out, 'We are surely doomed!' Moses responded, 'Not at all! My Lord is with me. He will definitely show me a way out!' Moses knew from receiving inspiration the exact moment to strike the sea with his staff, at which point the sea parted and the water waved up like towering cliffs. The pursuers were compelled to follow right into the same trail, seeing that Moses and his people crossed over to safety, but by then the tide returned and surrounded them." (26:60-66)

English rendition by Adam Sayid

Does misogyny thrive in religious settings?

A young Muslim girl enters a singing competition at the ‘Indian Idol’ show, and really wows the judges at her audition with her unique and powerful vocals. When one of the judges wanting to know more where her talent came from enquires if music is in the family, she shares that she learns music in secret, as one of her brother has become a cleric and now wields religious influence in the house, and therefore music is now forbidden at their residence. Along with the judges I felt so sad hearing her say that! Previously another Muslim girl who entered the same show was heckled by religious fanatics, and in Afghanistan girls recieve death threats for contesting in such shows.

Apart from the clear dislike of music, there is also another more worrying element at play here. There have been plenty of Muslim male contestants in such shows too, but it seems religious fanatics are reacting selectively. This exposes their clear misogyny, but it is overshadowed by the religious rigmarole. It is one thing to have a fanatical theology on music, but it is quite another to justify misogyny. I have observed that very often misogyny gets masked, whether knowingly or unknowingly, by religious rigmarole. Consequently, I feel that misogyny seems to survive and thrive in religious settings; because no one wants to challenge religious sensitivities!

About Adam Sayid 10 Articles
Adam Sayid is presently Visiting Religious Advisor at The Association of British Muslims, and the Chief executive officer at Quranology the Quran App

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