First and foremost, I
guess the relevance of the Koran in the 21st century is a matter of
great concern to countless confused Muslims residing away from their
homelands in the comfort and safety of the West.
and safety of those displaced or misplaced Muslim exiles are marred
by the discomfort and danger of an identity crisis in which everyone
is blindly groping for an anchor in the turbulent sea of change all
In their fossilized ignorance of the ages, all
races and religions known to man have been continuously pounded by
wave after wave of enlightenment in the dark ages, periodic
awakening and mass hypnotism, faith and doubt, and by massive waves
of science and technology, reason and innovation, and an urgent need
to globalize human thought on this planet for the common good of
But, alas, even today we are no better than the
primitive caveman even if our garb and home have changed. We are
still in the kindergarten of spiritual evolution, our minds steeped
in ignorance and darkness.
Stubborn in our ignorance, we
resent change and cling hopelessly to some kind of authority to lead
us and guide us through life.
I am specifically referring to
the authority of (a) an idea, such as Christianity or Islam,
democracy or dictatorship; (b) a person, such as Jesus or Muhammad;
and (c) a book, such as the Bible or Koran.
The subject of
our discussion today is whether or not the Koran is truly a God-sent
guidebook for humanity in the 21st century.
There will be
those who resent such an inquiry and self-examination, and there
will be those who'd love to change with the times if that were
Most people believe the Koran is a book written by
none other than the Creator of the Universe through an angel called
Gabriel, and that the book was "revealed" to Muhammad fourteen
hundred years ago as a tablet of truth for all time to come.
At the end of the day, what is a book, regardless of who wrote it?
Basically, a book is a story, or a history, written by some author
or scribe, and the Koran is no exception in that respect.
However, we are conditioned from the day we are born to accept the
authority of the Idea, the Man, and the Book of Allah as the
foundation of our belief system.
We go through life
believing the Koran was written by Allah Himself with the aid of a
ghost writer called Jibreel.
It is not commonly acknowledged
as having been plagiarized from God's earlier compositions called
the Torah, Zabur, and Injil, which were published at different times
in languages other than God's very own perfectly gracious Classical
The Koran thus became the latest edition of the Word
of God, with every imperfection of God's earlier works thoroughly
revised, edited and amended. Or so they say.
is all those books and scriptures rolled into one, and it is
universally believed to be God's Own definitive edition for all
time. Our function today is to find out whether or not it is
relevant to the cosmopolitan culture that is emerging in the world
It is rather daunting, for scholar and simpleton
alike, to learn Classical Arabic -- which they say is the official
language to be used on the Day of Judgment -- in order to see what
the Koran is all about.
No one will admit the Koran is a
poetical and fanciful history book beginning with Creation and
ending with Doomsday, yet Muslims believe it is the Word of God, a
code of life, morality and laws for all of humankind.
Muslims everywhere, those in their turbulent homelands and those in
the cozy comforts of their self-imposed exile in the West, the Koran
is entrenched in their belief system as the greatest book ever
written. It is simply defined as a miracle.
It is indeed
extremely difficult, but not entirely impossible, to break away from
the shackles of belief that keep us tied down in our cultural
beliefs and traditions.
Anyone who reads the Bible or the
Koran objectively and carefully enough will soon realize that God
appears to have been created in the image of Man: He is vengeful and
compassionate, violent and merciful, partial and equitable, and so
on, on and on.
As a young person, my
mind shuddered when I read in the Koran how cruel and kind God could
be. I began to question the wisdom of God in exposing the dark side
of His nature in such a frightful and threatening way to a young and
Why was He trying to
instill my mind with fear? Why doesn't He demonstrate that He is a
loving and just God?
questioned why God would write a book that had very little of
religion in it and far too many stories concerning who, what, when,
where, why, and how He went about fixing His Own mistakes and the
errors of His miscreant and sinful creation, stories that were
nothing but history badly patched up, and history, if you examine it
properly, is always written in the past tense.
How could the past
help us in the future? And what is there to learn in such a book?
What have Muslims really learned from it in the past fourteen
Learning is not what
you acquire by rote, by repetition over and over again. Moreover,
learning has meaning if it teaches you mathematics and the sciences,
architecture and engineering, computer science and technology.
Learning has meaning if it advances your knowledge and understanding
of the world and your place in it.
Let us please be
sincere. Let us ask ourselves what it is we hope to learn from the
Koran that we don't know already?
Of course the Koran
tells us Who God is, What He did and Why, When and Where and How. We
know far too much about God and His every move, and yet we haven't
got our act together.
What's more, we
pretend to know from the Koran how the Mind of God really works --
exactly like the mind of Man, caught up in the same dualities that
divide man against man and nation against nation in the Name of God.
Can such a book with
its partial view of history and God's practice of favouritism be
truly relevant today as a spiritual guide?
There's no need to
answer that question, but why don't you think and reflect on it!
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