Posts tagged ‘Myth’

June 16th, 2011

The Qur’an, a Donkey, Peace and Interfaith Dialogue

Muslims know what is at stake in interfaith dialogues. They participate in them knowing Islam has a battered image around the world that desperately needs improvement. Sadly, some Christians who participate in these dialogues have no clue about Muslims’ intentions. They are involved in promoting “peace” but fail to realize their efforts inadvertently improve Islam’s global image.

Muslims and even some Christians who engage in interfaith dialogues misquote the Qur’an in order to bolster Islam’s image, promoting its nonexistent image of inclusiveness. They often selectively quote chapters of the Qur’an while leaving out verses that would obliterate their arguments. There are many examples but today I will deal with the most abused verse of the Qur’an in interfaith dialogues, which is found in Suratul Al-Hujraat (chapter 49 of the Qur’an). Verse 13 states:

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

Every article I have read on interfaith dialogue involving Muslims uses this Qur’an verse. Unfortunately, this verse has nothing to do with non-Muslims. Many non-Muslims sell out on the “O mankind” portion of the verse but mankind does not always include non-Muslims in the Qur’an. Islam is not as inclusive as Muslims and non-Muslim interfaith interlocutors would like people to believe.

This verse was revealed to address a case of racism, which involved Bilal, a Black Muslim during Muhammad’s time who used to call Muslims to pray. One day when Bilal sounded the call to pray, an Arab Muslim said, “Did Allah and His Messenger not find anyone to call to prayer except this raven.” That was when verse 13 was revealed. It clearly has nothing to do with non-Muslims but everything to do with Muslims. Mankind here referred to Muslims.

Muslims and Christians who quote verse 13 and mislabel it as a verse that promotes interfaith dialogue also totally ignore verse 9 of the same chapter, which called on Muslims to fight each other over a trivial issue. Verse 9 commands:

If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).

This verse was revealed when a donkey urinated and one Muslim quipped “the smell of the donkey’s urine is sweeter-smelling than” another Muslim’s fragrances. This trivial insult escalated into a fight then this verse was revealed.

The Qur’an calls on Muslims to fight each other over a minor issue like a donkey’s urine, what are the chances for ardent Muslims to live at peace with Christians who are the worst of the sinners! The same book accuses Christians of ascribing partners to Allah, calling their worship the most heinous sin.

It is mind-boggling Muslims and non-Muslims take the Qur’an out of context or change intended meanings of its verses in order to come up with a palatable message on interfaith dialogue. I am not opposed to interfaith dialogues as long as they candidly tackle issues at hand. Jesus Christ has called us to be peacemakers but let us not use our calling as an occasion to spread a fake image of Islam.