Time Magazine Letters
Time & Life Building
New York NY 10020
DECODING GOD’S CHANGING MOODS
By: Robert Wright
Monday, June 15, 2009
To The Editor, Time Magazine
A well-written article by Mr. Robert Wright deserves a few comments.
1. The Quran cannot be compared to any other scripture since it is free of all contradiction. I can state that with confidence after having translated the Quran in four successive editions and in more than one language.
2. The esteemed author is quite right in stating that the concept of Monotheism has evolved gradually in Judaism. On the other hand, read the Quran from A to Z, and you will find the monotheistic message with absolute consistency.
3. With due respect, a critical mind will find it very difficult to accept that Christianity, with its dogma of a triune godhead, is really monotheistic.
4. For the ease of our respected readers, I will provide due references of the Quranic verses mentioned by the honorable author.
5. “Kill the polytheists wherever you find them” is an excerpt from verse 9:5 of the Quran. Looking at the context, it becomes immediately obvious that the Quran is talking about a particular group of polytheists of a particular time in Mecca who used to make peace treaties with Muslims and then suddenly ambush them. Will any community present such aggressors with flower bouquets? Look at the next verse 9:6 that contains an extra-ordinary injunction. Muslims are commanded to grant a safe passage to even the aggressors whenever they request it. Rather, they must be escorted in all safety to a place where they feel secure.
6. Secret code in scriptures? Well, most definitely, there is no secret in the Quran whatsoever. All Quranic verses complement one another.
7. Mr. Robert Wright states that the prophets weren’t necessarily monotheists. That raises a serious question. If all prophets received commands from the One True God, how could they hold divergent views?
8. “Our God and your God is one.” Quite rightly, this is stated in the Quran in verse 29:46.
9. “The statements about the Messiah… The Messenger of God… kindness and compassion”. Yes, the Quranic references here are 4:171 and 57:27.
10. “O Believers! Take not the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another’s friends.” Here, the verse number is 3:28, but the correct translation is not “friends”, rather it is “allies”. Even this statement has a salient qualification. See verse 60:8 about befriending any peoples, all inclusive. “God does not forbid you from being kind, and fully equitable to those who do not fight you on account of religion, and do not evict you from your homelands. God loves those who lead a just, balanced life.”
11. The doctrine of Jihad, once again, is not evolutionary in the Quran. Other than striving for betterment of humanity and for self-actualization, the term refers to self-defense alone. See verse 2:190. “God does not love aggressors.” Warfare in order to attain converts was never allowed in Islam. See verses 2:256, 6:104, 18:29. In the West, Jihad has commonly, but erroneously, been translated as 'Holy War'. But the term Holy War (Harb-il-Muqaddasah) does not appear in the Quran or Hadith.
12. Islam is indeed a religion of peace. The meaning is built in the name itself. “Mankind is all one community” is one of the central themes of the Quran.
See what the great De Lacy O’Leary out of hundreds of like-minded orientalists has to say in "Islam at the Crossroads": “History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”
With thanks for your kind attention,
Shabbir Ahmed M.D.
6440 NW 53 ST
Lauderhill, FL 33319