What can we do if you missed the train when the QXP was being done in full public view from 2001 to 2003?
However, you are entitled to your views. ]
I do not understand the relevance of your first statement but I will tell you about myself and where I come from (for your information I was one of the first to download the QXP1 from the website and study it intently, and I am not an Arabic scholar so I rely on others to do the hard work!)
I am 45 years old and joined the Quranic train when I was first able to understand what my father was trying to say to me (1, 2, 4 years old?) My first words of an educational nature were verses of the Quran, spoken in English, my mother tongue, so I knew what they meant and what they wanted of me. The QXP carriage has made the train longer and is a valuable contribution to furthering our understanding of the Quran, but it was not the first and neither was this forum the first website dedicated to the Deen of Allah as it should be practiced. I was not a “Quranic based website” orphan when I came across this site, though I was extremely happy it was here. I do try to “stoke the fires of this train” in whatever limited capacity I have, and I leave it to my Maker to Judge me; but Judging my fellow man without seeing what is in their “book” by understanding what they are really about, is not something I do.
My first book that I read on the way Islam is supposed to be understood and practised was Islam, A Challenge to Religion by Allama Ghulam Ahmed Parwez, Saab and everything that I undertake is guided by what the Quran says I must do, not on what I tell others they should be doing. I have stood up and given truthful evidence even though it put me in a worse position (in terms of my family position) and went against some other close family members. I am not one of those who profess with their tongues that they have submitted when true faith has not entered their hearts; true faith produces right actions, not words of criticism which is the way of the weak minded (no reference to your good self, but to others who see an easy target and instead of debating, resort to debasing!). This is a forum that demands we set high standards and not acts in the manner of those we regularly criticise, the N2I. We have to keep a behavioural, moral and ethical high ground.
Yassir Fazagi put my attitude into a short sentence “if your beliefs do not affect your behaviour, then your beliefs are worthless”.
I am a firm believer in the mutizila concept of “the Quran plus logic and reason”(see later). If it does not sound right, then I put it on the side until I can evaluate the truth of the matter. When I do “take the bait”, I have intellect enough to know how to bite hard enough down on it in order to free myself; this “fish” can be a shark! [I have a Christian friend who asks me questions about Islam and I directed him to two websites, “answeringislam” and “faithfreedom”, not to turn him away from Islam, but to give him proper ammunition to challenge me. “Mashallah” (no, I have not turned N2I!) I have answered every falsehood he has asked me; I do not insult him, ban him from my home or any other negative response, and this is the way to approach those we do not understand or agree with.]
Blind indoctrination plays no part in my life, as neither does culture, doing things “just for show”, or the equally false attitude that “I know everything and if you do not like it, serf somewhere else”! Humility, my dear, humility and that was directed to you Saadia, at some of the moderators and forum members who need to look up the definition of what moderation means and not jump on the band wagon of calling for someone to be banned just because they are the most vocal. Strong words should be gently spoken, not used in an insulting or demeaning manner. The contemplative, respectful, reflective and open minded example of the good Dr, Saab (I use the spelling Saab and not sahib, for a reason, if you know about this manufacturer and the long lasting, good quality cars they produce, you will understand), is there for all of us to learn from, not something we should criticise him over.
I am not perfect, I do not know everything, I make mistakes but I feel that on this forum we have capable minds that are able to show us the error of our ways. As Muslims we must correct a wrong when we see it, not push someone away or think it is “clever” just to ridicule them.
As regards QXP and its exclusive use on this forum, here is my post I was going to submit on Saturday following your first response to what I previously wrote. Please understand the reasoning behind my writing and my apologies if this is not presented in a clear manner, it is just the way I am; I do it MY Way!
First, a little education:-
Mu'tazilah Theory of Interpretation from aboutquran website.
Mu'tazilah relied on a synthesis between reason and revelation. That is, their rationalism operated in the service of scripture and Islamic theological framework. They, as the majority of Muslim jurist-theologians, validated allegorical readings of scripture whenever necessary. Justice 'Abd al-Jabbar (1965) said in his Sharh al-Usul al-Khamsa (The Explication of the Five Principles):
“ قال القاضى عبد الجبار المعتزلى فى كتابه شرح الأصول الخمسة: إن الكلام متى لم يمكن حمله على ظاهره و حقيقته، و هناك مجازان أحدهما أقرب و الآخر أبعد، فإن الواجب حمله على المجاز الأقرب دون الأبعد، لأن المجاز الأبعد من الأقرب كالمجاز مع الحقيقة، و كما لا يجوز فى خطاب الله تعالى أن يحمل على المجاز مع إمكان حمله على الحقيقة، فكذلك لا يحمل على المجاز الأبعد و هناك ما هو أقرب منه
The hermeneutic methodology proceeds as follows: if the literal meaning of an ayah (verse) is consistent with the rest of scripture, the main themes of the Qur'an, the basic tenets of the Islamic creed, and the well-known facts, then interpretation, in the sense of moving away from the literal meaning, is not justified. If a contradiction results from adopting the literal meaning, such as a literal understanding of the "hand" of God that contravenes His transcendence and the Qur'an mention of His categorical difference from all other things, then an interpretation is warranted. In the above quote, Justice 'Abd al-Jabbar emphatically mentioned that if there are two possible interpretations, both capable of resolving the apparent contradiction created by literal understanding of a verse, then the interpretation closer to the literal meaning should take precedence.
Reason and Revelation
The Mu'tazilis had a nuanced theory regarding reason, Divine revelation, and the relationship between them. They celebrated power of reason and human intellectual power. To them, it is the human intellect that guides a human to know God, His attributes, and the very basics of morality. Once this foundational knowledge is attained and one ascertains the truth of Islam and the Divinity of the Qur'an, the intellect then interacts with scripture such that both reason and revelation come together to be the main source of guidance and knowledge for Muslims. Harun Nasution in the Mu'tazila and Rational Philosophy, translated in Martin (1997), commented on Mu'tazili extensive use of rationality in the development of their religious views saying: "It is not surprising that opponents of the Mu'tazila often charge the Mu'tazila with the view that humanity does not need revelation, that everything can be known through reason, that there is a conflict between reason and revelation, that they cling to reason and put revelation aside, and even that the Mu'tazila do not believe in revelation. But is it true that the Mu'tazila are of the opinion that everything can be known through reason and therefore that revelation is unnecessary? The writings of the Mu`tazila give exactly the opposite portrait. In their opinion, human reason is not sufficiently powerful to know everything and for this reason humans need revelation in order to reach conclusions concerning what is good and what is bad for them.
The Mu'tazili position on the roles of reason and revelation is well captured by what Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324 A.H./935 A.D.), the eponym of the Ash'ari school of theology, attributed to the Mu'tazili scholar Ibrahim al-Nazzam (d. 231 A.H./845 A.D.) (1969):
“ فقال قائلون: كل معصية كان يجوز أن يأمر الله سبحانه بها فهي قبيحة للنهي، وكل معصية كان لا يجوز أن يبيحها الله سبحانه فهي قبيحة لنفسها كالجهل به والاعتقاد بخلافه، وكذلك كل ما جاز أن لا يأمر الله سبحانه فهو حسن للأمر به وكل ما لم يجز إلا أن يأمر به فهو حسن لنفسه، وهذا قول النظام”
That is, there are three classes of acts. The first is what the intellect is competent on its own to discover its morality. For instance, the intellect, according to Mu'tazilis, can know, independently of revelation, that justice and telling the truth (sidq) are morally good. God is under an ethical obligation to order humanity to abide by these. The second class of deeds is what the intellect can discover their inherent evil and ugliness (qubh), such as injustice, mendacity, or, according to al-Nazzam as reported in the above quote, being in a state of ignorance of the Creator. God cannot but prohibit these. The third class is comprised of the acts that the human intellect is incapable of assigning moral values to them. These are only known through revelation and they become known to be morally good if God orders them, or morally wrong if God forbids them. In short, the human intellect is capable of knowing what is right and what is wrong in a very general sense. Revelation comes from God to detail what the intellect summarizes, and to elaborate on the broad essentials. Revelation and reason complement each other and cannot dispense with one another.
In the above formulation, a problem emerged, which is rendering something obligatory on the Divine being — something that seems to directly conflict with Divine omnipotence. The Mu'tazili argument is predicated on absolute Divine power and self-sufficiency, however. Replying to a hypothetical question as to why God does not do that which is ethically wrong (la yaf`alu al-qabih), 'Abd al-Jabbar replied (as translated in Martin et al., 1997): Because He knows the immorality of all unethical acts and that He is self-sufficient without them…For one of us who knows the immorality of injustice and lying, if he knows that he is self-sufficient without them and has no need of them, it would be impossible for him to choose them, in so far as he knows of their immorality and his sufficiency without them. Therefore, if God is sufficient without need of any unethical thing it necessarily follows that He would not choose the unethical based on His knowledge of its immorality. Thus every immoral thing that happens in the world must be a human act, for God transcends doing immoral acts. Indeed, God has distanced Himself from that with His saying: “But Allah wills no injustice to His servants” (Qur’an 40:31), and His saying: “Verily Allah will not deal unjustly with humankind in anything” (Qur’an 10:44).
The thrust of `Abd al-Jabbar's argument is that acting immorally or unwisely stems from need and deficiency. One acts in a repugnant way when one does not know the ugliness of one's deeds, i.e., because of lack of knowledge, or when one knows but one has some need, material, psychological, or otherwise. Since God is absolutely self-sufficient (a result from the cosmological "proof" of His existence), all-knowing, and all-powerful, He is categorically free from any type of need and, consequently, He never does anything that is ridiculous, unwise, ugly, or evil.
The conflict between Mu'tazilis and Ash'aris concerning this point was a matter of the focus of obsession. Mu'tazilis were obsessed with Divine justice, whereas the Ash'aris were obsessed with Divine omnipotence. Nevertheless, Divine self-restraint in Mu'tazili discourse is because of, not a negation of, Divine omnipotence.
Read these words again and tell me they do not show the way some members have behaved:-
[One acts in a repugnant way when one does not know the ugliness of one's deeds, i.e., because of lack of knowledge, or when one knows but one has some need, material, psychological, or otherwise]
This lengthy discourse on the teachings of the Mutazilis is presented here as a response to two issues; the first is to one of this forums members that my “truth about swine” was the most offensive post ever presented here. After a number of responses that involved expletives and language that the moderators would have deleted, I calmed down and decided to constructively destroy this response. The second is to Saadia Khan who presented a response to my defence of free speech by Brother Badar. Badar has put forward a new translation of the Quran which some forum members have ridiculed and stated that these should be banned from the site, and only QXP should be presented. I find the attempts by Badar bizarre because they do not enhance my understanding of the Quran in the same way that the excellent QXP does, or the Exposition of the Quran by Ghulam Ahmed Parwaz (this latter pre-dating QXP). However, I am willing to engage in an intellectual discussion with this man, knowing that Dr Shabir and many other incredible Arabic linguists are on hand to show this man where his ideas may be a corruption of the pure Arabic of the Quran.
This is the response from Saadia Khan and then I will present my response to both this and my “most offensive swine post”:-
Saadia Khan, Manager QXP Project
Let me share with you what you might not know. I can request Sr Khadija of Beijing and hundreds others to reconfirm this.
We were a scattered bunch of people all around the world until 2001.
Then QXP suddenly appeared on this very forum verse by verse open to all anywhere in the world in 2001. It was, and still is, the only rendition ever done in full public view.
Being the most suited person for the job himself, a Deeniyaat graduate from the top class Madinah University, being a student of King Faisal and his first class Arabic teachers, a visiting lecturer to Al-Azhar and Riyadh Universities, our respected Dr. Shabbir Ahmed invited opinions from all around the world on a daily basis. Sheikh Abdullah Ali Bashoeb from Hijaz, Al-Ustaz Ali bin Ali Al-Harbi from Riyadh University, Sheikh Salameh Abu Mustafa of Al-Azhar, Ayatullah Hujjatullah Abdul Qadir Moosvi of Meshed Iran, Allama Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi of Qatar, Professor Ghafoor Ahmad of J.I. and many other prominent international scholars read the rendition of every verse for 18 months. Their advice was always given a respectful consideration.
This is how QXP brought about 50,000 men and women on the same page within one year. Today the number can be easily multiplied by 100. In 2005, the 'Shura' devised Forum policy included the clause that only QXP should be used on this Forum. The idea was not any kind of hegemony, but it was intended to maintain the intellectual harmony.
Any fabricator trying to disband this gift of blessed unity will be vehemently rejected. Dr. Shabbir Ahmed is too kind to allow such people on the forum. We will run a signature campaign to him if this does not stop.
Let us remain united by the Quran in the form of its best rendition today, QXP. I speak on behalf of millions of people. If someone does not like QXP, they can serf some other websites. We do not need forgery by B2 or anyone else in the name of another translation.
The above requires an answer from an example from this very forum; The “Truth about Soam” by Dr Qamar Zaman was presented here and a number of members have commended this as a great triumph of Quranic understanding. The Urdu version has been circulating for some time and in that period many have said that they do not fast now as a result of reading this. Dr Shabir has also announced that he has not fasted since his youth, but he has said that the arguments presented by Dr Zaman were not the reason he has just announced this, since he found them weak. I would have put Dr Zaman’s translation of the Quran regarding the relevant verses about fasting, but his article does not have them in a manner I could use, so I will show you verse 2:184, with a similar meaning by Akhtar Sherazi:-
2:184 ‘The number of days of this training program or the teaching program of the Qur’anic administrative system would be difficult period for you and if any one of you still feels sickness [feels languish, or feels deficiency, or still feels weakness or imperfections of this ideology, or still doubtful, or feels short of this training] about this education program, or he/she is still in the phase of crossing from previous religion to this system, or he/she is in the period of journey of learning [ from other faiths or other systems to this system] then he/she must go back for another period of training. The people who have the abilities and power [both financial and academic capabilities] should come forward and bear this responsibility. They should make the arrangement for the supplement training program for them. It will remove weakness or imperfections about this ideology from the minds of those people who are still victims of stagnancy about this philosophy. And whoever will assist this program [even it is not obligatory upon him] from the core of his heart or of his own free will it is better for his/her personality and if he /she will join this administrative training program of the Quran it is also better for him/her. It will bring in your society prosperity, independency and choice of options between the right and the wrong affairs of your life. The organizational program of the Quran will also bring your society freedom, fraternity, Excellency, goodness, well being, happiness, generosity, nobility and if you will ponder upon Al- Sayyam training you will understand the importance of these training programs.’
Now compare this to the great scholarly translation of QXP (thank you Saadia for the long list of contributors to QXP, you must agree that the more names, the more authentic the translation!):-
2:184 Just for a fixed number of days. But if any of you is sick or he is on a journey, he may make up the same number of days later. For those who can go through Abstinence only with hardship, there is a ransom: the feeding of an indigent. Any additional charity will bring additional reward. However, if you knew better, going through the training program of Abstinence is good for you.
What now constitutes a forgery? Arabic scholars can render the Quran in QXP as above, and two men, Dr Zaman and Mr Sherazi, can turn this into a completely different meaning by stretching clear verses into an allegorical “Alice in Wonderland” fairy tale, which some members have wholeheartedly embraced. They have been duped by these men but I do not see the moderators and other forum members “ganging up” on these men and calling for their banning in the same way as they have for Brother Badar. We are those who state we know the Quran but some readily resort to the attitude that was present in the 1930’s that led to the “Nazi book burning” ideology, where they also condemned and banned anyone they did not agree with. Strong words that may be taken in the wrong way, but they are meant to show how easy it is to be intolerant of others and we must maintain the intellectual and moral high ground, no matter how emotional we become.
The Dr Saab has been criticised for being too lenient, but long may his example be an inspiration to us all. And whose forum is this?
As regards my “truth about swine” which some misunderstood and others found offensive, it was my attempt at turning clear verses into the same allegorical nonsense that Dr Zaman et al have done. It did what it set out to do, be offensive in the same way I found the meaning of soam had been presented to us, going against the conventional wisdom and understanding of the notable scholars from around the world that helped with QXP. Surely they cannot all be wrong and only these two men are right?
Since I am not arrogant, self centred, full of false pride or pig headed (most relevant, considering the mess I seem to have made of my post and the reaction I received), I am always open to intellectual correction on anything I have said, and that is why I do not intentionally offend anyone’s feelings in my writings; I do not like the taste of humble pie.