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in which Islam becomes an action-oriented verb as opposed to a noun
Hello readers, once again today time has gotten away from me and I have decided to share this excellent post from Dr. Safi Kaskas, this is from his facebook page. Safi’s response to 9/11 was to immerse himself in the Quran, and translate it into modern easy to understand English, and to collaborate with a Christian to produce a Quran with cross references to the Bible, and he is working on a Quran with cross references to the Tanakh. Safi has a commitment to building interfaith bridges to work for peace and has presented his Quran to several Muslim heads of state and Pope Francis. You can access a free PDF version of his translation by clicking the button below, the Qur’an translation with cross references to the Bible can be purchased here.
Safi recently organised an interfaith conference to discuss the holy books of the three Abrahamic religions in a way that promotes peace and paves a way for harmony building. You can find the Youtube playlist to the videoconference by clicking the button below.
Once again, these words below are the Safi’s words, should you find you have a response, please note that the cost of commenting on these Substack posts is a subscription—kindly support the publication to honour the time it takes to provide this content, and to respond thoughtfully to constructive comments. Should you find you take issue with his positions specifically, feel free to reach out to him on Facebook, he certainly welcomes constructive dialogue—his aim is to stimulate constructive + compassionate discussion!
So, no, Muslims do NOT own God, we do not have an exclusive rights deal with God, LOL—no religion does, stop that narcissistic nonsense. The Quran promotes pluralism as a fundamental core value for humans to follow. Facts, and these facts do not care about your feelings. Your religion IS NOT your identity, it is a blueprint for existence, the Arabic word sharia means the path or the way, not horsesh1t rules a bunch of deranged SRY gene humans made up to promote their twisted psychotic immoral piety.
So, to clarify—below the image are Safi’s words. Please do no compose lengthy Twitter threads telling me why you disagree, if you wish to comment, support the publication with a subscription. If you wish to dialogue with Safi, do so at his Facebook page.
Muslim scholars, political leaders, and civic society must emphasize the pluralistic message of the Quran and urgently address the pervasive exclusivist attitude among many Muslims.
How do I understand this verse from the Qur'an?
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ ﴿١٩ آل عمران﴾
"To God, true faith is (islam) submission" (Quran 3:19).
If we go to Ibn Kathir’s commentary/tafseer we will find the following statement:
(Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.) Allah states that there is no religion accepted with Him from any person, except Islam. Islam includes obeying all of the Messengers until Muhammad who finalized their commission, thus closing all paths to Allah except through Muhammad ﷺ. Therefore, after Allah sent Muhammad ﷺ , whoever meets Allah following a path other than Muhammad's, it will not be accepted of him.
So to Ibn Kathir, Islam is the name of a religion and that religion is the only religion accepted by Allah. This understanding was the universally accepted by Muslims everywhere until the early part of the 20thcentury when some enlightened scholars started talking about a more inclusive understanding of the Qur’an.
The following are some translations of the verse by various famous translators:
Muhammad Asad: Behold, the only [true] religion in the sight of God is [man's] self-surrender unto Him;
M. M. Pickthall: Lo! religion with Allah (is) the Surrender (to His Will and Guidance).
Wahiduddin Khan: The only true religion in God's sight is complete submission to God.
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar: Truly the way of life with God is submission to the One God.
When I was working on my Qur’an translation “The Qur’an, A Contemporary Understanding” I asked myself how did the early Muslims understand the word islam when they first heard it? Submission is the translation I chose to use for Islam. To me, islam is an action-oriented verb.
Nowadays, Islam is used as a noun referring to the followers of the religion started by Prophet Muhammadﷺ. If we understand Islam it this way we will be building a wall around the followers of this religion and excluding all others. This will cause average Muslims to think that unless you call yourself a Muslim you are not accepted by God.
Originally, when the word was revealed for the first time in the Qur'an, people probably understood it to mean the act of submission to God. As such, the Qur’an calls the followers of all God’s prophets, Muslims. However, once the word Islam started being used as a noun, it became a tool to divide the followers of Prophet Muhammad from other people who submit but follow other prophets.
According to the Qur'an the definition of the word Islam as a verb is stated in several verses:
قُلۡ اِنَّمَا یُوۡحٰۤی اِلَیَّ اَنَّمَاۤ اِلٰـہُکُمۡ اِلٰہٌ وَّاحِدٌ ۚ فَہَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰۹﴾
Say, “It is revealed to me that your god is but one God-so, will you be submissive to Him?” (Qur'an 21:108)
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَى وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آَمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (البقره 62)
Truly those believers in this message, as well as the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabeans, whoever believes in God and in the Last Day and does righteous deeds will have their reward from their Lord, and will not have fear, nor will they grieve. (Qur'an 02:62)
The Qur'an is defining a Muslim as one who
1 Believe in One God
2- Believe in the Last Day
3- Do righteous deeds
The verse is also showing us that these qualities may be shared by all the above-mentioned categories and are not exclusive to the followers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Otherwise, how would anyone understand the claims made in the Qur'an that Abraham was the first one to call himself and the believers Muslims and that Moses and Jesus and all the prophets and their followers were Muslims?
If we understand the verse: The only faith (deen) accepted by God is Islam and use Islam as a noun we will be wall builders. But if we understand Islam as an action-oriented verb, a commitment to be true submitters that we try to achieve every day, we will then be bridge builders.
Elsewhere, Safi has posted an answer to the following question—
Is Islam exclusivist? Does it accept the other?
The Qur’an indeed teaches:
Had your Lord willed, He could have made all of the human beings one single community, but He willed it otherwise, hence, they'll continue to have divergent views, (11:118) (all of them) except those on whom your Lord bestowed His grace. To this end, He Has created them. (11:119)
It also says:
As for those who believed, the Jews, the Sabeans, the Christians, the Magians, and those ascribing divinity to other than God-God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. God witnesses all thing (22:17)
The Quran in 2:113 and 2:120 condemns those Christians and Jews who assert that only their followers will be offered salvation by God. Why would the same Quran then endorse such an exclusivist attitude by Muslims? Pluralism, as it is understood today, can certainly be found in the first actual application of the Qur’an by Prophet Muhammad when he drafted the Constitution of Medina. An exemplary document based on pluralism.
The Qur’an does not use the word pluralism per se, yet when placed in the context of the state of human knowledge in the seventh century, the message of the Quran unequivocally celebrates diversity and encourages engagement (li-taa-rafu in 49:13).
Muslim scholars, political leaders, and civic society must emphasize the pluralistic message of the Quran and urgently address the pervasive exclusivist attitude among many Muslims. Neglecting the pluralistic message of the Quran has allowed fringe groups to use anachronistic stereotypes about fellow Muslims, people of other faiths, and entire nation-states, to unleash a form of violence rooted in extreme interpretations of Islamic eschatology (the study of end-of-time). From divisive identity politics to deranged messianic violence, all have their genesis in wilful disregard of pluralism as a core Quranic value.
It is not coincidental that societies that have embraced pluralism also tend to be more successful and peaceful.
Think about it!!!
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