The Muslims’ Ignorance /Disregard of the Qur’anic Guidance and Its Colossal and Recurring Cost“Will they not, then, ponder over this Qur’an? - or are their hearts sealed”? (Al-Qur’an 47: 24). “The petal of a flower may pierce through the heart of a rock – but the Noble Word has no effect on the ignorant.” – Muhammad Iqbal, bale jibrail, preamble
This is not to suggest, let alone advocate any direct incorporation of the injunctions of the Qur’an in statecraft, or to politicise the Qur’an in any manner, as that will enable political bodies of diverse orientations to legitimize their respective ideologies and aspirations by interpreting the Qur’an expediently or by venerating their own ideologies on the strength of the Qur’an. The object of this exercise is to inspire the believers to study this eternal book of guidance as it should be studied (2:121), seeking the best meaning in it (39:18/55). This is a pressing need of the day in order to deliver the hearts and minds of the Muslim umma from the domination of historically evolved theological discourses – which though glorious for their era, stand out this day as restrictive, divisive, exclusive, intellectually foreclosing and atavistic.
On the Day of Reckoning, each individual person will be handed the record of his/her deeds (17:71, 84:7-11, 99:6/7), to be benchmarked against the divine guidance/imperatives as perfected in the Qur’an (5:3). Therefore, it is imperative for each person who believes in the divinity of the Qur’an to seek its guidance as he/she solicits in each cycle of the daily prayer by pleading to God – ‘ihdinas sirat al mustaqim.’ It is no secret that the young students, fashionable and educated youth, housewives, academicians, professionals of all categories, and the intellectual elite among the Muslims have virtually no time, nor any curiosity to probe the fundamentals of their religion. As its Arab audience turned away from the Qur’an in dread - like frightened donkeys fleeing a lion (74:49-51), the Muslims, by and large, turn away from it in awe and reverence or apathy if not antipathy. Some of them do read, recite and even memorize the Qur’an – partly or even wholly, to please God, to experience the transcendent, and to seek peace and solace. However, they seldom make any effort to study it to comprehend its message. They do not read it as it should be read to their own loss (2:121). Consciously or subconsciously they go by the tradition that “one who discusses about the Book of God, (the Qur'an) makes a mistake, even if he is correct .
The pre-eminence of the quoted scholars and the diversity of their backgrounds and regions sufficiently demonstrate the positively remarkable, rather, benevolently revolutionary role of Islam on world history. This raises the obvious question: what was it in Islam that fuelled its prodigal role. The answer is obvious. Islam drew its moral code and inspiration singularly from the Qur’an, whose sole mission was to guide humanity – “to bring it out of darkness (of jahiliyyah/ignorance) into light (of enlightenment)” (2:257, 14:1, 57:9) under the ambit of pure monotheism. Thus there can be no doubt that it is the revolutionary tenets of the Qur’an – its moral imperatives and liberating spirit, its universalism and pluralism, its call to human intellect that fed its uniquely and remarkably positive role in history. The grievous fallout of the detachment of the Muslims from the Qur’an As the Islamic civilization was taking long strides of advancement, its orthodox theologians and ulema were striving unceasingly to freeze it at their era, in direct contradiction to the letter and spirit of the Qur’an. Thus, they set aside the guidance of the Qur’an and venerated theological discourses –notably the Hadith and the classical Islamic law as the necessary and sufficient vehicles for understanding and implementing the Qur’anic message. These were the ahl al Hadith - the orthodoxy. They advocated that all that had to be learnt had already been learnt during the Prophet’s time, and was contained in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s normative ways (Sunnah), and the posterity was expected to simply imitate them. This resulted in stagnancy of knowledge, abhorrence against any scientific advancement, and division of universal knowledge into Islamic and European categories – the former foreclosed for all time and the latter growing exponentially.
Their retrogressive views were opposed by the rationalist theologians of the era – the ahl al kalam, who advocated pursuit of knowledge in all fields, and promoted material prosperity within the framework of the Qur'an. However, the orthodoxy prevailed and intellectual activity in Islam came to a virtual halt. This happened around the end of the fourth century of Islam, marked the beginning of the decline of Islamic civilization, and set this faith and its followers on a path of decline.
Following continued decline for almost a millennium through to the present era, punctuated by occasional upsurge in broad historical timeframe, the Muslims have fallen into the lowest depths of a pit of failure. Any comparative assessment of the deprivations, sufferings and injustices faced by the diverse confessional communities at this juncture of history will single out the Muslims as the most deprived, devastated and uprooted community, and the biggest victims of human rights violations. From domestic violence against their own womenfolk to internecine conflicts, sectarian violence, terrorism, just and unjust wars, forced confinement in war zones and collective punishment in the name of sanctions, to the psychological trauma of Islamophobia and trivialization and marginalization in the pre-dominantly non-Muslim countries, the Muslims have the greatest share of sufferings and humiliation in the present day world. Likewise, any comparative analysis of achievements in the diverse lawful pursuits and arenas of life (professional fields, academy, bureaucracy, sports, art and culture for example) will find the Muslims as the poorest and obscurest performer. Thus, in broad historical perspective it was the revolutionary social and intellectual paradigms of the Qur’an that took the Muslims to the zenith of their civilization in less than a hundred years of its advent and enabled them to lead the world for the next four to five hundred years, and it was their gradual detachment from the Qur’an that led to their stagnation, decay and downfall in the ensuing centuries.
Thus, the cost of detachment from the Qur’an has been extremely high and the Muslims continue to bear it, as their detachment is only exacerbating with time. This essay is just a reminder and warning and a challenge to the Muslim intellect. http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideo ... ost/d/7795