Saturday, September 11, 2010

On burning the Qur`an

After long weeks of silence the topic has become big. It's everywhere on the news. I neither support the act nor the media coverage but I want to add a new angle. I am sure that Terry Jones wants to offend Muslims BUT is burning the Qur`an an offensive act?

Everyone who studies Middle Eastern studies please remember how the Qur`an was compiled ... yeah 3rd Caliph 'Uthman did so, right. And? What did he do with the manuscripts he used to compile from? Right, he BURNED them.

Burning the Qur`an is religiously speaking not an offensive act at all. See this fatwah (religious edict) from Saudi Arabia, homeland of Wahabism (a very rigid form of Islam):

"Burning, i.e., burning old copies of the Mus-haf in a careful and respectable manner, in a clean and safe place, whilst ensuring that the words are consumed by the fire and the pages are changed. 
The scholars based this view on what ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) did with the Mus-hafs that differed from what the Sahaabah were unanimously agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated (hadeeth no. 4987) from Anas ibn Maalik that ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) ordered Zayd ibn Thaabit, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Zubayr, Sa’eed ibn al-‘Aas and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn al-Haarith ibn Hishaam to make copies of the Mus-hafs. ‘Uthmaan said to the three Qurashi men: If you differ with Zayd ibn Thaabit concerning anything of the Qur’aan, then write it in the dialect of Quraysh, for it was revealed in their tongue. They did that, then when they had copied the pages in Mus-hafs, ‘Uthmaan returned the pages to Hafsah, and he sent to each country one of the Mus-hafs that they had copied, and he ordered that all other copies of the Qur’aan on pages or in books be burned."

So while Jones intends to disrespect the Qur`an and is thereby offending Muslims worldwide the act itself is not an offense. Muslims do so themselves if they want to get rid of old copies of the Qur`an.

What does this show?

- Either Jones is pretty dumb and didn't research anything about the Qur`an or he is pretty smart and did his homework well.
- Those Muslims protesting the act are either not that educated in their religion or they protest against the intention (disrespect) behind the act which is indeed offending.

Chose the right answers ...

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