Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Islam is about free will.

From time to time I routinely check the quoted verses for legitimacy and most certainly add a translation or two, usually by Mohammad Asad. There have been times the quoted verse was completely off. Finding the truth is your own responsibility. Islam is about taking responsibility for one’s karma and I will repeat the most often quote – Prophet Muhammad told his own daughter that there ain’t no free pass to the paradise because she is the daughter of the prophet, he said, she has to earn it, deed by deed.

The following piece was originally compiled by Muhammad Irtaza, marked by Parenthesis at the beginning of the verses, my additions are Mohammad Asad’s translations and the comments spread over.

Irtaza: The Bangladesh court made the correct decision. The women should have freedom of choice on veil. In fact, freedom of choice is guaranteed by God Almighty for all humans as we understand from many verses of the Quran.

We need to be pro-choice, i.e., respecting the right of woman to make that choice and not impose on them or ban them for wearing. Who are we to do that? We must honor every one's freedom to wear what they want to wear, as long as it is not obstructive to some else’s' functioning- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/07/burqa-to-no-burqa.html

[33:72] we have offered the responsibility (freedom of choice) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they refused to bear it, and were afraid of it. But the human being accepted it; he was transgressing, ignorant

33:72 (Asad) Verily, We did offer the trust [of reason and volition] to the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains: [87] but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up - [88] for, verily, he has always been prone to be most wicked, most foolish.

87- The classical commentators give all kinds of laborious explanations to the term amanah ("trust") occurring in this parable, but the most convincing of them (mentioned in Lane I, 102, with reference to the above verse) are "reason", or "intellect", and "the faculty of volition" - i.e., the ability to choose between two or more possible courses of action or modes of behavior, and thus between good and evil. (Quran Ref: 33:72)

88- Sc., "and then failed to measure up to the moral responsibility arising from the reason and the comparative free will with which he has been endowed" (Zamakhshari. This obviously applies to the human race as such and not necessarily to all of its individuals. (Quran Ref: 33:72)

[10:99] had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. Do you want to force the people to become believers?

10:99 (Asad) And [thus it is:] had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: [122] dost thou, then, think that thou couldst compel people to believe, 122 - The Qur'an stresses repeatedly the fact that, "had He so willed, He would have guided you all aright" (6:149) - the obvious implication being that He has willed it otherwise: namely, that He has given man the freedom to choose between right and wrong, thus raising him to the status of a moral being (in distinction from other animals, which can only follow their instincts). See, in this context, surah 6, note 143, as well as - in connection with the allegory of the Fall - surah 7, note 16.(Quran Ref: 10:99 )

[2:148] Each of you chooses the direction to follow; you shall race towards righteousness. Wherever you may be, GOD will summon you all. GOD is Omnipotent.

2:148 (Asad) for, every community faces a direction of its own, of which He is the focal point. [123] Vie, therefore, with one another in doing good works. Wherever you may be, God will gather you all unto Himself: for, verily, God has the power to will anything.

Lit., "everyone has a direction. . .” etc. Almost all of the classical commentators, from the Companions of the Prophet downwards, interpret this as a reference to the various religious communities and their different modes of "turning towards God" in worship. Ibn Kathir, in his commentary on this verse, stresses its inner resemblance to the phrase occurring in 5:48: "unto every one of you have we appointed a [different] law and way of life".

The statement that "every community faces a direction of its own" in its Endeavour to express its submission to God implies, firstly, that at various times and in various circumstances man's desire to approach God in prayer has taken different forms (e.g., Abraham's choice of the Ka'bah as his qiblah. the Jewish concentration on Jerusalem, the eastward orientation of the early Christian churches, and the Qur'anic commandment relating to the Ka`bah); and, secondly, that the direction of prayer however important its symbolic significance may be-does not represent the essence of faith as such: for, as the Qur'an says, "true piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west" (2:177), and, "God's is the east and the west" (2:115 and 142).

Consequently, the revelation which established the Ka`bah as the qiblah of the Muslims should not be a matter of contention for people of other faiths, nor a cause of their disbelief in the truth of the Qur'anic revelation as such (Manar 11, 21 f.).(Quran Ref: 2:148)

[73:19] this is a reminder; whoever wills, let him choose the path to his Lord.

73:19 (Asad) this, verily, is a reminder: let him who wills, then set out on a way to his Sustainer!
Irtaza: According to the Quran, it is your right to be a believer or a disbeliever, to be a Shia or a Sunni, to be a Hindu or a Christian, to be an atheist or a Muslim. According to the Quran, no one has the right to force one's faith system onto another person.

Mike Ghouse: Irtaza has attempted to given meaning to the phrase Rabbul Aalameen (Lord of the Universe) in his comment above. Even though historically Islam as an identifiable religion distinct from, Christianity and Judaism came into being in 611, many a Muslims claim that Adam, Moses and Jesus also followed Islam, in essence they are right as Islam means following God’s will in creating a kingdom of heaven, but that is their extent and they are yet to grasp the idea of the otherness of other which the Prophet not only said, but practiced it. (http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html )

Unrelated story:

Date:10/04/2010 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2010/04/10/stories/2010041069512300.htm

Veils a personal choice: Bangladesh court
Haroon Habib

DHAKA: The High Court of Bangladesh has ruled that no woman should be forced to wear a veil at educational institutions.

It was women's personal choice whether they wore scarves or covered their heads, said the court.

The court directed the Education Ministry to ensure the implementation of its order.
The verdict is on a writ petition filed following a report that an education officer in Kurigram insulted a woman teacher last year by making a disgraceful remark.

“It is the personal choice of a women to wear a veil, if any person tries to compel a woman to wear a veil against her consent or will that amounts to a violation of her fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution,‚¬ observed the court.

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