August 23, 2007

Divine Will (intro)

Note: Since our debate about Islam’s position on Jews led to a much broader discussion about Quran itself, this post is named ‘Divine Will (intro)’ to cover the very basis of our later arguments. This post works just as an intro to the subject, and gives some hints on our next posts.


I hope you have read Lord’s new post. Ideas he has developed in his new argument open the door to a very broad discussion about Quran, about which there is an extensive body of different views within Islamic scholars and various schools of thoughts.

Also Fariborz contributed to that post of Lord, though his commentswere taken word by word from a Sunni site. However, those comments also matter.

Let me ask few questions to clarify what subjects are in the root of all the different views about Quran. Read the following questions, contemplate them, and try to find your own answer to them, whether as a Muslim, or just as a believer in God, or as a nonbeliever. Also it should be noted that these arguments, with few modifications, would apply to all holy scriptures, whether Quran, Testaments, or else.

1- When God tried to reveal those verses to Muhammad, there was a Divine Will, but was that will in the form of a human language? How did Muhammad understand that Divine Will? As you well know, while translating a text from source to target language, very often it happens that the will of original author gets lost. Is the process of revelation immune to such failures?

2- Let’s suppose that God revealed some words, and He meant exactly what those words meant. Here another problem arises: Whose understanding of those words is closer to that Divine Will? Indeed you agree that the same words, particularly the words similar to Quran verses (which are full of metaphors, etc.), may mean differently to different people. Even if we suppose that the people of then Arabia must be our reference in this case, did they all have the same understanding of those words? The same problem, again.

3- Is today's Quran equal to the Quran revealed to Muhammad? Indeed there are different versions of Quran, called Qera’at (which means: readings); but some Muslim scholars believe that these differences, believed to be caused by different dialects of the Arabs, are so insignificant that don’t show any difference in the whole meaning of disputed verses. Another point is that some people doubt the way that Quran was gathered and claim that there is a possibility of flaws in that process.

4- Suppose that we solve all the above questions, and finally establish an original understanding of The Divine Will with very simple statements which may mean just in one way to all the people. The next problem rises when we ask of the role of ‘Reason’ in applying those rules to the contemporary society. Indeed this is not a new story of 20th century. Roots of such debates back to few centuries after Holy Prophet’s death (Footnote 1). I have too many things to say about this 4th subject, but leave them all for future.

hope that this intro was useful.

Good Luck

Footnote 1: Let me refer you a simple story of history which helps you get the point better, and leave rest of the matter for later posts. As you well know, Asharite used to believe that reason is incapable of discovering the will of God when this will is not strictly and frankly given to us; and they had some followers in between Shiite. It is said that one of the Shiite Imams wrote on the coffin of his deceased son: “Ismael, rest in God” (Ismael was his son’s name), and an Asharite follower of that Imam, wrote “Ismael, rest in God” on the coffin of his own deceased son, though his son’s name was Muhammad, not Ismael. This was because they did not identify any role for reason in understanding the Will of God.(Note that for Shiite, 12 Imams are supposed to be infallible like the Holy Prophet himself, and their deeds and words provide a source for Shiite Jurisprudence.)


Lord Kavi said...

Dear Mohammad:
read your answers!

hadi khojinian said...

دوست خوب من مطلب خیلی خوبی نوشته ای .کم حجم و مکفی .موفق باشی

hadi khojinian said...

یه کلیپ از دوست خوبم سامی یوسف تو وبلاگم گذاشتم .البته بیشتر به خاطر تو .لذتش را ببر.

ebrahimzade said...

وب خوبی داری.
از کجا آوردی؟
فقط آدم یه صدبار باید رفرش کنه تا بتونه یه نظر بذاره اینجا
اون آزمون تولیمو شفاهی هم داره؟

esoteric said...

ive just had a quick read of some of your posts but ill have to come back and read further to get a good understanding of whats going on here. and as for your request ill be glad to be of any help.

ميرزا قلي خان راپورتچي said...

سلام. چرا اين جا اين حاليه؟ نوستال‍ژي گرفتم اونم حاد.

Anonymous said...

Thanx Mohammad,

Lord Kavi

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