The Burning Qur’an

quran

 The absence of the Quran’s guidance in both our private and public life has given rise to a long list of critical disasters which have befallen the Ummah, writes IBRAR QASIM.

Last month, a patchy selection of media outlets in the West took the trouble to report news of an outcry in two, or three, Muslim countries over the burning of a Qur’an by a Norwegian man during an anti-Islam rally that was caught on video.

This very short list of nations released indignant official statements but the majority of regimes across the Muslim world wisely chose to remain silent over the incident in the knowledge that any official pronouncements condemning the desecration of Islam’s holy book and the hurt caused to the sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims might be too heavy an irony to bear.

In the Muslim world, it may come as a shock to many that the post-enlightened West has a deep suspicion of all religions and those who regard their faith as sacrosanct. Probably to Darwin’s delight, the West has now evolved into a post-sacred culture,but only in so far as the religious is concerned.

There was a time in Europe’s past when blasphemy of the Christian faith caused consternation and outrage. A movie such as The Life of Brian would attract large audiences eager to experience the frisson of laughing at the mockery of Christ and the Christian faith in the knowledge that this was still to some degree a sacred cow in many quarters of the nation.

An artist could display a crucifix suspended in a glass of urine in an art gallery to the delight of critics fawning not over the aesthetic value of such art but over its shock value. Alas,no such frisson remains today. The old religions of Europe have long since been relegated to the area of anthropology.

With no sacred feature of life acting as a focal point in Western societies, the vacuum has now been filled with a disparate array of secular idols that far outnumber the ancient sacred cows of the past. Secular idols, of course, are also not immune to ridicule and defilement.

The passion with which these secular idols are worshipped may seem strange to the traditionally pious and devout. A recent headline from the news may serve to illustrate the point. In Malmo, Sweden, a statue of the world-famous footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovich, who once played for the local club Malmo FF, was vandalised after the striker bought a 25% stake in rival club Hammarby. In order to emphasise the hallowed nature of Malmo FF, fans and worshippers of the club offended by Ibrahimovich’s perceived treachery wrote ‘Judas’ on the player’s front door in Stockholm and left fermented fish on his doorstep.

The Qur’an-burning incident in Norway is not an example of a modern phenomenon, but a centuries old expression of a long-held hatred towards the upstart faith that overtook all other religions. Throughout the ages, the public burning of the Qur’an has always been a political act at heart.Modern day Norwegians are well-aware that their country has little to fear from the Muslim world whose regimes are largely preoccupied with subjugating the Islamic aspirations of their own populations.

The burning of the Qur’an at the anti-Islam rally in Norway was a publicity stunt for those peddling domestic right-wing nationalist politics and Islam just so happens to be the most prominent and ready-made bogeyman for this purpose.

Unlike the Godless modern-day Norwegians at the anti-Islam rally, the scriptural pyromaniacs of the distant past would have not only burned the Qur’an with the conviction that God was on their side, but they would also do so with a clear political agenda. These arsonists would have been witness to how this book had transformed entire societies and united different races under an Islamic leadership that threatened – or had already obliterated – their tyrannical empires.

The sincere and dynamic Muslims who instilled fear in the hearts of the enemies of Allah (swt) through implementing the word of the Qur’an in life’s affairs remain in stark contrast to those mentioned in the following narration [as reported from Prophet Muhammad (saws)]:

“There will definitely be a people after me – from my nation – who recite the Qur’an, and yet, it will not even reach beyond their throats…” [Narrated by Abu Dharr, Sahih Muslim, No. 1067. Also recorded by Ahmad and Ibn Majah]

The response by Muslims to the burning of the Qur’an in Norway was both predictable and a confirmation of the decline of Islamic civilisation. One can imagine that the majority of Muslims who took to the streets –or to their digital devices –in outrage might be unable to recite Al-Fatiha with the correct Tajweed even if their lives depended upon it.

As Muslims, Allah (swt) requires that we manage the affairs of the people according to Shariah. Muslims need not look to far away lands for the desecration of the Qur’an to indulge in a little outrage and easy virtue.

The desecration of the Qur’an lies much closer to home. The absence of the Quran’s guidance in both our private and public life has given rise to a long list of critical disasters which have befallen the Ummah including the routine rape, torture and murder of Muslim women and children and the Riba-constructed prison of penury which incarcerates the majority of Muslims in the Islamic world.

We would do well to reassess our relationship with the Qur’an and our understanding of its speech well before the fate of our eternity is sealed.