QUR'AN: BACK TO BASICS by KARIMA OMAR
Continued from page 4
“Just like with the Gospels - written down after Christ's death. So, if I wanted to look into Islam - which, by the way, I'm only considering - how could I figure out what Muhammad really said? I mean, if this Muslim tells me that this saying is correct and then I go to someone else who has me stoned as a heretic, well - I might as well stay with the church where I can be lynched in my own language."
“Just stick with Qur'an," I yawned. Feeling, groggy and mildly profound without my (sorely needed) beauty sleep, I was momentarily struck by the simplicity of this piece of offhanded advice. Yes, why not - why not stick with Qur'an?
After all, "We have not neglected anything in the Book..." (6:38). So isn't it all we need?, Sure --it doesn't tell us which shoe to put on first; it doesn't give detailed instructions in the art of beard-growing, it doesn't mention which hand to eat with or what to say when someone sneezes, what color socks to wear or even which brand of soap to use.
Well-perhaps these gaps were left open for a reason - a very good reason, considering the fact that this book was intended for all people, all times, all places. "Do not hurry while reading (the Qur'an) before the revelation has been accomplished for you, and (rather) say, 'My Lord, increase me in knowledge!'" (20:114) Let its Author fill in the spaces between the lines and let us take the common sense He gave us off the mental unemployment lines. The Qur'an gives us a guideline, a basic blueprint
applicable to every conceivable situation and circumstance. Perhaps our error lies in constructing interpretations in zones that may have been left vacant
deliberately - left vacant for us, for the unique circumstances of our - and every - age.
It also reminds us to remember - to use the stuff between our ears, to think for ourselves. "Today wholesome things are (made) awful for you" (5:4) If we use the Criterion and a little bit of horse sense, we can figure out that, simply because the aren't mentioned by name, Brussel sprouts are lawful and apricot- rubarb wine coolers are not; that sending our mother a birthday card is nice and calling her a filthy pagan is less than Islamic. "Normal behavior stands out clearly from error..." 2:256) We don't need Shaikh Rattle'n Roll or Mega Mullah to tell us that playing basketball is normal and shooting chipmunks with a submachine gun isn't.
[to be continued]
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August 12, 13, & 14, 1988
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