‘They are scared of Holy Book’s divinity’
By SYED FAISAL ALI | ARAB NEWS
Published: Sep 9, 2010 00:01 Updated: Sep 9, 2010 01:06
JEDDAH: Dialogue and dawa are the deeds that will stand Muslims in good stead, especially at this moment in time when an American pastor’s call for a provocative action against Islam is stoking hatred and fear.
Essam Mudeer, a renowned dawa worker, called the actions of pastor Terry Jones of Gainsville, Florida and Dutch deputy Geert Wilders “plain stupid,” adding, “they act this way only to seek attention.”
Mudeer believes that it is not hatred but fear that is driving people like Jones and Wilders to such “crazy” actions. “Those who want to burn the Holy Qur’an are scared of its divinity and message and know that if it reaches non-believers, they will instantly join the believers. And this is the greatest fear that drives these people.”
Muslims must understand this is the hidden agenda that Muslims world over should understand and see, and use the power of articulate
dialogue and tolerant behavior to turn the tables on these people, Mudeer said. “They are in the business of rekindling the fires of war, but we should be properly equipped to become firefighters and for that we need books not bombs,” Mudeer said during an interview with Arab News. “Our pen should be our bazooka. Hence, I request our brothers and sisters to flood America with copies of the Holy Qur’an and Islamic literatures,” Mudeer added.
The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has expressed similar sentiments and called on Muslims and others to host “Share the Qur’an” dinners to educate the public. The group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Qur’an to local, state and national leaders.
Mudeer said the call by the church to burn the Holy Qur’an is primarily aimed at provoking Muslims around the globe, but the community should not fall into this trap. Instead we should use this opportunity to initiate dialogue with Christians and the West.
But Mudeer, a member of the founding team of Saudi-based Iqra TV, was at pains to admit that the Muslims would miss this opportunity. “Muslims have lost the art of talking and have become predictable. At the same time the enemies of Islam have mastered the art of noise making. And they know which button to push for desired reaction in order to label them as intolerant and extremists.”
Mudeer fears extremists world over may use the images of the Qur’an burning to inflame public opinion and incite violence, and this is what people like Jones want. “We should understand their nefarious intentions and avoid indulging in any act of aggressive protest. However, we can still vent our anger in some peaceful manner,” he added.
Already some Muslim leaders have warned of grave consequences if copies of the Holy Book are burned. But Mudeer, a disciple of renowned Islamic preacher Sheikh Ahmad Deedat, believes nobody can burn the words of Allah.
He said, “We should not get provoked, rather use this as an opportunity for dialogue, an opportunity to educate people about the Holy Book. This is an opportunity for ordinary Muslims to talk to ordinary Dutch, American or the West.”
Jones stoked this particular issue in July when he said: “Islam and the Shariah law were responsible for 9/11. We will burn copies of the Qur’an because we think it’s time for Christians, for churches, for politicians to stand up and say no. Islam and Shariah law is not welcome in the US.”
After that Muslims and many Christians groups — including some evangelicals — are joining hands in opposing Jones’ action.
Mudeer feels the Western governments can contribute to global harmony by preventing exploitation of freedom of expression to insult religious sanctities.
He said many people hide behind this ‘pillar’ in their bid to inflame Muslims’ passions. It is a publicity stunt by morons trying to incite more hatred. But remember, “Goats eat books. Monkeys tear them. Terry Jones and his church members burn them. Humans read and examine books.”
“I invited Jones for a live session on TV but he did not respond, then I wrote an open letter to him but the pastor didn’t bother to reply. Do you know why? Firstly, he is not interested in any serious dialogue or discussion. Secondly, he knows that his claims are unfounded and baseless and thirdly, his agenda is hate-mongering and provoking Muslims so that he can brand them intolerant. We must understand that motive and stay clear of such people’s dares,” Mudeer said.
It’s worth noting that Terry Jones has written a book titled “Islam is of the Devil,” and his church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase. “The pastor wants to profit from these products of hate,” Mudeer added.
He said those who want to burn copies of the Qur’an have not asked first: “Which Qur’an?” For they know there is but one Qur’an not many different versions of it, like the Bible seems to have.
“Interestingly, now, If some irate Muslims feel the need to retaliate by burning the Bible (God forbid), which Bible are they going to burn as there is a long of list of Bibles in English alone,” said Mudeer.
He reminded that Qur’an could never be burned since it is in the heart and mind of over a billion Muslims. Millions of them have memorized the Holy Book from start to finish.
Mudeer asked, “Is there any other religious book, like the Qur’an, which people have memorized from cover to cover? Does the pope know the Bible by heart? Did the enraged American pastor spend time memorizing the Gospel, any one of the four gospels, instead of trying different book-burning methods? Can Mr. Jones or any renowned priest read the Sermon of the Mount without looking at screen or a page in front of him?” Is there any Hafiz-e-Bible like millions of Hafiz-e-Qur’an we have?
“Take note of this now: The only memorized book from cover to cover, on this earth, is none other than Qur’an. You cannot deny this fact no matter how much you hate to admit it.”
“Furthermore, there are 50 million people in this world who have memorized the Qur’an and you cannot burn them all. What Jones is saying is that he will burn the written or physical-bound volume of Qur’an or the ‘Mushaf,’ or the collection of pages.”
Understanding the difference between “Qur’an” and “Mushaf” is key to turning the table on this hateful proposed event to burn ‘mushafs’ of the Qur’an as they cannot burn Qur’an, Mudeer said.
“No one can burn any spoken words. And therefore, no one can burn the spoken words of Allah. The words of the Holy Qur’an not only are read aloud beautifully, they are also entirely memorized.”
Mudeer quoted from “The Qur’an: A Biography by Bruce Lawrence explaining the importance of recitation of the Qur’an: “The emphasis on recitation is not accidental. It is central to understanding the formation and the force of Qur’an. The Qur’an is a book unlike any other: it is an oral book that sounds better spoken than read silently, but it is an oral book that is also scripture. More evocative in recitation than in writing, the Qur’an is only fully the Qur’an when it is recited…Hearing the Qur’an recited is the compass of spiritual insight and moral guidance for Muslims. It is the Message in tits pure form, a form at once starkly pure and vivid.”
“Even hostile critics of Islam have grudgingly vouched for the purity of the Holy Qur’an: ‘There is probably in the world no other book which has remained 12 centuries (now 14) with so pure a text,’ Sir William Muir has said. And that is the reason enemies of Islam are feeling frustrated with no option but to burn it and spread canard against it. But we must thwart their design with our prudent and logical arguments not violent protests,” Mudeer said