{السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته}
I`m a lost soul; searching. I`ve found the answer and here is my struggle.
An interior monologue of a revert Muslimah.

27.7.11

Q&A: Doubts in Islam

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

I have stumbled upon a fellow blogger who was Almost a Muslimah. She writes about how she didn't convert to Islam sharing her opinion on why she doesn't agree with Islam. Out of interest in her story I have commented on a few of her posts and we have been having a healthy debate on some of her subjects. I really enjoy it because she has asked some pretty intense questions that I myself have been stumped on answering. Alhmadulillah it is exercise for building my faith. I dig deep to find answers to her questions because I myself begin to ask them. I want to share with everyone the questions she has asked that I didn't know how to reply. I did, however, find answers. Answers that I wish to share with everyone if they have the same questions. For me Islam is flawless and I like to show this and why a once atheist like me chose Islam.

Almost a Muslimah asked: Isn't God and the Qu'ran flawless? Why do so many people argue about what the Qu'ran means and why is there tafseer's for understanding it? People tampered with the Qur'an? isn't it supposed to be protected from that by God? Are you also saying that Qur'an can only be understood if its entirety in Arabic? "Allah wants us to do our best in how we interpret the Qu'ran"- uhh no, I'm sorry but when we are talking about eternal damnation in hellfire, there is no room for "trying to interpret". The commands might be challenging to fulfill but shouldn't be subject to interpretation, don't you think? Can the Qur'an be understood on its own, without hadiths and tafseers you think? is it clear enough? Literal vs metaphorical Qur'an. how do you distinguish which verses should be taken literally and which not, and why you think so?

My Response: The Qur'an is flawless. It is the final word of God. Prior was the Torah and Bible. These books have been lost in translation and the original languages for these books have been lost. Allah gave free will and another chance to his people. They failed. So He gave new challenges yet something that is not so ambiguous. He gave Islam. Perfected and protected. When people say it's corrupt and wrong; it's the people not the religion. We as human's have tainted Islam but the text and meaning itself has remained in it's original Arabic text since it has been revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).  The Qur'an is also protected through the duty of Muslims to memorize it. Not in English but in Arabic. In it's original, authentic meanings. The true words of the Qur'an will never be lost even if people decide to destroy all the texts in the world. It has been protected in the hearts and minds of Muslims. Yes, the Qur'an can only be understood exactly in Arabic. There are many reasons why. One of my favorite examples being the translation of 'He' when referring to Allah. The Arabic word that refers to Allah that translates to English as 'He' is actually neither sex. It is rather someone or something (I don't have sources for this. However I was taught this in a Islamic course I took in school with Dr. Jamal Badawi and have read it online many times. I will confirm it too when I learn Arabic). Another example is translation itself. Do you know in Japanese they have one word that explains the  look of rain drops on flowers as refreshing? So the Arabic of the Qur'an may not mean exactly what it means when it's translated in other languages. Is this not perfect? Well I see it as perfect because it remains authentic in language and words that meanings cannot be changed and can only be understood it's original form and meaning. That is why it's good for Muslims to learn Arabic. So that they can become even closer to Allah, Islam, and the true meaning of the Holy Qur'an. Here is a really good article about the meaning, interpretations and translation of the Qur'an.

I hope this makes sense and answers her doubts in any way..... ( 〃..);

I want to thank Almost a Muslimah for her questions and interest in Islam, jazakallah khair. I take this as a blessing. She has helped me gain some more insight on my own religion and faith. I pray that Allah opens her heart and guides her to choose Islam. I look forward to her future posts and questions.

If any of you have anything in response to her questions or anything to add to my response please answer!

9 comments:

Stephi said...

A kind of out there approach:

What if the Quran does not necessarily refer to what we think of it? We think of a holy text, a book. But this book that we hold in our hands is not the revelations directly revealed to our prophet. No, not exactly. Prophet Muhammad received the Quran in its perfect form; a spiritual revelation (the spoken word of Allah through his messenger Gabriel)Not a book. This was the Quran; pure, flawless, untouched by the mistakes of human kind. This holy revelation was then spread by word of mouth; recited over and over and over. Then, after it became apparent that the words (after passed from prophet to the rest of the human race {who are imperfect}) it became apparent that these words had to be written in a text that could not be refuted; a base Quran to base all other Qurans on. Thus the Holy Quran, the book, came into existence. And even this first edition proved suboptimal as those little dots and dashes that distinguish one Arabic letter from another did not exist. Without these markers, two words with completely different meanings could be seen as the same word when written. Thus, the Holy Quran, the book, took on another change as did the Arabic written language.

Does this mean that the Quran that we read today, this Holy text, is filled with flaws? I personally feel that the probability is there. However, as you pointed out, the Holy Text does not stand alone but rather with the oral history to accompany it. In fact, oral recitation could be the Holy Quran (as it was originally passed on)... Not necessarily the book its self.

And lastly, our God did not say in the Quran that it was to be understood by all. Does Allah say this? Dose Allah tell us that it is simple, easily accepted? I do not believe so. Why would we expect/think that the most in depth, all encompassing text be something that just anyone could pick up, read, and comprehend? That is a more interesting debate for a later time.

Ʋƨɐɠɪ ❤ said...

VVeeeerrrryyyyyy thought provoking and good points Stephi! And I must say thank you very for much for reading and adding feedback!

I really don't have anything to say back atm. I pretty much agree with you!

I hope your outlook helps other see and understand : ) I've been explained to many times how the Qu'ran is perfect, that's why I believe in it, I just can't explain in my own words or find the sources to really make good sense/argument. I just summed up my understanding here.

Almost a Muslimah said...

hey Usagi :)

thanks for the post :-) there are so many things in your post that I would like to address but for now let me just address Stephi's last paragraph.

Dose Allah tell us that it is simple, easily accepted?

Sahih International

2:2 This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah.

if there is no doubt about the content/message, call it what you like, would it not be easily accepted?
as you know 'Truth stands out clear from Error" (2:256)
just a thought..

stay well :-)

Nas said...

Beautiful post! And I agree with both commentators above.

There are many places in the Qur'an where it refers to "signs for those with understanding". And it also challenges people to look for faults in it and in the creation of Allah.

Regarding how do we know what parts to take metaphorically / literally etc. I think the Qur'an is such that each verse backs up another. If your interpretation of verse a allows you to prove verse b and c then your interpretation is right. If however You have to change the way in which you interpret verse a so that it fits the meaning you are trying to derive from verses b and c then there's a flaw. And unfortunately, there are many examples of the latter.

Lastly I'd like to end this comment with something I once heard. I was at a youth gathering once and one of the guys asked "why didn't God make religion so simple and clear?" After discussing for some time, one person said, "When a person looks up at the sky and notices the sun, and says hey look the sun is there, there is nothing extraordinary about it. On the other hand however, if a person looks up at the sky, and notices clouds, but uses their knowledge and sense to interpret what they can see and conclude the sun is behind the clouds, then that is worthy of being rewarded".
I think the same applies in this case.

(This probably makes very little sense, and please forgive any mistakes in this it was written in a hurry).

:)

Sa'dia said...

Very interesting!

@ Stephi - the reason why the original text (the one that was written by the prophets scribe) did not have any dots and marks is because the arabs of that time were extremely eloquent in the arabic language. they were basically experts. so there was no possibility of them reading a word that did not contain signs the wrong way (as you pointed out that such a possibility should have existed). And besides, Allah has promised to protect the Quraan, so that alone tells us that the quraan has no flaws :). Its exactly the way it was revealed to the prophet. And the reason why it was written down is because during the battle of yamaamah approximately 70 huffaaz were martyred. This prompted the written book because if all the huffaaz were killed the possibility of losing the words of the quran was great. So the prophets scribe began writing it down on tablets and barks of trees. I think it was in the time of Hadhrat Ali (ra) that the quraan was compiled into the actual book.

As for whether we are all supposed to understand the quraan just by reading it. Then the answer is no. Allah tells us that if we dont know, then we must ask the men of knowledge. The ordinary person like you and i dont have sufficient knowledge to understand the complex language of the Quraan, so therefore we refer to those that do have the knowledge. I mean, Its a known fact that everybody doesnt know everything :)...

@ Muslimaah - Yes, there is no doubt about the Quraan. But before you can accept something you need to know about it :).. Now thats something that not many people will do. And thats unfortunately because of the few people that have spoiled the name of Islam, today when someone hears Islam their immediate reaction is one of hate or dislike. But for that person that reads it, sees the truth in it, accepts it, then naturally that person is not going to doubt. And thats all it takes. I always say that the sciences alone in the Quraan is enough to convince the most critical person. That alone tells you that this is a true book that can only have been from God. After all it was revealed more than 1431 years ago, and man did not have such scientific knowledge then..

Muslim Butterfly said...

If the language is like Farsi, then it has no gender assignement and it translates to WE in actuallity, but because of the christians that translated to English at the time had a gender assignment they continued it in the Quranic translation as well thinking not an ilk about it.

Hunny said...

This is a great article ,I'm glad I followed you ,I love the way you don't answer back in a bad manner and see it as a friendly way to introduce peace in this world through your blog ,I don't know how to explain it but you did a good job ! Allamdulilah, but the link is broken please could you try to find it again I really wanna check it out Jazkhallah <3

Almost a Muslimah said...

@All

I finally prepared a post on the topic of clarity in the Qur’an. I decided to tackle one issue at a time to avoid throwing dozens of arguments and making a mess of a discussion.
If you want to check it out please visit:

http://almostamuslimah.blogspot.com/2011/07/q-episode-1-is-islamquran-perfect.html

it's a long reading though..

Thank you :-)

@Usagi

I haven’t quite got a clear-cut answer from your post to the problem of interpretation and meaning. So if you could maybe read my response I would be grateful.

@Nas

Thanks for a comment. I don’t quite get the bit about interpretation, maybe an example on particular verses would help :-)
Your metaphor of sun/clouds was very nice but hmm I fail to agree although I understand where you are coming from. I guess my approach would be different. Rather than conceal the meaning, I would lay it out plainly but make it challenging to fulfill so that everyone is judged on the same merit.
A matter of personal preference I guess :-)

You have a lovely blog btw :-)

@Sadia

when you say that you as an ordinary person need to refer to scholars and people knowledgeable about the deen to understand it and follow it then it means that the Qur’an is NOT clear and it is NOT universal. So who is the Qur’an clear to then?
you can't have it both ways.

My ex would disagree with you ;) he claimed that you need to accept Islam asap and then gain knowledge about it. True story! :)

About science in the Qur’an… long subject that I don’t want to dive into just yet.

thank you for your input :)

Ʋƨɐɠɪ ❤ said...

Sorry for not responding guys! >.< I didn't know so many commented and I've been busy. Thanks so much for your feedback and supporting me and being kind. XX you're all amazing!