Does the religion of Islam condone Interpreter of Faith?
Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
Thursday, August 08, 2013, 29th of Ramadan, Muslim year 1434 A.H.
The protocol for the Guidance System of Islam as specified in its singular scripture the Holy Qur'an requires obeying and following the inerrant Messenger and “ulul-amar” appointed by the Author of the Holy Qur'an as the divinely ordained Interpreter of Faith for those who choose Islam as their religion, as per its categorical declaration in verse 4:59. But does the Holy Qur'an also advocate following others, including scholars, doctors, lawyers, jurists, sufis, saints, imams, pirs, malangs, sadhus, mullahs, muftis, sheikhs, ayatollahs, caliphs, princes, kings, presidents, and any other pretender to the position of Interpreter of Faith in the religion of Islam? Non-Muslims and atheists are invited to join in as tourists in another peoples' scripture. This will be an educational ride for those so called secular humanists interested in understanding social engineering and how consent is engineered in the name of God by the superman using the socialized idiocy of the popes and plebes alike. One does not have to believe in the Holy Qur'an in order to understand its Message – like when reading Shakespeare, who cares who is the real author behind that nom de plume when one studies or performs The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth? – and that is the hook for non-Muslims fed-up with learning about Islam from the Machiavellian pens of Western propagandists like Bernard Lewis, and from the antediluvian nibs (old fashioned writing instrument) of the pious parrots of Islam.
On this last night of the month of Ramadan in the Muslim calendar year 1434 A.H., it is only befitting to conclude this auspicious birthday month of the Holy Qur'an:
Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). (Surah Al-Baqara verse fragment 2:185)
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَٰتٍ مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ ۚ
Caption Ramadan, birthday month of the Holy Qur'an. What birthday gift can be given to it by man?
by continuing with the presentation of a weighty birthday gift to the Holy Qur'an that was initiated in the previous episode of 22nd Ramadan, 1434 A.H., What does the Holy Qur'an say about Inerrancy of Prophet Muhammad? (http://tinyurl.com/what-quran-say-about-inerrancy).
Meaning, instead of the mindless recitations of the Holy Qur'an enjoyed in this holy month of fasting by the two billion Muslims worldwide in expectations of lofty personal gains after death, endeavoring to rationally comprehend the Divine Message for reaping useful rewards right here for the living.
Indeed, instead of the selfish preoccupation with personal prayers and ritual piety seeking to only spiritually benefit our own selves individually in anticipation of the lovely maidens and fragrant gardens of Heaven, to learn the necessary Guidance from the Book of Guidance in order to extricate ourselves collectively from the regressive and repressive societies that have come to be built up in the pious name of Islam.
Perhaps this one blessed Ramadan, as its birthday gift, the Book which for fourteen hundred years has mainly been used by the laity for benefiting the dead, and by the popes and patricians alike to build world empires, can become the Book for benefiting the living – to live a life which is not at a loss as per its own Teaching in Surah Al-Asr (see this scribe's article: The Noble Path: Denying to Caesar what is not Caesar’s). Even if only a handful among the two billions pious Muslims on earth would feel this way – and endeavor to make this one life in which they do exist a heaven right here on earth instead of the majority's preoccupation with Islam's promised future Heaven and Hell of the Afterlife – it would surely be a sufficient primemover for global transformation to a life less hellish for all the world's peoples.
Like the inducement role played by the sweet lollipop and the ferocious cat in a mother's goading of her small children into respectively drinking their milk and not playing outside after dark, naturally diminishes as the child grows up into a college student and chooses his days and nights without the fear of the fabricated cat eating him and the lure of the sweet tooth enticing him, the abodes of Afterlife too hold little inducement for the adult mind that finally grows up. For the empathetic mind that is under the firm control of the heart, one like Solon's (considered by Plutarch to be among the ten greatest law givers of the Classical Hellenic civilization), to pursue truth and justice is its own merit, and to not create hell on earth for others is its own virtue. Personal piety to the Deity is not an end in itself, but the means to an end in a religion which specifically chose to call itself “Deen ul Haq” – the religion of Truth and Justice.
What has unfortunately transpired instead, and this is plainly visible in the month of Ramadan with the Mussalman's obsession with Heaven while hell on earth engulfs mankind all around, the lofty Divine Guidance System has been transformed into the opiate of the people. The Avenue mainly of self-catharsis – to make oneself ready for another eleven months of heady living.
Thus, continuing with the presentation of a weighty birthday gift to the Holy Qur'an in this most auspicious of months for Muslims, the singular scripture of the religion of Islam is permitted to speak once again in its own exposition to disabuse the obfuscation surrounding the question posed in the byline of this article.
After all, instead of using the pious tongues and virtuous pen of all the learned men and women in creation, when a sacred scripture which alone among all the existent sacred scriptures of world religions so boldly proclaimed itself the Criterion, Al-Furqaan, هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَٰتٍ مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ , “a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong)” (Surah Al-Baqara 2:185 quoted above), why not permit that Criterion from the Creator of all creation to explain and adjudicate matters pertinent to its own Guidance System? And we sensibly do just that.
Revealingly, even when we attempt to understand and accurately extract lessons directly from the Holy Qur'an without relying on “cliff notes” and the pious opinions of man and therefore endeavor to be among the “ulul-albab”, أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ , mentioned in the Good Book (see for instance Surah Aal-'Imran 3:7, and Surah Az-Zumar 39:9) – the men and women of understanding who rise beyond being misled by the fertile imagination and pious pen of man – the lazy and indoctrinated mind living off of the same pen of man in socialized books of pious narratives, does not cease in its nonsensical intransigence: “you are bringing lessons from the Qur'an, anyone can extract anything they want from the Holy Qur'an, the Ahle-Quran (a Muslim sect that focusses mainly on the Holy Qur'an) do that you know”!
This article is intended to tear-down, or at least challenge, some precepts which have crept into the religion of Islam and which are not supported at their very root, even by a stretch, in the Holy Qur'an, the singular scripture of the religion of Islam. The aforementioned statement will surely be the first response of those whose pulpits get shaken; noted here only in anticipation of course. One never knows when the hounds of persecution will be let loose by who, and set upon whom; mere intellectual discourse is only for a civilized people who have developed an enduring culture of deep learning and intellectual interlocution. Something that has been most diabolically removed from virtually all Muslim societies on earth today. This presentation is not a work of piety or spiritualism. It is a work of intellectual labor. The analysis in this article is presented to hold up in a fair court of law if such a case is brought before it for clear adjudication of what the Good Book itself avers in its foundational and categorical verses by its own yardstick.
The gauntlet is boldly thrown to the Muslim pulpits, not by this scribe, but by the Holy Qur'an itself.
What this scribe adds is what Socrates might have stated in his own defence in his trial for “corrupting” the people of Athens with all his truth-telling (employing the words of the littérateur Edith Hamilton):
‘Agree with me if I seem to you to speak the truth; or, if not, withstand me might and main that I may not deceive you as well as myself in my desire, and like the bee leave my sting in you before I die. And now let us proceed.’
In order to deeply scrutinize the question posed in the byline, one must first comprehend how divine instruction, divine guidance, is imparted in the Guidance System of the Holy Qur'an which Muslims believe to be of Divine origin. Non-Muslims and atheists who do not subscribe to this view are invited to join in as tourists in another peoples' scripture. This will be an educational ride for those interested in understanding social engineering and how consent is engineered in the name of God. One does not have to believe in the Holy Qur'an in order to understand its Message – like when reading Shakespeare, who cares who is the real author behind that nom de plume when one studies or performs The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth? – and that is the hook for non-Muslims fed-up with learning about Islam from the pens of Western propagandists like Bernard Lewis, and from the antediluvian nibs (old fashioned writing instrument) of the pious parrots of Islam.
The rest of the presentation is structured in two parts. Part-I explains the Overarching Architecture of the Guidance System System of Islam as succinctly as possible without compromising completeness. Part-II takes on the main topic of this article.
The Divine Guidance System is Built on Following the Wasilah
The most commonly recited Surah of the Holy Qur'an is Surah al-Fatiha. It is recited in the daily ritual prayers several times, on births and deaths, for expressing gratitude, and generally to bless both happy and solemn occasions. It is an all purpose “dua”, prayer, taught by the Creator to man – in the Divine Guidance System of the religion of Islam. Surah al-Fatiha opens the dialog of Islam for those who seek Divine Guidance from the Creator, on how to seek it, and principally offers this guidance:
“Show us the straight path,” (1:6)
ٱهْدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلْمُسْتَقِيمَ
“The path of those whom Thou hast favoured;”
صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ
“Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger”
غَيْرِ ٱلْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ
“nor of those who go astray.” (Holy Qur’an Surah Al-Fatiha 1:7)
Caption Surah Al-Fatiha, 1:6-7, Verses Defining the Overarching Architecture of the Divine Guidance System of Islam. Translation by Pickthall.
According to the prima facie prescription of the religion of Islam in its most oft recited Surah without which no ritual prayer is complete, the journey on the “straight path” of the Divine Guidance System can only be undertaken by seeking out the path of some unnamed persons whom God has favored; and avoiding the paths of some other unnamed persons who are clearly on the wrong path.
This journey to discover the “straight path” by first discovering the unnamed persons whom God has favored, is further underscored as the only means of finding the “straight path”:
“O ye who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him,” Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:35
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ
Caption Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:35, Verse of Wasilah, unequivocally putting to bed for all times any uncertainty concerning the journey of the straight-path; it can only be achieved by seeking the “means of approach unto him”, and not directly.
That “means of approach unto him” is further fleshed out:
This is Allah's guidance, He guides thereby whom He pleases of His servants; and if they had set up others (with Him), certainly what they did would have become ineffectual for them. (6:88)
ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى ٱللَّهِ يَهْدِى بِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِۦ ۚ وَلَوْ أَشْرَكُوا۟ لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ
These are they to whom We gave the book and the wisdom and the prophecy; therefore if these disbelieve in it We have already entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it. (6:89)
أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيْنَٰهُمُ ٱلْكِتَٰبَ وَٱلْحُكْمَ وَٱلنُّبُوَّةَ ۚ فَإِن يَكْفُرْ بِهَا هَٰٓؤُلَآءِ فَقَدْ وَكَّلْنَا بِهَا قَوْمًا لَّيْسُوا۟ بِهَا بِكَٰفِرِينَ
These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance. Say: I do not ask you for any reward for it; it is nothing but a reminder to the nations. (Surah Al An'aam 6:90)
أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ هَدَى ٱللَّهُ ۖ فَبِهُدَىٰهُمُ ٱقْتَدِهْ ۗ قُل لَّآ أَسْـَٔلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا ۖ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْعَٰلَمِينَ
Caption Surah Al An'aam verses 6:88-90, Verse of Following, qualitatively asserting who is to be followed: “We have already entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it. These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance.”
Ergo, and most straightforwardly in fact, derived exclusively from the logic of the Holy Qur'an and not the pen of man, only “the path of those whom Thou hast favoured” as proclaimed in Surah Al-Fatiha 1:7, and subsequently clarified as “seek the means of approach unto Him,” the “Wasilah” ( الْوَسِيلَةَ ) in Surah Al-Maeda 5:35, can exemplify, interpret, and explain the journey of the “straight path” ( الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ ) as “These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance.”!
Verse 1:7 teaches the supplicant to beseech the Creator to show the path of His Favored ones. And verse 5:35 commands the supplicant to first seek the means of approach unto Him as his duty to the Creator, in order to even approach the “straight path”!
In simpler words for the language and logic challenged, by the proclamation of the Holy Qur'an itself, the supplicant seeking guidance cannot approach the Creator directly, but only through the designated means of seeking the “Wasilah”. For emphasis, it is even couched as a “duty” of the “believers” to first seek the “Wasilah”! It is further emphasized that only the Author's own favored ones can delineate the “straight path” unto Him for the rest of mankind. These favored ones are the Wasilah, “the means of approach unto Him.”
The Holy Qur'an straightforwardly informs us that the “straight path” is specifically a guided journey, a journey shown by the path tread by the Divinely Favored ones, the Al-Wasilah, and not a solo journey by one's own interpretation, discretion, and intellect. According to the Holy Qur'an, it is a Revelation أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ , from the Lord of the Worlds, رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ , and not a path that man could have uncovered by his and her own intellect. It further clarifies a superlative characteristic of those “whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance”:
“Is one who worships devoutly during the hours of the night prostrating himself or standing (in adoration), who takes heed of the Hereafter, and who places his hope in the Mercy of his Lord― (like one who does not)? Say: 'Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?' It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:9)
أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ ۗ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ۗ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
Caption Surah Az-Zuman verse 39:9, Verse of Egalitarianism, Say: 'Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?'
This is a most profound criteria articulated in the Holy Qur'an to delineate those whom Allah has Guided versus all others, Say: 'Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?'
Meaning, these “Wasilah” (5:35), the show-ers of the “straight path” upon whom God has bestowed favors (1:7), must also be the ones highest in learning and inerrant in their understanding of the Divinely ordained “straight path”. Because, verse 39:9 gives the criteria that draws an explicit merit line of momentous proportion between those who know and those who don't, those who are divinely guided versus those who uncover-discover matters from their own intellect or by following others, as manifestly unequal!
This is, even logically, a necessary condition to be a Divinely appointed teacher of man. Otherwise, how can one proclaiming to be a guide sent by God guide others more knowledgeable than themselves, or if their own understanding concerning this “straight path” is error prone, incomplete, distorted, misapprehended, and based merely on their own conjectures, opinions and theories? As is evidenced in practice, no two reasonable people can ever agree on intellectual matters unless beholden to a higher authority which all obey. And if it is especially an obscure esoteric path which Allah ordained that no man may otherwise know of his and her own accord, except through those who were Divinely favored, how can two people agree on what it is, let alone entire peoples and nations? Which, of course, logically also implies that the teacher of these divinely favored ones can be none among those whom they have been divinely chosen and ordained to guide! The Holy Qur'an precisely confirms this logical conclusion, that their teacher is only Allah, in verse 6:90 of Surah Al An'aam: “These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance”! Which is why, the Author of the Holy Qur'an Says of His Messengers that 'We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.' –– because they have the same common Teacher:
“Say (O Muslims): 'We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.'” Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara 2:136
قُولُوٓا۟ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِۦمَ وَإِسْمَٰعِيلَ وَإِسْحَٰقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَٱلْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَآ أُوتِىَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَآ أُوتِىَ ٱلنَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُۥ مُسْلِمُونَ
“The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. 'We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.' And they say: 'We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys'” Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara 2:285
ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦ ۚ وَقَالُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ
Surah Al-Maeda verses 5:44 to 5:48 further underscore that principled teaching of the Divine Guidance System for all mankind and not just for Muslims. It is most elegantly and pragmatically summed up by verse 5:48 which applies equally to Muslims and to their intra-Muslim disputes:
“If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.” (Surah Al-Maeda, 5:48)
وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
Indeed, “strive as in a race in all virtues” and leave disputations on whose god is greater, or whose sect is correct, to God, rather than make it a mission to civilize others, 'la mission civilisatrice', and wage divisive propaganda warfare upon each other. See elaboration of this concept of inter-religion and inter-people Guidance to all mankind for amicable mutual co-existence in the religion of Islam in this scribe's article Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization. What is briefly summarized in the above passages is sufficient in completeness to continue this focussed presentation on Muslims without further digression into what the Holy Qur'an speaks to benefit non Muslims in its Overarching Architecture for Divine Guidance for all mankind.
The Holy Qur'an then goes on to further clarify verse 1:7, that not all paths are the same, some are clearly the wrong path, even when tread by noble companions and contemporaries of the Messenger, even when they may be the highest category of Believers annotated in the Holy Qur'an as momineen and mominaat, لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ :
“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (Surah Al-Ahzaab, 33:36)
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُۥٓ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ ٱلْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلًا مُّبِينًا
Caption Verse 33:36 Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse of Wrong Path, the path not to tread, even when tread by the highest category of the most holy and the most pious among the Messenger's own contemporaries. This is a shocking statement in the Holy Qur'an --- for it falsifies the popular notion among the mainstream Muslims that all the companions of the Prophet of Islam were like stars in the sky, anyone can be used for navigation. The verse not only categorically condemns that notion, but goes to the extent of noting that even the Believers who believe in the prophet of Islam can end up on the wrong path by their disobedience to the Prophet's directives, in letter or in spirit.
The Messenger's word is akin to God's Word and has to be obeyed without question by believers in the religion of Islam in order for them to continue to journey on the “straight path” of Surah Al-Fatiha, 1:6, ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلْمُسْتَقِيمَ . Even a slight disobedience or questioning the decision and edict of the Messenger is sufficient to put a believer “on a clearly wrong Path.” In other words, until the moment one breathes the very last breadth of life, for even the most pious believer it is still possible to end up on the wrong side of the road to Heaven!
The object lesson implicit in verse 33:36 is wisely telling: followers of the religion of Islam have to remain mindful that they can easily be misled onto the wrong path if they follow merely the Believers, لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ , even when presumed to be holy and pious by the scribes and narratives of history or contemporary opinion. The Holy Qur'an is categorically clear, and at the risk of being repetitive but by necessity of its importance, restating it: seek the designated ones who are the “Wasilah” (5:35), الْوَسِيلَةَ , “whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance” (6:90)! And when Allah guides, they do not make a mistake, they do not err, nor are they led astray. In other words, they are inerrant. See What does the Holy Qur'an say about Inerrancy of Prophet Muhammad? for further elucidation of this matter of inerrancy, and the Determinate logic of the quoted verses which automatically and inescapably extends inerrancy to the “ulul-amar” of Surah an-Nisaa' verse 4:59: “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.”
In that remarkable Verse of Obedience, 4:59, already examined in the aforementioned article, apart from Allah, only His Messenger and some unnamed “ulul-amar”, “those charged with authority among you”, are categorically commanded to be obeyed and followed by all those who wish to seek the “straight-path”. Therefore, these latter two entities must also exclusively be the ONLY “Wasilah” of verse 5:35 whom the Author of the Holy Qur'an is categorically commanding the believer to seek as a “Duty to Allah”; because, most revealingly, no one else is commanded to be obeyed and followed in the entire Holy Qur'an for seeking the “straight path”! This is a categorical statement.
There is not a single mention of companions of the Prophet of Islam as someone one should follow and obey just because they are Believers and the companions of the Messenger! There is also not a single mention of the later scribes of Islam who should be followed and obeyed for what they pen with their hands attributing what they write to the words of the Messenger. Both those statements of fact are also categorical.
One can write anything in any book – the Holy Qur'an is the only scripture that is deemed to be of Divine origin and complete. Therefore, the journey to the “straight-path” can also only commence in the Holy Qur'an by using its own Criteria to judge and adjudicate all other matters. It is the last word.
What does the Holy Qur'an say about following non-Wasilah?
Now we come to the topic at hand, the adjudication of the legitimacy of the self-anointed role of Interpreter of Faith for those who are not inerrant, not the “Wasilah” of verse 5:35. Can they be followed? Should they be obeyed as if some divine authority is vested in them? Have they been sanctioned by the Holy Qur'an to be the Interpreter of Faith?
The Holy Qur'an once again avers categorically on the concept of followers and following as the Interpreter of Faith, making its own aforementioned prescription to the “straight-path” the singular golden rule and all others explicitly forbidden, without exception.
Behold – the foundational verses of the Holy Qur'an categorically explain the Message of the religion of Islam in the most simple language that every laity and common man can understand:
“(On the day) when those who were followed disown those who followed (them), and they behold the doom, and all their aims collapse with them. (2:166)
إِذْ تَبَرَّأَ الَّذِينَ اتُّبِعُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا وَرَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِهِمُ الْأَسْبَابُ
And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:167)
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا لَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَتَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُمْ كَمَا تَبَرَّءُوا مِنَّا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ اللَّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ حَسَرَاتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ وَمَا هُمْ بِخَارِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ
Let them bear, on the Day of Judgment, their own burdens in full, and also (something) of the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled. Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear! (Surah An-Nahl 16:25)
لِيَحْمِلُوٓا۟ أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ ۙ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ أَلَا سَآءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ
Caption Holy Qur’an Surah Al-Baqara 2:166-2:167, the Verses of Not Following, unequivocally disclaiming followers; and Surah An-Nahl 16:25, the Verse of Burdens, unequivocally disclaiming false imams who will equally be apportioned their due for misguiding the foolish people without knowledge who followed them! These few categorical verses most clearly specifying what is impermissible, in conjunction with the verses examined in Part-I above most clearly specifying what is permissible, explicitly establish for all times the Do and the Don'ts of the overall Architecture of the Divine Guidance System. After that categorical disclosure in the Holy Qur'an of its own System of Guidance, the question that now remains for the seeker of the “straight path”: How does one, fourteen and half centuries later, know whom has Allah guided? How does one know who are the legitimate “Wasilah” of verse 5:35, the legitimate “ulul-amar” of verse 4:59, apart from the obvious one, the Messenger whose identity is well known even to non Muslims? An open-ended Indeterminate specification? Or a Determinate puzzle specification, a soluble cipher? See the author's book cited at the end of this article for the definitions of these terms, and how to continue on the trail of discovery as a detective solving a puzzle, a logician solving a cipher, solely from within the criteria established for their identification in the scripture which calls itself The Criterion, Al-Furqaan.
Verse 2:166 and 2:167 Surah Al-Baqara convey a most unexpected categorical warning. Its import is far-reaching, and altogether pulpit shattering. These verses are so clear as to require no further elucidation from the pen of man. When read in conjunction with:
- verses 1:6 and 1:7 of Surah Al-Fatiha teaching man the path to choose and the paths to avoid in order to acquire Divine Guidance for the “straight path”;
- verse 5:35 of Surah Al-Maeda clarifying to seek divine guidance only through “Wasilah” as “your duty to Allah”;
- and verse 17:71 of Surah al-Israa' promising every human being will be raised in the company of the “imam” they each followed, for Accountability: “One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” ( يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ );
the fundamental Architecture of the Divine Guidance System of the Holy Qur'an reaches full closure.
The Arabic-English dictionary of the Holy Qur'an in the hands of this scribe defines the word “Imam” thusly: “Leader; President; Any object that is followed, whether a human being or a book or a highway”.
In Part-I we saw the “Do” categorically asserted. In Part-II we have the “Don'ts” equally categorically asserted. Namely, beware of false imams, false caliphs, false leaders, false guides, false saints, false ayatollahs, false muftis, and false paths penned in books and announced from pulpits; for indeed, each and every human being, as per the categorical warning of the Author of the Holy Qur'an, shall be held to account One Day with the “imam” they each followed! Commonsense alone reaffirms to avoid the seductive and socialized path of familiarity tread by heroes and heroines which may well turn out to be false at the end of the road as clearly vouchsafed by Surah Al-Baqara verses 2:166-2:167. What remains therefore, as per the categorical Protocol of the Divine Guidance System of the religion of Islam is to dutifully seek only the path tread by the legitimate guides whom Allah has Himself guided: “These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance” (6:90). And they are commanded, categorically, to be obeyed: “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.” (4:59). And furthermore, obeyed without question or hesitation: “It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (33:36).
This begs the obvious question: How does one, fourteen and half centuries later, know whom has Allah guided? Who are the “Wasilah”? Who are the “ulul-amar”? Why isn't merely the Messenger exclusively both of these? Why are additional persons mentioned through the indirection of “ulul-amar” in verse 4:59 of Surah an-Nisaa'? Instead of straightforwardly stating to follow only the Messenger, why does verse 5:35 of Surah Al-Maeda speak in indirections of seeking some unknown “Wasilah”? Examination of these weighty questions is not the topic of this article as the focus here is to critically understand the criteria for following and not following. The subject is analyzed in more critical depth in the author's book cited at the end where, instead of catching the proverbial fish for lazy readers, the curious readers are taught the art and science of fishing in the Holy Qur'an by showing the reasoning and thought processes of a forensic detective as in an Agatha Christie novel.
As pulpit shattering as the above quoted verses 2:166 and 2:167 are, the next verse, 16:25 of Surah An-Nahl quoted above, is altogether an earthquake! It demolishes all pulpits and churches fabricated by Muslim popes, pontiffs, and caliphs who ruled in the name of Islam as if some divine authority was vested in them. Verse 16:25 straightforwardly exposes the core lies which have become sanctified as “religion” in specious dogmas among Muslim sects. For one, it exposes “taqlid”, the practice of blind emulation of a jurist by the laity – a practice equally prevalent in both Shiadom and Sunnidom – as a master fraud for social control. Upon that master fraud is the edifice of the entire conception of sectarian Sharia laws, i.e., jurisprudence, constructed.
Before we proceed further with the checkmate from the Holy Qur'an, this religious word “jurisprudence” and its impact must be explained in some depth to those unfamiliar with it. It is not just Western readers who remain unfamiliar with such esoteric Eastern matters. Even educated Muslims of modernity, some with Ph.D. degrees, and others who think of themselves as mighty “scholars”, often call Islam what is clearly the opinion of man and not to be found in the Holy Qur'an. Few have any understanding whatsoever of the forces that have given birth to what Muslims have been socialized into calling and practicing as Islam. And this word represents what's at the very top of the heap.
Jurisprudence means the derivation of religious legalisms for the faithful. It varies for each Muslim sect based exclusively on the “learned” opinions of its dominant jurist or leaders who have either:
- appointed themselves Interpreter of faith (Sunnidom, the random turban who impresses the sheep by his rhetoric to become their self-acclaimed “alim”, “pir”, “sheikh”, “imam”, and his flock willingly follows him – example: all the random religious scholars and turbans of India and Pakistan who follow one of the four canonized Sunni jurists, hard pressed to know how they are “certified” for their perch to be so anointed as Interpreter of faith, same in the rest of the world where self-styled “sheikhs” and Ph.D. “scholars” abound each having their own flock who swear by their respective pied piper's interpretation of faith);
- or have been incestuously chosen Interpreter of faith by a coterie of like-minded turbans who have similarly been previously chosen, recursively, generation after generation, by those who have each claimed the title of Interpreter of faith (Shiadom, all of whom claim to follow the Jaffaria School of jurisprudence established by the great grandson of the Prophet of Islam, Jaffar-as-Sadiq, in his own lifetime by himself without state anointment, a hundred and fifty years or so after the death of the Messenger – example: all Marja-e-taqlids in Iran and Iraq, including the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Qom, the aging Ayatollah Sistani of Najaf, and the present spiritual-political leader as the valih-e-faqih of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei);
- or make claims to Interpreter of faith by lineage to the Prophet of Islam (the Ismailis, a sub-sect of Shiadom, but derided by other non Ismaili Shia pulpits – example: Prince Karim Aga Khan IV who claims his role as the hereditary Interpreter of faith for his Ismaili flock solely on his ancestral family's claims as being the descendant of the Prophet of Islam via his great grandson Ismail who was the son of Jaffar-as-Sadiq, the founder of Shia Jurisprudence);
- or have been anointed Interpreter of faith by the ruling political establishment whose interests are so served (Sunnidom – example: the four canonized schools of jurisprudence that developed posthumously during the Abbasside dynastic rule by their tacit as well as explicit support; named after their respective founders who lived over a millennium ago in relative obscurity and without much of any following during their own lifetime; their works today continue to control the understanding of Islam in mainstream Sunnidom and are foundational for the Sunni Sharia laws: Maliki, Shafii, Hanbali, and Hanafi).
Jurists and Jurisprudence have become an integral part of the institutionalization of the religion of Islam in Muslim societies. It is big business among both Shiadom and Sunnidom. Unlike other matters esoterica Islam, in this rare instance, remarkably, both pulpits and their sub-pulpits tend to unanimously agree on the need for Interpreter of Faith to guide the laity in the way of Allah lest they make mistakes in their ritual practices and be damned to perdition. From humble beginnings of individual scholar's opinions borne from voluntary labor of love as in any passionate scholarship but without state sponsorship, institutionalization, and consideration of pecuniary matters, jurisprudence has grown to become a powerful political and psychological tool used almost exclusively to control the Muslim public mind. It demands blind following from the Muslim masses who accept it from any of its schools of jurisprudence.
These schools of thought for interpreting the canons, precepts, laws and rituals of Islam for the non-expert laity, principally evolved after about a hundred fifty years of the demise of the Prophet of Islam. For Sunnidom these schools became state-sponsored and official Islam administered throughout its vast Caliphatic empires, while for Shiadom its singular school became the counterpoint to state's anointment and officialdom. All the early Sunni jurists while they were living remained largely unknown among the public, at times even lashed by the rulers. They got their prominence and anointment as jurists par excellence posthumously under the Muslim caliphate's burden of la mission civilisatrice, and its ongoing need of legitimizing its very existence by sanctioning a standard state religion that wasn't inimical to its ruling interests in the face of challenges to its legitimacy from Shiadom then being led by the direct descendant Imams of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet of Islam. These Imams remained steadfast in their non-acceptance of the caliphate, even if they remained subdued in their overt opposition to the state after their great grandfather's and his family's massacre at Karbala in 680 A.D. None of the Sunni schools of jurisprudence that arose by state sanction were principally inimical to the caliphatic empire then, as now. The legitimacy of caliphate is woven into their very fabric, as is the marginalizing of the precept of “Imamate” which constitutes the bedrock of Shiadom.
Despite these fundamental differences, the pulpits in Shiadom and Sunnidom have remained united on the fundamental need of Interpreter of Faith. The practice known as “taqlid”, blind emulation of a jurist by the laity, not only in matters related to the ritual practicing of Islam, but on all matters that are decided by the jurist, came into being by the needs to administer their respective flock. This included political matters, social matters, and of course theological and ritualistic matters. Today, juristic edicts called “fatwas” are issued on wide ranging topics spanning the full gamut of social engineering, from legitimizing the rule of anyone who acquires political power, among both Sunnidom and Shiadom (Saudi Arabia to Iran for instance), to condemning terrorism in the service of power (Fatwa on Terrorism by Tahir-ul Qadri for instance), to passing death-sentences on undesirables (Fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini on Salman Rushdi for instance), to declaring birth-control both “legal” and “illegal” (or permissible vs. impermissible) at varying times depending on the population growth (in Iran for instance), to esoteric minutiae like whether or not to fold one's hands in prayer and whether or not to wash one's feet in ritual purification (idiotic differences between Sunni and Shia preparation for their personal ritual prayers to their Creator that are exacerbated by the pious jurists).
Revealingly, every Muslim pope has his own opinions that he dignifies by some seemingly persuasive argument, and these can easily differ from all other popes' equally persuasive arguments. Jurisprudence is also employed for legislating national and local laws in societies which like to call themselves “Islamic”. This latter aspect of jurisprudence pertaining to “personal law” that is given legal entitlement is not the topic of examination here. The practice of “taqlid” is more prevalent as an institutionalized method of social control and public mobilization among the masses in Shiadom than in Sunnidom today. “Taqlid” is a force majeure for full spectrum behavior control of the Shia flock, both religious and secular. A detailed examination of this “Catholic church” of Shiadom, its institutionalized system of training the clergy and creating Ayatollahs and Marja-e-taqlids, and the immense wealth it commands for social engineering by extracting “voluntary” religious donations of the “khums” tax from the observing Shia flock worldwide for which no accounting or public audit is ever produced, would require a book to do it justice.
It must suffice here to only briefly illustrate the core lie upon which the tortuous dogma for extorting voluntary servitude in Shiadom is based which benumbs the mind of otherwise even the most rational and educated men and women into blind obedience. The Third Reich had nothing comparable and had to rely on both the bayonet of Gestapo and the propaganda of Goebbels in Adolf Hitler's mobilizing call of “Gott mit uns” (God is with us). Neither does the Machiavellian Fourth presently under construction despite its full repertoire of perception management tools of the Mighty Wurlitzer to “United We Stand” with “either you are with us or with the terrorists”. It may perhaps surprise both the young and old generations today to learn that Hitler too had pushed Christianity's Catholic God in Mein Kampf as the religion of Nazi Socialism to implant the seeds of World War II: “God does not make cowardly nations free.”; “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord,”! George W. Bush Jr. too pushed the Christian Protestant God to dignify his perpetual World War IV: “God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.”! The pious from time immemorial have been kept busy with increasing sophistication both in seeking salvation to augment the plebes' general occupation with bread and circuses, and adeptly mobilized for any villainous cause célébré which a sensible public really ought not to stand for! Shiadom today is perhaps the most successful of them all as the faith of over two hundred million zealous followers worldwide among its nearly two billion Muslims. The Marja-e-taqlid of course only does it to benefit the people in the name of Islam's God unlike the Christians. Briefly, here is the principal dogma as articulated by the founder of the throne of vilayat-e-faqih, the late Ayatollah Uzma and father of modern Islamic Republic of Iran, imam Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini.
In his book Principles of Jurisprudence (English translation), imam Khomeini opens its very first page with the principal dogma of taqlid which remains unchallenged from pulpit to pulpit as an axiom of Shia faith. Paraphrasing the axiomatic dogma (as the book is not at hand), an adult Shia Muslim of sound mind must do one of the following:
- Be a Mujtahid himself (or herself) ;
- Follow a living Mujtahid who is Marja-e-taqlid ;
- Follow the most conservative opinion on every issue among all the Marja-e-taqlids ;
The word “Mujtahid” is a religious credential typically conferred by “authorities” of Shia jurisprudence. It means one who is deemed qualified at making his or her own “Ijtihad”, meaning, capable of arriving at his or her own religious decisions and juristic verdicts independently, for his or her own self. “Marja-e-taqlid” means a Mujtahid who has risen to the enormous stature in the eyes of his school of peers and other Marja-e-taqlids, for the general public to willingly follow his “Ijtihad”.
The aforementioned dogma of taqlid is perhaps better comprehended with an apt analogy. Imagine that Western medicine under the power of its umbrella organizations AMA, FDA and WHO is able to globally assert the following rule for every man, woman, and child on earth: that Jesus Christ ordained in his last breadth in Saul's (Paul's) dream on the road to Damascus, that for being on the straight path of good health and to avoid damnation, all mankind must either:
- Be a physician ;
- Follow a master physician from Kaiser or another sanctioned HMO like it ;
- Follow the most conservative opinion of all master physicians on any illness and issue;
And these master physicians institutionally agree (in order to continue being licensed for practicing medicine) that all mankind must be vaccinated against Swine Flu or God will cause the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse to descend in full vengeance!
Edward Bernays (http://tinyurl.com/mightywurlitzer), the master behavioral psychologist of the twentieth century who invented some of the most diabolical methods for engineering consent based on manipulating the forces that operate on the irrational mind in the subconscious, would surely turn green with envy at what is achieved in Shiadom for making the public mind without any advertising budget. A single call from a Shia Marja-e-taqlid can voluntarily bring a ripened nation to revolution primarily because of the dogma of taqlid. The Iranian Islamic Revolution was singularly wrought by precisely such juristic edicts issued by imam Ayatollah Khomeini to followers under his taqlid in Iran, while living comfortably in exile in Iraq under the protection of Saddaam Hussein, and then France under the protection of the French government and NATO intelligence, all of whom guarded him round the clock against assassination by SAVAK agents of the Shah of Iran. The calculus of revolution is never quite so simple and there are innumerable forces at play when a society is moved to revolutionary times, some overt and visible, and others covert and invisible like the 90% mass of an iceberg. Nevertheless, the Islamic Revolution in Iran without the fundamental doctrine of taqlid to successfully harvest the public's discontent against the Shah, and subsequently rebuild a new nation from its ashes all the while carefully protecting it from disintegration both internally, like the French revolution did, and externally through decades of imposed war and economic sanctions, would have been impossible. This is a statement of fact. Even the Catholic Church cannot inflict such intimate behavior control upon its huge flock!
There is of course no doubt that any conformist dogma, and especially one in the divine role of Interpreter of Faith which pragmatically obliges 99.9 percent of the flock to obediently follow the institutionally anointed shepherds (for, practically speaking, who has the time, talent, inclination, and opportunity to all become Mujtahid which often takes decades of monastic study), is highly utilitarian for organizing public habits and managing the public mind. The public mind may even be shepherded by the most altruistic princes and pious “garlic eaters” on earth as the veritable Platonic dream of philosopher-king come true in a one-world Republic. The only question being addressed here is what does the Holy Qur'an have to say about the foundational axiom of taqlid, and not whether or not it is utilitarian for corralling the public mind (because it undeniably is as demonstrated in Iran). And not whether or not there is merit in utopian rule by philosopher-king (from Platonic point of view arguably there is great merit in rule by the virtuous thinker to preempt dystopia of Machiavelli and social Darwinianism of the superman, see Plato's The Republic and Nietzsche's Will to Power). That latter question, rule by philosopher-king in Islam, is examined in: What does the Holy Qur'an say about Vilayat-i Faqih? (http://tinyurl.com/Divine-Rule-By-Valih-e-Faqih).
Expose its very foundation as being based on a core lie – and the entire sacred totem pole comes crashing down under its own weight!
The Holy Qur'an which daringly calls itself “Al-Furqaan” – the Author's Criterion by which to judge the truth or falsity of any proposition (or understanding) pertaining to His Own Revealed Guidance System for mankind ( مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ ۚ ); which He even asserts He “perfected” and “completed” and named it “Islam” ( الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ۚ ), and therefore there is no further room in its specification for additions and subtractions – does precisely that. (Verse fragments from Surah Al-Baqara 2:185 and Surah Al-Maeda 5:3, respectively,)
Even a tiny bit of logical reflection on the concatenation of verses pertinent to the Qur'anic Principle of Inerrancy already examined previously in the article: What does the Holy Qur'an say about Inerrancy of Prophet Muhammad?, and in verses elucidated in Part-I above, with verse of 16:25 of Surah An-Nahl, trivially exposes “taqlid” as a fabrication of the pulpit! Perhaps it is only an “ijtihad” of the inventive mind – but it is straightforwardly depricated in the Holy Qur'an as we shall see. Why it should be such a well-kept secret from the public is mind numbing.
Perhaps it is necessary to observe explicitly as it may not be already obvious to the careless reader, that only “These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance” (Surah Al An'aam verse 6:90 quoted earlier), can ever be exempt from the damnation of this most electrifying verse 16:25 of Surah An-Nahl! Only the specific inerrant persons whom Allah is commanding the believers to follow, cannot mislead anyone, even the foolish people who follow blindly! No one else is permitted to be followed, or obeyed, in the religion of Islam as per the categorical verses 2:166-2:167 because everyone else in mankind is liable to verse 16:25 on account of not being infallible!
So how can “taqlid” of the fallible jurist as Interpreter of faith be part of the religion of Islam when the very concept of following itself, ab initio, is not only most clearly deprecated, but Surah An-Nahl verse 16:25 also most clearly apportions culpability to those imams who are followed?
Here is the logic.
Witness the brilliant checkmate administered by verse 16:25 to the pulpits that push the specious dogma of “taqlid” upon their flock. The reader unfortunately has to be wide awake to follow even this straightforward logic. So take a short coffee break if your head is already spinning...
If “taqlid” of a fallible jurist was a part of the religion of Islam, then the Author of the Holy Qur'an created an absurdity, a foolishness; the Author commanded Muslims to follow an ordinary mortal who is not infallible, but since the jurist is not inerrant, and neither does any respectable jurist ever claim to be inerrant, foolish and sheepish people among the masses, those without knowledge and understanding, will also follow him. In point of fact and reality-check, in actual sectarian practice of Muslims, obedience is extorted from the public mind at the threat of eternal damnation – otherwise why would the sheepish laity follow the anointed popes except for that irrational fear which is continually cultivated and harvested by the church of man?
If “taqlid” of a fallible jurist was sanctioned by the religion of Islam, then, as per verse 16:25, these persons whom Allah is commanding to be followed will be apportioned their measure of blame if they are followed in their errors and the people are misled! That is a patent absurdity; a Kafkaesque double jeopardy: follow and be damned (verses 2:166-2:167), don't follow and be damned (“taqlid”), and the imam is damned because he is not inerrant and is followed and obeyed as ordered even in his mistakes, confabulations, distortions, half-truths, innovations, Indeterminate fixing, etceteras, which of course no one can adjudicate or catch or challenge because only the ignorant laity follows him (verse 16:25)! This is the base reality of Muslim jurists and their blind followers since the inception of the church of jurisprudence!
The Author of the Holy Qur'an Who claims to be the most Just and the most Wise Creator of all creation, cannot command “imams” to be followed and obeyed, and when they are followed and obeyed as per ordered, the “imams” are apportioned blame for their blind following when they venture their fallible opinions dependent solely on their particular bent of mind, proclivity, psychological tendencies, socialization bias, natural talent (and un-talent), ability to think and reason, knowledge, understanding, etceteras, in their verdict! No two people think the same, never mind agree on any matter --- and yet they are commanded to be followed!
Indeed, if this absurd proposition of “taqlid” is true, then the Author has made a mockery of His own Guidance System! Whereas the Author is most sensitive about taking His Message lightly. He has repeatedly Admonished mankind to not mock the Holy Qur'an: “Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem?” (Surah Al-Waqia 56:81); that: “Verily this is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds” (Surah At-Takwir 81:27); and: 'Then the Messenger will say: “O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense.”' (Surah Al-Furqaan 25:30).
After all these straightforward admonitions to Muslims in the clearest of terms to take the Scripture seriously, the Author then ventures to mock His Own Message by mandating to the Muslim masses the “taqlid” of fallible jurists, and subsequently hanging these jurists for misleading the people because they are not inerrant and foolish people have inevitably followed them as commanded?
What a fickle-minded creator who damns if you do and damns if you don't --- only in the mind of man!
By reductio ad absurdum, when a proposition reduces to an absurdity, the premise it is predicated upon is false.
Since verses 2:166-2:167 and verse 16:25 are categorical and presumed to be true ab initio as an axiom of faith that the Holy Qur'an has not been tampered with by the hand of man (no “tahreef”), therefore, Taqlid must be false as presuming it to be true in the presence of these verses leads to absurdity. If one still insists Taqlid to be true, then one also has to accept the consequent fact that the Holy Qur'an contains absurdities. No Muslim mind on planet earth will accept that outcome. It's easier for it to accept Taqlid as falsehood.
From the Holy Qur'an itself.
The Aga Khan as Interpreter of Faith: evidently not of Islam!
Maliki-Shafii-Hanbali-Hanafi: most convenient for aiding and abetting Muslim empires!
Blind emulation, “taqlid”, of a fallible imam jurist who is incestuously proclaimed Marja-e-taqlid by his coterie of equally fallible peers in Shiadom, is an absurdity in the religion of Islam in no less a measure than blanket obedience demanded to a fallible imam caliph who is speciously anointed “ulul-amar” by the shenanigans of political power around him, is in Sunnidom! Both are weighty fabrications of the respective pious Muslim pulpits; vile slanders upon the religion of Islam. It is categorically proscribed in the Holy Qur'an. There is no room for any doubt or interpretation. The veritable logic of Al-Furqaan, so clear and simple in adjudication with its Determinate verses that even a sixth grader can straightforwardly follow its steps, coldly attests to that statement of fact. The previous examination of the Principle of Inerrancy which unequivocally established the singular prerequisite for complete obedience to “al-Wasilah” from the Determinate verses, also attests to that fact. “Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear!”
Which is why, failing to find support in the Holy Qur'an, recourse is often made to pages outside the Holy Qur'an to legitimize this absurdity. Applying the same logic method of reductio ad absurdum recursively to every argument and every evidence presented from outside the Holy Qur'an, trivially demolishes them all. Sometimes evidence is presented from a recorded act of history, such as the Prophet or Imams of the Ahlul Bayt having appointed their own representatives and mandating the people over whom they exercised authority to obey their representatives on their behalf. Well, even philosophically, the burden of the acts and decisions of a representative ultimately still rests upon the one whom he represents, and who is still ultimately in authority to rectify matters if the need ever arose, to hear dissatisfaction, and to adjudicate. This is self-evident by definition of “representative” in this semantic context. Which is why it is a false argument of the self-appointed valih-e-faqih (or appointed by a consultative committee of self-styled holy jurists) for speciously conferring legitimacy upon himself because one, he can produce no certificate of such divine appointment, and two, he is now the highest authority next to God. No one can challenge his authority even legally. A throwback to the stone age to say the least, and no different than any vanilla don or king, including the King of kings the valih-e-faqih replaced with such fanfare in so much Persian blood tribute. Absolute rule which went away in the Age of Enlightenment in the West has been brought back with a new vengeance to the backward Muslims to help shape world order as proxy service providers of the West.
To be vigilant of false friends, false guides, false imams making false claims, is veritably underscored in Surah Al-Furqaan itself:
The Day that the wrong-doer will bite at his hands, he will say, 'Oh! Would that I had taken a (straight) path with the Messenger!' 25:27
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
'Ah! Woe is me! Would that I had never taken such a one for a friend!' 25:28
يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
'He did lead me astray from the Message (of Allah) after it had come to me! Ah! the Evil One is but a traitor to man!' 25:29
لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنْسَانِ خَذُولًا
Then the Messenger will say: 'O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense.' Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Furqaan 25:30
وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا
Caption Surah Al-Furqaan 25:27-30 The ex post facto lament on the Day of Judgment by believers of having taken someone for a friend and being led astray by them, in the language of the Holy Qur'an is a categorical admonishment before the fact, referring to those who come posing as friends and not overtly as enemies. This is a warning to all peoples to be wary of their own kind betraying them, for one usually takes those whom one knows and trusts as one's friends, guardians, protectors, guides, and imams. Only friends can betray because the concept of betrayal is tied to trust. In other words, the Holy Qur'an, Al-Furqaan, is warning the simpleton mind in every age to be wary of false friends, false imams, Trojan Horse, Machiavelli, who win the public trust with cognitive infiltration, and all the rest of the techniques of deception used in betrayal where the ones being betrayed do not realize it then. The purpose of the warning is obvious – so that the believers can shrewdly protect themselves from that outcome rather than lament on the Day of Accountability that they did not know. If they still don't wakeup today to their false friends and false imams who often come wearing the garbs and turbans endearing to the public mind, then the Prophet of Islam's strong lament is also recorded. Referring to the misled people as “my people” to show his deep anguish, the Prophet of Islam cries out that they did not take the Guidance in the Holy Qur'an seriously, shackling its meaning down to idiocy, down to their own whim and fancy, making the Deen-e-mubeen “mahjoor”!
These verses of Surah Al-Furqaan, 25:27-30, also unequivocally strike down false notions fed to the masses to legitimize taqlid of the fallible jurist that the follower may claim exemption from condemnation in Afterlife if one's own intention is good and one followed an imam who leads one astray by honest mistake of his ijtihad: “Ah! Woe is me! Would that I had never taken such a one for a friend! He did lead me astray from the Message (of Allah) after it had come to me! Ah! the Evil One is but a traitor to man!”
Sadly, no Muslim mind ever believes that these admonishments can ever apply to it. These always only apply to all the other fools over there in the other sects! The Sunnis believe this of the Shia with as much divine conviction as the Shias believe this of the Sunni, both opening the door wide open to Dr. Machiavelli to come rape them both.
This characteristic of self-righteousness is itself an inherent part of the religion of man. The fear and discomfort of cognitive dissonance evidently inhibits its very occurrence. Without experiencing cognitive dissonance, the psychological state of inner mental conflict between two contrarian positions, no transformation can transpire. Which is why, when faced with contrarian facts or evidence, the degree to which a man violently resists giving up his prior beliefs is directly proportional to his inner insecurities and is an index to his desires (as philosopher Bertrand Russell observed of the frailty of the human mind). Desires of which he may himself be unconscious of, as its seat is in the subconscious mind. Freud established this as an empirical fact of the irrational mind at the turn of the twentieth century. It is what the multi-trillion dollar global advertising industry is built upon. It is why masses of human beings fall easy prey to anyone who can cater to their base desires and insecurities – the sine qua non for the mass success of both religion and marketing. Advertising professionals and Machiavelli understand this human frailty better than the common mind. It is the cornerstone of success for well-designed propaganda as well as marketing campaigns. It is why the ministry of truth (as Geroge Orwell termed it in Nineteen Eighty-four) all around the world have come into existence to more effectively make the public mind. So who is your imam now?
Which is why, at the risk of stating the obvious once again, in the matters of the straight path, the Author of the Holy Qur'an is categorically making each human being accountable for his every decision, including the decision to follow or not to follow others, to have one's mind made or not made by others. There is no exemption for “oops!” for anyone as these categorical verses of Surah Al-Baqara 2:166-2:167 and Surah Al-Furqaan 25:27-30 unequivocally assert. Neither in this life which becomes hellish not just for oneself but also for others when one follows false imams. Nor evidently in the Afterlife of Islam where everyone is called to account in the company of the “imam” they each followed: “One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” (Surah al-Israa', 17:71). So if one followed a false guide and did not realize it, there is no “oops!” exemption!
After this analytical presentation, why should anyone still believe that the holy marja-e-taqlid is exempt from the condemnation of verse 16:25? That those who follow him are exempt from the condemnation of verses 2:166-2:167 and 25:27-30? Precisely, because of a socialized culture of religion rather than of learning that dominates the public mind.
If one was born a Hindu instead of a Muslim, one would be shouting the virtues of Krishna from the mandirs. Today, the Hindu mind is on safer ground because Machiavelli has found little use for it in fueling imperial mobilization. If for nothing else, then just for that reason alone this subject is of grave public concern. The “arc of crisis” like a spreading fire, as the world is continually witnessing, spares no one in its path. To put it out effectively takes getting the core fundamentals that are being harvested for this purpose in the name of Islam, better scrutinized in the public eye. Virtually all of these so called axioms of faith are the creation of Machiavelli, are not supported in the Good Book, and hence are not part of the religion of Islam expressed in it.
While much has been stated about both “militant Islam” and “moderate Islam” being alien to the religion of Islam, the third part of the trifecta for the recipe of creating perfect storm for Muslim on Muslim violence, “revolutionary Islam” and its enabling axiom of “taqlid”, has escaped forensic scrutiny by the more learned minds who surely have better “ma'rifat” (deeper understanding) of the subject. The analytical mind that goes on facts permits no room for absurdities and gratuitous assumptions of faith. Things have to make logical sense given all the facts, and all their linkages. Some linkages are directly visible, while others are made visible by the logic of adding two plus two correctly equal to four. This analytical deconstruction of “taqlid” without prejudice by a layman, is the product of that basic arithematic. A challenge directly to the valih-e-faqih du jour to respond, explain, and refute if there is any Qur'anic truth on his side. Silence is the domain of cowards. No one who claims Imam Ali as his guide has even a passing acquaintance with cowardice.
The controlling practice of “taqlid” as it has unfolded in Muslim civilizations, the underpinning of sects that were manufactured when the largely sheepish masses were encouraged to follow the anointed imam of their natural socialization by birth thus dividing into schools of thought, is a man-made divisive construct of the church of man. Its purpose is predatory social control of man by fellow man, be it among the Shia, the Sunni, the Ismaili, or any other group-think composition, in any religion. Like Christianity, the man of cloth as the interpreter of faith for the Muslims became a useful tool.
Is man so feeble minded, so inadequate in his talents, so corrupted in his heart, that he needs a fierce looking bearded shepherd until eternity to “Islamize” him? What an insult to God's creation --- and to God, that He Created such an absurdity in which imperfect man shall forever remain beholden to another imperfect man for guidance. Such an absurd God can only exist in the mind of Mephistopheles to enslave and control fellow man.
Any place where fallible man is anointed as the interpreter of faith for another, or obedience is demanded in the name of the divine, is a place where social control is being practiced in the name of the divine. Lift the pious robes and underneath one shall find, linked to the predatory social control, a bountiful and easy harvest of public's wealth being paid into the coffers of the pulpit, and empire. Perhaps this is why it is often hard to find clergy who is familiar with honest toil and labor. The bulging waist-lines alone testify to the vulgar empirical truth of virtually all priestly class living off of public donations in the name of religion.
The superman rulers have comprehended this vile modus operandi of social control far more perceptively than the sheepish public they govern! And the clergy class in every religion has served that ruling interest with an iron-clad regimentation from time immemorial. (Superman is reference to Nietzsche's superman and not to the Marvel comic book hero; the ubermensch, the uber alles, deems himself above all the others, is beyond good and evil, tells noble lies and thinks nothing of it, and strives with his own “will to power” instead of superstitious religions to achieve lordship over mankind who refuse to evolve past their sheep state.) But when the clergy class has itself become the state, the public has been reduced to intellectual servitude to fellow man in the name of divine. To have done that damage to the pristine religion Islam which its Author claims to have “perfected” as the Divine Guidance System revealed to free man from the clutches of fellow man, is an immodest and unpardonable travesty for which verse 16:25 of Surah An-Nahl plainly vouches: “Let them bear, on the Day of Judgment, their own burdens in full, and also (something) of the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled. Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear!”
Unsurprisingly, no Muslim and his pope is going to give up their socialized interpretation of religion anymore than a socialized Zionist Jew is going to give up Zionism and a Brahmin priest is going to give up racism. And it is not because they each don't know or realize that their respective ideology is misanthropic and leads to the enslavement of the 'lesser peoples'. Knowing this general fact of obduracy about His Own Creation which, by His own Admission, “He fashioned him in due proportion” (see Surah As-Sajdah verses 32:07-32:09), is perhaps why the Author of the Holy Qur'an proffered that straightforward Admonition to people driven by self-interests and socialization bias even when truth has clearly been made manifest from error, of scores only being settled on the Day of Judgment. That, in this life, to wholeheartedly “strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.” (Surah Al-Maeda 5:48)
Therefore, as per the noble advocacy of this verse to eliminate conflict among mankind, one may hastily conclude that if “taqlid”, or any other harmonious system for that matter, leads to that wonderful race in all virtues, all power to it. That is the point – that any principled system can be made as virtuous in theory as it can be made evil in practice. The choice is evidently left up to man in the Holy Qur'an. The problem comes in when it is the latter and reduces an entire nation in willing servitude to the whims and ideas of one man, the self-anointed philosopher-king, with his subjects loving their state of bondage in the name of the Divine.
Corrections are invited from both the pulpits.* Surely, the learned uber alles presumptuous enough to deem themselves Interpreter of Faith, as the “ulul-albab” of the Holy Qur'an can trivially counter this bold challenge to their power base if it is mistaken or flawed in its evidence based logical assessment.
And a last happy birthday to the Holy Qur'an as we bid au revoir to this holy month of Ramadan.
Written Thursday, August 08, 2013, on the 29th of Ramadan, Muslim year 1434 A.H.
Updated Thursday, July 9, 2015 09:01 pm, on the 22nd Ramadan, Muslim year 1436 A.H.
Updated Thursday, July 9, 2015 09:01 pm, on the 22nd Ramadan, Muslim year 1436 A.H.
About The Author
Please be advised that the author is not a scholar of Islam. Only its student.
The author, an ordinary justice activist, formerly an ordinary engineer in Silicon Valley, California (see engineering patents at http://tinyurl.com/zahir-patents ), founded Project Humanbeingsfirst.org in the aftermath of 9/11. He was, mercifully, most imperfectly educated in the United States of America despite attending its elite schools on both coasts. This might perhaps explain how he could escape the fate of “likkha-parrha-jahils” (educated morons) mass produced in its technetronic society with all his neurons still intact and still firing on all cylinders. He is inspired by plain ordinary people rising to extraordinary challenges of their time more than by privileged and gifted people achieving extraordinary things. He chose his byline to reflect that motivation: The Plebeian Antidote to Hectoring Hegemons. Bio at http://zahirebrahim.org. Email: email@example.com. Verbatim reproduction license for all his work at http://humanbeingsfirst.org/#Copyright.
Footnote * As this article goes against the ingrained ethos of both the Shia and Sunni laity who respectively swear by taqlid and their four institutionalized jurists as Interpreter of Faith – each macro group respectively representing approximately ten and ninety percent of the two billion Muslim population on earth today – it is mainly their preeminent stewards who are invited to the table of critique and interlocution. The scribe is sure to be demonized by the laity in both groups, but perhaps more stridently by the Shia. In the previous episode of What does the Holy Qur'an say about Inerrancy of Prophet Muhammad?, the Shia laity surely anointed him their “scholar” when the facts and analysis brought to the surface from the verses of the Holy Qur'an in the full context of its Message was generally in favor of Shiadom's understanding of the inerrant status of Prophet of Islam, and opposed the Sunnidom's self-contradictory gibberish which marginalized their own Prophet to dignify caliphate. The same good people will now surely be demonizing him, or at least exhibiting the knee-jerk reaction of denial and increased intransigence that is characteristic of an unpleasant experience of cognitive dissonance, because, in this episode, the facts and analysis brought to the surface from the same Holy Qur'an condemn what they live by! Get Marja-e-taqlids in Qom and Najaf to respond instead – by sending them this critique and as their follower inviting a fatwa either refuting it with full elucidation, or boldly affirming it with any caveats and corrections.
The scribe predicts that only stoned silence will greet him. It is easier to ignore unpleasant facts which demolish tall totem poles which are principally erected for the unthinking masses in the first place, rather than attempt to counter those intelligent peoples who do no buy into propaganda systems designed to cater to the lowest common denominator in the sheepish masses. Refer to Mein Kampf to understand why the handful of critical thinkers in the population must be either ignored or demonized, if they cannot be co-opted to join the system. They can never be given space for public interlocution. Any debate, even in free societies, let alone in dogma based dictatorships, must always be narrowly confined within “acceptable” limits, with vigorous “debate” permitted only within those bounding boxes to give the illusion of freedom to think and choose. The “ultimate revolution” in human enslavement, in the words of the iconic Western sociologist, Aldous Huxley, is when the public is made to enjoy its own servitude. Shiadom exemplifies that “ultimate revolution”. Every adult Shia Muslim who is under taqlid behaves virtually like a mind-controlled robot – and that is also principally how Ayatollah Khomeini as the valih-i-faqih was able to command the foot-soldier fodder in Iran to continue the debilitating war against its brother nation of Iraq that was imposed by the West upon both the peoples of Iran and Iraq equally, for eight long years! Taqlid, the social engineers' dream that is denied to the West for controlling its own peoples, opens the door wide for the West's harvesting of Muslim ignorance, our cracks and lacunae, our asininity, and our divisive socialization into sectarianism, to serve their interests!
Since the highest pulpits in both Shiadom and Sunnidom today principally serve Western interests as the best part of their Hegelian Dialectic that diabolically fabricates the synthetic cause and effect of international relations to naturally seed the transformation of the world into one-world government, none of the pulpits left to themselves will dare to touch this short article. This scribe intends to not let predatory nature take its course – and therefore, solicits assistance from those who care among the worldwide Muslim scholarship to force their respective pulpits to respond.
Footnote Added Thursday, July 9, 2015 09:01 pm, 22nd Ramadan, Muslim year 1436 A.H. Two years later, still waiting...
This article is based on the author's book: Hijacking The Holy Qur'an And Its Religion Islam – Muslims and Imperial Mobilization, abbreviated to Hijacking Holy Qur'an And Islam
Download Book PDF URL: http://sites.google.com/site/humanbeingsfirst/download-pdf/book-hijacking-quran-islam-2nd-edition-2015-zahirebrahim.pdf
Book PDF Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/Islam-Reader-2015
Book online URL: http://hijacking-quran.blogspot.com/
All Articles in the series What does the Holy Qur'an Say
Download What does the Holy Qur'an Say as a printable pamphlet titled: Thus Spake Holy Qur'an – On Schisms, Volume I, 1st Edition, August 2013, Second Printing September 18, 2015
Pamphlet PDF URL: https://sites.google.com/site/humanbeingsfirst/download-pdf/pamphlet-thus-spake-holy-quran-vol1-on-schisms-by-zahir-ebrahim.pdf
Arabic Qur'an recitation by Shaykh Mahmoud Khalil al-Husary, audio courtesy of Verse By Verse Quran, acquired 8/13/2011 from http://www.versebyversequran.com
Arabic verses courtesy of the open source Qur'an Tanzil Project, acquired 8/13/2011 from http://tanzil.net/download/
Most (not all) English translation of Qur'an verses are by Yusuf Ali, Shakir, and Pickthall, acquired 8/13/2011 from http://tanzil.net/trans/ (archived Yusufali, Shakir, Pickthall).
Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/Taqlid-in-Holy-Quran
Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/Taqleed
Source URL: http://islam-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-does-quran-say-about-taqlid.html
Faith-Politico URL: http://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-does-quran-say-about-taqlid.html
Source PDF: http://sites.google.com/site/humanbeingsfirst/download-pdf/what-does-quran-say-about-taqlid-by-zahir-ebrahim.pdf
First Published Friday, August 9, 2013 12:00 am, Eid Day, Muslim year 1434 A.H. | Footnote added on August 17, 2013 | Footnote “still waiting...” added Thursday, July 9, 2015 09:01 pm, 22nd Ramadan, Muslim year 1436 A.H. 13152 | Links updated Friday, September 18, 2015 02:00 am
Links fix November 4, 2016
What does the Holy Qur'an say about Taqlid - Blind Following the Non-Infallible? By Zahir Ebrahim August 2013