MY FAITH, BELIEF & LEARNING PROCESS
I have observed that very often people revere, hate, fear or even defend something only on the basis of faith and belief. They simply have no idea or have no knowledge about what they are professing. I used to be one among such type of people who was confident enough of his own ideological knowledge and was ready to die for it.
I was very fortunate enough to be taught in the early childhood not to follow anything blindly and never ever reject anything without studying it properly. This small piece of advice helped me a lot in developing my present thoughts.
Having said that I must openly confess that whatever Islamic knowledge I have is only because of traditional Islam or other philosophies of the world that I initially hated the most. The transformation happened in me only because I continuously kept my mind open to learning. I did not confine myself to any philosophies or school of thoughts nevertheless sincerely made an effort to understand them, in spite of not agreeing with them.
I became bold by roughly reading the exegesis of the book Quran by Allama Ghulam Ahmed Parvez, Dr. Shabbir Ahmed and a more upgraded version of them was by Dr. Qamaruzaman. These unconventional versions of translation of Quran emboldened me in explaining my thesis of the book Quran more courageously because like their version my perspective too about the message of the book was unconventional and against the beliefs of the majority of the Muslims.
Initially I was impressed by the rhetoric of some articles written by these unconventional scholars of Islam but when I thoroughly verified it they miserably failed the vocabulary, grammar and common sense test. I respect them all especially Allama Ghulam Ahmed Parvez and Dr. Qamarzaman. They all are respected Quran alone followers and expert grammarians but we must not forget that they were all humans. I respect their method of research to understand the book nevertheless they very clearly said that they are not the final word. But unfortunately their followers made their research work as ultimate document and when anybody questions their research those who advocate them easily get irritated and began either to label you to some particular sects or ridicule your understanding in order to defend their own limited understanding. I can understand their situation as it is not their original thought and the original scholars have departed this world. Note leaving one’s ideology and joining or influenced by other ideologies without verifying it by own efforts is not called research at all but proselytization.
My intention is not to belittle anybody's lifelong research and hard work. I even respect the traditional translators because it is the base from where I learnt and gradually grew up. But I cannot follow / tolerate or keep quite to anything which does not make sense to me. I myself am open to learning and criticism of my thoughts related to Quranic interpretation.
Note common sense is not common. Most of us don't use it. Getting attracted to any translations or exegesis which appeals our needs or circumstances is natural and easy. To become an admirer or an advocate or debater on behalf of that translation or exegesis does not require any qualifications or expertise. The job of verification is tough and the problem with fans / admirers is that they don’t verify because their understanding is based on faith in their mentors and scholars.
When one is in a mutual admiration club it is very difficult to come out of it. Doubting the beliefs of the group or the club rules means you are out of the group. This is the bitter truth of self proclaimed research groups; only yes men are allowed in such groups. Doubting is the first step of learning and seeking knowledge. When we are in the state of admiration / awe we lose the important mental faculty of Criterion / Reasoning and Tolerance. The advocators of all ideologies usually develop the tool of debating / arguing and intolerance because their main purpose now is to defend and spread their “sacred ideologies” of their respective scholars rather than understand the others point of view or develop their own mind. Once the ideologies become holy in the eyes of their followers they become infallible and absolete for new developments.