MY BACK GROUND:
I have been brought up in staunch “Sunni Muslim” background; practicing “Hanafi” school of thoughts. The environment around me was of “Jamate Islami” “Tablighi Jamat”, “Ahle Hadith”, all off shoots of Wahabism and to some extent “Ahle Sunnat Jamaat” also, although our family was affiliated to neither of them. I had my own mindset in analyzing “Islam” because of my grandfather (1902 -1987). He did his graduation in Islamic studies from Aligarh University and was thorough in Islamic history as well as political history of Islam. He had strong cultural values but he never ever forced us to follow any rituals, in fact he was against all types of rituals. Nevertheless, we were punctual in our rituals of salat [namaz] and saum [roza], however his main emphasis was on character building and good work. We never knew what superstitions were because he was very rational in all his approach. The golden words we always used to hear from him were that never follow anyone blindly, however great he/she may be, not even the messenger of Allah because no human is infallible. He loved Islam and merely mentioning Rasul Allah brought tears to his eyes.
When my grandfather bid adieu to this world; I was a very devout traditional Muslim of impeccable character and had no idea about the practicality of this world, although I was under the illusion that I knew too much about the subject of Islam, thus I was spending my life under this superiority complex syndrome as most religious or irreligious people live in. Blinded with this believe of superiority in my head I was damn sure of getting a place in “Jannah / Paradise.” Little did I realize that I was living under a Utopian concept of paradise and it was just a misconception existed as one of the fantasy of my own mind.
Allah was the supreme God for me. Uttering sacred Arabic phrases like Inshallah, Mashallah, Subhanallah, Alhamdullilah, Tawwakaltoalallah without understanding was a matter of pride and solace for me. I was an avid reader of the Quran’s traditional translation. I relied too much on pleasing Allah by performing prayers so that my future is secured as I believed that destiny is in the hands of Allah and the one who performs prayers regularly is sure to succeed in this world and hereafter. As the days quickly passed by under the spell of the religious aura covering me, I realized that I have already crossed 40 years of my age doing nothing constructive except praising and praying to Allah in the hope of finding success and happiness. I was under the illusion that I was happy but the fact was I was suffering from insecurity, as the success I wanted was eluding me. People who are under the religious spell are always seemingly happy because they are living a hypnotized life, sabotaged by religious philosophy that God is with them and He will come to their aid at the time of misery. Little did they realize that God helps those who help themselves – Quran - (8:53 & 13:11) –
My basic education of Islam came from the utterances of my grandfather which got imprinted in my blank mind and it became the foundation of my future thought process. Apart from this I did a three years Arabic course from Mumbai University but I strongly believe that for any sort of learning a blank mind is a prerequisite qualification. And the book Quran describes the people with blank mind as Mutahirun (pure / clean), a foremost condition for any type of learning (56:77-79). If the mind is already full of information no amount of academic knowledge is sufficient to understand the core of any subject. I am basically a thinker and writing is not my cup of tea but my passion to understand the message of the book Quran somehow overcame all reluctance and finally I manage to write the first draft of my book. This miracle happen only due to a strong urge from inside forcing me to present a different and better perspective of the message of the book Quran and Islam to the masses.
WHAT MADE ME THINK OUT OF THE RELIGION?
The travesty of every religious individual is that they are thankful and fortunate to take birth in the religion they believe is the right one. A random thought would always come to my mind, what if I took birth in the wrong sect or religion? I did not have an option of choosing my place of birth. My parents were Muslim so it is obvious that I will be born in a Muslim family. If my parents were Hindu I would have taken birth in Hindu family. If my parents were Christian I would have been born in Christian family and so on. My three very good friends are a Hindu, a Christian and a Jain. All of them have very good character and they belong to very good families. I began to wonder that although due to no fault of theirs, why would they be burned in the hell fire if they don’t believe as a Muslim believes. Only because I was born in a Muslim family I would be entitled for Paradise and while they were born in non-Muslim families they would burn in hell. I could not digest this theory. How can I be eligible for paradise? Only on the basis that I was born in a Muslim family and utter the magical kalimah shahadah, I would be eligible for paradise, when it is not in my hands to choose the family of my birth? It seemed clear cut a case of injustice to my non Muslim friends. Can God / Allah responsible for this injustice, “Can Allah / God be unjust?” A thought began to linger in my mind.
I grew up loving Allah, I wonder how He can be unjust, and I began to retrospect within since my queries were valid. A range of questions began to pop up in my mind. How can a God judge His creatures on the basis of his religion, caste or race when the person concern has no role in selecting his religion?
I thought a lot as why we all love the religion we are born in? The answer to this question is very simple. Since childhood we have been listening to stories about God, heroics of god men and angels. We also hear that the god men fight evil against all odds and God helps them in winning their battle. Then we also hear God men performing miracles to win over the followers. As we grow older we began to read books of that same old stories and heroics of God men, but in detail. Gradually we began to love all those good characters of religious book and hate the negative characters that are portrayed as enemies of God or their religion. We are told we had a glorious past, and it all happened because our ancestors were true believers and whatever they achieved in their lifetime was only due to their sincere devotion to religion. Listening to these ancient stories from childhood makes us fall in love with the past, with our ancestors and ultimately with our religion and we also yearn to emulate them. Finally we begin to think that knowing the name, date of birth, their date of demise and the date of some religious events is of prime importance. In short offering some rituals and knowing the history of some religious personalities is sufficient knowledge or requirement for us to be called religious and earn respect in our respective circles. Not realizing that this modus of operandi of fighting over religious or historical personalities or rituals won’t lead us towards molding the sacred life and bearing the responsibilities which the Nature has bestowed upon us humans.
Passionately loving one’s own religion means disliking all other religions and this became the main cause of Muslims being isolated from the rest of the world community. I would say this inclination towards one’s own religion is not a natural phenomenon but such kind of psyche is deep rooted at the childhood upbringing stage and it is very hard to break such inclinations. For a religious person to remain balanced is not at all possible because his affinity to his religion will always be more than his love for humanity or his fellow citizens. Harboring such mentality or ideology is very dangerous if it is not nipped in the bud. For such mentality killing in the name of the religion becomes a matter of pride. To hate those who don’t believe in your doctrine has become a common practice nowadays with no realization; on the contrary the people take pride in indulging in such a dastardly act of killing.
REASON FOR WRITING THIS BOOK:
There were suddenly so many questions hovering over my mind as I was questioning my own religious beliefs. Why all the conflicts around the world are related to Muslim ideology only? Why the Holy book urges its followers to wage war against those who don’t follow their ideology? How can Allah be so quarrel to dictate Muslims to kill innocent who do not follow their type of religious rituals? Why we are forced to read Arabic without understanding? Why we hate non Muslims? Why fighting in the cause of Allah is made obligatory on us? Why the Pilgrimage to the House of Allah and stoning that Satan which is made up of concrete and cement is given so much importance? Why abstaining from food during the month of Ramadan is made compulsory? If Quran is for entire mankind then why is it in Arabic language, is it not injustice? Why is it obligatory to follow dead messengers or Imams and follow invisible Allah? Why all the messengers are from the same family and region? Slowly I began to reason and ask questions to myself, I knew I would not get all these answers from conventional sources. There was an arousing feeling of suspicion and doubt that began to suffuse my mind and this made me restless and agitated. There began a conflict between my dearest faith in my religion and my common sense. When common sense is awakened it lightens the enlightenment and now this common sense started working overtime. After so many sophisticated questions in my head, no longer I am able to digest traditional Quranic interpretations, translations and exegesis. The condition of extreme anxiety compelled me to scrutinize from the Arabic script of the Quran, the main source of all Islamic knowledge.
I could have easily left the religion of Islam in a huff, after I found so many discrepancies in the traditional interpretation of the book Quran. But I chose the hard way, because my attachment with the Quran was very intense and could not leave this book without looking deep into it, thus I decided to dive deep into the vast ocean of Quran without any expertise because I trusted the verse of the book Quran that said Rehman (self nourisher) is the teacher of Quran (55:1) (75:16-19) and it really proved true. The verse states that Quran is self explanatory which teaches and explains as well. Then from the book Quran itself I discovered that the speech of Quran is very clear, the reason is that people could easily understand and discuss it (12:2) (14:4) (16:103) (41:44) (43:3) (44:58) (54:17)…
I wonder how this ancient language (Arabic) is called clear, without ambiguity (mobin) and easy to understand and easy to discuss. Nevertheless I have cleared all my doubts and confusions from the noble book Al-Quran e Kareem itself and presented my humble findings in this book / site. The amazing point is that I have relied only on the book Quran and its context to interpret its verses and not taking help from any other books to throw light on this majestic book, except from the language of the Quran itself. The so called scholars of the book Quran spread or have circulated the story that the Quran cannot be translated or understood without the help of Hadith books throwing light on it. But I have successfully dispelled this myth that Quran can be interpreted or understood without the help of “Hadith literature” or “Knowledge of the Islamic era”. On the contrary this extra Quranic material which we presume is the guide to understand the message of the Quran actually misguides and lead us astray from understanding crux of the message in its pure sense.
After interpreting more than 60 surahs I realized that Quran is not a book of any historical personalities of religions or events. It is not even a book of God or gods. But as a matter of fact it is a book of psychology which mainly deals with an individual’s consciousness / mind combined with the collective consciousness of the cosmos.
AN APPEAL TO THE READERS:
This book / site may hurt religious feelings of certain sections of the society as this is not a conventional religious book. My intention is not to hurt anybody’s feeling but to bring out the bitter truth of the book Quran for the benefit of the lovers of the message of the Quran and humanity at large. I have earnestly attempted to wipe out the tarred image of Islam that has been thrown at Muslims and at our dear book Quran. I strongly believe that if we criticize something then we should have a solution as well. And I have found honest answers to all the derogatory charges thrown at the book Quran, without being labeled as “Islam apologetic”. After taking so much effort in the direction of reformation of the community I am sure the community at large won’t accept my thesis and won’t hesitate to charge me with blasphemy. My intentions are not to impose my humble findings on anybody. The origin of my strength and conviction about my thesis comes directly from understanding the Arabic text of the Quran.
I am a proud Indian and my constitution permits me to express and share my valid thoughts for the progress and reformation of the society. I take this opportunity to educate especially Indian “Muslims” through the noble Quran to shun hatred, acquire education and contribute to the System we live in. Being a part of the prevalent system is the article of faith of all Muslims according to the teachings of the Quran and this is the main crux of the message of the Quran and of this book / site. The target audiences of this book are the people who want to know the truth of the Quran’s message. This message of the Quran is applicable to the entire mankind as it mainly deals with the psychological aspect of life which everybody has to go through or face. The Quran [114 chapter book] does not highlight any rituals or community; it only highlights the good and the bad thoughts working inside us so that we refrain from bad thoughts that would hinder our happy and safe. This book / site is a sincere attempt to educate “Muslims” so that they come out from the ignorance and be a torch bearer to the world, with their zeal to learn and educate the world and contribute to the world peace.
I am committed to erasing the tarnished image of Islam brought by the wrong doings of its followers in the name of the book Quran; I strongly believe that ideology of Peace (Shanti, Shalom and Islam) is applicable to all mankind. I need everybody’s encouragement in pursuing my endeavor on this extremely difficult path. Islam is not a religion it’s just an Arabic term used for peace as we have terms in English, Sanskrit, Hebrew and Arabic respectively. May Peace / Shanti / Shalom / Islam prevail in this wonderful world.