Opinion: Four Misconceptions About Islamic Concepts From a Quranist Perspective
A copy of the Qur’an on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York.
Peace! I just want to share some of my thoughts with you guys on misconceptions about Islam and Allah.
First of all, Allah (The God) is NOT a man in the sky. It is everywhere and is hence timeless/boundless. None can fathom Its form, yet It perceives everything (Apparent or hidden) (6:103). When the Qur’an refers to Its “face” (2:272), it refers to Its existence as the face is covered when one dies. Beautifully presented, but taken literally by some people unfortunately. Secondly, when the Qur’an refers to Its “hands” (36:71), it obviously denotes Its strength! And that is a pretty straightforward thing to understand.
Secondly, ALL the prophets came with the same message, and that was Islam (42:13). Islam is NOT a label or a religion of the Arabs. Rather, it is the means to achieve PEACE in your inner self, in the society and eventually in the Hereafter.
Third, Allah is NOT an economist who observes behavior and patterns, and then passes laws accordingly. He is the Creator and hence knows its Creation perfectly. It knows what will work and what wouldn’t. Hence, Its laws do not ever change! To think otherwise would obviously demean Its Knowledge (33:62).
Fourth, Malaika (angels) are NOT endowed with wings! Wings denote power and speed. They are the universal forces, I believe. When Allah says: Jibrael (Malaika) brings down the revelation to your hearts (2:97), it is NOT an angel with wings that does so. It is only a natural phenomenon that whenever you study the book with interest and conviction, the force Jibrael brings down the revelation to you. It is automatic! Just like a pen is bound to fall if it is dropped! No ‘angel ‘brings it down. Malaika praise Allah by carrying out Its commands in the universe, not by humming Its Praises. Allah is FAR above what we attribute to It. It does not need our Praise. It only wants us to acknowledge Its existence, follow Its commands (to attain peace) and stay connected with It (Salat) for our own betterment!
Now, people make a big fuss about Salat (formal worship), and I will only briefly try to state my point of view.
Just as there is no “set” method of eating/studying/teaching/conversing, connection with the Almighty is also a thing which should naturally come to you. How that comes to you is none of my or anyone’s business. If you find it in rituals, please continue to do so (without invoking anyone else of course, including the prophets). If you find it in reading the Qur’an, then that is also Salat. The prime focus should be on what derives the most connection, not mindless rituals on which people debate even today! The important thing is to ESTABLISH a connection whereby one can feel God’s presence at all times. 2:67-71 deals with this beautifully. (Note, I do not condemn rituals, in fact even I pray ritually when I feel I can derive a connection out of it)
See, the Deen (Way of life) by Allah is very easy to implement. In a nutshell, it is to develop your “inner self,” help other people to the best of your abilities by opposing tyranny in the land and being at peace with the Hereafter. THAT’S IT. Now the problem is, no money can be made if the deen of Allah was this simple since there would be absolutely no need of endless priests/imams. That’s where they come in and make the Deen difficult for everyone to implement (by coming out with their own books and laws) and thus making one of the worst crimes by making the Qur’an dependent on THEM (57:27). They divide people into sects and delude them into thinking that only their followers will achieve salvation. Examples are in front of you! I have tons else to say but I’ve tried my best to keep it brief.
Now some of these concepts might be new to you, but if you’re reading this, I just want to say thank you. And I want you to think about it with a clear head. Are we doing justice to the Supreme Creator by dividing into religions and worse even, sects? And that we fight with each other that our version is the best and others are doomed for fire when we don’t even need any book to teach us about how to spend this life! It’s installed in every single one of us! We already know what is good and what is bad. The Qur’an is a reminder (Dhikr) for a reason. It reminds you of what’s already there! The only reason we might not be at peace is because of the piles of garbage that has been fed to us, unfortunately by our own family, society, and priests (Knowingly or unknowingly). Hence the need of Qur’an, only to polish our souls! So break the shackles and set free! Don’t let anyone think for you and dictate YOUR life. Do it yourself! If you disagree with any of my points, fair enough! Your path should be unique since you have to walk on it. I am nobody to tell you to do this or do that. Focus on your spirituality! Walk your own path!
Finally, if you find anything useful out of this, it is only from the Lord of the Universe and I am really humbled to It for making me at peace with Its book and Itself. What I condemn today, I was a part of a year ago. So, I know how it feels like.