Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hallaj, Holy Books and the Beautiful Discord. Where are we now? - Prose of Ramadhan Part 46

142. Books we read
The books we read?
They are a starting point,
A harbour before
A vast and infinite ocean.
And when we begin reading,
We begin sailing.

If a book has neither value,
Look for another book,
Or look for another you.

I joined some friends in breaking their fast three nights ago. During the extended conversation after dinner, one of them shared with us her experience- "My cousin, who is kinda liberal, was asking this - If the Al Quran was actually compiled after the passing of the Prophet (that is true), how do we know that the Al Quran is accurate? - I was so shocked I didn't really know how to answer her."

"Well, why don't you tell her that the Lord Himself guaranteed the accuracy of the holy scriptures until the end of time?" I suggested to her, but that argument died a natural death, because after all, if the Quran is questioned, how can you use it to guarantee the veracity of itself?

Then I thought, "Well, tell her that if she can find a better book and Prophet, follow that book and that Prophet." My friend was aghast, "But what if what I suggest leads her to apostasy?"

What do you think, sunshine? After all, the same question that faced my worried friend was also faced by the Prophet in his lifetime. And ultimately, you choose what you like, or what you love. And there is nothing to worry about, really. After all, there is suppose to be no compulsion in religion. And you must choose. As you do everyday whether you assume yourself to be a Muslim, Jew or Christian. Any other way, which is simply following the rota-learning approach to religion is just like a macaw parroting his master for biscuit. That too is a form of compulsion, if you think about it. We have no control over someone else's thoughts and heart. Why, we barely have any control over our own capricious selves. At some point we simply have to trust the Lord and His Plan for us. We must be humble enough to remember how small we are, and how ultimately vast is the Lord and His Love for all Creation...

88. Beautiful Discord III (The Lord is Vast, and you are small)
It matters not to the Lord who is right,
For really, only He is Right.

What matters to Him,
Is your servanthood.

For the Lord is Infinitely Vast,
And within His Creation
Is easily encompassed
The little quarrels
Between servants.

Although, alas,
Heads sometimes roll,
As a consequence
Of scholarly conference.
Death did not stop
his words.

In the past, a couple of saints have lost their heads, literally, for just speaking. But who remembers their executioners? No one. But of some saints who were found guilty of religious malfeasance by their ecstatic devotional utterances, like Hallaj the renown, their stories continue to give colour to the vast rainbow of spirituality which is our inheritance. Heche however disagrees and says that we must couch what we say according to our audience. I understand where she is coming from. Yet I also do not think I am 'wrong'. So you see, we can still be civil and agree to disagree, which ought to be the true way in which Muslims treat each other and believers of other creed. Alas, where are we now?

Have a thoughtful Wednesday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

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