Freedom is God's great gift to humans. The Quran, the Holy Scripture of Islam, mandates religious freedom in verse 2:256, "There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way." And in verse 18:29, "Proclaim: 'This is the truth from your Lord,' then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve".
Yet there are few, if any, Muslim countries which guarantee religious freedom to its citizens. However, religious freedom in the West fulfills the Quranic decree. For some of us American Muslims, it is easier (and safer) to practice our Islamic faith in USA. President Bush is correct in portraying the terrorists as having hijacked the great religion of Islam. This hijacking process started more than a 1000 years ago and is the cause of the morass of present day Islam. This take over can be grasped by understanding the two sources of religious law in Islam.
The first source is the Quran, which Muslims believe to be the direct word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. The revelation process lasted 23 years with completion in 632 AD. In addition to advocating religious freedom, the Quran advances property rights (4:6,29), freedom of commerce (2:198,275; 30:46) and mutually acceptable transactions (4:29). It condemns suicide (4:29) and declares that oppression (2:191,217) is worse than murder and that killing of one (innocent) person is like killing all of humanity (5:32). There are numerous verses in the Quran (2:190, 2:193 2:244, 3:146, 4:75-76, 8:39) which exhort us to fight to maintain religious freedom, suppress oppression and to defend or attack if aggressed upon. Logic dictates that those who uphold the commandments (Words in the Quran) are fighting for the source of these commandments (God or Allah in Arabic).
The finest hour for Islam, may well have been before the second source of Islamic religious law was initiated. In 870 AD, some 238 years after the revelation of the Quran, the first of many books of Hadith (the traditions) was published. Hadith is a term used to denote the purported sayings and acts, traditions, of Prophet Muhammad. The first compiler of a Hadith book was Al-Bukhari who examined 600,000 traditions. He rejected 98.8% as false and published 7,275 of them in his Sahih or 'Correct Book.' Critics protested that much of the Hadith had been concocted as propaganda. Some were executed for fabricating Hadith. Others mocked the collections.
Today, the overwhelming majority of Muslims accept Hadith books as a divine source of religious laws besides the Quran, even though numerous Hadith narrations contradict the Quran. Anyone questioning Hadith is considered a heretic in spite of the fact that the Quran proclaims that it (Quran) is a fully detailed book, the only source for religious law (6:114) and complete (6:38, 6:115, and 41:3). The Quran specifically uses the word Hadith (narration) to remind and caution the believers not to use any Hadith other than the Quran itself ("Which Hadith, other than this, do they uphold?" in 77:50).
In the Muslim world today, almost everything advocated or implemented in the name of Islam (English translation of the Arabic word: Submission) and Allah (God) originates from the various Hadith books. Thus a dictator simply needs to call on his "religious advisors" to come up with Hadith to conform to his policies. The clergy are more than willing to oblige. The clergy, which never got more than 5% of the popular vote in free elections in Pakistan's history, were the willing accomplices with General Zia, when he set about establishing an "Islamic State" in the 1980s.
Sunnis, Shias, Wahhabis and other sects in Islam have little or no disagreements about the Quran. Each sect has its own set of "authentic" Hadith furnishing reinforcement for their beliefs. It is these Hadith books, written centuries after the Quran, which make a mockery of Islam. Quranic verses are abused in an attempt to conform to various Hadith narrations.
Widespread acceptance of Hadith (and ignorance about the Quran) has led to a lack of freedom, despotism and oppression in Muslim countries. The covering of a woman's face; the woman's dress; treatment of women as second class citizens; cutting hands for thievery; polygamy; religious police; the beard; the head covering; excessive divorce rights for men and none for the woman; jihad and terrorism originate from Hadith. None of this has any support in the Quran.
Clearly, the West and specifically USA adhere to the principles laid out in the Quran more so than any country in the Islamic world. The free societies in the West and their political democratic systems originated from religion and religious freedom. Our divorce, inheritance and immigration laws, charitable giving and rights of women are in accordance with the Quran. Just over a hundred years ago, in England, in 1850, women were finally allowed the right to own property. In 1857, divorce became accessible by the formation of the court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes. The Quran granted women these rights fourteen hundred years ago (man-made Hadith has nullified most, if not all of these rights). The equality of a woman is illustrated in the Quran by the example of Sheba as a ruling woman of a nation who submitted to God (27:22-44) and practiced the religion of Submission (Islam).
The War on Terrorism truly qualifies as a war of Biblical Proportion. USA is leading the battle of good against evil. The country, which unknowingly practices the principles for a society advocated in the Quran, leads the battle against terrorists who are harbored by nations who have hijacked Islam. The pen and not the sword will eventually win the war. In this war against terrorism and our battle to win the minds and hearts of the Muslims masses the words of the Quran will become pivotal. Most Muslims have no idea what the Quran states. The majority of the Muslims in non-Arabic speaking countries read the Quran in Arabic without comprehension of the meaning. Most of the Muslims of Arabic speaking countries are discouraged to read the Quran as it is considered too difficult to understand. The Quran on the other hand asks in verse 54:17 "We made the Quran easy to learn - does any of you wish to learn?" The scholars and the religious leaders spend most of their life studying various Hadith books and literature rather than dwelling upon and observing the commandments in the Quran. Osama Bin Laden may hold the Quran in his hand, but what he preaches has no basis in the Quran.
The United States laws, its allies and Armed Forces have the means and resources to communicate about our freedoms, our ideals, our society and what we stand for from the very pages of the Quran which Muslims accept as their scripture.
Comment on the Editorial:
Submission.org, does not support any policy carried out by current or previous administration of the US government that is not based on the Quranic law of guaranteeing equal justice, freedom and dignity for all humans irrespective of their race, color, religion or national origin. We do not agree with any US government foreign policy which supports aggression, oppression or inhumane treatment by any state or groups against another. We do not agree with any US government foreign policy which supports dictatorial governments while the citizens of those countries do not have freedom of religion, political expression and/or private property rights. We do maintain that the basic laws of freedom and democracy in the USA, when applied, parallel the requirements advocated in the Quran.