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Non Theologicentric View of Islam

By M.A.Hussain Independent Researcher Facebook.com/yang.burz.home Twitter.com/yang_burz_home

Abstract
Islam is the most misunderstood world religion. It is being treated as a living fossil, as if it has not changed in fourteen hundred years of its history. Mind boggling heterogeneity and diversity of Islamic beliefs and cultural practice of Muslims the world over, and its social origin, historical evolution, spatial and temporal differentiation is being ignored. Islam is not a ready-made faith but a part of the historical process and an ideational cultural product. Islam was formed gradually over a number of centuries and is the result of polemics with Jews and Christians. Its scriptures are unique in their origin and development. These can only be interpreted through the sources outside Islamic scriptures. Islam as we know it today was nursed by the newly emerged institutions, social structures, power verticals and the ancient world order. This essay argues for secularizing and de-theologizing study of the Islam and suggests that Quranic revelation be taken as a piece of self-communication, a discourse, a piece of polemics and a traditional Arab narrative that has been put to many uses historically by the interested social groups and individuals. Furthermore, the proper understanding of the Qurans authors (senders), its message (ideology and world view) and its audience (receivers) can help in the study of the Quran. This approach may provide ever new perspectives to the scholarly reading of Islamic sources. Keywords: Hermeneutics, epistemology, Islamic history, social origin of Islam, anthropology of Islam, jihad

Introduction The factors which are the great source of confusion and impede the holistic understanding of Islam are its complex and muddled historical origin, the lack of institutional authority, censorship, book burning, criminalization of its criticism and its enormous oral traditions which were contaminated by tribal and clan animosities in early Islam. The ethnocentric (Hooton, 1939, p. 194), temporocentric (Biertedt, pp. 27-28) and theologicentric approach to the study of Islamic resources has made it more complex. Furthermore, ignoring Qurans unique origin (E.Wansbrough, 2004) and comparing the Quran with the Bible as religious scripture has also contributed to the misunderstanding of Islamic resources (Stille,n.a ).

Theologicentrism means seeing a religion from a believers eye, as if it is an objective reality out there, not as a social fact, an ideational component of culture and a faith product. This leads to reducing Islamic studies to its theology and results in interpreting Quran out of its historical context, disregarding its history and social origin. This approach turns a scholar of Islam either into an apologist or a polemicist and a literalist; who can best be described as Ulama, one who knows Islam, but cannot observe disinterested neutrality in interpreting what Islam is and what Islam is not. As Peter von Sivers puts it, The majority of scholars are as literalist or fundamentalist as many adherents of these communities themselves. Their accounts are dressed in secular vocabulary and argumentation, but otherwise are identical with the sacred stories that believers tell of their community's origins. (Sivers, 2003, p. 1) Problems of Interpretation The problems of interpretation of religious scriptures (including Quran) are insurmountable. These belong to history, and since history is a never-ending process, the past is inextricably bound up with the present. Thus historians are always embedded in a historical process such that there is no space for them outside history; they cannot give an objective account of the past. Michel Foucault holds that the idea of Man (Man = historian for our purposes) is not able to stand outside society and history and thus generate objective and truthful knowledge. (Munslow, 2006, p. 35) The historical process is not accessible to the interpreters of Quran. Whatever methodology one adopts; one can never give an objective account of history. This makes history a socially constructed literary artifact. Munslow points out, Because history is written by historians, it is best understood as a cultural product existing within society, and as a part of the historical process, rather than an objective methodology and commentary outside of society. (Munslow, 2006, p. 12) There are time-bound and culture-bound meanings which one can never know. The historical distance between the Quran and the interpreter of the Quran cannot be bridged. Neither Quranic historical period nor its original audience, its author (God or Mohammed) and the cultural traditions of its time are available to the serious interpreter of the Quran. The interpreters are influenced by a pre-understanding of all these.. Munslow rightly points out, The historians ought to recognize the overlapping of historical events and their interpretation not just that the written history of one generation becomes the primary sources of the next, but that the historical text; exists inter-textually within the broader social and political structures of any epoch. (Munslow, 2006, p. 34) Thus one cannot help interpreting Quran in terms of the present experiences and stock of knowledge. The interpretation of Quran can be limitless. While discussing the possibility of limitless interpretations of a text, Gu explains, Since the text and the reader have their

historicity and intentionality, and there are generations of readers, the hermeneutic space is theoretically open, and the horizon of meaning is consequently, boundless. (Gu, 2005, p. 1)

This is the reason why American Islam is not similar to Arab Islam; Islam of the 7th century is not same Islam as that of today. As an example of non theologicentric analysis of Quran; its authorship, audience and the ideology and world view espoused in Quran and its uses by state and non-state actors during its historical evolution, will be discussed and analyzed here:

Authorship of Quran Religion, art and literature are modes of communication and collective thought. These are socially constructed and do not have a single author. A poet may claim the authorship of his poem; a novelist may bet that all his characters are his own creation. Nevertheless, like the biologists tell about the specie of a spider by looking at the structure of its web. The literary critics discern a signature of the collective consciousness and mode of thought in literary works. Our most personal and original thoughts are mediated through language and extra lingual symbol systems. No one can know anything, even that he exists, without the use of language and society that makes the author himself a social construct. Like Wikipedia, the Quran is not the intellectual property of a single author. It is the result of a collective enterprise. The Quran is a transcription of Allahs revelations consisting of his commands, rules of social conduct, codes of etiquette, self-praise and His edicts on the day to day events in the life of His apostle, Mohammad. It is a diary of His commentary on the events which happened in Mohammads life as communicated to His apostle. In addition to Arabic speaking Allah, all those who spoke at the behest of Allah; listened, memorized, transcribed, revised, compiled and edited what is said to have been revealed to Mohammad are the authors of the Quran. They made the Quran what it is as we know it today; that is officially recognized by Sunnis and predecessors of Mohammad as real one. Thus, intentionality of the authors of the Quran and its historical consumption is the key to the understanding of the Quran. Allah as the Author: Allah did not address humanity directly but through his messenger, Mohammad, who only knew Arabic and particularly Qurashyte dialect. Once Allah chose the Arabic language to address humanity whole communication ran into difficulties. Language is a man made construct, soon Allah put His message in the vessels of Arabic words, and the message took the shape of the vessel and turned God into an Arab constructed person who can be best understood as an Arab of seventh century. Quranic revelations appear to be a selfcommunication, talking to oneself introspectively. The revelation is a dialogue as well as a monologue. Dashti points out to inconsistencies in the Quran, The Quran contains many instances of confusion between the two speakers, God and Mohammad, in the same verse." (Dashti, 1985, pp. 110-112).

He further explains, In some Quranic versus the verb is in the first person, and in others it is in the third person. Evidently, God speaks first, and the Prophet Mohammad then speaks on Gods behalf. (Dashti, 1985, pp. 110-112) According to him Allah has indulged in self-praise in several Quranic Suras, Confusion between God and Mohammad is discernible in the Quran that consists of praise to God, homage to God, and supplication for God's help; in fact, first Sura of Quran is full of self-praise. (Dashti, 1985, pp. 110-112)

The Quran is not merely a vertical communication but also a horizontal one. One learns from readings of Quran that Allah seems to be in touch with His audience through Mohammad's hot line. He eagerly sought feedback from them and communicated with whosoever came in contact with Mohammad. However, all knowing Allah only knew what came in Mohammads knowledge. He listened to the petitions of Mohammads companions and suggested solutions to their problems. He cursed those who hurled abuses on Mohammad and threatened his wives for misbehaving with His apostle. He passed verdicts in the cases brought before Mohammad and abrogated his own previous judgments after getting more inputs. Allah as an Abrahamanic God has been styled as Yahweh, Jewish God. He is extremely partisan and merciless not only with infidels alone but also with Mohammads wives. He is merciful and compassionate with Mohammad and all those who accept Mohammad as His apostle. Replace Yahweh Sabaoth with Allah from these lines, it will make more sense: This is a brutal, partial and murderous God: a god of war who would be known as Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Armies. He is passionately partisan, has little compassion for anyone but his own favorites and is simply a tribal deity, a territorial God, who clearly demands you, shall be a friend with my friend you shall be friend and with my enemy, you shall be an enemy. (Armstrong, 1994, p. 19) Allah is a personal God. Dashti says, God in the Quran has the typical characteristics of a human being. At times, He is happy, at other times irate. He has likes and dislikes, and can be pleased. In short, all the propensities of our weak and unstable human nature, such as love, anger, vengefulness, and even guile, are also experienced by the Supreme Being. (Dashti, 1985, p. 108) He enthralled his messenger with His own majesty during the night journey. (Dashti, 1985, pp. 11-12); ridiculed and cursed those who cursed his messenger (Dashti, 1985, pp. 108109). He played the role of father and mother of Mohammad, who was an orphan and on his part, Mohamed behaved like Allahs favorite and an obedient son. Mohammad alone was the focus of Allahs attention and to make his ending better than beginning seemed to be His prime concern.

Allah was a partner of Mohammad in sharing war booty and a business-minded trader, talked about jihad as a deal with Him, as a business transaction. He bribed humans to win the support for his apostle, promised material incentives for accepting Mohammad's leadership, compensated the loss of business to Meccans by declaring hills of Safa and Marwa to be God's way marks and approved tribal raids against the Meccan caravans and taking their wealth as booty, the killings of prisoners and political assassinations at the behest of Mohammad. (Dashti, 1985, pp. 33-34)

Mohammad as the author: Revelation is not something which Mohammad did not knew about, talking to God and listening to Him while making humans as ones audience, and he did the same thing. All this was the family enterprise of Abraham and his descendents. Zwemer rightly holds, Islam in its origin and popular character is a composite faith, with Pagan, Jewish and Christian elements. (ZWEMER, 1920, p. 1) Mohammad thought himself to be the descendent of Abraham which Jews of that time disputed, and they claimed that the prophethood was only for chosen people of Israel. He talked like Abrahamic prophets; generating revelations, creating revealed laws, prescribing rituals, etc. Jews of Medina had to pay heavy price not conferring recognition to Mohammads newly attained identity, apostle of Allah. As the descendent of Abraham, Mohammad thought he inherited the pen and the tablet with which God taught Moses and gave the people of Israel's divine law. His revelations and prophet-hood could be taken as role playing as a God's apostle in accordance with Jewish prophetic traditions. Hence, the understanding of Jewish prophetic traditions as were known to Mohammad could help to understand Mohammad as an apostle of Allah. Human individual is caught up in vessels of identities and social statuses, and like water takes the shape of the vessel that contains it, human behavior is shaped by the social identities.

Mohammad was best understood by his arch enemy Abu Jahal. He took Mohammad as a whistle blower (Bromley, 1998 ) of the Quraysh tribe, a disgruntled member of the Banu Hashem clan; who was envious of the prosperity of wealthy Meccans, particularly tribal chiefs of Quraysh tribe. By campaigning against idol worship he tried to harm their trade that was due to the Kabah (sanctuary of the idol of tribal deities), they were guardians of. Mohammad was a humble Hashemite, dependent on his wife's wealth who became an emperor and Allah promptly supplied the rules and code of etiquette of interacting with this newly emerged emperor. Invoking Garred's theory of envy, his ranting against idolatry and idol temple Kabah could be taken as the result of envy. (Chilton, 2008, pp. 34-35) not due to spiritual awakening. His solution to problems of living of Meccans was jihad as an ideology, narcissism as its kernel.

Jihad was based on the principle that the end justifies the means. This was the ideology that turned traditional tribal raid gzawa into a global war and reflected decadence of the ancient world order. (Crone, 2004). Jihad as an ideology is better understood if it is compared with Bushs war on terrorism. Both jihad and war on terrorism can be taken as self-similar fractals borrowing the term from chaos theory. (Kellert, 2008) The sameness of the two ideologies is astonishing: use of private armies or the slave army, justifying the means with the ends, bribing allies to win the war, pragmatism, ethno-nationalism, pre-emptive war doctrine, resource war, world hegemony, etc.

Most of the scholars of Islam fail to understand disjunction between Meccan and Medina Quran and rationalize this incomparability. Quran said to be a great miracle could only convert less than 100 followers in 13 years hard work by Mohammad and his companions in Mecca. It was when Mohammad metamorphosed from just a warner into a condemner in Medina and used his sword and booty instead of pen and tablet to spread word of God that Islam could establish as a world religion.

Mohammads Scribes as authors: The scribes have taken a very important role in transcribing lengthy Suras what Mohammad had remembered what Allah revealed to him. They were given the task of collecting, revising, editing and compiling Quran long after Mohammad's death. It was canonized during Uthaman, and Sunnis accept this as the original Quran. This way, scribes shaped the revelation silently. The deletions, additions and modifications of the revelations started since Mohammad recited the Suras to his scribes. Dashti relates an incident of such modifications : Abdollah b. Sa'd b. Abi Sarh had for some time been one of the scribes employed at Madina to write down the revelations. On a number of occasions he had, with the Prophet's consent, changed the closing words of verses. For example, when the Prophet had said, "And God is mighty and wise" (aziz, hakim), Abdollah b. Abi Sarh suggested writing down "knowing and wise" (alim, hakim), and the Prophet answered that there was no objection. Having observed a succession of changes of this type, Abdollah renounced Islam on the ground that the revelations, if from God, could not be changed at the prompting of a scribe such as himself. After his apostasy, he went to Mecca and joined the Qorayshites. (Dashti, 1985, p. 75) Mohammads Companions as authors: The Quranic revelation was horizontal communication of the sorts in which both the sender (Allah or Mohammad) and the audience, the receiver, have equally contributed. The relation between Islam as a faith product and Muslims as its producers and subscribers has changed since Allah spoke to Mohamed; so is the role of Islam as a faith in maintaining or challenging the social order and man-women relations. Islam and Muslims are related to each other in two extreme ways: Present day Muslims are subscribers of Islam, they are what Islam made them like, merely the products of their religious beliefs and early Muslims were s the true owners of Islam and they made Islam the way they wanted their faith to be. Under Mohammad, Muslims as true owners of Islam, actively participated in Islam making. They tailored Islam in accordance with their needs, the way they wanted it to be. Muslims were what Islam made them like. Islam was what they wanted it to be. Islam and Muslims were made for each other. They were indirectly in communication with the creator of this universe, Allah through Mohameds hotline with Him. There were no middle men, no pimps, and no power brokers. The only compulsion was that instead of their tribal chiefs they had to accept Mohammad as the apostle of Allah and as their leader.

Most of them did it reluctantly and under fear; and for material incentives, the greatest incentive being the war booty and women of the fallen enemy. Islam had no intrinsic value for the majority of the Arabs. After Mohammads well being, the welfare of his companions was the chief concern of Allah, who rationalized tribal raids, pagan customs and rituals to make these conducive to the material prosperity of the Muslim community and in the interests of Arab nationalism and empire building. In fact, Islam has been used from the beginning as a means to earthly ends and means have been always justified with ends. However, under Mohammad, Islam was civil in practice, not above and beyond society (except for those who would refuse to accept Mohammad as Allahs Apostle and for those who would become apostates). Islam was owned by Muslims collectively and was egalitarian in the sense; Muslims were equal partners of war booty. The Muslims were a brotherhood, the Ummah and shareholders of Islam. Islam was made by the Muslims, for the Muslims and of the Muslims. There was a little gulf between the governor Mohamed and the governed, his followers. They could go into his home and see what has been cooked. They would call him from the back of the house where his wives would reside. They would seek his guidance even in marital affairs, whether to approach their wives from the front or from behind. Muslims treated Mohamed like a fellow Arab. Through Mohamed, Allah would listen to ordinary believers and talk to them. Give instructions, how to approach their wives and if the instructions did not work, their complaints would be heard. Allah would promptly modify His edict. (Dashti, 1985, p. 83) However, with the passage of time Mohamed behaved and was treated like a king by his inner circle, most of them were his in laws and he was feared even by believers.

Mohameds Inner Circle as authors: According to the Quran, real sovereignty belongs to Allah, who alone is law giver and a legislator, and He alone can say what is allowed and what is forbidden for man. As sovereignty is a power relation, for Allah to exercise His sovereignty over the earth, He has to be a human being. Since Mohammad did not claim that he was God but an ordinary man chosen by Allah to exercise His authority, Hukum, upon the earth. After his death, who will administer and adjudicate Allahs commands, Allah had said nothing about it. With the result Muslims suffered from a crisis of representation and authority. Whole Islamic history is ridden from this crisis, and Muslims have failed to resolve the issue till date. (Madelung, 1997 )

Mohammad, even if Allahs apostle, did not enjoy the absolute power over his inner circle who were first to embrace Islam and encourage Mohammed (even guide him at times) to pursue his prophet hood. They were his advisors and consultants. Some of them were hanifs (free thinkers of their time) and early converts to Islam. Several times his orders were defied by them during his prophet hood. It was because Muslim community, the Ummah was not a new tribe, but a trans-tribal confederate. Mohammads followers still owed allegiance to their own tribal chiefs. Even Allah would take their suggestion more seriously and incorporate those in subsequent revelations. Being advisors and consultants of Mohammad, they shaped the Quranic content

during Mohammeds lifetime and after his death. They were the authentic source of traditions and took a key role in compiling and editing Quran in such a manner that it could not be used against their authority and leadership. After Mohammads death, his inner circle usurped his power, and Islam did not remain civil. (CRONE, 1986) Women as authors: The early Islam was a war driven religion; women were less important than men. Hence Allah did not address women in His revelations . Women were addressed in Quranic revelations after a delegation of Muslim women met Mohammad with the complaint that Allah addresses men alone. However, Allah and his messenger, Mohammad and through him Allah was accessible to women. Mohammad would listen to them and this way they have influenced the contents of the revelation a little. Women and slaves were Mohammads political constituency. Some of them were early converts to Islam and faced torture and persecution in the hands of Mohammads political adversaries. However, Allah had to intervene in Mohammads harem politics on several occasions. He issued threats and admonitions against Mohammad's wives and warned them not to indulge in rivalry against one another. (Dashti, 1985, pp. 93-98) Terribly upset with women on this issue, He settled man-women relation in Quranic revelations in favor of man once for all. Allah passed edicts to regulate manwomen relation, which reflected degraded man-women power relation under Islam. After Mohammad's death, the situation worsened and women became the victims of legalistic Islam, Shariat. (Murata, 1992) Women lost more and more ground as an empire was built under jihad driven Islam.

Audience Of Quran What a sender says is partly determined by who is the target of the message and partly on senders latent and manifest intention in doing so; and purported power relation between the sender and the receiver (whether the communication is horizontal or vertical, petitioner or authoritative). This will in turn determine how the message is put to use by the audience; and how it serves senders purpose in establishing and maintaining power relation with his audience. In a way, audience influences the messages sender sends and the message the receiver receives. This circularity of the communication also influenced the content of the Quran. The primary audience of Quran included Arabs, particularly Mohammads constituency: marginalized and discontented segment of society like orphans, the poor, homeless, beggars, slaves, women, etc., as mentioned in the Quran. The authors and audience of the Quran benefit from Quranic communication differently, the primary authors of Quran used it for empire building while as the audience was used as foot soldiers of jihad campaigns and got a little war booty.

However, during Mohammad's time, the power relation between Mohammad and his companions was not so great. The communication was essentially horizontal, people to people. His companions indirectly participated in composing the Allahs message. Hence the message was not without incentives and benefits for the audience, for example almost equal

share in war booty and women of the fallen enemy. After his death, Quran was considered to be complete and no one could claim to receive revelation from Allah. The power relation between the interpreters and the subscribers of the Quran changed. Mohammad's inner circle had a free hand in interpreting and administering Allahs authority. They enjoyed absolute power in temporal and religious matters, including enacting rules of social conduct, deciding on fiscal matters and distribution of war booty, etc. Later after the companions of Mohammad were no more on the scene, the story telling, myth making, rumor mongering, turning Mohammad into a cult figure, relating what Mohammad and his companions said and what they did, miracle mongering, jihad stories were the pastime of the Arabs. This became a way to express the tribal animosities, de-legitimize rulers or support them, extol their own tribe and degrade the adversaries. In this manner, Arabs participated in Islam making even after death of Mohammad. It is in this vitiated environment that Islamic traditions as we know it, considered to be a second source by Muslims after the Quran, were compiled. With the result Muslim historians accumulated vast oral traditions and the scholars of Islam got bogged in these narratives.

After emergence of Madrasah power elite, what Islam is and what Islam is not, became a public affair, negotiated through discourse in the Madrasah and the mosque, produced through oral traditions, and made known to people through the pulpit. It did not need an official approval as long as it served Arab nationalism, Islamic empire and Arab hegemony or legitimized state run by ruling tribal alliance. Thus, Madrasah competed with state for social power, and at times it collaborated or opposed it. As the Muslim empire expanded, there appeared a clear disjunction between Islam and its practice that was codified as state laws. Islamic social order became a tall power pyramid in which vast majority of Muslims were at the bottom of it. Corruption and nepotism were rampant in the caliphate. The slaves and non-Muslims were engaged as mercenaries in Islamic army. The war booty was no longer shared equally. Quran, Sunnah, Sirat and Hadith were considered untouchable sources to be understood literally and interpreted by Ulamas alone. Islam and Muslims were no more made for each other under Shariat. The ordinary Muslims had no say in defining and interpreting Islam, which was deemed to be a ready-made product and uncreated one. Like Karl Marxs Das Capital, Islam and its practice became more technical. The ordinary Muslims no longer understood their own faith. Ulama became specialized in this technical or legalistic Islam codified in laws and expressed in fatwas and injunctions. The state forced their interpretation of Islam on the rest of the Muslim society. The Ulamas either had an option to side with the ruling class, merchants and army generals or use their own interpretation to de-legitimize state authority. The opposition could be easily crushed by declaring a political opponent as an apostate. Insulting and hurling abuses against the political adversaries on the pulpit became the common practice. (Dashti, 1985)

Content of the Quran Words do not have a single shared meaning. One who uses a word gives it a meaning according to his social practice and cultural frame of references. What we perceive and how we interpret what we perceive is largely determined by these frames of references. For example, a simple word like family does not give identical meaning to a layman, to a biologist, to a sociologist, to a lawyer, to a linguist, to a chemist while interpreting the periodic table of elements. The dictionaries are actually hermeneutic tools for the practitioners of the language that are applied differently to similar words in a different field of activity and social practice by people of various persuasions. Furthermore, human language is essentially rhetorical and reflects power relations of its speakers. These shared meanings make interpersonal communication possible and embeds language with social structure. Human culture, including religion, art and literature, can be viewed as a broad frame of reference or a cognitive mould and as a system of traditions within which as an anthropologist, Margaret Mead, has said, "The crude sensations originating within the bodythe quickened pulse beat, the tautened muscle, the clammy handand those originating outside the bodythe slowly rising moon or the sudden flash of an electric bulb, the line of a tree or a lamp post against a wintry sky, the cry of a bird or the grinding machinery of a garbage truckare given meaning". (Weiland, 1935-1990) All modes of human thought, particularly religion and ideologies, are intimately bound up with power structures and social controls; and result in normalization of human subject and regulation of the social order. This way, the Quranic text can be taken as a mode of thought and a communication style that has originated within cultural practices and social relations of the Arabs living in 7th century that in turn was embedded within these.

From this point of view, the Quranic language is rhetorical and polemical; the actual meaning of Quranic words is outside the domain of language, in social practice that gave rise to these words and the meanings these carry. Religious ideas have a special place in human thought, social order and culture. (TREMLIN, 2006) Religion adds a new dimension to social order through the use of religious symbols, myths and signs, which have roots in social relations and cultural practices. It is a lingual order that scaralizes regime of rights and privileges in a society. This forms the basis of moral order of a society and shapes human behavior cognitively. Quran can be viewed as a cultural script of such a moral order, social relations and cultural practices of Arabs during 7th century as manifested in Arabic language systems or codes, that sacralizes the regime of rights and privileges, what is allowed and what is prohibited, rights and duties for Muslim community. Bamyeh writes about how Quranic moral order is related to the material conditions and level of cultural development. What is particularly important here are such issues as the connections between the emergence of certain economic practices (such as trade and money-

based exchange), cultural thought patterns (as observed in pre-Islamic poetry and ontotheology), and the reconfiguration of trans-tribal patterns of solidarity. (Bamyeh, 1999, p. IV)

Consumption Of Quranic Capital Islam has always been used for earthly ends. It reflects its spiritual impoverishment. If the war on terrorism as an ideology reflects the decline of the present day global capitalism, the emergence of Islam reflected the decadence of the ancient world order. Historically, the Quran has been put to numerous uses. Mohammad used the Quran for his own ruler ship and ascendance of his clan and tribe. His inner circle as a newly emerged power vertical used the Quran in favor of Arab nationalism under Meccan dominance. The kings and despot used the Quran for dictatorship and as an instrument of discontent management tool. The Arabs used the Quran as a vehicle of their new identity as a world power. In addition to this, it helped the transition of Arab society as a non-literate to a literate society, cultural diffusion with non Arab cultures and liberalization and globalization of trade and commerce in ancient world order. Mohammad being the authentic practitioner of the Quranic revelation, the analysis of the Quran should include how the Quran was put into practice under him. The key to the study of the Quran is in understanding the use it was put by Mohammad and what social and political purposes it served him. As Michel Foucault holds, Truth is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation, and operation of statements. (Munslow, 2006, p. 15) This approach will help scholars of the Quran to unearth what the Quran does not say explicitly and what it hides. Quran As An Instrument Of Discontent Management : Mohammad has used Quranic revelation and his newly attained status, the apostle of Allah as a discontent management tool. He talked of the poor, the orphan, women and the slaves but had no solution to their problems and did nothing for them. The slavery was not abolished but rationalized and legitimized; women slaves were being used as prostitutes and slave trade thrived under Islam. Mohammad himself took women of the fallen enemy as sex slaves. The poor got Zakat (alms), but it can hardly ensure the just distribution of wealth. Charity does no good to those whom it is supposed to help. In fact, a philanthropist gets more benefit by indulging in potlatch (Bracken, 1997) that enhances his social prestige and degraded those who receive alms. The position of women did not change under Islam. Before the advent of Islam, womens position in Mecca was not so bad as it is made to be. Mohammads first wife was a business woman, not dependent on any male member. In fact, Mohammad was dependent on her as a servant. After emergence of Islam, womans status in Arab society degraded. After reading Quran one comes to the conclusion that the contractual nature of marriage under Islam is a business deal between man and women, under which women sells herself and surrenders her rights to her husband for some reward or dower.

Quran As Constitution Of Islamic State : Mohamed was not head of the state but merely a trans-tribal governor, running a government without a state, using his social power informally. The fiscal regime of taxes and Zakat does not mean the emergence of a state but merely stateless government. His governance was with the consent of the governed and was civil so far as followers of Mohammad accepted him as their leader. There was least centralization of authority. Mohammad shared power with his inner circle and did not enjoy the absolute power over his followers. The power struggle over his succession proved that his government was a family affair as his in-laws became head of the Islamic state in succession. The mosque pulpit, the seat of his power, was not institutionalized as long as Mohammad was alive. There were no formal institutions for education; Madrasah had yet to get formalized. The clan and family enjoyed autonomy as primary socializing agencies and inculcated tribal values and were driven by clan identity instead of newly emerged Muslim identity. After Mohammad's death, the crisis of leadership was not resolved through consultation in a civil manner and with the society-wide consensus. Abu Bakr coerced his companions, bullied Medina tribes and engineered consent by forming an alliance against Hashemite clan in his favor to become a Khalifa. The launching of so-called apostasy war by him was a blow to Mohameds governance with consent. The practice of Takfir originated, it became a common practice to declare a Muslim an apostate if he opposed state authority and Ulama's edicts. (Madelung, 1997 ) The inner circle formed a nexus and usurped Mohammads temporal authority and took the control of Mosque pulpit through coercion and clan politics. In fact, they enjoyed absolute power. They brought pulpit in their control and dominated all the discourse on Quran and Sunnah. They made the best use of Allahs authority as Ulamas and the tradition was nonexistent. Being consultants and advisors of Mohammad, no one would have taught them what Mohammad said and what Mohammad did. The state above and beyond civil society emerged, which was later captured by wealthy Meccan tribes, putting Ummah to the crisis of representation for ever. Mohammad had clearly prohibited using and appropriating his authority as an apostle of God and authority of Allah as lawgiver and a legislator. He declared himself to be the last prophet, and it meant last divine authority to rule under the name of Allah and administer Allahs commands on earth. He probably meant governance of society to remain civil, not above the society. (Ayoub, 2003) With the emergence of Islamic state, Islam was owned by its ruling class, dominated by the merchant class, wealthy Meccans and warriors. They crushed any opposition to their rule ruthlessly and frustrated any attempt by ordinary Muslims to take their religion in their own hands. Later, it led to nepotism, corruption and lust for power and materialism and disintegration of Islam. (Zwemer, 1915) Thus, the foundation was laid for despotism and totalitarianism in house of Islam

Quran Marker Of Transition From Non-Literate To Literate Society: The Quran marked a shift in Arab society from non-literate to a literate society. The emergence of Islam was seen as a great revolution in tribal Arab society, which threw literate trans-tribal elite to the political power. It was a structural necessity that the power elite be educated formally and socialized

for the trans-tribal governance. Thus, Madrasah became the locus of social power, and the Islamic clergy emerged as power elite, power brokers and pimps of Muslim patriarchy. It gave an impetus to learning and writing in Arabic language. The introduction of paper and the establishment of one language, Arabic, as the medium of communication and emergence of the leisure class resulted in the explosion of scholarly and literary activity in Muslim empire. Arabic became the international language of the ancient world order, as a medium of learning, science and scholarship, Islamic theology and law. It was a revolution of its kind and resulted in so many books, translations and cultural diffusion, in which Jews, Christians and non Arab Muslims took a key role. It promoted cross-cultural communication with translation movements of non Arab scholarly works. Most of the contributions to Islamic thought and Arab culture and language were made by non-Arabs. The interpretation of the Quran, compilation and transmitting Sunnah became a great cultural capital and a form of social power. Like anyone quoting Marx and talking of the proletariat is held in high esteem among leftists, quoting the Quran and Mohammad's sayings and deeds gave people unpredictable authority. The Mosque emerged as an autonomous institution. Those who controlled the pulpit and Madrasah could run the state within a parallel state, either sharing power with ruling class or resisting state authority. Arabic language became a cross-cultural language for political communication across the Muslim world. Having Arabic name meant to be a Muslim, while Arabs did not change their names after they converted to Islam, but non-Arabs had to do so. The imposition of Arabic resulted in cultural subjugation and impoverishing of many native Muslim cultures coming under Arab rule, and these lost whatever cultural capital they had accumulated. There were non-Arabic versions of Islam like Bahaism and Ahamadyiat, propounded by non-Arab Ulamas but they were brutally suppressed. Quran As Marker Of Muslim Identity: The sociologists talk about primary group identification necessary for normalization of social behavior. Like water, human individual takes the shape of the vessels of identity; he has been put into at birth. These vessels are social statuses and identities which an individual ascribes, outside these identities he lacks meaning and purpose. In a way, an adherent of organized religion is Whytes organizational man (Whyte, 2002 ), one who willingly subordinates his goals, thoughts and desires to conform to the demands of the membership to the organization. It is the ideology that the group is superior to the individual. The belonging is achieved through uncritical conformity, and it caters to the ultimate emotional needs to the individual. The need to achieve conformity is so important for group solidarity and cohesion that the process of socialization and child-rearing practices do not remain civil and result in child abuse. The aim is an ethos of conformity at any price. With the result, an adherent of organized religions behaves like Dr. Lorenz Ducks. (Sluckin, 2007 )

Quran can be taken as a political statement of emergence of a new community and an identity, that of Muslim Ummah, the primary group for Muslims, the source of everything Islamic. Islam for an ordinary Muslim is a token of membership to the Muslim community. All the socializing agencies like family, school and mosque work to shape him the way they want him to be. From this point of view Jihad was not merely for war booty and women of fallen enemy but also for Arab identity. Fighting in the war was not merely for the sake of Allah, but it was a matter of belongingness and identity for Arabs who gathered under Islamic flag. The Arab identity was one of the motive forces that has driven jihad and expanded Islamic empire. As Vlahos, Michael puts it, Identity poweras Clausewitz reminds us about geist or spirit is the true source of military power. If identity is what moves people, then war is identitys supreme instrument. People continue to make their identity through war. Hence the shared experience and sacrifice of war is both a story and a celebration; and if war makes identity, then its ritual remembrance afterward is nothing less than a peoples mass. War is the liturgy of identity. It is hard, even uncomfortable for us to think. (Vlahos, 2009, p. 30) He further explains how self as social construct and the religion are closely related, It is not that war is religion: rather, war and religion both represent ritual and transcendental vessels for identity. They serve true meaning in life, which is our realization of self, through the transcendence deep belonging brings. Belonging takes many forms. Sociologists point to primary or kin-identityfamily, Extended family and clan. (Vlahos, 2009, p. 1)

Quran As Marker Of Ancient Globalization: Quran and extra Quranic traditions are products of global churning of the ancient world. Historical Islam emerged as a vehicle of globalization of ancient world order. Ancient globalization was presided by Islam and in turn shaped by it. Mohammad and his companions jihad was a globalized tribal raid that was a similar to Bushs resource war. Earlier Arabs used to raid each other for their survival needs that were governed by tribal norms. Islam gave them an ideology to turn such raids into a world war, into a great appetite for material wealth and women that turned the desert dwellers as a world power. Allah provided all the rules, regulations, justifications and ideology for such an imperialist war. It was called jihad and it meant a violent dismantling and intolerance towards everything that is non-Arab and old in the view of Arab invaders, no different than the presentday globalization. Jihad can also be taken as a structural necessity for emerging Muslim community in Medina and Islamic empire as its butterfly effect, borrowing the term from chaos theory. The emergence of Islam as a globalization doctrine needed perpetual war against all nations until these are put under the Arab hegemony. This in turn needed men as warriors instead of women who were expected to contribute to war effort by actively engaging themselves in procreation and nursing. Women were not beneficiaries of Allahs revelations. Jihad can be best understood if we compare it with Bushs war on terrorism. Like the Bushs war on terrorism is linked to trade routes and supply lines of resources, Mohammad cashed in

on the envy among Arabs who wanted to make their own town the market place like Kabah. Mohammad sold the concept of jihad to Arabs as a solution to all of their problems of scarcity of material resources, imposed Islam on Arabia and brought the different Arab tribes under one flag. Vlahos has elaborated the theme of globalization excellently , Globalization times are also transformation times. The old rhythms of life are upended and identities stripped, tossed up, and remixed. New human patterns emerge and new formulations are negotiated: among societies and states, and within identity. (Vlahos, 2009, p. 4) Jihad is the most contested and misunderstood Quranic concept. The historical role of jihad and Islamic empire building has not been understood in the proper context. Theologicentric of the concept is totally misleading and apologetic in this respect. The jihad is a war doctrine that proved to be a vehicle for ancient globalization under Islam. Jones rightly holds, Like Christianity, Islam is an expansion-driven religion, aiming at nothing less than global expression of its socio-religious beliefs. (JONES G. N., p. 40) David's cooks points out that Islamic traditions that contain a very powerful description of jihad portraying heaven as an army Camp, reflecting a belief system capable of inspiring the conquest of foreign lands. He explains, An entire economy produces a fighter and that the front-line fighters could not exist without the production capabilities of the society supporting them. However, the dominant attitude in the jihad literature toward society and the sedentary lifeespecially farmers and merchantsis a negative one. (Cook D. , 2005, p. 18) What was the end result of empire building under Islam is explained by Michael Bonner, The relatively small elite of Arab warriors were thus recipients of tax money amidst an enormous, taxpaying majority. As Muslims they were expected to pay a communal alms tax (Zakat or sadaqa), but this was lighter than the burden of kharaj and jizya imposed on non-Muslims. This distinction between recipients and taxpayers corresponded rather neatly to distinctions in religion and in occupation: those who received were Muslims, while those who paid were Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians; the Muslims spent their time as warriors, the others as producers. (BONNER, 2006, p. 85) Non Arab Uses Of Quran : Two Islamic sects, Bhai and Ahamadyia, whose founders were non-Arabs Ulamas were suppressed by mainstream Islamic sects. Their founders reinterpreted Sunni doctrines of Mohammad as the last prophet and exploited the belief that Mahadi will emerge to restore peace throughout the world and give glory to Islam. Bah's, have chosen to live as dahimis under Islam rather than being persecuted as apostates and they assert that their religion is a distinct tradition with its own scriptures, teachings, laws, and history. However, Ahamadyia continue to be prosecuted and have lower religious status than Christians and Jews, who as dhimmis, "people of the book," are accorded legal and social protection in theory. Saudi Arabia does not allow Ahamadyia's entry even for the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca. Feminist Use Of Quran: The only Muslims who have ever put Quranic authority to use for a noble cause are Muslim feminists. Muslim societies are torn apart with all kinds of cultural lags, decadent social norms, value conflict between demands of money exchange relations and

feudal and tribal cultural milieu. This has resulted in fierce gender politics in Muslim societies between Muslim clergy and Muslim feminists and is getting vicious day by day. Gender jihad as a global war is fought on the internet through social networking, in mosques and on the streets through acid attacks and in homes through torture and honor killing. Muslim clergy reads the Quran to revive patriarchy and its restrictive control of women to ensure male support and to divert attention from the real problems of society and their failure to deal with them. In contrast to this, Muslim feminists read the Quran from women's point of view and with all their hermeneutic tools they find in Quranic text what they search for, the empowerment of Muslim women. The gender jihad is a multi-prong war and is fought on many fronts. Muslim feminist activists confront Muslim clergy by launching occupy mosque movement(Islamic scholar Amina Wadud is heading such a movement ) aiming at taking up the pulpit. The communication guerrilla, Alia al Mahdi so-called naked blogger, shocked the Muslim world by undressing herself on the internet as an act of protest communication. Feminist academicians are writing books against the veil, child bride practice, female genital mutilation, polygamy, and the structural violence perpetrated against Muslim women living under Shariat. They work for gender equality and seek a radical restructuring of social structure. A vast majority of Muslim women silently joins them in their gender jihad against phallocratic sexual apartheid by driving cars in Saudi Arabia, violating the dress code on daily basis in Iran and confronting religious police and facing punishment even jail in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. All this is to assert their birth right to display their erotic capital and showing off estrogen level to all prospective heterosexual males. This reflects the changing man-women power relations in Muslim societies, emergence of Urban Middle class, and access to higher education and job opportunities to a significant number of Muslim women. These Muslim woman need delayed marriage and radical change in life style and social values. They are daughters and wives of the educated upper class and urban middle class; and constitute 1% of the tip of the Muslim power pyramid. However, the vast majority of Muslim women are denied human rights and access to higher education. The kernel of historical Islam being jihad doctrine and violent destruction and domination of other faiths and the conquest of the world, Women were the biggest losers after emergence of Islam. This might partly explain the phallocratic attitude of early Muslims. As Chilton, Bruce puts it, The existence of the urban complex required land, which implied aggressive and defensive wars, armies, and casualties of war. What some social anthropologists refer to as a masculine" or "patriarchal" attitude is more accurately described as the mentality of war, which cities since their origins and the nation- states that followed them have institutionalized. They have promoted polygamy among victorious male warriors (to distribute widows and female orphans after battle), sacrifice by men alone (for males were valued over women in warfare), and the provision of large, expensive victims in sacrifice in order to seal the power of the urban state. (Chilton, 2008, p. 30)

Gay Use Of Quran: Human beings are capable of many forms of sexual expressions, orientations and identifications. Not all orientations and identifications are socially approved and accorded recognition. Gays face prejudice and homophobia from within their own communities and families, as Islam explicitly condemns homosexuality and treats homosexuality as a disease and denies it any social recognition. Islam advocates compulsory heterosexuality. (Bouhdiba, 1998).

However, the situation has changed; Muslims living in the West are threatening heterosexual regime in Muslim communities by seeking recognition for same-sex marriages. The Muslim gay community is working to make Quran gay friendly and using Quranic authority to seek recognition for their sexual orientations and in support of same-sex marriages. Muslim women and gay imams are leading prayer congregations in Mosques and gay imams are performing same-sex marriages in the Western countries. Muslim gays are serving Islam in the West by getting new converts and also promoting gay tourism to Muslim countries (including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan) where child abuse is not a societal concern.

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