TEHRAN—You might be unfamiliar with the concept of "Wudu". It's an Islamic practice including the washing of some parts of body such as the hands, arms and face in order to get prepared for saying prayers or reciting the Holy Quran. It's is of high value in the Islamic tradition, because it's a preface to inner purity and satisfies the Almighty Creator who wants its creatures to be pure and clean once they want to talk to Him. Wudu is translated into English as "ablution". One who is in the state of Wudu, that is has washed his face, hands, arms and feet, is obliged to adhere to some certain codes of morality, including devotion to honesty, justice and sincerity. One who is in the state of Wudu is supposed not to tell lie, not to judge with prejudice and partiality and not to state or claim what is unrighteous and unfair.
Prior to setting off for writing this article, I conducted "Wudu" and promised myself not to get out of the borders of honesty and objectivity. I promised myself to propose what is my concern in a manner that is justifiable and virtuous, and pose a few questions as someone who has been entitled to ask freely, without being disrupted by projection or disturbance.
It was on the news headlines that the Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center church pastor Terry Jones has decided to burn a set of Qurans on the advent of September 11 in an action which is deemed to be a remonstration against what is introduced as "Islamic extremism".
Regrettably, Wayne Sapp who is an associate pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center has proclaimed that burning the Holy Quran is a direction God wants them to go. "We are convinced this is the direction God wants us to go. That's the only reason we're doing it in the first place," he told the reporters.
First and foremost, it should be noted that the announcement of such a plan, regardless of its being done or not, is an immoral, condemnable and blameworthy action. The immorality and unacceptability of such an action would be underscored by the fact that an evangelical church which considers itself a propagator of Christian religious values has decided to burn a holy book which some 1.5 billion people around the world revere and venerate.
In this point, one may unavoidably come across to a vital question which puts one into an inevitable and inescapable stalemate: what happens if the Muslims announce a plan to burn the Torah? Won't they be accused of extremism, anti-Semitism, fanaticism, fundamentalism and radicalism? Won't they become the subject of unending attacks by the mainstream, corporate media of the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and their European allies? Won't the international organizations collectively condemn the Muslim society and won't an all-out wave of Islamophobic actions set out to emerge around the world? Won't the high-ranking politicians and statesmen of countries, who don't have anything to do with Judaism, condemn this action simply because of their connection and affinity with Israel? Won't any conscious, cognizant and decent citizen rebuff such an outrageous and disgraceful action? Won't the international community categorically react to the Muslims community?
The answer to all of the questions posed above is clear. The extent of international punishments for insulting the holy book of Jews will be so wide-ranging and across-the-board that the Muslims will profoundly regret their action and instantaneously apologize; however, the question which I posed contains a possibility that never takes place. Muslims have always paid tribute to other Abrahamic religions and treated their pillars, prophets and holy books with great reverence and respect. Essentially, Islam has put a crucial responsibility on the shoulders of Muslims to respect the other religions, treat with the followers of Abrahamic religions in a brotherly manner and never make a distinction between them.
To be just and fair, Islam has comprehensively advised its followers to pay homage and respect to the beliefs of those who follow other religions and avoid behaving in a way which degrades and subdues them. In the Verse 285 of the Chapter Baqara (Heifer) of the Holy Quran, we read:
"The Apostle believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth In God, His angels, His books, and His apostles. We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His apostles. And they say: we hear, and we obey: (we seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee Is the end of all journeys."
This is a clear evidence for the fact that Quran orders the Muslims to treat all of the prophets equally without making any distinction between them.
In the Verse 44 of the Chapter Maida, (The Table Spread), the Almighty God stresses the necessity and essentiality of respecting and esteeming the holy book of Torah: "It was We who revealed The Torah (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged The Jews, by the Prophets Who bowed (as in Islam) to God's Will, by the Rabbis and the Doctors of Law: For to them was entrusted the protection of God's Book, and they were witnesses thereto: Therefore fear not men, but fear Me, and sell not My Signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what God hath revealed, they are (no better than) unbelievers"
The more substantial evidence which demonstrates that Islam is strictly committed to the veneration of other prophets and their holy books can be found in the Verse 136 of the Chapter Baqara. "Say ye: we believe In God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ism?'?l, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to God (in Islam)."
The Holy Quran highlights that its teachings and values verify and complement the teachings of previous holy books, including Torah and Bible, and this clear statement can be found in the Verse 92 of the Chapter An’am (Cattle): "And this is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming the revelations which came before it: that thou Mayest warn the Mother of Cities and all around her. Those who believe In the Hereafter believe in this Book, and they are constant In guarding their Prayers."
Islam has never hesitated to verify the authenticity and legitimacy of its predecessors and the nations which adhered to the holy books. In the Verse 62 of the Chapter Baqara, it's expressively stated that those who believe in the Almighty God and do decent acts, regardless of their religion, will be blessed and exalted rightfully:
"Those who believe in the Quran, and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, - any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."
There are thousands of such instances which indicate the benevolence, peacefulness and serenity of Islam. Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood. Those who crashed into the twin towers of New York and accomplished the mission of 9/11 were not Muslims. They belonged to the gangs which the very White House, that is now purportedly launching a global war on terror, founded, nurtured, supported and amplified to the extent of an international terrorist organization: Al-Qaida.
Burning the Holy Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will simply draw an end to the spiritual life of those who have planned such a dirty trick. I'm sure that no conscious Muslim will do any harm to the evangelical pastor who is going to burn the Holy Quran on September 11, but I'm sure that his spiritual life as a minister will come to a tragic end, because the very Almighty God who has revealed the Holy Quran upon Prophet Muhammad will save His book as well. "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)."
Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and interviewer. He is a contributing writer of Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine and the the Foreign Policy Journal. He is a member of Tlaxcala Translators Network for Linguistic Diversity (Spain). He is also a member of World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSC-SD). Kourosh Ziabari's articles have appeared in a number of Canadian, Belgian, Italian, French and German websites. He can be reached at email@example.com
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was (re)published on September 9, 2010.