Qur’an Desecration Is Nothing New


In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Thanks be to God, this commentary was published today by the Religion News Service. It is reproduced for you below:

Although many Americans have recently come to learn about it
for the first time, the desecration of the Quran is nothing new. Islam’s
sacred text has been desecrated for many years now, although not a single
printed page of paper and ink was harmed in the process.

The Sept. 11 hijackers desecrated the Quran by their act of mass murder
in New York City and Washington, D.C. In fact, all those who attack and kill
civilians in the name of Islam — some of the insurgents in Iraq, suicide
bombers attacking a Shiite mosque in Pakistan, the bombers in Bali,
Indonesia — all of them, by their actions, viciously desecrate the Quran. A
Muslim merchant who cheats his customers — despite always taking care to
keep the book clean — desecrates the Quran.

Yet, how can this be?

While technically a book of paper and ink, the Quran is a life-force,
breathing life into the believer and awakening him or her from a deep
spiritual slumber. Moreover, the Quran is brought to life by the believer
who follows its commands. The best example of this is the Prophet Muhammad,
<!– D(["mb","who was described by his wife as a "walking Quran."
When someone wilfully desecrates the Quran, he or she manifests a
deep-seated disdain for the sacred text. Such an act says, "The Quran is so
meaningless to me that I will burn its pages or urinate on its printed
words." But wilful and wanton betrayal of the principles of the Quran in
one\’s actions effectively does the very same thing.
The Quran holds all life, but most especially human life, with the
utmost of sanctity. The Quran says: "Nor take life — which God has made
sacred — except for just cause … " It also says, "Take not life, which
God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus doth he command
you, that ye may learn wisdom." The verses are unequivocal, without
condition or qualification. Further emphasizing this sanctity, suicide is
strictly prohibited: " … do not kill yourselves, for verily God has been
most merciful unto you."
So, when a Muslim militant straps a bomb on himself and kills innocent
people (Muslim or otherwise), doesn\’t he blatantly disregard a direct
commandment of God in the Quran? Doesn\’t this act of wilful violence show
disdain for the Quran?
The Quran also issues a stern warning to merchants and shopkeepers: "Woe
to those that deal in fraud — those who, when they have to receive by
measure from people, exact full measure. But when they have to give by
measure or weight to them, give less than due." If a Muslim merchant,
therefore, pays no heed to this and wilfully cheats his customers, doesn\’t
this action say that the Quran is totally meaningless to him? I believe it
does. In fact, suicidal militants and dishonest businessmen might as well
spit on the Quran and tear up its pages.
This in no ways belittles the incidents of Quran desecration that
occurred at Guantanamo Bay, and I believe those involved should be punished
“,1] ); //–>who was described by his wife as a “walking Quran.”

When someone wilfully desecrates the Quran, he or she manifests a
deep-seated disdain for the sacred text. Such an act says, “The Quran is so
meaningless to me that I will burn its pages or urinate on its printed
words.” But wilful and wanton betrayal of the principles of the Quran in
one’s actions effectively does the very same thing.

The Quran holds all life, but most especially human life, with the
utmost of sanctity. The Quran says: “Nor take life — which God has made
sacred — except for just cause … ” It also says, “Take not life, which
God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus doth he command
you, that ye may learn wisdom.” The verses are unequivocal, without
condition or qualification. Further emphasizing this sanctity, suicide is
strictly prohibited: ” … do not kill yourselves, for verily God has been
most merciful unto you.”

So, when a Muslim militant straps a bomb on himself and kills innocent
people (Muslim or otherwise), doesn’t he blatantly disregard a direct
commandment of God in the Quran? Doesn’t this act of wilful violence show
disdain for the Quran?

The Quran also issues a stern warning to merchants and shopkeepers: “Woe
to those that deal in fraud — those who, when they have to receive by
measure from people, exact full measure. But when they have to give by
measure or weight to them, give less than due.” If a Muslim merchant,
therefore, pays no heed to this and wilfully cheats his customers, doesn’t
this action say that the Quran is totally meaningless to him? I believe it
does. In fact, suicidal militants and dishonest businessmen might as well
spit on the Quran and tear up its pages.

This in no ways belittles the incidents of Quran desecration that
occurred at Guantanamo Bay, and I believe those involved should be punished
<!– D(["mb","by authorities. Yet, even though I share the anger of Muslims across the
world over these incidents, I do not believe such anger excused the
senseless loss of life that occurred in its wake. Such violence and death, I
believe, is a far worse desecration of the Quran than what occurred at
Guantanamo Bay, without excusing in the least what occurred there.
Still, the incidents of Quran desecration did have some positive
outcomes. The American public has gotten an opportunity to learn more about
the Quran and how important the sacred text is to Muslims the world over. In
fact, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, almost 12,000
people have requested a free copy of the Quran since May 17. This can only
be a good thing. Equally as important, however, the incidents of Quran
desecration have caused me to reflect on the true meaning of the Quran and a
deeper understanding of what it means to desecrate any sacred text. And I
will be all the better because of it.
(Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and columnist for
Beliefnet. His forthcoming book, the "Beliefnet Guide to Islam," will be
published by Doubleday in 2006. You can read his blog at:
http://www.hassaballa.org.)

== 30 ==

RNS Coverage Advisory
c. 2005 Religion News Service

BILLY GRAHAM COVERAGE WRAPUP

Billy Graham Crusade, New York City
Billy Graham, 86, ended his New York crusade on Sunday (June 27),
wrapping up a historic visit to the city that launched the famed evangelist
into the national spotlight with a 1957 crusade.
RNS has historic photos from that 1957 campaign, as well as photos from
Graham\’s other visits to New York, that will complement your coverage.
“,1] ); //–>by authorities. Yet, even though I share the anger of Muslims across the
world over these incidents, I do not believe such anger excused the
senseless loss of life that occurred in its wake. Such violence and death, I
believe, is a far worse desecration of the Quran than what occurred at
Guantanamo Bay, without excusing in the least what occurred there.

Still, the incidents of Quran desecration did have some positive
outcomes. The American public has gotten an opportunity to learn more about
the Quran and how important the sacred text is to Muslims the world over. In
fact, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, almost 12,000
people have requested a free copy of the Quran since May 17. This can only
be a good thing. Equally as important, however, the incidents of Quran
desecration have caused me to reflect on the true meaning of the Quran and a
deeper understanding of what it means to desecrate any sacred text. And I
will be all the better because of it.

c. 2005 Religion News Service

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