Excerpt: …3. In your opinion, when did this idea of the Immutability of the Qurʾān emerge? Was it something that the companions of the Muḥammad believed as well?
The perception of a truly immutable Qurʾān emerged in the last century following the popularity and spread of the 1936 Cairo Edition, which dislodged most (but not all) regional variants of the text. Prior to this ‘standardisation’, Muslim scholarship and Islāmī Tradition fully acknowledged the numerous minor variations between different versions of the ʿUthmānī Qurʾān-tradition, the numerous heterodox Qurʾān-traditions that existed prior to the ʿUthmānī Qurʾān-tradition, the fact that some notable early Muslims considered the Qurʾān to be incomplete and and even the fact that Muḥammad himself altered the text and content of the Qurʾān to suit his needs at any given moment. The modern mainstream Muslim stance on the Immutability of Qurʾān is actually quite remarkable in this respect.
Updtate 5; A polio team attacked in Peshawar. 2 young vaccinators killed. And no, they are not suspected of being CIA spies looking for comrade Ayman Zawahiri. This is in Peshawar. There are lots of police and CIA agents around to do the spying. These vaccinators were killed because:
A. They defied the orders of the Tehrik e Taliban. If such defiance goes unchallenged then the whole anti-imperialist resistance may collapse. A higher aim requires that one be hard-hearted and ready to take tough decisions. The TTP has taken the tough decision and showed the world their resolve and their steady hand.
B. They are trying to sterilize the future generations of Islam (see below for details).
The May 11th elections in Pakistan represented the first time that a civilian regime completed its term in office and held elections in which power will be transferred democratically to a new civilian regime. In a country where the security establishment has a long history of throwing out elected regimes and manipulating results, this in itself was an important landmark. For this (and for very little else, unfortunately) we can thank President Zardari and his coalition building skills and stubborn determination.
In the short election campaign the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) of Imran Khan captured the imagination of the newly educated and elite classes but it did not have the time (and/or the ability) to catch up with the pre-poll favorite, the PMLN. The superior and far more detailed groundwork done by the PMLN while it ruled Punjab for 5 years, its stronger slate of candidates, its relatively energetic performance in the Punjab government, and Mian Nawaz Sharif’s improved reputation, (along with a PPP collapse) led to a PMLN landslide in Punjab. This has practically given the PMLN a simple majority in the national assembly in spite of having only a handful of seats outside Punjab. The newcomer PTI will form a coalition government in KP; PPP, with or without MQM, will rule again in Sindh; and Balochistan remains a unique case, completely outside the national mainstream.
A friend asked me about the (fictitious) Tariq Ali press release from last year and I had a surprisingly hard time finding it on Google. Since it is never really out of date, I am reposting it with a title I hope i will remember so that I can find it easily the next time. Without furher ado, Tariq Ali on Pakistan:
“A pre-revolutionary situation appears to be developing in Pakistan. The proletariat, long suffering under the yoke of neo-colonial exploitation, has begun to stir. Identifying the US as the head of international capital, the working class is ready for a complete overthrow of the oppressive system. In Peshawar, samizdat texts smuggled across the border under the noses of CIA-trained security forces are already circulating in the barrios. Relatively sophisticated elements of the ruling classes, fearful of losing their grip but unable to rely on American tanks and drones in the dense urban landscape of Peshawar, are trying to pre-empt the revolution by installing a Kerensky-like figure in Islamabad. While others prepare for Thermidor,American “advisers in the fortress-like American embassy still believe that the jackbooted thugs of the puppet Zardari regime will be able to hold off the revolutionary surge.
Bill Maher and Brian Levin on Islam
Razib discussed this recently on GNXP but it seems more relevant here. I’m posting it because it’s a perfect example of the argument I keep hearing from some liberals (and moderate Muslims) in regards to Islamic terrorism: any extremist behavior from Muslims is equated to barbaric savagery conducted by Western Christians, hundreds or thousands of years ago. I appreciate that Maher quickly refutes this by pointing out we are no longer in the Middle Ages – the fact that Muslims have to reach back several centuries to justify their 2013 behavior is appalling. When focusing on the 21st century, the reality is undeniable: no sane person would prefer to be a minority in a Muslim majority state than Christian majority state. Compare religious extremism in Islamic vs. Christian parts of Nigeria to see how there is a large discrepancy even within a nationality. The second argument I routinely hear is that it’s culture rather than religion that’s responsible for extremism – despite it being present in Europe, African, Mideast, Asia, Australia, and Americas, with the common denominator here being Islam! Professor Levin is a perfect example of the political correctness permeating educated liberals who should really know better.
Back in the happy days when I was comfortably ensconced in the embrace of the propaganda machine known as the Pakistani educational system, I participated in a debate with the assertion, “Pakistan was inevitable.” I cannot recall now which side I spoke for, but even then it was clear to me that the answer was both “yes” and “no”. Pakistan was not inevitable in 1857 when Hindus and Muslims both fought against the British for the remarkably stupid goal of restoring the Mughal empire to its former glory. Nor was it inevitable in 1919, when Hindus and Muslims again launched a movement for the even more ridiculous goal of keeping the Turkish Sultan on his throne. Or in 1906 when a few well-meaning Muslim luminaries decided to launch their own party – the Muslim League – into the maelstrom of political movements raging through an awakening India. However, by March 23, 1940, when the Pakistan Resolution was passed by the Muslim League general session in Minto Park, Lahore, Pakistan probably was inevitable. As with all historical events that look inevitable in retrospect, the inevitability of Pakistan was the result of a series of totally “evitable” decisions made by many leaders – Muslim, Hindu and British – and by millions of their followers. Continue reading →
I had written a last paragraph that had to be cut due to word limitations, but I am reproducing it here:
The argument is not that Pakistan exists in some parallel dimension where economic and political factors that operate in the rest of the world play no role. But rather that the usual problems of twenty-first century post-colonial countries (problems that may prove overwhelming even where Islamism plays no role) are made significantly worse by the imposition upon them of a flawed and dangerous “Paknationalist-Islamic” framework. Without that framework Pakistan would still be a third world country facing immense challenges. But with this framework we are either committed to ideologies that further undermine existing cultural strengths, sharpen existing religious divisions (including the Shia-Sunni division) and most important, do not have any blueprint for actually running a modern state. Or we are condemned to hypocritically mouthing meaningless and even destructive Paknationalist and Islamist slogans while actually trying to do something else. Damned if we do and damned when we don’t even mean to do it. History was old and rusted, it was a machine nobody had plugged in for thousands of years, and here all of a sudden it was being asked for maximum output. Nobody was surprised that there were accidents… (Salman Rushdie, Shame)
Today a “charged mob” set fire to about 150 poor Christian homes in Badami Bagh Lahore. see pictures here.
The order of events was pretty standard.
Wednesday: A Christian sanitary worker (yes, they clean gutters and sweep roads) argued with a Muslim Barber at a snooker game. At some point after this the Muslim barber accused the Christian of having blasphemed “he who must not be named”.
Friday: “Enraged Muslims” marched into Joseph colony looking for the blasphemer. They beat up his father (age 65, very much in the “beatable” age group) and did some property damage. Police arrested the accused that night. They also advised the local Christians to clear out since more “rage” may be on its way. btw, the police have also stated that they think the accusation is probably untrue, but “we had to register the case because people were enraged”.
Saturday: Thanks to the timely efforts of the Punjab police, no Christians were home when the rage returned on Saturday. 178 houses were burnt, as was one church. No one was killed since no one was there. Continue reading →
these were not monsters, these were men, trained cadres, these men who fought with their hearts, who have families, who have children, who are filled with love–that they had this strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time were able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgment–without judgment. Because it’s judgment that defeats us.
That story no longer looks as impossible as it did in Coppola’s movie.