After Denise Spellberg, associate professor of history and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas, assessed the manuscript as “a very ugly, stupid, piece of work” which turned sacred history into soft-core pornography and warned that publication could provoke violence, Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, consulted with security experts and then negotiated an agreement with Jones to terminate their $100,000 two-book contract.
Occasionally, we come across Christians face-to-face and, more frequently, on the Internet, who, when informed that the text of the gospels underwent corruption during their transmission, often react with the following type of questions: “When? Who did the corruption? In what country? Before or after Muhammad? Why was it done? How come no one noticed it?” These type of seemingly “innocent” questions merely reveal the incalculably colossal ignorance of the person in question.
Christians might argue that nevertheless we need lofty ideals to strive for, even if they are virtually unattainable. Muslims might reply that it is detrimental for public morality if unattainable rules are promoted which, of course, are constantly violated by everybody in sight, because that (Christian) approach creates a climate of, and promotes, hypocrisy at a massive scale. I share the latter judgment, being afraid that people used to violating basic rules of their professed moral code might become cynical about morality as such. Indeed there is divine wisdom behind the fact that all religious obligations placed on Muslims while not being easy to fulfill are all within reach of the average believer.
In a recent article in The Spectator magazine in the UK, the evangelical leader Patrick Sookhdeo takes a swipe at Muslims and their religion. Does his case stand up to scrutiny? Patrick Sookhdeo’s article (July 30, 2005) in London’s The Spectator, “The Myth of a Moderate Islam” reflects a dangerous trend in the war on terror. Under the guise of informing Westerners about Islam, he is in fact spreading the very same disinformation that anti-Islamic polemics have been based upon for over 1,000 years. This plays directly into the hands of Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and others, for it encourages the “clash of civilizations” they so appallingly desire. It is indeed of the utmost importance that we learn more about Islam and fight the scourge of extremism with all the tools possible. But Sookhdeo and those like him corrupt this process, seeking to advance their own agenda by turning the war on terror into an ideological war against Islam.
The following is a video lecture made by Hamza Yusof on July 14th, 1997 and in cooperation with Alhambra Productions. The topic of the history of the Qur’an and its compilation, and forms as part of a “Foundations of Islam” series of lectures. Hamza Yusof gave a good historical background of the Qur’an, its history and how it was Revealed in stages to the Prophet Muhammad (P), its compilation after the passing of the Prophet (P) as well as demonstrating the textual integrity of the Qur’an, as opposed to the textual frailty of the Judeo-Christian text which stands on shaky ground. Also of interest is the Question & Answer session towards the end of this lecture which we hope our readers will find beneficial.
This short movie was made in less than twenty four hours in response to Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam polemical movie, entitled “Fitna”. The six-minute video called “Schism” by 33-year-old Saudi blogger Raid Al-Saeed takes violent Biblical texts and intersperses them with fiery rants by a Christian fundamentalist youth leader in Texas. Kudos goes to the Muslim brother who directed the video. This is the kind of “response” that is needed from Muslims, an intellectual response and not one which is based on emotion.