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In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Ever Merciful

A REFUTATION OF THE FILM “FITNA”

As promised, a film by a member of the Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders was released on the web on 27th March 2008. After about three million persons viewed the film at Liveleak.com, a UK-based website, the film was pulled out because of the threats that the site owner received.

Juxtaposing a verse of the Holy Quran with the terrorist bombing of the world trade Centre in 2001 and the Madrid bombings of 2004 and the London bombings of 2005, Geert Wilders wants the world and specially the West to believe that the teachings of the Holy Quran and hence the Muslims are a great threat to the western world. By showing footage of beheading by some unknown hooded persons and fiery speeches from some Muslim preachers, he strives to bring home the idea that the Holy Quran is responsible for such behaviors. Being a friend of Israel, he wants to show that Muslims hate the Jews and that they praise Hitler. Through a graph showing the growing population of Muslims in the Netherlands, he wants the Dutch to believe that Muslims have been invading their country. To be brief, he goes on to say that Muslims have to tear the several verses that he has interspersed between the scenes of the film from the Holy Quran and he ends on the note “Stop Islamisation , defend our Freedom”

Since some time now, it was known that this controversial film was going to be released and there are many persons, non-Muslims who have spoken against it. For example even the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the film wrongly equated Islam with violence. "We believe it serves no purpose other than to offend," he said in a statement. Moreover all Dutch broadcasters refused to show the film in the Netherlands. The idea that the film was going to be released sparked a lot of peaceful (up till now) protests from Muslims around the world.

In this small article I intend to show that all the verses quoted are out of context and they are misinterpreted. In addition, I will state what the criteria to understand such verses are. Moreover I will quote some non-Muslim scholars’ opinion about the Holy Quran. In the end I will quote some verses of the Holy Quran which illustrate what type of man that Allah wants a Muslim to be.

The first quotation is the following verse:

“And make ready for them whatever force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you know not--- Allah knows them. And whatever you spend in Allah’s way, it will be paid back to you fully and you will not be wronged” (8:60)

Now, as far as Mr Geert Wilders is concerned, we know that he is the Leader of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands; he is 44 years old and we know also through his many declarations in interviews and his writings that he has nothing but hate for the Muslims. If he could he would have thrown all of them out of his country. One of his colleagues has described him as a “monomaniac”. As it is well known some persons specially politicians would do anything to attract attention on them. So he tries to whip the hatred of Muslims to become more popular and may be become the Prime Minister of his own country so that he might be in a better position to implement his hate-agenda. We also know that he is a film-maker and he has worked with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim-born woman who hates Islam to make another film to show Islam in its worst light. But gold remains gold even if you want to make it appear like copper. Nowhere have we read that Mr Geert Wilders is a scholar of the Holy Quran or of Islam. If he had the opportunity of reading the more than six thousand verses of the Holy Quran he would have known that in chapter 3 verse 8, Allah says:

“He it is who has sent down to thee the Book; in it there are verses that are firm and decisive in meaning - they are the basis of the Book - and there are others that are susceptible of different interpretations. But those in whose hearts is perversity pursue such thereof as are susceptible of different interpretations, seeking to cause discord and seeking wrong interpretations of it. And none knows its right interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge; they say, 'We believe in it; the whole is from our Lord.' - And none take heed except those gifted with understanding –”

I am quoting this verse only to show that some of the verses of the Holy Quran may be interpreted in a certain way to “create discord and also to seek the wrong interpretations”. This may apply to what Mr Geert is doing right now and also to those who, in defense of Islam are resorting to blind violence and they are saying that the Holy Quran asks them to act in that way. Only those persons who are well versed in the Quranic lore can understand the real meanings of these verses.

As a general rule, in the first verse shown in the film, Muslims are advised that they should be ever ready to face their enemies. No government in the world would find anything amiss that it should keep its army ever ready for combat. This is how we should interpret this verse. If someone says that this verse gives us a license for wanton killing, he is wrong because the Holy Quran says:

“On account of this, we prescribed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killed a person - unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land - it shall be as if he killed all mankind; and whoso saved a life, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind…”(5:33)

Similarly it says, describing good Muslims:

“And those who call not on any other god along with Allah, nor slay a person whose slaying Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, nor commit adultery - and he who does that shall meet the punishment of his sin; Doubled for him shall be the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disgraced”[25:69-70]

Hence we say that the Holy Quran does not at all condone violence. All those who are saying that it promotes violence are unaware of its teachings or simply they do not want to know its teachings, and by following their own low desires they are distorting its teachings whoever they are.

I said above that this verse is taken out of context. Let us first read the verse that precedes it. It is as follows:

“And let not those who disbelieve think that they can outstrip US. Surely, they cannot frustrate our purpose.”[8:59]

The verses that follow verse 8:60, which has been quoted in the beginning of the film are as follows:

“And if they incline towards peace, incline thou also towards it, and put thy trust in Allah. Surely, it is He Who is All-Hearing, All-Knowing And if they seek to deceive thee, then surely Allah is sufficient for thee. He it is Who has strengthened thee with His help and with the believers;” [8:62-63]

Therefore when we read the Book with an open mind and we sincerely try to understand its message, we would easily be led to the conclusion that, under no circumstance does it teach its adherents to use violence except in self-defense. And we do not think that this is only legitimate but in fact quite necessary for any group of persons. Even those in the west agree that one should defend oneself when one is attacked.

Another verse quoted in the film is:

“And when you meet in regular battle those who disbelieve, smite their necks; and, when you have overcome them, by causing great slaughter among them, bind fast the fetters - then afterwards either release them as a favour or by taking ransom - until the war lays down its burdens. That is the ordinance. And if Allah had so pleased, He could have punished them Himself, but He has willed that He may try some of you by others. And those who are killed in the way of Allah - He will never render their works vain.[47:5]

Again the translation given is that Muslims should go about and kill all those who are disbelievers. Nothing is further from the meaning of the verse. Here again those who are aware of the whole content of the Holy Quran would not take the meaning to legitimize wanton killing of others because they reject a message of Allah whilst it is well known that the Holy Quran says:

“There is no compulsion in religion” [2:56].

If Allah tells us we should not compel anyone to believe how He can ask us to go and kill those who do not believe! This is very ludicrous indeed. The fact is that this verse (47:5) is speaking about a regular war with those who want to exterminate the Muslim Community. Muslims are told that they have to stand up and fight those who want to attack and eliminate them from the surface of the globe. Furthermore the verse explains about the prisoners of war, how they should be treated etc. But under no circumstance can any good Muslim take this verse to mean that they should go about killing non-believers. Anyone who takes such meanings from this verse, whether he is a Muslim or a non-Muslim is behaving according to what has been said in the verse “But those in whose hearts is perversity pursue such thereof as are susceptible of different interpretations, seeking to cause discord and seeking wrong interpretations of it.”{3:8}

If we Muslims, we praise the Holy Quran it has no value in the eyes of Westerners because they would accuse us of being partial and biased. But if they read of some intellectual westerners praising the Holy Quran, they usually give more weight to such opinions. Therefore I have chosen some extracts from the writings of westerners who have praised the Holy Quran to inform and educate Geert Wilders and his like-minded fellows what people who are so to say, their own but who have deeply studied this book have to say.

Dr Steingass, the learned compiler of the English-Arabic and Arabic-English Dictionary says:

“Invited to subjoin a few further remarks on the composition and style of the Quran , I can scarcely introduce them better than by quoting the striking words of Goethe which Mr Rodwell places by way of motto on the reverse of the title page of his translation. These words seems to me so much the more weighty and worthy of attention, as they are uttered by one who, whatever his merits or demerits, in other respects may be deemed to be, indisputably, belongs to the greatest masters of language of all times, and stands foremost as a leader of modern thought and the intellectual culture of modern times. Speaking of the Quran in his West-Oestlicher Divan, he says:

“However often we turn to it, at first disgusting us each time afresh, it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces reverence ….. Its style, in accordance with its contents and aim, is stern, grand, terrible-ever and anon truly sublime….. Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence.”

A work then which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader- distant as to time, and still more so, as to mental development – a work which not only conquers the repugnance with which he may begin its perusal, but changes, this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration, such a work must be a wonderful production of the human mind indeed, and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind. Much have been said in the preceding pages (he refers to appreciation by others ) to acknowledge, to appreciate and to explain the literary excellences of the Holy Quran , and a more or less distinct admission that Buffon’s much-quoted saying" Le style c’est l’homme ", is here more justified than ever. We may well say the Quran is one of the grandest books ever written because it faithfully reflects the character and life of one of the greatest men that ever breathed.

“Sincerity” writes Carlyle, “sincerity, in all sense, seems to me the merit of the Quran”.

This same sincerity, this ardour and earnestness in the search for truth, this never-flagging perseverance in trying to impress it, when partly found again and again upon his unwilling hearers, appears to me as the real and undeniable “seal of prophecy” in Mohammad.

Truth, and above all religious truth, can only be one. Christianity may duly rejoice in the thought that, at the very moment when the representative of the greatest empire of the ancient world mockingly or despairingly put forth the question. “What is truth?” this one eternal truth was about to be written down with the blood of the Divine Redeemer in the salvation deed of our race, Christ’s glorious and holy gospel. But the approaches to truth are many, and he who devoted all his powers and energies, with untiring patience and self-denial, to the task of leading a whole nation by one of these approaches, from a coarse and effete idolatry, to the worship of the Living God, has certainly a strong claim to our warmest sympathies as a faithful servant and noble champion of truth.
……. Let us not forget that in the book as Mohammad’s newest biographer, Ludolf Krehl (das leben des Mohamamad, Leipzig, 1884), expresses it: “There is given a complete code of creed and morals, as well as of the law based thereupon. There are also the foundations laid for every institution of an extensive commonwealth, for instruction, for the administration of justice, for military organization, for the finances, for a most careful legislation for the poor; all built up on the belief in the One God, who holds man’s destinies in His hand.”

…. Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should, perhaps, not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Mohammad’s contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well organized body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilized nation out of savage tribes and shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history.” {Dictionary of Islam By Thomas Hughes page 526}

An Englishman by the name of Stanley Lane- Poole, in his Introduction to Lane’s “Selections from the Quran”, remarks:

“It is confused in its progression and strangely mixed in its contents; but the development of Mohammad’s faith can be traced in it, and we can see dimly into the workings of his mind, as it struggles with the deep things of God, wrestles with the doubts which echoed the cavils of the unbelievers, soars upwards on the wings of ecstatic faith, till at last it gains the repose of fruition, Studied thus, the Quran is no longer dull reading to one who cares to look upon the workings of a passionate , troubled human soul, and who can enter into its trials and share in the joy of its triumphs.” {Dictionary of Islam by Thomas Hughes page 526}

Professor Dr. Hartwig Hirschfeld of London University says:

"Quran is irreproachable, congenial with regard to convincing power, eloquence and even composition. Never have a people been led more rapidly to a civilization, such as it was in the case of Muslims through Quran.
Quran was the fountainhead of all sciences."

Dr. Oswald Seengler in his book "History of Philosophy", said:

“The role of Quran in human history is of revolutionary importance as it revolted against ancient Roman and Greek traditions and it was against all speculative and all abstract nature of things Quran emphasizes that ' Nature and History ' are two sources of knowledge for the study and for the understanding of concrete signs of natural phenomenon.”
Professor Will Durant said in “History of mankind”:

“Quran has abolished the greatest misery from humanity at large by the abolition of priesthood. What a tremendous amount of misery this institution of priesthood can cause in the administrative and ecclesiastical history of mankind!

In the 'History of Civilization' he said:

“The false bogey and notions raised and sustained by biased Western writers against Islam, in preference to Christianity, are now being exposed by many western writers and thinkers who have studied Islam and Quran in detail.”

These are some of the opinions of enlightened non-Muslims scholars about the Holy Quran. Any simple non-biased person can easily understand the contrast between those who know and those who do not know like Mr Geert Wilders and his like-minded fellow men or women.

To end I will give some examples of the teachings of the Holy Quran which illustrates what type of man, these teachings want to create. The verses are self explanatory and they do not even need any comments.

“And the true servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth humbly and when the ignorant address them, they avoid them gracefully by saying, 'Peace!'
And who spend the night in prostration and standing before their Lord,
And who say, 'Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell; for the punishment thereof is a most vehement torment,
'It is indeed evil as a place of rest and as an abode.'
And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly but adopt a moderate position in the middle;
And those who call not on any other god along with Allah, nor slay a person whose slaying Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, nor commit adultery - and he who does that shall meet the punishment of his sin;
Doubled for him shall be the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disgraced -
Except those who repent, and believe and do righteous deeds, for as to these, Allah will convert their evil deeds into good ones, and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.
And those who repent and do righteous deeds indeed turn to Allah with true repentance;
And those who bear not false witness, and when they pass by anything vain, they pass by with dignity;
And those who, when they are reminded of the Signs of their Lord, fall not down thereat deaf and blind;
And those who say, 'Our Lord, grant us of our wives and children the delight of our eyes, and make us a model for the righteous.
It is such as will be rewarded with lofty chambers in Paradise, because they were steadfast, and they will be received therein with greeting and peace,
Abiding therein. Excellent it is as a place of rest and as an abode. Say to the disbelievers, 'But for your prayer to Him my Lord would not care for you at all. But now that you have rejected His Message, His punishment will cleave to you.'”[25:64-78]

Here are some more verses from different places:

“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation and argue with them in a way that is best. Surely, thy Lord knows best who has strayed from His way; and He also knows those who are rightly guided.
And if you decide to punish the oppressors, then punish them to the extent to which you have been wronged; but if you show patience then, surely, that is best for those who are patient.
And, O Prophet, endure thou with patience; and verily thy patience is possible only with the help of Allah. And grieve not for them, nor feel distressed because of their evil designs.
Verily, Allah is with those who are righteous and those who do good.[16:126-129]

And who is better in speech than he who invites men to Allah and does righteous deeds and says: “I am surely of those who submit”
And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with that which is best. And lo, he, between whom and thyself was enmity will become as though your bosom friend.
But none is granted it save those who are steadfast; and none is granted it save those who possess a large share of what is good [41:34-36]

-And this is a Book full of blessings that we have sent down. So follow it and guard against evil that you may be shown mercy.[6:156]

- Verily Allah enjoins justice and the doing of good to others
and giving to close relatives and He forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression. He admonishes you that you may take heed.[6:90]

It will indeed be a folly and a great injustice to Islam on the part of a Muslim or a non-Muslim to say that the Holy Quran allows wanton violence in the presence of such clear cut and crystal clear verses.

In a nutshell the teachings of the Holy Quran helps man to move from behaving like an animal to becoming someone who takes responsibility for all his actions and in the end to become a man who manifests the attributes of his Lord in himself. All Muslims should strive to become such a person and he should practice the greatest Jihad (struggle for self reform) against himself and not against others.

To conclude I would say that the Film Fitna of Mr Geert Widers is not based on facts at all. It is the product of a big head full of spite, anger, hate, prejudice and fear of something that does not exist. If a group of Muslims are perverting the teachings of the Holy Quran to justify their actions, it is because of their lack of real understanding of the Holy Book. The cause is in the upbringing of these people and not in the teachings of the Holy Book. The majority of Muslims around the world know that the Holy Quran does not at all preach violence and that is why the majority do not resort to violence to settle their differences or to solve their problems. The actions of a fringe of the Muslims around the world does not justify that some one should completely distort the sublime message of the Holy Quran to the world. Moreover when we read the history of the world we can easily come to the conclusion “that those who use the sword perish by the sword”. Violence breeds violence. Love breeds love.

Peace to you all.

Imam
Zafrullah Domun
Jamaat Ahmadiyya Al Mouslemeen
Mauritius
30th March 2008

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