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National Qur’an Literacy Camp in the Caribbean: Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It!

DR.PASHA | July 12, 2008 | Section: Articles | 1390 reads


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Heaven on Earth

The Qur’an thereafter went on to build on earth an unprecedented and unsurpassed era of several hundred years of near-universal human education, enlightenment and empowerment. It established on earth a period of near-complete equality, justice and dignity for all human beings.

And it changed forever the way human beings thought, worked, raised their families, treated each other, organized their lives and constructed their cultures and civilizations.

With all its limitations of quantity and quality it began to develop over the years, it was nonetheless a period of heaven on earth. For, it was for most people for the longest period of time – for well over a thousand years even in its most attenuated, weakened, diluted, corrupted or fragmented form, it was what truly devout Christians would call the Kingdom of God on earth; what truly pious Hindus would consider a reflection of Ram Rajya on earth; or what others would mean when they use expressions like Shangri-La or Utopia.

The Qur’an thus began a new era of rights and freedoms on earth that clothed the naked; that fed the hungry; that empowered the weak; that uplifted the meek and the humble; and that gave voice and dignity to those who had none.

It made peace on earth not just a happy slogan but a hard reality. It offered everyone within their jurisdiction an opportunity at a stable, dignified and prosperous life.

It made universal literacy and education not only a basic human right for human beings of all ages, genders and social standing, but a fundamental duty and requirement of membership in the free, equal and enlightened social order it created in different parts of the world.

Qur’an Absolves Jews of the False Charge of Christ-Killing

It was 1400 years ago that the Qur’an fully, totally, unequivocally and categorically absolved Jews of the false charge of being killers of Jesus Christ (may God bless him) that European and other Christians had leveled against them for over half a millennium (600 years) before the advent of the Qur’an.

For centuries before Islam and the Qur’an, the Christendom, which later on came to be a collective name for the lands and peoples of Christian Europe, used the baseless and false charge of Christ-killing to murder and rape the Jews at will; to pillage and plunder their wealth; to destroy and burn down their homes and businesses; to confiscate their properties; and to repeatedly expel them from lands where they had settled.

The societies that the Qur’an built provided safe haven to victims of injustice and persecution from everywhere. They provided peace and prosperity to refugees and asylum-seekers from around the world, even when they themselves fell victim to the vagaries of time and began to develop signs of social disorganization, political degeneration and moral decay and degradation.

At the head of this group of refugees and asylum-seekers were Jews who had suffered centuries of unspeakable persecutions, pogroms and horrors at the hands of European Christians, who generally accused them of the historic crime of Christ-killing and used that as an excuse to perpetrate the most barbaric atrocities against them.

But as early as the beginning of the Seventh Century, and in one clear and categorical swoop, the Qur’an had absolved the Jews of the false charge of being the killers of Christ.

The Qur’an declared – my paraphrase: “Absolutely, positively, they did not kill him!”

Wa maa qataloohu yaqeenaa, said the Qur’an.

And Muslim societies, in later years, following whatever fragments of Qur’anic teachings they found convenient, able or inclined to embrace, still opened their doors and hearts to the hunted and hounded Jews of Europe, who flocked to them in droves and settled down to become prominent scholars, doctors, scientists, business leaders and others as an integral part of these Muslim societies.

Muslim Spain, Morocco, Syria and Turkey were all examples of this influx of Jewish refugees, mostly fleeing from their Christian tormentors and persecutors to take refuge in Muslim lands operating under the influence of the Qur’an’s teaching of justice, peace, freedom, dignity, opportunity and equality for all.

Qur’an: Mother of All Freedoms and Rights Including Animal Rights

If the world knew it, and if the Muslims understood it and conveyed it to the world, which is their duty, everyone would know that the Qur’an is the mother of all freedoms and rights – both animal and human.

Muslims don’t know it. The world doesn’t know it. No one told anyone anything. So everyone thinks human rights started with any or all of the following landmarks in human history:

  1. The Magna Carta – the Great Charter or Paper – at the beginning of the 13th Century.
  2. The English Bill of Rights in the late 17th Century.
  3. The Age of Reason or Rationalism in Europe in the 17th Century.
  4. The Age of Enlightenment in Europe in the 18th Century.
  5. The British Glorious Revolution in the 17th Century.
  6. The American Revolution in the late 18th Century.
  7. The French Revolution in the late 18th Century.
  8. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen by France in the 18th Century.
  9. The American Declaration of Independence in the late 18th Century.
  10. The Bill of Rights in the American Constitution in the late 18th Century.
  11. The American Constitution as a whole in the late 18th Century.
  12. The First Geneva Convention in the middle of the 19th Century.
  13. The other three Geneva Conventions in the middle of the 20th Century after World War II.

The fact of the matter – as they say – is that many of these events had little to do with ordinary human beings or their rights and privileges. In many cases they were simply agreements between the rich, the powerful, the Royalty, the Nobility and the Clergy as in the case of the Magna Carta or among warring governments on how best to protect and promote their own interests, armed forces and prisoners of war, as in the case of the Geneva Conventions.

Here is a bit more detailed light on the Geneva Conventions that the world swears by and yet does not hesitate to abrogate or turn its back on whenever it finds it necessary or convenient to do so:

  1. First Geneva Convention was adopted in 1864 for the “Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field.”
  2. Second Geneva Convention was adopted in 1949 – 85 years after the First Geneva Convention – for the “Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of the Armed Forces at Sea.”
  3. Third Geneva Convention (1949) was all about the “Treatment of Prisoners of War.”
  4. Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) was concerning the “Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.”

Did any one you reading this column find in these four Geneva Conventions anything about ordinary human beings and their supposed rights and privileges. You probably did not. That is because they are not there. That is because no one ever cared much about ordinary human beings – except their God, the Almighty; his noble prophet, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam; Islam; and the Qur’an.

Yet, these were important markers in humanity’s dazed and befuddled lurch toward the realization of whatever crumbs of rights and privileges the rich and the powerful were willing to throw in its direction over the long, dark and painful period of a whole millennium – a full 1000 years. And they show how desperate and starved the world was for any semblance of rights and dignity for the human race.

It was in this sense that the Dark Ages were truly the dark period of human history. And this darkness engulfed Europe as a result of its turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the light of Islam and the Qur’an that shone so brilliantly right in its midst.

For, beginning with the inception of the 7th Century, the Qur’an had laid out in front of the world a most comprehensive blueprint and a most forward-looking master plan for the codification and realization of human rights and freedoms – as well as all kinds of animal rights – at all levels on the firmest and most sweeping scale to every man and woman on earth, no matter how humble their origin and how “low” or degraded their station in life-and to all the animals in the world.

And the Qur’an then went on to create a complete sociopolitical order as well as a vibrant cultural environment at the hands of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and his noble companions for the enforcement and guaranteeing of these rights in practice to all human beings. And to all animals.

It was this egalitarian social order and political arrangement the Qur’an built starting with the middle of the Seventh Century that became the lodestar, the inspiration and the mother of all so-called “Human Rights” and freedoms on earth in all societies of the world, including Europe and America.

 

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