My Log – 4
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
World Owes Islam – Big Time
It was well over 1400 years ago – on this earth. Before that, in heaven, it was forever.
For, it was an eternal divine dispensation and not a whimsical political decision.
That is how it was that over fourteen centuries ago Islam forever nailed the three interrelated concepts of Gender Neutrality, Gender Respect and Gender Inclusiveness in all forms of human communication.
And Islam did so using a single word that the Qur’an called Annaas, which means a perfectly gender-neutral concept: “People.”
Not the exclusively and heavily male-gendered expression “Mankind,” which created such havoc in the world at so many levels of human thought, discourse and behavior for so many centuries.
And which subjected women, one half of the human race, to serfdom and second-class status throughout the world.
The Qur’an uses instead the expression “People” that, unlike “Mankind,” includes, in equal measure, both genders: male as well as female; men as well as women.
And the Qur’an uses that expression Annaas – People – not just one or two or 10 times, but close to 250 times.
And not once does the Qur’an use the male-centered “Mankind.”
In fact, God Almighty cleansed the entire Arabic language of that male-gendered expression “Mankind.”
Can you believe that?
Arabic being the language God chose to reveal the Qur’an in.
Evidently, this was preparatory to the advent of the Qur’an on earth.
Evidently also, it was to set the stage for the final liberation and ultimate and definitive equalization of the status of women in the world.
As a result, there is no “Mankind” in the Qur’an.
Only Annaas: People!
And to the best of my knowledge, there is also no “Mankind” equivalent as dominant usage in all of Arabic language.
It is Annaas all the way, so far as the Arabic language is concerned.
And it is also Annaas all the way so far as the Qur’an is concerned.
And that is where it all ends, the story of Gender Neutrality: so far as Islam is concerned; so far as the Qur’an is concerned; and so far as the entire Arabic language is concerned: just where and how it began.
With and in and through that perfectly Gender-Neutral expression: Annaas – the like of which the world did not have and could not even dream about until a few years ago: early 1980s or late 1970s or so.
It was then, more or less, that much of the world woke up and groggily stumbled upon something called “Humankind,” which has been mother’s milk to Islam and Muslims for 1400 years.
And Al-Insaan: “Human Being.”
That is what the Qur’an and Islam – and Muslims – gave the world.
And that is what took the world – its professoriate and its religious and educational leadership all included – over 1000 years to catch up with.
This is clear proof, one can argue, that this Qur’an, and this entire edifice of Islam based on the Qur’an, could only have come from God.
And it could not be the fruit of human imagination or inventiveness. For, we have seen the pathetic state of humanity for all those hundreds upon hundreds of years.
Did anyone give Islam, the Qur’an and Muslims any credit for any of this? No.
Did Muslims have it in them to claim credit for any of this? Of course not.
Poor Muslims! They had – and still have – no clue about any of this.
We can actually calculate the odds and estimate the probabilities. We will then be able to see how small the likelihood is of that happening in the real world all by itself: the likelihood of a human mind having invented this whole thing we call Gender Neutrality all by itself.
Let us imagine in some detail that scenario as it might have unfolded – the Human Hypothesis, as it were, that would suggest that this whole thing was nothing but the brainchild of a human being.
Based on the Human Hypothesis, here is what we could expect might have happened as it relates to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam:
- One solitary man;
- Without any formal education and without any special training of any kind;
- And without any background in religion, politics or philosophy;
- And without any experience in or ambition for tribal or regional leadership or power of any kind;
- Sitting alone in a cave in the barren belly of a rock in the burning Arabian desert;
- And then all of a sudden that man decides to buck the global trend of male domination in thought and language;
- And he decides to do that by inventing a new expression to promote gender neutrality and female liberation around the world.
- And he calls that expression Annaas – People.
- And then he invents another expression to act as a close conceptual and linguistic cousin of the first expression: Al-Insaan – Human Being.
- And all this happened in the world as it was 1400 years ago – in the Seventh Century to the birth of Christ.
Ask yourself this: How likely is such a scenario?
And ask yourself: What is the probability of this happening the way I outlined it above.
For, what this scenario suggests is that the human mind, all by itself, could not possibly have come up with anything even closely resembling the sequence of events I have outlined above.
And that too, let us not forget, not today or yesterday, not in the past century or so, but all of one thousand four hundred years before our time.
For, it was only 20 or maybe 30 years ago – in the late 1970s or early 1980s let us say – that we were taught how to use gender-neutral expressions in the English language.
Given all this, it makes more sense to think that it was God’s hand that was moving in all kinds of mysterious and not-so-mysterious ways to make this whole thing happen the way it did.
So, God settled this Gender Neutrality issue a long time ago – in the Qur’an; in Islam; and through the Muslims.
It is just that human beings have taken all these 1400 years to catch up with God’s word in the Qur’an.
What would be in order is a tip of the hat to Islam and Muslims – and the Qur’an – on the part of the rest of humanity.
© 2011 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.