What is the challenge of the Qur’an?
Well, traditionally – that is to say – qur’anically, the challenge was literary or perhaps one of orality, because the culture the Qur’an came into was a time where the poets were esteemed and would hold sparring verbal competitions like modern day spoken word slams and rap battles; spontaneity and immediacy was the order of the day.
However, putting the spontaneity aside to make things easier for the challengers, the Qur’an itself says, a number of times with slight differences of emphases each time, the following:
Ten Surah Challenge: ‘Or do they say, “He invented it”? Say, “Then bring ten surahs like it that have been invented and call upon [for assistance] whomever you can besides Allah, if you should be truthful.”‘ (Qur’an 11:13)
Click on pic for the Facebook original video
I shared this post on facebook and was met by the subsequent conversation.
“Eurocentrism cannot be found amongst the ancient Greeks or Romans, who did not identify with each other or with the tribes of Western Europe. Romans thought Germanic and Celtic tribespeople were barbaric and inferior, owning them as slaves in Rome and depicting them as savages in art…
…After the fall of Rome, in one of the most remarkable cases of Stockholm syndrome in history, the conquered identified themselves with their conquerors and adopted Roman [and later Greek] history and identity as their own to make claims to power and lineage.”
More Info > Thinking Past Eurocentrism.
This is not a definitive set of parameters. Not in the least. However, what is attempted is to begin an inquiry of sorts into the following challenge I’ve encountered as a Muslim: to purport to apply Islam for oneself or to explain Islam to Non-Muslims and Muslims, in the midst of primarily trying to learn, understand the said-knowledge myself, first, and at-the-same-time.
Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi, who completed a monumental 57-volume work on the lives of female scholars of Hadith in Islamic History (May 2010) explains that there was, once upon a time, over 9,000 female scholars across the length and breadth of an enlightened Muslim civilisation.
This pro-active approach to knowledge, he explains, was a direct result of Prophet Muhammad’s efforts [peace be upon him]. Continue reading
This video is a ‘trailer of sorts’ outlining what the course at Cambridge Islamic Network Worldwide covers delivered by Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi.
My paraphrase of his introductory words with embedded thoughts of my own:
People cannot challenge anything if they are not trained to argue, to debate, to think and so to understand. Muslims (who are all supposed to be practitioners of Islam) – and only if they possess the ability – must understand their own heritage that is available ‘out there’ – to grasp the depth and nuances already contained within that heritage in order to assertively, intelligently, eloquently, morally (not defensively) address the modern challenges of today.
We need to know what Muslim scholars have already done. People mention Bukhari – but what has he done? We must understand how sophisticated these thinkers were/are. So let us refrain from ascribing to our superficial understanding/notions. We must at least help each other to understand what we already have prior to our attempts to produce something of this calibre, which is a certain necessity.
Students will analyse the following texts: Continue reading
This 30 minute autobiographical account charts how Tim Humble went from rebellious schoolchild of modernity to a seeker of (eternal) knowledge. He ends up studying at the Islamic University of Medina.
At 19:01: he talks about if God revealed a book – it would probably look and sound like the Qur’an.