The Quran Burning: Sign of Things to Come?

Category: Americas, Faith & Spirituality Topics: Quran, Terry Jones Channel: Opinion

Rev. Terry Jones at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL

"Where books are burned in the end people will burn." - Heinrich Heine

On May 10th, 1933 the Nazis burned 25,000 books -- including those written by Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, who had predicted in 1820 that "where books are burned in the end people will burn," - and eight years later the Holocaust began. 

The connection is not too difficult to discern. Books are repositories of histories, of identities, of values. They are the soul of civilization. A society must abandon basic decencies in order to muster the immoral courage to burn books as a celebratory act. Once it starts burning the souls of civilization, human souls will not be left behind.

On September 11, 2010, some misguided Americans plan to burn the Holy Quran, the only book in the entire heritage of humanity that claims to be solely the word of God. This dastardly act is the brainchild of Terry Jones, a Christian Pastor from Florida. This act is not just some symbolic gesture of defiance. It is an act of egregious violence against the beliefs and the sacred symbols of one fourth of humanity. The act will scorch Muslim hearts everywhere. The searing pain will never be forgotten. 

Along with the idea of God and prophets, the Quran is the thing that Muslims hold the dearest. My children have been listening to it since even before they were born. I use to recite it to them while they were still in the womb. Their children will be reciting it to them when they will be lowered in to their tomb. Believe me, there is nothing more precious to Muslims than the Quran, and watching people toss it into fire, will be horrifying. I would rather burn in fire myself, than watch a Quran burn. 

I am amazed at how millions of Americans who are decent and honorable can watch this happen. No matter how ugly the act the Constitution permits this, is not an acceptable excuse. The Constitution does not permit this. The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment. For Muslims this is worse than torture. 

I have been agonizing over this since I heard about it. My feelings are mixed. Sometimes I feel dismayed at having to suffer this. At other times I feel betrayed, for I think Muslims may have invited this through their own hateful zealotry. In the past few years alone so many churches have been desecrated in the Muslim World, many missionaries were murdered, nuns stabbed to death and the worst of all, the 1500 year old Buddhas of Bamiyan were intentionally dynamited. It was an ugly blow against not just religion, but also a major landmark of human history. I can now begin to imagine how millions of devout Buddhists must have suffered. 

The Quran explicitly forbids all such acts. They merely chronicle the savagery and meanness that Muslims these days display towards others and now it is unfortunately our turn to get a taste of our own medicine. 

As a reminder to those Muslims who still appreciate what the Taliban did, let me quote the relevant Quranic source: "Do not insult their Gods, lest out of ignorance they insult Allah" (Quran 6:108).

Those determined to burn the Quran are doing so as a way to either hurt or get even with Muslims. They however are laboring under the illusion that Quran belongs to Muslims. Yes, Muslims attach unimaginable value to it, but the Quran belongs to all people, it is part of the human treasury and the Quran attests that it was sent, not to Muslims, but to the entire humanity: "It is nothing less than a message to all nations" (Quran 68:52). It belongs as much to Terry Jones as it does to Muslims. The only difference being, some have built great civilizations on its basis others may burn their own values along with it. 

When images of Quran burning will be flashed around the globe, it will excite Muslim anger. I want Muslim leaders everywhere to council their communities. Recognize this provocation for what it is and ignore it. And remember do not let this become a source for anger and hatred towards Christians. Remind your congregations what the Quran tells Muslims about Christians: 

"...Forgive them and overlook their misdeeds, for Allah loves those who are kind (Quran 5:13). 

If Muslims react with anger and indiscriminate violence then one of Terry Jones' goals will be fulfilled. He would have shown the world that some Muslims are more barbaric than even he is. Be patient, encourage everyone to be patient, let Terry Jones enjoy the monopoly on barbarity for a while. 

"True believers are those who show patience, firmness and self-control (Quran 3:17) and indeed God is with those who are patient (Quran 2:153)."

******

Dr. Muqtedar Khan is Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware and a Fellow of the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding (www.ijtihad.org).


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  21 Comments   Comment

  1. Aahmed Asgher from Bahrain

    Am not sure why my previous comment was not published. Try again! I never try to offend.

    This guy should be left to his own devices. He is looking for attention. Just deny him that. In fact I will donate my own Quran for him to be burned. But how will he burn the Quran that is in my heart and the hearts of more than a billion muslims?

    If one takes this logic further then Terry Jones needs to burn more than a billion people on this planet. In that case he will have exceeded the Nazi/Hitler regimeand committed a much hienous crime than Shoah.

    "The answer to fools is silence." A Persian proverb.

  2. Samin from USA

    To Riyas:

    I think what the US govt and other isntitutuion in US have done, is enough. Terry Jones and his church, it's very small group. His church membership also very little, only 30 people. So we don't need to be worry so much.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/9/9/900431/-Pres.-Obama-on-Pastor-Jones:-I-hope-he-listens-to-those-better-angels

    Regarding circulate Quran only among Muslims, and to touch quran have to be wudhu:

    Many Qur'ans are printed in China, that notabene not muslims, how to make them wudhu. Similar story many Qurans in libraries, in non Muslim bookstore etc.

    Moreover how you will "share" the value of the Quran with others if you only circulate it among muslims? How will you do dawa (outreach).

  3. Samin from USA

    The one that burned by Pastor Tery Jones is just ink and paper. Qurans are not only in the shape of "ink and paper", but also stored million muslims' brain who memorize from cover to cover. Even if he burned the whole Quran books in the world it will not make the Quran dissapear.

    People don't like Quran or Islam, it's something normal, maybe they don't understand what Quran or Islam is, even Prophet Muhammad pbuh, one of the most noble person, many of meccans before they converted to Islam did not like him. Remember the story of a person that every time the Prophet Muhammad pbuh passed her house she throw trash on him.

    Similar situation also happened to Prophet Jesus pbuh, he also one of the most noble person, but again many people on that time didn't like him and even wanted to kill him.

    So I suggest Muslim don't be over reacted, just take it easy, if he burned 100 Quran, we print 1000, if he burned 1000 we print 10000. It's not a big deal. Perhaps good business for the Quran printing company, that mostly owned by Muslim ***smile***

  4. afa iddi from USA

    Allah will protect His Book, as he has declared "We have sent down the Message,and we will surely protect it". So anyone who burns the Quran to make a 'statement' will be joining the ranks of pharoah, and should prepare to face Allah's protection for his Message.

  5. Ali from Canada

    Why burning the Quran is not against the American constitution? If denying Holocaust is Illegal and against the American constitution because it denies the fact that Hitler who was Christian committed such an egregious act of mass madder against the Jewish, why burning the Quran is not a crime since it violates the religious freedom of millions of American Muslims? Isn't burning the Quran a moral Holocaust to the Muslims all over the world?

    Will it be acceptable to the Christians if the Jews, Native Americans, or African Americans for that matter burn the Bible annually due to what few criminal Christians done to them through the history? Can any sane person agree to hold responsibly for the whole Christian society and collectively punish them for crimes perpetrated by the people like Hitler or Mussolini?

    If the answer is no, then why America does not treat this hate crime for what is? If America allows such an act, then it will prove and support the claims of Al-qaa,ida which is that America and West wants not only to burn the Quran but to destroy the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, America should not allow the burning of the Quran and it should not say this act is not against the constitution because if America's constitution does allow such a hatred act to be performed then more serious actions against the Muslims will follow and the only people who will benefit will be Alqaa,ida.etc.

  6. Salah from USA

    This article is Very well said. The Quran says: and argue with them in a better manner. When ever Muslims stick to the rule of Allah, they win the arguement or any kind of confrotation. Instead pf burning the Quran, Mr. Terry Jones, come defet it in arguement and dalogue. Com to the challenge that the Quran presents to mankind thru the ages: "and if you were in doubt fo this book -that it is from God- produce a similar book/chapter". Explain why the intelect of the world icon figures such as: educators, Judges, Embassadors, Jurnalists, athletes, ... etc, when they are confroted with the Quran, they accept it and become Muslims.

  7. fauz from usa

    Insha allah, I hope people heed this advice that has been succintly put by the author. Extremists of all types in every corner of the globe are playing the role of provocateur while those who are more mindful of practicing religion moderately/accurately become stuck in the middle of their ridiculous hate games. It's a game of who can look more stupid and more violent and more ignorant. Unfortunately such people are also attention-seeking by nature and enjoy the havoc and press that they get...

    It's a fine line of informing people on how the religion should be practiced and ignoring them when one realizes some of them don't really want to learn the religious principles but are looking to cause only trouble

  8. Eugene S. Jones from USA

    The Book may be burned but the Words and Revelations to man from Allah will never disappear or be forgotten.

    r

  9. Tina from USA

    The article is wonderful and Ishaallah Muslims around the world will remember those passages from the Quran. Something for Mr. Terry Jones to remember is Allah's hell fire is hotter than the fire on earth and should he not repent then he will be toast and Allah works in many strange ways... and I'm sure he will experience punishment in this life and the life of the hereafter(hopefully not by other humans but by Allah). He is not a Christian, Christians don't do such acts just as Muslims never did the act of 911. God bless all the believers around the world and remember in the Quran that Allah says

    "...and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say, 'We are Christians,' because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant" (5:82).

    That very passage from the Quran clearly says Mr. Jones is not a Christian! I believe he is a human devil but let's let Allah do his work and Ishaallah we will sit back with patience and bow down in adoration and bring ourselves closer to Allah!

  10. Ronald Weber from USA

    In the article two ideas come out:

    1) the burning of the Qu'ran and

    2) what the person said about doing nothing about it.

    I am against the burning of the Qu'ran because it is Allahs words to us for guidance and by burning it shows an great disrespect to Him.

    I am for what the man said because if you do anything you just might create an bigger cause for him. This is just one men's idea on what to do and I have read that his members don't agree with him on this. Weather this part is true only time will tell. You have an lot of support from people in America on this. I have yet to see someone support him on his idea. The closes I seen is where someone said" that he has the right to do this under our laws but it doesn't make doing it right"

    I pray that my Muslim brothers refrain from any action and also that Allah will reward him for his deed. I love the Qur'an it is Allah words to us. Ron Weber

  11. T ahmed from usa

    Allah is enough for take care of mustakbirun (hope right word). This is his book and he will take care of it. Only, people without self-esteem can do this kind of things.

  12. Riyaz from India

    How can US be a silent spectator to this event . Even to touch Quran you should be clean with Wuzu. Free circulation of Quran by Muslims should be restricted.

  13. Ronald Weber from USA

    You don't have to be an muslim to be horrified by it. I pray that Allah (SAW) will reward him justly for his deed. but with just cruel acts there are many who are speaking out for muslims.in america the jewish rabbies, catholic priest and cardinals,regular preacher of all faith, including General petraeus

    This is an lone man who is doing this.I give praise to Allah and His prophet Mohammad PBUH and to the Qu'ran I do love studing it.

    Willy

  14. Amina Mitchell from United States

    As Salaam Alaikum. I appreciated that this article was unbiased and it made some very relevant points about potential reactions to this situation. I constantly hear fellow Muslims say that "Islam is a religion of peace," yet when they hear about things like this they instantly become defensive and mean and want to take action. We need to pray to Allah (swt) for the safety of our brothers and sisters right now, and pray that this does not escalate into physical violence. May Allah (swt) Dr. Khan for this insightful article.

  15. Sonam from Canada

    ...there is so much I want to to say to those who commented already, but I will bite my tongue. Allahu 'alim. May Allah grant you all hidayat and may He preserve this Deen. Ameen.

    Terry can try to burn the Qur'an - this is Allah's Book, His Words, He will take care of it, either today or on the Day...have Trust. As Muslims what we need to do is make dua'a, continue to protest, and in the most dignified manner we should fight back. We should print double the amount of Qur'an books, read it, memorize it, and teach it that much more. InshaAllah.

  16. Mohammad Syed from USA

    Thank you for this excellent reminder to Muslims and non-Muslims. The best thing Muslims can do is being patient in adversity. Allah has revealed the Quran and He is its protector. Millions of Muslims know Quran by heart (whole or in part). It is enshrined in their mind and heart. Quran has teachings from earlier Prophets, Moses and Jesus and other Prophets of Old and New Testament. Those who will burn Quran will be burning the teachings of Moses and Jesus as well. What a treble thing to do. Quran is guidance for mankind.

    MohammadSyed

  17. Romesh Chander from USA

    The author writes "If Muslims react with anger and indiscriminate violence then one of Terry Jones' goals will be fulfilled. He would have shown the world that some Muslims are more barbaric than even he is. Be patient, encourage everyone to be patient, let Terry Jones enjoy the monopoly on barbarity for a while. ".

    The author is naive. Muslims get excited so easily even if one makes a joke about Islam. This is a major and open act by a member of Christian Clergy in the most important and influencial country, and to be televised in the entire world. Muslim patience will be sorely tested. It will be a miracle that muslims will not react violently, at least in the muslim countries, if not in the West. And this will lead to creation of more Terry Jones in the world.

    I am afraid, more to come; and lot more to come. Sorry, I am not worried. Such things have happened plenty of times in world history; this event will not be much different.

  18. Romesh Chander from USA

    Action leads to Reaction.

    As the author writes " I think Muslims may have invited this through their own hateful zealotry. In the past few years alone so many churches have been desecrated in the Muslim World, many missionaries were murdered, nuns stabbed to death and the worst of all, the 1500 year old Buddhas of Bamiyan were intentionally dynamited. It was an ugly blow against not just religion, but also a major landmark of human history. I can now begin to imagine how millions of devout Buddhists must have suffered.".

    Again Action by muslim Extremists has led to this Reaction in non-muslim countries. I am afraid more to come.

    It is non-sensical to compare burning of Koran in Florida with book burning by Nazis. They not only burnt scholarly books on a variety of subjects,they also banned them too. Here, only one book will be burnt, but never banned; it will be freely available, even in Gainesville, Florida. It is not the number of Korans which counts, it is the act; burning of one Koran will have the same effect as if one billion Korans were burnt.

    As you sow, so you reap. Muslims refused to control their Extremists in their own society, now it is leading to Extremism in US. Action begets Reaction. That is a Fact of Life.

    Will muslims learn any lesson from this? I am under no delusions.

    Persons like Muqtedar Khan were silent for a long time. Now they are suddenly waking up with nightmares of their own silence. Now they are completely confused.

  19. Tasneem from USA

    I agree with the writer and would like to bring attention for killing muslims in Quetta,Pakistan when half of the country is under flood water and Taliban in the month of Ramadan had the courage to kill innocent people and nobody said anything. Taliban and extremist have bought this on us and I blame them for whatever is happening and I am mad and I hope that we all raise our voices and bring a change and say enough is enough.

  20. Bob Reeves` from usa

    Reverend Terry Jones, a Christian minister from the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has announced an International Burn A Koran Day on September 11, 2010. The Dove church posted a sign saying that "Islam is of the devil". In attempt to lessen the shame that this act will bring on our country we should all burn a Christian bible on September 11, 2010. Burning a Christian bible is a statement of faith confirming that our spirit and beliefs aren't contained in a printed book no matter what we believe. All religions have one mutual belief, enlightenment. Flameproof.