Curiosity led me to seek and learn Islam from non-Muslim’s perspective. They see Islam from outside the box and clearly articulate its essence, as opposed to Muslims who limit Islam to rituals. Names like Acharya Pramod Krishnan, Laxmi Shankaracharya, John Esposito, Karen Armstrong, Lesley Hazelton, and others among the many great scholars. We need to put together all their videos to expand our vision of Islam, to that of Aalameen, it is a big word and should not be taken lightly. It means all-encompassing and all-inclusive just as Allah is Rabbul Aalameen and Prophet is Mercy to the Aaalameen, we need to embrace the entire universe and become a speck in of it.
The following video is an interview with Muhammad Asad, the man who translated the Quran, almost as it was meant to be, he is one of my mentors. Meaning, I run to his translations practically every day. Let me add Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar’s name to the list who brought completeness to the Quran’s essence by dealing with verses about women that were mistranslated for almost the entire history of Islam.
We have Dr. Safi Kaskas’s Quran translation that puts verses from the Bible next to the verses from the Quran to increase our awareness of God’s wisdom in all the great books. Remember, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said, you can go as far as China to seek knowledge. It is our duty as Muslims to learn about other faiths. Indeed, most Muslims are not aware that Prophet Muhammad was the first human to initiate interfaith dialogues.
Those Muslim scholars who praised Islam for placing men and women on equal footing failed to practice it. Some of their translations and exegesis did not reflect the wisdom of the Quran. The glaring example is the gross mistranslation of verse 4:34 for nearly 1400 years. Thanks to Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar for correcting it.
As Obama had alluded, we will become a perfect union when every American believes and treats other Americans as equals. I think we can develop a near-perfect understanding of Islam and its universality by listening to these men and women.
Towards the end of the interview, he reflects on how Muslims have reduced Islam to merely rituals. We need to grasp its essence and become a confident Muslim. By the way, this thought is articulated in the book American Muslim Agenda, the book is available at Amazon and other book stores, details at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com
It was a joy listening to the 48 minutes of the interview with Muhammad Asad. I will bring a few more interviews of non-Muslims who chose to become a Muslim or speak of Islam as it was intended to be.
Here is Muhammad Asad’s interview.