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Asra Nomani can Learn a Thing or Two from Lesley Hazelton about the Quran

Lesley Hazleton gave a very moving and profound speech about her three month extensive devotion to the study of the Quran at TEDx. What she learned deeply moved her and in sharing her experience she deeply moves the crowd.

It is a very interesting video in light of our recent article on Asra Nomani, an individual who was born a Muslim but advocates tearing out pages from the Quran and calling for verses of the Quran to “go up in smoke.”

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  • jamie

    I cannot believe that so many posts had to come after JB’s quote of 2:193. It is easily understandable on its on and without any other support. The entire context is within the verse, persecution. Persecution. PERSECUTION. Yes, any group of people are allowed to fight against their own persecution, as in your life is in imminent danger. A very ‘real’ persecution, not the propagandist one used for militaristic purposes from the position of the one who has power and is in no way under any threat or ever has to worry about being invaded due to simple geographic enormity.

    So, this is my plea to all readers/commenters:

    JB is not here to learn about Islam, or perhaps anyone/group outside what is probably his small, practically homogeneous network. It is plainly obvious that he comes with an anti-Islam, derogatory agenda. He is not open to learning. He is not open to practicing any kind of reading comprehension beyond 1 or 2-word fragments. He is not a thinking man. Now, this is all good, IF he stays in his realm (his day job) and expresses his opinion in areas not within his realm in a more modest and humble way. This is how a person who wants to learn about something behaves. This, however, is not how JB behaves.

    As an intellectual person, I do not profess to be so knowledgeable about technical things, like plumbing, nursing, etc; sure, I can talk about those fields from a socio-cultural perspective of human organization, behavior, technology, whatever, but not the technical aspects, and in knowing this lack of knowledge of those types of fields (my sphere of ignorance), I express my opinions about the technical nature of those fields humbly. Moreover, I do not make it my life’s crusade to go out of my way to make problems where there is none by showing my clear lack of reading comprehension abilities (i.e., the basic idea ‘self-defense from aggressive persecution until the other side quits trying to eradicate you (peace)’ was
    perfectly understandable from any fair and honest perspective with an inclination to learn). Did anyone really think their fair treatment and explanations for what was clearly obvious to begin with would be treated sanely by JB? No.

    Now, I don’t intend this in a mean way to JB, but his irrational behavior is ridiculous and needs to stop. Since we understand he will not exercise any amount of self-control or has the critical thinking ability for theological exchanges of perspectives and information (sane diversity), giving and taking on an intellectual level, we must be pro-active vis-a-vis his behavior and simply not respond. He will not like this; he will react as usual and will, in all likelihood, get worse in order to provoke a reaction from us.

    So, perhaps someone could post a collective plea (if the groups agrees, of course) at the beginning of the comments to not respond to JB. We know his character. He does not (and probably will never) have an AHA moment. He will not concede one singular thought unit. We know his MO, so let’s just take it upon ourselves to stop interacting with him. There is a reason ostracization in Amish societies works so well.

    This is my, perhaps futile, hope.

  • zzaazzeefraazzee

    Mosizzle, I think that Asra’s position vis a vias Terry Jones was hardly a ringing endorsement of him. I think it was pretty clear that she thinks that there are more important fish to fry, and that begins with a certain level of responsibility within the Muslim community to do more to prevent violence. Is it wrong of her to point out the verses she calls attention to and question the mode in which they are often interpreted? After all, if my innocent friend and colleague were beheaded in the name of my faith, justified using the verses in question, I would be pretty darn upset about it too.

    I think she has a point, and attacking her is simply an ad hominem that sails right past the argumentshe makes. Specifically, her point from the Daily Beast:

    “We need to reject literal reads of the Quran and recognize that these verses were communicated during specific moments of war, and they aren’t edicts for all time. We, as Muslims, must reject the notion that we read these words literally. To many, that would be an act of blasphemy. But, until we do, the literal words of the Quran will be used to rally hate against the faith. And that is why, indeed, Qurans will be burned by the small congregation of about 50 folks from the Rev. Terry Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center.”

    So forgive me, but I think she has a point, and all of the verbal tongue lashing she earns on here in response is just rhetorical posturing, which really fails to address her point at all.

  • Dawood

    Furthermore, looking at Ibn ‘Ashur’s Tafsir al-Tahrir wa ‘l-Tanwir:

    And this negation of treaties does not contradict the statement in 8:61 that “if they incline towards peace, incline also”, because the peace treaty is requested by the enemy, and this verse [i.e. 47:35] does not abrogate 8:61, or vice-versa. Each has its own specific context. (فهذا لا ينافي السلم المأذون فيه بقوله: { وإن جنحوا للسلم فاجنح لها } في سورة الأنفال (61)، فإنه سلم طلبه العدو، فليست هذه الآية ناسخة لآية الأنفال ولا العكس ولكل حالة خاصة)

    How much more needs to be posted?

  • Dawood

    MRFF: As I said, I’m just a bookworm… I’m using this as Arabic practice! 😀

  • Dawood

    When we look at al-Qurtubi’s Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an once again, which deals with extracting legal rulings from verses, we find an interesting discussion. He adduces a number of relevant points from the verse.

    Al-Qurtubi notes that there is scholarly disagreement regarding if 47:35 abrogates 8:61 or not. (8:61 being “If they incline towards peace, then incline also”). He notes that this is because “God Almighty prohibited Muslims to incline towards treaties if Muslims are not in dire need of it.” (لأن الله تعالى منع من الميل إلى الصلح إذا لم يكن بالمسلمين حاجة إلى الصلح) He further explains that it is thus “not permissible to construct a treaty with the non-believers unless through a state of necessity; and that is if we are unable to resist them, due to the Muslims being weaker.” (فلا يجوز مهادنة الكفار إلا عند الضرورة؛ وذلك إذا عجزنا عن مقاومتهم لضعف المسلمين)

    Notice that here, al-Qurtubi does not say Muslims must not incline towards treaties if the others request one – there is in fact no mention of this at all – but that Muslims must not give up struggling for what they believe in, coming to the negotiation table from a position of inferiority against a superior force, unless the Muslim forces are significantly weaker and it is harmful towards the interests/survival of the Muslim community.

    Ultimatelty, he notes that the two verses were sent down in two different circumstances and conditions, with 8:61 giving further specification, otherwise having a general import. (والآيتان نزلتا في وقتين مختلفي الحال … وقيل: إن قوله: { وَإِن جَنَحُواْ لِلسَّلْمِ فَٱجْنَحْ لَهَا } مخصوص في قوم بأعيانهم، والأخرى عامة.)

  • Awesome

    That’s why it’s important to consider what v 2:193 says, which you already said the verse means to fight until Islamic law is established.

    “Islamic law” isn’t mentioned, and it only applies against those who are fighting against Muslims

    Awesome, could you please confirm if this was your post:

    Yes, and as you should note, it only applies to those who are fighting against Muslims, i.e. those who have waged war against them. It does not apply to others besides them

  • Dawood, again, you should consider writing for Loon Watch 🙂

    and come on…if you have time to rebut the loser called JihadBob, surely you can put your talents to better use…

  • Dawood

    That’s why it’s important to consider what v 2:193 says, which you already said the verse means to fight until Islamic law is established.

    JihadBob: Why do you continue to ignore Qur’anic exegesis from classical (and modern) exegetes regarding 2:193 and now 47:35? They have given clear context and implications in both cases, and neither of which imply what you have stated/believe above.

  • Mosizzle

    “What’s your beef with Asra? Just curious, but I really like your site, but I find your obsession with her approaching Robert Spencer’s treatment of Reza Aslan.”

    I partially agree. I did think Loonwatch’s approach toward Asra Nomani was a bit extreme but considering what she has said, I think she deserved it. If she calls for the profiling of Muslims, can’t bring herself to condemn Pastor Terry Jones even though almost every sensible person on the planet has, and refers to the beards of Muslim men as being gang signs, then she absolutely deserves the same treatment other Islamophobes get on this site.

    The Bible and its “controversial” passages are still there, it’s just that most Christians don’t twist them to justify violence anymore. The Quran doesn’t need to change, pages don’t need to be torn out, even metaphorically, pages don’t need to go up in smoke, the extremist Muslims that distort the Quran need to change themselves. There is nothing wrong with asking for that, but to ask for the Quran to be changed implies there was something wrong with it in the first place. There isn’t.

    What she wants to do to the Quran and what Thomas Jefferson did are totally different. I think Asra Nomani will turn around because at least she does claim to be sort of Muslim. If she was made to realise that what she is doing is hurtful to Muslims, she will stop. Hopefully.

  • JihadBob

    Awesome, could you please confirm if this was your post:

    Based only on the Qur’an, it means to fight those who fight you until corruption/oppression end and Islam prevails, and those who cease fighting you, leave them alone, except for those among them who are evildoers.

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