June 18, 2006
Qur’an & non-Muslims
I read with interest an article in today's Star that reported various views on Matthias Chang's recent case. The former political advisor to Dr. M apparently brought out a chunk of religious holy texts and swore on each of them that he was not party to any dirty business money making. I'll leave the reasons for swearing aside and look at the more interesting comment.
Apparently, it was an insult to Islam because non-Muslims are not allowed to even touch the Qur'an. Let's take a look at this.
A verse in the Qur'an 56: 77-79 says that:
Clearly saying that non-Muslims are impure and are therefore not allowed to touch the Holy Qur'an. I have to admit this is something I have not known. This poses a problem to the many non-Muslims who are sincere in wanting to seek more of the religion. What if I am a non-Muslim who is genuinely interested in the religion, and yes, perhaps even considering embracing it but am not yet entirely sure until I read the original text for myself? What then? I have to place it on my table and inspect it with sterile gloves? Ensuring that my impure breath does not mar its very pages?
And how about the paperback Qur'ans that are sold in public bookstores? Anyone can buy them off the shelf. How about the salespersons handling it as they shift them around on trolleys and onto the shelves?
Lastly, scholars and religious academics who want to make cross comparisons with other religious texts. It would make it fairly difficult for them to do that.
Also, how about the Qur'an texts online? If you go about it symbolically, reading it online would be the same as touching and reading its physical book. If one is not allowed to read the physical book (because reading it is to hold and touch it), then one should logically not be allowed to read it online as well.
But I just quoted three verses of the online Qur'an. Does that mean I have committed a crime?
I don't know. I'm rather confused. Can someone shed light on this?
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