July 5, 2001
7:00 PM   Subscribe

What happens when the info-age Web runs afoul of attitudes and societal restrictions that haven't been allowed to change or be questioned in 1,500 years. For my part, I was unaware that merely writing in the style of Qur'an, even with the most honorable of attentions, was proscribed. (At least AOL didn't let us down - their reaction was as craven and cowardly as we come to expect from that bastion of mediocre blandness.) (via scissorfish by way of plasticbag.org)
posted by m.polo (4 comments total)

The site is a lot more reasonable than this summary. The "Attitudes and societal restrictions etc etc" statement is clearly wrong - this article was part of such questioning.

The site says: Moderate Muslims urged these groups not to push for the closure of the web site, arguing that it would reinforce stereotypical views of Muslims as fundamentalist and "anti freedom of speech". How right they were...
posted by andrew cooke at 12:18 AM on July 6, 2001

Hooray for the moderate Muslims!
It seems, as is true with most "moderates", that upon actually reading the Koran, that such activity violated no "laws of God."
Doesn't this parallel many of the Christian fundamentalists in the US? Many of "God's faithful" would rather beat you to death with their version of "Holy Scripture" than to actually open the damn book up and attempt to understand what is written within.
Reading is just too much trouble! Especially when we have so many power hungry people ready to tell the sheep what they should think.
Actually understanding the implications of what they might accidentally read may be, unfortunately, beyond the mental grasp of many of the fundamentalist masses.
Like sheep to the slaughter.
posted by nofundy at 5:53 AM on July 6, 2001

Many of "God's faithful" would rather beat you to death with their version of "Holy Scripture"...

Or with, um, sticks...
posted by rushmc at 6:53 AM on July 6, 2001

Recreating or forging Quran is not an innovation of the "info-age." While Muslims hold faith of the authenticity of Quran to be authored by Allah, many in the past 1500 years have either (attempted or) forged, added or edited verses in Quran. I personally was unaware that there were social restrictions on even attempting to write a "New and Improved" Quran, given that how often people have tried to either recreate or discredit Quran.

I know of at least eight PhDs that were granted on research that discussed a more earthly and less divine authorship of Quran. The most noticeable trend in those dissertations is that the researchers who were from Islamic ethnicities tried to prove that Quran was written by Prophet Mohammed, while the non-Muslim researchers maintained that it was written by Jewish and Christian scholars.

The closest the Quran ever came to an undisputed divine authorship was when Rashad Khalifa of Arizona discovered the Quranic Code. He found a 19 based construction of Quran which was detailed in his translation of the holy book. His formula essentially said that all the alphabets, verses, chapters in Quran were arranged in some formula that was always divisible by 19. Saudi Arabia even paid for him to continue his research. This whole thing fell apart when Rashad Khalifa declared himself the true prophet of Islam and edited two verses out of the Quran to balance the equation that proved that the 19-based-Quran validated his prophecy. He was soon arrested for polygyny and child molestation in Arizona. The Saudis had eggs on their faces. This development is rarely talked about in the contemporary Islamic scholarship.

I came across this information purely by accident. Once while browsing the shelves at one of the smaller branches of the Queens Public Library, I came across a copy of the translation of Quran by Rashad Khalifa at the corner the bottom shelf. No one had ever taken the book out. It was one of the finer pieces of English religious literary work I have ever read. It ranks really high up there with the Book of Mormon in its fluidity of the language and writing style. The appendix of the book contained the details of the 19 based formula of Quran. I never saw the book again after I returned it. It is also the only branch of the QPL where I ever saw a book researching Jesus’ tomb in Pakistan. Very weird coincidence.

I didn't know there were too many people left who even write in the style of Quran. The language of the Quran is a form of classical Arabic. That style is not widely used anymore anywhere in the Middle East.

Since a vast majority of the modern Muslims are not native speakers of Arabic, and rarely ever bother to read (or understand) the actual book, I can understand why some religious leaders might fear the proliferation of even adequately labeled fake Suras. There definitely is a language and reading barrier in the Islamic world. Either people don't know or understand the language, or they don’t bother to read. Had the Iranian clerics bothered to read Satanic Verses, the talent less hack Rushdie would be a poor man peddling car insurance in the allies of London; not the multi millionaire he is now 'the fatwa' has blessed him with.
posted by tamim at 9:02 AM on July 6, 2001

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