Muslims say the Qur’an clearly states that Allah does not beget nor is begotten, therefore is not a man, yet they always use the pronoun “He” when talking about “Him.” An unimaginable masculine entity who is somehow like a man without actually being a man. Also, throughout the Qur’an Allah speaks of “Himself” in the third person using the pronoun “He.” The reason for this has not been clear to anyone in the Muslim community I have talked to regarding Allah and the Qur’an, not even Arabic-speaking lifelong Muslims. These were people who never had reason to read an English translation of the Qur’an, and when they were confronted with one for the first time could only stare at it in bewilderment. They all told me, my Arabic language instructor included, that this was not how it sounded in Arabic. After some quiet thought they would come to the conclusion that the English language was at fault; no one suggested the Islamic scholars who wrote the translations might have something to do with the discrepancy. Next, they wanted to change the subject or turned to placing great emphasis on the rituals since they firmly believed that Allah, through His Prophet, had commanded all Muslims to do these rituals, and there could be no doubt or confusion over this. Anyway, they all very confidently assured me that Allah is not a man.
Great emphasis is placed on Sura Ikhlas when teaching children in the Muslim community the tenets of Islam. This short “chapter” of the Qur’an states that Allah “begets not nor is begotten,” and it is referred to frequently to ensure that students know Allah is not a person. In non-Arabic speaking countries, translations and explanations of Sura Ikhlas by Muslim scholars seem to directly contradict the “begets not nor is begotten” teaching. A. S. Hashim, M.D., author of Book 3 A Series of Islamic Books For Children: Eleven Suras Explained (Reviewed by Several Imams and published by The Crescent Publications), begins his explanation of Sura Ikhlas with, “Allah Almighty describes Himself so very well in this Sura.” Some more statements Dr. Hashim makes regarding Allah are, “He is not like us.” “He has no father and He has no mother.” “He does not have a wife and He has no children whatsoever.” “He is by Himself, One, Eternal and Absolute.” “He is Great, He is Mighty. He can do anything He wishes to do, He is merciful, He is able, and His powers are truly very great.” pp.36-39 (Italics mine). Heavy use of masculine pronouns continue throughout this book, the rest of A Series of Islamic Books For Children, and every other book I have ever read where the author has attempted to describe Allah and the Qur’an. According to their speech and actions, people come away from this believing they are being told by a disembodied masculine “voice” (Allah’s in the Qur’an) to worship masculinity. However, Allah is not a man.
If a man protects and provides for his family, it means he is a man, as opposed to a child who needs to be protected and provided for. It does not mean he “owns” his family or that he is worthy of worship. Prophet Muhammed made it clear that only Allah is worthy of worship and that Allah is not a man.
If the prophets were orthodox there would be nothing remarkable or memorable about them. They were remembered only because they stood out from the crowd when they broke free from the orthodoxy of their time. They advised others to do the same while giving dire warnings of what would happen if they failed to also break free and learn to think for themselves. Mankind’s attachment to tradition and convention is so strong, however, that not only did the prophets’ warnings go unheeded, they were turned into yet another orthodoxy or used to support an existing one. It is a great irony that the prophets are credited for supporting the ossified orthodoxies they dedicated their lives to finishing off.
It started out in school–from grade one we were told what and when and where and how to think/learn/study without any let-up, even in “higher education.” From there I made a “from frying pan to the fire” move by getting into a marriage where, although neither of us was particularly religious in the beginning, orthodoxy raised its head after we had children. As they grew older severe restrictions on what we could think and discuss pervaded every part of our lives, including leisure time and entertainment. With orthodoxy people are attempting to “protect from defilement” some “pure” religion/culture/tradition. No questioning or free discussion is tolerated because that would lead to the dreaded defilement. The different camps may dispute with one another but never allow free thinking or discussion within their ranks. The result is extreme polarization, along with an explosion in materialism since that is the only area where some freedom of thought and speech is permitted or encouraged.
Is a dysfunctional, disturbed, scared, angry, paranoid, disorganized person mentally ill? What about someone who behaves in a way that seems crazy, mad, insane? Or is the first suffering from the effects of too much exposure to people who feel they must control every aspect of the lives of those around them–all their thoughts, words, and deeds. People so obsessed with control that they lose everything if they lose that control. What about their supporters–nice, intelligent, well-meaning citizens who admire and support control freaks because they seem so in control of everything and everyone around them, including themselves. Perhaps the seemingly crazy, mad, insane person is caught between the control freaks and their nice, intelligent, well-meaning supporters and went mad because nothing made sense anymore. Funny how we “know” our brains are for thinking (as opposed to just learning by rote), yet we are scared to death from the outset that someone (children, for instance) might actually use them for that. So we control, or support controllers, and label people who end up somehow, mysteriously, unable to control themselves as mentally ill and blame their “illness” on “genetics” and “chemical imbalance”–behavior that makes it very difficult to see the difference between science and religion.
If psychiatrists are doctors, they are a very odd sort of doctor. They are like a doctor who gives his patient with a broken leg a bottle of pills for pain, then tells him to go home and take the painkillers according to the directions on the bottle. This doctor not only avoids talking about his patient’s broken leg, he does not even want to acknowledge it exists. Where do such doctors get their training/education? Pharmaceutical companies? Pharmaceutical universities? One more industry dedicated to the avoidance and covering up of reality. Deadening pain makes neither a broken leg, nor an injured psyche, nor reality disappear.