Islam: Why is the Holy Qur’an so easy to hijack? Part-II By Zahir Ebrahim

Part-I, Part-II, Part-III, Part-IV

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Why is the Holy Qur’an so easy to hijack?




In Part-Iof this study, Mr. Spock from Star Trek had just picked up the Holy Qur’an and with a cleansed heart as is natural to him on all matters (i.e., without prejudice and socialization bias – see Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization), delved into the inquiry of what is in that Holy Book of 1.6 to 2 billion Muslims on planet earth. While it will surely take a good book-length report to cover all that he learnt, this Part-IIand sequels to follow narrowly focus on the factual and analytical portions of his discovery as directly pertinent to the overarching inquiry question raised in Part-I:

What are the inherent impediments for studying the message of the Holy Qur’an which make the Book so amenable to self-serving interpretation, socialization, and even bastardization by anyone?

While this investigative study is intended primarily for the benefit of ordinary Muslims to foster a greater analytical understanding of our own religion, Islam, ordinary Non-Muslim peoples will, perhaps for the first time in the English language – the language of the Anglo-Saxon masters du jour of the affairs of the world – perceptively glimpse the scriptural reasons for the delicate fracture points of disunity among Muslims. These fracture points have been rife for exploitation by all imperial mobilizations of all empires, both past and present.

But “Islam”, the proper noun, a “deen” chosen by Allah, the Author designate of the Holy Qur’an, and by the Author’s own proclamation, a “favor” unto mankind to show them an enlightened and divinely guided way of life, has nothing to do with empires:

This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). (2:2)

Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them (Surah Al-Baqara 2:3)

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). (Surah Al-Baqara verse fragment 2:185)

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَٰتٍ مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ ۚ

Alif. Lam. Ra. (This is) a Scripture which We have revealed unto thee (Muhammad) that thereby thou mayst bring forth mankind from darkness unto light, by the permission of their Lord, unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise, (Surah Ibrahim 14:1)

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ الٓر ۚ كِتَٰبٌ أَنزَلْنَٰهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ ٱلنَّاسَ مِنَ ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطِ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلْحَمِيدِ

If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. (Surah Al-Maeda 5:48 )

وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.” (Surah Al-Ahzaab, 33:35)

إِنَّ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ وَٱلْمُسْلِمَٰتِ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَٰتِ وَٱلْقَٰنِتِينَ وَٱلْقَٰنِتَٰتِ وَٱلصَّٰدِقِينَ وَٱلصَّٰدِقَٰتِ وَٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ وَٱلصَّٰبِرَٰتِ وَٱلْخَٰشِعِينَ وَٱلْخَٰشِعَٰتِ وَٱلْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَٱلْمُتَصَدِّقَٰتِ وَٱلصَّٰٓئِمِينَ وَٱلصَّٰٓئِمَٰتِ وَٱلْحَٰفِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَٱلْحَٰفِظَٰتِ وَٱلذَّٰكِرِينَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَٱلذَّٰكِرَٰتِ أَعَدَّ ٱللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

By the declining day, (103:1)

Lo! man is in a state of loss (103:2)

Save those who believe,

and do good works,

and strive for “haq”,

and are patient (Surah Al-Asr 103:3)


اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِىۡ خُسۡرٍۙ‏

اِلَّا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا

وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ

وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ

ۙ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ

O soul that art at rest! (89:27)

Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him), (89:28)

So enter among My servants, (89:29)

And enter into My garden. (Surah Al-Fajr, 89:30)

يَٰٓأَيَّتُهَا ٱلنَّفْسُ ٱلْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ

ٱرْجِعِىٓ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً

فَٱدْخُلِى فِى عِبَٰدِى

وَٱدْخُلِى جَنَّتِى

This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Surah Al-Maeda verse fragment 5:3)

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ۚ

Caption Verses capturing the primary mission statement of the Religion of Islam in a nutshell. See any empire?

The above table captures the primary mission statement of the Religion of Islam in its own words in a nutshell. There is no mention or even conception of empire in it. Nor in the rest of the Holy Qur’an. There is not even a word for “empire” in the vocabulary-rich language of the Holy Qur’an, never mind an advocacy to strive for it as the purpose of life. The purpose of man’s striving is specified entirely different from what it would be if “imperial mobilization” of Islam (under any flag, banner, label, or pretext) was among the purposes of its constitution for a moral existence that its Author claims He already “perfected”. Meaning, there is no room for more specification in it. And there is exactly zero specification for empire in it.

Then, the obvious pertinent question must be asked. How did a “deen”:

  • which Allah “perfected” (أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ ) as moral guidance for the pious (هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ) to: “bring forth mankind from darkness unto light” (ٱلنَّاسَ مِنَ ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِ ) ;

  • showing a path of perseverance (تَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ ) for doing “good works” (عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ ) and establishing “haq” (تَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ) as if “in a race in all virtues” (فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ) ;

  • whose main prize is proclaimed to be: “forgiveness and great reward” (مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا ) for a “soul that art at rest” (يَٰٓأَيَّتُهَا ٱلنَّفْسُ ٱلْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ) upon its “Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him)” (ٱرْجِعِىٓ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً ) ;

  • and whose “great reward” being: “So enter among My servants, And enter into My garden” (فَٱدْخُلِى فِى عِبَٰدِى وَٱدْخُلِى جَنَّتِى ) ;

become world-dominating empires soon after the death of its Prophet?

That’s a pretty straightforward prescription above, a rather simple constitution to comprehend by even the laity requiring no industry of the clergy class, nor the pulpit, to expound it. So what went wrong?

These “Islamic” empires ruled unsurpassed vast territories in the name of Islam under various Muslim dynasties say from 700 A.D. to 1400 A.D., and for another 500 years afterwards in stiff competition with European empires, the last remnants of which were forcibly laid to rest by the Anglo-Saxon masters in the early twentieth century in full capitulation to the white man’s burden. How that came about is a study of history of rise and fall of empires in all its broad dimensions that has been repeated many times by others. A notable reading is Philip K. Hitti’s History of the Arabs. Such is not the direction of this far humbler work.

These Muslim empires unfortunately bequeathed to mankind what it has largely come to understand of Islam today. This is true of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. If you just bother to open Bernard Lewis’ many books on Islam for instance, and the Princeton University’s most famous Zionist propagandist is touted as a “leading Western scholar of Islam”, you will immediately see that he eruditely opines about Islam largely from sources penned by history’s scribes rather than from the Holy Qur’an itself. Care to ponder why? Can’t the incredibly well-read multi-lingual vulgar propagandist find sufficient ammunition in the Holy Qur’an to malign Islam pedantically like some of the lower-order propagandists such as the Qur’an burning pastor from Florida do? Why does Bernard Lewis so eagerly reach for the scribes of history for his propaganda manuals? His “Crisis of Islam – Holy War and Unholy Terror”, as does his “What Went Wrong? – The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East”, both draw sustenance from history’s scribes to respectively demonstrate the “terrorism” and backwardness of Muslims being rooted in “Islam” (see Hijacking the word “Islam” for Mantra Creation).

Tragically, in almost exactly the same way, Muslims trying to escape their socialization biases by studying Islam for themselves, also always first reach for the same history’s scribes to understand Islam, and invariably end up basing their understanding of their religion almost entirely on expositions of these history’s scribes. And as expected, they also end up incestuously self-reinforcing their socialization biases by first, and often only, reaching for history’s scribes favored by their own narrow socialization in a naturally self-selecting way. While Bernard Lewis does it self-servingly for his inimical self-serving agenda, Muslims end up following the same epistemological process unwittingly, without necessarily having any agenda other than to earnestly learn their religion to better themselves.

This crippled epistemological process is nearly universal. It transcends all sectarian divides among Muslims. Sunni Muslims get their understanding of Islam from their respective “wassael-e-sunni” penned by their history’s favored scribes, and Shia Muslims get their understanding of Islam from their respective “wassael-e-shia” penned by their history’s favored scribes, just as Bernard Lewis gets his Islam from both their collective works. None of them principally get their understanding of Islam directly from the Holy Qur’an despite often having an intense familiarity with its words. The truth of these observations is beyond doubt. It is empirical. And therefore, also easily falsifiable if not rooted in factual observation. Muslims today would have been a single Muslim nation (أُمَّةً مُسْلِمَةً ) if these words are false. And Bernard Lewis not the very successful propagandist for “World War IV” – West’s perpetual “War on Terror” as labeled by a former director of the CIA – that he has become, adorning Goebbels’ shoes without fear of retribution. And the 1.6 to 2 billion Muslims worldwide would not be running helter-skelter foolishly asking their own predators to come save them like puppets on a string.

This study principally examines the narrow question which to this scribe’s knowledge has not been addressed in Muslim and non-Muslim scholarship alike: Has the Holy Qur’an, the Book of divine guidance to the pious, itself contributed to its own “subversion”? Meaning, its own proclaimed goal of a single Muslim nation (أُمَّةً مُسْلِمَةً ):

Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a Muslim nation, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Baqara 2:128 )

رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُسْلِمَةً لَكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

This is a frightening question to ask, let alone explore with unabated courage. But it is a legitimate question to inquire into because its seeds are directly planted in the Holy Qur’an itself, just waiting to be ploughed by an alert mind seeking the fruits of its divine message rather than foolishly parrot its words without comprehension as a cultural inheritance in socially acceptable ritualistic ways:

‘Then the Messenger will say: “O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur’an for just foolish nonsense.”’ (Surah Al-Furqaan 25:30 )

وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا

Apart from the Prophet of Islam himself condemning his people for shackling the Qur’an into “foolish nonsense” (مَهْجُورًا ) – an un-implemented constitution that was taught and repeated verbatim mainly as a prayer book for earning rewards in Heaven as if the Holy Qur’an was not something to be implemented for the living to create equity and justice in society which it principally advocated as the Deen-ul-Haq (see exposition of Surah Al-Asr) – what are some other seeds planted in the Holy Qur’an which further beg the question posed in this study?


Mankind was but one nation, but differed (later). Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, their differences would have been settled between them.” (Surah Yunus 10:19 )

وَمَا كَانَ النَّاسُ إِلَّا أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَاخْتَلَفُوا ۚ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِنْ رَبِّكَ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ فِيمَا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ

If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.” (Surah Al-Maeda verse fragment 5:48 )

وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

Caption Surah Yunus 10:19, Verse of Separation; and Surah Al-Maeda verse fragment 5:48, Verse of Unification

It says it right there – in the momentous words of the Holy Qur’an: “If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people,”! And “Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, their differences would have been settled between them.” Had God wanted to, matters of disunity would have been settled in the very beginning. But, the verse of the Holy Qur’an vouches, it was by the Lord’s Word instead, that differences arose, and the settlement day deferred to be the Day of Reckoning:

And for every nation there is a messenger. And when their messenger cometh (on the Day of Judgment) it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged.” (Surah Yunus 10:47 )

وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولٌ ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ رَسُولُهُمْ قُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

But, until then, “(His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.” And that divine plan is one of choice for man, whether man is thankful or unthankful for the guidance:

Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” (Surah Al-insaan 76:3 )

إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا

The topic of inter-civilizational and inter-religion striving: “as in a race in all virtues” ( فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ), transliteration fuss-tabi-qul-khairaat (5:48 quoted above), has already been examined in the study Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization where religion as socialization among different peoples of different religions, cultures, and civilizations, is explored in some depth.

The same considerations apply to Muslims as well who, as one empirically observes, also become divided into sects and nations by way of socialization and inheritance no differently than the rest of the people on earth.

An alert mind can therefore legitimately inquire into the same Qur’anic concepts noted above also being applicable among Muslims themselves! Had God wanted to, He could have surely clarified all matters in the Holy Qur’an unambiguously, but as we shall discover in this study done through the metaphor of Mr. Spock, the Author of the Holy Qur’an instead announced the following:

He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical.

But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah.

And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: ‘We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:’ and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.” (Surah Aal-‘Imran 3:7, Tr. Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ

وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ

يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِنْ عِنْدِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

Caption Verse 3:7 Surah Aal-‘Imran, defining the first source of confusion about the religion of Islam

As is examined in-depth later on, the afore-quoted verse 3:7 of Surah Aal-‘Imran lends prima facie justification into this inquiry which is evidently long overdue (by fourteen centuries it would appear). The poorly understood nature of sectarianism among Muslims which is always examined as events of history and not as a prima facie consequence of the ambiguity in the Scripture itself, testifies to this bold observation.

Just as the “Word” ( وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ ) caused differences to appear among mankind to be settled on the Day of Reckoning: “And when their messenger cometh (on the Day of Judgment) it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged.”, did the Qur’anic Word also deliberately induce differences to appear among the Muslims: “But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings,”, for the same considerations: “(His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.” ; and to offer them the same choice: “Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.”, in almost exactly the same parallel:

One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” (Surah al-Israa’ 17:71 )

يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ

Caption Verse 17:71 Surah al-Israa’, the fundamental verse of the Holy Qur’an introducing the notion of Accountability with the imam one followed! The verse yields the logical deduction: better be aware of what, or who, one is following as one’s imam, including from whence one derives one’s path attributed to whom one presumes one is following. The Arabic-English dictionary of the Holy Qur’an defines the word “Imam” thusly: “Leader; President; Any object that is followed, whether a human being or a book or a highway”.

It is like opening the Pandora’s box – but as the legend declares, if one has the patience and the determination to dig through to its very bottom, the understanding will be found.

A cautionary negative side effect falls out from the afore-quoted verse 17:71 which is perhaps pertinent to mention here just briefly before continuing. The Holy Qur’an emphatically avers that all human beings will be held to account on the Day of Judgment in the company of the leader, the Imam, they each followed. So if one correctly followed any Prophet of God, since Messengers have been sent to all peoples, no problem for them, as expected. That is the pluralism of Islam – the only religion bequeathed by antiquity to the modern world to espouse such liberalism. See Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization for details. But what if one inadvertently made a fast-talking ignoramus one’s “Imam”; or followed learned discourses written by kings and shrewd apprentices of Machiavelli who obfuscated and subverted the religions to control their peoples; or simply remained socialized under the iconic authority figures they grew up with? It would be hell to pay on the Day of Judgment – for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, since verse 17:71 is addressed to all human beings. You are whom you follow and learn from – better choose your teachers and Imams wisely! That’s the principal Qur’anic message here, to Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, to all human beings whatever their persuasion and inheritance. (Also see verses 2:166-167 of Surah Al-Baqara).

Coming back to the main theme of opening a Pandora’s box in this inquiry, the Holy Qur’an’s focus upon the virtuous, هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ (verse 2:2 above), those who are perpetually on the straight path of becoming the perfectman (or marde-momin)[1], also seems rather simplistic on the surface. Especially so in a modernity which is run entirely by soulless, psychopathic, Machiavellian, Nietzscheian, manipulative controllers who create prisoners of the cave with the ease of perception management described by Plato in The Republic.

What can the virtuous possibly ever do to overcome that perception management for regimented social control if they only journey from cradle to grave as prisoners of the cave? (See The Mighty Wurlitzer & Plato )

Plato’s book was written one thousand years before the Holy Qur’an was disseminated to mankind in Arabia. And it begs the pertinent question: has the Holy Qur’an provided any recipe for extracting oneself from the matrix of perception management for prisoners of the cave? Can a prisoner of the cave ever escape the chains of the cave using purely his own cognitive reasoning abilities? Is logical examination of observed facts based on the five human senses, the empiricism of scientists, alone sufficient to extract oneself from such perception-management which is now akin to mind-control?

The rational materialist scientists oft proclaim of their left-brain dominated scientific processes:

The only means of knowledge is reasoning from observed facts; The senses provide our only direct contact with reality; Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it;” (Albert Einstein, as noted by Dr. Abdus Salam in his Nobel speech, 1979)

A thoughtful reading of Plato’s Myth of the Cave is essential to apprehend the depth and dimensions of this question. The reader is referred to Plato’s The Republic if unfamiliar with the simile of the cave. (See excerpt titled Myth of the Cave in the Introduction of Prisoners of the Cave ) This question, which addresses the mind that is itself under intense psychological manipulation by both, the forces of socialization from birth, and Machiavellian social engineering by the “controllers outside the cave” (using Plato’s vernacular), and therefore, it being a self-referential problem, appears intractable using only empirical and experiential logic.

This question is therefore at the very heart of epistemology – the study of knowledge, how we know what we know. The totality of cognitive, subliminal, and primal forces diabolically manipulating the mind which remain entirely incognizant to the logical mind, known as psychological forces, compound the already self-referential problem. Twentieth century Austrian logician, mathematician and philosopher, Kurt Friedrich Gödel, demonstrated the intractability of such a problem if it is constrained to the dimension in which the problem is formulated, in his Incompleteness Theorem. One has to transcend to a higher dimension which contains the dimension of the problem being solved within it, in order to examine the lower dimension’s axioms for self-consistency and completeness. This is as true in mathematics and in immanent philosophy, as perhaps in practicably escaping the mental chains of Plato’s Cave. Perhaps we shall also uncover that dimension, a higher evolutionary consciousness which transcends the five senses and simplistic notions of piety, in this study in many parts, and come up with some sensible understanding of Islam’s role in addressing this question as well.

Before we can follow Mr. Spock’s trail of discovery of the Holy Qur’an, some further elaboration on the Mr. Spock metaphor is necessary for those unfamiliar with Star Trek and don’t immediately get the concept of the logic mind in contrast to the intuitive mind.


Why Mr. Spock Abstraction

Briefly introduced as an abstraction at the conclusion of Part-I as a lead into the analytical study of the Holy Qur’an, Mr. Spock is a fictional character from the 1960s television series fable called Star Trek. As fables usually are, this fable also carries within it many intriguing lessons. Mr. Spock is a useful literary device for purely logical and purely analytical exploration of any subject matter. That is so because this character possesses no intuitive understanding of, or susceptibility to, faith or to faith inducing artifacts including socialization, love, hate, emotional attachments, imagination, intuition, gut-feel, etc. Mr. Spock only goes by facts alone, and reasons by factual logic alone, in a very sterile methodical manner like a computer. He is strictly bound by causality which is empirical, and not fettered by imagination and intuition which perpetually remain beyond the bounds of causality.

Since Mr. Spock is entirely what might be classically called “left brained”, the spiritual aspects of the Holy Qur’an which often impact the human heart and imagination, the human soul, have no impact on him. This “left brained” metaphor for mathematically precise logical behavior requires some elaboration for readers unfamiliar with the anatomy of the human brain.

The human brain is principally in two distinguishable halves, the left and the right. For an undamaged brain which hasn’t re-mapped its functions to its non-damaged parts in the self-healing process of an injured brain, the left-half typically deals in the more concrete matters of logic, analytical reasoning, engineering, math and science. And the right-half typically deals in the abstract, creative, artistic, verbal, linguistic, imaginative, poetic, spiritual, insight that is intuition based, and intuition and inspiration related matters that are not necessarily bound by causality and empiricism.

Narrowly specialized scientists generally tend to have left-half brain dominance which is what makes many of them such dorks on spiritual matters but brilliant in scientific endeavors. Whereas narrowly specialized artists and touch-feely people generally tend to have right-half brain dominance which is what often makes some so hopelessly romantic, and some others great sensitive, imaginative poets. The rest of humanity is somewhere in between that spectrum, more or less on a bell curve.

The best scientists however, those not narrowly and overly specialized, well understand the role both imagination and intuition, i.e., what appears to be faith to others, plays in one’s scientific pursuits. As Charles Townes, 1964 Nobel physics laureate stated it: “Science wants to know the mechanism of the universe, religion the meaning. The two cannot be separated. Many scientists feel there is no place in research for discussion of anything that sounds mystical. But it is unreasonable to think we already know enough about the natural world to be confident about the totality of forces.” Abdus Salam, who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Wienberg and Glashow, noted the role of faith in physics by first reciting verses 67:34 of Surah Al-Mulk from the Holy Qur’an on the Nobel podium in Stockholm, and stated: “This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.” Arthur L. Schawlow, 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics observed: “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. … I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.” And Max Planck the pioneer of modern physics, 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics, is famous for his insight (see full quote below): “It is impossible to make a clear cut between science, religion and art.”

All these Nobel laureates espoused something far greater than logic and reasoning aptitude of the left-brain. They also engaged their right-brain to fully employ their entire mind to perceive reality. Such broad-band scientists evidently style their life’s pursuits in accordance with what they perceive by imagination and faith. Since the domain is physics, it naturally lends itself to empiricism and measurement to confirm to others what one discovers running on faith and imagination. And then it becomes science. But when the domain is metaphysics which is not amenable to empiricism and measurements, demonstrating the truths one uncovers can be a difficult problem. This was demonstrated by Richard P. Feynman, 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics, by his out of body experiments in a sensory deprivation tank in which he experienced a state of mind and consciousness which no one else can reproduce, let alone measure. And this problem was also marvelously portrayed by Rudyard Kipling in his novel “Kim”. Once the lama discovers the River of the Arrow after a lifetime of quest, he is unable to explain its wondrousness to anyone, including to his most ardent disciple!

That is the general problem of subjectivity inherent in imagination and intuition, gut-feel and insight, the purview of the right-brain abstraction. The two halves together constitute human consciousness — the raison d’être for the human mind which enabled the human Captain Kirk to trump the logic-only Mr. Spock every single time in every Star Trek episode. We see that both literature and science understand the meta logic of the mind – that it is not constrained by logic, causality, or being able to measure something quantifiably in order to assert its existence, in its most heightened state of awareness.

This is obviously a first order model because human beings are clearly multifaceted and rather complex. Scientists have barely scratched the surface of the human mind even though the human brain has already been under the modern microscope for well over a hundred years, and even though much understanding has been gained on behavioral and cognitive psychology fronts which form the core basis of modern behavior control via perception management and propaganda. See the report Behavior Control: Architecture of Modern Propaganda for comprehending the degree of perception management achieved in today’s modernity where the difference between reality and the image of reality is akin to day and night.

All of Mr. Spock’s brain is what would be only the left-half brain in humans, multiplied by two to occupy the entire cranial space which is the same physical size as in humans.

Thus, using Spock to perform this narrow study is equivalent to using an IR filter in a camera to block out unwanted infra red wavelengths from being captured in the image and leaving its indelible artifacts upon the image, when one is specifically only interested in seeing what the image looks like in the narrow visible light spectrum. This is also called controlling the selectivity in engineering parlance. Mr. Spock’s limitation of not having what we humans have in the right-half brain, lends a natural selectivity switch for intellectually understanding the Holy Qur’an without interference from the spiritual right-half brain which typically drives matters pertinent to human faith.

This is only a useful abstraction, an intellectual tool, and not to be taken too literally – for first and foremost, the Holy Qur’an is a spiritual message to mankind: to believe in an unseen Creator (يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ ) on faith alone! (verse 2:3)

The Holy Qur’an asks man to believe in several matters of Divine provenance which defy man’s analytical and experiential logic, such as Revelation, Prophethood, Resurrection, Day of Judgment, Hereafter, Heaven, Hell, etc. But these do not defy the spirit of man whose essence is clearly spiritual, i.e., non material. Empiricism indicates that man, despite the overt formulation of his material body, is not just a collection of atoms and chemical reactions which can be analytically reasoned about in a laboratory or in philosophy (despite the insistence of scientists & philosophers). Love, moral-sense, self-sacrifice, the language of the heart and its tribulations, all defy pat formulations of the materialist. The intellect which enslaves the heart often turns it into stone. (See Morality derived from the Intellect leads to Enslavement!) The twentieth century poet-philosopher of Muslims from the Indian subcontinent, “Sir”[2] Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal (1877-1938), who surely only endeavored in his lovely poetry to free man from the shackles of all servitude to fellow man and to his enslaving intellectual ideologies, put it this way in a famous verse in Urdu:

صبح ازل یہ مجھ سے کہا جبرئیل نے

جو عقل کا غلام ہو ، وہ دل نہ کر قبول

‘Subh-e-Azal yeh Mujh Se Kaha Jibraeel Ne

Jo Aqal Ka Ghulam Ho Woh Dil Na Ker Qabool’

Gabriel on the Morning of Creation a piece of useful counsel gave:

Accept not the heart from a beloved whose mind enslaves it” (Allama Iqbal, Zarbe-e-Kaleem, source)

And Rabindranath Tagore put the limitations of one sided use of the intellect thusly:

A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.”

What gives a protective handle to this “knife all blade”, and breathes humanity into this collection of atoms and molecules called man, is a spiritual essence, and it is to that essence that the Holy Qur’an speaks for imparting spiritual guidance, to the هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ who believe in the unseen يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ (verses 2:2-3 and onwards), while also inviting reflection with logic and analytical reasoning (e.g. Verses 67:34; 6:7679). Neither is sufficient by itself for human beings. We require both logic and reason (left-half brain) to understand and discern cognitively, and imagination and faith (right-half brain) to perceive spiritually. The left-brain parses the language of logic. The right-brain parses the language of the heart. In the Urdu language, the latter is called “sha-oor”, which in English is only loosely translated as “wisdom” or “insight”, and like “love”, another instinctual construct rooted in the language of the heart, it defies pat formulations.

To ignore either brain function is to deliberately be one-eyed when most are endowed with two for full depth perception. Such full spectrum apprehension with both eyes, the eye of logic and reason, and the eye of faith and intuition, enables thwarting cognitive as well as subliminal infiltration used for perception management and behavior control by the vile among mankind. It helps man perceive and react to reality the way reality actually is, rather than the way it is made manifest on the screen of Plato’s cave.

Abstractions like the one employed here therefore can help formulate and understand an otherwise intractable problem by breaking it down into logical components. This can be done recursively to each component until one gets down to a level at which one can completely (or at least satisfactorily) comprehend or manage it. However, as Max Planck sensibly wrote on the process of knowledge acquisition demonstrating that he well understood the role of both the left and right half brain abstractions in the service of the entire mind seeking knowledge:

Modern physics has taught us that the nature of any system cannot be discovered by dividing it into its component parts and studying each part by itself, since such a method often implies the loss of important properties of the system. We must keep our attention fixed on the whole and on the interconnection between the parts. … The same is true of our intellectual life. It is impossible to make a clear cut between science, religion and art. The whole is never equal simply to the sum of its various parts.” (Max Planck, Partly cited in Critique of Western Philosophy and Social Theory By David Sprintzen, pg. 76)

To engage such abstract analytical methods one requires a great deal of selectivity as a tool to enable focussing on matters pertinent to each level of abstraction. After the decomposition exercise is completed, reassembling the smaller well-understood pieces into an interconnected greater whole enables conquering the once insurmountable problem.

This additive reassembly is often termed superposition in engineering parlance. In the illustrative example, it is akin to removing the IR filter from the camera to see what the composite image finally looks like in the presence of the unseen-to-the-naked-eye infrared wavelengths.

Since human beings are a combination of BOTH, left and right half brain which perform different functions, it would be foolish to take a one-half brained understanding of any matter as the complete understanding of the matter when we actually possess two distinct halves to yield to us a much greater and richer understanding when we maximally use both halves. But it can be quite insightful to use each half independently, employing tools pertinent to each, and superpositioning the understanding gleaned separately from the two different halves into a greater whole.

It is pertinent to recall from Star Trek that the captain, James T. Kirk, is a human being who draws upon Mr. Spock’s analytical abilities as needed, but runs his ship as a human being, full of intuition, full of insights, gut feels, and other non-logical things which bedevil Mr. Spock. But doing so enables the ship’s captain to do far more than the solely logical Mr. Spock ever can. The interesting characteristic of Spock is that he does not deny nor oppose the understanding acquired via the right-half brain by the captain. He merely accepts that it is not within his limited capabilities, being a solely left-half brained creature, to fully comprehend the captain’s intuitions. Such logic of acceptance might shame the humility challenged who reduce human beings to the material lives of a cell!

So we use Mr. Spock just as Captain Kirk uses him for logical analysis, and no more.

Let’s now follow Mr. Spock’s trail of discovery on that aforementioned narrow question whose exploration is surprisingly very broad.


The Holy Qur’an is not a book of literature

The first thing Mr. Spock did before he began his study was to classify the genre of the Holy Qur’an as a law book, as a rule book, as a specification manual, as a specific message conveyed through a Messenger, rather than as a book of literature, fiction, poetry, philosophy, theosophy, mysticism, science, or history. Spock recognized the import of such a core classification. He understood that the Holy Qur’an was a message by its Author to its audience. It was like an important letter or cipher conveying a singular message. Therefore, accurate extraction and understanding of the message was essential in the exact context conveyed by the Author of the Message, and not in the context of the reader – or the reader can misunderstand and misinterpret the message or parts of the message, and believe and act in ways not intended by the Author. And Mr. Spock of course was embarking on his study of the Holy Qur’an in order to learn exactly what the Author of the Holy Qur’an had specifically intended to convey in that Message as opposed to how he might interpret it on his own fancy.

Being of logical and sensible scientific acumen, Mr. Spock well understood the difference between reading literature which is amenable to personal interpretation and localized understanding such as what does a poem or philosophy mean to a human being or to a culture (in their own particular circumstance), and reading a rules and regulations manual delivered in a particular cultural context, or a design specification manual in a particular technology, where there is no room for personal and localized interpretation otherwise one gets it wrong and fails the interoperability and system integration tests. One has to comprehend exactly what the author has stated and meant, both in the letter and the spirit of the specification in the totality of the system specification.

Imagine trying to interpret the DMV driver’s manual for the rules of the road, or the income tax code by one’s own fancy. It is empirical that in the latter cases one endeavors to exactly understand what the relevant authority has meant to convey in its own, often convoluted, legalese language of expression and cultural context, or one does not pass the driver’s license test and gets a tax audit, respectively! Foreigners coming to the United States for instance, have to learn English and the road rules and road signs which are in English, in order to pass the DMV driving test which is particular to each of its fifty states. No Pakistani can try to interpret these unfamiliar traffic rules in his or her own Pakistani cultural context – which would be absurd and rather hazardous in any case if one is driving in the streets of America.

Even though Mr. Spock is left brained and does not interpret based on personal inclination by definition, doing his due diligence to address the posed question, he classified the Holy Qur’an as not open to personal interpretation.

Instead, Mr. Spock deemed the Holy Qur’an akin to a cipher which must be deciphered into a singular plaintext. Correct deciphering entails exactly recovering the plaintext message which its Author has meant to convey through the cipher.

The result of this classification has far reaching consequences for the question posed at the top. And this is the first commonsense conclusion Mr. Spock reached – without even opening the Holy Qur’an.

Knowing that human beings are generally prone to the right-half brain interfering via personal subjectivity in even logical matters, he logically deduces that people would also try to interpret the Holy Qur’an according to their own proclivities and socialization contexts just as they might a fine book of literature or poetry.

That instead of first judiciously trying to comprehend the principles which the Author of the Holy Qur’an had laid down in its specification in both letter and in spirit (as when using the DMV manual for instance to pass the driver’s license test) and then applying those principles to one’s own epoch (just as one might apply the DMV traffic rule book to one’s own specific road conditions), the believers of the religion of Islam would be naturally inclined to interpret the Holy Qur’an in their own respective socialization contexts.

And therefore, when they did that, they would each understand something different from reading or hearing the same text and that would explain the empiricism of Muslims being always divided on the meanings of the same verses of the Holy Qur’an ever since the demise of the Messenger of the Author of the Holy Qur’an who had acted as its Exemplar.

This condition is akin to different human beings reading the DMV driver’s handbook interpretively and coming away with a different understanding of the traffic laws because no DMV inspector is sitting next to them in the car and being their exemplar for every emerging driving condition. Wouldn’t that create chaos and mayhem on the road?

The same chaos is seen on the spiritual road of Islam in the mayhem of sectarian divides and mis-interpretations when people mis-classify a spiritual specification book and sub-consciously or deliberately read it as fine subjective literature because they are taught: read and see what the Holy Qur’an means to you!

Imagine if the DMV inspector said that to the learner waiting patiently for his turn to pick up the DMV rule book to pass the driving test: here take this DMV driver’s manual and see what it means to you! The burden is always upon the prospective driver to exactly learn what the DMV driver’s manual intends to teach, and not what it might mean to him in his flights of fancy as a race car maniac.

The Holy Qur’an is not primarily a written book

The first thing Mr. Spock discovers upon checking out the Holy Qur’an from his space ship’s library is that there is no name of author imprinted on the cover page of the Holy Qur’an. Since a name is always a proper noun, Spock decides to call its author, Author of the Holy Qur’an, or just Author (with a capitalized A).

The next thing Spock discovers is that the Holy Qur’an is really an aural tape, an oral recitation in Arabic, and its medium of ingestion is primarily through the ears. He is initially delighted because he has big pointed ears. So he quickly learned the Qur’anic Arabic from the computer library to the point of understanding the Arabic language (but not the lingua franca of the day, بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِۦ , in which the Holy Qur’an was made manifest as a Book – Mr. Spock hasn’t as yet discovered the pertinence of that lingua franca in this specialized study). After mastering Classical Arabic grammar, syntax, morphology, Qur’anic phonology (styles of recitation), and formal semantics of nuanced words and idioms quickly (remember his left-half brain is twice the physical size of humans and thus carries an exponential higher capacity to learn a language formally), he listened intently to the entire Holy Qur’an. It made no soulful impression on him (as expected, remember he has no right-half brain). So Mr. Spock delved directly into its contents.

But since Spock was used to reading specification manuals with his eyes-brain combination rather than ears-brain combination – despite large ears – he decided to focus on the written version of the Holy Qur’an so that he could easily sift back and forth as he would a science encyclopedia, but much more complicated in the case of the Holy Qur’an.

The Holy Qur’an, he discovered to his consternation, did not read contiguously for a topic like every other specification manual he had ever read – and being a well-traveled man of space, he had read most works of science as well as literature of not just mankind but also of many other beings in the galaxy. His captain usually quoted from the Bible and Milton, and Mr. Spock was quite familiar with their contents, if not their appreciation. Reading the Holy Qur’an as a Book and digesting its information wasn’t going to be as straightforward as Spock had imagined, having given himself only a few hours for the examination – which now stretched into days.

The Holy Qur’an is complicated to understand

While reading the Holy Qur’an sequentially, Mr. Spock discovers that the context of the verses, such as which verses are related to which verse, the antecedents and the precedents, unless the subject matter is explicit and obvious, is impossible to determine from the text of the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an does not carry the context for all the verses within it, nor the order in which the verses were revealed by the Author of the Holy Qur’an to His Messenger to convey to the people, and nor on what occasions and in which local contexts did they apply and to whom did they apply.

Therefore, to infer the general meaning of a topic without having the local context is not only subject to error, but can lead to multiple interpretations. As the causality among the various verses is impossible to ascertain with certainty in all cases from the Holy Qur’an except where it might be patently obvious, it also introduces error in understanding the full import by not always knowing all the verses and their full contexts pertinent to a topic. Mr. Spock also discovers that nor is it possible to determine the meaning of many of the allegorical verses, nor always categorically know which verse is metaphorical and which categorical.

Mr. Spock uncovers that verse 3:7 of Surah Aal-‘Imran (quoted in the Introduction above and reproduced in the table below with several translations) even confirms that no one may know their full meaning apart from the Author of the Holy Qur’an. And that none will grasp that Message except men of understanding ( أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ). The implication of that Qur’anic statement made Mr. Spock ponder: Why have verses in the Holy Qur’an when the Author asserts that the purpose of its “Scripture” is guidance to “bring forth mankind from darkness unto light .. unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise,” (see verse 14:1 quoted above), but which none but the Author Himself will understand: “but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah”?

Mr. Spock pushes that puzzle onto his puzzle evaluation stack[3] which is steadily growing.

The puzzle obviously created a logical absurdity for Mr. Spock’s rational mind. Perhaps, Mr. Spock reasoned, an alternate parsing of the verse with different emphasis and punctuation might make more rational sense for the benefit of a Left-brained scientist. The alternate parsing of the verse fragment of 3:7 leads to an entirely different semantics as captured in the table below.

He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical.

But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings,

but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah [,] And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge[;]

[they] say: ‘We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:’ and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.” (Surah Aal-‘Imran 3:7, Tr. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, alternate punctuation in [brackets])

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ

وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ

يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِنْ عِنْدِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

Caption Alternate parsing of verse fragment 3:7 Surah Aal-‘Imran with slightly different grammatically correct punctuation in [brackets]. It changes the sense entirely. The fragment beginning with “Say:” is now read with an implied [they] to be grammatically correct (as done by Ali Quli Qara’i in his translation for which it is stated: “the translation is based on Hafs’ version of the reading of ‘Asim,”). In the absence of explicit punctuation, the recitation style, i.e., Qira’t, determines implicit punctuation, or the boundary that makes coherent sense, and since there are at least Seven accepted Qira’at that have been handed down from antiquity, it leaves the door open to interpretation as to the punctuation that most accurately captures the Divine intent. Since the oral recitation, Qira’t, came before the written text, which oral recitation, or reading style, of the same Qur’anic words defines the correct punctuation, and hence the correct deciphering of the verse? That creates an ambiguity ab initio. Ironically, the verse that is itself defining the category of مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ , metaphorical verses that have hidden meanings which can sow discord by the perverse hearted by self-interpretation and needless argumentation, itself appears to be a مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ when it comes to describing who alone besides Allah will understand these hidden meanings! Thus the caution contained in the verse: “But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings”, applies to its own parsing as well! (Ali Quli Qara’i is courtesy of ; see translator’s preface: )

He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations – they are the substance of the Book – and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed. (Marmaduke Pickthall)

He has sent down this Book which contains some verses that are categorical and basic to the Book, and others allegorical. But those who are twisted of mind look for verses metaphorical, seeking deviation and giving to them interpretations of their own; but none knows their meaning except God; and those who are steeped in knowledge affirm: “We believe in them as all of them are from the Lord.” But only those who have wisdom understand. (Ahmed Ali)

It is He Who has revealed the Book to you. Some of its verses are absolutely clear and lucid, and these are the core of the Book. Others are ambiguous. Those in whose hearts there is perversity, always go about the part which is ambiguous, seeking mischief and seeking to arrive at its meaning arbitrarily, although none knows their true meaning except Allah. On the contrary, those firmly rooted in knowledge say: ‘We believe in it; it is all from our Lord alone.’ No one derives true admonition from anything except the men of understanding. (Abul Ala Maududi)

It is He who sent down upon thee the Book, wherein are verses clear that are the Essence of the Book, and others ambiguous. As for those in whose hearts is swerving, they follow the ambiguous part, desiring dissension, and desiring its interpretation; and none knows its interpretation, save only God. And those firmly rooted in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it; all is from our Lord’; yet none remembers, but men possessed of minds.
(Arthur John Arberry)

He it is who has bestowed upon thee from on high this divine writ, containing messages that are clear in and by themselves – and these are the essence of the divine writ – as well as others that are allegorical. Now those whose hearts are given to swerving from the truth go after that part of the divine writ which has been expressed in allegory, seeking out [what is bound to create] confusion, and seeking [to arrive at] its final meaning [in an arbitrary manner]; but none save God knows its final meaning. Hence, those who are deeply rooted in knowledge say: “We believe in it; the whole [of the divine writ] is from our Sustainer – albeit none takes this to heart save those who are endowed with insight. (Muhammad Asad)

He it is who hath sent down unto thee the Book, wherein some verses are firmly constructed they are the mother of the Book: and others consimilar. But those in whose hearts is and deviation follow that which is consimilar therein, seeking discord and seeking to misinterpret the same whereas none knoweth the interpretation thereof a save Allah. And the firmly- grounded in knowledge Say: we believe therein, the whole is from our Lord. And none receiveth admonition save men of understanding. (Abdul Majid Daryabadi)

It is He who has sent down to you the Book. Parts of it are definitive verses, which are the mother of the Book, while others are metaphorical. As for those in whose hearts is deviance, they pursue what is metaphorical in it, courting temptation and courting its interpretation. But no one knows its interpretation except Allah and those firmly grounded in knowledge; they say, ‘We believe in it; all of it is from our Lord.’ And none takes admonition except those who possess intellect. (Ali Quli Qara’i)

He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding. (Muhammad Ali Habib Shakir, House of Habib, Pakistan — Derived from Maulana Muhammad Ali, MMA 1917 PDF, verse is labeled 3:6 ; Muhammad Hussain Tabatabai, uses MMA 1917 PDF in the English version of his tafsir)

وہی ہے جس نے تجھ پر کتاب اتاری اس میں بعض آیتیں محکم ہیں (جن کے معنیٰ واضح ہیں) وہ کتاب کی اصل ہیں اور دوسری مشابہ ہیں (جن کے معنیٰ معلوم یا معین نہیں) سو جن لوگو ں کے دل ٹیڑھے ہیں وہ گمراہی پھیلانے کی غرض سے اور مطلب معلوم کرنے کی غرض سے متشابہات کے پیچھے لگتے ہیں اور حالانکہ ان کا مطلب سوائے الله کے اور کوئی نہیں جانتا اور مضبوط علم والے کہتے ہیں ہمارا ان چیزوں پر ایمان ہے یہ سب ہمارے رب کی طرف سے ہیں اور نصیحت وہی لوگ مانتے ہیں جو عقلمند ہیں

(Ahmed Ali)

وہی خدا ہے، جس نے یہ کتاب تم پر نازل کی ہے اِس کتاب میں دو طرح کی آیات ہیں: ایک محکمات، جو کتاب کی اصل بنیاد ہیں اور دوسری متشابہات جن لوگوں کے دلو ں میں ٹیڑھ ہے، وہ فتنے کی تلاش میں ہمیشہ متشابہات ہی کے پیچھے پڑے رہتے ہیں اور اُن کو معنی پہنانے کی کوشش کیا کرتے ہیں، حالانکہ ان کا حقیقی مفہوم اللہ کے سوا کوئی نہیں جانتا بخلا ف اِس کے جو لوگ علم میں پختہ کار ہیں، وہ کہتے ہیں کہ ہمارا اُن پر ایمان ہے، یہ سب ہمارے رب ہی کی طرف سے ہیں اور سچ یہ ہے کہ کسی چیز سے صحیح سبق صرف دانشمند لوگ ہی حاصل کرتے ہیں
(Abul Ala Maududi)

اس نے آپ پروہ کتاب نازل کی ہے جس میں سے کچھ آیتیں لَحکم اور واضح ہیں جو اصل کتاب ہیں اور کچھ متشابہ ہیں اب جن کے دلوں میں کجی ہے وہ ا ن ہی متشابہات کے پیچھے لگ جاتے ہیں تاکہ فتنہ برپا کریں اور من مانی تاویلیں کریں حالانکہ اس کی تاویل کا حکم صرف خدا کو ہے اور انہیں جو علم میں رسوخ رکھنے والے ہیں جن کا کہنا یہ ہے کہ ہم اس کتاب پر ایمان رکھتے ہیں اور یہ سب کی سب محکم و متشابہ ہمارے پروردگار ہی کی طرف سے ہے اور یہ بات سوائے صاحبانِ عقل کے کوئی نہیں سمجھ سکتا ہے
(Syed Zeeshan Haider Jawadi)

وہ وہی ہے جس نے آپ پر ایسی کتاب نازل کی جس میں کچھ آیتیں تو محکم ہیں۔ جو کتاب کی اصل و بنیاد ہیں اور کچھ متشابہ ہیں اب جن لوگوں کے دلوں میں کجی (ٹیڑھ) ہے۔ تو وہ فتنہ برپا کرنے اور من مانی تاویلیں کرنے کی خاطر متشابہ آیتوں کے پیچھے پڑے رہتے ہیں۔ حالانکہ خدا اور ان لوگوں کے سوا جو علم میں مضبوط و پختہ کار ہیں اور کوئی ان کی تاویل (اصل معنی) کو نہیں جانتا۔ جو کہتے ہیں کہ ہم اس (کتاب) پر ایمان لائے ہیں یہ سب (آیتیں) ہمارے پروردگار کی طرف سے ہیں اور نصیحت کا اثر صرف عقل والے ہی لیتے ہیں۔

(Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Najafi)

Caption Various translations of Surah Aal-‘Imran 3:7. Is it merely a coincidence that all Sunni translators quoted in the table without exception employ the first parsing, that only Allah knows the hidden meanings of مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ; whereas the Shia translators (Jawadi, Najafi, Qara’i whose translations are their own work) employ the second parsing, that in addition to Allah, the وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ also know the hidden meanings! (Tabatabai’s and Shakir’s English translation are not originally theirs but closely follow MMA 1917; Tabatabai’s tafsir, while employing MMA 1917 translation in its online English version, argues for the second parsing consistent with his Shia orientation) But which of the two is the correct parsing outside of one’s socialization bias, that leads to the correct singular deciphering of the verse? Both parsings cannot be simultaneously correct as they are conflicting and alter the meaning drastically – it is one or the other! The first parsing creates an absurdity. The second parsing asserts there exists a group of persons وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ who also know the hidden meaning of the Holy Qur’an on par with Allah. Observe that a simple punctuation emphasis can change what is understood from the verse. It immediately opens the door to argumentative interpretation (in this case exactly along the sectarian divide) – precisely the warning issued in the same verse not to pursue! What’s more, the last fragment of the verse asserts that none but those with any brains, أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ , the men of understanding, the intelligent people who have any commonsense, صاحبانِ عقل, will comprehend this matter!!! (Translations are from the electronic versions at ; MMA 1917 PDF is courtesy of ; Tabatabai is courtesy of ; Ali Quli Qara’i is courtesy of )

Using the alternate logical parsing in the above table with only a punctuating semicolon added, leads to an outright different and conflicting semantics for the pertinent verse segment. It now includes some unnamed persons who are “firmly grounded in knowledge” ( الرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ ), transliteration Ar-Rasikhoon-fil-ilm, who also know the hidden meaning of the allegorical verses at the same level of understanding as the Author of the Holy Qur’an Himself.

Following the logical trail of that revised semantics opens up the obvious (largely academic) question: are these unnamed persons exclusively the Author’s Messengers and “those vested in authority over you” (see 4:59 below) who are made “firmly grounded in knowledge” so that they may discharge their duties as guides of the people inerrantly, or can anyone become “Ar-Rasikhoon-fil-ilm” by their own striving of due diligence? That question remains unanswered in the verse itself for the second parsing which naturally creates that question ab initio.

Which parsing of the two correctly decodes the cipher text? An irrational but grammatically correct parsing in which the Author writes a specification for all mankind to follow but which only He alone shall understand? Or, the more logical also grammatically correct parsing that some other unnamed persons also understand its hidden meanings?

In the absence of explicit punctuation, the punctuation is determined entirely by the Qira’t, or what makes logical sense. Since no reference decoding is available, obviously, as the Messenger who brought the Message is no longer present to adjudicate the parsing, how is one to know that one has decoded the verse correctly? A simple punctuation emphasis can drastically change what is understood from the verse!

Interestingly, the question itself only has academic merit long after the actual epoch of the Messenger. Its relevance for establishing the Messenger’s supremacy over his followers, and thus the reason for command obedience authority delegated to him in verse 4:59 as the inerrant Messenger of Surah An-Najm 53:1-5 (see Part-III), also being the لرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ who intimately knew the hidden meanings of the verses of the Holy Qur’an, would surely have been of immediate pertinence. By extension, it would also have been pertinent in establishing the authority of وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ over other Muslims.

Ironically, the verse that is itself defining the category of مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ , verses that have hidden meanings which can sow discord by the perverse hearted by needless argumentation upon its meanings, itself appears to be a مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ when it comes to describing who alone besides Allah will understand these hidden meanings! Thus the caution contained in the verse: “But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings,”, applies to its own parsing as well!

The above table capturing several translations however empirically validates the primary thesis of this analysis. It is evident that even a mere semicolon emphasis is placed in accordance with one’s socialization bias to always support one’s own socialized interpretation! Otherwise, the translations of 3:7 above would not so cleanly fall on the Sunni-Shia dogmatic divide with such precision. Now would it?

Principally, verse 3:7 Surah Aal-‘Imran is a defining verse in the Holy Qur’an. The Book is explaining its own contents. The verse identifies two main category of verses in the Holy Qur’an, آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ , the foundational verses whose meaning is plain and straightforward. The verse proclaims that these constitute the heart of the Holy Qur’an, أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ . And وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ , the allegorical verses whose meaning is not so straightforward. The verse proclaims that their layered meaning is in fact hidden, and known only to the Author. And, in its alternate logical parsing, their hidden meaning is known to وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ as well. Mr. Spock has decided to carry both parsing in his head for a while until matters become clearer during the study and perhaps automatically resolve themselves as either knowable, or unknowable.

What Mr. Spock found particularly fascinating in this self-description of the Holy Qur’an, is the cold prediction made by the Author of the Holy Qur’an that those with perversity in their heart, or from sheer ignorance, will pursue the latter, ( آيَاتٌ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ), deliberately sowing discord instead of harmony. But “those who are firmly grounded in knowledge” will not fall for this trick for they either understand the hidden meaning of the verses exactly and don’t need to speculate (the second parsing), or accept whatever is in the Book and accept it whether or not they fully understand it (the first parsing), and yet, “none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.”

Thus a significant source of misunderstanding and misreading of the Holy Qur’an is made known by the Holy Qur’an itself! Even in the very verse that is itself describing that fact!

How many mortal minds in the public who read this Book, wondered Mr. Spock, would be “firmly grounded in knowledge” ( وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ ), and “men of understanding” (أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ )?

Why put such tall prerequisites in a Book which its Author asserts is “as a guide to mankind,” ( هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ ), to “bring forth mankind from darkness unto light” (see verses 2:185 and 14:1 quoted above)?

Why posit such a high degree of mental acuity: “men of understanding” (أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ), objective learning: “firmly grounded in knowledge” ( وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ ), and spiritual enlightenment: “a guidance unto those who ward off (evil)” ( هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ) (see verses 3:7 and 2:2 above), as predicates in order to fathom the guide which is even addressed as “an admonition to all creatures” (see verse 25:1 below) rather than being just a guide to all mankind (as in 2:185 above)?

It is, after all, a guidance from the Self-proclaimed “Lord of the Worlds” (see verse 56:80 below and also 1:2) Who, by definition, understands all matters including all that which can confuse people.

Therefore, it naturally follows to ask that why[4] not make its understanding straightforward so that anyone with even an iota of brain cells can simply comprehend the Holy Qur’an, like say the Ten Commandments? Comprehension alone does not of course mean people will follow virtuous platitudes, as had amply been demonstrated by the pious Jews in the conquest of Palestine, lamented Mr. Spock, despite possessing a very easy to understand moral guidance given them, it even being carved in stone tablet to prevent its obliteration.

But making the Book difficult to comprehend for the ordinary peoples, and turning it into a cipher which only the qualified people as quoted above will comprehend, needlessly creates an order of magnitude new obstacles.

For one, it naturally seeds different misunderstandings of the same text depending upon the intelligence level, bent of mind, and socialization biases of the people – none of whom are able to correctly decipher the cipher text anyway since none possess the reference plaintext to objectively adjudicate their deciphered text against. Thus everyone and anyone is free to proclaim their own version the most authentic. This cipher therefore becomes a great system for seeding natural diversity of beliefs in which everyone can arguably stand their ground. Their natural inclination afterwards is to damn everyone else.

Second, statistics alone favor a misunderstanding of the Message of the Holy Qur’an. Mr. Spock recalled the favorite lament of interstellar-sociologists about the war-faring indoctrinated masses of human beings who had refused to evolve in several millennia, and remained under the unrestrained control of Machiavelli despite the never-ending stream of prophets that its literatures in many human languages proclaimed to have visited them:

‘at best less than 2% of the people think, about 8% think they think, and 90% wouldn’t be caught dead thinking!’

Mr. Spock further notes that the Author of the Holy Qur’an in verse 4:59 of Surah an-Nisaa’ had delegated His command Authority to His Messenger and Exemplar at the same precedence level of obedience as He demanded for Himself:

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.

If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination.” (Surah an-Nisaa’ 4:59 )

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ۖ

فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

Caption Verse 4:59 of Surah an-Nisaa’, the Verse of Obedience, itself opening the door to sectarian schism, the source of fundamental bifurcation between Sunni and Shia sects during the Muslim expansion into world dominating empires after the demise of the Messenger. The Verse of Obedience specifically underwrites the Principle of Inerrancy as a requirement for holding any Apostolic office that demands obedience from the flock.

But what the Messenger had conveyed to his people based on this divinely delegated authority and which was made binding upon the people by the Author of the Holy Qur’an, had not been recorded in the Holy Qur’an apart from the fact of this delegation of authority!

For example, in the above quoted verse, who are “those charged with authority among you” as the extension of the Exemplar, are not unambiguously identified by name in the Holy Qur’an.

However, Mr. Spock’s keen mind does note that a great deal of subtext is implicit in that most succinct verse, the Verse of Obedience. It specifically underwrites the Principle of Inerrancy as a requirement for holding any Apostolic office that demands obedience from the flock. This is examined in more depth in Part-III.

Mr. Spock is perplexed by the fact that only the Author’s own message is preserved in the Holy Qur’an, and not those articulated by the Messenger, even though the Messenger, by the accurate grammatical parsing of verse 4:59, has equal command obedience authority to the Author. Therefore, whatever the Messenger of the Author gives to his people as guidance, doctrine, or verdict, or explains to them as Exemplar of the Holy Qur’an, obeying it has the same obligation as if the Author Himself issued the directive in the Holy Qur’an.

While the Exemplar was living among his peoples, his followers were surely informed of all the contextual matters pertaining to adequate comprehension of all آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ , the foundational verses in the Holy Qur’an, such as who are the persons identified as “those charged with authority among you” to whom, evidently, by the logic of the verse, command obedience is as obligatory as to the Prophet of Islam himself.

Mr. Spock is baffled. The Muslim flock is ordered to Obey the Messenger in all that the Messenger conveys, but these articles of obedience, and exponentiation of the full context of the Qur’anic verses, are not recorded in the Holy Qur’an by the Author of the Holy Qur’an.

How are the succeeding generations to know? From the doubtful hands of fallible scribes and partisan narratives of imperial history? This seemed very illogical to Mr. Spock. It created a primary paradox for a Book which claimed to have “no doubt” and “perfected” (as per verses 2:2 and 5:3 quoted earlier).

Mr. Spock realized that a perpetual open-ended gaping hole is left in the Qur’anic guidance system to mankind. Spock wondered if that was calculated, to introduce deliberate ambiguousness in the specification, just as the presence of آيَاتٌ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ , the allegorical verses described in verse 3:7 quoted earlier, was deliberate in order to mislead those with perversity in their heart: “But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah.”

Ambiguity: A Design Objective Of The Author Of The Holy Qur’an

What could be the Author’s motive to offer such an ambiguous specification to mankind which could deliberately mislead them? Is it perhaps part of the process of spiritual ascendance in Islam, pondered Mr. Spock at the illogic of an ambiguous specification which proclaimed itself to be universal guidance to mankind, by which man is supposed to elevate himself (and herself) with the help of divine guidance to those who are cleansed of heart, to the status of Ashraf-ul-Maklooqat, the best in creation? For the verse fragment 4:59 continues: “If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination.”

This appears convoluted (at least on the surface). First, the specification is deliberately made ambiguous permitting differences to arise. Then it is noted that it is okay if you disagree – “There is no compulsion in religion.” (2:256 quoted above) – just refer the matter to the Author or His Messenger, or to those unnamed (وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ) who are charged with authority among you because you are commanded to obey them. While simultaneously reminding the flock the oft repeated admonishment of the Day of Accountability so that they would take heed not to fall victim to personal whims and fancies, and strictly accept, and follow, whatever is given to them by the Messenger. Since the Messenger is no longer living in subsequent epochs, that additional directive of verse 4:59 can logically only mean: refer all matters of disagreement, or confusion, to Allah, or, to “those charged with authority among you” (if they are still living) because they are a divine extension of the authority of the Messenger if obedience is commanded to them at the same command obedience level as the Messenger.

Look closely at the convolution. In the first part of 4:59, the Author lays out command obedience unequivocally to three items: to Himself, to His Messenger, and to the أُولِي الْأَمْرِ . There are no options and caveats to that command directive. It is an absolute and complete command. The next part of 4:59 states that if people don’t like or dispute any matter, implying, including any matter that the Prophet has decided, including the appointment of أُولِي الْأَمْرِ , to refer the matter back to the Messenger, or to the Author (meaning to the Holy Qur’an). But what if the Messenger has passed away and his designated أُولِي الْأَمْرِ are still living? Then, the dispute must logically be referred back to the أُولِي الْأَمْرِ as they are now standing in place of the Prophet as his designated Exemplars of the Holy Qur’an. They are empowered to resolve any dispute, including about themselves (if the Holy Qur’an does not resolve it) because obedience to the أُولِي الْأَمْرِ is also made mandatory in the first part of 4:59. One cannot escape the powerful logic – the convolution not withstanding! The word of the أُولِي الْأَمْرِis binding, their dispute resolution is final, even if the dispute among others is about themselves! The word of أُولِي الْأَمْرِabout any matter, including about themselves, is as veracious as the Messenger’s word about any matter, including about himself. Only under that logic, as any sensible person with an iota of reasoning ability will immediately perceive, can the Author of the Holy Qur’an demand command obedience to both the Messenger and the أُولِي الْأَمْرِ on par with Himself as he does in 4:59.

It cannot be any other way because the semantic logic of the verse can be no other way. When the Messenger is living, his word trumps the word of all others (including the أُولِي الْأَمْرِwere the two to ever disagree – and that’s impossible as they both obey the same Author). When the Messenger is no longer living, the word of أُولِي الْأَمْرِtrumps the word of all others in exactly the same way as the Messenger’s did when he was alive! Mr. Spock reflected on the density of the Author’s logic in such a pithy statement – a remarkable characteristic of sophisticated law that always requires jurists and judges to parse down to their logic but which often befuddles the common mind.

This is perhaps why, realized Mr. Spock, the Author repeatedly admonishes in the Holy Qur’an a people who might have been constantly challenging the Messenger’s decisions when these decisions went against their narrow acumen or narrow self-interests. For there is no other logical reason for such repeated admonishment to obey the Messenger and to not dispute his decisions, unless there is need of such admonishments. Mr. Spock found yet another instance of the Author’s admonishment, more plain than before, more shocking than before, addressing the “Believer” (لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ ) this time:

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (Surah Al-Ahzaab, 33:36 )

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُۥٓ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ ٱلْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلًا مُّبِينًا

Caption Verse 33:36 Surah Al-Ahzaab, the most shocking admonition to the companions, believing man and woman, of the Messenger! Why is this admonition even present in the Holy Qur’an – unless there was a need for it in some circumstance?

That warning of 33:36 is remarkable. The Author, directly addressing the Muslim contemporaries of the Messenger and not the unbelievers or the hypocrites, unequivocally calls those Believing man and Believing woman who dispute and disobey the decisions of the Messenger on any matter, as being “on a clearly wrong Path”! To Mr. Spock’s sociologist’s mind, the verse is prima facie evidence of undercurrents among these contemporary Muslim followers of the Messenger, including those who actually Believe in his Apostleship (implied by the words “momineen” and “mominaat” in the verse), as not always entirely happy with the Messenger’s proclamations. They are being admonished emphatically in 33:36. Who exactly these people “on a clearly wrong Path” are remain unnamed in the Holy Qur’an, just as who exactly “those charged with authority among you” remain unnamed. One is deemed clearly on the wrong path to the point of condemnation by the Author, and one is deemed on the right path to the point of commanding absolute obedience akin to obedience to the Author, and no identifications by name.

Furthermore, the Author, who introduced the Holy Qur’an as “A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds”, also asserts that it has made Its definitive reference handbook available to all peoples, for all times, “In a Book well-guarded”:

That this is indeed a Qur’an Most Honourable, (56:77)

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ

In a Book well-guarded, (78)

فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ

Which none shall touch but those who are clean (purified) (79)

لَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ

A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. (80)

تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem?” (Surah Al-Waqia, 56:81)

أَفَبِهَٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَنْتُمْ مُدْهِنُونَ

Caption Holy Qur’an Surah Al-Waqia, 56:77-81

Such a momentous conflict resolution protocol to boot; such power devolved upon “those charged with authority among you”; and yet, these أُولِي الْأَمْرِ go un-named in the Holy Qur’an. What a cipher! Or more straightforwardly, perhaps these verses are not pertinent to any other time and place other than that epoch where their identities are naturally known to the people in question. Sensible, but is the latter what the Holy Qur’an intends to teach? How to know that one has deciphered its cipher correctly?

Mr. Spock’s ever vigilant mind observes that the Holy Qur’an refers to itself as al-Furqaan, الْفُرْقَانَ , the criterion by which to judge and adjudicate the truth or falsity of all matters, and all propositions, pertaining to Islam; and that it also refers to itself as a Guide, a Mercy, that explains all things:

Blessed is He who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures;” (Surah al-Furqaan 25:1)

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا

Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). (Surah Al-Baqara verse fragment 2:185)

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَٰتٍ مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ ۚ

and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims.” (Surah An-Nahl verse fragment 16:89)

وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَٰبَ تِبْيَٰنًا لِّكُلِّ شَىْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ

Caption Verses proclaiming that the Holy Qur’an is a criterion, Al-Furqaan

Therefore, Mr. Spock reasons based on the unequivocal assertion of these verses, that the gaping holes which he had identified as an impediment to understanding the Holy Qur’an, indeed appeared deliberate, and by design. They were certainly not inadvertent. They just had to be deciphered correctly by reasoning correctly. Their resolution, if it is of pertinence as Guidance to man that he must become aware of, is also present in the Holy Qur’an in the foundational verses, آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ , whose meaning is plain and straightforward as classified in verse 3:7 (quoted earlier). And by the self-classification of the Holy Qur’an itself in verse 25:1 and 16:89 above, the Holy Qur’an contains within itself, by its own assertion, the complete criterion and explanation by which to adjudicate all that appears unknown and ambiguous in the Holy Qur’an if it is to be knowable by man, because, after all, as is claimed by its Author, it is a Book in which there is “no doubt”, ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ , and which had been “perfected” as a “religion”, الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ (see verses 2:2 and 5:3 quoted earlier).

Furthermore, the Holy Qur’an even affirmed its own understandability:

So have We made the (Qur’an) easy in thine own tongue, that with it thou mayest give Glad Tidings to the righteous, and warnings to people given to contention. (Surah Maryam, 19:97)

فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَٰهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لِتُبَشِّرَ بِهِ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ وَتُنذِرَ بِهِۦ قَوْمًا لُّدًّا

And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them. Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:4)

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِۦ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ

Caption Verses proclaiming that the Holy Qur’an is clear, and easy to understand, and that it is in the “language of his folk” ( بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ ) so that the Messenger can explain the Message to them in their own tongue!

Therefore, there couldn’t be any holes in the specification which could not be unequivocally resolved if these proclamations of the Holy Qur’an are taken to be truthful and on face value, including the affirmation: “We made the (Qur’an) easy in thine own tongue,” and “We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them.” Mr. Spock decided to entertain these assertions of the Author because that’s what the specification itself stated, that the Book will eventually reveal itself despite it being in the tongue of the people among whom it was revealed (بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِۦ ), rather than hastily conclude based on what he had studied thus far that the Holy Qur’an was fallacious. It just meant that Mr. Spock will have to acquire their lingua franca (see below).

But that comforting realization based on the logic of the statements of the Holy Qur’an, does not by itself solve the problem for the ever logical Mr. Spock because of the inherent incompleteness of context specification, causality specification, and verse 3:7 statement which bizarrely asserted “but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah”? (See earlier discussion of 3:7 on its alternate parsing). Which sensible author ever composes a major specification like that, wherein, he first claims it is for everyone to follow as essential specification, but then includes clauses, ambiguities, allegories, and metaphors which no one other than the author himself can understand? Mr. Spock had not encountered a specification Book or an Author like this one in the entire cosmos.

Furthermore, because the specification is now incomprehensible at first glance with many unknowns rather than straightforward, not only is it enormously time consuming to figure it all out (assuming it is possible to do so), perhaps even requiring “experts” like jurist-doctors and other narrow-gauge specialists to expound it, but it is also replete with the subjectivity inherent in such exercise. Different human beings having different levels of brain-power, psychological bent of mind, socialization, and perception biases naturally tend to understand things differently when they try to figure it all out based on their own study and due diligence. This is why even rational and most logical scientific people will still disagree on many matters when these extend into the purview of human subjectivity and opinion mongering from cold empiricism that is amenable to experimentation and scientific measurement.

And here Mr. Spock realizes is the next core-reason for human beings to understand the same text of the Holy Qur’an differently from each other.

The moment Muslims and non-Muslims alike, step outside the pages of the Holy Qur’an to gather what was incomplete in the Holy Qur’an as a specification which can be fully comprehended – namely, the temporal and social context of the Qur’anic verses for which they were revealed, their causality, the identification of the unknown persons and events, and what the Exemplar had explained to the people for twenty three years by the authority explicitly delegated to him as in verse 4:59, called the Sunnah of the Prophet – by perusing the pages of history, or vicariously from their cultural contexts as most are wont, they fall unwitting victim to socialization and history-writing artifacts. Including, books upon books, and treatise upon treatise of scholarly opinions compiled by people other than the Author of the Holy Qur’an, under the suzerainty of the most oppressive dynastic kingdoms and rulers among the Muslims. (See Part-I , Part-IV , Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization , and Islam vs. Secular Humanism and World Government for what socialization and history-writing artifacts mean.)

Mr. Spock is struck by the remarkable disparity of preservation between the Sunnah of the Prophet by doubtful hands in history and the Author’s own pristine words for which He claimed there was “no doubt”, despite the assurances from the Holy Qur’an that it contains the criterion for deciding all pertinent matters.

Why is the full and complete message of Islam not straightforwardly recorded within the Holy Qur’an itself?

Why is it left to the native human scribes who are never immune to socialization and prejudicial artifacts themselves in the best case, and self-interest in the worst?

Was the Sunnah of the Prophet of Islam merely intended to be ephemeral, temporal, only binding upon the then existing people for the limited lifetime of the Exemplar, and not of any pertinence to subsequent generations of Muslims? If the Sunnah was of pertinence in perpetuity, then why was it not recorded in the same Holy Qur’an for the same degree of its preservation as the verses of the Holy Qur’an themselves, especially when the command obedience to both is on par?

Did the Author of the Holy Qur’an who claims to be the Creator of mankind, not know that its recording will be at the capricious whim and fancy of the rulers, the obliging narrators, and subject to the artifacts of historicity, hagiography, and other narrative vestigials under the forces of socialization, coercion, perception management, hidden motivations, human weaknesses, and the cumulative hystereses of cultural memories of every group and sect who’d be passing it on as legacy to the next generation? That, noisy cultural texts susceptible to myth amplification and all inconvenient truth attenuation, would become the key source of interpretation of the pristine guidance to mankind, a perfection, as claimed by the Holy Qur’an?

Or, as Mr. Spock reasoned, is the Holy Qur’an itself to be used to separate the chaff from the wheat? How is that possible to the same level of reliability for socialized texts written by fallible human scribes with hidden motivations and vested interests over a period of centuries, as the pristine text of the Holy Qur’an which all Muslims accept remains un-tampered by the hand of human scribes? Mr. Spock wondered how could a specification which claimed to be divine guidance for هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ in which there was “no doubt”, require Muslims in subsequent generations to put their faith in the hands of these scribes of history whose mother’s name they even did not know? It was illogical.

Mr. Spock pondered at the stark contrast between this, and the Holy Qur’an asking the people to put their faith in the Prophet of Islam who, as was observed in the Holy Qur’an, not only belonged to a well known prophetic pedigree, but as the historical narratives unanimously affirmed, within his own lifetime among his own peoples had been anointed “Sadiq” and “Ameen”, the most truthful, and the most trustworthy, by the peoples themselves even before he brought the Message of the Holy Qur’an to them.

No such guarantees are vouchsafed for these largely unknown scribes of history who claim to have gathered the Sunnah of the Prophet of Islam some two centuries later amidst the cloud of internecine violence and tyrannical rulers – and as Mr. Spock reasonably asked, what value is anyone’s piousness to another, except to oneself? In any case, how can anyone judge another’s piety, intentions, hidden motivations, proclivities, bent of mind? By how many times they are reputed to have bowed in prostration? Besides, they could be blithering idiots, house niggers, or Machiavellis and still live on their forehead. There are plenty of Muslim Stooges in the Service of Empire in every epoch. Society today lends substantial empiricism to hold that conclusion. See for instance, Response to the Fatwa on Terrorism in the Service of Empire as an example of a Muslim cleric’s selective story-telling to service empire. He was rewarded with a place-seating next to the massa at the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His 600-page Fatwa on Terrorism was published with much fanfare in the UK and will survive as long as the empire needs the ‘war on terror’. Anyone examining that document a hundred years from now will firmly believe in that narrative, penned by a Muslim scholar no less, for there won’t be any dissenting voices on the bookshelves deconstructing its egregious omissions of vile servility to empire. Arguably, the survival of the names of Muslim scribes and their prodigious works through the vicissitudes of history had a lot more to do with ruling interests, than necessarily their own merit.

It is visible even today for works of scholarship which tend to never make it to the bookshelves, or simply disappear even from prestigious libraries, if they oppose the paradigms of ruling interests. The books listed in Recommended Reading (in “The Poor-Man’s Guide to Modernity”) is evidence of that tortuous fact. Except for one, I believe all are out of print, and rarely available even in public libraries. They might even disappear from the Internet someday and possessing them may even be deemed a thought crime, just as is depicted in the fable by George Orwell, 1984.

And behold, Mr. Spock, while diligently perusing the Holy Qur’an, encounters this remarkable warning by the Author of the Holy Qur’an to precisely clarify just this matter, almost as if it was waiting there patiently all this time for someone like Mr. Spock to precisely ponder that dilemma:

(On the day) when those who were followed disown those who followed (them), and they behold the doom, and all their aims collapse with them.

And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:1662:167)

إِذْ تَبَرَّأَ الَّذِينَ اتُّبِعُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا وَرَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِهِمُ الْأَسْبَابُ

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا لَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَتَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُمْ كَمَا تَبَرَّءُوا مِنَّا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ اللَّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ حَسَرَاتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ وَمَا هُمْ بِخَارِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ

Caption Verse 2:166 and 2:167 Surah Al-Baqara, a most unexpected blanket warning in the Holy Qur’an. When read in conjunction with: verses 1:6-7 of Surah Al-Fatiha teaching man the path to choose and the paths to avoid in order to acquire divine guidance for the straight path; verse 5:35 of Surah Al-Maeda clarifying to seek divine guidance only through “wasilah” as “your duty to Allah”; and verse 17:71 of Surah al-Israa’ promising every human being will be raised in the company of the “imam” they each followed, for Accountability; the fundamental basis of the divine guidance system of the Holy Qur’an becomes apparent. Namely, beware of false imams, false caliphs, false leaders, false guides, false paths penned in books and announced from pulpits; seek the path shown by legitimate guides whom Allah has guided: “These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance”! (Surah Al An’aam 6:90) The question is: How does one discover that path? How does one know whom has Allah guided? An open-ended Indeterminate specification? Or a Determinate puzzle specification, a soluble cipher? See the definitions of these terms below. In practice, the question is almost always solved by socialization bias by the pope shepherding the laity instead of analysis of the Determinate verses of the Holy Qur’an – like everything else about understanding Islam. See in Part-III, the critical examination of Principle of Inerrancy, and “taqlid” (blind following of a jurist in both Shiadom and Sunnidom), reasoned solely from the Determinate verses of the Holy Qur’an to reveal more logical surprises. If only Muslims undertook to read and understand the Good Book with more due diligence taking it as a Message of Guidance in a cipher form for living a life that is “not at a loss” in the here (see Surah Al-Asr) rather than in the Hereafter! This profound concept, of actively taking care of the here so that the Hereafter takes care of itself, became the very first victim of subversion of the lofty precepts of Islam by noble caliphs and pious pontiffs. Ordinary mortals anointed themselves the Interpreter of faith and employed Islam as a force for social control to engineer the behavior of those who accepted and followed them, inducing the public mind to focus upon the Hereafter instead of the here! Verse 2:166-2:167 clearly attest to this dismal fact of servitude extracted from the Muslim masses by introducing false paths. These false paths have been repeatedly warned against, most shockingly in verse 33:36 as “clearly the wrong path” (quoted above). This vile legacy of Interpreter of faith still endures in controlling the public mind, well into this twenty-first century!

So here we have a self-proclaimed Divine Guidance System which is not fully specified, requiring going to a multitude of human scribes of antiquity outside the Holy Qur’an to learn the Sunnah of the Prophet of Islam, while its Author simultaneously issues the warning not to follow others (blindly). Also see the earlier cautionary discussion on verse 17:71 above. Mr. Spock realized that the Author goes even further, categorically stating:

That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case!” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:134)

تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ ۖ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبْتُمْ ۖ وَلَا تُسْـَٔلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ

Caption Verse 2:134 of Surah Al-Baqara, categorically asserting about those who went before: “Of their merits there is no question in your case”; the straightforward counsel is repeated again for emphasis in verse 2:141

When the Holy Qur’an so clearly vouches for that separation of deeds of the people who went before from those who come afterwards without equivocation: “Of their merits there is no question in your case”, then how can the Author condone the acceptance of their voluntary workmanship in the documentation of what is not explained in the Holy Qur’an, for those coming afterwards to follow for their own merit? That would create a contradiction, especially if it is mandated that one must refer to the craftsmanship of those fallible scribes of antiquity who went before to acquire the authentic decoding of the pristine text of the Holy Qur’an.

Furthermore, it is not an easy burden being a scholar, scribe, and imam in the religion of Islam lest one mislead and misguide those fools without knowledge who are wont to follow others blindly. The Holy Qur’an categorically apportions each their culpability in Surah An-Nahl (and Surah al-Israa’ 17:71 quoted above):

Let them bear, on the Day of Judgment, their own burdens in full, and also (something) of the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled. Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear! (Surah An-Nahl 16:25)

لِيَحْمِلُوٓا۟ أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ ۙ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ أَلَا سَآءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ

Verse 16:25 categorically informs those able to understand, أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ , that a fallible mind cannot lead another and not be the recipient of the “the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled” in some distinct measure! Mr. Spock, capable of drawing logical inferences with unsurpassed alacrity, immediately grasps that only an infallible mind that never errs, never makes a mistake, and therefore can never misguide anyone who follows them even blindly, can ever be exempt from that categorical statement! One such mind was the Messenger himself as is categorically proclaimed by the Author of the Holy Qur’an in Surah An-Najm verses 53:1-5 “Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed,” (see Part-III for detailed exposition).

Ergo, follow the Prophet of Islam, even blindly, in full faith, blind faith, and in absolute obedience, ’cause he can never make an error and consequently can never misguide his flock.

So what did the Prophet of Islam teach by way of the command authority delegated to him in verse 4:59? Where to get that Sunnah from? Whom to follow, whose books to read, whose word of mouth passed from generation to generation to accept, if one cannot even count on the imagined absolute honesty and hypothetical unsurpassed integrity of the scribes of history which the Holy Qur’an categorically proclaims is of no merit for those who come afterwards: “They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case!”?

Furthermore, how does one differentiate between following blindly and following due to socialization? Aren’t they exactly the same thing? How does one tell fact from fiction, mis-interpretation from dis-information, plausible sounding from actuality, in the presence of Machiavelli who can enact prisoners of the cave generations downstream by the fiat of writing the historical narratives of its liking? Besides, the natural process of myth amplification, inconvenient truth attenuation, even when empires are not built upon it, makes parsing of any history always tentative, and seldom definitive. Even incontrovertible facts can be cradled in differing contexts to give them different meanings and justifications out of vested interests.

Furthermore, not everyone in mankind has the natural skills to be a doctor, scientist, or engineer, anymore than the ordinary peoples among the masses have the time or the talent to become scholars of the Holy Qur’an and study all matters for themselves first hand. Therefore, most are naturally inclined to follow “experts” whom they revere. These “experts” themselves, as human beings, are always constrained by the socialization and historical narratives passed onto them from previous scribes. The Qur’anic admonishments quoted above apply to both the “expert” and the laity following them, as the most honest “experts” too, sensibly, have presumably followed someone else to get their data and not just invented their own (i.e., speculated, which the subsequent generation of scribes then take as gospel truth leading to more myth and noise amplification).

Even when one finds the “honest” “expert” to follow after all the due diligence one can muster, how does one still tell whether the “honest” “expert” is the “momin” of the Holy Qur’an or the “superman” of Nietzsche? See: Allama Iqbal – marde-momin or superman? ( ).

These are the very real pitfalls due to the pious layers of masks put on the endless abyss of the human soul that none outside may peer through, and therefore be easily deceived into taking actions that are inimical to their own interests, for here or in the Hereafter.

That is the primary reason for the categorical admonishment in verses 2:166-167 of following others (blindly), and verse 16:25 categorically warning those who might be presumptuous enough to imagine they ought to lead or guide others and end up misguiding those without knowledge who follow them. And the warning to the followers in verse 17:71 that they will be raised for Accountability in the company of those whom they each followed.

In contrast to these emphatic and categorical warnings of (blind) following, and trying to lead others when one is oneself fallible, Mr. Spock discovers that the Author of the Holy Qur’an simultaneously asserts: “seek the means of approach unto Him,” the “Wasilah” ( الْوَسِيلَةَ ), in Surah Al-Maeda 5:35. In order to avoid unnecessary repetition of previously tread ground, it is necessary to reproduce the following conclusion already reached in an earlier report Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization:

Begin Quote

Evidently, according to the prima facie prescription of Islam itself, the cleansed hearted journey to understand the Holy Qur’an for Muslims (like all other peoples seeking divine guidance) can only be undertaken by seeking out the path of some unnamed people whom God has favored. This is further underscored:

O ye who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him,” Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:35

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ

Caption Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Maeda 5:35, Verse of Wasilah, unequivocally putting to bed for all times the argument on how to approach Allah: “O ye who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him,” Who are these “means of approach unto Him”? See below Surah Al-Baqara verse 2:166-2:167, and Surah An-Nahl 16:25, for Qur’anic constraints on الْوَسِيلَةَ , “Wasilah”, whereby both followers and leaders are respectively condemned! Who specifically then meets the highly constrained requirements of “Wasilah” of this pivotal verse 5:35 wherein “believers” are commanded to “seek the means of approach unto Him,” as an obligatory “Duty to Allah”?

It follows therefore, rather straightforwardly in fact from the logic of the Qur’anic Message, that ONLY “the path of those whom Thou hast favoured” as proclaimed in Surah Al-Fatiha 1:7, and subsequently clarified as “seek the means of approach unto Him,” the “Wasilah” ( الْوَسِيلَةَ ) in Surah Al-Maeda 5:35, can exemplify, interpret, and explain the journey of the straight path (الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ )!

Verse 1:7 teaches the supplicant to beseech the Creator to show the path of His favored ones. And verse 5:35 commands the supplicant to first seek the means of approach unto Him as his duty to the Creator, in order to even approach the straight path!

In simpler words for the language and logic challenged, by the proclamation of the Holy Qur’an itself, the supplicant cannot approach the Creator directly, but only through the designated means of seeking the “Wasilah”. For emphasis, it is even couched as a “duty” of the “believers” to first seek the “Wasilah”! And it is further emphasized that only the Author’s own favored ones can delineate the straight path unto Him for the rest of mankind. The favored ones are the Wasilah, “the means of approach unto Him.”

The Holy Qur’an straightforwardly informs us that the straight path is guided journey by the divinely favored ones, the Al-Wasilah, and not a solo journey by one’s own interpretation!

Mind blowing… putting to bed all facile views pertaining to the path of spiritual guidance and spiritual ascendance in Islam.

Putting it together with verse 39:9 of Surah Az-Zumar then makes that rhetorical question obviously prescriptive, rather than being merely tautological: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?”

Meaning, these “Wasilah”, the show-ers of the straight path upon whom God has bestowed favors, must also be the ones highest in knowledge and inerrant in their understanding of the divinely crafted straight path. Otherwise, how can they guide others more knowledgeable than themselves? Or, if their own understanding concerning this straight path was error prone? Especially of an obscure path which Allah ordained that no man may otherwise know of his and her own accord, except through those who were divinely favored. Which, of course, also automatically implies that their teacher can be none among those whom they have been divinely chosen and ordained to guide! And the Holy Qur’an precisely confirms this, that their teacher is only Allah, in verse 6:90 of Surah Al An’aam: “These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance”!

End Quote

Mr. Spock, having perused the aforementioned study to further reinforce his own rapidly evolving understanding of the Author’s principal modus operandi of administering Divine guidance to mankind:

  • only by way of seeking the “Wasilah”;

  • and only by following the path tread by the Divinely favored ones;

  • and by avoiding the path tread by all others;

realized the gravity of the conundrum posed by the Holy Qur’an.[6] The Believer is cautioned on the one hand to being a (blind) follower, the learned is cautioned of misleading the uninformed by virtue of their fallibility and the fools’ inability to tell the difference, and on the other hand simultaneously commanded to seek the “the means of approach unto Him” as even a “duty to Allah” no less! The prima facie text of the verse – since it is addressing the Believer, “O ye who believe!”, namely, the person who already believes in the Messengership of Prophet Muhammad, is now commanding him to seek the “Wasilah” as his or her “duty to Allah” – is clearly speaking of some resource other than the Messenger. Who or What is that “Wasilah” is not specified — thus naturally leading to a great diversity of paths, and people automatically choosing their own “Wasilahs” as per their socialization bias and sectarian teaching.

The Author was being clearly adamant at not being straightforward in His Divine Guidance cipher despite His Own Proclamations: “We made the (Qur’an) easy in thine own tongue,” and “We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them.”!

It was more and more evident to Mr. Spock that the Holy Qur’an is deliberately contributing to the diversity of perspectives among its Believers, the natural outcome of any open-ended specification. If that wasn’t the intent, there’d be no reason to speak in variables like the unnamed “al Wasilah”, when the verse could just as straightforwardly have provided a constant instead of a variable if it deterministically wanted to force a single understanding. Mr. Spock began to appreciate the emphasis in verse 3:7 on “men of understanding” (أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ) even more! And that only increased the scale of the conundrum because as previously discussed, the public mind can hardly be characterized as أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ !

Returning back to the conundrum posed by the open-ended specification in verse 4:59, Mr. Spock consciously refrained from leaping to the most obvious logical deduction as a way out of this conundrum. That, verse 4:59 was principally temporal, and only for the time and age of the Prophet of Islam. For then, those people had the Messenger living among them to explain what is not explained or elaborated further in the Holy Qur’an. Verse 4:59, along with the profound attestation of infallibility made in Surah An-Najm: “Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed,” (Surah An-Najm 53:2-4, see Part-III), established for those people the unchallenged supremacy of the Messenger over them in order to command unfaltering obedience to him so that the process of enacting the religion of Islam could be bootstrapped into a political reality – which empirically did transpire in Medina. It was like a national constitution that demands obedience to state laws in order to execute governance. The fact that such directives were necessary is underscored by the fact of existence of the shocking disclosure by verse33:36 (quoted above) that there were Believers in the Messenger’s congregation who disputed the authority of the Messenger. Mr. Spock realized that he lacked the positive evidence and fuller comprehension of the Holy Qur’an to reach such a logical deduction of temporal restriction. Verse 5:35 of Surah Al-Maeda (quoted above) also dissuaded from that hasty deduction. The requirement for seeking ( الْوَسِيلَةَ ) is categorical, unbounded by time and space, even if the “Wasilah” itself is unspecified in the verse, just like “those vested in authority over you” ( أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ) is unspecified in verse 4:59.

Nevertheless, the mathematical incompleteness of this system is inherent, and Mr. Spock could not escape that obviously compelling logical deduction. That observation was obvious to him because he understood mathematical closure. It is like having a closely guarded pristine cipher (the Holy Qur’an) protected by an un-challengeable superpower (Allah), while leaving its cryptographic keys (the Sunnah) in the protection of the noisy press (the scribes of history) which can publish whatever it wants under the supreme orchestration of the Mighty Wurlitzer.

Unless of course, these apparent cipher keys to the elusive door past which one can’t see, are irrelevant to deciphering the cipher by succeeding generations. Perhaps some other keys within each human being is to be utilized – such as engaging the right-half brain for spiritual reflection and intuition (which Mr. Spock of course is not capable of, but he did not deny its existence and the superior abilities it conferred upon Captain Kirk, and nor its utility in commanding a Starship, and nor it being the official requirement for holding the position of command as the captain of a Starship, which Mr. Spock consequently did not hold and remained just the indispensable logical science officer).

Given the assurance of the Holy Qur’an that it contains all the necessary and sufficient criterion for evaluation and adjudication of all pertinent matters, Mr. Spock decides to dig deeper more systematically.

Adopting a Systematic Systems Approach

Mr. Spock decides to identify all that is precisely knowable, and all that which is not precisely knowable, from the text of the Holy Qur’an alone. A study such as this would exactly delineate all the vicarious notions Muslims have about Islam which are not explicitly contained in the Holy Qur’an, or only ambiguously specified by its Author and open to interpretation and socialization, creating the unnecessary and illogical fracture lines among the أُمَّةً مُسْلِمَةً even when they are supposedly following the same textual Holy Qur’an!

This is empirical and not speculation since no such divisions evidently existed on the surface while its Exemplar was still living among the Muslims and able to forcefully arbitrate on all matters in which the early Muslims might have disputed based on the authority vested in him by verse such as 4:59.

But the moment the Messenger is gone and the burden is put upon the Muslims to arbitrate themselves based on the al-Furqaan, the criterion, left behind by the Messenger, disputes, interpretations, mis-interpretations, some deliberate borne of vested interests, others natural borne of ignorance, arose directly due to the fact of these gaping holes present in the Holy Qur’an.

Evidently, as was gleaned by Mr. Spock by examining the sociological context, some concerted efforts were made by the rulers to not document and write down the Prophet’s rulings and explanations on all Qur’anic matters after his death. The argument speciously put forth by many an apologetic scholar of antiquity being, to seemingly protect the statements of the Holy Qur’an from being confused with those of the Messenger’s by the uneducated public, for had the Author of the Holy Qur’an wanted, they argued, It would have made the Messenger’s statements part of the Holy Qur’an ab initio.

The sophistry of these apologetics for not immediately preserving and writing down the binding rulings of the Exemplar after his death in a separate compilation from the Holy Qur’an in order to prevent them from being lost to the vicissitudes of time, was not lost on the sophisticated Mr. Spock. But something else also puzzled him.

To Mr. Spock’s logical and scientific mind attuned to studying complex specifications from which even the most sophisticated and enduring material systems could be fabricated by very large teams of different beings on different planets and still have the designs pass the interoperability tests to function as specified in a working system, there appeared to be too many unknowns in this هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ , divine specification for the guidance of mankind, for any reasonable interoperability as a single أُمَّةً مُسْلِمَةً , its own stated goal.

To Spock, ambiguity appeared to be a specification objective by design. It could have been trivially addressed ab initio, had the Author of the Holy Qur’an wanted to address it unambiguously. Namely, have the Holy Qur’an contain all which Mr. Spock identified as missing but logically necessary for its completeness and self-sufficiency by its own Qur’anic metric, for comprehensibility by all without leaving its pristine pages. Then, there’d there would have been no fracture lines among the Muslims.

Indeed, why have divine guidance in the first place if it is to remain ambiguous, is a dogged question which arises in any logical mind.

As Mr. Spock began to comprehend the sociological contexts and the turbulent times which cradled the first 200 years of the death of the Messenger, he put the following hypothesis on the puzzle stack for further examination: Was it this deliberate ambiguity in the specification which enabled the Holy Qur’an itself to survive the early power struggles, the vicissitudes of empires and kingdoms, after the death of the prophet of Islam, such that today, fourteen centuries into the advent of Islam, all Muslims of every race, ethnicity, culture, language, and geographic origin, emphatically assert that there is no “tahrif” (changes) in the text of the Holy Qur’an like the scriptures of the past? That, unlike other holy books of antiquity, Muslims’ remains un-tampered by the hand of man such that even today, one can glean the same pristine text with certainty![5]

And Mr. Spock confirmed this most unusual fact by examining the many different editions of the Arabic text (in differing scripts) and the Arabic aural recitations of the Holy Qur’an in the ship’s library. They were identical. There did not appear to be any equivalent of the King James Version, the Gideons International Version, the New International Version, the Babylonian Talmud, the Sanhedrin Talmud, Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, the Five Books of Moses in the Old Testament with the Christians, the Five Books of Moses in the Torah scriptures with the Jews, etceteras. The Arabic text of the Holy Qur’an was identical no matter which Muslim culture, sect, and epoch had published it in the written and aural mediums. Mr. Spock could only exclaim: fascinating.

And Spock further confirmed his analysis that in the vast majority of instances, the expositions on the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet of Islam written by scribes throughout the ages more or less differed exactly along the holes and ambiguities in the Holy Qur’an itself that he had identified.

Mr. Spock noted that there are 114 Chapters called Surahs, comprising 6236 total verses, uttered by the Prophet of Islam often in fragments over a 23 year period. Except for the visible contiguity in long narratives of what appears to be tales of ancient peoples as allegorical guidance, topics are not necessarily contiguous in the Holy Qur’an, even in the adjacent verses, or even within a Surah. Topics appear to be randomly spread out across many surahs, and even in-between verses, often with much repetition, and often employing different parables and similes to explain the same concepts as if the Holy Qur’an is addressing the most feeble public mind.

There is also no explicit indication that a verse is co-related to another verse within the Holy Qur’an. It is impossible to establish causality between verses from the text of the Holy Qur’an. There is not even the indication which verse was revealed first, nor which verse was revealed last, nor which was revealed second last, and so on, as the surahs and verses are not arranged chronologically.

Mr. Spock also noted that within a verse, a verse fragment could be speaking of some entirely different topic from the rest of the verse (as for instance in 5:3, 8:41, and 33:33). Mr. Spock further discovers that the subtleties of Arabic grammar and its gender specificity of nouns and pronouns, verbs and adjectives, enabled changing the point of reference suddenly within a verse just by changing the gender, or the pronoun. It wasn’t always obvious who or what those new points of reference were without knowing the exact localized context in which the verse was revealed (as for instance in Surah Al-Ahzaab 33:33 for the sudden change in the gender of the 2nd person pronoun when referring to the Ahlul Bayt, explained in Part-III; and in Surah Abasa 80:1-12 for rapidly switching pronouns to indicate that the verse is speaking of different persons, but who, remain unspecified, and thus open to interpretation and pronoun fixing by the scribes of history).

Mr. Spock also noted that the refined diction and subtleties of the Arabic language permitted poetic allusions and implicit similes which the people of that epoch in whose lingua franca the Holy Qur’an spoke to them, would have certainly understood. But those living in the future time and space would not necessarily know the intended meaning and easily get it entirely wrong. Such comprehension was only attainable by acquiring the lingua franca of the epoch. Mr. Spock had already recognized that he would also have to study the epoch itself when the Holy Qur’an was revealed in order to acquire its sociological context. Without acquiring that sociological backdrop, an acute sense of the public mind of that epoch, and the lingua franca of its peoples, just proficiency in the Arabic language and its grammar appeared insufficient to Mr. Spock to comprehend the finer subtleties expressed in the language of the Holy Qur’an which outright asserted that: “And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, (بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِۦ ) that he might make (the message) clear for them.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:4 quoted above). That made the task of apprehending the finer subtleties of the Holy Qur’an non-trivial for people not of the revelation period and its lingua franca, including for native speakers of the Arabic language, unless they acquired that specific بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِۦ which the Holy Qur’an itself declared was its primary language!

The fact that context and causality of the verses is not carried within the Holy Qur’an also made it impossible to extract information which is not there to begin with, thus significantly hampering understandability.

The task of studying the message of the Holy Qur’an had suddenly become monumental, and not at all akin to the straightforward reading of Milton, Plato, Shakespeare, or the DMV driver’s manual – even when one spoke that language.

Nevertheless, intrigued by the total lack of traditional structure and visible cohesiveness to the Holy Qur’an normal to any typical system specification where everything pertaining to that specification is clearly and unambiguously specified within the specification itself, without requiring reference to vicarious outside sources to ascertain their meaning, Mr. Spock decided to treat his study akin to solving a most complex puzzle. A cryptographic cipher, as he had classified the genre, but also under time pressure – as Spock also had other science duties to perform and could not spend his entire life decoding a most interesting cipher.

Mr. Spock began his systematic analysis by classifying and identifying the entire text of the Holy Qur’an according to the following nomenclature:

  • Determinate: A topic, or the full meaning of a verse or verse fragment, in context, is fully determinable from the full context of the 114 Surahs of Holy Qur’an. For instance, verse 5:48 is evidently in this category, it is categorical, as are all the foundational verses ( آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ ) by definition as per verse 3:7.

  • Indeterminate: A topic, or the full meaning of a verse or verse fragment, in context, cannot be fully established from even the full context of the Holy Qur’an including the Determinate verses due to insufficient information in the Holy Qur’an. For instance, verse 4:59 is evidently in this category, as are all the allegorical and metaphorical verses ( آيَاتٌ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ) by definition as per verse 3:7.

  • Layered: A topic, or word, or verse, or verse fragment, or context has obvious or un-obvious multiple bindings or points of reference, and which meaning or point of reference is implied in a given context is Indeterminate.

  • Nuanced: A topic, or word, or verse, or verse fragment, or context is highly nuanced, even when not Layered (i.e., it has exactly one applicable meaning from a plurality of nuanced meanings in the language of exposition), and the context for the nuance is Indeterminate.

Mr. Spock could already perceive just by the construction of these definitions that even to enumerate every verse and verse fragment of the Holy Qur’an as Determinate or Indeterminate was going to require a great deal of study. But without this classification work as prerequisite, making headway into deciphering the message of the Holy Qur’an appeared intractable. One could spend an infinite time on the Indeterminate verses for instance and never decipher them accurately as they were by definition not fully decipherable. Which is why it was essential to identify verses accordingly, so that the main focus of deciphering could be brought to bear on what was indeed straightforward and soluble.

It is part of the cipher, lamented Mr. Spock, that the Holy Qur’an itself did not straightforwardly identify which verses are in which category as defined in verse 3:7 – just like other matters of missing information – leaving it to the intelligence of “men of understanding” who are “firmly grounded in knowledge” to decipher the text with deep reflection. However, as the ubiquitous understanding of the Muslims of verse 4:59 demonstrated, Mr. Spock could already see the result of the requirement for public intelligence and reflection. Muslims, invariably socialized into its dogmatic sectarian interpretations from birth, irrespective of the fact that verse 4:59 itself appeared to be an Indeterminate, remained at loggerheads throughout history over its meaning to the point of extreme internecine warfare and sectarian hatred. Virtually all sectarianism among Muslims is directly rooted in different interpretation of 4:59. On the other hand, Muslims also largely ignored the straightforward meaning of verse 5:48 which ab initio provided the bedrock for peaceable co-existence among all socialized interpretations of 4:59.

The Muslim public intelligence over the past millennia, were it on par with that required to understand the Holy Qur’an as stipulated by verse 3:7, would not have shackled the Holy Qur’an into مَهْجُورًا as vouchsafed would be lamented by the Prophet of Islam in verse 25:30. With even a modicum of understanding of the Holy Qur’an, the Muslims could have easily formed one unbreachable أُمَّةً مُسْلِمَةً , a single Muslim nation, which now entirely eluded them despite the repeated entreaties by the Holy Qur’an: “Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem?” Surely, the “people took this Qur’an for just foolish nonsense”!

Mr. Spock’s evaluation stack is growing rapidly with accumulating conundrums, not to mention the monumental task before him for the primary classification of all verses and verse fragments according to the aforementioned nomenclature. Being an expert science officer, Mr. Spock set out to develop the framework on his advanced computing system to manage this classification, down to morphology and syntax on word boundary. He deemed this resolution necessary because he had discovered that much semantic knowledge is embedded in the gender-sensitive Qur’anic Arabic syntax and its parts of speech, especially in its usage of gender-specific second person pronouns which few human languages apart from Classical Arabic even supported (as seen in verse 33:33).

He had discovered phonology, recitation style, also important because it determined implicit punctuation (as seen in the alternate parsing of verse 3:7). Such linguistic features, and the unsurpassed unique style employed by the Holy Qur’an, made both translating as well as understanding the Good Book difficult for the socialized adult mind not socialized into thinking in such explicit and subtle language features which was the natural oral lingua franca ( بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِۦ ) of the Arabs of antiquity to whom it was originally revealed.

Unless one explicitly focussed on it, sort of like thinking about how one is walking with every step one takes rather than just walking naturally without thinking, it is easy to overlook these linguistic characteristics leading to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what is otherwise patently obvious in some cases.

Continued in Part-III


[1] See Sacred Cow: Allama Iqbal – marde-momin or superman? By Zahir Ebrahim,

[2] Ibid. See Caveat on quotation

[3] An evaluation stack is an abstraction, an idea from computer science. It can be used to solve almost any computational problem. An entire computer can be built using just this form of underlying computation. Not very efficient, but simple to implement. My very first course in computer science as an undergraduate at MIT taught this basic abstraction of a stack machine. As the terminology prima facie suggests, an evaluation stack is a stack, just like a stack of dirty dishes. You push a dirty dish onto the top of stack for cleaning, and you take the top most dish from the top of the stack to clean it first (called pop). Using this metaphor here is just for the convenience of thinking that the puzzles are soluble and not intractable – they just need solving.

[4] This analysis is to understand the system design of Islam as disclosed in the Holy Qur’an. It is not to lay out an alternate system design that betters the “Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.” (56:80) Asking the questions “why” and “why not” to forensically comprehend the Holy Qur’an’s system design is not the same thing as proposing why the Holy Qur’an itself is not a different system design. The intent of this report is to field a serious inquiry into the former purpose and not for indulging the facile mind into specious endeavors.

[5] For a short history of its written compilation see: Some Old Manuscripts of the Holy Qur’an, Kazim Mudir Shanehchi, ; for Understanding the Uniqueness of the Qur’an and how to sensibly approach its study from a real Muslim scholar’s point of view as opposed to logic-only Mr. Spock’s who prefers his own left-brain forensic-science for the examination of any matter, be it pertaining to hard science, social science, engineering, art, religion, history, or warfare, see footnote[5] in Islam and Knowledge vs. Socialization .

[6] An inquisitive mind may perhaps stop to ponder that why did the Author of the Holy Qur’an not directly impart its self-proclaimed divine guidance directly to every human being instead of employing the convoluted Indeterminates, Messengers, Imams, and Wasilah, mandating “the means of approach unto Him”? In an alternate and rather straightforward system, an energetic mind may perhaps theorize, every human being could have just as easily been his or her own Messenger, Imam, Wasilah, employing direct Divine Inspiration – the perfect egalitarian system with direct connection to the Creator – thus obviating the need for chosen Messengers, divine Books, etc. This could have also avoided the corruption of the pulpit and the concomitant bloodshed of several millennia altogether! Why such an obviously egalitarian approach was not adopted by the Self-Proclaimed All Knowing and All Seeing Author of the Holy Qur’an, may at best only be baselessly speculated upon by the brilliant mind. For that’s clearly not the method adopted by the Author of the Holy Qur’an! The Author proclaims the Holy Qur’an to be not just Guidance for the individual, but also for the collective; beginning with the self, reaching to the immediate family unit, and extending to a Muslim nation: “Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a Muslim nation, bowing to Thy (will);” (2:128) Perhaps the Holy Qur’an has itself answered that question!


Arabic Qur’an recitation by Shaykh Mahmoud Khalil al-Husary, audio courtesy of Verse By Verse Quran, acquired 8/13/2011 from

Arabic verses courtesy of the open source Qur’an Tanzil Project, acquired 8/13/2011 from

Most (not all) English translation of Qur’an verses are by Yusuf Ali, Shakir, and Pickthall, acquired 8/13/2011 from (archived Yusufali, Shakir, Pickthall).

English translation by Ali Quli Qara’i acquired January 24, 2013 from

Reference to Muhammad Hussain Tabatabai’s parsing of verse 3:7 from

With most humble thanks to all!

First Published Friday, August 19, 2011, 19th day of Ramadan in the US, Muslim year 1432 | Last Revised August 01, 2013, 22nd Ramadan in Pakistan, Muslim year 1434 (Material which was previously in Part-II moved to Part-III and Part-IV)

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The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley ( ), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by numerous publishers and can be read on the web at He may be reached at Verbatim reproduction license at

Part-II Islam: Why is the Holy Qur’an so easy to hijack?