Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Koran

To say the least, the Koran is an interesting piece of work. Revered by over a billion people as the word of God dictated directly to the Prophet Mohammed, it is the foundation on which has been built the largest religion of all time. To followers, the very fabric of the book binding merits honorary status requiring owners to place a copy of the Koran in a supreme location, above all other texts, and is to be handled with meticulous care when removed for the purpose of reading. The great sanctity so many render to the Koran separates it from all other literature, surpassing even the Christian Bible in terms of the sheer devotion with which so many commit so deeply. When American troops placed copies of the Koran in a pile to be burned, deadly riots ensued. While a similar act by non-Christians burning bibles would certainly stir consternation, such an act would not motivate masses to seek to murder the offenders. The Koran is more than simply the Muslim Bible. The role it plays in the Muslim world is without compare in any other religious culture. The closest comparison to it might be the way American institutions subordinate themselves to the U.S. Constitution. Servicemembers and politicians swear oaths to it, and it is considered the revelation of self-evident truth of what is right and to be upheld, at all costs. Any incursion on guaranteed rights of expression and freedom of religion is met with opposition by the full forces of the American state, mobilizing people and resources in a manner befitting the ultimate priorities this document commands. But not even the U.S. Constitution proclaims itself divine, and even provides a means of amendment in recognition of its own imperfection. The Koran is a divine entity, believed to be pronounced words both infallible and immutable. It can be discussed, but Islam does not allow it to be challenged or to change.