When Judge Basak dismissed the Calcutta Quran petition, he¬†cited authorities like the Encyclopaedia Britannica in his judgement, in order to certify that the Quran is the basic textbook of Islam, and that it has a divine source. ¬†However,¬†the real issue raised by the Petition was¬†not what Muslims believe about the Quran but what¬†behaviour-pattern the Quran inculcates in its followers. ¬†In fact, the¬†petition¬†stated quite clearly that ‚Äúthe Quran, particularly in its Arabic original, moves Muslims to tears and ecstasy‚ÄĚ – a sign of extreme devotion. ¬†Justice Basak¬†could have cited the relevant law which exempts scriptures from legal review, and drawn the conclusion that no court in India can sit in judgment on the contents of the Quran, but he chose to do no such thing. Instead, through the judgement, he wet on to make three brief but significant observations:

  1. Paragraphs 24, 25 and 26, established the major premise that Quran is from a divine source
  2. Paragraph 29 alleged that the petition contained passages with interpretations from some chapters of the Quran, and these were quoted out of context
  3. Paragraph 37 stated that this book is not prejudicial to maintenance of religious harmony

These assumptions were made in isolation, with no thought given to the behavior pattern of the followers of the Quran.  Logic and reason would have required that this should have been co related with the allegations made in the petition, after careful observation.  The observation mention in point number 2 is incorrect, as the petition did not make ANY interpretation of Quranic verses.  Rather, it just presented the court with the original Arabic text and its authentic English translation, by a translator regarded competent by the followers of Quran. The language in any part of the Quran is neither ambiguous nor allegoric.  They are plain and precise in every instance.  In fact, the Imam, he Ulemas, the Qazis, and the Sufis have always stood for the literal meaning of the word and any imported connotation is frowned upon by them.  The petition contained an exhaustive list of verses considered the word of Allah and relayed by the Prophet, on how to treat non Muslims.  These sayings are scattered over 30 chapters and not narrated in a concise manner because this is how the Quran is tabulated sans chronology or theme. The passages quoted in the petition highlighted how the Quran instructs its followers to form a militant brotherhood, the Ummah, on the basis of uniform beliefs and behavior.  There are no passages in Quran which abrogate or run counter to the quoted passages in the petition.

When the observation number two goes on to allege that the passages are quoted out of context, again there are no examples given of how the Judge reached this conclusion.  In fact, this is the standard response of any follower of Islam on the street or in TV debates when they are presented with verses.  They start to throw other verses into the conversation which are not related to the verses of Jihad or those prescribing how to treat non Muslims.  So the right honorable Judge in this case, decided to follow the same tactic, of stating that these verses are quoted out of context, without presenting what the context was.  On another note, the importance of understanding the Quran as per context and background cannot be disagreed with.  There is a wealth of material available to determine the context and reasoning behind each and every verse of Quran, courtesy the large number of Ulema and Imams.  There have not been any instances inside a religious gathering of any kind where this context and reasoning is not repeated in several forms, so that it remains ingrained in the minds of the listeners.

The third observation made by the esteemed judge has been proven incorrect on numerous occasions in the history post revelation of the Quran.  It keeps proving itself as untrue on an almost daily basis inside our societies, on the streets, during our festivals and even in relationships with followers of Quran.  The verses which prove his premise incorrect were clearly highlighted in the petition, but he chose to make the observation in disregard of the evidence.  A great injustice was thus carried out to the petitioner and the community he comes from, at the hand of the esteemed Judge and his institution.

(This is the 4th article from an ongoing series of articles on The Calcutta Quran Petition. The series will continue. )

Part 1:

What is The Calcutta Quran Petition

Part 2:

The Calcutta Quran Petition – Responses of Government

Part 3:

What was the response of the judiciary on Calcutta Quran Petition

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