“No Book Is Equivalent To Human Life”

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 22 2012 @ 3:16pm

In response to violence sparked by the burning of Korans by the US military, Asra Q. Nomani begs fellow Muslims to chill out:

I believe that we, as Muslims, have to change our relationship with the "sacred text" and make it something that we study, think about and critically examine—not "honor" with such blind reverence that we lose our sense of common sense and rationality.

I learned this when I visited the pioneering Muslim feminist scholar Fatima Mernissi in Rabat, Morocco, some years ago. The pages on her Quran were dog-eared, and she read it without covering her hair or doing wudu, the traditions I was taught I had to do whenever I opened the Quran. "To me, the Quran is a research book," Mernissi said, respectfully. Her easy access to the Quran challenged my other-worldly relationship with the Quran, and, in a very magical way, she liberated me from relating to the book as if it was beyond my capacity for research and ijtihad, or critical thinking.