The attempt to burn the holy book of Islam by Terry Jones, the Florida pastor in the United States of America reflects the growing pressure of spiritual frustration among public in general and in person in particular who was to stage show the event. What does it mean? It means many things to many persons. 

To the liberals, burning of a sacred book is enshrined in the constitution of America that guarantees freedom of expression to individuals…even to the extent of burning the holy Bible…all this in the name of safeguarding to practice free will.

To the traditionalists, it is an outrageous act…a case of demeaning intolerance and religious bigotry.

The argument goes on. The contradiction will never cease.

The animosity toward Islam is a part of history. Since its inception, the religion of Islam has faced immense challenge, false accusation and infinite disapproving remarks, yet it has grown to its recognition and awareness day by day. But never at any point in history was displayed as much prejudice against Islam as that of now. 

From Asia to Africa and from Europe to America, the distrust and misapprehension against Islam is widespread.

The unfair treatment of Islam in global media triggering in the psyche of world public largely originates from the collective ignorance of common masses whose sustenance of knowledge of religion emanates from biased and spurious journalism. It also partly comes from reckless and wild behavior of some Muslims who seek salvation in violence to achieve their political objectives. The apprehension also arises from war of America and its Western allies in Iraq and Afghanistan of which natives are predominantly Muslims.

The above arguments may seem prominent to most of the analysts but the veiled reality is that the founding philosophy of America and the Western world, and to an extent most part of the globe under the cultural weight of rich nations, is materialism and consumerism. 

Spirituality lies low in their scheme of life. The concept of divinity seems alien to them. In brief, the feeling of religion is pain to many.

There is complete deterioration in the quality of public thoughts and beliefs. The twenty-first century has demonstrated a distressing poverty in the moral life of the people. In the words of L. H. Myer ‘deep seated spiritual vulgarity that lies at the heart of our civilization’ aptly concludes the entire gamut of modern civilization. Henry James bluntly termed the whole mystery as ‘clumsy conventional expensive materialized vulgarized brutalized life’, with T. S. Eliot terming the awesome mansion of material march of the West as ‘Waste Land’. The temper of age is undoubtedly anti decency. 

Interest in perversion has grown. Spiritual despair of our times is enormous. Moral dilemma shapes the psychology of an individual.

Cobbett, Robert Owen, Dickens, Mathew Arnold, Ruskin, William Morris had all with a variety of stresses, pointed to the human disenchantment and disillusionment.

I.A.Richards in Principles of Literary Criticism (1924) wrote: “At present bad literature, bad art, the cinema, etc., are an influence of the first importance in fixing immature and actually inapplicable attitudes to most things.” Exhorting and urging them to pay heed to the message of religion is a spiritual exercise in futility to the worn-out populace being constantly fed upon hedonism and depravity. 

Whether it is an attempt to burn the Holy Quran, the caricature of Prophet Muhammad or any other form of religious bigotry…all this originates from their moral rootlessness and from their escapist tendency to seek abode in perversion. There arises an urgent need to create a new interest in divinity to keep the masses away from the daily dose of spurious influence and false idealization of reality. 

The dilemma is that many people live fantasy existences derived from the make-believe lives of the media.

One can ask why D.H.Lawerence had to ask: “why do modern people invariably ignore the things that are actually present to them?…They certainly never live on the spot where they are. They inhabit abstract space, the desert void of politics, principles, right and wrong, and so forth…talking to them is like trying to have a human relationship with the letter X in algebra.” (Insouciance, 1928)

The emotional impact and the intellectual appeal of Islam are instinctive and immeasurable. The time is to unclothe their bare soul with genuine spiritual garb and emancipate them islamically so that the person like Terry Jones, the Florida pastor, does not fall into the pits of the false individuality of the liberal tradition. His attempt to burn the Holy Quran implies the depth of his ignorance in Semitic revelation and also mourns the death of a dynamic personality embodied in a common man.


Categories: BOOKS, Islamic Perspective, Literature


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