Contradictions in my identity

Recently, some international students at UCLA participated in an artwork called Invisible Name, in which they wrote their names in both their native language and English, to express a double identity. Identity, again, has been on the center of the stage of American politics in recent years. But what do I identify with? A convert to Islam, a social outcast, probably also an Aspie… Groups most people identify with don’t work well for me. I resonate with people who say they’re too American to be Muslim and too Muslim to be American. Odd as I am even among international students, my identity is full of contradictions. Continue reading

Defending Islam: Corpus juris must be seen as a whole; the cancer of Islamofacism

I’m suggesting the general formula of a new argument for defenders of Islam and religion in general. This is not only relevant to defense of Islam, but also to how we can accurately describe phenomena in general. Not an Islamic scholar, I will entrust the elaboration and further development of this argument to Islamic scholars and people interested in Islamic culture. One of the most significant mistakes made by people suffering from extremist thinking is to ignore the diversity within people that wear the same label, such as failing to distinguish between Mother Teresa and KKK and between Galileo and the Church. Islamophobes also tend to assume that all people who call themselves “Muslims” think in the same way as ISIS, which is not true. Related are the failure to distinguish between God and Church (or any religious institution), between cultural and theological definitions of religion, and between intellectual and lived corpus juris. (What are cultural and theological definitions and intellectual and lived corpus juris? See a previous post) Here, I’m adding more to the point about intellectual and lived corpus juris: Islamophobes and Islamofacists ignore that fact that the corpus juris functions as a whole. Continue reading

Correcting a significant mistake in Quran reading

This is one of the most common mistakes in Quran reading that is afflicting Muslims and non-Muslims alike: Having a presupposition of what “Islam” and “God” mean based on a superficial view of popular culture and mass media. Besides benefiting ourselves by deepening our understanding of God’s system, correcting this mistake will significantly weaken the arguments of Islamophobes and anti-theists. So Musilms, please pay attention! Continue reading

Has the West somehow derived the spirit of Hajj?

This year, once again, people from all over the world convene to discuss and appreciate ideas to unite the humanity and to make our futures sustainable. Here, as we all aim to address something so essential and common to all humanity, nationality, race, color, and political affiliation dissolve, and all humans unite. Welcome to Milan World Expo; “Feeding the planet, energy for life.”

It’s very common among new Quranists to rethink traditional Islamic rites, such as Hajj. Many of us consider Hajj as an international convention, not rituals. It’s also popular among Sunni Muslims to claim that the Hajj signifies the unity of humanity; no matter the nationality and race, everyone dresses the same way and does the same thing. However, the Hajj is also often reduced to nothing but rituals, and once the rituals lose meanings, they fail to serve the purpose of Hajj. Here, I shall demonstrate the purpose of Hajj once again, but I’ll not talk about rituals since in the Quran, things about Hajj are almost all about the spirit of unity and peace, not rituals. Please open your Quran while reading this article and read the verses surrounding the verses I’ve cited, not to take a verse out of context. Please look up the verses I cited on your own, since I often cite many verses at once. Continue reading

How to read the Quran according to the Quran

I still remember this time last year, I developed my approach to exegesis based on structure and textual coherence. A few months later, I questioned that approach, and tried to figure out a revision. I used to argue with structure and textual coherence, but I never managed to answer a question: Why can structure and textual coherence justify my argument? This winter, what I found is that, I didn’t really follow the Quran itself when working out the approach, and it’s very likely that most other Quranists also failed to do so. It doesn’t mean that the Quran is hard to read, since the instructions to how to use the Quran is pretty straightforward, but most people ignore them and don’t take them into practice. So how to read the Quran according to the Quran? This article will address this question in several interrelated parts, from the most obvious to the least obvious. This article will be expanded when more discoveries are made. Continue reading

We see it. But did we see it?

One of the most frequently used attributes to rejecters in the Quran is blind and deaf. Perhaps some Islamophobes are taking those verses out of context and claim that Islam advocates discrimination against people with disabilities. But defending Islam is not the interest of this article; the purpose of this article is to explore what it means to be able to see and hear.

Google doodle of Rosalind Franklin and her X-ray photo of DNA crystallography. Maurice Wilkins prepared the DNA crystal for crystallography. James Watson and Francis Crick determined the structure of DNA by this photo.

Google doodle of Rosalind Franklin and her X-ray photo of DNA crystallography. Maurice Wilkins prepared the DNA crystal for crystallography. James Watson and Francis Crick determined the structure of DNA by this photo.

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What exists, but is ignored

We can’t be truly omniscient, for how do we know if we know everything? Something exists, but is often ignored. Take the Milky Way as an example. Now we know that the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy, and so on… We don’t know quite a lot of this galaxy because of the dust blocking our views. But how did we know what we know about our galaxy? We view photographs of the galaxy in different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, showing different events going on (see the picture). Even if we get to take pictures about everything of the Milky Way, we’re still far from knowing everything about it. The Milky Way is perceived differently in different cultures, and in a single region, people’s perception of the Milky Way has changed over time. And some scholars are studying the history of the development of perceptions on the Milky Way, and the views of those scholars also change with time, forming another “discipline” called the history of the history of the Milky Way. How is the Milky Way represented in art, and the history of such representation? How does the Milky Way influence different species? And etc.

Milky Way along electromagnetic spectrum

Milky Way along electromagnetic spectrum

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Noncoding verses? The functions of repetitive passages about rejecters

Verses in the Quran claim that the Quran can only be produced by God, contains signs, guidance, and remedy, but just look at the Quran itself: there’re lots of repetitive passages—repeated over and over again—about how people reject the message and how God judges people. So where can what makes the Quran special go? Where can it go, as there isn’t much detail or many sets of rules? What’s more, even those super repetitive passages are called “signs.” So in what way are they “signs”? In this article, I’m suggesting some functions of those seemingly repetitive passages, beginning from the most apparent to the least apparent in each point I make.

“Junk” DNA, which is found to be not all junk Image credit: www.forbes.com

“Junk” DNA, which is found to be not all junk Image credit: http://www.forbes.com

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Reflections on my approach

The sea wave breaks on the rock, and sea breeze makes me chill in the mist. Where am I? Where am I standing in the ocean of thoughts? It’s been almost a year since I began to explore the structure of the Quran, and half a year since I started my current approach. Now I’m looking back at the path I’ve taken so far. Does my approach work? Me half a year ago must be very disappointed; it doesn’t work that well, and it should be revised. I haven’t posted for almost a month, and I have not progressed on the second part of the second wave of Islamic reform, since I’m stuck. Click here to see what my approach is. Continue reading