QUR'AN: Playing into the
Hands of the Extremists? (Khan Qur'an)
By Dr. Robert D. Crane
Dr. Robert (Farooq) D.
Crane, Former advisor to late US president Nixon and Former US Deputy Director
(for Planning) of the National Security Council.
Robert D. Crane has been a personal advisor to American presidents, cabinet
officers, and congressional leaders during the past four decades. From the time
of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 until the beginning of Nixon’s victorious
campaign for the presidency in 1967 Dr. Crane was his principal foreign policy
advisor, responsible for preparing a “readers digest” of professional articles
for him on the key foreign policy issues. During the campaign Dr. Crane
collected his position papers into a book, Inescapable Rendevous: New Directions
for American Foreign Policy, with a foreword by Congressman Gerald Ford, who
succeeded Nixon as President. On January 20, 1969, Dr. Crane moved into the
White House as Deputy Director (for Planning) of the National Security Council.
The next day, the Director, Henry Kissinger, fired him, because they differed
fundamentally on every single key foreign policy issue. Kissinger was determined
to orchestrate power in order to preserve the status quo. Crane was equally
determined to promote justice as the only source of dynamic and long-range
In 1981, President Reagan appointed Dr. Crane to be U.S. ambassador to the
United Arab Emirates, but this also was short-lived. President Reagan’s best
friend, Judge William Clark, who became Director of the National Security
Council, wanted Crane, as the first Muslim American ambassador, to pursue
two-track diplomacy by developing relations with the various Islamist movements
in the Middle East. The new Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, whose entire
career was promoted by Henry Kissinger, wanted none of this.
Since then, Dr. Crane has worked full-time as a Muslim activist in America. He
started as Director of Da’wa at the Islamic Center on Massachusetts Avenue in
Washington, D.C. In 1985 he joined the International Institute of Islamic
Thought as its Director of Publications, and then helped to found the American
Muslim Council, serving as Director of its Legal Division from 1992 to 1994.
From 1994 until the present time he has headed his own research center, located
in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. Since 1996 he has also been a
board member of the United Association for Studies and Research and Managing
Editor of its Middle East Affairs Journal.
Perhaps the most extremist translation ever made of the
Qur’an is now available in every hotel room in Saudi Arabia and in most of the
mosques of America. This piece of propaganda, known as the Khan Qur’an, fully
justifies what Richard John Neuhaus calls Osama bin Laden’s "monistic
The official Saudi translators are embarrassed by Surah al Ma’ida 5:69, which
they correctly translate as "Surely, those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah
and His Messenger Muhammad and all that was revealed to him from Allah), and
those who are Jews and Christians – whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day
and works righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." They
eliminate this troublesome passage by invoking the spurious doctrine of
"abrogation," whereby God supposedly changes His mind and overrules prior
passages or decides that they are simply no longer appropriate.
According to the official Saudi Qur’an, this Surah al Ma’ida 5:69 is abrogated
by Surah ali Imran 3:85, "Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will
never be accepted of him and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers." They
interpret this by asserting that Islam means submission to the official Saudi
view rather than submission to God, Who in Surah al Ma’ida 5:69 explicitly
spells out the only three requirements for submission to Allah, namely, belief
in God, belief in divine justice, and the practice of good works.
Once such "difficult passages" are overcome, the official Saudi extremists lay
the groundwork for Osama bin Laden by translating Surah Ali Imran 3:110 to read,
"You [true believers in Islamic monotheism and the real followers of Prophet
Muhammad and the Sunnah] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind."
This, according to the official Saudi annotation, means "the best for the
people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam
(and thereby save them from the eternal punishment in the Hell-fire and make
them enter Paradise in the Hereafter." Unfortunately, freedom of speech does not
permit the confiscation of this inflammatory incitement from the hundreds of
mosques all over America. Or does it? If not, the responsibility lies on the
"silent majority" of Muslims to "bite the bullet" themselves, because this
English version of the Qur’an and the annotations are truly bullets aimed at the
American people and at all civilization.
The Saudi mullahs and their political henchmen who dare to approve such a Qur'an
are plumbing the depths of darkness. Their reigning pseudo-religion in Saudi
Arabia today is a mockery of everything Islamic. In no century of Muslim history
and in no Muslim culture have self-proclaimed Muslims preached and proselytized
such a bizarre distortion of divine revelation. They have given birth to the
mother of all black sheep among religions. And the rabid ram, Osama bin Laden,
is its true son.
Unfortunately, John Garvey plays into the hands of the extremists by taking
translations from the simplistic Dawood translation (Penguin, 1968) that agree
with the extremists’ own distortions. He quotes Surah al Bayyinah 98:6 to read,
"The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever
in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of creatures." The implication of this
translation is that all Jews and Christians are going to hell.
Leaders of the bizarre Muslim sect, the Hisb al Tahrir, who want to impose a
Muslim world government on America, try to make the point clearer by
deliberately eliminating the word "among." This word makes the distinction, as
the Qur’an does throughout, between what is usually termed the Jews and
Christians "with a disease in their hearts" and the others, i.e. those who are
sincere in their own divinely ordained religions.
Furthermore, the word "unbelievers" in Arabic is kuffar (singular, kafir), which
comes from the word kafara, meaning deliberately to hide the truth. The passage
refers to those among the People of the Book who deliberately reject what they
know is the truth. In the December, 1993, issue of Al Raya, published by the
Islamic Da’wa Center of Woodside, New York, the editor exclaims, "Allah
explicitly states that Christians are kuffar. He says ¼ ‘The disbelievers, the
People of the Book ¼’ Thus, by the clear statement of the Qur’an, the Jews and
the Christians are kuffar."
This deliberate deletion from the Qur’an of the key word "among" makes the
leader of the Hisb al Tahrir the true kafir. Any rational Christian or Jew, or
Muslim, who would accept the "truth" from such as the Hisb al Tahrir would have
to be mentally unbalanced, like John Walker, or just plain evil. See the
discussion in the chapter, "Political Action: Keeping it Principled," of my
book, Shaping the Future: Challenge and Response, 1997, which is out of print
but is available in copy from The Center for Policy Research.
John Garvey further promotes Muslim extremism by agreeing with the Bin Laden
types who assert that Surah al Mujadalah 58:14 means what the Dawood translation
says, namely, "Do you see that those who have befriended a people with whom
Allah is angry. ¼ Allah has prepared for them a grievous scourge." The key word
here is tawallu, which comes from the word waliyy. This is the 56th of the 99
names of Allah (plus some) in the Qur’an. It does not mean friend, though it
could be translated as "protecting friend." The best translation would be
"guardian." The term waliyy as an attribute of Allah refers to entrusting one’s
spiritual well-being to God. One would certainly not want to entrust oneself to
those among the non-Muslims who have a disease in their hearts.
There are more than enough Muslims to justify every one of the stereotypes
spread about them. This is why most Muslims were perhaps even more horrified
than non-Muslims by the sudden appearance of a real-life Darth Vader who
diabolically incinerated and crushed thousands of innocent Americans in the name
All Muslims in America, with no doubt the exception of a few demented
individuals, condemned the attack, but unfortunately they restricted their
condemnation largely to the message, "Don’t blame us!" Now they have the task of
doing precisely that. They must condemn the growing extremism among Muslims in
the world, including in America, and blame themselves for letting it fester in
their mosques. They must wage a jihad against their own extremism.
There are three kinds of jihad. The ahadith or traditions mention only two,
which are the greatest jihad, the jihad al akbar, to control one’s unruly self
and the lesser jihad, the jihad al saghrir, to forcefully defend human rights
for oneself and for others within the limits of the just-war doctrine. The third
jihad is now critical. This is the great or intellectual jihad, which is
exhorted in the Qur’an, Surah al Furqan 25:52, wa jihidhum bihi jihadan kabiran,
"struggle with it [divine Revelation] in a great struggle."
If Muslims are serious about combating terrorism in the era of asymmetric
warfare, the leading scholars of all six of the Islamic schools of law should
join to issue a fatwa in the nature of a Papal encyclical, spelling out in
monograph form of about 50 to 100 pages what the enlightened Muslim scholars
have thought all along but been afraid to say for fear of condemnation by their
own mullahs. Where is the leadership of these enlightened Muslims? Why must
America impose order on the world, when the primary responsibility for
maintaining peace through justice is now theirs.
If non-Muslims want to help Muslims combat the extremism that inevitably leads
to modern terrorism, the best strategy would be to support the Muslim scholars,
including a growing majority even in Saudi Arabia, who are trying to revive the
enlightened and ecumenical Islam of the classical period. This constructive
phase of Islamic culture has been essentially dead for six hundred years. The
task of re-construction is so enormous that the Muslims need whatever help they