A note about this Sura. In Iran, "corruption on earth" has been used against Bahá'ís for teaching their faith, helping the poor, and it has been used by Iranian authorities to unjustly confiscate Baha'i businesses, imprison Bahá'ís, and worse, to execute Bahá'ís.
While this is true, I harbor no ill will toward my Muslim Iranian brothers and sisters. I hope some day they will find the tolerance to let the Bahá'ís live in peace.
Some Muslims in Iran and elsewhere have taken heroic stands in calling for the end of The Persecution (as I refer to it) of Bahá'ís. Many wonderful Muslims have joined this chorus of peace. They do not believe in my religion, but they exhibit the beauty of Islam.
I also write this as a person who was not hired by a company in an Islamic country because of my Faith. There were six positions open and the person who was doing the hiring is the one who first hired me in 1986 at a newspaper. He told me I could apply if I wanted but that he didn't recommend it because I would probably be murdered in that country once my Faith was known. I needed a job (this is before my illness became more acute), and I was willing to take a risk. I applied, and, as he said, they most likely did a background check and saw my religious beliefs. I was qualified for the job; in fact, over-qualified but it is in my field of expertise.
Still, I do not let that loss of a real job with a huge income prejudice me against my Muslim brothers and sisters. Plus, I've suffered prejudice and hostility from some family members for my Faith, but I still love them, although some, but not all, are estranged. How can I not extend the same thoughtfulness to others?
My point is that before one condemns a religion, one must first understand it. Such understanding will hopefully result in a more nuanced viewpoint founded upon a realization that life is complex, and that does not exclude religious beliefs and/or religion. It is never simple, black-and-white, and to stereotype all members of a religion as a monolithic whole only serves to imbed in contemporary thought and historical analyses grossly inaccurate generalizations whose capstones are prejudice, intolerance, ignorance and hate.
Early Islamic achievements in astronomy, chemistry, geography, history, mathematics, medicine, music, philosophy and physics were light years ahead of European civilization. In fact, the Italian Renaissance and The Enlightenment partly evolved out of Islamic civilizations and achievements.
The Internet and Computer age would not have been possible without Islamic achievements in math. The Inquisition wiped out many Islamic libraries, mostly in Spain, and also intensified the unnecessary imperialistic struggles of domination in The Holy Land.
An armed struggle most know as The Crusades.
At one time, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in peace in some areas, albeit at the same time, a more fundamentalist approach to Islam (such as Morocco/North Africa) was the exact opposite and it is that type of Islam that we see today in radical groups.
From the Pickthall translation:
For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.
~ Qur'án 5:32
Image courtesy of NASA. Image use does not imply NASA's endorsement. Views are my own and should not imply that they represent any other Bahá'í or the Bahá'í International Community.
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Keywords:Children of Israel, Corruption on earth, Holy Qur'an, NASA image, Noble Qur'an, Pickthall translation, Qur'an 5, Qur'an 5:32, Sura 5, Sura 5: 32, The Koran, The Prophet Muhammad, The Qur'an, Whosoever killeth a human being, life of all mankind, our Messengers, whoso saveth the life of one