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Rafale is Not Bofors, and that’s Why Modi Should Be Worried

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By Ajitesh Kir

To the uninitiated, the Rafale and Bofors scams (alleged, I might add) are – in a sense – mirror images of one another: both relate to multi-crore defence contracts; both encompass allegations against a prime minister; and both hinge on what a European arms supplier and an Indian business house did or did not do. But that is where the similarities end. What separates the two is not simply the 31 year-gap; the factual pattern in Rafale appears to vary a great extent.

With public interest in the contours of the Rafale deal growing, the time is perhaps ripe to disentangle the dissimilarities between the two scandals in independent India. Below, I present a brief history of how the Bofors case travelled through the courts, which indicates that Rafale’s legal journey could possibly be quite different.

Bofors, from radio reportage to courtroom catharsis

In 1977, the Indian Army forwarded a proposal for the purchase of medium range artillery to the Ministry of Defence. The choice for obtaining the artillery was shortlisted in 1982 from amongst French, Swedish, British, and Austrian arms companies. On March 24, 1986, an order was placed by the Government of India with M/s. A.B Bofors of Sweden for the supply of 410 155 mm field howitzer 77-B gun systems for a total amount of Rs 1437.72 crore. Before the contract was signed, Bofors gave a written undertaking on March 10, 1986, that they would not use any agents for the purpose of this contract; they also promised to reduce the price to the extent of commission they otherwise would have paid to such agents. The undertaking was necessitated by a government policy that prohibited any agents from being involved in the negotiation of defence contracts. It was this undertaking that became the focal point of controversy later on.

On April 16, 1987, over a year after the execution of the guns contract, Dagens Eko (‘Echo of the Day’), the news arm of the Swedish public radio broadcaster declared that Bofors had won this contract by paying bribes of around $5 million (out of the total $16 million pledged in bribes) to local agents, and that these agents had helped Bofors win support within the Indian Army, bureaucracy and the Congress party. The radio program created a massive storm, and a series of events unfolded quickly: the Swedish government ordered an inquiry; the Indian parliament set up a joint-committee to enquire into the Bofors contract; and the CBI set the legal process in motion.

The CBI registered a First Information Report (FIR) on January 22, 1990, to initiate the formal investigation process. This was when V.P. Singh was prime minister. On the basis of the evidence collected, a charge-sheet was filed in the trial court on October 22, 1999 (followed by a supplementary charge-sheet on October 9, 2000). This was when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister.

The case presented by the CBI in the trial court was that the payment of commission by Bofors to its local agents was contrary to its 1986 undertaking that it would not use any agents for the contract. The prosecution alleged that Bofors dishonestly led the Indian government to believe that there were no agents and thereby induced it to part with a higher amount, which included the commission that was later passed on to the agents. It was argued that the government was cheated to the extent of the commission amount, resulting in a wrongful loss. Notably, the prosecution did not contend that the commission to the agents constituted a bribe to/for public servants.

Disregarding the prosecution’s case, the trial court, in its order of November 14, 2002, also framed charges against two public servants – former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and former defence secretary S.K. Bhatnagar – both of whom had, by that time, passed away. The public servants were charged with abusing their official position in order to obtain a pecuniary advantage for others, an offence defined under Section 5(1)(d) of the erstwhile Prevention of Corruption Act 1947. It was alleged that these public servants deliberately took a hasty decision by awarding the contract to Bofors, even though the French arms supplier had quoted a lower rate.

On February 4, 2004, the Delhi high court (in Kartongen Kemi Och Forvaltning AB and Others. v. State through CBI) set aside the charges framed against the public servants; it held that there was no evidence to suggest that the public servants had misused their official position to award the contract to Bofors. The decision to purchase the guns from Bofors had been taken by the Indian Army’s committee of technical experts, who had based its decision on the gun system’s peculiar ‘shoot and scoot’ feature. None of the public servants had any say in selecting Bofors.

After scrutinising the decision-making process, the high court found that “there is no evidence on record to suggest that either Rajiv Gandhi or Bhatnagar used any direct or indirect influence on anybody including [the] technical committee of Army experts or [the] negotiating committee.” The CBI’s argument that the public servants created circumstances under which the Bofors contract was executed with undue haste, disregarding the renewed offer made by Sofma of France, did not appeal to the high court.

While the high court, in its judgment of February 4, 2004, quashed the charges against the public servants, it did not quash the charges against the alleged local agents and Bofors for entering into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the government of India.

One year later i.e. on May 31, 2005, the high court (in Srichand P. Hinduja & Ors v. State through CBI) also quashed the charges against Bofors and some of the alleged agents, for lack of admissible evidence. In the meantime, proceedings against the former managing director of Bofors and an alleged agent were abated, following their death. The last surviving prosecution in the Bofors case – against one of the alleged agents – was withdrawn in 2011.

An appeal (filed by a private person) against the May 31, 2005, judgment of the high court, concerning the quashing of charges against some of the alleged agents and Bofors, is still pending in the Supreme Court. There is no pending appeal against the February 4, 2004, judgment of the high court, where the charges against the public servants were dropped. Recently, on November 2, 2018, the Supreme Court refused to entertain the CBI’s special leave petition against the May 31, 2005, judgment. The CBI had filed this petition in February 2018 – after an inordinate delay of 4522 days. The Supreme Court observed, however, that since the CBI is a party to the private person’s appeal, it would be heard in that matter. Whether that matter itself will proceed or not is unclear at this stage; on January 16, 2018, the Supreme Court directed the private person to explain his locus standi in filing the appeal.

First, the trial in the Bofors case did not proceed beyond the stage of framing of charges for want of relevant and admissible evidence. This is how the Bofors legal tale seems to end (unless, of course, the Supreme Court writes an epilogue, which seems doubtful).

Second, it was not the prosecution’s case in the trial court (based on the evidence collected and relied upon in the charge sheets) that the public servants had accepted a bribe, or that the local agents had accepted a bribe on behalf of the public servants. But the trial judge framed charges against the public servants anyway. Once the order framing the charges reached the high court, the CBI candidly admitted that they had no evidence to support these charges.

If we had a Lokpal in place, complaints of corruption relating to the Rafale deal would have been filed before the Lokpal; the present petitions filed before the Supreme Court would have been unnecessary.

Third, the CBI’s legal stance in the high court against the public servants, centring around intentional misuse of official position, was probably not part of its initial plan. As per the high court, the CBI adopted this legal stance because it had found no evidence of bribe taking by, or on behalf of, the public servants. It noted that the CBI “like a drowning person clutched a flimsy straw by introducing the doctrine of ‘misusing an official position’…purely on the conjectural and inferential premise that by hastening the decision in favour of Bofors and without considering the offer of a rival…the public persons had misused their official position.”

Fourth, the principal allegation, indeed the heart of the prosecution’s case, focused on the role of private parties (Bofors and its alleged agents), not public servants. To be clear, the allegation related to the fraudulent deception and consequent inducement into executing the contract, causing wrongful loss.

The Rafale legal tale has just begun, but it might unfold faster than Bofors. This is a different age ­– the age of 2G and coal and Supreme Court monitored investigation and Supreme Court appointed special public prosecutors/special courts. This is also a different case, focusing more on the decision-making of the public servants, and less on the role of private parties. Remember, even the 2G and coal trial judgments focused on the prescribed guidelines, the avowed rules and procedures, and whether the public servants had followed or flouted the same – intentionally or otherwise – in reaching their decision.

For now, the pen, as it were, is in the Supreme Court’s hands. The Supreme Court’s observations in the pending writ petitions could either pave the way for a CBI investigation (possibly, court-monitored, considering the recent CBI imbroglio), or bring this legal tale to an abrupt end.

And since we are contemplating on what the Supreme Court’s next step will be, it is, most certainly, worthwhile to ask: Why is the Supreme Court deciding the issue of whether or not these corruption allegations merit an inquiry or investigation? Did we not pass a legislation four years ago to create an institution to do precisely this? As Bob Dylan famously sang, “the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” Whilst I bemoan the unjustified delay on the part of the government in appointing the Lokpal, Prime Minister Modi has far more reasons to regret it – at least at this stage.

Section 14 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 prohibits the Lokpal from inquiring into any matter “involved in, or arising from, or connected with,” an allegation of corruption against the prime minister, insofar as it relates to international relations, external and internal security. This prohibition, however, will not operate, if a full bench of the Lokpal considers the initiation of inquiry and at least two-thirds of the members of the Lokpal approve of such inquiry (which is then to be held in camera).

If we had a Lokpal in place, complaints of corruption relating to the Rafale deal would have been filed before the Lokpal; the present petitions filed before the Supreme Court would have been unnecessary. Whether the Lokpal would have proceeded to inquire into the Rafale deal, considering that the corruption allegations against the prime minister possibly relate to external security, is an open question; besides, the answer is no more relevant.

(thewire.in)


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Opinion

Reviving Muslim Intellectual Position in the World

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By MANSOOR ALAM

According to the Quran a nation cannot hope to recover from its abyss unless it changes its inner self (called Nafs) by the Quran). Stopgap measures or doing patch-up job only to treat the symptoms (as many Muslim leaders seem to advocate) would only prolong suffering and would not cure the disease. A nation needs a fundamental change in its outlook, in its psychology, and in its attitude if it truly wants to change its destiny. The Quran says:

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? (13:11) – Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they change their inner selves. This is Allah’s law of change (8:53).

This change is required because a people going through a period of downfall suffer from slavish mentality: “They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, – nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning).” (7:179)[Yusuf Ali]
A nation suffering from the mental maladies mentioned in the above verse cannot hope to recover its power of original thinking without changing its inner self. And without the power of original thinking, a nation that is down and being pushed around, as we are, cannot acquire power over its own world let alone acquiring power over the forces of the outer world.

Our individual scientific achievements, although worthy of appreciation, are without a central cohesive organization and really do not count much as far as recapturing the Muslim nation’s lost glory is concerned. These individual Muslim achievements are part of the grand scheme of whatever organization (for example, NASA) they may happen to be working for. For Muslim scientific achievements to be effective (like producing their own space shuttle), there needs to be an organizational structure that is organically related to the body of the Muslim Ummah, which possesses unique life of its own and not dependent on others.

One way to achieve glory in science is through the philosophy of secularism being practiced by the West. The West achieved its scientific prowess only after giving God and Caesar their separate dues, and by assigning them two separate arenas of human thought: one for scientific thinking – done by people of science, and the other for religious thinking – done by people of religion. One was not allowed to interfere with the other. Religious people took charge of the Church and its hierarchy, and the science people took charge of Science and its hierarchy – resulting in polarized society.

Therefore, if we are serious about changing our condition then we need to analyze our current situation. No matter how many Islamic conferences and workshops we organize and attend—and proclaim Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great!); no matter how many Hajj pilgrimages we perform and chant AllahummaLabbaik (O Allah! Here I am); no matter how much we pray and fast and recite the holy Quran; no matter how much we praise our Prophet (PBUH) and his companions; no matter how much we ask Allah to improve our condition; things will not improve for the Muslim Ummah— although all of the above are important—if we continue to tread the same path we have been on for the past thousand years, ever since we lost our preeminent position in the world of knowledge.

Our actions speak louder than our words. Our past actions have brought misery and consequent collapse of our knowledge base. If all we do is try to preserve our status quo, then how can we expect to recapture the glory of our historic achievements? How can simply repeating words (even if they are Quranic words) and performing religious rituals (even if done with sincerity) uplift us intellectually in this world? Intellectual advancement of any community requires hard work, dedication, conviction, commitment, organization, discipline, perseverance, creativity, innovation, and, above of all, unity of purpose and harmony in efforts.

Are we as a Muslim Ummah doing these things or simply claiming to be ‘practicing’ Muslims by performing the five pillars as a ritual while all the time trying—individually—to move up the economic or political or professional ladder? Why would Allah change our condition when we treat Islam as a ritual and are mostly interested in personal advancement? This is simply not the way of Allah. As noted above we need to make some fundamental changes in our outlook and psychology if we are serious about reclaiming our lost knowledge base (13:11).

But what is knowledge? This question is not as obvious as it seems. The Prophet (PBUH) used to constantly pray: “O Allah! Advance me in knowledge (20:114).” This means that knowledge is something special and sacred in its own right; and that advancing in knowledge is a challenge in which even our Prophet (PBUH) sought Allah’s help.

It is the duty of every Muslim therefore to acquire knowledge throughout life—so much so that on the Day of Judgment we will be held accountable for it. “And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).”
The words hearing and seeing refer to human senses and the Arabic word ??????? (heart) refers to our mind. Hearsay is not knowledge because our senses and mind are not involved in arriving at the conclusion. Plato said that knowledge gained through the senses is not reliable, whereas the Quran says that anything not verified by the senses and mind cannot be regarded as knowledge. This shows how valuable sense perception is in Islam.

The Quran puts extraordinary emphasis on objective knowledge. The revelation of the Quran may be

The importance of inductive reasoning is so great in the eyes of the Quran that at numerous places it calls those who do not use it as animals—and even worse than animals: “For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb, those who understand not.” (8:22) “Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell: They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning).” (7:179) “Or thinkest thou that most of them listen or understand? They are only like cattle; nay, they are worse astray in Path” (25:44). “Ah! Ye are those who fell to disputing (Even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! But why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge?” (3:66) [Yusuf Ali]
A beautiful hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) may also shed important light on this issue. The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said: “O Allah! Grant me knowledge of the ultimate nature of things!” [“Allahummaarinahaaqa’iq al-ashyakamaa hiya.”] Are we, as followers of the Prophet (PBUH), practicing this hadith in our daily lives? Are we trying to acquire the knowledge of the ultimate nature of things and then teaching its importance in Islam to our youth? Who are the real Ulema in Islam: the religious scholars, or those who have knowledge of the ultimate nature of things?

The Quran says: “Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring out produce of various colors. And in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of color, and black intense in hue. And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, [Ulema] who have knowledge: for Allah is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (35: 27-28) [Yusuf Ali]

In fact, the current bifurcation of knowledge into Islamic and non-Islamic is alien to Islam itself. When the Prophet (PBUH) exhorted his followers to acquire knowledge—even if they had to travel to China—he did not distinguish between Islamic knowledge (represented by religious scholars) and non-Islamic knowledge (represented by scientists). This division of knowledge is rather a later creation in Islam. Striving for knowledge without creating any contradistinction between outer and inner worlds is an Islamic duty of all Muslims. In the ultimate nature of things these two worlds reside in perfect harmony. When the Prophet (PBUH) said that those who travel to seek knowledge get ten rewards for every step, he meant that seeking knowledge is a divine act in itself. We should therefore teach our children that when they learn any subject in school or college they are, first and foremost, engaged in a divine act and prayer. All other career benefits that eventually accrue from learning should be considered side-benefits.

We need to go back to the way of the Prophet (PBUH) and use this integrated or holistic approach to knowledge which, apart from giving us power over the natural world, also deepens our faith in the non-physical world. The Quran emphasizes that signs of Allah in the Universe are meant to strengthen the faith of believers: “Verily in the heavens and the earth, are Signs for those who believe. And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth), are Signs for those of assured Faith.” (45: 3-4) [Yusuf Ali]

Our ancestors read these verses and laid the foundations of science, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, geography, sociology, anthropology and science of history among other things. Every sign of Allah in the Universe inspired them to deliberate and ponder, which deepened their faith in Allah. We, on the other hand, read these same verses and move on. At most we think that we have earned the mercy of Allah in the other World by reciting these verses while simultaneously living in this World at the mercy of others. Our ancestors dedicated their lives to discover the signs of Allah (i.e., forces of nature) and proved to humanity the Truthfulness of the message contained in these verses (according to verse 41:53). As a result, they became leaders and torchbearers of knowledge in the World. We, on other hand, abandoned that tradition and consequently are groping in darkness – and trying, if at all, to illuminate our way with borrowed light.

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Opinion

Interstellar and the Theory of Relativity

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By Fatima Altaf

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within a glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star … Light upon light.” [24:35]

In 2014, Hollywood Director Christopher Nolan created an astounding cosmic tale – Interstellar – arguably the most accurate and fascinating practical depiction of Einstein’s theory of relativity to date. Set in a futuristic time frame, with theoretical physicist Kip Thorne as the movie’s science adviser, it focused on the concepts of gravity and time dilation central to the General Theory of Relativity. It provided an actual glimpse into the physical as well as psychological implications and repercussions that interstellar space travel would inevitably have on the lives of astronauts if they set out to discover and uncover cosmic mysteries. While the movie helped understand the main concepts and raise a general interest about relativity, it also proved to be a bit of a conundrum, particularly for those who were unfamiliar or just vaguely familiar with the theory. The fact of the matter is that Einstein’s theory is rather intricate, and relativity is indeed not an easy concept to grasp.

Einstein came up with the final version of his renowned theory of relativity in the year 1916, a development which altered the face of theoretical physics and astronomy forever. Supplanting the two centuries old Newtonian mechanics, it completely transformed our pre-existing views of the laws of nature, of time and of space. Whilst the Special Theory of Relativity pertains to elementary particles and their interactions, it is the General Theory that explains the Law of Gravitation on a cosmological level, as well as concepts such as kinematic and gravitational time dilation. The absolution and constancy of the speed of light is also one of the central principles of the theory.

Quite interestingly, if we analyse the theory of relativity from a purely philosophical point of view, it appears that the theory has somewhat overthrown the veil of classical materialism from the face of science, and has brought it closer to ‘Reality’, in the spiritual sense of the word. The great Muslim Philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal, in his philosophical analysis of Einstein’s theory, spoke of it in the following words in his famous work, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam:

“The theory of Relativity by merging time into space-time has damaged the traditional notion of substance more than all the arguments of the philosophers. Matter, for common sense, is something which persists in time and moves in space. But for modern relativity-physics, this view is no longer tenable. A piece of matter has become not a persistent thing with varying states, but a system of inter-related events. The old solidity is gone and with it the characteristics that to the materialist made matter seem more real than fleeting thoughts.” [Reconstruction, Lecture 2]

The most interesting phenomenon in the theory of Relativity is the constancy of the Speed of Light. The point to be noted here is that in almost all Holy scriptures, God has likened His Presence to Light (Noor), a concept which was probably never better apprehended than it can be now, in light of our recent and latest understanding of the nature of light. According to Iqbal, Light is the closest thing to the Absolute, hence the example of Light in Holy Scriptures, including the above-mentioned well-known “Light Verse” of Surah Noor.

“Personally, I think the description of God as light, in the revealed literature of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, must now be interpreted differently. The teaching of modern physics is that the velocity of light cannot be exceeded and is the same for all observers whatever their own system of movement. Thus, in the world of change, light is the nearest approach to the Absolute. The metaphor of light as applied to God, therefore, must, in view of modern knowledge, be taken to suggest the Absoluteness of God and not His Omnipresence which easily lends itself to a pantheistic interpretation.” [Reconstruction Lecture 1]

Another important concept contained within the theory is Time Dilation. By definition, time dilation is “a difference in the elapsed time measured by two observers, either due to a velocity difference relative to each other, or by being differently situated relative to a gravitational field.” To paraphrase, time appears to move more slowly for an observer moving at or near the speed of light, or near a strong gravitational field. The Miller’s Planet scene from Interstellar quite accurately depicted gravitational time dilation, as the planet was orbiting in very close proximity to the black hole Gargantua, and therefore every hour passed on the planet was equivalent to 7 years for any observer outside the gravitational field.

The Quran has addressed the issue of time quite extensively; there are multiple verses which speak of time, which can now be better and fully appreciated in light of Einstein’s theory.

“Allah rules the cosmic affair from the heavens to the Earth. Then this affair travels to Him a distance in one day, a measure of one thousand years of what you count.” [32:5]

This verse is actually referring to Angels, who oversee the affairs of the universe and the cosmos under Allah’s Command, and then carry the reports of these affairs back to Him. Angels have been described in the Quran as creatures made of Noor or Light, and thus would indubitably travel at the speed of light, causing kinematic time dilation to occur. Hence, keeping the time and age of this revelation in perspective, when people generally travelled by foot, or on horses or camels, a day of travel from the Divine perspective, would be perceived closer to a thousand years on earth.

We are told of the vastness of Paradise and Hell in the Quran. Keeping in mind the structure of Cosmic bodies as well as the stated size of the Angels and Allah’s Throne in the Quran, it can be inferred that Paradise and Hell are immense structures, much like the massive Black Hole Gargantua in Interstellar. According to the theory of relativity, time dilation occurs near vast structures due to their strong gravitational fields. Hence, the slowing down of time in Paradise and Hell relative to the passage of time on Earth may be seen as an example of Gravitational Time Dilation.

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Opinion

Message and Method of the Prophet

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By ABDUL WAHID HAMID

Some of the major aspects of the mission and method of Prophet Muhammad are eloquently presented in a speech which one of his companions, Jafar ibn abiTaalib, made to the Christian ruler of Abyssinia in Africa in the year 616 CE. Jafar was the spokesman of a group of early Muslims who had sailed across the Red Sea and sought asylum in Abyssinia from the persecution of the pagan Makkans:

“0 King,” he said, “We were a people steeped in ignorance, worshipping idols, eating the flesh of dead animals, committing abominations, neglecting our relations and ill-treating our neighbors, and the strong among us would oppress the weak.

“We were in this state when God sent to us a messenger from among us, whose descent and sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness and honesty were known to us.

“He summoned us to worship the One True God and to renounce the stones and idols we and our fathers used to worship apart from God.

“He ordered us to speak the truth, to fulfil all that is entrusted to us, to care for our relatives, to be kind to our neighbours, to refrain from what is forbidden and from bloodshed.

“He has forbidden us from engaging in obscene and shameful acts, from speaking falsehoods, from devouring the property of orphans and from vilifying virtuous women.
“He commanded us to worship God alone and to assign no partners unto Him, to pray, to pay the purifying tax and to fast.

“We deemed him truthful and we believed in him, and we followed the message he brought to us from God…”

From Jafar’s speech on the mission and method of the Prophet, we see that the first thing he stressed was the worldview of Tawhiid, the worship of the One True God. To be on the straight and natural way, the human being’s first duty is to gain or regain a correct knowledge of and belief in God. From this knowledge he will come to accept the wisdom and authority of God. From this will spring correct action.

As an indication of this method of the Prophet in bringing about individual and social transformation, his wife Aaishah is reported as saying that the Prophet did not start by telling people not to drink wine and not to commit fornication and adultery. He started by telling them about God and the Hereafter until they had firm belief in them. It is only then he told them not to drink or commit adultery and they obeyed him. “Had he started by telling them not to drink wine or not commit adultery; they would have said, ‘We will never abandon them?”

From Jafar’s speech, we learn that the Prophet encouraged all the natural moral virtues such as truthfulness, kindness, generosity, and justice. And he condemned all the naturally repugnant vices such as false speech shamelessness, adultery and fornication, ignorance, and oppression.

There is also the testimony of Jafar on the truthfulness of the Prophet. Both before and after he became a prophet, Muhammad had unchallenged reputation of a person who was always truthful and trustworthy. For this he was known as As-Saadiq and Al-Amiin respectively.

In fact, mission and method fused in the Prophet since we are told by Aaishah: “His character was the Quran.” To reject the Prophet is to reject the Quran and to reject the Quran is to reject the human being’s only authentic source of Divine guidance.

The importance of the Quran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad plays a vital role in forming a valid and satisfying worldview for the human being in whatever time or place he or she may live. Since the Quran is the final and complete message of God to humanity and since there will be no prophet after Muhammad, it is especially important for people everywhere to discover or rediscover the meaning and relevance of the Quran to their lives. Whether you live in the north or the south, the east or the west, whether you live in the so-called developed and advanced world or the underdeveloped and impoverished world, whether you are a male or female, young or old, the Quran has a message for you. In fact, it is the message for you.

The Quran stresses the Oneness of God and the duty of the human being to acknowledge and worship God alone. If we approach the Quran with sincerity it reveals the age old questions about the nature of the human being, the purpose of his life and the various choices and destinies open to him. In other words: Who are we? What are we doing here on earth? And where do we go from here?

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