It’s sad that most Muslims believe in violence and harshness against “unbelievers,” But is it true?
James White’s “Dividing line” podcast of 17 Feb 2015 was on the latest ISIS video wherein Coptic Christians were beheaded and criticisms of his article on the issue that he was “soft on Islam (minute 13).
Here are a few relevant excerpts from his article Breaking the Cross, Killing the Swine: Truly Thinking About ISIS and the Murder of 21 Copts:
“Oh sure, I know some of them are doing it just because they love murder and bloodshed and evil. But some of them do it because they really believe Muhammad was a prophet and that Muhammad showed them the way the day he and his cohorts did exactly what they did on that beach…not to 21 Christians but to between 400 and 900 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe. (See here for a more in-depth discussion of this event in Muhammad’s life). Now, I am well aware of the fact that Islamic apologists say this was a just act because the Jews had, allegedly, betrayed Muhammad in the Battle (or, non-battle, in a more realistic sense) of the Trench (AD 627). But the reality is that Muhammad was a man of war, not a man of peace. You are changed when you personally behead someone. The blood may wash off the hands, but it is not washed out of the mind. Muhammad died in 632, so this was done toward the end of his life. The progression of his life was from peaceful monotheistic prophet to warring leader and general, not the other way around. Add in the doctrine of abrogation and you can see why the scholars of Al Qaeda and ISIS and Boko Haram have plenty of material to draw from in forming their theology. They teach that the later revelations abrogate earlier ones (such as the later command not to consume alcohol abrogates the earlier commands which allowed it even though in moderation). Sadly, that means the later sections of the Qur’an, which contain the warfare passages, are considered by most (not all) Muslims in the world to be more authoritative than the peaceful passages that came earlier.”
One Muslim site says abrogation only refers to abrogation of scriptures previous to the Qur’an such as the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. On the contrary, the Qur’an says Muslims should accept the scriptures as divine revelation.
“And in their footsteps, We sent Issa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) confirming the Taurat (Torah) that had come before him, and We gave him the Injeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Taurat (Torah) that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for Al-Muttaqun” (the pious – see V.2:2). S. 5:46 Al-Hilali & Khan; cf. S. 57:27.
“He [Jesus] said, “Lo, I am God’s servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet.” S. 19:30 Arberry.
“It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur’an) to you (Muhammad SAW) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).” S. 3:3 Al-Hilali & Khan. (See more here).
Another problem with the Islamic idea of the eternality of the Qur’an is its doctrine of “abrogation,” which it says is not abrogation. What else can this verse mean?
None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things? (“We” is the “royal we”).
The problem is that if the Qur’an has been residing in the bosom of the all-knowing, all-perfect, all-good Allah from all eternity, why would it contain a plethora of substitutions of something better, which implies change, becoming, time-bound. I am reminded of the open theist whose God is not totally free but merely reacts to human decisions, and arranges his thoughts and actions accordingly.
Examples from the Qur’an: 1. Allah decrees that Muslims are not allowed more than four wives. Later the revelation comes down of something better for Mohammed who ends up with 9 wives or more. 2. Mohammed desires his adopted son-in-law’s wife, but feels this desire wrong. Then something better comes down and says something better – not in the vein of the Joseph-Mary incident – when Allah reveals to Mohammed that it’s ok to take this woman to wife. (See Abrogadabra in the Qur’an: Abrogation and/or substituting something for something better).
There are many more “something betters” in the Qur’an, one of them being most relevant:
When Muhammad was in Mecca outnumbered by unbelievers, he following words “came down”: Say: ‘O unbelievers, I serve not what you serve and you are not serving what I serve, nor am I serving what you have served, neither are you serving what I serve To you your religion, and to me my religion!’ Surah 109 Al-Kafiroon “disbelievers.”).
When Muhammad’s followers were powerful enough to defeat those with a differenT religion, the following revelation came down:
O believers, the idolaters are indeed unclean; so let them not come near the Holy Mosque after this year of theirs. If you fear poverty, God shall surely enrich you of His bounty, if He will; God is All-knowing; All-wise. Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled. The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of God’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God, and the Messiah, Mary’s son — and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that which they associate with Him.” (Surah 9:28-31).
White said above: Sadly, (italics added) that means the later sections of the Qur’an, which contain the warfare passages, are considered by most (not all) Muslims in the world to be more authoritative than the peaceful passages that came earlier.”
Yes, it’s sad; indeed, frightening. But true.
White says “not all” Muslims agree that this surah is more authoritative than the peaceful passages. Two points: first Islamic law would consider these dissenters as apostates – they probably live in the West where they are safe from being killed; second, it’s not a question of which text is more authoritative, it’s a question of which one abrogrates the other. In Europe and the US, where Muslims are vastly outnumbered, they emphasise, according to the rules of their game, “to you your democracy.” If they are true to their Book, they look forward to the day when they will be powerful enough to replace democracy with autocracy, with Sharia law.
White says he is not soft on Islam, and refers to his many debates and books in which he demonstrates – admirably – the flaws in Qu’ranic theology. When, though, it comes to violence, there are, for White, “radical” Islam and (non-radical) Islam. Al Mohler makes the same distinction (see Al Mohler” Islamic theologies and extremism).
In his podcast (minute 21:30), White mentions the denunciation of Isis by Islamic scholars. It is true, as White says, that ISIS kills 10 Muslims for every one Muslim, therefore it is understandable that many Muslims denounce ISIS. This denunciation, however, does not prove who is more faithful to Qur’an and the Hadiths. And that should be the point when discussing the violence of ISIS. In this regard, White, in his article, says:
“The fact is that the sources from which Islam derives its theology and practice are radically incompetent to provide a means of self-correction and consistency. You can, by choosing your scholars and sources carefully, construct a peaceful construct in which to interpret the Qur’an and hadith. At the height of Islamic civilization, that is what was done.”
Surely, Allah was not that unclear. “In the Qur’an, writes David Wood, Allah claims to be perfectly clear in his commands (see 6:114; 11:1; 12:1; 15:1; 16:89; 22:72; 24:1, 34, 46; 26:2; 27:1; 28:2; 36:69; 41:3; 57:9; 65:11; etc.). Yet when critics quote the Qur’an, many Muslims insist that Allah means something very different from what he says. This should cause us to wonder: Is Allah’s speech clear, or is it horribly unclear? Could Allah be the the worst communicator ever? (See the video Is Allah the Worst Communicator Ever? (David Wood).
White says in his podcast (minute 27:30) it is time to distinguish between Muslims. Ok, let’s do it. There are Muslims who love Islam but hate all the horrible stuff in the Qur’an and Hadiths like killing unbelievers, chopping off feet and hands, beating wives (that is, “tapping them on the shoulder with a light toothbrush” – David Wood), prohibiting the odd tipple – Zuhdi Jasser says he doesn’t drink not because the Imams say so but because he wants to please Allah. There are a few Muslims who want democracy and a separation between religion and the state, for example, Zuhdi Jasser, who writes Islam needs to shuck off “the ossified precepts of salafism, Wahhabism, Islamism, and various pre-modern identifications of eastern Muslim culture. With that challenge we pray that an awakening – possibly very similar to the modernization of the West, which ushered in “enlightenment” – may occur within the consciousness of Muslims everywhere, forever separating spiritual Islam or the domain of God (faith) from the domain of government and the state (reason).” The War of Ideas”: Comment on the debate between Zuhdi JasJasser (American Islamic Forum for Democracy) and Imam Ahmad Shqeirat on “Does Islam need reform and if so, how?“
White says in his podcast (minute 43) perhaps there are some Muslims who will be disgusted with ISIS killing the Copts and may decide to study Christianity. But he also said ISIS is “radical” Islam. So why would Muslims who are disgusted want to know what Christians really believe rather than what Muslims “really” believe?
In a debate between Zhudi Jasser and Robert Spencer, Jasser distinguishes betweeen Islam, which is good, and Isamism, which is bad. Spencer says, “Islamist” is an “artifical Western construct. We have to let the Qu’an and islamic jurisprudence say what it is; not moderates, nor Bin laden, nor ISIS. Wage war on unbelievers, subdue them etc . Here is a small sample of immodrate passages in the Qur’an.
Surah 2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”
4:34: “Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that Allah has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for Allah’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; Allah is All-high, All-great.”
4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”
5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.”
5:38: “And the thief, male and female: cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have earned, and a punishment exemplary from Allah; Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.”
8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, “˜I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers” hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!–
8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”
8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”
9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”
9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.”
9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”
9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”
47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”
Here is the son of a Hamas leader:
“Wherever I go in the world, people ask me about ISIS. And I advise them to ignore the endless debates about the peaceful versus violent nature of Islam and take a long, hard look at the Islamic State. ISIS is Islam, exposed in all its cruelty and ugliness, unchanged since Muhammad. The atrocities committed by ISIS are merely an extension of the atrocities committed by Islam’s prophet. The true Five Pillars of Islam are: Slaughter, Intolerance, Oppression, Hatred, and Global Dominion, because Muhammad was a slaughterer, intolerant, oppressive, hateful, and drove his armies to destroy everything and everyone that stood in the way of his establishment of a world caliphate. Muhammad said to the people of Mecca, “I have brought slaughter to you,” then he beheaded every male, young and old. ISIS immolated Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, because Muhammad burned people alive. When the leader of the Jewish Bani al-Nadir tribe refused to reveal the location of his tribe’s treasures, Muhammad ordered his soldiers to “Torture him until you extract what he has.” So a fire was built on the chest of Kinanah bin al-Rabi. Again, when some of his men resisted Muhammad’s planned attack against the Byzantines at Tabuk, the prophet commanded that they be burned alive in the house where they were meeting. ISIS enslaves and rapes women because Muhammad did, even when he took a six-year-old little girl as his wife and consummated their union when she turned nine. ISIS mutilates and crucifies men, women, and children because its prophet did. …The only difference between 1,400 years of slaughter by Muslims, who follow the practices of Muhammad, and the carnage carried out today by ISIS is that today’s atrocities are broadcast throughout the world by social media.”
Muslims are to be friendly to Jews and Christians when Muslims are outnumbered, as in Europe and the US. When, however, Muslims become uppermost, they bring Jews and Christians under their yoke. Their protection? Not on your nelly. They have to acknowledge their inferior status, pay a hefty tax and feel humiliated and subdued. Or be killed.
Here are some of Muhammad’s later teachings about Christians and Jews:
Qur’an 5:51—O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.
Qur’an 9:30—And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!
Qur’an 98:6—Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein. They are the worst of creatures.
Sahih Muslim 4366—Muhammad said: “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.”
Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad 1103—Muhammad said: “Do not give the People of the Book the greeting first. Force them to the narrowest part of the road.”
Needless to say, these teachings can hardly be considered peaceful or tolerant.
In conclusion: If you want to be a Muslim but can’t swallow all t he ghastly things Muhammad and his companions did, amd more important, wah they commanded that all Muslims should do until the end of the world, if you want democracy, hate Sharia and its overkill of rules, making the 613 Jewish mitzvot (laws) a breeze, then why stay Muslim? You say because Islam is monotheistic. MonoGod. So, you think mono is the greatest thing since Swiss falafel. What’s the good of such a God if this one God is the being described in the Qur’an, who tells you to kill idolators (e.g. American atheists), and all the rest? There is one thing, however, Allah says you should heed: he tells you that no one can corrupt his revelation and so you should follow the Bible. (See Responding to the Muslim Objections of the Bible).
The Bible says that no one can understand the Bible because they are dead in sin. You need to be raised from the dead to see the truth. (Ephesians 2:1-10) The Qur’an doesn’t say that; it says do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. And if you don’t like it, you’re free to leave and ask Issa to bear your sins. Hmmm.