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Historical Reality

Common Word

·      Letter to Heraclius, Byzantine Emperor (Sura 3:64)

·      Sura 3:64 - Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). (Aal ‘Imran 3:64)

·      Sahih Muslim, book 17 (Kitab al-Jihad Wa’l-Siyar), chapter 728, #4380
“In the name of Allah, Most Gracious ad Most Merciful. --From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Hiraql, the Emperor of the Romans. Peace be upon him who follows the guidance. After this, I extend to you the invitation to accept Islam. Embrace Islam and you will be safe. Accept Islam. God will give you double the reward. And if you turn away, upon you will be the sin of your subjects. O People of the Book, come to the word that is common between us that we should worship none other than Allah, should not ascribe any partner to Him and some of us should not take their fellows as Lords other than Allah. If they turn away, you should say that we testify to our being Muslims.”

·      Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith 191
Narrated Abdullah bin Abbas:
Allah's Apostle wrote to Caesar and invited him to Islam and sent him his letter with Dihya Al-Kalbi whom Allah's Apostle ordered to hand it over to the Governor of Busra who would forward it to Caesar.
…..
"In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad, the slave of Allah, and His Apostle, to Heraculius, the Ruler of the Byzantine. Peace be upon the followers of guidance. Now then, I invite you to Islam (i.e. surrender to Allah), embrace Islam and you will be safe; embrace Islam and Allah will bestow on you a double reward. But if you reject this invitation of Islam, you shall be responsible for misguiding the peasants (i.e. your nation). O people of the Scriptures! Come to a word common to you and us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate nothing in worship with Him; and that none of us shall take others as Lords besides Allah. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are (they who have surrendered (unto Him)

·      Bukhari 1:1:6 – Come to a common word … you will be safe … the Byzantines feared Muhammad

·      ‘If you offer peace we will accept it
And make you partners in peace and war [i.e. as fellow Muslims].
If you refuse we will fight you doggedly…
We shall fight as long as we live
Till you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge. 
We will fight not caring whom we meet …
…we cut off their noses and ears
With our fine polished Indian swords,
Driving them violently before us to the command of God and Islam,
Until religion is established, just and straight …’ (Ibn Ishaq, 587-8)

·      Durie: This letter is, at its heart, an invitation or call to Christians to agree with Muslims on certain Islamic teachings.

The message aslim taslam ‘surrender (or ‘embrace Islam’) and you will be safe’ is an essential component of a declaration of war in Islam.

‘I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people till they say La ilaha illallah [There is no god but Allah], and whoever said La ilaha illallah, he saved his life and property from me …’

·      Bukhari Volume 1, Book 1, Hadith 24:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:

Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives and property from me …

Persecution of Christians

Physical Violence

Raymond Ibrahim has a regular monthly column at his website detailing persecution of Christians at the hands of normal, regular, every day ordinary Muslims. He is not alone; similar reports come from organizations such as Barnabus Fund, Open Doors International, and Voice of the Martyrs.

Open Doors publishes an annual World Watch List where Christian persecution is highest. Of the top 10 nations, 9 of them are Islamic, with North Korea being the lone exception.

1.     North Korea

2.     Iraq

3.     Eritrea

4.     Afghanistan

5.     Syria

6.     Pakistan

7.     Somalia

8.     Sudan

9.     Iran

10.  Libya

A few of thousands of examples....

Churches

Churches are routinely destroyed, burned, vandalized, in a broad range of Islamic countries and not by ISIS or other so-called “radical” or Islamist groups, but by regular Muslims.

“While apologists for Islam dismiss the words of scholars like Ibn Tamiyya and Ibn Qayyim as pertaining only to one school of Islamic jurisprudence (namely the Hanbali), the fact is that all four schools of Islamic law are agreed that new churches cannot be built and old ones allowed to exist cannot be repaired; there is unanimity on this point. Hostility to churches is not based on a particular ‘Salafi’ point of view – even if Salafis are the most vociferous in expressing it. For example, in an eighteenth-century fatwa, the Maliki jurist Sheikh al-Adawi declares:

The decisions made by our ulema state that they (Christians) will not be permitted to build new churches in Muslim countries, and that, if they build them, it is an obligation to demolish them. As for the reconstruction of those which have been destroyed this is not possible in any manner; it would even be preferable to not allow these buildings to be repaired.

Spread of Islam

·      First 100 years post-Muhammad, to 732 AD. From Arabia east to the border of India, west across N Africa, into Spain, stopped at Battle of Tours. Many of the nations conquered were Christian, other religions also i.e. Zoroastrian.

·      In the subsequent years, Islam spread rapidly by conquering many Christian nations, from the Middle East to southeast Asia. The last great expansion was halted only in 1683 (September 11 interestingly enough) at the battle of Vienna.

Theological Reality

Quran

·      Muhammad is the example to follow for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day (Sura 33:21)

·      I have been ordered to fight until …

o   Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 2 :: Hadith 24
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."

o   Bukhari :: Book 4 :: Volume 52 :: Hadith 196
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah 's Apostle said, " I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)"

o   Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 8 :: Hadith 387
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah." Narrated Maimun ibn Siyah that he asked Anas bin Malik, "O Abu Hamza! What makes the life and property of a person sacred?" He replied, "Whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah', faces our Qibla during the prayers, prays like us and eats our slaughtered animal, then he is a Muslim, and has got the same rights and obligations as other Muslims have."

o   Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 84 :: Hadith 59

Narrated Abu Huraira:
When the Prophet died and Abu Bakr became his successor and some of the Arabs reverted to disbelief, 'Umar said, "O Abu Bakr! How can you fight these people although Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, 'and whoever said, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah', Allah will save his property and his life from me, unless (he does something for which he receives legal punishment) justly, and his account will be with Allah?' "Abu Bakr said, "By Allah! I will fight whoever differentiates between prayers and Zakat as Zakat is the right to be taken from property (according to Allah's Orders). By Allah! If they refused to pay me even a kid they used to pay to Allah's Apostle, I would fight with them for withholding it." 'Umar said, "By Allah: It was nothing, but I noticed that Allah opened Abu Bakr's chest towards the decision to fight, therefore I realized that his decision was right."

·      Sura 9:29 (not abrogated)

o   009:029 Khan                Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

o   009:029 Maulana                Fight those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the Religion of Truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

o   009:029 Pickthal                Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

o   009:029 Rashad                You shall fight back against those who do not believe in GOD, nor in the Last Day, nor do they prohibit what GOD and His messenger have prohibited, nor do they abide by the religion of truth - among those who received the scripture - until they pay the due tax, willingly or unwillingly.

o   009:029 Sarwar                Fight against those People of the Book who have no faith in God or the Day of Judgment, who do not consider unlawful what God and His Messenger have made unlawful, and who do not believe in the true religion, until they humbly pay tax with their own hands.

o   009:029 Shakir                Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

o   009:029 Sherali                Fight those from among the people of the Book, who believe not in ALLAH, nor in the Last Day, nor hold as unlawful what ALLAH and HIS Messenger have declared to be unlawful, nor follow the true religion, until they pay the tax considering it a favour and acknowledge their subjection.

o   009:029 Yusufali                Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

·      Slay and be slain…

o   009:111 Khan                Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.

o   009:111 Maulana                Surely Allah has bought from the believers their persons and their property -- theirs (in return) is the Garden. They fight in Allah’s way, so they slay and are slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is more faithful to his promise than Allah? Rejoice therefore in your bargain which you have made. And that is the mighty achievement.

o   009:111 Pickthal                Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.

o   009:111 Rashad                GOD has bought from the believers their lives and their money in exchange for Paradise. Thus, they fight in the cause of GOD, willing to kill and get killed. Such is His truthful pledge in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran - and who fulfills His pledge better than GOD? You shall rejoice in making such an exchange. This is the greatest triumph.

o   009:111 Sarwar                God has purchased the souls and property of the believers in exchange for Paradise. They fight for the cause of God to destroy His enemies and to sacrifice themselves. This is a true promise which He has revealed in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran. No one is more true to His promise than God. Let this bargain be glad news for them. This is indeed the supreme triumph.

o   009:111 Shakir                Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.

o   009:111 Sherali                Surely, ALLAH has purchased of the believers their persons and their property in return for the heavenly Garden they shall have; they fight in the cause of ALLAH, and they slay and are slain - an unfailing promise that HE has made binding on Himself in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Qur'an. And who is more faithful to his promise than ALLAH?  Rejoice, then, in your bargain which you have made with HIM; and that is the mighty triumph.

o   009:111 Yusufali                Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.

·      Peaceful Mecca vs. Violent Medina

·      Sura 8:39 – Fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will be for Allah alone.

·      Sura 9:5 - Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

o   Ibn Kathir, writes in his commentary on this verse, "These ayat [verses] allowed fighting the people unless, and until, they embrace Islam and implement its rulings and obligations... This verse abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolator, every treaty, and every term. No idolator had any more security or promise of safety since Surah Bara'ah [chapter 9 of the Qur'an] was revealed."[1] In essence, Sura 9:5 was an open ended right of Muslims to wage war on non-Muslims at any time or place, and without provocation, simply because they do not accept Islam.

·      Sura 4:95 – “Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward;”

·      Sura 9:123 – O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you.

·      Sura 9:20 - Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive with might and main, in Allah's cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah: they are the people who will achieve (salvation).

·      Sura 9:16 – “Do you think that you shall be left alone while Allah has not yet tested those among you who have striven hard and fought…”

o   The purpose Allah revealing this aya was to distinguish “between those who obey him and those who disobey him (Ibn Kathir).

·      Ibn Ishaq: “God sent Muhammad with this religion and he strove for it until people accepted it voluntarily or by force.”

Hadith

Jihad

·      Nearly 200 times the word ‘jihad’ is mentioned in canonical literature and it always is in the context of armed conflict to spread and propagate Islam.

·      Footnote by Muhammad Muhsin Khan in his Bukhari collection:
“Al-Jihad (Holy fighting) in Allah’s cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam, and is one of its pillar (on which it stands). By Jihad Islam is established, Allah’s word is made superior and His religion (Islam) is propagated. By abandoning Jihad, (may Allah protect us from that), Islam and the Muslims fall into an inferior position, their honor is lost, their land is stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam, on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfill this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite.”

·      Bukhari 2792: “A single endeavor of fighting in Allah’s cause in the forenoon or in the afternoon is better than the world and whatever is in it”

·      Bukhari 2810: “A man came to the prophet and asked ‘A man fights for booty, another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off. Which of them is in Allah’s cause?’ The Prophet said ‘He who fights that Allah’s word be superior is in Allah’s cause.”

Martyrdom

·      Bukhari 2787: “Allah guarantees that He will admit the mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise he will return him to his home safely with reward and war booty.”

·      Sura 3:169-170 – “Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision. Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allah hath bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not joined them but are left behind: That there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.”

·      Bukhari 2795: “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah would wish to come back to this world, even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, ecept the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom would like to come back to the world and get killed again in Allah’s cause.”

·      Bukhari 2797: “I would love to be martyred in Allah’s cause and then come back to life and then get martyred, and then come back to life again and get martyred and then come back to life again and then get martyred.”

·      Bukhari 2818: “Allah’s messenger said ‘Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords (Jihad in Allah’s cause).’

Dhimmitude

Mark Durie’ book “The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom”

Social Reality

UN Declaration of Human Rights

Also known as the Universal Declaration of Human rights, adopted in 1948 by most nations. Opposition by Islamic nations, most notably Saudi Arabia, which claimed it violated sharia. Articles which contravene Islam:

·      Article 4 prohibits slavery. There has never been an abolition movement in Islam, because the Qur’an contains rules for slaves, their rights, and the slave trade, so that the non-slave status is in itself not a ‘Human Right.’ Slaves include Christians, even today.

·      Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Yet sharia prescribes such inhumane punishment as normative for Muslims.

·      Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. Yet the testimony of Christians is not valid against a Muslim according to sharia. A woman’s testimony is equal to one half that of a man (Muslim only).

·      Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal …

·      Article 16: Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Yet sharia prohibits marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man. A Muslim man may marry a Christian wife but not vice versa. Sharia also gives the man (but not the woman) an unconditional right to divorce.

·      Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Yet sharia disallows a Muslim to change his religion (i.e convert to Christianity) and the open practice of Christianity is forbidden or highly restricted.

·      Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression …  Yet even very recent history has shown that certain forms of expression are forbidden by sharia, and Christians who openly criticize Islam, Muhammad, or the Quran face severe punishment.

o   Pakistan’s 295-C blasphemy law.

o   OIC and UN Resolution 16/18 prohibiting defamation of religion

Cairo Declaration on Human Right in Islam

·      Adopted by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1990 as a response to the Universal (UN) Declaration on Human Rights

·      It guarantees many of the same rights as the UDHR while at the same time reaffirming the inequalities inherent in Islamic law and tradition in terms of religionreligious conversiongender,sexualitypolitical rights, and other aspects of contemporary society at odds with Islamic law and traditions.

·      The Declaration starts by saying "All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity" (but not equal "human rights") …

·      Both men and women are given the "right to marriage" regardless of their race, colour, or nationality, but men and women are given unequal right to marry a non-Muslim, to marry more than one spouse or to divorce their spouse(s).

·      Article 10 of the Declaration states: "Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion or to atheism." In other words, no freedom of religion; either for one to convert out of Islam or for a Christian to share his faith with a Muslim.

·      Article 19 stipulates that there are no other crimes or punishments than those mentioned in the sharia, which include corporal punishment (whipping, amputation) and capital punishment by lapidation or decapitation.[5] The right to hold public office can only be exercised in accordance with the sharia (i.e. a non-Muslim (including Christian) can never hold public office (see Pact of Umar).

·      Article 22(a) of the Declaration states that "Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shariah." Freedom of speech is limited to sharia.

·      22(b) states that "Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shariah."

·      22(c) states: "Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society, or weaken its faith." A Christian fulfilling his religious duty to share his faith would violate this section and lead to punishment.

·      Articles 24 and 25 state that all rights and freedoms mentioned are subject to the Islamic sharia, which is the declaration's sole source.

Kenya Constitution

The Right to Change One’s Religion

Possible Responses

Many peaceful nations where Muslims and Christians coexist – but is this because of Islam or in spite of Islam?

Sura 5:32 misquoted, and exegete Ibn Kathir has something to say…

·      First, it must be noted that the verse is not quoted in its entirety. This is done purposefully. The entire verse reads, "On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land."

·      1) Note to whom this verse is directed. "We ordained to the Children of Israel ...". This verse has nothing to do with proving Islam is a peaceful religion. The target audience is not Muslims, it is Jews. Jews are being addressed here, the Children of Israel. And why is Allah using the term "we" if he is absolutely singular?

·      2) What does it mean to "spread mischief in the land?" After all, that seems to be an exception for which killing someone is justified by this verse. If Muslims want to ignore point 1 above and personalize this verse for the Muslim community, as they do frequently, we must understand what it means to spread mischief.

·      Ibn Kathir is an authoritative scholar and exegete of the Quran. Although he does not develop the term "make mischief" here, he does so in other similar verses. Sura 2:11-12 uses the same term, and Ibn Kathir defines what it means to "make mischief." Speaking of hypocrites and other disbelievers of Islam, Sura 2:11-12 says, "When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: "Why, we only Want to make peace!" Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realise (it) not."

·      In his commentary on these verses, Ibn Kathir says, "Their mischief is disobeying Allah, because whoever disobeys Allah on the earth, or commands that Allah be disobeyed, he has committed mischief on the earth. The hypocrites commit mischief on earth by disobeying their Lord on it and continuing in the prohibited acts. They also abandon what Allah made obligatory and doubt His religion, even though He does not accept a deed from anyone except with faith in His religion and certainty of its truth." In other words, to disobey Allah is to spread mischief. Anyone who does not pray five daily prayers, fast during Ramadan, obey Muhammad as Allah's messenger, believe in absolute Islamic monotheism, is spreading mischief.

·      Spreading mischief in the land is an exception to the prohibition to kill in Sura 5:32. Thus, Sura 5:32 allows the murder of those who spread mischief in the land - those who disbelieve in Allah and his messenger. This verse is not about peace at all.

·      3) What is the origin of Sura 5:32? Interestingly, the origin can be deduced from the first few words: "We have ordained for the Children of Israel...". This verse comes from Jewish tradition, the Talmud, and not from Allah. It is a commentary by a Rabbi on Genesis 4:10 which discusses the murder of Abel by Cain. In the Mishna Sanhedrin it reads, "Therefore, humans were created singly, to teach you that whoever destroys a single soul [of Israel], Scripture accounts it as if he had destroyed a full world; and whoever saves one soul of Israel, Scripture accounts it as if she had saved a full world. And for the sake of peace among people, that one should not say to his or her fellow, "My parent is greater than yours;" and that heretics should not say, "There are many powers in Heaven."

·      It has nothing at all to do with Islam, nor is it an apologetic to prove Islam forbids killing anybody.

·      Moreover, the common accusation by Muslims is that a verse is taken out of context. Fine. Let's look at the context. The very next verse, Sura 5:33 says this: "The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter..."

·      What exactly does it mean to 'wage war' against Allah and his messenger? After all, according to this verse, anyone who 'wages war' against Allah is fair game for curcifixion, execution, or for having opposing hands and feet cut off.

·      Once again, Quranic exegete Ibn Kathir comes to the rescue and defines for us exactly what it means to 'wage war' against Allah.

·      "`Wage war' mentioned here means, oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways." So according to Ibn Kathir, anyone who simply disbelieves in Allah is guilty of waging war against Allah and thus liable for crucifixion, or exile, or having opposing limbs cut off.

BB paradigm .. Benazir Bhutto, former PM of Pakistan, gunned down for attempting to reform Islam. She was creating an Islam in her own image, what she wanted Islam to be, ignoring what it is.

Greater Jihad vs. Lesser Jihad

Another common argument put forth by Islam is that of two types of jihad; the greater jihad, characterized as a spiritual struggle, and the lesser jihad which is the physical defense of Islam, including warfare at times if necessary. The argument goes that physical struggle or warfare (lesser jihad) is an aberration, and that the original intent of jihad was limited to solely a spiritual, inner struggle. Unfortunately, this common assertion is again misleading and disingenuous.

There exists a compelling amount of material, both in the Qur’an and Hadith, which identifies the concept of jihad as an external, outward, physical struggle, usually accompanied by some sort of violence. Cook notes, “most verses in the Qur’an are unambiguous as to the nature of what jihad prescribed—the vast majority of them referring to ‘those who believe, emigrate, and fight in the path of Allah,’ as in 2:218, 8:72, 9:20, 49:15”[2] Moreover, there is little evidence that jihad ever meant anything other than “fighting for Allah,” and there is little evidence that jihad was ever presented as a spiritual struggle. Cook provides the following analysis of the historical literature as it relates to a spiritual jihad:

…traditions indicating that jihad meant spiritual warfare, however, are entirely absent from any of the official, canonical collections…one might reasonably infer from this that the Hadith collectors construed as illegitimate the entire line of thought leading to the conclusion that spiritual warfare is part of or equivalent to aggressive jihad.[3]

The Muslim who wishes to practice aggressive jihad has an abundance of literary material upon which to base his actions and derive his precedents. But with the exception of Ayatullah al-Khumayni’s contemporary book on the “greater jihad,” there do not seem to have ever been any works devoted exclusively to the subject of the spiritual jihad.[4]

Some scholars contend that jihad as a spiritual struggle is a recent development, or perhaps a resurgence of an understanding of jihad long since forgotten but recently revived. Either way, the fact still stands that jihad as preached and practiced by Muslims for over 1,300 years has, nearly without exception, been a physical, forceful struggle. Cook again observes, “(recent) Muslim apologists…rediscovered the internal jihad in the nineteenth century and have been emphasizing it ever since that time as the normative expression of jihad—in defiance of all the religious and historical evidence to the contrary.”[5]

Moreover, as noted earlier, scholars who study and analyze Middle East culture note that spiritual jihad is merely a façade, created in an attempt to disguise the truth of jihad hiding behind the façade to those of us in the West. Jihad as a spiritual struggle is presented only to Western audiences. “Few Muslim scholars or even apologists writing in non-European languages have ever made the exaggerated claims (re: spiritual struggle)…those who write in Arabic or other Muslim languages realize that it is pointless to present jihad as anything other than militant warfare.”[6]

The bottom line is that greater jihad “is nothing more than false advertisement designed to pull the wool over the eyes of the audience…(it) should not be used today by scholars of Islam as ‘proof’ that nonviolent jihad has historical depth or universal acceptance in classical or even contemporary Islam.”[7]

From Islamtoday (http://en.islamtoday.net/node/1176)

There is a weak hadîth related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad. The lesser jihad refers to armed struggle while the greater jihâd refers to self-struggle.” 

Al-Albânî, in his Silsilah al-Ahâdîth al-Da`îfah, volume 5 page 478, says: 

This hadîth is false. Al-Hafiz al-Irâqî said in Takhrîj al-Ahyâ’ (2/6): “Related by al-Bayhaqî from the hadîth of Jâbir, and said there is a weak line of transmission for this hadîth. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajr mentioned what al-Bayhaqî said, in his book Takhrîj al-Kashâf (4/114. No. 33) then said: This hadîth is from the narration of Isa b. Ibrâhîm through Yahyâ b. Ya`lâ through Layth b. Abi Sulaym. These three people are weak.

Ibn Taymiyah said about this hadîth: “It is baseless.”

WikiIslam (https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Lesser_vs_Greater_Jihad)

All four schools of Sunni jurisprudence (Fiqh) as well as the Shi'ite tradition make no reference at all to the "greater" jihad, only the lesser. So even before examining the evidence against the validity of this hadith, it is known that the concept of the greater jihad is unorthodox and heretical to the majority of the world's Muslims.

In all six major Hadith collections (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Dawud, al-Sughra, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah), jihad almost always refers to the "lesser" outward physical struggle and not the "greater" inward spiritual struggle. As an example, there are nearly 200 references to jihad in the most trusted collection of hadith, Sahih Bukhari, and every single one assumes that jihad means literal warfare.

This fabricated hadith does not appear in any of the famous hadith collections and is inconsistent with the teachings found in corroborated (Mutawatir) sahih hadith. Some of these hadith state that fighting jihad is second only to the belief in Muhammad and Allah, and that standing for an hour in the ranks of battle is better than standing inprayer for sixty years.

The "lesser versus greater jihad" hadith's isnad (the completeness of the chain of narrators and the reputation of each individual narrators within the chain of oral tradition) has been categorized by scholars as "weak" (da`if), and generally in Islamic law, only the authentic (sahih) and good (hasan) hadiths are used in deriving the rules. The weak hadiths have no value for the purpose of Shari'ah.[5] Contemporary Islamic scholars have even classed it as "maudu" (fabricated), meaning this narration, by some, is not even considered to be a hadith at all.

Dr. Abdullah Azzam:

[It] is in fact a false, fabricated hadith which has no basis. It is only a saying of Ibrahim Ibn Abi `Abalah, one of the Successors, and it contradicts textual evidence and reality... The word "jihad", when mentioned on its own, only means combat with weapons, as was mentioned by Ibn Rushd, and upon this the four Imams have agreed.

Ibn Taymiyyah:

There is a Hadith related by a group of people which states that the Prophet [peace be upon him] said after the battle of Tabuk: 'We have returned from Jihad Asghar [lesser jihad] to Jihad Akbar [greater jihad].' This hadith has no source, nobody whomsoever in the field of Islamic Knowledge has narrated it. Jihad against the disbelievers is the most noble of actions, and moreover it is the most important action for the sake of mankind.

Shaikh Abdullah Faisal:

Related by Khateeb in The History of Baghdad 2/193. He also said it was a fabricated hadith.

The above-mentioned fabricated hadith gives preference to the method of da'wah over jihad for spreading Islam. However, the best method for spreading Islam is jihad and not da'wah. Thus the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) spent thirteen years in Makkah giving da'wah and only approximately one hundred people embraced Islam. But when he (s.a.w) entered Makkah with military might and Shawka (power) two thousand took their Shahadah in one day.

The Mujahideen conquer lands and save the entire populace from entering Hell-fire by delivering Islam to them. This accomplishment is much greater than what books can do.

Also this fabricated hadith contradicts the Holy Qur'an:

Surah An Nisa verse 95:

"Not equal are those of the believers who sit at home(except those who are disabled by injury or are blind or lame), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit at home."

Spiritual Jihad?

“Few Muslim scholars or even apologists writing in non-European languages have ever made the exaggerated claims (re: spiritual struggle)…those who write in Arabic or other Muslim languages realize that it is pointless to present Jihad as anything other than militant warfare.”[8] In short, the spiritual aspect of jihad is merely a façade, created in an attempt to disguise the truth of jihad hiding behind the façade to those of us in the West. Jihad as a spiritual struggle is presented only to Western audiences.

“(John) Esposito [a proponent of spiritual jihad]…spiritualizes what is an unambiguously concrete and militant doctrine, without a shred of evidence from the Qur’an or any of the classical sources, in which the jihad and fighting is against real human enemies, and not the devil.”[9]

“… the beginnings of a non-violent or demilitarized concept of jihad in ancient Islamic literature is a late development that can be traced to the eighth and ninth centuries, long after the death of Muhammad.[10]

Furthermore, when addressing the issue of jihad, Bukhari also includes the possibility of martyrdom as a possible consequence of jihad. However, becoming a martyr is an odd concept incompatible with jihad if jihad is limited to an internal struggle alone.



[1] Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged), Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, et al (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2000), vol. 4, p. 377.

[2] Cook, 32.

[3] Ibid., 35.

[4] Ibid., 47.

[5] Ibid, 40.

[6] Ibid., 43.

[7] Ibid., 47.

[8] Cook, 43

[9] Cook, 42.

[10] Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005), 33.