This article is long overdue. This is an issue that is not going away. It must be answered. Is sharia compatible with the US Constitution? Is sharia compatible with western democracy?

In 2012 I attended a Town Hall meeting in California. You know, those “Town Hall” meetings that politicians are fond of, assuring their constituents they are on the right side of issues, fighting for the rights and freedoms of all people. The topic of this meeting was on the compatibility of the U.S. Constitution and sharia, otherwise known as Islamic law. The event was hosted by the Islamic Society of Orange County, one of the largest mosques in Southern California and whose Imam is well connected in Washington, DC. It was attended by a host of dignitaries in southern California: The Los Angeles County Sheriff of the time, the LAPD Assistant Chief and LAPD’s counter-terrorism expert, a host of state and national political leaders including Congresswoman Maxine Waters. All were singing the praises of sharia and assuring constituents they have nothing to worry about. Sharia is just grand.

No doubt other such meetings have taken place throughout the USA.

More recently, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, said the same thing.

Let me be clear. Such sentiments are shared only by those ignorant of the tenets of Islam and sharia. They may be ignorant simply because they have never been informed properly regarding Islam and sharia. Or they may be ignorant willingly, buying into the politically-correct charged multi-culturalism view that permeates society today. But the bottom line: such views are ignorant, misleading, and dangerous.

This article will lay to rest any and all such ignorant notions. I will serve as the source of information lacking in those who hold this view. Feel free to share this article with the uninformed and ignorant.

WHAT IS SHARIA?

Before we can answer the question about the compatibility between sharia and our Constitution, we first need to define what sharia is exactly.

The word ‘sharia’ simply means ‘the path.’ But in Islamic theology it isn’t just any path. It is said to be the straight path of guidance given by Allah via the Qur’an. But one can only know how to follow the path of guidance by following the example of Muhammad. In essence, Muhammad’s life was a real-time commentary on the proper interpretation of the Qur’an, so to follow the Qur’an’s guidance, one follows the example Muhammad set by his words and actions.

The key verse in the Qur’an is Sura 33:21 which says, “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.” In other words, any Muslim who hopes to achieve paradise on that final day must emulate Muhammad to the best of his ability.

What Muhammad said or did in various circumstances are recorded in volumes of traditions known collectively as hadith. There are various collections of hadith, each known by the individual who compiled the traditions. For Sunni Muslims the two most authoritative hadith collections are by al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

Thus, all of sharia is based on what Muhammad said, acted upon, or gave either explicit or implicit permission to do. Sharia is Muhammad, Muhammad is the living commentary on the Qur’an. And the Qur’an is the literal Word of God to Muslims. Thus, sharia is the set of rules and regulations specified by Muhammad who interpreted the Qur’an for mankind. One can only obey the Qur’an by following sharia.

All Muslims adhere to sharia. They must. To separate sharia from Islam is impossible. Islam is sharia; sharia is Islam. In fact, a few years back when Tennessee was having a debate about an anti-sharia state law, a prominent Muslim attorney in Dearborn observed, “Islam is sharia; sharia is Islam. The two cannot be separated, and thus Tennessee’s law is unconstitutional because it is an attack on a religion protected by the First Amendment.” Note what he said: To take a stand against sharia is equivalent to standing against Islam. Thus, for all Muslims, observing sharia is an integral part of the practice of Islam.

SHARIA AND THE CONSTITUTION

The best way to approach this subject is by way of compare and contrast. In viewing sharia by way of a well-known document accepted by a majority of Islamic nations and contrasting that with another well-known document accepted by a majority of the free world and which also forms the basis of our Constitution, one can quickly and easily see that sharia and our Constitution are at odds with one another in nearly every area of interest.

The two documents we will examine and compare are the UN Declaration on Human rights and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

UN Declaration on Human Rights

Also known as the Universal Declaration of Human rights, it was adopted in 1948 by most nations but encountered opposition by Islamic nations, most notably Saudi Arabia, which claimed it violated sharia. There are several articles which contravene Islam.

  • SLAVERY. UN Article 4 prohibits slavery. Article 4 reads, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

    Although slavery was not illegal when the US Constitution was first written, the 13th amendment outlawed the practice. Amendment 13 reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    There has never been an abolition movement in Islam, because the Qur’an and hadith contain 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. Muhammad himself owned slaves and endorsed slavery, so to outlaw slavery would be deemed un-Islamic.
     
  • CRUEL PUNISHMENT. UN Article 5 reads, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

    The US Constitution has similar wording in Amendment 8 which reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    Yet sharia prescribes such inhumane punishment as normative for Muslims. Stoning to death for adultery is common in many Islamic nations today and is carried out routinely. Sharia requires the amputation of the hand of a thief in accordance with the Qur’an. Trouble makers who “cause mischief in the land” are to have a foot and hand on opposing sides amputated. Homosexuals are stoned to death or hanged. In Saudi Arabia, one well paid government job is a professional who beheads others for a variety of crimes, again in full accordance with sharia.
     
  • EQUALITY. UN Article 7 reads, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.”

    Equality under the law has always been a hallmark of American culture and law, though in practice discrimination still exists in certain areas. However, the goal has always been equality, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc. The Declaration of Independence begins with these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The 15th Amendment erased race as a barrier to voting and the 19th Amendment erased gender as a barrier to voting. Equality for all is what the American legal system strives to achieve.

    Not so in Islam. According to sharia the testimony of a non-Muslim is not valid against a Muslim in a court of law. A woman’s testimony is equal to one half that of a man. Females receive one-half the inheritance of a similarly situated male. Non-Muslims living in a majority Islamic society are ascribed the role of a “dhimmi” – a second class citizen with few rights and little protection under the law.
     
  • FAIR TRIAL. UN Article 10 reads, “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”

    Amendment 6 to the US Constitution says, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

    The notion of a public hearing with full equality for all is absent in sharia. As we have already seen, the testimony of a non-Muslim is deemed invalid and inadmissible, so in an Islamic court the only testimony allowed is that of a Muslim, hardly fair and impartial. Moreover, any proceedings are conducted and adjudicated according to the dictates of sharia, with the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam being the bedrock. We will discuss the Cairo document below.
     
  • MARRIAGE. UN Article 16 reads: 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.

    The right to marry in the US is not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, but has always been interpreted and understood to fall within the general principle of a right to liberty, real liberty. The Preamble to the Constitution says, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” And the Declaration of Independence includes this well-known statement regarding liberty: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Courts have upheld that both these phrases include equality in marriage of both spouses in the right to enter into the marriage covenant as well as the right of each party to terminate the marriage. And there are no restrictions placed on marriage between two people of a different religion or race, and even in recent times several states have no restrictions on marriage of two people of the same biological sex.

    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. And sharia (and Islam) would never entertain marriage between two people of the same sex.
     
  • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. US Article 18 reads, “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.”

    Freedom of religion and religious practice and identity is found in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, which reads in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” American citizens are free to embrace any religion they desire with a wide latitude as to what constitutes “religion,” are free to leave any religion, change from one religion to another, or have no religion at all. Nobody is born into a religion or assigned a religion at birth.

    Sharia dictates that all children follow the religion of the father, even in mixed religious families with a Muslim father and Christian or Jewish mother. Children are automatically deemed Muslim at birth. “Freedom of religion” in sharia means one is free to embrace Islam freely, but one is never free to leave. Abandoning Islam is an automatic death penalty according to sharia and is carried out routinely in many nations governed by sharia. Additionally, the practice of other religions is completely forbidden or severely curtailed in many Islamic nations operating under sharia. Freedom to practice one's religion is limited to Islam alone; others are forbidden.
     
  • FREEDOM OF SPEECH. UN Article 19 says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression …”

    The 1st Amendment of the Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…”. Freedom of speech extends to expression not only with verbal communication, but in art, writing, the media, and even in action.

    Yet even very recent history has shown that certain forms of expression are forbidden by sharia. Non-Muslims (and even skeptic Muslims for that matter) who openly criticize Islam, Muhammad, or the Quran face severe punishment. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, whose legal system is founded upon sharia, prescribes both fines and imprisonment for anyone who criticizes Muhammad. See section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code. And in accordance with sharia, the Organization of Islamic Conference (57 member Islamic nations) have been pursuing the adoption of UN Resolution 16/18 which prohibits defaming Islam in any way, including speech.

Cairo Declaration on Human Right in Islam

The UN or Universal Declaration on Human Rights was deemed offensive to many Islamic nations, who failed to adopt it in 1948 when the rest of the world did so. Nations governed by sharia could not agree to the UN Declaration for the reasons I have already addressed.

In response, the Organization of Islamic Conference in 1990 crafted their response to the UN Declaration. They called it the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam and was named after the city in which several Islamic nations adopted the document as the basis for defining human rights. I will not detail here why the Cairo Declaration stands in opposition to the UN Declaration, and thus the US Constitution. The bulleted highlights below say all that needs to be said in this regard.

  • 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, color, 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.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.
  • 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." In other words, 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." According to former sharia lawyer Daniel Akbari in his book Honor Killing, enjoining good and forbidding what is evil is a characteristic that defines Muslims. It includes a right AND duty for individuals to enjoin good and forbid evil, using violence if necessary.
  • 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. Moreover, and speech deemed to denigrate Muhammad will lead to punishment including imprisonment.
  • Articles 24 and 25 state that all rights and freedoms mentioned are subject to the Islamic sharia, which is the declaration's sole source.

Moreover, nations which advocate sharia must be willing to embrace the following, which are allowed under sharia, in addition to what has already been mentioned.

  • Corporal punishment of wives by husbands.
  • Marriage of pre-pubescent girls to older men.
  • Polygamy, with an allowance of up to four wives for any man.
  • Honor killing of family members who bring shame.
  • Muslims held to be of a higher social status than non-Muslims, including priority treatment (i.e. discrimination) in every area of life.

After this analysis if you still believe sharia is compatible with western values and particularly the US Constitution, I am at a loss for words. I might recommend you find a good psychiatrist. 

Recently the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proposed and subsequently passed a resolution which virtually erases historic ties of Judaism to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Language in early drafts of the proposal referred to the Temple Mount as an exclusive Islamic holy site, but the language was softened somewhat in the final resolution. Still, the language adopted makes no mention of either Jewish or Christian significance to the Temple Mount proper, referring to it exclusively as "al-Aksa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif" according to the Jerusalem Post

The cultural, religious, and historical associations of the Temple Mount to Judaism are well established and not open to debatet. Archeological digs under and in the direct vicinity of the Temple Mount continually unearth artifacts of the ancient Jewish civilization of the area. Works of history fully document the ties and significance of the Temple Mount and Jews. This article is not intended to discuss these well-established facts. The research is available and abundant for anyone with the slightest interest in doing a bit of simple research.

UNESCO prides itself on being an educational organization. Indeed, that is what the E in UNESCO stands for: Educational. As such, one would think UNESCO endeavors to provide accurate information. But one would be incorrect in assuming that. UNESCO, with the resolution passed, committed two errors, and provided no education at all. First, it denied the well-established ties of Judaism to the Temple Mount, and second, it advanced an illegitimate tie of the Temple Mount to Islam.

HISTORICAL TIES OF JUDAISM TO TEMPLE MOUNT

There should be no need to expound on this, but a few short paragraphs will suffice to put the issue to rest.

First things first. The Bible is a book of history. This is not in dispute. The Bible has been proven time and again to be historically accurate in the places, people, times, and events it describes in its pages. Thus, when the Bible discusses a temple in Jerusalem, and archeological evidence supports the existence of the Temple, the existence of said Temple is not open for discussion. Period.

Second, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has an article detailing the existence of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Wikipedia also has an article about the archeological excavations which have confirmed the ancient temple.

Third, numerous books have been written by renowned archeologists concerning the Temple Mount. One such author is Dr. Randall Price, an expert in Middle East archeology.

Fourth, it is curious that the Muslim keeper of the Temple Mount currently forbids any further archeological digs beneath the Dome of the Rock. If the Jewish Temple has no historical connection, as UNESCO holds and which Muslims also assert, one would think such digs would be welcome as a method to put to rest the Jewish argument. Dr. Randall Price even quotes the Mufti of the Temple Mount asserting that that a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount is an offense to Islam and will not be tolerated. So if there is no historical ties, let the evidence show it.

The historical connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is without dispute. UNESCO is in error on this point. But they are also in error on the second point.

DOES ISLAM HAVE LEGITIMATE RELIGIOUS CLAIMS TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT?

In a word, no. But some background information is needed to understand why.

Around the year 620, Muhammad supposedly took a journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and back to Mecca in the course of one night, quite a feat absent the modern transportation systems we have today!! I wrote an earlier article on Islam and the Temple Mount, but this new claim by UNESCO requires a further response.

To recap: Muhammad visited the Al-Aqsa mosque from which he climbed a ladder to heaven. At the seventh level of heaven he learned, after some bargaining, that Allah required the Islamic Ummah to pray five times a day.

To clarify, nearly every original Islamic source states Muhammad was taken to the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Tafsir of Ibn Kathir translates Sura 17:1 this way: "Glorified is He Who took His servant for a Journey by Night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our Ayat. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer." Note that Ibn Kathir affirms Muhammad visited the Al-Aqsa mosque in the year 620.

Ibn Ishaq, the earliest biographer of Muhammad, wrote, "Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'I from Muhammad b. Ishaq told me the following: Then the apostle was carried by night from the mosque at Mecca to the Masjid al-Aqsa, which is the temple of Aelia, when Islam had spread in Mecca among the Quraysh and all the tribes."

More modern scholars also affirm the Al-Aqsa mosque as the place where Muhammad was taken. In the study footnotes of his English translation of the Qur'an, Yusuf Ali says, "The farthest mosque must refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, at or near which stands the Dome of the Rock. This and the Mosque known as the Farthest Mosque (al masjid al aqsa) were completed by the Amir 'Abd al Malik in A. H. 68."

The Noble Qur'an, published by the authorized King Fahad printing press for Saudi Arabia, adds commentary to Sura 17:1 in the English translation by Al-Hilali and Khan. Sura 17:1 in this translation reads: "

Someone recently brought to my attention that a religious organization called the  Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (ostensibly a Christian organization) has published and is heavily promoting a small group study titled “My Neighbor is Muslim.” The study guide purports to help Lutherans understand their Muslim neighbors so as to build bridges with them, clear any misunderstanding of Islam, and promote harmony. It is worth noting that the Minneapolis – St Paul metropolitan area is home to one of the largest Somali refugee populations.

A few years ago a friend put me in touch with a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and suggested I share with him my training on Islam. I never received a response, even after multiple inquiries. Now it appears I may have the answer to the silence I encountered. The information contained within this document is no different than what one would expect to receive from experienced Islamic da’i – a Muslim experienced in Islamic da’wah, or inviting one to Islam. The guide is a form of Islamic propaganda, packaged as a help for Christians to reach Muslims, but it does not represent Islam accurately, by and large.

This article is to correct errors and misrepresentations contained within the study guide. There are several. Perhaps this is due to the lack of knowledge of Islam by the authors. From what I can discern, none of them have any expertise in the subject, yet they are ostensibly educating the Lutheran Church on Islam. Some take aways from the authors:

Todd Green: Ph.D. from Vanderbuilt, but does not say in which discipline he obtained his doctorate. Lectures on Islamophobia and teaches broadly on European and US religious history. His lectures on Islamophobia draw primarily on interviews with such notable figures as Tariq Ramadan (descendant of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna), Ingrid Mattson (former head of the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front group identified by the FBI), Dalia Mogahed (Obama’s head of Muslim Relations and associate with both the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society, both Muslim Brotherhood front groups),  and Keith Ellison, the nation’s first Muslim senator and advocate of sharia when the time is right. His bibliography also includes works by Karen Armstrong, fawning worshipper of Muhammad who paints the man in charming terms and sees him through rose colored glasses, and John Esposito, bought and paid for chair of the Islamic studies program at Georgetown University. His Islamic studies department was  founded by a $20 million grant from Saudi Arabia. Thus, in addition to Green not having done formal research on Islam through independent studies, his information can hardly be considered to be unbiased due to these sources who inform his view.

Dirk Lange: A professor of worship. Writing and educating Lutherans about Islam. Need I say more.

Matthew Skinner: Professor of New Testament. Focuses on the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. Writing and educating Lutherans on Islam.

Karoline Lewis: Marbury E Anderson chair in Biblical Preaching. Writing on Islam.

Rolf Jacobson: Professor of Old Testament and The Alvin N. Rogness Chair in Scripture, Theology and Ministry. Writing and educating Lutherans on Islam.

Eric Barreto: Associate Professor of New Testament, writing and educating Lutherans on Islam.

Yusuf Abdi: Director of Refugee Services. A B.S. degree in Management with a minor in computer science. Donates his time to civic organizations to help them understand the basic tenets of Islam and Somali culture.

Adam Copeland: Director, Center for Stewardship Leaders. Former Presbyterian Pastor. Pursuing Ph.D. in rhetoric. Interests include stewardship, crowdfunding, new media and religion, church leadership, and digital culture. Writing and educating Lutherans on Islam.

Among all the contributors I cannot discern one who has devoted the time to read the original source material on Islam and studied the topic independently. It appears their knowledge of Islam is limited to what they have been told by Muslim scholars or apologists themselves, and this is of serious concern, the influence of which can be seen in the information contained within the document.

PROPHET MUHAMMAD?

The first thing I noticed is throughout the document Muhammad is addressed as “Prophet Muhammad.” One may get the impression the Lutheran organization promoting this document actually believes Muhammad was a legitimate prophet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Muhammad not only fails the test as a prophet of God, he even fails the basic criteria for a prophet that Muslims believe qualifies one for prophet-hood. Moreover, when he presented himself to the Jewish tribal leaders and scholars in Medina, they quickly put Muhammad to the test. These Jewish scholars know their Tanakh, they new the traits of a legitimate prophet, they quickly put to Muhammad to the test, and when he could not measure up they quickly rejected his as a fraud. Muhammad is not a prophet and should not be addressed as one.

RELIGIOUS TERMS

The document has a small section where certain terms are defined for those unfamiliar with Islam. I found two troubling definitions with errors.

‘Prophet Muhammad’ – The document says he received his first revelation at 40 years old and preached Islam for 23 years under persecution until his death. This is only partially accurate. He did receive his first revelation at age 40. He did preach Islam for 23 years until his death at age 63. But these were not all under persecution. He was persecuted for the first 13 years in Mecca, where he preached an unfavorable message to a polytheistic society. When he fled Mecca to Medina after increased persecution, his circumstances changed dramatically. He was not persecuted, but rather became the persecutor. His ten years in Medina are known as al-Maghazi, or the years of warfare, for a reason. Muhammad personally participated in 29 campaigns of violence to spread Islam and he oversaw 57 others, for an average of nine episodes of warfare and persecution per year. To intentionally fail to mention this period of Muhammad’s career is misleading and factually incorrect. One has to wonder why the authors chose to overlook this and leave it out of the material.

‘Jihad’ – The word is defined as “The challenge to achieve piety, submission, and obedience to Allah.” This is factually incorrect, but is completely in line with the definition Muslim apologists and scholars like to suggest and are pushing diligently to get Westerners to accept. In reality, the word simply means ‘struggle’ but the way it has been understood and applied throughout Islamic history is the struggle to expand Islam, primarily through warfare and conflict. First, the Encyclopedia of Islam defines jihad: “In law, according to general doctrine and in historical tradition, the jihad consists of military action with the object of the expansion of Islam and, if need be, its defense.” Second, a manual of sharia from the Shafi’i legal school says of jihad as the “means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.” Third, in the hadith collection of al-Bukhari, the primary collection of traditions of Muhammad for Sunni Islam, the book of jihad has Muhammad mentioning the term dozens of times and every instance is done in the context of warfare and not in the context of achieving piety. Finally, the connection of jihad with achieving piety comes from a single hadith which is rejected by Muslims as unreliable and unsound. Indeed, David Cook of Rice University in his book “Understanding Jihad” says, “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.”

THE QURAN AND JESUS

Todd Green does a fair job in this section in describing the Islamic view of Jesus, including the fact that the Quran denies Jesus was crucified. But he makes a troubling statement near the end.

“The reverence and respect Muslims have for Jesus is considerable. If Christians can develop an appreciation for the prominent role that Jesus has in Islam, they may discover Jesus is more of an opportunity than an obstacle for developing interfaith relationships…”

The problem is that the death of Jesus on the cross and His subsequent resurrection is the fundamental basis of Christianity, and one Islam and the Quran denies explicitly. It is inconceivable how this insurmountable obstacle can be, in any sense, an opportunity for relationships.

The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 says:

1Cor. 15:12  Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preachingis empty and your faithis also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For ifthe dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faithis futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

It seems Todd Green wants Christians to set aside the one event in history that defines Christianity and instead focus on other “common” notions concerning Jesus, for the sake of interfaith harmony. I cannot endorse this, and neither should any Christian. To do so is to deny the most essential element of Christianity.

QURAN: JEWS AND CHRISTIANS

This section is the most troubling of the document and requires much correction.

Once again, Todd Green goes awry. He writes, “Many Jews and Christians would be surprised to discover that the Qur’an has plenty of positive things to say about them.” While true, the Quran also has many negative things to say about both Jews and Christians. Sura 5:51 comes to mind: “O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliyâ' (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliyâ' to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliyâ', then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allâh guides not those people who are the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong­doers and unjust). 
In other words, if a Muslim takes a Jew or a Christian as a friend or protector, that Muslim is, in Allah’s eyes, an unjust or wrong-doer, worthy of Allah’s punishment.

Green then makes a very troubling statement. “The Qur’an readily acknowledges that the God worshipped by Muslims is the same God that disclosed God’s self to Jews and Christians and provided them with scriptures.” It is unclear if Green actually believes Muslims and Christians worship the same God or if he is just telling us what the Quran seems to say. But in using the phrase “readily acknowledges,” one would get the impression he agrees with the statement. And Green cannot be any more wrong. I tackle this topic in this article.

Further on Green makes the following claim:

“An examination of the beliefs found in the Qur’an points to considerable common ground between the three traditions. All three express belief in the oneness of God. All three believe God established a special covenant with a particular community. All three uphold the importance of prayer, living according to God’s will, and providing for the poor and those in need.”

Some may think I’m being nitpicky here, but clarification is needed. Yes, all three express belief in the oneness of God, but Muslims do not share this as common ground. They consider Christians as polytheists and do not accept the tri-unity of the Christian God. Further, Christians do not believe God established a covenant with Muslims, though Muslims believe that for themselves. And the importance of prayer, living according to God’s will, and providing for the poor are all practiced in significantly different ways, not common at all to one another. Living within God’s will means something altogether different between Muslims and Christians, as does the significance of prayer. And in Islam, providing for the poor means taking care of other Muslims; charity does not extend beyond the Muslim ummah as it does for Christianity. These are hardly areas of common ground.

The rest of this section does not get any better. Green makes the claim that the general policy in Islamic empires in premodern history was not to force Jews and Christians to convert. He cites Sura 2:256 in the Quran as a proof text of this idea. But this is patently false.

First, during the 10 years in Medina, Muhammad personally engaged in multiple conflicts, most of which were to persuade other tribes to accept his new religion of Islam or fight to the death. The biographer Ibn Ishaq (d. AD765) records many of these skirmishes in the Sirat Rasul Allah, translated into English under the title “The Life of Muhammad.” As one example, Muhammad sent a letter to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius inviting him to embrace Islam, with the condition that if Heraclius became Muslim, his life and property would be spared. What does that imply had Heraclius declined the invitation? When Muhammad returned to Mecca in 630 to conquer it, he told the leaders of Mecca the same: accept Islam and your life will be spared. Muhammad made the same threat numerous times and carried through with his promise when the invitation was declined. This is documented history.

Second, the proof text Green uses, Sura 2:256, was “revealed” to Muhammad earlier in his ‘ministry’ and was later abrogated (see Sura 2:106 and 16:101) by other verses such as Sura 9:29 which instructs Muslims to fight everyone who does not believe in Allah until they submit. It was then, and is still today, the maxim that one either accepts Islam when invited or face the sword (and its modern equivalents) and fight to the death.

Jews and Christians had a third option: to pay a protection tax known as ‘jizya’ whereby their lives would be spared. Such people were known as ‘dhimmis.’ Green writes, “Dhimmis were given the freedom to practice their religion and to receive protection from Muslim rulers as long as they paid a special tax known as the jizya.” What he writes is true for the most part, but more importantly is what is not said. Green makes it sound as if Jews and Christians had absolute freedom to live as they wanted so long as they paid the tax. This is patently false.

Three scholars have written extensively on the subject of dhimmitude, the life of living as a dhimmi, a second class citizen offered only to a Jew or Christian, under an Islamic rule. If Professor Green had only availed himself of these, he would not have made such a blunder. Bat Ye’or has several books out on the subject, including Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide and The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam. Dr. Mark Durie wrote a seminal work on dhimmitude titled The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom. I highly recommend Durie’s work. Bat Ye’or wrote the foreword for it. And Dr. Dario Fernandez-Morera just released his book The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain. He has sections on the dhimmitude of both Jews and Christians in Andalusia, or Islamic Spain.

To help the reader understand the myopia with which Professor Green operates, here are a few select quotes from the works cited.

Non-Muslims had rights to their property and lives only if they had supported and honored Islam and Muslims. Anything else was fitna, and a pretext for fighting. Durie, p. 111.

Summon the people to God; those who respond unto your call, accept it [i.e. their conversion] from them, but those who refuse must pay the poll tax [jizya] out of humiliation and lowliness [i.e. they must surrender]. If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency. Al-Tabari, quoted by Durie, p. 120

The jizya is money paid by a defeated foe, which compensates or rewards an attacker for forgoing the right to take the defeated person’s life and to resume rightful possession (according to Ibn Taymiyya) of his God-given property. Durie, p. 127

For the dhimmi, the annual jizya payment was a powerful and public symbolic expression of the jihad-dhimmitude nexus, which fixed the horizon of the dhimmi’s world. Although the ritual varied in its specific features, its essential character was an enactment of a beheading, in which one of the recurrent features was a blow to the neck of the dhimmi, at the very point when he makes his payment. … The jizya payment was thus a ritualized decapitation, symbolizing the very penalty which the payment was designed to avoid. Durie, p. 131

Muslims celebrated their religion publicly, but Christians could not hold processions on the streets and must discreetly celebrate their religion within their churches and neighborhoods. In Umayyad Córdoba, Christians must not walk through Muslim cemeteries because their presence would pollute the Muslim tombs. Water, food, garments, and utensils touched by a Christian became polluted. As late as the fifteenth century in Christian-held territory, Muslim law told the mudéjares (Muslims under Christian domination): “water touched by an infidel, a wine-drinker, a cat, or a dog cannot be used for ablution; do not adopt ways of speaking, manners or customs of the Christians, nor their clothing, nor those of sinners.” New mosques could be freely built and old ones repaired, but Christians could rarely build new churches or even repair old ones, and never without the Muslims’ authorization. Mosques could stand proudly in Islamic cities, but Christian churches must not challenge the mosques by opening to main thoroughfares. Mosques and other Muslim buildings could be as high as architecturally feasible, but no Catholic church or other Christian buildings could tower above Muslim buildings. Mosques could not be converted into churches, but churches could be, and often were, converted into mosques. Muslims could have the muezzin loudly proclaim the call to prayer, but Christians could not ring their church bells. Muslims could proselytize, but Christians could not. Christians could be placed under Muslim law if they wished, but Muslims were forbidden to do the opposite. Christians could not display crosses on themselves. Christians could not display crosses on the outside or on top of their churches. Christians could not display figurative art on the outside walls of their churches. Christians could not wear Muslim-like clothes. Christians must wear distinctive signs. Christians must stand up in the presence of Muslims. Fernández-Morera, p. 212 .

In short, contrary to what is commonly believed, the institution of the dhimma in Islamic Spain did not generously grant religious autonomy to Christians. It actually limited their religious practices in numerous ways, and it left the subject Christians without any possibility of attaining political power. Eventually reduced to minority status, Christian dhimmis saw their numbers slowly decline as a result of conversions that promised an escape from Islamic law’s humbling limitations and special taxation and also as a result of Islamic laws that, for example, forced the children of a Muslim man and a Christian woman to be raised as Muslims, and allowed a Muslim man to have children with up to four wives and as many sexual slaves as he could keep. Fernández-Morera, p. 213.

The much-praised “tolerance” of al-Andalus was thus part of Islam’s imperialist system of separation from and subordination of Christians. Christians could practice their religion, but only on Islam’s terms. Islamic clerics and rulers remained effectively in control in matters of religion, and because religion informed everything, they remained effectively in control of everything. The system of “protection,” then, was in reality a system of exploitation and subjugation. All the onerous details of everyday practical differentiation and subordination followed from— and reinforced— general assumptions of Islam’s religious and therefore political hegemony. Fernández-Morera, p. 213.

Todd Green is misleading the church on the reality of Islam, is buying into the common lie advanced by pro-Islamic spokespersons uncritically, and has failed to do his own research into the matter as any good scholar is required to do. Green is dangerous, but sadly is peddling this garbage to the uninformed, who in turn eat it up uncritically because, after all, Todd Green has a Ph.D. after his name. He must be an expert, right?

And as a final coup de grâce Green ventures into an attempt at cultural relativism by suggesting Christianity has cause bloodshed just as Islamic jihad has done. He states, “The Crusades generated considerable bloodshed between Muslims and Christians.” Again, what is important is what is left unsaid. As all scholars worth their salt recognize, the Crusades, as gruesome as they were, were a defensive response to over four hundred years of prior Muslim aggression where Islamic armies captured for Islam territories which were formerly Christian. I won’t go further into the topic here. For those interested, here is a TV program for which I was a co-host discussing the crusades.

ISLAM AND CHARITY

In this section Green describes zakat accurately as one of the five pillars of Islam which is incumbent on every practicing Muslim. But his comments are misleading in suggesting zakat donations are used to help the poor and needy. They are, but only MUSLIM poor and needy. Zakat does not extend to non-Muslims, and even Muslim nations themselves do not fulfill their obligation. Think about it. Whenever a natural disaster occurs, be it a tsunami in Indonesia or an a devastating earthquake in Iran or Afghanistan, who is the first, and sometimes only, agencies to respond? Christian organizations from predominately Christian nations, such as Samaritan’s Purse, the Salvation Army, or church related relief agencies. Rarely if ever do you see an Islamic charity responding, even to help Islamic nations during times of disaster.

In the follow up section to Zakat, Rolf Jacobson, professor of Old Testament (expert in Islam how???) notes, “Professor Green notes that there has been some controversy in the last fifteen years concerning the reality that some charitable zakat giving has ended up in the hands of extremists. The principle at stake here is important for Christians to think over, too. Throughout history, some Christian organizations have been poor stewards of charitable contributions. Money “given to God” has been at times misspent, or wasted, or simply used ineffectively.”

Once again, the authors failed to do their homework and have accepted verbatim criticisms leveled against Christians from Islamic apologists and their spokespersons. In doing so they have shown themselves to be mere puppets of the Islamic propaganda machine. It is academically dishonest to compare the few “Christian” charitable organizations which have misused donations with Islamic charities who have been found guilty of using zakat donations to fund Islamic terrorism. So far as I am aware, no Christian charity funds have been used to slaughter, maim, subjugate, and torture non-Christians around the world. But that is exactly what the FBI discovered in its investigation of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, an Islamic charity which was collecting zakat donations and funneling them for terrorist operations.

WHAT DOES ISLAM TEACH ABOUT VIOLENCE?

I have written a good deal on this topic so I will not respond to everything Green states in this section. I will refer the reader to my booklet on Jihad, in which I quote Islamic sources and scholars well studied on the subject. Suffice it to say in this section like the prior ones, Green displays an ignorance on the subject matter; either that or he is using only pro-Islamic sources for his information and has not studied the matter for himself.

He says the word ‘jihad’ is far more nuanced than what non-Muslim Westerners assume. Green also states one possible understanding of jihad involves a spiritual struggle, as Muhammad said he had returned from the lesser jihad (warfare) to the greater jihad (internal spiritual struggle against inner desires). Yet if one looks at authoritative sources, one sees the definition of jihad is well defined and has nothing to do with struggling to be a good person or overcoming evil desires.

The Encyclopedia of Islam says of jihad that “In law, according to general doctrine and in historical tradition, the jihad consists of military action with the object of the expansion of Islam and, if need be, its defense.”

Jihad as a spiritual struggle lacks any support in the Islamic canonical literature. For example, in Bukhari, of the 72 times the word “Jihad” is used, it always speaks of fighting a war in the cause of Allah.

“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” (David Cook, Rice University, Understanding Jihad, p. 43).

Jihad “means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.” Reliance of the Traveller, manual of Sharia endorsed by Al Azhar University.

A footnote in the English translation of Bukhari’s Hadith collection notes “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 the pillars (on which it stands). By Jihad Islam is established, Allah’s Word is made superior, and His religion (Islam) is propagated.”

"In the East, though, Muslims often have a less docile view of Islam. They are taught that Islam is superior to all other religions and ways of life and that Allah wishes to see it established throughout the world. They often define jihad as a primarily physical endeavor, a struggle against the enemies of Islam. When asked about their religion, these Muslims will honestly report what they believe: Islam will dominate the world." Qureshi, Nabeel, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (p. 116).

In the response section by Eric Barreto, Associate Professor of New Testament, he makes the following claim:

Violence perpetuated by people claiming the mantle of Christ helped fund the selling of slaves across the Atlantic, the expulsion of Native Americans from their lands, and the dehumanizing rejection of immigrants from various corners of the world. Jesus’ radical words remain unheeded by too many of us.

And so when we turn to our Muslim neighbors and think about what their faith and their histories have taught about violence, we can turn to them with the recognition that our own faith traditions are marked both by great hopes and tragic failures, by individuals and communities who risked all for peace and others that chose the path of dehumanizing violence.

Barreto here makes the same lame attempt at moral and ethical relevance attempted by Green earlier. He suggests that although it is true Islam has had it’s share of violence committed by those claiming the name of Allah, Christians likewise have their share of similar violence done in the name of Christ. I respond by quoting Paul Fregosi, author of Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries, “Muslims who kill are following the commands of Muhammad, but Christians who kill—and there are many—are ignoring the words of Christ. Therein perhaps lies one of the basic philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity.”

Bat Ye’or, mentioned earlier, also states in The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, Islamic “conquests took place within the framework of the common ideology of jihad and the administrative and juridical apparatus of the shari’a.” In other words, jihad is woven into and made a component part of Islamic law; in contrast, the Crusades of Christianity were outside the norms of Christian teaching.”

Both of these scholars who have studied the matter academically disagree with the author, who has no credentials suggesting he knows anything about that which he writes.

SUMMARY

Todd Green and associates want to foster communication between Christian and Muslims. This is good and I agree; Christians must begin approaching Muslims without fear. But such communication must be grounded in truth and honesty. But truth and honesty are severely lacking in the document published by Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota authored by Green and his friends. Ex-Muslim and Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi says we need to communicate with Muslims with love, but we also need to be truthful about Islam.

It seems the authors want to facilitate interfaith harmony and friendly relationships between Muslims and Christians. To this end, I will quote Mark Durie from his book mentioned earlier, “The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude, and Freedom.

Today there can be considerable pressure upon non-Muslims not to study the primary sources of Islam for themselves, but to refer all their questions about Islam to a Muslim expert. Interfaith dialogue is an increasingly important forum for exploring Islam in Western countries, and these forums tend to follow principles of mutual respect, emphasizing listening attentively to the other party and accepting their interpretations of their own faith. While this is a common-sense approach to sustaining productive and mutually satisfying relationships between people, it does however tend to have the same impact as traditional sharia restrictions, inhibiting non-Muslims from studying about Islam for themselves.

If a Christian involved in interfaith dialogue wants to know what Islam teaches, they will often ask their Islamic counterpart without devoting the effort needed to check what they are told. This can lead to serious problems of misunderstanding. At the same time, if a Christian does make investigations, and comes to conclusions which do not reflect positively on Islam, it can be a simple matter for a Muslim to cast doubt on the Christians’ findings because of the inherent complexity of the Quran, and its relationship to the Sunna and the Islamic traditions of reflection on these texts. Strategies which I have heard used are to say that the non-Muslim has quoted material out of context, that a particular hadith which was relied on is ‘unsound’, or that most authorities reject the interpretation offered.
One very good reason why Christians should study Islam for themselves is that Islam defines its spiritual identity, not merely in terms of Muslims’ standing before Allah, but in opposition and contrast to Jews and Christians. This self-definition includes a deep rejection of Christianity and Judaism. It is a sad fact that incitement against non-Muslims, and specifically against followers of Biblical faiths, is an integral part of Islam, being hard-wired into the Quran and the Sunna.

-----------

Misinformation about Islam is a constant issue for non-Muslims. A report in the Herald Sun, a major Melbourne daily newspaper, was published on August 8, 2005 stating that the senior Muslim Imam of Victoria, Sheikh Fehmi (subsequently appointed as Australia’s mufti) reassured non-Muslims in Victoria that Muslims wish only to live in peace with their non-Muslim neighbours:


‘Muslims live cheerfully and happily with all denominations,’ Sheik Fehmi said. ‘This is what Islam is. The Prophet has lived among Jews and Christians. In many parts of the world Muslims, Jews and Christians are living happily.’


Who would not applaud Sheikh Fehmi’s desire for people of different faiths to live together in harmony? The problem arises when he appeals to Muhammad’s example as the basis for non-Muslims to have confidence, that Muslim neighbours represent no threat to peaceful co-existence. Although there was a time when Muhammad lived peacefully alongside non Muslims, large sections of Muhammad’s biographies deal with periods when he was embattled with his non-Muslim Jewish neighbours. Muhammad ordered assassinations of women and old men, oversaw a mass decapitation and enslavement of hundreds of his Jewish neighbours. This darker material Sheikh Fehmi could not fail to be familiar with, as these victories of Islam over the Jews of Arabia are as well-known to Muslim children as Joshua’s conquest of Jericho has been to Sunday School children.

How then are Fehmi’s non-Muslim, fellow Victorians to understand what he means by his reassurances that they can have nothing to worry about, because Islam takes Muhammad as its example? Should non-Muslims just regard this as propaganda, or is it to be understood as a threat?

If a non-Muslim were to have written in response to Sheikh Fehmi’s comment in the Herald Sun, pointing out Muhammad’s less than happy relationships with his non-Muslim neighbours, how could this be done without sounding like incitement of interfaith conflict and a rejection of Fehmi’s apparently moderate and peaceful stance? By relying on acceptance of the excellence of Muhammad’s example as a condition of interfaith harmony, Sheikh Fehmi’s words serve to lock up the truth about Muhammad even more tightly in the dark box of ignorance.

These are not easy subjects to deal with, but deal with them we must, and one of the keys to a free and frank conversation with Muslims about such matters of importance is that non-Muslims must study Islam for themselves. They cannot rely on Muslim spokespeople as their only source of information on Islam. The same can be said for Muslims: they also should not rely on secondary sources, not even on Islamic clerics, to understand their faith.

 

 

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.

Introduction

The organization which calls itself 877-Why-Islam is an arm of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). The ICNA was listed as one of the organizations designated by the Muslim Brotherhood as "our organizations and the organizations of our friends" in the Holy Land Foundation trial. The Holy Land Foundation leaders were indicted on sending Islamic charity money to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization. They count the ICNA as a friend.

877-Why-Islam is the Dawah arm of the ICNA. Dawah is the Islamic term for proselytizing, or giving an invitation to accept Islam. According to the ICNA website, 877-Why-Islam was established to "organize the dawah work in North America in a professional and effective manner. Highlights of the project are Toll-Free number for non-Muslims; Distribution of Islamic literature; Dawah through Masajid; Dawah by Mail; Dawah through Media; Dawah in Prisons; Campus Dawah Support; Dawah Flyers Online; Dawah through Email etc."

The focus of this article and several others is to address a series of propaganda tracts distributed by 877-Why-Islam. These tracts are distributed in mosques, at public venues such as shopping malls, county and state fairs, and online. This article specifically will address the tract entitled: "What Does Islam Say About Terrorism?"

What Does Islam Say About Terrorism?

If you are interested in following along, you can read the text of the tract here or download a pdf copy here.

Sura 5:32

The first thing to notice is the quotation of Sura 5:32 from the Quran. This verse commonly is used by Muslims to negate the claims that violence has any scriptural legitimacy in Islam. The portion of the verse quoted in the tract reads "... if any one [sic] 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 [sic] saved a life, it would be as he saved the life of the whole people."

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."

WARNING!: Some may find the following article offensive because it discusses sexual relations between adults and children. Some find this topic distasteful. Proceed at your own risk.
 
The Islamic State released a pamphlet entitled “Questions and Answers on Taking Captives and Slaves” dated around October/November 2014. The pamphlet was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute and contains a series of questions followed by an answer for each question pertaining to the proper treatment of those captured by ISIS during its expansion into new territories. ISIS also recently offered sex slaves as a reward for memorizing the Quran.
 
The bulk of the questions concern what is and is not allowed with female captives, particularly in the area of sexual relations with captive women. Question #13 is particularly troubling because it addresses what ISIS soldiers can do sexually with young girls who have not yet reached puberty. It is bad enough that Islam sanctions the possession of sex slaves for Muslim men. But few know that Islam also sanctions sexual relations with pre-pubescent girls, even those being used as a sex slave. 
 
Question #13 asks, “Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?” The answer given is, “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn't reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse." I will unpack several ideas here and show where each is supported by Islam, in the Quran and hadith.

Sex with pre-pubescent girls

Muhammad is said to be the example of conduct which devout Muslims must follow if they hope to achieve paradise. Specifically, Sura 33:21 tells Muslims, “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in God and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of God.”
 
It is abundantly clear from the hadith that Muhammad married his favorite wife Aisha when she was six years of age and had sex with her to consummate the marriage when she was age nine. Muslim apologists attempt all sorts of shenanigans to explain away this difficulty, with excuses ranging from disputing her age to 14 or greater, to assert it was common practice among all cultures of the time to marry young girls. All these are unconvincing and without merit. The hadith clearly state the age of Aisha when she married Muhammad:

Review of "Honor Killing: A Professional's Guide to Sexual Relations and Ghayra Violence from the Islamic Sources" by Daniel Akbari and Paul Tetreault

Honor Killing

Comprehensive. Sourced. Well researched. Logically arranged.
 
These are a few of the words that come to mind after reading this book.
 
Every time the news media reports a story of a potential honor crime, groups such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) are quick to say such activity has no basis in Islam. No longer will they be able to state such rubbish. Akbari and Tetreault have done a great service to expose this lie.
 
I thought I knew a good deal about Islam, and indeed I do. But this book has served to fill a void in the knowledge and understanding I had of the phenomenon of what is called ‘honor killing.’ I have both taught and written about honor violence as it relates to understanding women’s issues in Islam, a subject about which I am passionate. But until I read this book, my understanding of the connection of such violence to Islam was tenuous at best. No longer. I now understand fully and will be able to articulate such a connection to anyone who doubts or asks.
 
This book is very timely. As Islam spreads its tentacles into lands previously unoccupied by Muslims, it carries with it behaviors and customs that seem foreign to the host culture, including honor violence. As the authors note in a footnote near the end of the book, “Wherever Islam has put its foot, from Norway to Nigeria and from Morocco to Indonesia, the practice of ghayra violence has been implemented.” It is of utmost importance the host culture not only understand the ideological roots of ghayra (it is not simply a cultural phenomena shared by many cultures) but also be able to recognize when a female may be in danger of becoming a victim of ghayra violence and provide a mechanism of escape from it.
 
Akbari and Tetreault note the term ‘honor killing’ is really a misnomer that does not accurately describe the phenomena. The proper term is “ghayra violence” which can include killing as the last step in a logical process to be followed. Ghayra violence is distinct from other forms of honor killing found in other cultures because, as the authors note, Islam not only condones such violence but actually commands it as a basic duty of following the religion, and carefully scripts the perpetrators actions.
 
Ghayra violence is founded on the concept of ‘enjoining good and forbidding evil,’ a phrase repeated throughout the Koran. Ghayra is derived from sharia, the legal code of Islam which itself is derived from both the Koran and the hadith, traditions attributed to Muhammad. Sharia dictates specific steps that must be taken when a member of the Islamic community has engaged in certain forbidden behavior, triggering the need to ‘enjoin the good and forbid evil.’ The forbidden behavior almost always involves violating sharia’s regulations in terms of dress or behavior that could lead a woman to tempt a man sexually by the forbidden behavior. Something as simple as an unmarried Muslim woman talking to an unrelated male, or not wearing a full burka thereby exposing her feminine form to males, can be grounds for ghayra. “Forbidding evil” is the step-by-step, progressive process by which such behavior is identified and corrected. If less severe early steps of the process fail to bring about the intended correction and the forbidden behavior continues, the final step in the process can, and often does, involve the death of the offending female, completely sanctioned in sharia.
 
This is not just a book that explains where such “ghayra” honor violence finds its justification in Islam. It is also a very practical book. The final chapters are devoted to helping law enforcement, social workers, school staff, and anyone else who may come into contact with potential victims. A worksheet to help identify victims of ghayra violence is included, as well as practical steps one can take to prevent such violence against potential victims.
 
I’m not going to give away any more; you have to get the book and read it for yourself! I will guarantee if you read this book, you will have a very clear understanding of the roots of honor violence in Islam and will be able to respond to misinformation about such violence having no connection to Islam.

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