Categories
Polemical Rebuttals Muhammad

Will The Real “Demon-Possessed” Prophet Please Stand Up?

The following is our partial response to the tirade authored by the belligerent Christian missionary Sam Shamoun, to be found here. This article will clearly establish Prophet Muhammad(P) as the true Prophet, insha’Allah. In the forthcoming papers, we will provide a detailed critique of the shoddy polemics of the missionary, together with a detailed examination of his false prophet Paul.

Magic Effect On The Prophet

Although we will address this polemic in detail in the subsequent papers, let us make one thing clear: Having magic worked upon a person does not make that person “demon-possessed”. There is no doubt that Christian missionaries like Sam Shamoun can only insult and malign Islam because they do not have a valid argument against it. But it is important for all Muslims reading this article to refrain from “returning fire” and insult the religion of Christianity, or making insulting caricatures of any of the characters in the Bible, despite the fact, that there are several stories in the Bible, which people can make hilarious parodies about. This is very important. And this is exactly what Answering Islam wants Muslims to do, so they can say, “There, look! See I told you, that’s how Muslims are!”.

Of course, there are several atheist websites which completely mocks Jesus(P) and create gross caricatures about him, but we will not link to them. Instead, we will respond with sound irrefutable arguments and dismantle the missionary’s deception, God willing.

The type of attacks the missionary has levelled against the Prophet(P) is not new. Rather, we read in history, that smutty Christians the likes of Shamoun have a long and horrific track record of accusing innocent people of being demon-possessed. One of the most blatant examples was the infamous Salem Witch Trials, in which dozens of innocent people were accused of being witches and demon-possessed and then executed by pious Christians. The Puritans who conducted these inquisitions concocted their own personal criteria on who was a “witch” or “demon-possessed”, and then made it the law.

This neo-puritan Sam Shamoun, does exactly the same thing with Prophet Muhammad(P). Nevertheless, Sam Shamoun is not fooling anyone, as many of his fellow Christians who have left his faith, have made a parody in which they expose this type of ignorant behaviour, in which Shamoun is engaged in.

There is not a single shred of evidence which would indicate that if a person has magic worked on him, he is “demon-possessed”, as Shamoun fantasizes. For the Muslim, the story of magic only increases his faith in Islam, because this shows how the forces of evil tried so desperately to attack the Prophet(P), yet, Prophet Muhammad(P) had unwavering faith, and by the help of God, they were defeated and sent into retreat, humiliated. Shamoun simply took this story and made his own disgusting caricature, based on meaningless unproven criteria such as the Bible. We will at a later time, address each and every one of his arguments point by point.

As you will soon see if we take the missionary?s phoney criteria, and apply it to the Jesus of the Bible, you will see that Jesus Christ was 1000 times more demon-possessed and evil than anyone, and the missionary will be forced to admit that his lord and saviour, was actually a “demon”. So do Jesus a favour, and refrain from such insults, which can easily be turned around against him.

Jesus Was Demon-Possessed

Let us ask a question: if you were walking home one day, and out of nowhere, Satan appeared to you, and said, “Come here and follow me, I want to take you somewhere”, would you go? Any true believer in God will immediately rebuke Satan right then and there, and shout NEVER! GO TO HELL SATAN! STAY AWAY FROM ME! Perhaps, they may even pick up a baseball bat and start swinging till the evil spirit runs away. Or run for their lives in the opposite direction.

But not the Jesus of the Bible. Shockingly, the Bible teaches in Mathew 4:5-8 that the devil appeared to Jesus, and asked him to go (mountain-climbing) with him, and instead of striking out against Satan right then and there, Jesus actually accepted Satan’s invitation, and together, Satan and Jesus went mountain climbing. Here are the verses in question, or better put, Christianity’s Satanic verses, Matthew ch. 4 vs. 8:

4:5

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple,

4:6

and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you,’ and ‘On their hands, they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”

4:7

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'”

4:8

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them;

The Bible does not say that there was any kind of fight or resistance on the part of Jesus when Satan appeared to him and invited him to follow him, therefore, we will have to assume that Jesus went willingly. Therefore, we see from this outrageous story in the Bible, that Jesus was clearly “demon-possessed”, so much to the point, that he took Satan as a comrade (wali) and a travelling partner. In addition to that, it is clear, that Jesus was NOT sinless. Answering the call of Satan, is a sin. This is simply an irreconcilable contradiction. This story is much worse according to Shamoun’s standards than simply having magic worked on a person, and then later God defeating those agents. Please keep in mind, that Muslims firmly believe in Jesus(P), but we do not believe in the man-made stories about Jesus(P) that we read in the New Testament.

It gets worse as Jesus was allegedly also suicidal. Jesus openly admits that he committed suicide on the cross in John 10:17-18:

10:17

For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.

10:18

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

A psychological analysis reveals that Jesus harboured suicidal tendencies. He saw the moral injustice and strife of the world he lived in, and felt that if he killed himself, he would benefit the world. Perhaps, he suffered from depression. Rather than jumping off a cliff, or slashing his wrists, or leaping in front a heard of roman chariots, he devised an elaborate plan of crucifixion, one which would be an appeal to gain the sympathy of others. and finally, in the end, Jesus committed suicide.

Will the Real “Demon-Possessed Prophet” Please Stand Up?

Let us move away from these “Salem Witch trial”-type inquisitions, in which Shamoun creates artificial criteria solely based upon his personal whims and blind Biblical indoctrination. Despite his 50+ pages of irrelevant and incoherent ranting, the missionary has not proved a thing. Instead, his article is a laughably desperate attempt to export his own personal prejudices to his readers. Although, you will find that the matter is quite simple.

We would like to raise the question, why would we indulge in such personal opinions, and baseless, subjective evidence when, OBJECTIVE VERIFIABLE EVIDENCE EXISTS? If such evidence did exist for Christianity, we are sure we would have seen it by now. But, let us assure you, that no such evidence exists for the Christian faith, and Shamoun’s 50+ page sham monster paper is proof of that. And that is a direct challenge.

Yes, we said objectively verifiable evidence. Therefore, the question begs, does such evidence exist for Islam? The answer is YES. And it will be clear, and undeniable.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, lets move on to the objective clear and concise evidence. But first, let’s remove these meaningless and dubious labels like “demon-possessed” and replace it with something more meaningful and less insidious, like “false prophet”. As it has been demonstrated in the following article, Christianity rests upon the truth claim of an alleged “prophet” who came after Jesus, Paul.

Let us now examine the religion of Paul and the religion of Prophet Muhammad(P) and we will see if these religions have the foresight of addressing the problems of today’s society, or do they lead to destruction. Before we begin, we would encourage everyone to read and understand the following article.

Our society is literally being eaten alive by these terrible vices of drugs like cocaine, marijuana, heroin etc. There is no need to go into detail at all of the destructive nature of these drugs, and the terrible toll it has taken on our youth and society. That is a given. We believe both Muslims and Christians, agree that these drugs, are the vices of Satan, and lead to destruction. Therefore, we need to ask: What do these two religions say about using drugs like cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy. etc?

As we have seen from the article and Ahmed-Slick debate, Paul’s religion (Christianity) allows for drug abuse such as cocaine, marijuana and heroin. There is no condemnation of these drugs at all.

Yet Prophet Muhammad(P)‘s Islam, unlike Paul’s Christianity, has completely forbidden all illicit forms of drug abuse. How can a false religion, or as the missionary puts it, a “demon-possessed” religion, condemn one of the evilest and luring poisons of Satan, his pride and joy, all the while God’s supposedly-true religion, Christianity, allows it?

That is the most asinine, lame-brained and monstrous statement anyone can make!

Therefore, the matter is crystal clear according to the evidence, as to who is the false prophet. That false prophet is none other than Paul. And the true Prophet is Muhammad.

There is no need to go further, but let us bring up a few more points. As we have seen from the debate and the article, Paul’s Christianity allows women and men to wear whatever they want, it is completely based upon the individual’s subjective taste. Prophet Muhammad(P)‘s Islam, of course, has a clear dress code which aids in preventing lewdness.

Paul’s Christianity allows men and woman to engage in all kinds of sexual behaviours except intercourse, Prophet Muhammad(P)‘s Islam forbids all sexual or non-sexual contact till marriage.

Here is thus the lifestyle which is promoted by Paul’s Christianity:

Men and woman walking around in tight fitted, skimpy outfits exposing much of their parts like that of Britney Spears, her style of dancing is also completely allowed, each one engaged in flirting and indiscreetly seducing each other (there is no condemnation in the Bible for any of this), and not only that, but engaging in several if not all sexual acts except for sexual intercourse, engaging in “mashing”, and all the free cocaine, heroin and marijuana that they desire. Please keep in mind, all of this behaviour as mentioned above, completely falls within the guidelines of Biblical moral conduct. No wonder we have a screwed up society.

Islam clearly forbids this destructive lifestyle. The reason why we used the word promotes instead of allows, is because, it is the nature for the average human being seeks the path of least resistance, although not all. If two ways are presented before the average human, he is going to pick the apparently easier path. Therefore, the average Christian would like to live within the guidelines of Biblical morality, and not create any “extra work” for themselves.

Christianity as compared to Islam appears to some much more attractive, due to the moral “freedom” which it offers. In many Muslim-Christian marriages, oftentimes the children chose to become part of Paul’s Christianity because they desperately desire to be on the cheerleading team at school, engage in dating, experiment with different types of sexual contact, drinking, drugs, wearing “Britney Spears”-type of dressing, nude or erotic dancing, all of which is well within the guidelines of Paul’s Christianity. Prophet Muhammad’s(P) Islam, on the other hand, crashes the party and sends everyone home.

It is said that many of these children at that age are not mature enough to see that they are being lured by the false apostle Paul, may Allah save us from this wickedness. This is because the “freedom”, which Paul’s Christianity offers, is a major marketing tool for his religion. You know the saying, “there is always free cheese in the mousetrap”.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have spared Sam Shamoun’s prophet from derogatory terms such as “demon-possessed”. The truth has no need for such antics.

In addition to that, we want to extend this invitation to leave Paul’s religion and come to the truth of Islam.

Accept the truth of Islam, before it is too late. Come to Islam! Will the Real "Demon-Possessed" Prophet Please Stand Up? 1

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Will The Real “Demon-Possessed” Prophet Please Stand Up?," in Bismika Allahuma, September 20, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/polemical-rebuttals/demon-possessed-prophet/
Categories
Muhammad

Another Rational Approach To The Prophethood Of Muhammad

This is a continuation of our earlier discussion where we have talked about a rational approach to the prophethood of Muhammad. It is well known that the Prophet Muhammad(P) was victorious over all his opponents, to him and to his followers subdued many states and kingdoms, people entered Islam in large numbers and his call resulted in Islamic Caliphate and civilization for so many centuries. We also agree that God is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Wise.

So is it possible for the Most Wise to enable a liar to be victorious, assist him, aid him against his opponents and make the end result in his favour and his followers, although this liar continuously invent lies and forgeries against God claiming that He sent him, attributing to Him false religion and false laws and making all this God’s Words and inspiration, then this liar stays victorious and overpowering during his lifetime and after his death, while people are fooled by him accepting his lies and forgeries against God? Or does God’s Wisdom require that he is beaten in every battle and every field, and overpowered and defeated by everyone in every war and that he builds no state but God destroys it, so he dies conquered and overpowered as God does with all those who falsely claim prophethood, divinity or inspiration?

If we apply this to Muhammad’s claim of prophethood, we notice that he(P) made it clear that he is a prophet of God, inspired by Him and reciting His Words.

Moreover, Muhammad(P) made it clear that God aids him against his opponents and He was going to make him victorious over all, the Holy Qur’an says:

If any thinks that Allah will not help him (His Messenger) in this world and the Hereafter, let him stretch out a rope to the ceiling and cut (himself) off: then let him see whether his plan will remove that which enrages (him).1

The meaning is that if anyone thinks that Allah would not make Muhammad(P) victorious in this life and in the Hereafter, then let him do his best in fighting and opposing him (peace be upon him), and if he failed, let him stretch a rope to the ceiling of his house and hang himself on for Allah will inevitably aid His prophet.

Just imagine it. A man claiming prophethood and inspiration recites verses affirming that God helps him and will make him victorious over his enemies, and then he actually defeats all these enemies and becomes victorious over them in the end.

And imagine again. This man recites the following verse:

And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, and We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).2

Please read the verses again and ponder upon their meaning.

Here we have a man claiming he is inspired and sent by God and challenging that if he does not tell the truth, God will certainly destroy him. However, we see that God never destroyed this man, on the contrary, he supported and assisted him and made him victorious and glorious before all his opponents.

This means one of the following:

1) God does not exist in the first place.
2) God exists but He is ignorant for He is unaware of all these challenges spoken by this impostor.
3) God exists and is Omniscient, but He is impotent for He can do nothing about the challenges spoken by this impostor. So He sits and watches the promises and challenges of the impostor come true.
4) God exists and is Omniscient and Omnipotent, but He is unwise for He misleads people to the utmost, by swallowing the challenges of impostors while He can actually stop them. Not only that, He also executes all their promises with victory and glory for them.
5) God exists and is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Wise, and Muhammad is truly His Prophet whom He aided and supported.

So, choose for yourself!

So, we conclude that it is impossible of Muhammad(P) to lie regarding prophethood because we believe that God’s Wisdom necessitates that if he was an impostor, God would humiliate him. But this did not happen. On the contrary, God aided and supported him during his lifetime and after his death which is a decisive indication that he was a true prophet of Allah.

This decisive argument is irrefutable; for we believe that Allah’s Wisdom necessitates aid of true prophet and humiliation of false prophet, and we know that Allah supported Muhammad(P) and did not let him down, so he must be a true prophet.

In the light of this argument, we cannot accept the claim that Muhammad’s victory was due to worldly reasons for this would be a complete rejection of God’s Wisdom and Omnipotence. Moreover, it is well known that Muslims were markedly fewer in number than their opponents in all the wars they fought beginning with the battle of Badr till their wars with Persian and Roman armies, except for the battle of Hunayn.

Before the advent of Islam, it was very usual of a small number of Persian or Roman soldiers to attack a large populated Arab tribe, capture their men and enslave their women. During wars, large numbers of Arab fighters were often defeated by small numbers of Roman or Persian soldiers.

After the advent of Islam, the opposite was true; small numbers of Prophet’s Companions used to defeat large numbers of Roman or Persian soldiers, even though Muslim soldiers were poorly equipped. Roman and Persian kings were always amazed how their huge well-equipped armies were defeated at hands of Muslims despite their small number, weakness and lack of equipment.

Rev. George Bush (1796-1859) says about Muhammad(P):

He laid the foundation of an empire, which, in the short space of eighty years, extended its sway over more kingdoms and countries than Rome had mastered in eight hundred. And when we pass from the political to the religious ascendancy which he gained and consider the rapid growth, the wide diffusion, and the enduring permanence of the Mohammedan imposture, we are still more astonished. Indeed, in this, as in every other instance where the fortunes of an individual are entirely disproportioned to the means employed and surpass all reasonable calculation …

And confesses:

…we are forced to resolve the problem into the special providence of God. Nothing short of this could have secured the achievement of such mighty results; and we must doubtless look upon Mohammedanism in the present day as a standing monument of the mysterious wisdom of Jehovah, designed to compass ends which are beyond the grasp of human minds, at least till they are accomplished.3

This is in fulfilment of God’s Promise in the Holy Qur’an:

Already has Our Word been passed before (this) to Our Servants sent (by Us), that they would certainly be assisted, and that Our forces, they surely must conquer.4

And:

We will, without doubt, help Our messengers and those who believe, (both) in this world’s life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand fort.5

And:

Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (Able to enforce His Will).6

And God’s ultimate promise:

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion- the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.’ If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.7

This is markedly different from disbelievers who are made victorious and established in authority for their establishment and victory is not due to divine aid, rather it is due to frank material causes like wealth and power. None of them ever claimed prophethood, nor that Allah ordered them to worship Him alone. None claimed that whoever obeyed him would go to Heaven and whoever disobeyed would go to Hell. On the contrary of the one who claims inspiration from Allah, he is either a truthful prophet of Allah, so Allah aids him and makes him victorious, or he is an impostor, so Allah humiliates him and cuts him off.

This is the answer to those who may argue that Allah had established in the land many disbelievers and followers of false religions and made them prevail and succeed like Buddhists and Confucius.

Others may argue that Muslims nowadays are weak in comparison to other nations of disbelief, so how come Allah assists them?

The answer is that Allah made Muslims victorious over other nations when they adhered to it, so He humiliated people of disbelief like Jews and Christians. This is the case with the true religion of God, if its people adhere to it, follow its commandments and abstain from its prohibitions, God will aid them and make them victorious. But if they do not, He will not till they return back.

If a doctor prescribes a certain medication for a certain disease, then the patient does not follow the prescription and his illness does not improve, no one can blame the doctor in this case, nor claim that he is not a real doctor.

This is the case with our nation, if they do not follow the commandments and teachings of Islam, Allah does not aid or help them, as the Caliph ‘Umar said: “Allah has honoured us with Islam. So if we are to seek honour in other than Islam, Allah will dishonour us.”

In brief, it is the habit of Allah to aid and support His true apostle to the degree that no one can ever oppose this apostle. It is well known that He incredibly aided Muhammad (peace be upon him) like no other apostle, it is also well known that none falsely alleged prophethood but Allah exposed him, humiliated him and cut him off, and all those aided by Allah were true prophets like Noah, Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus, David and Sulaiman, for it is the habit of Allah to aid His Messengers and their followers.

In addition, teachings of all prophets of God are the same, for all of them command with worship of God alone with no partner, belief in the Hereafter and the Judgement Day, and with praise of Allah, chastity, honesty, truthfulness in speech and deeds, and they forbid idol worship, lewdness, lying, cheating, dishonesty, etc So, if someone claims prophethood and preaches the same teachings of all previous prophets for the sake of guiding people, we know he is one of them, i.e., a true prophet, the same way we recognize the doctor if he prescribes the same medications prescribed by all other doctors and his treatment leads to cure of diseases.

This is evident in the speech of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib to the king of Abyssinia:

“O king! We were plunged into the depths of ignorance, and we were idolaters. We used to eat corpses, to commit abominations, to severe blood ties, to neglect our duties of hospitality and neighbourliness, and to use only the law of the strong. That was our life until Allah raised among us a man, whose lineage, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we knew. He called us to the Oneness of Allah and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of the neighbours as well as kith and kin, and to refrain from crimes and bloodshed. He prohibited us from committing abominations, speaking lies, devouring the property of orphans, and vilifying chaste women. He commanded us to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fasts. We have allowed what he has allowed, and have prohibited what he has prohibited. For this reason, our people attacked us and persecuted us in order to force us to abandon the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols and to regard as lawful the evil deeds we once committed. When they had tortured and encircled our lives, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression while we are with you, O king!”8

This speech summarizes the teachings of Islam and shows that they agree with the teachings of all previous prophets and messengers of God. This is a very important issue, for it is inadequate to merely know that Allah sent prophets and messengers to people, it is more important to know why Allah sent these prophets and messengers. In other words, what did prophets and messengers of Allah preach and teach? It is nonsense to believe that Allah sent messengers without knowing the reason why they were raised among their peoples in the first place, and understanding the purpose of their prophethood. So, belief in prophets and messengers of God requires knowing the purpose of prophethood and Messengership.

We see that all prophets of God commanded their people with all that is good, and forbade all that is evil. When we compare Muhammad(P) with other prophets who preceded him, we notice that he preached the same they preached and forbade the same they forbade.

  • He(P) ordered to glorify God, exalt Him above having partners or rivals, establish His authority and worth of worship, attribute to Him all qualities of perfection and negate all qualities of imperfection from Him.
  • He(P) denounced the notion that angels are daughters of God and explained their real deeds and missions in both earth and heavens.
  • He(P) commanded with belief in all previous divine scriptures revealed on previous prophets and showed that they contained guidance as long as they preach monotheism and purity of faith, but once they got corrupted, they are no longer suitable for guidance.
  • He(P) brought evident and decisive proofs of coming of the Last Day and Resurrection.
  • He(P) commanded with pleasing God with best acts like offering prayers, giving alms, fasting and pilgrimage.
  • He(P) preached good deeds and manners like truthfulness, honesty, fulfillment of trust, kindness to relations, helping the poor and the needy, etc.
  • He(P) warned of association of partners with Allah, idol worship and disbelief.
  • He(P) prohibited blood shedding, adultery, alcohol drinking and usury.

Are these not the teachings of all previous prophets which were decreed by Allah since the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him)?

All this indicates that he(P) walked in the footsteps of previous prophets of Allah. Actually, his Message preserved and guarded previous messages that had been corrupted and altered, Allah says:

Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.9

This is due to the fact that all prophets came to preach the same religion.

Sending Muhammad(P) after the corruption of the religion of the previous prophets is a mercy from Allah to mankind, for indeed He says:

We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.10

The teachings which the prophets preached commanded all that is good and forbade all that is evil. Muhammad (peace be upon him) came as a preserver, a guardian and a witness to these teachings. The Holy Qur’an says:

Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.

And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: my Lord bestow on them thy mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.

Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts: if ye do deeds of righteousness, verily he is most forgiving to those who turn to him again and again (in true penitence).

And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.

Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones; and the evil one is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful.

And even if thou hast to turn away from them pursuit of the mercy from thy Lord which thou dost expect, yet speak to them a word of easy kindness.

Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard’s) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute.

Verily thy Lord doth provide sustenance in abundance for whom he pleaseth, and he provideth in a just measure. For he doth know and regard all his servants.

Kill not your children for fear of want: we shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.

Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).

Nor take life which Allah has made sacred except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand Visas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).

Come not nigh to the orphan’s property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement, will be enquired into (on the day of reckoning).

Give full measure when ye measure and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination.
And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the day of reckoning).

Nor walk on the earth with insolence: for thou canasta not rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height.

Of all such things, the evil is hateful in the sight of thy Lord.

There are among the (precepts of) wisdom, which thy Lord has revealed to thee. Take not with Allah another object of worship. Lest thou shouldst be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected.11

And says:

Say: come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from: join not anything as equal with him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want; we provide sustenance for you and for them; come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.

And come not nigh to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full) justice; no burden do we place on any soul, but that which it can bear; whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfill the Covenant of Allah: thus doth He command you, that ye may remember.

Verily, this is my way, leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from his (great) path: thus doth He command you, that ye may be righteous.12

And says:

Say: “My Lord hath commanded Justice; and that ye set your whole selves (to Him) at every time and place of prayer, and call upon Him, making your devotion sincere as in His sight: Such as He created you in the beginning, so shall ye return.”

Some He hath guided: others have (by their choice) deserved the loss of their way; in that they took the Evil once, in preference to Allah, for their friends and protectors, and think that they receive guidance.

O Children of Adam Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but wast not be excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.

Say: who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He hath produced for his servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance? Say they are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the day of judgment thus do we explain the Signs in detail for those who understand.13

These great teachings were preached by all the Prophets, and Muhammad(P) affirmed and displayed them in the best way. It is adequate when hearing these great teachings to believe in Muhammad(P) and know that he came to mankind with guidance and favour, commanding with good and forbidding evil, whether it is in words or deeds.

And Allah knows best. Another Rational Approach To The Prophethood of Muhammad 3

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Another Rational Approach To The Prophethood Of Muhammad," in Bismika Allahuma, December 16, 2007, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/muhammad/another-rational-approach-prophethood-muhammad/
  1. Sura Al-Hajj, verse 15 []
  2. Sura Al-Haqqah, verses 44-47 []
  3. Rev. George Bush, The Life of Mohammed; Founder of The Religion of Islam, and of The Empire of The Saracens, published by Harper & Brothers, 1844, pp. 156-157 []
  4. Sura Al-Saffat, verses 171-173 []
  5. Sura Ghafir, verse 51 []
  6. Sura Al-Hajj, verse 40 []
  7. Sura Al-Nour, verse 55 []
  8. Sirat Ibn Hisham, Biography of the Prophet, abridged by Abdus-Salam M. Harun. Translated and Published by Al-Falah Foundation, page 58 []
  9. Sura Al-Baqarah, verse 143 []
  10. Sura Al-Anbiyaa, verse 107 []
  11. Sura Al-Israa, verses 23-39 []
  12. Sura Al-An’am, verses 151-153 []
  13. Sura Al-A’raf, verses 29-32 []
Categories
Multimedia Qur'anic Studies

How The Qur’an Was Revealed And Compiled

The following is a video lecture made by Hamza Yusof on July 14th, 1997 and in cooperation with Alhambra Productions. The topic of the history of the Qur’an and its compilation, and forms as part of a “Foundations of Islam” series of lectures. Hamza Yusof gave a good historical background of the Qur’an, its history and how it was Revealed in stages to the Prophet Muhammad(P), its compilation after the passing of the Prophet(P) as well as demonstrating the textual integrity of the Qur’an — as opposed to the textual frailty of the Judeo-Christian text which stands on shaky ground.

Also of interest is the Question & Answer session towards the end of this lecture which we hope our readers will find beneficial.

This video is hosted on YouTube.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "How The Qur’an Was Revealed And Compiled," in Bismika Allahuma, August 7, 2008, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/multimedia/how-the-quran-was-revealed-and-compiled/
Categories
Jerusalem History

The Position Of Jerusalem And Haram As-Shareef In Islam

The purpose of this article is to explain the significance of Jerusalem, or also known to Muslims as Bayt al-Maqdis (The Holy House) or simply al-Quds (The Holy); and the Haram As-Shareef (The Noble Sanctuary) area from the viewpoint of Islam and Muslims. At the same time, we also seek to look at the common objections of the Zionists and Christian missionaries against the claim of Islam over Jerusalem as its third most holiest site and see whether it stands up to the scrutiny.

Jerusalem In the Qur’an

“Glory to [God] Who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless – in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” (Qur’an 17:1)

In Islam, the only place whereby the Farthest Mosque (Masjid Al-Aqsa) is located is in the city of Jerusalem. Furthermore, the surrounding land around the Mosque has also been described by the Qur’an as being holy:

“[Moses said] O my people! Enter the holy land [Palestine] which God has assigned to you…” (Qur’an 5:21)

The above verse in Qur’an 17:1 has also described the mosque to be located in surroundings which “… We [i.e. God] did bless”. It is interesting to note that that the location which “… We [i.e. God] did bless” is generally used in the Qur’an for Palestine1. The Bible too has referred to Palestine as a land blessed by God. Addressing the Israelites, Moses(P) is reported to have said about it:

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:7?10)

During the Mi’raj, the Prophet(P) is reported to have received from God the command of five daily prayers (salah) that all Muslims must perform. Upon his return to Mecca, the Prophet instituted these prayers. It is significant to note that he made Jerusalem the direction (al-Qiblah) which Muslims must face while doing their prayers (narrated by al-Bukhari, 41 and by Muslim, 525). Jerusalem is thus called Ula al-Qiblatain (the first qiblah). The Prophet(P) and the early community of Islam worshipped towards the direction of Jerusalem during their stay in Mecca. After the Hijra’ (migration), Muslims in Medina also continued to pray facing Jerusalem for almost seventeen months until God commanded the Muslims to change their direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca (Qur’an 2:142-150).

These established facts above clearly signifies the importance of Jerusalem in Islam. Furthermore, the Prophet(P)is reported to have said that:

You should not travel toward any other place for the purpose of worship and veneration except the three mosques: The Masjid al-Haraam [i.e. the Ka`abah]; the Masjid al-Aqsaa and this mosque [at Madinah] (Ibn Maajah)

Objections of Zionists and Christian Missionaries

We wish to examine two of the most often-repeated objections of the Zionists and the Christian missionaries to the claim of Jerusalem as the third-most holiest site in Islam. The first is as follows:

    …the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem.

However, this claim is baseless. The reason they find difficulty in acknowledging the position of Jerusalem and the Haram As-Shareef in Islam is because of the general tendency of studying Islam in seclusion of the traditions of the Prophets of God preceding Muhammad(P). Islam is not a new religion. It has never claimed to be so. The Qur’an has clearly stated that Islam was the religion taught by all the prophets of God. The Islamic tradition is thus a continuation of the correct traditions of Judaism. If those in opposition to the Muslim claim over Jerusalem were to actually look at Islam, in the light of the foregoing principle, he/she would not find any problem in acknowledging that the position of Jerusalem in Islam is the same as it is in Judaism, merely on the grounds that Islam is actually in continuation of the true traditions of the prophets of God – including Moses(P), David(P), Solomon(P), John the Baptist(P) and Jesus(P) – even though the name of Jerusalem is not even mentioned once in the Qur’an.

The second objection commonly perpetuated by the Zionists is as follows:

    … Jerusalem was never the capital of any Arab entity. In fact, it was a backwater for most of Arab history. Jerusalem never served as a provincial capital under Muslim rule nor was it ever a Muslim cultural center.

To claim that Jerusalem is “unimportant” because it never served as a political capital for Muslims is hilarious in its absurdity and shows how desperate the Zionists are to deny the importance of Jerusalem to Muslims. The two holiest cities in Islam apart from Jerusalem – Mecca and Medina – had never become a political capital for an Islamic state. Medina was merely a city-state which the Prophet Muhammad had ruled, not a capital of a State. After the death of the Prophet(P), the Islamic capitals were subsequently located in (not in particular order) Baghdad, Damascus, Kufah, Cairo and Constantinople (Istanbul). The holy cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem has never diminished in their status as the three most holiest sites in Islam, even though the Islamic capital were located and relocated somewhere else. If the Zionists want to deny Muslims the city of Jerusalem on the basis that it was never a “political capital”, then what about the cities of Mecca and Medina which was never a “political capital” during Islamic rule?

Jerusalem in Muslim History

We have seen in history of Jerusalem how Muslims had not only dedicated the site of Haram As-Shareef for worship to The One True God countless times, they had also sacrificed their lives for it.

Jerusalem was liberated by the Muslims in the first half of the seventh century C.E., when Muslims entered the holy city in 14 A.H./A.D. 638 during the reign of the second Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab(R). According to historical sources, the Caliph ‘Umar(R) came personally and specially to take over the city from its patriarch at that time, Sophronius, who refused to capitulate the city to anyone except `Umar(R). The sources also indicate that the Caliph declared a special Sulh (‘Ahd) to the Christians living in the city; its text developed in time to be known as the Covenant of ‘Umar. In this covenant, the Caliph guaranteed further religious freedom, safety of churches and secured the lives, fortunes and properties of the people living in the city (Mujir al-Din Vol. 1, 1973: 254)2.

The Muslims were horrified when they first discovered that that the area of Haram As-Shareef was abandoned and used as the city’s garbage dump. It was the Muslims who then cleaned and purified the place to its pristine form. We read that:

When the Arabs conquered Jerusalem they found the Temple Mount abandoned and filled with refuse. The abandonment of the Temple site was in accordance with with Jesus’ prophecy that not a stone would be left standing on another. ‘Umar ordered it cleaned and performed a prayer there.3

So we see that the Temple area had been abandoned some 600 years before the Muslims entered it. But who was using the holy site as a garbage dump?

Ever since the Persian occupation, when the Jews had resumed worship on the platform, the Christians had used the place as the city rubbish dump. When ‘Umar reached the old ruined gates of the Temple, says the Muslim historian Muj?r al-D?n, he was horrified to see the filth, “which was then all about the holy sanctuary, had settled on the steps of the gates so that it even came out into the streets in which the gate opened, and it had accumulated so greatly as almost to reach up the ceiling of the gateway.” The only way to get up to the platform was to crawl on hands and knees. Sophronius went first and the Muslims struggled up behind. When they arrived at the top, the Muslims must have gazed appalled at the vast and desolate expanse of Herod’s platform, still covered with piles of fallen masonry and garbage.4

So it was the Christians! The Christian attitude towards Jerusalem can be understood by reading the New Testament. Paul’s Epistles and the Book of Revelation may have defined a theological framework for the attitude towards Jerusalem, but the two synoptic gospels of Luke (19:42-44) and Matthew did more than that. They also provided guidelines for political or quaispolitical actions after Christianity became the officially established religion of the Roman Empire. The gospels relate how Jesus(P) rebuked his disciples when they admired the Temple’s beauty from the Mount of Olives:

His disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the Temple. But he answered them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left any stone upon another.’ (Matthew 24:1-2).

Art historians such as Nuseibah and Grabar have reached a similar conclusion concerning the Christian attitude towards the Temple Mount:

More importantly, not only was the Haram left barren, but that very barrenness was given the Christian significance of fulfilling Christ’s prophecy, “There will not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Mark 13:2). The ruins of the Jewish Temple and whatever else had been there were to remains as signs of the triumph of Christianity.5

And as expected, the Temple Mount was left in the state of pile of fallen masonry and rubbish, until the Muslims arrive and cleaned the place.

On July 15, 1099 Jerusalem was taken from the Muslims by the Crusaders from Europe. The Crusaders slaughtered the inhabitants of Jerusalem in an unjustified carnage. Philip K. Hitti records that:

A month’s siege proved more effective. On July 15 the besiegers stormed the city and perpetrated an indiscriminate massacre involving all ages and both sexes. “Heaps of heads and hands and feet were to be seen throughout the streets and squares of the city”.6

The Dome of the Rock was converted into a Christian church called the templum domini – “Temple of our Lord.” The Dome of the Rock was used as a headquarters for the Knights of the Templar who officiated the Temple compound, while Masjid al-Aqsa was used as a stable for their horses. It was a Muslim leader, Sultan Salahuddin Al-Ayubbi (Saladin) who fought for the liberation of Jerusalem from the Crusaders and finally succeeded in liberating the city. After ninety years of Crusader control (1099-1187), Jerusalem surrendered to Saladin’s army on October 2, 1187. In contrast to the brutality of the Crusaders, Saladin treated the defeated Crusaders with kindness and mercy.

To those who object to the significance of Jerusalem in Islam, we can ask them a simple rhetorical question: if Jerusalem has no importance in Islam, why did the city had consistently played a significant role in rallying Muslims? Why did the Caliph ‘Umar(R) and Saladin respectively wasted their time and resources to take the trouble to liberate Jerusalem from those who defile Haram As-Shareef? The answer is obvious, Muslims do hold Jerusalem as a holy city and the city does hold an important position in Islam.

Conclusions

We have seen the evidence of the claim of Islam over Jerusalem, where Masjid al-Aqsa is located. The city of Jerusalem is very important to Muslims and they have a right to this city religiously, historically and legally. Muslims have always viewed Jerusalem as a holy place which must be defended because it is similar to Makkah in its holiness and has been so for more than 14 centuries. These places must be protected given that Abraham(P), the Father of all Prophets(P), had built the Ka`abah in Mecca and thereafter moved to Palestine where he passed away and was buried in Hebron near Jerusalem.

Muslims will never forget that they used to pray toward Jerusalem in the early stages of Islam before God ordered it to be changed to the Holy Shrine in Makkah. There is a mosque in Madinah that still has the two directions (one pointing toward Jerusalem and one towards Makkah), namely Masjid al-Qiblatain, as real evidence for this intimate connection between Jerusalem and Makkah. Muslims had also several times sacrificed their lives for the holy city, and sanctified Haram As-Shareef when it was defiled twice — after liberating the city from Byzantium rule and the Crusaders respectively. It was Islam that had continuously and consistently restored the sanctity of the Temple Mount, and made it a place of prostration and prayer.

And only God knows best. The Position of Jerusalem and Haram As-Shareef in Islam 6

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Position Of Jerusalem And Haram As-Shareef In Islam," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/history/jerusalem/the-position-of-jerusalem-and-haram-as-shareef-in-islam/
  1. For examples see: Al-Aa`raaf 7: 137, Al-Anbiyaa 21: 71 and Al-Anbiyaa 21: 81. The Qur’an has several times referred to Palestine as al-ard al-muqaddasah (the sacred land; Qur’an 5:21) and called its surroundings barakna hawlaha (God’s blessed precincts; Qur’an 17:1) []
  2. Dr. Marwan Abu Khalaf, The Religious Factors in Settlement Patterns in Jerusalem in the Early Islamic Period [Online Document, archived], Ministry of Information, Palestine National Authority []
  3. C. Glasse, Dome Of The Rock, The Concise Encyclopaedia Of Islam (1989), Stacey International: London, p. 102 []
  4. Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, 1997, Ballantine Books: New York, p. 229 []
  5. Sa’id Nuseibah & Oleg Grabar, The Dome Of The Rock, 1996, Thames and Hudson: London (UK), p. 35 []
  6. Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs (10th Ed.), The Macmillan Press Ltd (1970), p. 639 []
Categories
Internal Errors Refutation of Qur'an Contradictions The Qur'an

Can There Be A Son Without A Mother Or Father? Responding To Banal Missionary “Logic”

The missionaries in their latest alleged claim of contradictions in the Qur’an have certainly outdid themselves in their travesty of logic and idiocy.

To cite the missionary claim, word-for-word:

    In the realm of the natural this is not possible, but for God it is possible; actually, it is not only possible, it is easy for God. It is rather ironic that, when discussing the identity of Jesus, the Quran says that Allah cannot have a son without a consort, but Mary can have a son without a consort, because all things are easy for Allah.

They have quoted Qur’an 6:100-101 as follows:

“And they make the jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge; glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him). Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the Knower of all things.”

This, they claim, contradicts the general nature of the following verse:

He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. Sura 19:19-21 Pickthall

Unfortunately for the missionary, an understanding can be reached if a little more thought can be put into their argument. The missionary has taken the understanding of these verses out of its intended context and is confusing Mary’s nature (since she is only human, and hence procreates) as a creation of the Almighty, with God Himself, who is the Uncreated. Certainly, God Almighty could have taken a “wife” and have “children” or have “children” without any consort whatsoever (nau’zubillahi min zaalik).

However, if this were to happen, it would mean that the Uncreated nature of God would be affected, as anything that is “procreated” by God (as the Qur’an argues in 6:100) is created. In other words, to expect the Uncreated to “procreate” children, whether with or without a “consort” (which would also be part of the Creation) is not only an affront against what God Almighty has told us about Himself, it is also a preposterous position only held by pantheists and the idolaters. It is most certainly not in conformity with pure monotheism or on how Islam understands divine transcedence.

Isma’il al-Faruqi described it perfectly when he says that:

“This is the first assertion of the Islamic creed that “There is no god but God” which the Muslim understands as denial of any associates with God in His rulership and judgeship of the universe, as well as a denial of the possibility for any creature to represent, personify or in any way. express the divine Being. The Qur’an says of God that “He is the Creator of heaven and earth Who creates by commanding the creature to be and it is…He is the One God, the ultimate… (2:117, 163). There is no God but He, ever-living, ever-active (3:2) May he be glorified beyond any description! (6:100)…No sense may perceive Him (6:103)…Praised be He, the Transcedent Who greatly transcends all claims and reports about Him (17:43).” In fulfilment of this view, the Muslims have been all too careful never to associate in any manner possible, any image or thing with the presence of the divine, or with their consciousness of the divine; and in their speech and writing about the divine to use only Quranic language, terms and expressions which, according to them, God has used about Himself in the Quranic revelation.”1

Hence, we say that the claim that:

    S. 6:101 stands not only in tension to S. 19:21, but conflicts with several other passages as well.

is not only a premature conclusion from the missionary, but an obvious ignorance of the doctrine of tawheed and what Islam actually stands for.

And only God knows best! Can There Be A Son Without A Mother Or Father? Responding To Banal Missionary "Logic" 7

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Can There Be A Son Without A Mother Or Father? Responding To Banal Missionary “Logic”," in Bismika Allahuma, October 26, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/quran/son-mother-father-responding-banal-missionary-logic/
  1. Ismail Faruqi, Al-Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life (IIIT, 1992), p. 24 []
Categories
Islam Op-Ed Polemical Rebuttals

The Myth Of “The Myth Of Moderate Islam”

Patrick Sookhdeo’s article (July 30, 2005) in London’s The Spectator, “The Myth of a Moderate Islam” reflects a dangerous trend in the war on terror. Under the guise of informing Westerners about Islam, he is in fact spreading the very same disinformation that anti-Islamic polemics have been based upon for over 1,000 years. This plays directly into the hands of Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and others, for it encourages the “clash of civilizations” they so appallingly desire. It is indeed of the utmost importance that we learn more about Islam and fight the scourge of extremism with all the tools possible. But Sookhdeo and those like him corrupt this process, seeking to advance their own agenda by turning the war on terror into an ideological war against Islam.

Muslim Violence

Sookhdeo’s bias is evident from the outset. He argues that terrorists truly represent Islam, writing: “If they say they do it in the name of Islam, we must believe them. Is it not the height of illiberalism and arrogance to deny them the right to define themselves?” The remainder of the essay, however, is an extensive effort to deny other Muslims the right to define themselves by rejecting extremist interpretations of Islam. In fact, less than 5% of Muslims could be classified as fundamentalist in outlook, and of that 5%, less than 0.01% have shown any tendency toward enacting terrorism or “religious violence”. It is thus “the height of illiberalism” to define as terrorists over 1.3 billion Muslims who have nothing to do with “religious violence” because of the misdeeds of a fringe minority of 0.005%. At most, one in every 200,000 Muslims can be accused of terrorism. That is to say there are a maximum of about 65,000 terrorists worldwide — roughly the same figure as the number of murderers on the loose in the U.S. alone, with over 20,000 homicides a year and a population of only 300 million.

Sookhdeo claims that Muslims “must with honesty recognize the violence that has existed in their history.” However, given that the majority of books that record the transgressions of Muslims have been written by Muslims, it is difficult to argue that Muslims have chosen en masse to ignore the atrocities of their past. Of course, there are Muslims who deny many parts of this past, just as there are British people who still deny the atrocities of colonialism; Americans who deny the massacre of the Native Americans; and Germans who deny the Holocaust of 6 million Jews. But the fact remains that Christian civilization has given rise to many more atrocities than has Islamic civilization, even relative to its greater population and longer age.

Christian Violence

Nowhere in Islamic history can one find a doctrine similar to Saint Augustine’s cognite intrare (“lead them in” — i.e. “force them to convert”). In fact the Qur’an says the exact opposite: “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). Augustine’s frightening idea that all must be compelled to “conform” to the “true Christian faith” has unleashed centuries of unparalleled bloodshed.

Indeed, Christians have suffered more under the rule of Christian civilization than under pre-Christian Roman rule or any other rule in history. Millions were tortured and slaughtered in the name of Christianity during the periods of the Arian, Donatist and Albigensian heresies, to say nothing of the various Inquisitions, or the Crusades, when the European armies were saying, as they slaughtered both Christian and Muslim Arabs: “Kill them all, God will know his own.” Needless to say, these transgressions — and indeed all the transgressions of Christians throughout the ages — have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ and or even the New Testament as such. Indeed, no Muslim by definition would ever or will ever blame this on Jesus Christ (the Word made Flesh, for Christians and Muslims). So how is it that Sookhdeo blames Muslim transgressions (even though far less than “Christian” ones) on the Qur’an (the Word made Book, for Muslims)?

By no means was such indiscriminate violence limited to Europe’s “Dark Ages” or to one period of Christian history. The Reformation and Counter Reformation took inter- Christian slaughter to new extremes; two thirds of the Christian population of Europe being slaughtered during this time. Then there were (among many others wars, pogroms, revolutions and genocides) the Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815); the African slave trade that claimed the lives of 10 million; and the Colonial Conquests. Estimates for the number of Native Americans slaughtered by the Europeans in North, Central and South America run as high as 20 million within three generations. Despite the ravages of Europe’s violent past, in the 20th century, Western Civilization took warfare to new extremes. A conservative estimate puts the total number of brutal deaths in the 20 th century at more than 250 million. Of these, Muslims are responsible for less than 10 million deaths. Christians, or those coming from Christian backgrounds account for more than 200 million of these! The greatest death totals come from World War I (about 20 million, at least 90% of which were inflicted by “Christians”) and World War II (90 million, at least 50% of which were inflicted by “Christians,” the majority of the rest occurring in the Far East). Given this grim history, it appears that we Europeans must all come to grips with the fact that Islamic civilization has actually been incomparably less brutal than Christian civilization. Did the Holocaust of over 6 million Jews occur out of the background of a Muslim Civilization?

In the 20th century alone, Western and/or Christian powers have been responsible for at least twenty times more deaths than have Muslim powers. In this most brutal of centuries, we created incomparably more civilian casualties than have Muslims in the whole of Islamic history. This continues even in our day — witness the slaughter of 900,000 Rwandans in 1994 in a population that was over 90% Christian; or the genocide of over 300,000 Muslims and systematic rape of over 100,000 Muslim women by Christian Serbs in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995. The horrible truth is that, numerically and statistically speaking, Christian Civilization is the bloodiest and most violent of all civilizations in all of history, and is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths. The production and use of nuclear weapons alone should be enough to make the West stand in shame before the rest of the world. America created nuclear weapons. America is the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons, and Western countries strive to maintain a monopoly over them. As the record stands, we have no moral grounds for objecting to the acquisition of such weapons until we prove willing to forfeit them entirely.

It should also be mentioned that although Islam has the concept of legitimate war in self-defense (as does Christianity, and even Buddhism), nowhere in Islamic culture (or in other cultures that survive today) is there latent the idealization, and perhaps idolization, of violence that exists in Western Culture. Westerners think of themselves as peaceful, but in fact the gentleness and sublimity of the New Testament, and the peace-loving nature of the principles of democracy, are scarcely reflected in Western popular culture. Rather, the entire inclination of popular culture — Hollywood movies, Western television, video games, popular music and sports entertainment — is to glorify and inculcate violence. Accordingly, the relative rates of murder (especially random and serial murder) are higher in the Western World (particularly in the U.S., but even in Europe, taken as a whole) than they are in the Islamic world in counties that are not suffering civil wars, and this is true despite the much greater wealth of the West. So has Sookhdeo ever read the following words?:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

The Qur’an and the Use of Force

Like most anti-Islamic polemics, the rest of Sookhdeo’s article is a mix of fact and fiction. For example, he argues that many of the Qur’anic verses that advocate peace were abrogated by later verses. It is true that many Muslim scholars claim later verses abrogate earlier verses, but the extent of abrogation is greatly debated. Some scholars say that only five verses have ever been abrogated. Some say that over 150 have been abrogated. Sookhdeo’s claim that “wherever contradictions are found, the later-dated text abrogates the earlier one” is thus a gross simplification. To claim that all of the peaceful verses are earlier revelations that have been abrogated by later militant verses is simply false. For example, verses revealed in the last two years of Muhammad’s mission enjoin Muslims to not seek vengeance against those who had driven them from their homes:

Let not the hatred of the people — because they hindered you from the Sacred Mosque — incite you to transgress. Help one another in goodness and reverence, and do not help one another in sin and aggression”(Qur’an 5:2).

O ye who believe, be upright for God witnesses injustice; and let not hatred of a people cause you to be unjust. Be just — that is closer to piety” (Qur’an 5:8).

One can hardly imagine a more emphatic message of justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Moreover, many highly qualified Muslim scholars have cited the earlier verses advocating peace to dissuade young Muslims from answering the call of the extremists. Would Sookhdeo prefer that these young Muslims listen to those who explain these verses away by applying his truncated version of abrogation?

Significantly enough, like extremist interpreters of Islam, Sookhdeo misrepresents Qur’anic verses by citing them out of context. He claims that Qu’ranic verses 8:59-60 condone terrorism. Verse 8:60 does indeed condone fighting one’s enemies, but it is followed by verse 8:61: “And if they incline unto peace then incline unto it” — another later revelation. In this context, verse 8:60 is advocating that one not take the course of passivism when threatened by an enemy, but 8:61 then limits the application. This hardly constitutes terrorism. Perhaps if Sookhdeo knew Arabic properly, he would have the capacity to read the Qur’an more clearly. But he does not. This makes it difficult to accept him as an authority on Islamic teachings, whatever may be his post or title.

Sookhdeo goes on to claim that one can pick between Qur’anic verses that support violence and those that support peace. This is true, but one would be hard pressed to demonstrate that the Qur’an condones violence more than the Old Testament (say, for example, the Book of Leviticus or the Book of Joshua). And if we say that the Qur’an condones violence, what are we to think of the passages of the Bible that directly command slaughter and genocide? In Numbers 31:17 Moses says (of the Midianite captives, whose menfolk the Israelites have already slaughtered): “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and every woman who has known a man intimately.” I Samuel 15:1-9 tells the story of the Prophet Samuel commanding King Saul to eradicate the Amalekites as follows: “Slay both men and women, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

Such extremes were forbidden by the Prophet Muhammad who ordered his community: “Fight in the way of God against those who disbelieve in God! Do not act brutally! Do not exceed the proper bounds! Do not mutilate! Do not kill children and hermits! And likewise, “Attack in the Name of God, but do not revert to treachery; do not kill a child; neither kill a woman; do not wish to confront the enemy.”

To claim that the warfare advocated in some Qur’anic verses is a justification for wanton acts of violence fails to acknowledge that classical interpretations have always limited the scope of such verses. For example, a verse that is often misinterpreted in the modern era is 2:191-92:

Slay the polytheists wherever you find them, and capture them and blockade them, and watch for them at every lookout. But if they repent and establish the prayer and give alms, then let them go their way.

On the one hand, extremists employ this verse to sanction shedding innocent blood. On the other hand, it is employed by non-Muslim polemicists to portray the Qur’an as a bellicose declaration of perpetual warfare. But according to the classical Islamic tradition, this verse cannot be taken as a carte blanche to fight non-Muslims. It can only be applied to the specific polytheists who opposed the early Muslim community and threatened the very survival of Islam. As one authoritative jurisprudent Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn Al-‘Arabi of the 11th – 12th century CE writes:

This verse is general regarding the polytheists, but is restricted by the Prophet’s prohibition of the killing of women, children, religious adherents, and non-combatants. But understood also are those who do not fight you nor are preparing to fight you or harm you. The verse actually means, “Slay the polytheists who are attempting to slay you.”

Such interpretations could be cited ad infinitum. They clearly demonstrate that Sookhdeo’s equation of “radical Muslims” with “medieval jurists” who claim that “Islam is war” is not only unfounded, but an utter distortion. Either Sookhdeo is not qualified to analyze the classical Islamic tradition and compare it to modern deviations, or he is intentionally distorting Islamic teachings. Either way, he proves himself to be completely unreliable.

Dubious Scholarship

Sookhdeo’s dubious scholarship is on display throughout this article, particularly when he uses the hackneyed distinction between Dar al-Islam (the abode of Islam) and Dar al-Harb (the abode of war) to argue that Muslims accept nothing but war or triumph. These are important classical terms, but Muslim scholars also wrote of many other abodes between them. Some classifications include three abodes, some five, and some seven. In the modern era, Europe and America have been regarded by the vast majority of Muslim scholars as the Dar al-Sulh, or “the abode of treaty.” This means that a Muslim can engage with this world on many levels and should abide by the laws of the land if he or she chooses to live there or to visit. Using this distinction, Muslim scholars have even declared that Muslims can serve in the U.S. Army, even when combating other Muslim countries. Only those who seek conflict continue to misinform the public by limiting the world to Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb.

Islamic Scholarship

Sookhdeo’s miscomprehension is also revealed when he discusses the recent conference of Islamic scholars in Jordan, which issued a final declaration that opposed the practice of calling other Muslims non-believers and clarified the qualifications for issuing fatwas. He argues that this has “negated a very helpful fatwa which had been issued in March by the Spanish Islamic scholars declaring Osama bin Laden an apostate.” However, a war of words wherein Muslims begin calling other Muslims unbelievers is precisely what Al-Qaida and other extremists desire. This way they can brand as apostate and kill everyone who disagrees with them. Let us not forget how two days before 9/11, Al-Qaida assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud. This was no mere coincidence; it was a strategic imperative. By removing the most charismatic representative of traditional Islam in Afghanistan, Al-Qaida removed the greatest obstacle to their distortions of Islam, a credible leader who would expose the spurious nature of their claim to represent Islam.

In order to avoid people being killed over even petty faults or sins, classical Islamic law does not allow one to “ex-communicate” another Muslim for sinning nor to declare him or her to be a non-believer. By reaffirming this and removing the possibility of takfir (calling someone an apostate) in our age, King Abdullah’s conference has made the world a safer place. This is true not just for traditional, “moderate” Muslims — the only ones in fact who can effectively isolate the extremists and thus protect non-Muslims — but also for others, such as Jews and Christians whom the Qur’an (and the greatest classical scholars of Islam, such as the famous al-Ghazali) regards as “fellow believers.” Sookhdeo desires to keep this “door” open so that Muslims he does not like can be “ex-communicated.” He wants to keep this “sword” — in effect — unsheathed, completely forgetting that all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Matthew 26:52).

Sookhdeo further displays a complete lack of understanding of Islamic law when he asks: “Could not the King reconvene his conference and ask them to issue a fatwa banning violence against non-Muslims also?” In fact this is exactly what did happen by the scholars declaring that the fatwas issued in support of wanton violence are illegitimate. For everyone who commits an act of terrorism in the name of Islam attempts to first justify that act through the issuance — and misuse — of a fatwa, and no one commits terrorist acts without being convinced that terrorism is justified.

The conference reaffirmed that all fatwas must necessarily be bound by a triple system of internal “checks and balances”: all those issuing fatwas must have certain, stringent personal and educational credentials; they must all follow the methodology of the eight Madhahib or tradional schools of Islamic jurisprudence; and no fatwa may go outside the bounds of what the traditional Madhahib allow—precisely what the extremist fatwa s attempt to do. The conference assembled over 180 major scholars from 45 countries, and garnered 17 major fatwas from the greatest Islamic Authorities in the world (including the Sheikh Al-Azhar, Ayatollah Sistani, and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qardawi) to declare this. The conference thus not only de-legitimized the extremists de jure, but, to quote Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek (July 18,2005), constituted “a frontal attack on Al-Qaida’s theological methods.” This is surely a vital tool in the war against extremism, and so the King and his conference are very much to be commended.

Eradicating Extremism

Isolating and eradicating extremists does not, however, appear to be Sookhdeo’s agenda. Rather he wishes to misrepresent the Qur’an, history, and contemporary Muslims in order to substantiate his own claim that terrorism and extremism are inherent to Islam. Following this approach is exactly how we will lose the war on terrorism. The true war is the war of ideas.

The lynch-pin in the arguments of Bin Laden, Zarqawi and others is that they think they represent Islam. Traditional Muslim scholars from around the world have confirmed that such deviant ideologies and actions violate the very principles of Islam. By working with such scholars we can help them to consolidate the traditional middle ground of Islam and further expose the extremists for being just that. This is the most efficient, most peaceful and most effective weapon in the war against extremist interpretations of Islam. If we do not use it, we will have surrendered the higher ground in the war of ideas. By responding with extremism of another kind, Sookhdeo and those like him allow the extremists to determine the general inter-religious ambiance and thus the course of events. Rather than providing a realistic presentation of the challenges we face and their possible peaceful solutions, they take advantage of the situation to advance their own hidden polemical agenda and prejudices. In doing so they work not only against Muslims and Islam, but against the whole of humanity, Christians included (or perhaps especially). Onward Christian soldiers, Reverend Sookhdeo? The Myth of "The Myth of Moderate Islam" 9

Vincenzo Oliveti is the author of Terror’s Source: The Ideology of Wahabi-Salafism and its Consequences. This article first appeared in ISLAMICA Magazine.
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Myth Of “The Myth Of Moderate Islam”," in Bismika Allahuma, September 19, 2008, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/islam/myth-moderate-islam/