There are those who say that lying and deceiving is at the soul of all crime and that Christianity epitomizes these traits more than any other faith.1 As proof of their assertion they often quote Paul of Tarsus, arguably the true founder of Christianity, who is recorded to have said, “But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? Any why not do evil that good may come? – as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” (Romans 3:7-8)
While I want to exclude myself as one who would condemn an entire religious tradition based on such statements, I must admit that the temptation is too great when I see how the fanatics of evangelical Christianity, the bigots with their highly bloated ‘holier than thou’ notion of moral superiority, often try to set hallmarks of lying and deceptions. To these xenophobic bigots, there is nothing good in Islam, Qur’an and Muhammad (S) – the religion, the Scripture and the Prophet of Muslims; dialogue with Islam is out of question. The mere acceptance of Islam as a “go-between” Judaism and Christianity would be “disastrous”, especially now that “relations between Jews and Evangelical Christians in America are flowing smoothly.” To them, “if Muslims were to join the dialogue, then they must leave their holy book far behind them in public, especially in areas of legislation. Islamic law must never be considered in deliberations, for it is too harsh and barbaric.”
By the way, none of the above quoted statements are mine, but comes from a die-hard Christian missionary. Soon after my speech at Vanderbilt University on the subject of “Islam and Coexistence” got posted in the Internet, this activist reacted vehemently with his 13-page polemical writing and silly propaganda objecting to what he calls my ‘errors and omissions’ — what “I should have said at Vanderbilt” -– obviously asserting my speech as a “non-speech”. I must admit that I was unaware of the existence of this propagandist before some of my readers pleaded that I should respond. I told them that I try to avoid participating in debates on comparative religion for the mere fact that they often burn more bridges than I can ever afford to build. After realizing that the Christian polemist’s writing display a penchant for anti-Muslim bigotry, I relented.
Some background information on my speech. A few weeks before the event, when the organizers of the Interfaith Coalition of Nashville contacted me to represent Islam, I politely suggested that they should instead contact Dr. Robert D. Crane.2 Apparently, he turned them down, and I ended up speaking on the subject of “Islam and Co-existence”.
Like other speakers, I was allotted only 15 minutes to cover such an important and vast subject, especially in the aftermath of 9/11 when interests are high to learn about Islam. Oddly, none of the other speakers said anything from their own scriptures, talking only on generalities.
During the question and answer session, when I tried to respond to a question from the audience, some bigots from the rabidly anti-Muslim Jihad Watch group tried to disturb me. They were arrogant and rude. They won’t allow me to respond to the question and instead insisted that I answered their question first. When I provided the answer from the Qur’an, they won’t yield because it did not agree with their poisonous and confused “learning” about Islam, thanks to Spencer and his ilk. When I challenged them to prove me wrong from the Qur’an, they didn’t have anything to say other than rambling that they did not “believe” me. I told them that they were entitled to their erroneous opinion and that I must answer the question posed to me first. They stared angrily at me before leaving the conference room.
This incident once again demonstrates what kind of malicious and bigoted sermons and hate literature many Christians are now fed about Islam. Naturally, the merchants of Christian religion have found that selling the poisonous pills of bigotry and Armageddon is much more lucrative to their coffers than communion breads!
In what follows, I shall discuss some major themes raised by the Christian missionary. Other issues have long been answered by me and others.
The evangelical Christian missionary was not gay about the selection of verses from the Qur’an that exemplified coexistence with people of other faiths.3 He would rather have me quote the verses from the Surah at-Tawbah, which were revealed about the anti-Muslim mushriqs of Arabia so as to prove how intolerant Islam is or its prophet Muhammad (S) was. As I have explained many times, all the scriptures have their share of violent passages. The Qur’an does not have a monopoly there. As a matter of fact its share of violent passages is insignificant compared to those in the Bible.4 If such passages in the Qur’an make the Prophet of Islam a violent man, then most of the great personalities in the Bible, from Jacob to Moses to David to Jesus were no less violent individuals.
When Christian zealots shield those Biblical violent verses from a comparable critique, and yet demand a different set of rules for Muslims, it is intellectual dishonesty. Such a norm is exemplary of the ancient Latin phrase: Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi –- which means “what is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to the cattle”. Therefore, I am not too surprised to see how these Judeo-Christian fanatics always relegate the role of cattle to others. It is in this pompous vein that the propagandist complains:
But Siddiqui makes some errors and omissions. He assumes, for example, that Jim Jones of the Guyana mass suicide and David Koresh of the Waco incineration were Christians, but they were not. They deviated far from the New Testament and its teaching of love demonstrated by Jesus Christ.
How wonderful! Zarqawi and OBL are Muslims, but Jim Jones and David Koresh are not Christians! They might as well be Muslims (for the sake of deceiving missionaries)! So must be Hitler!
How about King Richard, the so-called “Lion-Heart”? Wasn’t he a Christian when he killed 3000 Muslim prisoners of war in Accre?5 How about all those mass-murderers in history who professed Christianity? To those fanatics: genocide, murder, mayhem, rape and plunder were no predicament but God’s vengeance brought about by faithful upholders of Christianity who were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit!
I shall have no problem discussing the Qur’anic verses that are violent in nature when my counterparts are willing to wash their dirty laundry in the open. In the meantime, let them reflect on the instruction enunciated in the gospel according to Matthew (7:1): Judge not that ye not be judged.
The Jesuit asks: when did Jesus and his first generation of Christians take up arms to kill people or to impose a dhimmi tax on those who refused to submit? My question is: did Jesus run the affairs of his people? If not, how can he be compared with someone who did? The actions of Muhammad (S) should, in all fairness, be compared with prophets of the Bible who held similar responsibilities –- the likes of Moses.6 When we do that we’ll find Muhammad’s (S) and his ashab’s (Companions) treatment of the conquered people was far superior. In contrast to the Biblical prophets who killed all people, including infant males and unarmed women who had known (sex with) men (see, e.g., Numbers 31:17-18), except virgins, Muhammad (S) instructed his army not to kill any old man, unarmed civilian, child and woman.7 They were also instructed not to demolish homes, nor to destroy cattle and trees. So, if death is better than life, then the so-called dhimmi tax would be construed as being worse than murder.8910
The Biblical prophets also burned down the cities of the conquered people (see, e.g., Numbers 31:10).
In spite of many leadership shortcomings (e.g., being rejected by his own people), the portrayal of Jesus in the so-called New Testament is not the “love-all” and “forgive-all” kind of personality that the Church would have us believe. He appears rude (John 2:4, Matt. 12:48, Mark 3:33-4), mean-spirited (Matt. 15:26, 17:17, 23:33-5), offensive (John 8:44, Matt. 23:13-29), abusive (Matt. 12:39, 23:23-9, Luke 11:44), disrespectful (Matt. 11:21-3, 16:4, 23:13-9), divisive (Matt. 10:35, Luke 14:26), racist (Matt. 15:26) and prone to violence (Matt. 10:34; Mark 11:15; Luke 12:49-53, 19:27, 22:36). He is even tempted by the devil (Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2). He commands stealing (Matt. 21:1-3, Luke 19:29-34), and may even be a homosexual (Mark 14:49-52, John 13:23). [Na ‘oozu billah!]
The apocryphal Gospel of Thomas puts the following words in Jesus’s mouth: “I shall destroy this house and no one will be able to (re)build it.” The depiction of Jesus during his second coming is anything but flattering or peaceful.11
The early history of Christianity in the pre-Constantine era (324-337 CE) is not immune from violence either. It is a history of heresy, riots, torture, torment, extortion, competition/rivalry, excommunications, banishments and assassination.12 It is therefore not difficult to understand the statement of James in the NT: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. … Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? .., Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:1-8)13
The situation did not improve much even after Christianity was adopted as the state religion. The Roman emperor Justinian (332-63 CE) described the “love” of Christians for each other in this way: “I experienced that even beasts of prey are not that hostile minded to human beings than Christian sinners to each other.”14 With state backing, Christianity soon revealed its “my way or highway” type mentality annihilating all competing faiths from vast territories it came to control. There was to be no rivalry, no qualification to the rigid unity of the Church.
During his reign Catholic emperor Flavius Theodosius (346-395 CE) took severe measures against Arianism and the surviving remnants of paganism. In 388 a prefect was sent around Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor for the purpose of destroying temples and breaking up pagan associations; it was then that the Serapeum at Alexandria was destroyed. He prohibited pagan religion and introduced heavy financial penalties.15 The imperial decree stated: “We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retributions of Our own initiative, which We shall assume in accordance with the divine judgment.” And later, with regards to pagan houses of worships, he decreed: “We command that all their fanes, temples, and shrines, if even now any remain entire, shall be destroyed by the command of the magistrates, and shall be purified by the erection of the sign of the venerable Christian religion.”
These codes resulted in further legislation, culminating in the death penalty for non-Christians in 435 CE. All citizens had to belong to the authorized “Catholic” Christianity, except Jews who were permitted to practice in places isolated from the rest of the population. Between 429 and 439 CE some 150 different laws were enacted defining and defending the “Catholic faith.” Church lands were made exempt from taxation and bishops immune to chastisement.
Theological support for repression of religious plurality was formally indoctrinated by St. Augustine (354-430 CE), Bishop of Hippo.16 As part of his hostility to the Donatist heresies, he formulated his doctrine of Cognite intrare (Italian: costringali ad entrare, meaning: “compel them to enter”), which was used throughout the Middle Ages to justify the suppression of differences and tyranny against the dissenters. Augustine stated: “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy. To love with sternness is better than to deceive with gentleness… In Luke 14:23 it is written: ‘Compel people to come in!’ By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to the Son.”17
The interested reader may like to read the book: The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe for an account. Excerpt from chapter 8 reads: “The Reformation did not convert the people of Europe to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechisms alone. It was the 300 year period of witch-hunting from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, what R.H. Robbins called “the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization,”…that ensured the European abandonment of the belief in magic. The Church created the elaborate concept of devil worship and then, used the persecution of it to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control, and openly denigrate women.”
So my suggestion to these myopic missionaries who seem to suffer from chronic mental ailment of “cognitive dissonance” is: before you nitpick the Qur’an by cherry-picking violent passages you ought to study your own scripture first and make an objective evaluation. Truly, if you are looking for violence, you don’t have to go beyond your own Bible. It is arguably the most violent book in the annals of human history.
Writing on slavery, the Jesuit alleges, “Moreover, the Quran endorses slavery—not merely permits it because it was too deeply entrenched in society. Muhammad himself traded in slaves.” He continues, “The slave trade was lucrative for Muhammad and his original Islam. It traded in slaves throughout its history…”
There is not an iota of truth in his assertions. Instead if the Jesuit had studied his own Bible well, he should have seen how it endorsed and encouraged slavery: “You may possess slaves, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves of the natives who dwell among you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. You may own them as chattels and leave them to your sons as their hereditary property, making them slaves forever. But you should not lord it over your own countryman, your own kinsmen.” [Lev. 25:44-46] (See also: Deut. 21:10) Even in the NT, not a single statement can be found in Jesus’s mouth that comes close to uprooting slavery. (See also: 1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Peter 2:18, Col. 3:22 for endorsement of slavery.)
The ancient world was deeply entrenched into slavery, and the Arab society in Muhammad’s (S) time was no exception. The pagan aristocracy in Makkah, Jewish landowners and merchants in Madinah and many wealthy Christian Arabs were slave owners.18 Most of the early believers in Muhammad’s (S) message of pure monotheism, on the other hand, were slaves, who were brutally tortured for their faith by their non-Muslim slavers. It became, thus, incumbent upon the Prophet (S) and his Companions (notably Abu Bakr and Uthman – may Allah be pleased with them) to free those slaves. Muhammad (S) bought freedom of 63 former slaves, A’isha (RA) 67, Abbas (RA) 70, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) 1000 and Abdur Rahman ibn Awf 30,000.19 It was no wonder that some of the best-known Muslims and soldiers in the defense of Islam were these former slaves and their children.20
The Qur’an unequivocally makes it clear that no man, irrespective of his status (including a prophet), can enslave any other human being: “It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given him the Scripture and wisdom and ‘Nabuwah’ (Prophethood) that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah …” [3:79]
Thus, Islam’s credit lies in being the only major religion to curtailing slavery and encouraging emancipation of slaves.21 Following the dictates of the Qur’an, personal and public wealth from zakat fund and the Baitul-Mal was used for manumitting slaves.22 Here are some relevant Traditions (ahadith) encouraging emancipation of slaves, Muslims and non-Muslims alike:
- “A person who frees a Muslim slave, Allah will deliver every one of his limbs from the fire of Hell in return for each of the limbs of the slave, even his private organs for the sake of the freed slave’s organs.” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
- “The atonement for beating or slapping a slave (Muslim or non-Muslim) on the face, for no fault of his, is that he should be set free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Ibn Umar (RA)]
- “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari: Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (RA)]
- “Allah the Most High said, I will be the opponent of three persons on the Day of Resurrection. They are the one who makes a covenant in My name and then prove treacherous. Or the one who sells a free person (Muslim or non-Muslim) as a slave and appropriates his price for himself. And the one who hires a laborer and having taken full work from him, fails to pay him his wages.” – Muhammad (S) [Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
- “There are three people whose prayers are not accepted. And one of these three is a man who enslaves a free person (Rajulun iitabada muharraran).” – Muhammad (S) [Abu Dawud]
- “No son can repay his father unless he finds him as a slave and purchases him and sets him free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
As hinted earlier, many of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (S) were freed slaves who went on to become great leaders of the Islamic community. Bilal the Abyssinian became the first caller to Islam [note: the position of mu’addhin is next to the imam]. Ammar ibn Yathir was from Yemen, Salman al-Farsi was from Persia, Suhayb al-Rumi was from Byzantium. Many of the rulers in Muslim territories were freed slaves and their descendants.
On the other hand, throughout our known history, many of the notorious slave traders (including those involved in the Atlantic slave trade) were Christians and Jews.23 To them, the fate of dark-skinned (African) race was sealed with Genesis 9:25: “And he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” (See also Joshua 16:10.) The Church did not believe that Africans possessed human souls.24 Not surprisingly, when the British Crown asked the Christian clergy for supporting documents to justify the slave trade, they readily found them within the Bible.
Dr. George Best, a non-Muslim historian, says, “Christianity did not object to slavery. Politically or economically, it did not encourage the believers to oppose the traditions of their generations as regards slavery. Christianity did not even discuss the problem and said nothing against the rights of slave owners. It did not urge slaves to demand their freedom and did not basically ask to free the slaves.”
Nor should we forget that the movement to abolish slavery in Europe and America is rather a new phenomenon and dates back only to the 19th century,25 nearly 1200 years after Islam forbade taking any free man as a slave (see Imam Bukhari’s chapter: Baab Ithm man ba’a hurr wa akala thamanahu). Even with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in the British Parliament, the practice of owning slaves continued for another century in the West. The Grand Larousse of the 19th century reads: “Man does not wonder at the presence of slavery and its being common among the Christians till now. The religious representatives approve it and believe that it is legal. In brief Christianity approves it completely till our time and it is very hard to prove that Christianity tried to abolish slavery.”
Unfortunately, modern-day slavery still exists today in one form or another, e.g., sex labors in many parts of the world, captives or prisoners of war held in many parts of the world, forced labor in Burma and China, and slave camps run by the SPLA and Lord’s Army.
Diversion has always been a favorite ploy utilized by shrewd strategists to divert attention. Imperialists and their agents have successfully used it to colonize and mislead others.26 This tactic still has tremendous appeal among the modern-day empire dreamers. So, as it was during the pre-colonial days of Africa, we were bombarded not too long ago with allegations that the northern Sudanese were enslaving the southern animists and Christians. Thanks to the CBS program which unearthed the hoax of slave emancipation by the Christian Solidarity, now we know that there is no truth to these allegations. The program established that the Christian SPLA and Lord’s Army routinely practice this crime by enslaving free people (against their own kind in Sudan and Uganda) and trading thereafter for money and arms. It is a lucrative business for these savages and their western/Christian patrons to slicing Sudan and establishing their zone of influence. For years, these criminals used every means at their disposal, including heinous propaganda campaigns and arms shipment, to encourage secession movement in the southern Sudan. [See the link in http://www.sudanembassy.org/ for a CBS interview with Dan Rather on the hoax of The Sudan Slave Trade.27
C. Treatment of Jews:
To prove Islam’s alleged mistreatment of Jews, the Jesuit provides a link to Spencer’s hate literature. As have been repeatedly demonstrated by many scholars he simply cannot be relied upon to provide the truth on anything pertaining to Islam and Muslims.28 He is a merchant of hatred – an Islamophobic maniac. Period! Scores of Jewish scholars and historians can be cited, including Ben-Sasson29 and Abba Eban30 to prove him unreliable, hostile and lying.
Let me quote from the scholarly work, A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson (Harvard University Press, 1976), an Israeli historian:
“The height of magnificence and luxury was reached by the wealthy Jews in the lands of Islam, particularly in Moslem Spain. We know that the court bankers of Baghdad in the tenth century kept open house for numerous guests and for the poor. Similarly, the ceremonies of the Jewish leaders in Babylonia [Iraq] and the patronage of the leading Jews in Moslem Spain, indicate conditions of ease and plenty.
“The attitude toward these non-Moslems in the Islamic territories was shaped in principle in accordance with the concept of dhimma, meaning protection granted to them by agreement or treaty… In return, their lives and property were protected and, in accordance with the general attitude of Islam to infidels, they were assured liberty of faith and worship. They were also permitted to organize themselves as they wished, and the Jews fully availed themselves of that permission.
“From the Jewish viewpoint, this conglomerate of Moslem attitudes to infidels was easier to live with than the one that had been established by Christianity, particularly in the Byzantine Empire. As we have noted above, for hundreds of years the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in the Islamic territories. Although it is possible to perceive some Christian impact on the Moslem attitude towards non-believers and even towards the Christians themselves, the moderation with which the Moslems applied this influence proved to be of great importance to the majority of Jewry over a long period. Unlike the masses of Christians and pagans who joined the Moslems over the first half century or so, the overwhelming majority of the Jews under Moslem rule held firmly to their own faith.”31
As to the settlement and economic activity in the 16th and 17th centuries and the establishment of the Sephardic Diaspora in the Ottoman Empire, the above book states:
“A considerable stream of exiles from Spain overflowed into the Ottoman Empire. Once the latter had annexed Erez Yisrael, it became a lodestone for Marranos who wished to repent and return to their former faith…. The sultan at the time of the expulsion, Bayezid, welcomed the refugees fleeing from the fanatical Christians. As recorded by a Jewish contemporary ‘the Sultan sent men ahead, and spread the word through his kingdom in writing as well, declaring that none of his officers in any of his cities dare to drive the Jews out or expel them, but all of them were to welcome the Jews cordially.’ It can be assumed that this imperial protection and the order granting right of domicile were issued through the influence of the leaders of the long-established Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire… Success was not restricted exclusively to medical and court circles. It seems that in the Ottoman Empire it was felt that the absorption of the exiles from the West provided social, cultural and even military advantages… The exiles gradually dispersed throughout the main cities of the Empire. Many synagogues were to be found in Constantinople during the sixteenth century. In this city they settled in quarters where Jews had not formerly resided. Salonika also became one of their main centres, and similarly Adrianople and Smyrna (Izmir). The exiles also established themselves in smaller cities. Expulsions from southern Italy helped to diversify the Jewish community and increase the various congregations in the Empire.”32
What is clear is that historically the relationship between Jews and Muslims living under Muslim Sultans was rather amicable and, that even in places like Palestine, Muslim people did not have any problem with Jews living there. The relationship soured only after the Balfour Declaration (1917) when the British allowed European Jews to colonize Palestine.33
As to the matter of jizya imposed on Jews, one simply has to read European history about what had happened to the European Jewry who sought protection from the Christian royalty in the medieval times. In return for royal protection during the first two Crusades, German Jews were made ‘serfs of the Imperial Chamber’ and were required to pay vast sums of ‘protection money’ for this privilege. Those Jews eventually became a very real source of royal revenue. As the king’s property, they could be – and were – bought, loaned and sold, to pay off creditors. The custom spread to other European countries. Church leaders justified this status theologically on the basis of earlier Church teaching that the Jews were doomed to eternal servitude for having crucified their lord – Jesus Christ.34
Unfortunately, the protection for which the Jews paid such a hefty price in Europe did not always materialize. For instance, before setting out for the 3rd Crusade the Crusaders plundered the possessions of the Jews, who had fled into the royal castle where they were besieged by the warriors – many of whom were deeply in debt to their quarry. In York, England, the climax was reached when a stone, thrown from the castle, killed a Christian monk. A battle cry was raised urging the people to “destroy the enemies of Christ.” When the Jews saw the fury of the besiegers and felt their fate to be sealed, they took their own lives, cutting one another’s throats. When the mobs gained access to the tower, the few Jews left, who begged for baptism and deliverance, were slaughtered. The total casualties have been estimated variously from 500 to 1500. From this scene of carnage, the attackers converged on the cathedral and burned all the records of financial obligations to the Jews kept in its archives.35
Writing in 1135, the French scholar Pierre Abelard has a European Jew in “Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian” spoke these words:
“No nation has ever suffered so much for God. Dispersed among all nations, without king or secular ruler, the Jews are oppressed with heavy taxes as if they had to repurchase their very lives every day. To mistreat the Jews is considered a deed pleasing to God. Such imprisonment as is endured by the Jews can be conceived by the Christians only as a sign of God’s utter wrath. The life of the Jews is in the hands of their worst enemies. Even in their sleep they are plagued by nightmares. Heaven is their only place of refuge. If they want to travel to the nearest town, they have to buy protection with the high sums of money from the Christian rulers who actually wish for their death so that they can confiscate their possessions. The Jews cannot own land or vineyards because there is nobody to vouch for their safekeeping. Thus, all that is left them as a means of livelihood is the business of money-lending, and this in turn brings the hatred of Christians upon them”36
Bottom line: the status of a dhimmi in a Muslim-run state was much better compared to that of a Jew living in Christian-run Europe.
There is no denying that the Jewish tribe of Bani Quraiza was punished by the Prophet of Islam. But can Muhammad (S) be blamed for their treason? They were punished not for rejecting Muhammad (S) as the last Prophet (nabi) of Allah, but for their confessed crime against the nascent Islamic state, and judged by their own laws, by their appointed judge. My question is: was Musa [Moses] (AS) more merciful to the Jews when he and his faithful disciples killed 3000 misguided Children of Israel (Exodus 32:28)? [See Md. Saidul Islam’s “Were the Jews maltreated by Prophet Muhammad, or vice-versa?” for a good analysis.]
A closer scrutiny will show that the verses in the Qur’an that castigated Jews of Madinah for their nefarious activities were comparatively milder than those found in the Bible (see, e.g., the Books of Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Ezekiel, and especially those of Jesus in the so-called NT).37
D. Israel and cost of progress:
As any evangelical Christian-Zionist would be expected these days, the Jesuit missionary is very gay to report about the “progress” of the colonizing enterprise – Israel. He does not tell us that the land was stolen in a landmark Christian-Zionist conspiracy from its native people and given to outsiders from Europe (mostly Kharazites) who had no claim. He also does not tell us that the so-called progress of Israel has been costing America billions of dollars. The latter’s naked support of the rogue state has given us the cliché: the tail that wags the dog! [Interested readers may like to read John Mearsheimer and Stephan Walt’s recently published work “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” London Review of Books, March 2006, to understand Israel’s harmful effect.]
E. Status and Worship:
Commenting on the Qur’anic verse 98:4-6, the Jesuit says, “This implies that the Bible is inferior. Verse five says that Jews and Christians must do salat (prayer five times a day) and give zakat (required charity).” Such comments once again show that he needs to study the Bible before getting jumpy with the Qur’an. Don’t Jews and Christians pray and pay alms?38 Didn’t Jesus pray also (Mark 1:35, 14:35-39; Matt. 26:39-44)? So why complain? Interestingly, he is very upset about the Qur’an having put the idolaters in the same sentence as the people of the Book, as can be seen in the last phrase of the next statement where he says, “Verse six categorizes unbelievers among the People of the Scripture (= the Bible) with idolaters, the most impure of all humans.” It is no coincidence that the Biblical prophets killed the idolaters en masse whereas, after the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet of Islam announced a general amnesty against the idolaters. (See, e.g., Exodus 22:20 – “Anyone who sacrificed to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.”)
F. Law of Retaliation:
The Jesuit makes a fool of himself when he alleges, “Siddiqui omits Sura 5:45, which imposes retaliation, literal eye for an eye. Would radical Muslims want to impose this around the world?” The Qur’anic verse in question talks about the retaliatory laws of the Books of the Children of Israel, e.g., Exodus (21:23-5), Leviticus (24:20) and Deut. 19:21. If the Christian missionary had an open mind, and not the kind of obsessed mind he had demonstrated, he could have noticed the clear preference enunciated in the Qur’an in the very next sentence within the same verse 5:45, which states, “But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself.” As has been noted by Karen Armstrong every harsh verse in the Qur’an is followed by those that seek compassion and not retaliation. The Qur’anic message is of moderation, and not extremes. Muslims are, thus, called upon to be a “middle” nation (ummatan wasatan).
Let me now touch upon the matter of the Judeo-Christian morality in the Bible of which the Jesuit is convinced that Islam cannot contribute anything. Let us look at this haughty assertion from the Bible itself.
- A prophet is reported to have committed sex with his own daughters.
- A prophet is reckoned to have committed adultery with another man’s wife.
- A prophet indulges in calf-worship.
- A prophet’s son impregnates his own son’s wife and becomes the father of twin sons who are to become father of great prophets to come later (e.g., David, Solomon and Jesus). Yet this son is blessed by the prophet. Another son commits fornications with the prophet’s consort.
- A prophet abandons his faith in one True God and take to idolatry and builds idol temples.
- One of the prophets wrongly attributes his own false statements to God.
Need I continue any further to show how hollow such assertions about superiority of Judeo-Christian morality sound?39
Jesuit Christians give the impression that celibacy is preferred over marriage for the clergy. Yet a reading of the so-called New Testament gives the impression that the disciples of Jesus may not have abstained from sex (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6, 1 Cor. 9:5). There are now claims that Jesus himself may not have been celibate either.
As hinted earlier, according to early Christian fathers, truth is called falsification and vice-versa. In a Gnostic Gospel, an early Christian Theodore asks Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE) – an early Church father – the veracity of the recorded message that Jesus was a homosexual (na ‘oozu billah). In reply, Clements writes, “To them, therefore, as I said above, one must never give way; nor, when they put forward their falsifications, should one concede that the secret Gospel is by Mark, but should even deny it on oath.”40
There are Christian churches in the USA that ordain gay and lesbian priests and draw their legitimacy from such claims. One simply wonders if sodomy and other forms of sexual abuse of children by Christian priests draw their moral justification from such records of Jesus’s life (na ‘oozu billah)! Evidence suggests that many instances of child abuse by clergy were not one-time, isolated incidents. Shielded by a church culture of secrecy, some priests preyed upon numerous victims during multiple parish assignments. Church records have revealed stories of many other repeat abusers, including priests who traded drugs for sex with minors, fathered children, and physically assaulted their victims. In the case of almost every predator priest, church officials had reports of abusive behavior, but allowed the priests to remain in ministry. In many cases, accused priests were sent for brief periods of psychological evaluation and then returned to parishes — where they abused again.41
According to Catholic moral theology42 (for ordained priests), priests can have sex three times a year (for details consult: St. Alphonsus Liguori’s work.43). In a 1983 doctoral thesis by Richard Blackmon, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner and 38% admitted to other sexualized contact with a parishioner.44 In separate denominational surveys, 48% of United Church of Christ female ministers and 77% of United Methodist female ministers reported having been sexually harassed in church.45 17 percent of laywomen said that their own pastor had sexually harassed them. Ten percent of Protestant pastors had been sexually active with an adult parishioner.
According to the dictates of the NT, the Church does not allow divorce (Matt. 5:32). This ruling has contributed to illicit sexual relationship. Surveys by Baltimore psychologist and marital researcher Shirley Glass showed that 25% of wives and 44% of husbands in the USA at one time or another have had sexual relationship outside of marriage (USA Today, Jan. 9, 2003).46 It does not take a psychologist to understand the effect of unhappy marriage on crimes that is glued by Church edicts! [The leading cause of death of pregnant women in the USA is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).]
One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004). A recent survey in UK showed that the proportion of children born outside marriage has leapt from 12% in 1980 to 42% in 2004, according to the Office for National Statistics. In contrast, 15 other EU countries had an estimated average of 33%, the annual ONS’ Social Trends report said.47 In the USA, 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock. Sixty-five percent of never-married black women have children, double that for white women.48
As to violence, rape, murder, the less said the better. The crime statistics in any major city in the USA is sure to dwarf crime rates in many eastern countries.49
One simply wonders how much of all these immoral and criminal activities in the Christian society draw their inspiration from the Christian teaching of vicarious atonement, so tersely articulated by our Jesuit propagandist: “I do not believe that my good works get me into heaven. Only Christ’s good work on the cross does this – a bodily and literal crucifixion that the Qur’an denies in Sura 4:157!”
Succinctly speaking, Christianity has no moral high ground and has failed abysmally.50
In closing, let me say that unlike Christianity, which is responsible for breeding a society devoid of any moral obligation through its notion of original sin and the accompanying theology of vicarious atonement, Islam preaches individual accountability for oneself. Its practicality, notions of peace, justice and pluralism put it on a serious level to have a genuine dialogue of civilizations.51 Bigotry and racism should not stand in the way of the West to open that dialogue. They need it more than they are willing to admit it.
Islam, more than any other religion, embodies the concept of coexistence.52 Denying it will only reflect on one’s inherent xenophobia and bigotry. Let the Christian xenophobe reflect on Muhammad’s (S) statement:
“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
Such were the memorable words of Muhammad (S), the Prophet of Islam, in the year 628 CE, when he granted this historic document, also known as the Charter of Privileges, to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai.53
Is there anything remotely similar to this document that an Islamophobe can produce from his/her founder(s) of the faith? Not a chance!
Peace, Salam, Shalom, Shanti.
- See e.g., http://www.bare-jesus.net for a detailed analysis, which are unflattering to Christianity. [↩]
- For a short biography see here. [↩]
- See this author’s article, Islam and Co-existence. [↩]
- See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for a sample of violent and demeaning verses in Christian and Jewish religious books. [↩]
- We should not, therefore, be surprised with the killings of POWs in Iraq and Afghanistan by Jesus-loving, faithful Christian warlords. [↩]
- Deut. 18:18 offers a close resemblance. [↩]
- In a celebrated hadith Muhammad (S) instructed his army: “Depart in the name of Allah, and be His helper. And kill not any old man, nor young boy, nor child, nor woman. But be good-doers, for Allah loves those who do good.” [↩]
- It is worth mentioning here that this tax was collected to guarantee protection of lives and properties of the ‘protected’ people, who needed not to participate in Jihad. The dhimmis were also exempt from payment of other forms of taxes that were mandatory on Muslims. [↩]
- See the article: Non- Muslims and the Law of Social Security in Islam By Shaykh Shawkat Husayn – for an excellent analysis. See also: Anecdotes from the life of the Prophet Muhammad by Mumtaz Ahmed Faruqui; “A True Word – Here’s to You, Dr. Robertson” by Amir Butler. [↩]
- See also this author’s article “Real Islam and Jihad – a rejoinder” for an understanding on the subject of Jihad. [↩]
- See the Book of Revelations [↩]
- The Outline of History by H.G. Wells; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon. [↩]
- See also Acts 5:1-11. [↩]
- Quoted from Kurt Eggers [↩]
- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14577d.htm [↩]
- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm [↩]
- Edward Peters, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe; R. Dean Peterson, A Concise History of Christianity; James A. Haught, Holy Horrors; J.N. Hillgarth, Christianity and Paganism; Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy. [↩]
- A study of the lives of many former slaves who became the Companions of the Prophet (S) is sufficient to prove this. For instance, Salman al-Farisi’s (RA) slave master was a wealthy Jew from Banu Qurayza. (See also Maulana Rumi’s masterpiece – Mathnabi.) [↩]
- Human Rights in Islam by Abul ‘Ala Mawdudi. [↩]
- Read this author’s The Book of Devotional Stories (in print) for stories of some of these early Muslims. [↩]
- See the Qur’an for many such references, e.g., 4:92, 5:89, 58:3, 90:13, 24:33, 9:60, 2:177, 2:221, 4:25, 4:36. [↩]
- See Fethullah Gulen’s article: How is it that Islam, a religion inspired by God for the good of humanity, allows slavery? [↩]
- According to some historians, eighteen million Africans are estimated to have died during the Atlantic slave trade. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved. Howard Zinn puts the number at 40 million. [↩]
- See, this author’s “An anatomy of racism” and “White Man’s Burden: the never-ending saga.” [↩]
- The only real exception is Portugal (1761), however, the practice continued for decades in its colonies. [↩]
- For a full treatment, interested readers may consult Prof. Ali Mazrui’s books, including The Africans, a PBS Documentary, USA. [↩]
- http://www.sudanembassy.org/ (and click the link to The Sudan Slave Trade). [↩]
- See, e.g., Choose: Islam Scary, Lite or Dry?by David Need for a review on Spencer’s book. [↩]
- A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson. [↩]
- Heritage: Civilization and the Jews by Abba Eban. [↩]
- For a brief review of the book, see: http://www.muhajabah.com/jewsofislam.htm [↩]
- op. cit., pp. 631-3 [↩]
- See this author’s article: The Case of Jerusalem — for a detailed treatment of the holy city. [↩]
- Edward H. Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, 1985; Michael L. Brown, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, 1992. [↩]
- Flannery, op. cit. [↩]
- ibid. [↩]
- See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for detailed analysis. [↩]
- See the book: “To pray as a Jew: a guide to the prayer book and the synagogue service” by Hayim Halevy Donin, New York: Basic Books, c1980. [↩]
- The interested reader may like the read Mowlana Rahmatullah Kairanvi’s “Izhar-ul-Haq” for a detailed analysis of the Bible. [↩]
- For details, see: The Gnostic Society Library, Gnostic Scriptures and Fragments, The Secret Gospel of Mark; see also Acts of John, from “The Apocryphal New Testament,” M.R. James – translation and notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 [↩]
- http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/12707654.htm; http://www.bishop-accountability.org/; http://www.telegram.com/static/crisisinthechurch/092205.html; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/pedo1992.php; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/extras/coverups_archive.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/040704_vermont.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/022804_victims.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/scandal/; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/1990study.php; http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MKY/is_16_29/ai_n15779345; http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/09/asb.01.html. [↩]
- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14611a.htm [↩]
- http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/129/St._Alphonsus_Liguori.html [↩]
- Richard A. Blackmon, unpublished Ph. D. dissertation (1984). The Hazards of Ministry. Fuller Theological Seminary: Pasadena, CA. Note: The author noted that 16 ministers did not answer the question concerning sexual intercourse with parishioners, indicating that the percentage is probably higher. [↩]
- Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (1992). Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Abuse in the Ministerial Relationship. Seattle, WA [↩]
- http://www.dearpeggy.com/announce20.html; Conservative estimates in the West suggest that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair (http://www.dearpeggy.com/affairs.html#3). [↩]
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4733330.stm [↩]
- http://www.saveus.org/docs/factsheets/portrait_black_family7-12-05.pdf; http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1264/article12985.asp. [↩]
- http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/; http://www.singstat.gov.sg/ssn/feat/4Q94/feat.html; http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/tool/; http://www.police999.com/stats/index.html [↩]
- See, e.g., the book: Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church by Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Penguin, 1990 [↩]
- See this author’s 1994 article: Islam and the West: The Need For a Bilateral Talk [↩]
- See this author’s “Islam and Coexistence” for supporting evidences. [↩]
- ‘Muslim History: 570 – 1950 C.E.’ by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation. P.O. Box 8231 – Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8231. [↩]