Robert Spencer: The speech the U.S. Catholic Bishops don’t want you to see


Published on Oct 5, 2015 by JihadWatchVideo

Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer was the keynote speaker at the annual convocation of the North American Lutheran Church, Dallas, Texas, August 13, 2015. He spoke about Muslim persecution of Christians.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops pulled their representative from the North American Lutheran Church convocation when they found out Spencer was the keynote speaker. Watch this speech and see what the Catholic Bishops of the United States don’t want you to know.

Love in the Koran

12004871_1480256405610313_643128217634284354_nPolitical Islam, by Bill Warner, Sep. 20, 2015:

Love is not a frequent topic of Islam, but it mentions negative and positive love. An example of negative love is – don’t love money. A Muslim should love his Muslim brothers, but not his blood relatives who are Kafirs. Allah does not love Kafirs.
Allah loves Muslims. The Koran says that you not truly righteous until you give what you love to charity.

The saddest part of Islamic love is that there are twelve verses in the Koran say that a Muslim is never a true friend to a Kafir. A Muslim can be friendly to a Kafir, but must always favor other Muslims.

David Wood: What Is the Qur’an?

Quran (2)Answering Muslims, by David Wood, June 12, 2015:

What is the Qur’an? Is it the Word of God? Is it the greatest book ever written? Are there scientific miracles in the Qur’an? Does the Qur’an promote justice, fairness, and women’s rights? Has it been perfectly preserved? Let’s find out.


Ten Fast Facts You Need to Know about the Quran

 Approximately 1.6 billion people are convinced that the Quran is the eternal Word of Allah. Given the role the Quran plays in world events, isn’t it time for the rest of us to learn about the book Muhammad delivered to his followers?

THE BEHEADING SURA: Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 8, ‘Booty’

7468acb2fffb50d4983d0633b9844c348d13dbf35d2da353f65442bc8c9f460d_largePJ Media, by Robert Spencer, May 22. 2015:

As we all know, Islam is a Religion of Peace. Barack Obama and John Kerry and David Cameron and the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN tell us that; political and media elites — left and right — take it as axiomatically true.

Now, we come to the Qur’an’s own evidence of that fact.

In Sura 8, “Al-Anfal” — “Booty,” or “The Spoils of War” – Allah speaks about Muhammad’s confrontation with the forces of the pagan Quraysh at Badr, during which the Muslim prophet … turns the other cheek! He exhorts his followers to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them! He begins a Gandhi-esque nonviolent protest!

Sura 8 dates from the second year of the Medinan period, the second part of Muhammad’s prophetic career. Islamic tradition holds that it was revealed not long after the Battle of Badr, the first great victory of the Muslims over their chief rivals of the time, the pagan Quraysh tribe.

The title of this sura is better known than most, since Saddam Hussein used Al-Anfal as the name for his genocidal 1988 campaigns against the Kurds, in which between 50,000 and 100,000 people were murdered.

At Badr, the Quraysh came out to meet Muhammad’s three hundred men with a force nearly a thousand strong. Muhammad had provoked the battle by sending his men out to raid a Quraysh caravan, telling them:

This is the caravan of Quraysh carrying their property, so march forth to intercept it, Allah might make it as war spoils for you.

As the battle loomed, according to Muhammad’s earliest biographer Ibn Ishaq, the Islamic prophet strode among his troops and issued a momentous promise, one that has given heart to Muslim warriors throughout the ages:

By Allah in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but Allah will cause him to enter Paradise.

One of the Muslim warriors, Umayr bin al-Humam, exclaimed:

Fine, Fine! Is there nothing between me and my entering Paradise save to be killed by these men?

He flung away some dates that he had been eating, rushed into the thick of the battle, and fought until he was killed.

The Quraysh were routed. Some Muslim traditions say that Muhammad himself participated in the fighting; others that it was more likely that he exhorted his followers from the sidelines. In any event, it was an occasion for him to avenge years of frustration, resentment, and hatred toward his people who had rejected him.

One of his followers later recalled a curse Muhammad had pronounced on the leaders of the Quraysh:

The Prophet said, ‘O Allah! Destroy the chiefs of Quraish, O Allah! Destroy Abu Jahl bin Hisham, Utba bin Rabi’a, Shaiba bin Rabi’a, Uqba bin Abi Mu’ait, Umaiya bin Khalaf (or Ubai bin Kalaf).

All these men were captured or killed during the battle of Badr. Ibn Ishaq says that one Quraysh leader named in this curse, Uqba, pleaded for his life:

But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?

In the confrontation, Uqba had thrown camel dung, blood, and intestines on the Prophet of Islam, to the great merriment of the Quraysh chieftans, while Muhammad prostrated himself in prayer. Muhammad had pronounced a curse on them, and now it was being fulfilled. Who would care for Uqba’s children?

“Hell,” Muhammad declared, and ordered Uqba killed.

The victory at Badr was the turning point for the Muslims. It became the stuff of legend, a cornerstone of the new religion. And Allah rewarded those to whom he had granted victory. In verses 1-4 he praises the true believers, who follow the Islamic rules concerning prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and address for the first time the question of the spoils of war from Badr. There was great booty for the victors — so much, in fact, that it became a bone of contention.

Muhammad was receiving questions about the disposal of the booty, and Allah tells the Muslims that that is entirely up to Muhammad (v. 1). This was in accord with a special privilege that Allah had granted to Muhammad. Muhammad explained: “I have been given five (things) which were not given to any amongst the Prophets before me.” These included the fact that “Allah made me victorious by awe (by His frightening my enemies)” and “the booty has been made Halal (lawful) to me (and was not made so to anyone else).”

Victorious with “awe” is often translated in other hadiths as “victorious through terror.”

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Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 7, ‘The Heights’

quran_cover-800x480PJ Media, By Robert Spencer On May 14, 2015:

Did you know that you were born Muslim?

It’s right in Sura 7, “The Heights,” which also contains a number of Bible stories from the Qur’an, all designed to — you guessed it! — excoriate unbelievers.

“The Heights” is another Meccan sura, dating from around the same time as Sura 6: Muhammad’s last year in Mecca before the Hijra to Medina. It begins, as do several other chapters, with a first verse consisting of mysterious Arabic letters — the meaning of which, we’re told, is known only to Allah. Then follows Allah telling Muhammad not to doubt the Qur’an, for it is “a Book revealed to you, so let there not be in your breast distress therefrom” (v. 2). After thus consoling his prophet, Allah gives us yet another warning of the dreadful judgment (vv. 3-10), when those whose good deeds outweigh their evil deeds will enter Paradise, while others will go to hell “for what injustice they were doing toward Our verses” (v. 9)  — that is, ayat, or verses of the Qur’an. They will be condemned (vv. 3-10).

Allah boasts: “And how many cities have We destroyed, and Our punishment came to them at night or while they were sleeping at noon” (v. 4).

Such verses about divine judgment do not necessarily refer solely to thunderbolts from heaven. The Qur’an also says: “Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands” (9:14). Consequently, jihad terrorists consider themselves to be the instruments of Allah’s judgment, destroying cities and punishing unbelievers in accord with the Qur’an.

Then comes the story of Satan (verses 11-25).

It begins with the creation of Adam, and Allah’s command that the angels prostrate themselves before this new creation. A hadith has Muhammad informing us that when Allah created Adam, he made him 60 cubits tall — that is, about 90 feet. “People,” he said, “have been decreasing in stature since Adam’s creation” (Sahih Bukhari 4.55.543).

However, Muhammad is also depicted as telling us that the first inhabitants of Paradise will be Adam’s size: “The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their centers. Their wives will be houris. All of them will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in statute), sixty cubits tall” (Sahih Bukhari 4.55.544).

He did not explain why they will sweat but not spit or urinate. The houris, of course, are the fabled virgins of Paradise.

Satan refused to prostrate himself before Adam (v. 11; we also saw this in 2:34). When Allah asks him why, he answers pridefully: “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.” (v. 12). Ibn Kathir explains that Satan was wrong about this. Satan, he says, “lost hope in acquiring Allah’s mercy” because “he committed this error, may Allah curse him, due to his false comparison. His claim that the fire is more honored than mud was also false, because mud has the qualities of wisdom, forbearance, patience and assurance, mud is where plants grow, flourish, increase, and provide good. To the contrary, fire has the qualities of burning, recklessness and hastiness. Therefore, the origin of creation directed Shaytan [Satan] to failure, while the origin of Adam led him to return to Allah with repentance, humbleness, obedience and submission to His command, admitting his error and seeking Allah’s forgiveness and pardon for it.”

Allah banishes Satan — from Paradise, according to most commentators — but allows respite, which Satan then says he will use to spend his time tempting the Muslims away from the straight path (vv. 16-17).

What exactly is Satan? That’s unclear.

Allah here groups him among the angels (v. 11), as he does elsewhere in the Qur’an (2:34; 15:28-31; 20:116; 38:71-74). However, Allah also says “he was one of the jinns” (18:50). The angels “do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded” (66:6).

Many of the jinns, however, “have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless.” (7:179).

This creates a difficulty. If Satan is an angel, how can he disobey Allah? But if he is a jinn, why does Allah blame him in Sura 7 and its cognate passages for disobeying a command Allah gave not to the jinns, but to the angels?

This has led to some ingenious explanations throughout Islamic history. The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn says that Satan was “the father of the jinn, who was among the angels.” Muhammad Asad identifies the jinns with the angels, but this contradicts the passages of the Qur’an that say the angels are not disobedient. The contemporary Islamic apologist Dr. Zakir Naik contends that while Satan is grouped with the angels, he is never actually called an angel, and so there is no contradiction. He says that Satan is nevertheless held responsible for disobeying a command that is addressed to the angels because Allah meant it collectively — all the angels as well as Satan should obey it. The problems with this interpretation are many [1].

Allah then recounts the temptation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from the garden (vv. 19-25). Then he warns the Children of Adam to heed the commands and signs (ayat) of Allah, and to avoid sin (vv. 26-41).

He recounts a conversation between the “Companions of the Garden” and the “Companions of the Fire” (vv. 42-50). The Companions of the Garden will point out that Allah’s promises have proven true (v. 44); the Companions of the Fire will ask the Companions of the Garden to “pour upon us some water or from whatever Allah has provided you,” but the Companions of the Garden will reply: “Indeed, Allah has forbidden them both to the disbelievers” (v. 50). Allah reminds believers to acknowledge and obey him (vv. 51-58).

Then Allah tells some stories of other prophets (vv. 59-95): Noah (vv. 59-64); the extrabiblical figures Hud (vv. 65-72) and Salih (vv. 73-79); Lot (vv. 80-84); and another extrabiblical prophet, Shu’aib (vv. 85-95).

These stories all follow the same pattern: the prophets warn the people to whom they are sent in language much like Muhammad’s, and they are scorned and rejected in much the same way that Muhammad was by those who are characterized in the Qur’an as hypocrites and unbelievers.

For example, Shu’aib tells the arrogant people of the Madyan: “We would have invented against Allah a lie if we returned to your religion after Allah had saved us from it. And it is not for us to return to it except that Allah, our Lord, should will” (v. 89) — just as earlier Allah says to the Children of Adam: “And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie or denies His verses?” (v. 37).

Lot’s story bears traces of the Sodom and Gomorrah incident in the Bible, as Lot tells his people: “Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people” (v. 81). Allah warns again of the destruction that will come to towns that reject him (vv. 96-102) — yet their unbelief is Allah’s doing: “Those cities — We relate to you some of their news. And certainly did their messengers come to them with clear proofs, but they were not to believe in that which they had denied before. Thus does Allah seal over the hearts of the disbelievers.” (v. 101).

He sealed over their hearts, so how could they believe even if they wanted to?

Allah then spends a considerable amount of time telling the story of Moses (vv. 103-171). He begins with a retelling of the story of Moses and Pharaoh, told in a way that suggests the hearers have heard it before: for example, we see Moses telling Pharaoh to “send with me the Children of Israel” (v. 105), but it is assumed that the reader will know that the Israelites were at this time oppressed as slaves in Egypt.

Moses performs various miracles before Pharaoh, as in the Biblical account — although when Moses’ hand becomes “white for the observers” (v. 108), Ibn Abbas says this was “not because of leprosy,” which is contrary to Exodus 4:6. The Ruhul Ma’ani says that Moses’ hand shone brighter than the sun. Pharaoh, as in the Biblical story, is unimpressed.

But Pharaoh’s magicians are, and say: “We have believed in the Lord of the worlds, the Lord of Moses and Aaron” (vv. 121-122). Pharaoh then threatens to cut off their hands and feet on opposite sides and crucify them (v. 124) — the same punishment Allah prescribes for those who wage war against Allah and Muhammad (5:33). The magicians pray that Allah will “pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims” (مُسْلِمِين, v. 126).

This is another reminder that the Qur’an considers the Biblical prophets all to have been prophets of Islam whose messages were later corrupted to create Judaism and Christianity.

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Don’t Take Jews and Christians as Friends?

kl (1)Frontpage, By Dr. Stephen M. Kirby On May 11, 2015:

Some claim that Chapter 5, Verse 51 of the Koran prohibits Muslims from being friends with Jews and Christians. Others claim that there are various ways of interpreting this verse, and that this verse is only advising Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as, for example, legal or spiritual advisers. Because the Koran is considered the timeless Word of Allah to be followed by Muslims, let’s see which claim is supported by Islamic doctrine.

The Koran

Since most Muslims do not speak Arabic, the Koran has been translated into numerous languages to help Muslims learn about their faith. Since it is blasphemy to provide an incorrect translation of the meaning of a Koran verse, there is a tremendous burden on the shoulders of the translator to make sure the translation accurately reflects the Arabic verse. With this in mind, let’s look at how 5:51 has been translated into English by Muslim scholars in five different modern translations of the Koran:

O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya’, then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust).

Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an, trans. Khan and Al-Hilali (2007)

O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, trans. Marmaduke Pickthall (1930; rpt. 1992)

You who believe! do [sic] not take the Jews and Christians as your friends; they are the friends of one another. Any of you who takes [sic]them as friends is one of them. Allah does not guide wrongdoing people.

The Noble Qur’an: A New Rendering of its Meaning in English, trans. Abdalhaqq and Aisha Bewley (2011)

O ye who believe! take [sic] not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali (2010)

For some years the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been distributing a particular translation of the Koran at no charge. This translation was done by Muhammad Asad, and here is how he translated 5:51:

 O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies: they are but allies of one another – and whoever of you allies himself with them becomes, verily, one of them; behold, God does not guide such evildoers.

The Message of the Qur’an, trans. Muhammad Asad (2003)

In Footnote 72 for this verse, Asad explained that “allies” meant “friendship”:

According to most of the commentators (e.g. Tabari), this means that each of these two communities extends genuine friendship only to its own adherents – i.e., the Jews to the Jews, and the Christians to the Christians – and cannot, therefore, be expected to be really friendly towards the followers of the Qur’an.

The Koran Commentaries (Tafsirs)

Asad referred to commentators who have provided an explanation for this verse. Asad is referring to authoritative Islamic scholars who have written commentaries (tafsirs) on the Koran that Muslims have used for centuries to understand the meaning of each verse. So let’s see how some of those authoritative scholars have explained 5:51.

In a section titled The Prohibition of Taking the Jews, Christians and Enemies of Islam as Friends, Ibn Kathir explained this verse by pointing out that,

 Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them. Allah then states that they are friends of each other and He gives a warning threat to those who do this, And if any among you befriends them, then surely he is one of them.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 3, p. 204

The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn (p. 256) explained that this verse meant Muslims were not to join Jews and Christians “in mutual friendship and love,” or “in their unbelief.”

The Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas (p. 143) stated that Muslims who take Jews and Christians as friends are “not included in Allah’s protection and safety.”

One might point out that these three tafsirs were written centuries ago, and then make the claim that the understanding of this verse has surely been “modernized.” So let’s look at two, more recent tafsirs.

The Tafsir as-Sa’di was written in the early 20th century. Here is how 5:51 is explained:

 Allah, while describing to His believing servants the ignorant condition and unethical demeanor of the Jews and the Christians, orders them to not maintain alliance with them. This is because the Christians and the Jews aid one another and are united in their opposition of others. You should not make them your allies; rather, they are your enemies and they care not the least concerning your loss; they will leave no stone unturned to misguide you. Only a person who is like them will make alliance with them.

Tafsir as-Sa’di, Vol. 1, p. 512

The Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan was first published on 1995; here is how this tafsir explained 5:51:

 The verse forbids Muslims to keep intimate relations with them and take them as protectors and helpers, because they are the enemies of Allah, the Muslims, and Islam. It should be noted that those who take them as protectors and helpers will be considered among them.

Tafsir Ahsanul-Bayan, Vol. 1, p. 616

So here we have five authoritative tafsirs joining together in explaining that 5:51 prohibits Muslims from being friends with Jews and Christians; and in the context of this verse, three of these tafsirs (including the two most modern) specifically refer to Jews and Christians as the enemies of Islam.

Additional Evidence

The idea that Muslims should not take Jews and Christians as friends is reinforced in the following verses of the Koran:

Chapter 5, Verse 82

Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) the Jews…

Chapter 9, Verse 29

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

Chapter 98, Verse 6

Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qu’ran and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun, will abide in the fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.

These ill-feelings towards Jews and Christians were repeated in teachings of Muhammad, e.g.:

 Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said: Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it.

Sahih Muslim, No. 2167

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight against the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’”

Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 2926

Muhammad even said that Jews and Christians would take the place of Muslims in Hell:

 Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: No Muslim would die but Allah would admit instead of him a Jew or a Christian in Hell-Fire.

Sahih Muslim, No. 2767R1

And on his death bed Muhammad had this to say regarding Jews and Christians:

 It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. Al-Khattab that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) saying: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims.

Sahih Muslim, No. 1767


In 5:51 Allah commands Muslims not to be friends with Jews and Christians. This understanding is supported by five modern translations of the Koran; the message of additional verses of the Koran; five authoritative tafsirs, written at different times between circa 900-1995 AD; and the teachings of Muhammad.

But what about Muslims who appear to be friends with Jews and Christians in defiance of Allah’s timeless command? There are a number of explanations:

  1. In reality they might be following another command of Allah: Chapter 3, Verse 28 of the Koran allows Muslims to pretend to be friends with non-Muslims if those Muslims live in a non-Muslim society and fear for their safety.
  1. They might just decide they can actively deny certain verses in the Koran. But Muhammad had a warning about this:

 It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever denies a Verse of the Qur’an, it is permissible to strike his neck (i.e. execute him)…”

Sunan Ibn Majah, No. 2539

  1. They might just use their own personal opinion in re-interpreting the commands of Allah. But Muhammad had a warning about this too:

Muhammad bin Jarir reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet said, ‘Whoever explains the Qur’an with his opinion or with what he has no knowledge of, then let him assume his seat in the Fire.’

Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 1, pp. 32-33

  1. Or they might just simply decide to passively ignore this timeless command from Allah.

Keep in mind that denying or ignoring a doctrine does not mean that doctrine is no longer valid. 5:51 is a valid part of Islamic doctrine and has been so since the 7th century. And anytime a wayward Muslim wants to, he can return to that doctrine.

Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 6, ‘Cattle’

quran2PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, May 5, 2015:

After five chapters denouncing unbelievers, the Qur’an’s sixth sura, “Cattle,” spends most of its time … denouncing unbelievers.

Are you starting to notice a pattern?

“Cattle” dates, according to Islamic tradition, from Muhammad’s last year in Mecca, before the Hijra, or Flight, to Medina during the twelfth year of his prophetic career. In Medina he became for the first time a political and military leader as well as a religious one. At Mecca, he had been solely a preacher of his new and uncompromising monotheism in an atmosphere of increasing antagonism with his own tribe, the Quraysh, who were pagans and polytheists.

Sura 6 is preoccupied with that antagonism, and features, among imprecations against the unbelievers, Allah speaking to Muhammad to console him for the Quraysh’s rejection of his message.

Allah begins by reaffirming that the unbelievers have rejected the truth of their Creator (vv.. 1-12). He warns: “See they not how many of those before them We did destroy?” (v. 6). Allah mocks their unbelief, saying that if he had sent Muhammad a “a written message on parchment,” the unbelievers would have dismissed it as “obvious magic” (v. 7), and if he had sent an angel in the form of a man, they would have just been confused (v. 9). Nothing will satisfy the unbelievers: they are inherently perverse.

If you ever get into a discussion or debate with a devout and knowledgeable Muslim, you will see this contempt for unbelievers up close — it’s imbibed from the Qur’an.

Then Allah emphasizes his own oneness (vv. 13-32), and claims that “those to whom We have given the Book” — that is, the Jews and Christians — “know this” — that is, the truth of Muhammad’s message — “as they know their own sons” (v. 20).

This is because, says Ibn Kathir, “they received good news from the previous Messengers and Prophets about the coming of Muhammad, his attributes, homeland, his migration, and the description of his Ummah.” That is, their unbelief in Islam is not a sincere rejection based on honest conviction, but sheer perversity: they “lie against their own souls” (v. 24).

And there is nothing worse than this. Nothing. 

Allah asks, “And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie or denies His verses?” (v. 21). “Verses” here again, is ayat or signs, the name used for the verses of the Qur’an: they’re signs of the truth of Allah. Allah emphasizes here that there can be no greater sin than shirk, the association of partners with him. The Tafsir al-Jalalayn asks, “And who, that is, none, does greater evil than he who invents a lie against God, by ascribing to Him an associate, or denies His signs?”

In Islam, there is no greater evil. In 1997 the “Invitation to Islam” newsletter asserted [1]:

Murder, rape, child molesting and genocide. These are all some of the appalling crimes which occur in our world today. Many would think that these are the worst possible offences which could be committed. But there is something which outweighs all of these crimes put together: It is the crime of shirk.

Some people may question this notion. But when viewed in a proper context, the fact that there is no crime worse then shirk, will become evident to every sincere person.

There is no doubt that the above crimes are indeed terrible, but their comparison with shirk shows that they do not hold much significance in relation to this travesty. When a man murders, rapes or steals, the injustice which is done is directed primarily at other humans. But when a man commits shirk, the injustice is directed towards the Creator of the heavens and the earth; Allah. When a person is murdered, all sorts of reasons and explanations are given. But one thing that the murderer cannot claim, is that the murdered was someone who provided him with food, shelter, clothing and all the other things which keep humans aloft in this life.

Yet those who commit this worst of all sins are still doing so not out of their own free choice, but because Allah has “thrown veils on their hearts,” so that they do not understand Muhammad’s message (v. 25). Hellfire awaits them (vv. 26, 30).

Muslims should be careful not to value the things of this world, for “What is the life of this world but play and amusement?” (v. 32). Says the Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, “Do you not comprehend that this world is evanescent and that the Hereafter is everlasting?”

Many do not. In verses 33-73 Allah consoles Muhammad for the unbelievers’ rejection of his message: “We know indeed the grief which their words do cause thee” (v. 33), but they are “deaf and dumb” (v. 39), and wouldn’t believe even if they witnessed great miracles (vv. 35, 37). The fact that Allah, in a perfect book that has existed from all eternity, is so solicitous of his prophet and concerned about his grief at being rejected, is for pious Muslims only further confirmation of Muhammad’s importance and exalted status. Allah’s solicitude for Muhammad became the springboard for an exaltation of Muhammad in the Islamic mystical tradition. The Persian Sufi mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj (858-922) said that Allah “has not created anything that is dearer to him than Muhammad and his family.” The Persian poet Rumi (Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, 1207-1273) said that the scent of roses was that of the sweat of the Prophet of Islam:

Root and branch of the roses is
the lovely sweat of Mustafa [that is, Muhammad],
And by his power the rose’s crescent
grows now into a full moon.

Likewise a modern Arab writer opined that Allah “created Muhammad’s body in such unsurpassable beauty as had neither before him nor after him been seen in a human being. If the whole beauty of the Prophet were unveiled before our eyes, they could not bear its splendor.”

In verses 40-49 Allah discusses how he has sent messengers all over the world, warning of punishment to those who disbelieve. He then instructs Muhammad to issue various warnings to the unbelievers (vv. 5-58). The he emphasizes his absolute sovereignty (vv. 50-59), with v. 59 making a succinct statement of his omniscience: “And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry but that it is in a clear record.” (Similarly, “We have neglected nothing in the Book,” v. 38, is believed by some Islamic interpreters to refer to theLawhul Mahfuz, the Protected Tablet, on which Allah has written everything that occurs in the universe, even the minutest actions of animals and birds.) Allah tells Muhammad to “leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world” (v. 70).

Then he discusses Abraham rejecting polytheism by noting the deficiencies of various pagan objects of worship: the stars, the moon, the sun (vv. 74-83). Those who glibly associate Allah with the moon-god — a pre-Islamic Arabian god of war — should note v. 77: “When he saw the moon rising in splendour, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when the moon set, he said: ‘unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.’”

Allah then expands upon the immediately preceding discussion of Abraham’s rejection of idolatry by enumerating the other prophets of Islam (remember, Abraham was a Muslim according to Qur’an 3:67): Noah before Abraham, then Abraham’s children Isaac and Jacob, and then after that David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Elijah, Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot (vv. 84-90).

These are, of course, all Biblical figures, although we shall see later on that the Qur’an does discuss some prophets who don’t appear in the Bible. Nevertheless, the Qur’an situates Muhammad as the crown and perfection of the Biblical prophetic tradition, explaining the differences between what Jews and Christians understand Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the rest to have said and what Muslims believe they said to the Christian corruption of their own scriptures.

Allah then goes back to emphasizing his oneness, and the dependence of all creation upon him (vv. 91-103). He begins this with yet another accusation that the Jews are not obeying the revelations given to Moses: they display it (“make it into separate sheets for show”) but they don’t obey it (they “conceal much of its contents”) (v. 91). Allah chastises those who say that he has not revealed anything to any human being. According to As-Suyuti’s Ad-Durrul Manthur, this verse was revealed after Muhammad teased a “hefty” Jewish scholar named Malik bin Sayf. Muhammad asked him, “Did you see in the Torah that Allah detests a hefty scholar?” Malik bin Sayf was enraged and shouted: “By Allah! Allah has not revealed anything to any human being!” His outburst is quoted, and rebuked, in v. 91.

The Qur’an is the “most blessed book,” confirming previous revelations. It also equips Muhammad to warn the “Mother of Villages” — that is, Mecca — of the impending judgment upon those who do not accept Islam (v. 92) and “invent a lie against Allah” (v. 93). Everyone will appear before Allah alone on the Day of Judgment, with no help from family or friends (v. 94). Allah pens a stirring meditation (vv. 95-103) on how he makes all things grow, sends the rain, and oversees all things: “No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things” (v. 103). (لاَّ تُدْرِكُهُ الأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الأَبْصَارَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِ) A beautiful verse in any language. He also attempts a reductio ad absurdum on the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation: “How can He have a son when He hath no consort?” (v. 101) Ibn Kathir asks: “How can He have a wife from His creation who is suitable for His majesty, when there is none like Him How can He have a child? Then Verily, Allah is Glorified above having a son.” The idea that fatherhood and sonship might not be conceived of in physical terms is not considered.

In verses 104-117 Allah tells Muhammad to “turn aside from those who join gods with Allah” (v. 106), for “had Allah willed, they had not been idolatrous,” and it’s not Muhammad’s problem: “We have not set thee as a keeper over them, nor art thou responsible for them” (v. 107). The Muslims should not revile the gods of the unbelievers, lest the unbelievers revile Allah (v. 108); according to As-Suyuti’s Lubabun Nuqul, Allah revealed this verse in response to an actual incident, when the pagans responded to the Muslims’ denigration of their gods by denigrating Allah. Every prophet has enemies — devils who are both humans and jinn (v. 112). The jinn (from which comes the English “genie”) are spirit beings who can see humans, but humans cannot see them. The messengers from Allah have come to them also (v. 130).

Allah then tells Muslims not to eat meat unless Allah’s name has been pronounced over it (vv. 118-121); this is the foundation for the halal preparation of meat, which dictates that the jugular vein, windpipe and foodpipe of the animal be severed after the butcher recites “In the name of Allah.” Then the blood is drained out. The Muslims would be “pagans” if they obeyed the advice of unbelievers in this matter (v. 121).

According to Ibn Kathir, this means that “when you turn away from Allah’s command and Legislation to the saying of anyone else, preferring other than what Allah has said, then this constitutes Shirk.” (Shirk, of course, is the greatest sin of all, the associating of partners with Allah.)

This is one reason why democracy has had such difficulty taking root in Islamic countries.

Then Allah returns to the perversity of the unbelievers who demand signs from Allah but wouldn’t believe even if they received them (vv. 122-134). Whether or not someone becomes a Muslim depends entirely upon whether Allah wills to lead him to Islam or to lead him astray (v. 125). By following the “straight path” (v. 126) of Islam, Muslims will make Allah their friend (v. 127). In verses 128-131 Allah addresses jinns as well as humans, warning them of the same Judgment. Ibn Jarir and Dhahak say that jinn prophets were sent to the jinn; however, Mujahid and Ibn Jurayj contend that the jinn listened to the human prophets. This is the more common view.

Allah then criticizes various pagan practices, notably the sacrifice of children (verses 137, 140). “Be not prodigal” (v. 141) refers, says Ibn Jurayj, to over-enthusiasm in charity: “This Ayah was revealed concerning Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas, who plucked the fruits of his date palms. Then he said to himself, ‘This day, every person who comes to me, I will feed him from it.’ So he kept feeding (them) until the evening came and he ended up with no dates.” Others, however, maintain that it simply directs Muslims not to be wasteful in general. In verses 142-144 Allah forbids various pagan customs regarding the usage of animals.

Then in verses 146 and 147 Allah details the specifics of Jewish food laws. Allah tells Muhammad that if the Jews accuse him of lying about this, he should respond: “Your Lord is full of mercy all-embracing; but from people in guilt never will His wrath be turned back.” Ibn Kathir observes that “Allah often joins encouragement with threats in the Qur’an.”

The sura ends with a final appeal to the unbelievers in verses 148-165. According to Ibn Mas’ud, verses 151-153, a summary of what is prohibited in Islam, constitute “the will and testament of the Messenger of Allah on which he placed his seal.” One should not kill, since Allah has made life sacred, “except by way of justice and law” (v. 151). What does that mean? Muhammad explained that the “blood of a Muslim … cannot be shed except in three cases: in Qisas [retaliation] for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.

So adultery, apostasy and revenge are the only justifications for taking a life. Verses 153 and 161 repeat that Islam is the straight path.

Allah will “try you in the gifts He hath given you” (v.165). Muhammad explained this also: “Verily, this life is beautiful and green, and Allah made you dwell in it generation after generation so that He sees what you will do. Therefore, beware of this life and beware of women, for the first trial that the Children of Israel suffered from was with women.

Ex-Muslim Mona Walter Left Islam After Reading the Quran

Mona Walter

Ex-Muslim: Koran Revealed a Religion I Did Not Like

CBN, by Dale Hurd, April 28, 2015:

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Mona Walter is on a mission. Her mission is for more Muslims to know what is in the Koran. She says if more Muslims knew what was in the Koran, more would leave Islam.

Walter came to Sweden from Somalia as a war refugee when she was 19. She says she was excited about joining a modern European nation with equal rights for women. But as a young Muslim woman, that was not the Sweden she encountered.

A Real Introduction to Islam

It was in Sweden that she first experienced radical Islam on a daily basis.

“I discovered Islam first in Sweden. In Somalia, you’re just a Muslim, without knowing the Koran. But then you come to Sweden and you go to mosque and there is the Koran, so you have to cover yourself and you have to be a good Muslim.”

Walter says she grew up in Somalia never having read the Koran.

“I didn’t know what I was a part of. I didn’t know who Mohammed was. I didn’t know who Allah was. So, when I found out, I was upset. I was sad and I was disappointed,” she recalled.

And it was in Sweden that Walters says she discovered Allah is a god who hates, and that Islam is not a religion of peace.

“It’s about hating and killing those who disagree with Islam. It’s about conquering. Mohammed, he was immoral. He was a bloodthirsty man. He was terrible man, and Muslims can read that in his biography — what he did to Jews, how he raped women, how he killed people. I mean, he killed everyone who didn’t agree with him,” she explained.

Discouraged, Walter left Islam and became an atheist, until one day a family member encouraged her to read the Bible. She still remembers the first time she read Matthew 5:44, where Jesus said to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Christianity, a New Perspective

“It was very strange for me to ‘love your enemy,’ because in Islam it is ‘kill your enemy.’ ‘Kill your enemy and anyone who refuses Islam.’ But Jesus Christ was all about love and peace and forgiveness and tolerance, and for some reason, I needed that,” she said.

She went to see Pastor Fouad Rasho of Angered Alliance Church, a Syrian immigrant who ministers to former Muslims in Sweden.

“She started to believe and she came to me. And that was the beginning of her trusting,” he said.

When she accepted Christ, Walter said she felt “so happy” and “filled with joy.”

Walter says the Lord gave her a burden for Muslims who still do not know the truth about Islam.  And she began to study the Koran, and began copying verses from the Koran and handing them out on the street to Muslim women.

Rescuing Muslims with Truth

“Sometimes they listen and sometimes they become very upset, and I tell them, ‘You know your husband has a right to beat you if you don’t obey him?’ And they say ‘No, It does not say that.’ ‘Yes, it does say that.’  I thought if I tell them about Muhammed and about the Koran and about this god of Islam who hates, who kills, who discriminates against women, maybe they will have a choice and leave,” she explained.

But in politically correct Sweden, Walter has come under attack for simply repeating what is in the Koran.

“I’ve been called an ‘Islamophobe,’ and yeah [they tell me], ‘You’ve been bought,’ ‘You’re a house nigger,’ and stuff like that, terrible things, ” she said.

She has also been called a racist. Walter warns that Islamic radicalism is a serious threat in Sweden, and says Swedish society should care more about women trapped in Islam.

“[Swedes] will think, ‘Oh, we’re in Sweden; we have freedom of religion,’ but Muslim women don’t have freedom of religion. They live under the law of Allah, not under Swedish law. So they will suppose everyone has freedom of religion. We don’t have freedom of religion. It’s not for Muslim women. It’s for everyone else,” Walter argued.

Walter lives under death threats and sometimes travels with police protection.  She wanted to show us Muslim areas around Gothenburg, but had to first dress as a Muslim. She believes if she were to show her face, she would be attacked.

“I can never go to those areas just being me, flesh and blood Mona. I would never get out of there alive,” she said.

“I mean, Muslims are normally good people like everyone else,” she continued. “But then when they read the Koran, then they become a killing machine.”

“This so-called ISIS or el Shabab or Boko Haram, they’re not like extremists. They’re not fanatical. They’re just good Muslims, good Muslims who follow the teachings of Islam. The prophet Mohammed, he did that. They’re doing what he did,” she explained.

Walter now uses videos and speaking appearances to spread her message. And she says she won’t stop, even though her life is in danger.

THE WORST SURA? Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an, Sura 4: ‘Women’

PJ Media, By Robert Spencer On April 20, 2015:

Beating your wife? Fine. Saying Jesus was crucified? Not so good.

Welcome to Sura 4, “Women,” another important Medinan sura containing laws for the conduct of women and Islamic family life, and a great deal more.

Allah starts by saying that he created men and women from a “single soul” (v. 1). Many Muslims in the West have pointed to this verse as evidence that Islam recognizes the full human dignity of women. Ayatollah Murtada Mutahhari says [1] that “other religions also have referred to this question, but it is the Qur’an alone which in a number of verses expressly says that woman has been created of the species of man, and both man and woman have the same innate character.”

He then quotes 4:1. The “single soul” from which mankind was created was Adam’s, and while the Biblical story of Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib is not repeated here, Muhammad refers to it in a hadith that suggests that while men and women may have the same “innate character,” that doesn’t mean they are equal in dignity, for women are crooked.

The prophet of Islam is depicted as saying:

Woman has been created from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you; so if you wish to benefit by her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her. (Bukhari 8.3467)

Pictured: Woman who has not read Sura 4.

Pictured: Woman who has not read Sura 4.

Then comes the basis for Islamic polygamy (v. 3), allowing a man to take as many as four wives, as long as he believes he is able to “deal justly” with all of them.

According to the Mishkat Al-Masabih, Muhammad said:

The person who has two wives, but is not just between them, shall appear on the Day of Judgment in such a condition that one half of his body will be collapsing.

But of course, justice in these circumstances is in the eye of the beholder. Ibn Kathir says this the requirement to deal justly with one’s wives is no big deal, since treating them justly isn’t the same as treating them equally:

It is not obligatory to treat them equally, rather it is recommended. So if one does so, that is good, and if not, there is no harm on him.

And as for polygamy, why don’t women get to have four husbands? Muhammad Asad notes:

One might ask why the same latitude has not been given to women as well; but the answer is simple. Notwithstanding the spiritual factor of love which influences the relations between man and woman, the determinant biological reason for the sexual urge is, in both sexes, procreation: and whereas a woman can, at one time, conceive a child from one man only and has to carry it for nine months before she can conceive another, a man can beget a child every time he cohabits with a woman. Thus, while nature would have been merely wasteful if it had produced a polygamous instinct in woman, man’s polygamous inclination is biologically justified.


Allah goes on to say in v. 3 that if a man cannot deal justly with multiple wives, then he should marry only one, or resort to “the captives that your right hands possess” — that is,slave girls.


Slave girls, just like in the Islamic State, which everyone from John Kerry to Joe Biden to David Cameron — learned imams all — denounces today as “un-Islamic.”

Bulandshahri explains the wisdom of this practice, and longs for the good old days:

During Jihad (religion war), many men and women become war captives. The Amirul Mu”minin [leader of the believers, or caliph — an office now vacant] has the choice of distributing them amongst the Mujahidin [warriors of jihad], in which event they will become the property of these Mujahidin. This enslavement is the penalty for disbelief (kufr).

He goes on to explain that this is not ancient history:

None of the injunctions pertaining to slavery have been abrogated in the Shari”ah. The reason that the Muslims of today do not have slaves is because they do not engage in Jihad (religion war). Their wars are fought by the instruction of the disbelievers (kuffar) and are halted by the same felons. The Muslim [sic] have been shackled by such treaties of the disbelievers (kuffar) whereby they cannot enslave anyone in the event of a war. Muslims have been denied a great boon whereby every home could have had a slave. May Allah grant the Muslims the ability to escape the tentacles of the enemy, remain steadfast upon the Din (religion) and engage in Jihad (religion war) according to the injunctions of Shari”ah. Amen!

Allah also directs Muslims to “marry women who seem good to you.” Ibn Majah records a tradition in which Muhammad details the qualities of a good wife, including that “she obeys when instructed” and “the husband is pleased to look at her.”

Pictured: Feminists protesting against Sura 4. Or something

Pictured: Feminists protesting against Sura 4. Or something

In the following verse, Allah requires a husband to give his wife a dowry. Ibn Kathir explains that “no person after the Prophet is allowed to marry a woman except with the required dowry.” However, the wife may choose to free the husband from this obligation: “If the wife gives him part or all of that dowry with a good heart, her husband is allowed to take it.”

Allah then gives rules for inheritance and related matters (vv. 5-14). He directs that when an estate is being parceled out, daughters are to receive half the share that sons receive (v. 11). Why not? They’re “crooked,” after all.

Following that, he lays down penalties for sexual immorality. He prescribes home imprisonment until death (unless “Allah ordain for them some (other) way”) for women found guilty of “lewdness” on the testimony of four witnesses (v. 15). According to Islamic law, these four witnesses must be male Muslims; women’s testimony is inadmissible in cases of a sexual nature, even in rape cases in which she is the victim.

If a woman is found guilty of adultery, she is to be stoned to death; if she is found guilty of fornication, she gets 100 lashes (cf. Qur’an 24:2).

The penalty of stoning does not appear in the Qur’an, but Umar, one of Muhammad’s early companions and the second caliph, or successor of Muhammad as leader of the Muslims, said that it was nevertheless the will of Allah.

“I am afraid,” he said, “that after a long time has passed, people may say, ‘We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,’ and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed.” Umar affirmed: “Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” And he added that Muhammad “carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.”

Then Allah gives instructions for how to punish men who commit adultery or homosexual acts (v. 16).

Pictured: Guys who might not have spent so much at Kinko’s had they read Sura 4.

Pictured: Guys who might not have spent so much at Kinko’s had they read Sura 4.

The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn says that this verse refers to men who commit “a lewd act, adultery or homosexual intercourse.” They are to be punished “with insults and beatings with sandals; but if they repent, of this [lewd act], and make amends, through [good] action, then leave them be, and do not harm them.” However, it adds that this verse “is abrogated by the prescribed punishment if adultery is meant [by the lewd act],” that is, stoning. The Islamic jurist al-Shafi’i, it goes on, requires stoning of homosexuals also, but “according to him, the person who is the object of the [penetrative] act is not stoned, even if he be married; rather, he is flogged and banished.”

Read more at PJ Media

MUST READ: Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 3, ‘The Family of Imran’

1379610730_Quran_cover(Read prior installments here: parts one, two, three, four, five, and six.)

PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, April 13, 2015:

Are you a non-Muslim? Then Allah hates you (Qur’an 3:32).

Are you Jewish or Christian? In the Qur’an’s third chapter, Allah will tell you why you’re following a false religion.

The Qur’an’s third chapter is entitled “The Family of Imran” — that is, Amram, the father of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:20), who is mentioned in verses 33 and 35. Like most titles in the Qur’an, this title doesn’t denote the sura’s theme, but is just a word taken from within the chapter that is simply a means to distinguish it from other chapters.

According to Maududi, Sura 3, which is a Medinan sura, is “especially addressed” to Jews and Christians, as well as to Muslims.

It contains, he says, a “continuation of the invitation in Al-Baqarah [Sura 2], in which they have been admonished for their erroneous beliefs and evil morals and advised to accept, as a remedy, the Truth of the Quran.” Likewise Bulandshahri says that Sura 3 is a “talking proof” against the Jews, Christians, and idolaters, since it addresses them all. ”It invites them towards the truth and refutes their false beliefs, which includes the blasphemous ideologies concerning Sayyidina [Masters] Isa and Ibrahim [Jesus and Abraham].”

That concern is evident from the beginning of the chapter. Allah proclaims that the Qur’an now revealed to Muhammad confirms what was written in the Torah and the Gospel (v. 3). Ibn Kathir explains that “these Books testify to the truth of the Qur’an, and the Qur’an also testifies to the truth these Books contained, including the news and glad tidings of Muhammad’s prophethood and the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an.”


Allah teaches that the Torah was originally Islamic, but was rewritten by the Jews.

This again explains why mainstream Islamic tradition regards the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as corrupted: they don’t, after all, confirm what is in the Qur’an, and so Jews and Christians must have dared to alter them — and now, Allah says, “they were deluded in their religion by what they were inventing” (v. 24).

Asad therefore emphasizes:

It is to be borne in mind that the Gospel frequently mentioned in the Qur’an is not identical with what is known today as the Four Gospels, but refers to an original, since lost, revelation bestowed upon Jesus and known to his contemporaries under its Greek name of Evangelion (‘Good Tiding’), on which the Arabicized form Injil is based. It was probably the source from which the Synoptic Gospels derived much of their material and some of the teachings attributed to Jesus. The fact of its having been lost and forgotten is alluded to in the Qur’an in 5:14.

In contrast to the Jews’ and Christians’ corrupted scriptures, Allah has now revealed the “Criterion” (Arabic فُرْقَانَ — furqan, v. 4), which is, as Ibn Kathir puts it, “the distinction between misguidance, falsehood and deviation on one hand, and guidance, truth and piety on the other hand.” According to Qatada and many other Islamic authorities, this “criterion” is the Qur’an itself, although others say it refers to all the revealed scriptures — in their uncorrupted form, of course.

The same verse also promises a “severe punishment” to those who “disbelieve in the verses of Allah.” The 20th century Indian Muslim scholar Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani sees this as proof that Jesus cannot be divine, for while “God is powerful to venge [sic] and punish whenever He deems fit,” Jesus “cannot be a sovereign like God because he could not overcome the miscreants who were chasing him to kill.”

After saying that he has revealed this great Criterion of what is right and wrong, Allah cautions believers against getting carried away, explaining that some verses in the Qur’an are clear and some aren’t, “such as,” says the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, “the opening verses of some sūras,” including the opening verse of this sura.

These are not to be explored too deeply by the Muslims (although they have been): Allah warns that it is only “those in whose hearts is deviation” who “follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation. And no one knows its interpretation except Allah” (v. 7).

Why would Allah include material in his “clear” revelation of guidance to human beings that only he knows the meaning of? He doesn’t say.

Allah then exhorts the believers not to reject faith in him (vv. 8-27), and warns the unbelievers that grievous punishment awaits them in hell.

He refers to the Battle of Badr (v. 13), the first great victory for the Muslims, when a small force prevailed against a much larger army of pagan Arabs from Muhammad’s Quraysh tribe (they had rejected his prophetic claim). Maududi says that the first thirty-two verses of Sura 3 were “probably revealed soon after the Battle of Badr,” and this verse says that it was a “sign” when the two armies met; “one was fighting in the cause of Allah, the other resisting Allah.”

These armies “saw as twice their number,” which Ibn Kathir explains: “When the two camps saw each other, the Muslims thought that the idolaters were twice as many as they were, so that they would trust in Allah and seek His help. The idolaters thought that the believers were twice as many as they were, so that they would feel fear, horror, fright and despair.”

Allah, Maududi says, “gives victory to His believing servants in this life” — that is, the Muslims’ victory was due to their obedience to Allah. The reverse is also true: when Muslims suffer, all too often they ascribe their suffering to being insufficiently Islamic, and the remedy is always more Islam. There is no idea in Islam of the Biblical principle that the wicked may prosper because of the fallen nature of the world — in Islam, if the wicked prosper, it is because the Muslims aren’t Islamic enough.

Allah declares that “the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam” (إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَم) (v. 19), and that the People of the Book reject it only “out of jealous animosity between themselves.” The Jews and Christians, says Bulandshahri, recognized Muhammad “to be the final Prophet but their obstinate nature prevented them from accepting.” Allah says that they will be saved if they submit to Allah (v. 20); Bulandshahri continues: “One cannot force these people to accept, but can merely advise them. Inviting them to accept Islam is the duty of the Muslim.”

After that, Allah warns of his judgment, and above all warns believers not to take unbelievers as “friends or helpers” (َأَوْلِيَا — a word that means more than casual friendship, but something more like an alliance), “except when taking precaution against them in prudence” (v. 28). This is a foundation of the idea that believers may legitimately deceive unbelievers when under pressure.

The word used for “guard” in the Arabic is tuqātan (تُقَاةً), the verbal noun from taqiyyatan — hence the increasingly familiar term taqiyya. Ibn Kathir says that the phrase “except when taking precaution against them in prudence” means that “believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers” may “show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, ‘We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.’ Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, ‘The Tuqyah [taqiyya] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.’”

Read more

MUST READ: Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 2, ‘The Cow,’ Verses 222-286

1A6A9599PJ Media, by Robert Spencer:

Do you want a guardian from Allah when you go to bed? Find out how below — but if you start any anal sex, the deal is off. This segment of the Qur’an’s second chapter says that right out.

My friend Jeff once told me that he had tried to read the Qur’an many times, but he “could never get through the damn ‘Cow.’” With this segment, we have.

One reason why it’s tough to get through is because “The Cow” is packed with legal regulations. Allah, according to Islamic theology the Qur’an’s sole speaker (although he refers to himself in the third person often enough), concerns himself in the latter part of “The Cow” primarily with various laws for marriage and divorce (vv. 222-242). He forbids intercourse during menstruation (v. 222).

In the next verse, he tells Muslims, “Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish” (v. 223), which some Muslims understand as prohibiting anal sex — so says Ibn Kathir. According to a hadith recorded by the Imam Muslim, considered by Muslims to be the second most reliable collector of hadith (after Bukhari) and others, the Jews are behind the revelation of this verse. “The Jews used to say that when one comes to one’s wife through the vagina, but being on her back, and she becomes pregnant, the child has a squint” (Sahih Muslim 3363) — or, according to other sources, is cross-eyed.

To refute this, this verse was revealed: “Your wives are a place of sowing of seed [tilth] for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish” (v. 223). Sayyid Qutb says that the use of the word “tilth” (Arabic حَرْثٌ), with its “connotations of tillage and production, is most fitting, in a context of fertility and procreation” — or, as Maududi puts it, Allah’s “purpose in the creation of women is not merely to provide men with recreation.” It is also to provide them with children.

Allah’s regulations for divorce emphasize regarding women that “men have a degree over them” (v. 228). This may be why men can divorce their wives simply by saying, “Talaq” — I divorce you — but women may not do this. Such an easy procedure leads to divorces in a fit of pique, followed by reconciliation — and the Qur’an anticipates this and attempts to head it off by stipulating that a husband who divorces his wife three times cannot reconcile with her until she marries another man and is in turn divorced by him: “And if he has divorced her [for the third time], then she is not lawful to him afterward until she marries a husband other than him” (v. 230). This has given rise to the phenomenon of “temporary husbands,” who marry and divorce thrice-divorced women at the behest of Islamic clerics even in our own day, so that these poor women can then return to their original husbands. This practice has, as one may imagine, given rise to abuses, and a hadith depicts Muhammad condemning it. Muslim clerics insist that the poor woman’s new marriage and divorce must be genuine before she can return to her original husband.

Allah then goes on to detail the arrangements men make for their wives in their wills (vv. 234, 240); those interested in the doctrine of abrogation will be interested in the fact that Ibn Kathir contends of v. 240 that “the majority of the scholars said that this Ayah (2:240) was abrogated by the Ayah (2:234).”

After that, it’s time to rake the Jews over the coals again. Allah in verses 243-260 refers to several Biblical stories, none in much detail. The Jews refuse to fight after having been commanded to do so (v. 246) and they rebel at the appointment of Saul as king (v. 247). If Allah had willed, the nations would have believed the prophets he sent to earth, but this was not his will, although his reasons are left unexplained (v. 253). It would have been interesting to know why he sent prophets while willing that they not be believed, but we’re not let in on the secret.

Then comes the Throne Verse (Ayat al-Kursi), v. 255. According to Islamic scholar Mahmoud Ayoub, this verse is “regarded by Muslims as one of the most excellent verses of the Qur’an. It has therefore played a very important role in Muslim piety.” The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, is said to have agreed with a claim that this verse is so powerful that “whenever you go to your bed, recite the Verse of ‘Al-Kursi’ (2.255) for then a guardian from Allah will be guarding you, and Satan will not approach you till dawn” and with another about its being the “greatest verse in the Book of Allah.”

Qurtubi reports that “when the Throne Verse was revealed, every idol and king in the world fell prostrate and the crowns of kings fell off their heads,” and recounts a saying by Muhammad in which Allah tells Moses of the many blessings that people will receive if they recite the Throne Verse — another manifestation of the assumption that the People of the Book had at least some of the contents of the Qur’an, but perversely effaced them from their own Scriptures.

Immediately following that verse comes the Qur’an’s famous statement that “there is no compulsion in religion” (v. 256).

Muslim spokesmen in the West frequently quote that phrase to disprove the contention that Islam spread by the sword, or even to claim that Islam is a religion of peace. However, according to an early Muslim, Mujahid ibn Jabr, this verse was abrogated by Qur’an 9:29, in which the Muslims are commanded to fight against and subjugate the People of the Book. Others, however, according to the Islamic historian Tabari, say that the “no compulsion” verse was never abrogated, but was revealed precisely in reference to the People of the Book. They are not to be forced to accept Islam, but may practice their religions as long as they pay the jizya (poll-tax) and “feel themselves subdued” (9:29). No compulsion indeed.

Many see the “no compulsion” verse as contradicting the Islamic imperative to wage jihad against unbelievers, but actually there is no contradiction because the aim of jihad is not the forced conversion of non-Muslims, but their subjugation within the Islamic social order. Says Asad: “All Islamic jurists (fuqahd’), without any exception, hold that forcible conversion is under all circumstances null and void, and that any attempt at coercing a non-believer to accept the faith of Islam is a grievous sin: a verdict which disposes of the widespread fallacy that Islam places before the unbelievers the alternative of conversion or the sword.” Quite so: the choice, as laid out (according to a hadith) by Muhammad himself, is conversion, subjugation as dhimmis, or the sword: “Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war… When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them….If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.” (Sahih Muslim 4294)

Qutb accordingly denies that the “no compulsion” verse contradicts the imperative to fight until “religion is for Allah” (v. 193), saying that “Islam has not used force to impose its beliefs.” Rather, jihad’s “main objective has been the establishment of a stable society in which all citizens, including followers of other religious creeds, may live in peace and security” — although not with equality of rights before the law, as 9:29 emphasizes. For Qutb, that “stable society” is the “Islamic social order,” the establishment of which is a chief objective of jihad.

In this light, verses 256 and 193 go together without any trouble. Muslims must fight until “religion is for Allah,” but they don’t force anyone to accept Allah’s religion. They enforce subservience upon those who refuse to convert, such that many of them subsequently convert to Islam so as to escape the humiliating and discriminatory regulations of dhimmitude — but when they convert, they do so freely. Only at the end of the world will Jesus, the Prophet of Islam, return and Islamize the world, abolishing Christianity and thus the need for the jizya that is paid by the dhimmis. Muhammad is depicted in a hadith as saying: “‘By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts.’” (Bukhari 3.34.425) Then religion will be “for Allah,” and there will be no further need for jihad.

After all that, Allah exhorts the believers to charitable giving, and condemns usury (vv. 275-281) — which is the foundation of the Islamic abhorrence of interest-based banking. He then stipulates, veering from subject to subject, that two women are equivalent to one man in giving testimony (v. 282). Muhammad is depicted as explaining, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” (Sahih Bukhari 3.48.826)

So much for “The Cow.”

The Mind of Muhammad

Prophet_MUHAMMAD_by_SoulFlamer-CopyBy F. W. Burleigh:

For insight into the workings of Muhammad’s mind, consider Chapter 33 of his Koran, entitled “The Confederates.”  This is one of the chapters Muhammad composed in Yathrib (later called Medina) where he fled after his Meccan compatriots determined they needed to kill him to preserve their way of life.

The chapter is like a wild theme park ride that races in and out of numerous topics.  In the 73 verses that make up the chapter, Muhammad covers the following, using the God-voice he adopted for the Koran: He recaps a recent battle with the Meccans and excoriates people who were afraid to fight and die for him; he gloats about his extermination of the men and boys of one of the Jewish tribes of Yathrib, the confiscation of their property, and the enslavement of their women and children; he authorizes himself to take as many wives as he likes, permits himself to marry the wife of his adopted son, forbids himself from taking any more wives after he has taken as many as he likes, but allows himself sex slaves.

As the verses of this “revelation” continue, Muhammad imposes full body and face cover for women when outside the home, threatens people with humiliating punishment in the afterlife for annoying him, threatens to murder his critics, prohibits the practice of adoption, and dishes up images of sadistic torture in Hell awaiting people who don’t believe in him.  He also praises himself as a “lamp spreading light,” and holds his behavior as a “beautiful pattern” for people to follow if they want to score well with Allah.

Among the verses is a celestial advisory that he must be obeyed:

“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.”  (Koran 33:36)  [All of the Koran quotes in this article are taken from the Yusuf Ali translation.]

Despite their tediousness, it is worth exploring some of these verses because, in addition to providing evidence of his strange mentality, they also show that his Koran was like a blog in which he commented on the happenings of the moment.  The happenings of the moment recorded in Chapter 33 had to do with war, sex, and Muhammad’s betrayal of his adopted son.

In the war part of these verses, Muhammad covers the Meccan assault on Yathrib that came to be known as the Battle of the Trench, so named because of a three-mile defensive trench he dug around vulnerable parts of the valley to fend off the attackers.  By the time of this battle, he had been waging war on the Meccans for almost five years.  The two major battles of Badr and Uhud had already  been fought.[1]

The Battle of the Trench was the third major fight, which took place in A.D. 627.  The Meccans attacked with an army of 12,000 warriors, drawn from numerous tribes who were itching for payback for all the harm Muhammad had caused them.  But they were unable to get beyond the trench and finally gave up after a fierce windstorm leveled their encampments.

Verses 9 to 25 recap the action, but most are Muhammad’s diatribe against cowardly or fake believers who he was certain would have betrayed him had been given the opportunity.  But he declares that Allah did not provide them with the opportunity because he sent the windstorm that disheartened the invaders and sent them packing.  The battle was a test of faith of the believers who held firm, and Allah knows how to reward those who hold firm in their faith.

And rewarded they were: After the invaders left, Muhammad attacked the only remaining Jewish tribe of Yathrib and ended up distributing their wealth to the faithful.  When he arrived in the valley, half of its 20,000 population was Jewish, divided among three major tribes.  By the time of the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad had forced out two of the Jewish tribes.  Hoping to escape the same fate, the remaining tribe at first insisted on not taking sides during the Meccan attack, then agreed to aid the invaders, but then backed out of it.  Muhammad used this as an excuse to behead all of the men and boys.

Read more at American Thinker

MUST READ: Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 2, ‘The Cow,’ Verses 211-221

islamic doctrinePJ Media, by Robert Spencer, March 20, 2015:

When is it permissible to break moral laws?

That is the impact of the small, easily overlooked phrase “fitnah is worse than killing,” or “persecution is worse than slaughter,” which appears in Qur’an 2:191 (and 2:217).

Allah devotes a large section of “The Cow” (vv. 189-242) to answering various questions that the Muslims had ostensibly asked Muhammad. Allah begins his answers to Muhammad with “They ask you” (vv. 189, 215, 217, 219, 220, 222).One of these questions was whether or not fighting was permissible during the sacred month, which Allah takes up in v. 217.

Muhammad’s first biographer, an eighth-century Muslim named Ibn Ishaq, gives the background of this verse. After the Hijrah, Muhammad’s move from Mecca to Medina, the Muslims began raiding caravans of the pagan Quryash — Muhammad’s own tribe, which had rejected him.

Muhammad himself led many of these raids.

These raids served a key economic purpose: keeping the Muslim movement solvent. At one point Muhammad sent one of his most trusted lieutenants, Abdullah bin Jahsh, along with eight other Muslims out with orders to watch for a Quraysh caravan at Nakhla, a settlement not far from Mecca, and to “find out what they are doing.”

Abdullah and his band took this as an order to raid the Quraysh caravan, which soon came along, carrying leather and raisins. But it was the last day of the sacred month of Rajab, during which — by longstanding Arab custom — fighting was forbidden. This presented them with a dilemma: if they waited until the sacred month was over, the caravan would get away, but if they attacked, they would sin by killing people during the sacred month.

They finally decided, according to Ibn Ishaq, to “kill as many as they could of them and take what they had.”

On the way home to Medina, Abdullah set aside a fifth of the booty for Muhammad (as per Qur’an 8:41). But when they returned to the Muslim camp, Muhammad refused to share in the loot or to have anything to do with them, saying only: “I did not order you to fight in the sacred month.”

But then Allah revealed v. 217, explaining that the Quraysh’s opposition to Muhammad and supposed persecution of the Muslims was more offensive in his eyes than the Muslims’ violation of the sacred month.

The raid was therefore justified: “for persecution is worse than slaughter.”

Whatever sin the Nakhla raiders had committed in violating the sacred month was nothing compared to the Quraysh’s sins.

Ibn Ishaq explained this verse:

They have kept you back from the way of God with their unbelief in Him, and from the sacred mosque, and have driven you from it when you were with its people. This is a more serious matter with God than the killing of those whom you have slain.

Once he received this revelation, Muhammad took Abdullah’s booty and prisoners. Abdullah was considerably relieved, and asked: “Can we hope that it will count as a raid for which we shall be given the reward of combatants?”

Here again Allah answered in a revelation, saying:

Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah — those expect the mercy of Allah (v. 218).

“Fought” here is jahadu (جَاهَدُو), which is a form of jihad, and “jihad for the sake of Allah” or “jihad in the way of Allah” (جَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ) in Islamic theology always refers to jihad warfare, not to more spiritualized understandings of jihad.

Ibn Kathir, following Ibn Ishaq, also recounts this incident, which was a momentous one: good became identified with anything that was to the benefit of Muslims, and evil with anything that harmed them, without reference to any larger moral standard.

Moral absolutes were swept aside in favor of the overarching principle of expediency.

Sayyid Qutb explains that “Islam is a practical and realistic way of life which is not based on rigid idealistic dogma.” Islam “maintains its own high moral principles,” but only when “justice is established and wrongdoing is contained” — i.e., only when Islamic law rules a society — can “sanctities be protected and preserved.”

So evidently they need not be or cannot be protected before that point.

Like a rejected suitor, Allah then returns to the Jews, again reminding them of all of his spurned favors toward them (v. 211). He notes how the unbelievers scoff at the Muslims (v. 212) and then reveals in capsule form the Islamic view of salvation history:

Mankind was one religion; then Allah sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it — after the clear proofs came to them — out of jealous animosity among themselves (v. 213).

The people who were given the Scripture are the Jews and the Christians.

And Allah guided those who believed to the truth concerning that over which they had differed, by His permission. And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path (v. 213).

That is, Allah guided the Muslims to the truth about the things the People of the Book disagreed about. Ibn Kathir explains that they disagreed about the “day of Congregation”:

The Jews made it Saturday while the Christians chose Sunday. Allah guided the Ummah [community] of Muhammad to Friday.

They also disagreed about the direction to face when praying (qiblah), postures of prayer, fasting, and the true religion of Abraham: “The Jews said, `He was a Jew,” while the Christians considered him Christian. Allah has made him a Haniyfan Musliman” — that is, a pre-Islamic monotheist.

Don’t like the idea of waging war for Allah? Tough.

Allah exhorts the believers to fight, even though they “dislike it” (v. 216).

Maulana Bulandshahri explains the traditional view:

While the Muslims were in Makkah, they were weak and few in number, never possessing the capability nor the divine permission for Jihad (religious war). After migrating to Madinah, they received the order to fight their enemies in defense, as a verse of Surah Hajj [chapter 22 of the Qur’an] proclaims: “Permission (to fight) has been granted to those being attacked because they are oppressed” [22:39]. Later on the order came to fight the Infidels (kuffar) even though they do not initiate the aggression.

Bulandshahri was a modern-day theologian, but this view of the three stages of development of the Qur’an’s teaching on warfare is found in Ibn Ishaq’s Eighth Century work, and in the writings of mainstream Islamic theologians throughout the ages, including Ibn Kathir, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Juzayy, As-Suyuti, and many others.

Besides essentially destroying the idea of moral absolutes, v. 217 is also important for those who leave Islam, or wish they could:

And whoever of you reverts from his religion and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally (Qur’an 2:217).

The Tafsir al-Qurtubi, a classic and mainstream exegesis of the Qur’an, explains:

Scholars disagree about whether or not apostates are asked to repent. One group says that they are asked to repent and, if they do not, they are killed. Some say they are given an hour and others a month. Others say that they are asked to repent three times, and that is the view of Malik. Al-Hasan said they are asked a hundred times. It is also said that they are killed without being asked to repent.

After that, Allah also forbids alcoholic drinks and gambling (v. 219). Several early authorities — Ibn `Umar, Ash-Sha`bi, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Aslam — say it was the first of three verses to be revealed on this subject, and that would mean that the other two would take precedence over it. Here Allah says that there is “some benefit” in alcohol, but in 5:90 he says that it is “Satan’s handiwork,” which would rule out the ol’ demon rum as being beneficial at all.

Then Allah forbids Muslims to marry “unbelieving women” (v. 221). Ibn Kathir records a large amount of disagreement among Islamic authorities over whether this prohibition applies to Jewish and Christian women, or just to polytheists. However, he notes that there is Ijma — consensus — among Islamic jurists that such marriages are allowed, although of course Muslim women are not allowed by any school of Islamic law to marry Jewish or Christian men.

In a culture that requires women to be utterly subservient to men, these unequal laws ensure that non-Muslim communities remain subjugated, not enjoying equality of rights or equality of dignity with Muslims.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

MUST READ: Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 2, ‘The Cow,’ Verses 141-210

Reading the Qur’an to understand why Obama keeps failing with the world’s Muslim states. (Read the prior post here.)

PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, March 18, 2015:

How much is your life worth?

In Islamic law, a Muslim woman is worth half of a man, and a Jew or Christian is worth one-third of what a Muslim is worth.

Skeptical? Read on.


Continuing our tour through “The Cow,” the second and longest sura of the Qur’an, we encounter in verses 141-150 a discussion of the qibla, the direction for prayer. Allah tells the Muslims to face the sacred mosque in Mecca when they pray (v. 150), when previously they had joined the Jews in facing Jerusalem. According to Islamic tradition, this came at the end of Muhammad’s attempts to convince the Jews that he was a prophet in the line of the Jewish prophets.

Allah tells Muhammad that only “the foolish among the people” (v. 142) will protest the change. And who are they? You guessed it: the Jews. On that identification the relatively moderate commentator Muhammad Asad and the comparative hardliner Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri agree.

Asad says: “This ‘abandonment’ of Jerusalem obviously displeased the Jews of Medina, who must have felt gratified when they saw the Muslims praying towards their holy city; and it is to them that the opening sentence of this passage refers.”

Allah further criticizes the Jews and Christians for following “their desires” even though they knew Muhammad’s qibla is from Allah (vv. 144-6).

We already saw that Allah’s announcement that when he abrogated a verse, he would replace it with a better one (v. 106), and that some Muslims believe that refers to things in the Qur’an, and others think it applies only to the Bible’s having been superseded by the Qur’an. The change in the qibla has some bearing on this.

Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin and an important early Islamic authority, says that “the first abrogated part in the Qur’an was about the Qiblah.” However, there is nothing in the Qur’an directing Muslims to pray facing Jerusalem, so this is an abrogation of an extra-Qur’anic regulation. Abrogation, as we shall see, is far more important in other contexts.

The qibla change is also the first time that we encounter a running theme in the Qur’an: Allah’s solicitude for Muhammad. An attentive reader of the Qur’an will come away thinking that in the eyes of the Supreme Being, Muhammad is the most important person who ever lived — or the authors of the book wanted to make sure that readers thought so.

Allah presents the new qibla as if it is a gift especially for Muhammad, who “will be pleased” by the new direction for prayer (v. 144). Several other passages in the Qur’an show Allah’s special concern for Muhammad; another is Allah’s gently rebuking him for initially declining to marry his former daughter-in-law (a legendary beauty) when Allah wanted him to do so (33:37).

Such passages have led unbelievers to think that Muhammad was enjoying the personal perks of prophethood, but for Muslims they only underscore Muhammad’s special status: the details of his life, and even his desires — in longing to pray facing the Ka’ba — are vehicles through which Allah reveals eternal truths and divine laws. And his example is normative.

Muqtedar Khan of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy explains:

No religious leader has as much influence on his followers as does Muhammad (Peace be upon him) the last Prophet of Islam. … So much so that the words, deeds and silences (that which he saw and did not forbid) of Muhammad became an independent source of Islamic law. Muslims, as a part of religious observance, not only obey, but also seek to emulate and imitate their Prophet in every aspect of life. Thus Muhammad is the medium as well as a source of the divine law.

Allah then encourages the believers to be steadfast (vv. 151-157) and approves of a pre-Islamic practice during the Hajj (v. 158), the pilgrimage to Mecca, before returning to one of favorite themes: the perversity of the unbelievers (vv. 159-177). Those who reject Islam will incur the curses of Allah, the angels, and all mankind (v. 161), and will dwell in hell (v. 162).

Meanwhile, the burden of the believers is not heavy. They only need abstain from certain foods, including pork (v. 173). There are among the unbelievers those who stubbornly conceal what they know Allah has revealed (v. 174).

Those who argue about what Allah has revealed in the Qur’an are in “open schism” (v. 176). The Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that these are — yet again — the Jews.

After that, Allah legislates on various matters: zakat (almsgiving), the Ramadan fast, the Hajj, and jihad (vv. 178-203). He establishes the law of retaliation (qisas) for murder (v. 178): equal recompense must be given for the life of the victim, which can take the form of blood money (diyah): a payment to compensate for the loss suffered. In Islamic law (Sharia) the amount of compensation varies depending on the religion of the victim: non-Muslim lives simply aren’t worth as much as Muslim lives.

Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), a Sharia manual that Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar University certifies as conforming to the “practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community,” says that the payment for killing a woman is half of that to be paid for a man and for killing a Jew or Christian one-third that paid for killing a male Muslim (o4.9).

For an explanation of this, see the Sufi Sheikh Sultanhussein Tabandeh’s statement here.

The following are among the Qur’an’s most important words about jihad warfare (vv. 190-193).

“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress” (v. 190) is often invoked today to show that jihad can only be defensive. Asad says that “this and the following verses lay down unequivocally that only self-defence (in the widest sense of the word) makes war permissible for Muslims.”

However, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that this verse was abrogated by 9:1, which voids every treaty between the Muslims and nonbelievers. On the other hand, Ibn Kathir rejects the idea that the verse was abrogated.

What constitutes a defensive conflict? A clue to that comes in v. 193: “Fight them until there is no fitnah and worship is for Allah.” Fitnah is persecution or unrest. Ibn Ishaq explains that this means that Muslims must fight against unbelievers “until God alone is worshipped.”

Says Bulandshahri: “The worst of sins are Infidelity (Kufr) and Polytheism (shirk) which constitute rebellion against Allah, The Creator. To eradicate these, Muslims are required to wage war until there exists none of it in the world, and the only religion is that of Allah.”

That amounts to a declaration of perpetual war against all non-Muslim religions.

declaration of war

Nonetheless, this conflict would be essentially defensive, against the aggressions of unbelief: if Muslims must fight until unbelief does not exist, the mere presence of unbelief constitutes sufficient aggression to allow for the beginning of hostilities.

This is one of the foundations for the supremacist notion that Muslims must wage war against unbelievers until those unbelievers are either converted to Islam or subjugated under the rule of Islamic law, as Qur’an 9:29 states explicitly.

As the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, puts it in a hadith:

“I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.” (Sahih Muslim 31)

Thus one may reasonably assume that if one does not accept him as a prophet, one’s blood and riches are not safe from those who read these words as the words of a messenger from the one true God.

In keeping with the theme of war, Allah then warns believers not to doubt, backslide, or follow Islam half-heartedly (vv. 204-210):

“O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy” (v. 208).

This kind of statement makes reform difficult, for the reformer is always vulnerable to the charge that he is not entering Islam completely.

Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 2, ‘The Cow,’ Verses 1-39

Read the entire Qur’an and its commentaries with us, then challenge the Obama admin and the media to do the same. (Read about the first Sura here.)

PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, March 11, 2015:

Smell that? It’s Satan passing gas — the Qur’an’s second chapter must be being recited!

When you see the title of the Qur’an’s second chapter, Al-Baqara (“The Cow”), you might be tempted to think that it’s about . . . a cow. You’d be wrong. The chapters of the Qur’an generally take their titles from something recounted within them, even if it’s an insignificant detail. In this case, the chapter name comes from the story of Moses relaying Allah’s command to the Israelites that they sacrifice a cow (2:67-73), one of the Qur’an’s many stories from the Bible and Jewish tradition, altered and retold.

This is the longest chapter (sura) of the Qur’an — 286 verses. It begins the Qur’an’s general (but not absolute) pattern of being organized not chronologically or thematically, but simply running from the longest to the shortest chapters, with the exception of the Fatiha (sura 1), which has pride of place as the first sura because of its centrality in Islam.

This means that you should not take “The Cow” as the original, first, or primary message of Islam, simply because of its position. According to Islamic tradition, it actually dates from the latter part of Muhammad’s career, as it was revealed to Muhammad at Medina — to which he is supposed to have fled from Mecca in the year 622. In Medina for the first time, Muhammad became a political and military leader.

Islamic theologians generally regard Medinan suras as taking precedence over Meccan ones wherever there is a disagreement, in accord with verse 106 of this chapter of the Qur’an, in which Allah speaks about abrogating verses and replacing them with better ones. (This interpretation of verse 106, however, is not universally accepted. Some say it refers to the abrogation of nothing in the Qur’an, but only of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. More on that later.)

“The Cow” contains a great deal of important material for Muslims, and is held in high regard. The medieval Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir (whose commentary is still read and respected by Muslims) says that recitation of “The Cow” distresses Satan: he says that one of Muhammad’s early followers, Ibn Mas’ud, remarked that Satan “departs the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is being recited, and as he leaves, he passes gas.” Without Ibn Mas’ud’s poor taste, Muhammad himself says: “Satan runs away from the house in which Surah Baqara is recited.”

What Is Included in the Second Sura of the Qur’an?

“The Cow” begins with three Arabic letters: alif, lam, and mim. Many chapters of the Qur’an begin with three Arabic letters in this way, which has given rise to a considerable amount of mystical speculation as to what they might mean. But the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, another classic Qur’anic commentary, succinctly sums up the prevailing view: “God knows best what He means by these [letters].”

The verse immediately following those letters contains a key Islamic doctrine: “This is the Book about which there is no doubt.”

The Qur’an is not to be questioned or judged by any standard outside itself; rather, it is the standard by which all other things are to be judged.

The Qur’an Is Never To Be Doubted

That, of course, is not significantly different from the way many other religions regard their Holy Writ. But there has been no development in Islam of the historical and textual criticism that have transformed the ways Jews and Christians understand their scriptures today.


(No books like this are allowed, for example.)

The Qur’an is a book never to be doubted, never to be questioned: when one Islamic scholar, Suliman Bashear, taught his students at An-Najah National University in Nablus that the Qur’an and Islam were the products of historical development rather than being delivered in perfect form to Muhammad, his students threw him out of the window of his classroom.

The Condemnation of Nonbelievers

“The Cow” then gets going with something we find again and again and again in the Qur’an: an extended disquisition on the perversity of those who reject belief in Allah. This one sounds several themes that will recur many, many times. The Qur’an, we’re told, is guidance to those who believe in what was revealed to Muhammad as well as in “what was revealed before” him (v. 4).

This refers to the Qur’an’s oft-stated assumption that it is the confirmation of the Torah and the Gospel, which teach the same message Muhammad is receiving in the Qur’anic revelations (see 5:44-48). When the Torah and Gospel were found not to agree with the Qur’an, the charge arose that Jews and Christians had corrupted their Scriptures — which is mainstream Islamic belief today.

The moderate Muslim Qur’an translator and commentator Muhammad Asad, a convert from Judaism, states it positively:

The religion of the Qur’an can be properly understood only against the background of the great monotheistic faiths which preceded it, and which, according to Muslim belief, culminate and achieve their final formulation in the faith of Islam.

Another theme in this part of “The Cow” is Allah’s absolute control over everything, even the choices of individual souls to believe in him or reject him:

“Indeed, those who disbelieve — it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe. Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.” (vv. 6-7).

Free Will Is Anathema

The Qadaris, a Muslim sect early in Islamic history, held that mankind had free will, and was thus capable of choosing to do good or evil. Their opponents maintained that Allah determined everything. While both sides had abundant Qur’anic citations to support their views, eventually Muslim authorities condemned Qadarism as a heresy, as it restricted Allah’s absolute sovereignty over all things. Thus those who reject faith do so because Allah wills them to reject faith, as per these verses, not because they have free choice. Says Ibn Kathir:

“These Ayat [verses] indicate that whomever Allah has written to be miserable, they shall never find anyone to guide them to happiness, and whomever Allah directs to misguidance, he shall never find anyone to guide him.” (A good, brief overview of the Qadari controversy can be found in the renowned Islamic scholar Ignaz Goldziher’s Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law.)

“The Cow” follows this up with a condemnation of hypocrites and false believers, who frequently bedeviled Muhammad during his career as a prophet (vv. 13-20). Then comes the assertion of the sublimity of the Qur’an, such that doubters are challenged to produce a sura like it if they refuse to believe its divine provenance (v. 23). This is a challenge many have taken up, but of course it is the kind of challenge that can never be successfully met in the eyes of those who issue it — “they could not produce the like of it” (17:88).

The Virgins in Paradise And the Story of Adam And Eve

2:25 introduces the famous gardens of Paradise, wherein the believers shall reside — you know the ones, with the virgins and all that. More on that later.

Then 2:30-39 tells the story of Adam and Eve, in a manner suggesting that the hearers of the recitation are already familiar with the story. Allah tells the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam (v. 34), a command that appears to depend upon the Biblical notion of mankind’s having been created in the image of God, although that idea does not appear here or anywhere else in the Qur’an or Islamic theology. According to Ibn Kathir, “Allah stated the virtue of Adam above the angels, because He taught Adam, rather than them, the names of everything.”

Satan refuses to prostrate himself, thereby becoming an unbeliever (v. 34), and tempts Adam and Eve with the forbidden fruit. Allah promises revelations to guide mankind, warning them that those who ignore these revelations will be punished with hellfire.

We’ll be hearing that many, many more times as we go through the Qur’an.