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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The Jihadi Job Application

application3-438x350Frontpage, by Robert Spencer, May 21, 2015:

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf was widely ridiculed in February for saying of the Islamic State (ISIS): “We cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war. We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.” Harf’s statement looks even more ridiculous now that it has come to light that the Islamic State’s parent group and semi-rival, al-Qaeda, treats potential recruits very much like job applicants.

The al-Qaeda application, released this week along with a large amount of other material found in Osama bin Laden’s compound, is an interesting transposition of contemporary Western workplace culture to the age of savagery: as matter-of-fact and routine as asking for references or people to contact in an emergency, it asks, “Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?”

The entire application is a similar blend of jihadist piety and bureaucratic officiousness. “In the name of Allah the compassionate and merciful,” it begins, “Important remarks before you fill in the application: 1. Please answer the required information accurately and truthfully. 2. Please write clearly and legibly.” It contains a uniquely Islamic confidentiality clause: “Please refrain from sharing the information you provide on the application with each other because it is a trust to Almighty Allah.” Any questions? “If you would like to discuss any further issue, please tell your direct brother supervisor.”

The form then asks for the applicant’s name, the date according to both the Gregorian and Hijri calendars, “Nickname/Alias,” “Father’s Occupation,” and other personal information, before getting down to brass tacks:

Date of your arrival in the land of Jihad:………………..

How long do you plan to stay in the (jihadi) theater?………

After asking about the applicant’s education level, the form asks: “When did Almighty Allah bless you with this gift?”

Then come questions about the level of the applicant’s knowledge of Islam – questions that John Kerry and Joe Biden and David Cameron and the others who insist that jihad terror groups have nothing to do with Islam must assume the applicants answered with “None,” “No,” and “No one”: “How much of the holy Qur’an have you memorized? Did you study Shari’a? Who was your instructor?” It also asks, “Which shaykhs do you listen to or read often?” and “Which shaykhs or Muslim dignitaries do you know?”

Clearly al-Qaeda was not looking for the poor, uneducated, misled, manipulated youths that fill jihad groups according to media myth. It asks: “Have you invented or researched anything in any domain?” Sounding like an application for summer camp but probably looking for young men who spent their summer days building homemade bombs, it asks, “Any hobbies or pastimes?” Other superficially innocuous questions have a clearly ominous edge, given the context: “Do you know anyone who travels to Western countries?” “Do you know any workers or experts in chemistry, communications, or any other field?” And above all: “Do any of your family or friends work with the government? If so, would he/she be willing to cooperate with or help us?”

“List the types of passports you possess,” the application directs. “Did you use a real or forged passport for your current travel? Provide details on how you arrived here. Did you encounter any difficulties on the road to this place?” Now that you’re here, when will you be going?: “Do you wish to execute a suicide operation? What objectives would you would like to accomplish on your jihad path? What ideas and views do you, your family, and your other acquaintances have about jihad in Allah’s sake here?”

And finally, after getting the name, address and phone numbers of those to be contacted after the applicant’s Islamic martyrdom, the application concludes: “Praise Allah, Lord of all worlds.” Not that this has anything to do with Islam, of course.

The application places the global jihad in a whole new light. It’s not just a vocation, it’s a job. Marie Harf and John Kerry are placing their hopes on the idea that those in the employ of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State will be willing to switch careers: from warrior for Allah to, say, Wal-Mart greeter. It is, unfortunately, unlikely that al-Qaeda’s pious applicants will find that a good career move.

Also see:

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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The lengths we will go to for free speech

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CSP, by Clare Lopez, May 11, 2015:

Beyond the sheer act of defiance in the face of tyranny that was the recent “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, TX, a deeper benefit is emerging: the swirl of controversy that erupted after two Muslim terrorists drove all the way to Texas from the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Cultural Center of Phoenix, intending to commit mass murder, is forcing us to consider what exactly it means to ‘defend free speech.’ And what we want it to mean…or are ready to accept that it should mean. Most Americans have no trouble defending the First Amendment – in the abstract, anyway. But now that defending the right to defy Islamic blasphemy laws comes with specifics like an art contest, with actual drawings of Muhammad, and prize money offered by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), and event organizers like AFDI co-founders Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and death threats—now some aren’t quite so sure anymore that this is the kind of free speech or these exactly are the free speech champions they had in mind.

So, there are the artists and cartoonists who draw images of Muhammad: the Albanian-born ex-Muslim Bosch Fawstin (who won the AFDI contest), the Swedish artist, Lars Vilks, and the Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard. And there is the Dutch political leader, Geert Wilders, who made a film that criticized shariah-sanctioned abuse of women. Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard is a free speech advocate who has been critical of Islam, too. These (and many more, including Americans who increasingly are labeled ‘Islamophobes’) are the champions of free speech who actually create the material shariah would label ‘blasphemous’ (essentially for daring simply to depict Muhammad in an image or criticize anything about Islam at all). Many have been targeted for death by the enforcers of shariah.

Then there is the Jyllands-Posten Danish newspaper that published Westergaard’s drawings and the satirical Parisian magazine, Charlie Hebdo, that generally takes swipes at everyone and everything, including Islam. These and a host of online sites (including this one) posted the articles and cartoons and images, thereby incurring the murderous wrath of shariah-adherent Muslims, whose doctrine and law explicitly enjoin them to attack such media and their staffs with intent to kill.

And finally, there are those like Pamela Geller who display and encourage and feature such material, whether in city bus ads, transit stations, or at the recent contest in Garland, TX.

The question that so many of the wobbly set now seem to be stumbling over is, At which point in the free speech process – creation, publication, or public promotion – does it become ‘provocation’ that ‘goes too far’? Does it ever? Is it even possible for speech to be ‘too free’—in America? Why is the abstract defense of free speech and the First Amendment so laudable, but when the abstract takes form in ways that boldly challenge Islam’s attempts to silence those who criticize, when the abstract is personified in a Fawstin, a Geller, Hedegaard, Vilks, Westergaard, or Wilders, then it’s called ‘incitement’ that ought to be toned down? If not their statements, then what would be an acceptable demonstration of defiance against Islam’s blasphemy codes? That is, if defiance itself isn’t just a bit too much these days…

The point is that unless we champion and defend the actual people who are the physical embodiment of those abstract principles we all claim to cherish, the principles won’t stand a chance.

My Winning Mohammad Contest DrawingBosch Fawstin’s winning drawing of Muhammad was neither crude, nor grotesque, nor tasteless. It was, in fact, the perfect depiction of the principle at the center of contention: the right to freedom of artistic expression. If the conquered civilizations of the Afghan Buddhists, Byzantium, Middle East Christianity and Judaism, Hindus, and Persians teach us anything, it must be that even the most determined defense over a span of centuries may not suffice to save a people targeted by Islam; anything less, never mind actual passivity in the face of jihad aggression, will lead inevitably to subjugation.

Some would say that Pamela Geller pushes the edges of the envelope. To the extent that this is true, it is because it is always out at the edges, at the frontiers, that the ghazi – the warriors of Islam – have probed and tested the defenses of their targets for any weakness. If no one confronts them at the frontier, they push onward, inward, to the soft centers of society. Those hardy defenders who hold firm out there on the frontiers stand between civilization and barbarism.

By all means, we need to have this discussion. Long overdue, actually. But let us understand that the debate is not about the principle of free speech, per se: we agree on that pretty unanimously. Rather, it’s about how far we are willing to go to support those who put that principle into action against an enemy that would shut it down completely if not stopped.

Also see:

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.

Videos! Media firestorm over Geller and Spencer’s tactics in the fight to protect free speech

freedom_of_speechI like Phyllis Chesler’s even handed assessment of this debate –

Many elitists and scholars favor  “nuance;” “sensitivity;” “anti-racism,” “inter-faith dialogue.” But they should favor freedom more and double standards less. Westerners have absolutely no trouble criticizing Christianity and Judaism. Why so much angst about criticizing one religion only: Islam?  If what Geller, Spencer, and Wilders have just done advances the cause of freedom of speech, we may not all have to follow their tactics, but we should at least acknowledge that we support their goals.

If not, what exactly are our alternatives?

There are so many videos coming out that I decided to post them all here. I’ll be adding more as they become available. If you see any good ones, please post them in a comment.

Update, May 6: 16 videos and counting! Some very good discussions going on. Say what you will about Geller – she has jump started the mainstream media into covering the threat to free speech! The people who attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest did so voluntarily with knowledge of the risk. And AFDI paid for their own security. I myself would not have used such a tactic but Freedom of Speech is an idea worth dying for. This is an opening to educate the public on just how close we are to losing it. It is interesting that Geller in the past has come out against Quran burning as being unnecessarily provocative and has said that book burning is not the answer…more speech is the answer. Going forward, I think it will be hard for her to pull off another event like this due to the cost and finding a willing venue. Spencer said it cost about 50 thousand dollars in all.

Update, May 10: Pamela has been pointing out something completely missing in the Garland jihad attack coverage –

If we had a responsible media, they would report more of the positive developments in light of the terror attack. The jihadists were the end of the line. By drawing them out, we exposed their network. We were able to expose the network without getting anyone killed. The FBI are now going after the sources. They are gleaning intel from their computers as we speak. We smoked out a terror structure.

The FBI has put more American terror suspects under constant surveillance following the deadly attack. Every city across US had “subjects of concern.” The military is taking the threat seriously enough to raise the threat level to one of the highest levels it has reached since 911.

Duke University Islamic Studies Professor Omid Safi Blames Critics of Jihad for Muslim Violence

By David Wood at Answering Muslims, May 4, 2015:

The Islamic Studies Center of Duke University has a message for critics of jihad: When terrorists decide to murder you for what you say, it’s your fault.

Omid Safi, Director of Duke’s Islamic Studies Center, was quick to condemn Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller for a jihadist attack on a Muhammad cartoon contest:

The fact that Safi’s comments don’t cause outrage at Duke University is quite disturbing. If someone were to murder, say, Richard Dawkins for his criticisms of Christianity, it would never cross my mind to say, “Two groups are responsible for the murder of Richard Dawkins: the people who murdered him, and Dawkins and his associates for mocking Christianity.” There is simply no connection, logical or theological, between (a) making fun of Christianity, and (b) being murdered. Hence, if a murderer were to attempt to make a connection, the rest of the world would be puzzled.

Omid Safi

Omid Safi

But Omid Safi is the latest proof that there is a clear connection between (a) making fun of Islam, and (b) being murdered. The connection doesn’t just exist in the mind of the murderer; it exists in the minds of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, including many moderate Muslims.

Yes, we can blame ISIS for beheading journalists. But we also need to blame the journalists for upsetting ISIS.Oddly enough, Safi’s attempts to blame Spencer and Geller for jihadist violence only underscore the need to address Muhammad’s teachings. Safi portrays himself as a “progressive Muslim.” But if even highly educated, “progressive” Muslim scholars believe that critics of jihad and sharia are asking to be killed, doesn’t this tell us something about Islam?
Following Safi’s reasoning, we shouldn’t be surprised to read future tweets declaring:

 

  • Yes, we can blame Boko Haram for kidnapping and raping Christian girls, but let’s not forget to blame the girls themselves. If they had been devout Muslimahs, they wouldn’t have been raped. So it was their decision.
  • Yes, we can blame Al Qaeda for the 9-11 attacks. But the victims of those attacks paid taxes to the U.S. government, and the U.S. government has killed many Muslims. Hence, those who died on 9-11 got what they deserved.
  • Yes, we can blame the Taliban for murdering girls who want to go to school. But since the girls decided to go to school, it’s their fault as well.

 

It’s sad to see that the next generation of Islamic Studies scholars are being taught that cartoonists who are murdered for drawing pictures of Muhammad must be blamed for their own deaths. But it’s exactly what we should expect when we realize that Muhammad ordered his followers to murder people who made fun of him. There is a connection between criticizing Islam and being murdered because the prophet of Islam demanded it.

Ibn Ishaq on Killing Critics

Watch the speeches at the AFDI Muhammad Cartoon Contest

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Thanks to Tom Trento and his crew at The United West:

OFFICER AND TWO SUSPECTS DOWN IN GUNFIGHT AT ISLAMIC CARTOON CONTEST IN TEXAS, POSSIBLE EXPLOSIVES FOUND

UPDATE, 9:20 PM: The car may contain explosives, according to WFAA8: 

Two men were shot and killed in a parking lot outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland Sunday afternoon, SWAT officials told News 8.

The two suspects drove up and opened fire on the center, which was hosting a Muhammad Art exhibit, and hit a Garland ISD officer.

That officer suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to a spokesman for Garland Police.

Police were searching the area for a vehicle that had explosives in it.

SWAT members were already at the scene for the art event.

Rowlett/Sachse Scanner reported on Facebook that a suspect was inside a nearby Walmart, off Garland Avenue and Naaman Forest Boulevard, with a hand grenade.

A 1,000-foot radius around the Walmart was shut down and the Academy Store was evacuated, according to that page.

UPDATE, 9:14 PM: Garland Police have reportedly evacuated a nearby WalMart and are searching the car the suspects allegedly drove to the event.

UPDATE, 9:06 PM: A local NBC reporter says the two suspects are dead.

UPDATE, 8:59 PM: Police have the area blocked off and have removed reporters for up to half a mile away. Helicopters are patrolling the skies and police are standing in the intersection, blocking the roads and are armed with M-16s. 

UPDATE, 8:51 PM: A senior officer has said that the officer taken to the hospital will be OK, and that the two suspects will not be OK. The 100 people being held inside singing the Star-Spangled Banner to comfort themselves. 

UPDATE, 8:45 PM: Police appeared to have escorted a few individuals through a conference room, and continue to patrol the perimeter. 

UPDATE: Suspects had two AK-47’s according to police on the scene. The officer has been transported to the hospital. The suspects are still on the ground at the scene. They are not moving and are not being touched at this time until a bomb squad checks out their bodies.

Approximately 100 people are being held by police in a secured facility inside the event.

GARLAND, Texas — Armed police officers rushed in to the Mohammed Art Exhibit and Contest and quickly removed Pamela Geller and whisked her away to safety after a gunfight erupted outside of the event. A law enforcement officer and two suspects are reportedly down, according to police on the scene. Three Breitbart Texas reporters are locked down inside of the event. The officers on the scene said that possible explosives were found. The extrication of Geller occurred during a live video interview with Breitbart Texas.

The attendees to the exhibit were forced into lockdown by police. Several officers entered to exhibit and informed the attendees that an officer was down, two suspects had been shot, and that possible explosives were found.

Breitbart Texas will update this post as more information becomes available.  Most of the Breitbart Texas team is currently on lockdown inside of the event.

Curtis Culwell Center Shooting: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know (heavy.com)

A shooting has been reported at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, where thecontroversial Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest is being held.

Two gunmen and a police officer were shot, according to WFAA reporter Jobin Panicker, who was at the event.

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The context and art exhibit, created in response to a pro-Muslim event in January that drew thousands of protesters, included the awarding of a prize to the cartoonist who drew the best depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. More than 300 entries were received for the contest, with an award of $10,000, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. An Officer Said They Are Concerned the Gunmen Had Explosives

The event was being livestreamed on YouTube. A SWAT team officer interrupted the event and told the crowd that two suspects had been shot. He said they were “worried” that the gunmen may have also “possibly had explosives on them.”

He tells people to remain calm and orderly as they brought them to safety. Someone from the crowd yelled to him, “were the suspects Muslim?” and he responded that he has “no idea right now.”

WFAA reporter Jobin Panicker tweeted that those in attendance at the event were moved into a secure room by police.

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Nearby businesses were also evacuated.

Panicker posted video of the event’s attendees singing the Star Spangled Banner after being evacuated.

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2. Police Said the Gunmen Drove Up & Started Shooting

Garland Police told Jocelyn Lockwood of NBC 5 that a gunman drove up to the event, got out and started shooting with handguns.

3. The American Freedom Defense Initiative’s Event Has Been a Subject of Controversy

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The event created controversy with some saying that it is an attack on Islam. The event’s organizers, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, said it was just exercising its right to freedom of speech, according to the Dallas Morning News.

4. The Organizers Created the Exhibit After a Pro-Islam Event at the Curtis Culwell Center

Read more at Heavy with updates

Islam is Nazism with a God

Published on Apr 24, 2015 by Eric Allen Bell

Islam is Nazism with a God. Islamic scripture teaches the hatred and killing of Jews. These teachings are right out in the open in Islamic countries and occur quietly in Islamic Centers and mosques in America and Europe. The solution is to educate the civilized world about the threat of Islam. The enemy of Islamic brutality is information. Spread it far and spread it wide. Spread it like Napalm. The Information Age with be the death of Islam.

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.

Oh.

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.

Oh.

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

Video: Robert Spencer on Hillary Clinton’s War On Free Speech

11436The following is the video of Robert Spencer’s recent talk at the Freedom Center’s Wednesday Morning Club on April 14, 2015.

He discussed “Hillary Clinton’s War On Free Speech”:

The Black Book of the American Left: Volume IV: Islamo-Fascism and the War Against the Jews

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Frontpage, April 15, 2015 by Jeffrey Herf:

To order David Horowitz’s “The Black Book of the American Left: Volume IV:  Islamo-Fascism and the War Against the Jews,” click here.

In this spirited and savvy collection of recent essays and speeches, David Horowitz argues that progressives, that is, left of center politicians, journalists and intellectuals have contributed to “undermining the defense of Western civilization against the totalitarian forces determined to destroy it.” Specifically, the threat comes from “the holy war or jihad waged by totalitarian Islamists in their quest for a global empire.” (p.1) These essays, many of which are lectures at university campuses or reports about those lectures, will reinforce the views of those who already agree that “Western civilization” is a good thing, that Islamism is a form of totalitarianism and that its Jihad is quest for a “global empire.” They may not convince those who think Western civilization is another name for racism, imperialism and war, that totalitarianism is an ideological relic of the Cold War and that an otherwise peaceful and tolerant Islam has been “hijacked” by violent extremists who misconstrue its texts and their meanings. Yet they may strike a nerve with those liberals who think it is absurd to deny the clear links between Islamism and terror and who, especially after the murders in Paris in January, understand that Islamism is a threat to the liberal traditions of Western politics and culture.

This volume addresses a by now much discussed paradox of our political and intellectual life. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, the liberal intellectual Paul Berman in Terror and Liberalism made the compelling case that the Islamist ideology that inspired the Al Qaeda terrorists emerged from a profoundly reactionary set of ideas which had lineages to Nazism and fascism. In Germany, Matthias Kuentzel, in his Jihad and Jew-Hatred:  Nazism, Islamism and the Roots of 9/11 examined in more detail the illiberal views of the 9/11 terrorists as well as the political and ideological connections between Islamism and Nazism. A number of us historians have documented those connections. The irony of the years since 2001, and especially of the Obama years, is that, with some exceptions, much of the sharpest criticism of the reactionary nature of Islamism and defense of classically liberal values has not come from the historic home of anti-fascism among leftists and liberals. Rather, as the 55, mostly short essays in this collection indicate, that critique has migrated to centrists and conservatives or those who are now called conservatives.

“Islamophobia,” the longest essay in the collection is co-written with Robert Spencer, also importantly draws attention to the international connections of Islamist organizations in the United States. The authors write that “the purpose of inserting the term ‘phobia’ is to suggest that any fear associated with Islam is irrational” and thus to discredit arguments that suggest a connection between Islamism and terror as themselves forms of bigotry. Horowitz and Spencer connect this criticism of the concept to discussion of the organizational connections between the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2005, the FBI seized the Northern Virginia headquarters of the Holy Land Foundation, then the largest Islamic “charity” in the United States. In a trial in 2007 that led to the conviction of the Foundation’s leaders on charges of supporting a terrorist organization, the prosecution entered a seized a remarkable document entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”(18)  The group’s goal was the establishment of “an effective and stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which adopts Muslim causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at directing and unifying Muslim’s efforts, presents Islam as a civilizational alternative, and supports the global Islam state wherever it is.”  Muslims, it continued “must understand their work in American is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” Horowitz and Spencer perform an important service in drawing attention to this document and to the political campaign that it has inspired.

The memo called for the creation of front organizations including the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Students Association, and the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Association for Palestine and the parent group of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR. Another front group identified in the Holy Land memo was the International Institute for Islamic Thought, said to have invented the term “Islamophobia.”  Horowitz and Spencer’s discussion of CAIR’s “Islamophobia campaign” is particularly interesting. In the Holy Land case, the US Department of Justice named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator and produced evidence that it has received $500,000 dollars from the Holy Land Foundation to set itself up.  CAIR was created in 1994 as a spinoff of a Hamas front group, the Islamic Association for Palestine, a group that the US government shut down in 2005 for funding terrorism. CAIR has defined Islamophobia as “closed minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims” and has described anti-terror measures adopted by the US government as forms of “prejudice” and “hatred.” The authors argue that the use of such terms has been an effective instrument in blunting or stifling criticism of Islamism.

On American university and college campuses, the Muslim Students Association and “Students for Justice in Palestine” have sponsored “Israel Apartheid Weeks.” In recent years, the MSA has been particularly active at the campuses of the University of California in Davis, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles in the anti-Islamophobia campaigns. Remarkably, such efforts have received support from coalitions of leftwing student groups active in student governments. The authors write that “perhaps the chief asset possessed by the jihadists is a coalition of non-Muslims-European and American progressives—who support the anti-Islamophobia campaign,” one that “had a venerable antecedent in the support that progressives provided to Soviet totalitarians during the Cold War.” (p.48) Again, the remarkable aspect of the current coalitions between Islamists and leftists was that these leftists were making common cause with organizations famous for anti-Semitism, subordination of women to second class status or worse and deep religious conviction, a set of beliefs at odds with some of the classic values of the radical left in the twentieth century. Then again, in view of the anti-Zionist campaigns of the Soviet Union and its allies during the Cold War and the hostility of the global radical left to Israel in recent decades, such “Red-Green” leftist-Islamist coalitions of recent years are not so surprising.

Horowitz sees a parallel between the “secular messianic movements like communism, socialism and progressivism” and the religious creeds they replaced. “It is not surprising therefore, that the chief sponsors of the blasphemy laws and the attitudes associated with them have been movements associated with the political left. It is no accident that the movement to outlaw Islamophobia should be deeply indebted to the secular left and its campaign to stigmatize its opponents by indiscriminately applying repugnant terms to them like ‘racist.’”  The invention and application of the concept of Islamophobia “is the first step in outlawing freedom of speech, and therefore freedom itself, in the name of religious tolerance.”(55)

The remainder of this volume elaborates on these themes with twenty essays on Islamo-fascism, thirteen on the Middle East Conflict and eleven on “the Campus War against the Jews.” Horowitz’ reports on his many speeches at various campuses where some of the above mentioned Islamic organizations turn up to protest. There the front organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood, especially the Muslim Students Association, emerged to challenge his arguments about the links between Islamism and fascism. Two essays are particularly important—and depressing. In “Suicidal Jews” and “”Hillel”s Coalitions with Israel’s Enemies,” Horowitz describes instances in which liberal and left-leaning Jewish undergraduates turn their criticism towards him rather than towards the anti-Israeli activists on campus.

This fourth volume of Horowitz’s essays depicts the bizarre nature of our contemporary political culture in which leftists make common cause with Islamists, Israel is denounced as a racist entity while the anti-Semitism of the Muslim Brothers, Hamas and the government of Iran are non-issues for leftists, and the United States government refuses to state the obvious about the connection between Islamist ideology and the practice of terrorism. The defense of liberal principles has liberal advocates but as this valuable collection indicates the core of the defense has become a preoccupation of the center and right of American intellectual and political life. This volume is an important document of that endeavor.

Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park. His most recent book is Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. His work in progress is entitled “At War with Israel: East Germany and the West German Radical Left, 1967-1989.”

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.”

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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.’”

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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.”