This is Part 3 of 4. Read the Moderate Muslim Response to ISIS, Radical Islam PART 1 & Intro here first.
The continued purpose of this series is to look at the actual text that a religion holds to be holy, authoritative and true as way of determining the truth about that religion, rather than looking at the opinions or behaviors of those who follow that religion.
- Page 6, Point #8: “All Muslims see the great virtue in jihad.” The Open Letter explains there is a greater jihad (the remembrance of God) and the lesser jihad (the killing of non-Muslims). Which, even if this is true in the Qur’an, which they don’t show directly, does not negate the command for the lesser jihad to still exist. The Open Letter doesn’t reference the Qur’an, but the Hadith (later writings by Islamic leaders) to show that “remembrance of God” is better than killing non-Muslims, but even this argument puts killing non-Muslims on the same level as paper or spending gold, rather than saying there is anything wrong with it. The Open Letter tries to make the argument using the Qur’an that killing non-Muslims is only meant to be done as an act of self-defense, when they have already been attacked by non-Muslims. Ironic that Muhammad himself didn’t follow this when he went out to conquer the nearby world, which they already alluded to in point #4. But more than this, back to the Qur’an. The verse they use (Al-Baqarah, 2:190) says, “And fight in the way of God with those who fight against you, but aggress not; God loves not the aggressors.” Again, leaving out the verses that follow immediately after, (Al-Baqarah, 2:191 & 193) “And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing…And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (Alone).” These verses explain that unbelief in Allah is worse than killing, so kill them all until they are all dead or they have converted to Islam. These verses have much more in common with a world conquest for Islam strategy than they do a self-defense strategy and again, are a strategy that Muhammad lived out with great success. In disputes over an area of land whose ownership has been in question and fought over for all of recorded history, it would also be pretty hard to determine at this point who was the original “aggressor” and who the one attacking out of self-defense or to take back where they were “expelled” from. In addition, how do you “overtake” someone who is attacking you on your own home turf? Doesn’t overtake mean to seek out and pursue?
- Top page 7: From the Open Letter: In any case, jihad is a means to peace, safety and security, and not an end in itself. This is clear from God’s words: “Fight them till there is no sedition, and the religion is for God; then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, save against evildoers.” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 193). –Yes you have “peace” once all the non-Muslims are dead, but killing someone if they don’t worship Allah is NOT A MEANS OF PEACE. Which is exactly what this verse is saying: “You don’t stop fighting until they desist in their worship of other gods. You don’t stop fighting until the entire world is Muslim. Then you have peace; thus jihad is a means of peace.” It’s conversion by sword and nothing more.
- Page 7, Point #8b: From the Open Letter: The reason behind jihad for Muslims is to fight those who fight them, not to fight anyone who does not fight them, nor to transgress against anyone who has not transgressed against them. You see the Open Letter trying very hard to convince ISIS, readers, and themselves that killing is only allowed in the Qur’an if the Muslims have first been attacked. Here’s the Qur’an verse they use to try to show this, (Al-Hajj, 22:39) “Permission is granted to those who fight because they have been wronged.” Last I checked, “being wronged” by someone is very different than someone attacking me with the goal of killing me. You can “wrong” a Muslim by saying something they deem offensive about Muhammad or the Qur’an or any number of other things. The verse goes on to again give the Muslim mindset for their “self-defense”, that they were “expelled from their homes without right” –One again has to take note that Muhammad started this with his conquests. Just because he claimed he was taking back what was his, doesn’t mean that land was actually his. And how much land could have really been his, because he certainly took over a whole bunch of it.
- Top of page 8: The Open Letter argues that Muhammad’s killing commands were temporary and conditional in that they only applied to the Arabian Peninsula ( Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, southern Iraq and southern Jordan ) and that they were fulfilled once Muhammad took over the entire Arabian Peninsula, so they laws can no longer be applied to today. The Qur’an they use for this claim is Al-An’am 6:92 “…and that you may warn the Mother of Towns [Mecca] and those around it… Mecca is a region of Saudi Arabia. The thing is, this verse has nothing to do with conquering or fighting or killing, it is referring to who the Qur’an was given to, which the entire verse clearly shows: And this (the Quran) is a blessed Book which We have sent down, confirming (the revelations) which came before it, so that you may warn the Mother of Towns (i.e. Makkah) and all those around it. How an ambiguous (“all those around it” is ambiguous) verse about who the Qur’an was given to is able to make the claim that Muhammad’s killing commands were temporary until he conquered the Arabian Peninsula is a spectacular leap. Then then quote Al-Baqarah 2:193 “…then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, save against evildoers.” Which is yet again just another way of saying “If they convert to Islam after you threaten to kill them, don’t kill them.” The Open Letter cites one 10-year treaty between two cities and two tribes (Sulh al-Hudaybiyah) that happened during Muhammad’s lifetime as further proof that these temporary commands to kill have been fulfilled and no longer apply. Point 8c of the Open Letter was probably the most illogical and sad attempts in the entire letter to get the Qur’an to say something it obviously doesn’t.
- Top of page 8: A Hadith written 500 years after Muhammad says that the innocents he killed were by accident. The Open Letter uses this as its only textual evidence to revise the history of what Muhammad actually did. By the Hadith admitting that Muhammad killed innocents at all is enough to proof that he did. Adding in that it was by accident 500 years after the event is more than spectacular, it only proves that it wasn’t and this is a very poor attempt to cover for what he did once people realized how awful it was.
This is a 4 Part series: Go to Part 4