Monthly Archives: December 2014

Islam 101, Part 2

Islam 101, Part 2 by Peter Burrows 12/27/14

“Islam is a religion that preaches peace—,” President Obama.

My copy of the Koran, the Yusuf Ali translation, is 423 pages long.  It would be longer in the original Arabic, which has repetitions and extraneous phrasing making it poetic and easier to remember. In fact, “Koran” means “recitation” in Arabic, and much of the Koran was transcribed from the memories of close followers of Muhammad shortly after his death in 632 A.D.

Technically, any translation from the original Arabic is a blasphemy, but one tolerated to help spread Islam.  Since translations differ on Arabic interpretations, to be an Islamic scholar, as well as to read the Koran in its sacred original, one should learn Arabic.  That, however, would be just the beginning.

The Koran is NOT the sole sacred text in Islam. Far from it. Of almost equal importance are the Hadith, a vast collection of stories (hadiths) of Muhammad’s life, including details of various revelations.  This makes the Hadith indispensable to understanding the Koran.

Robert Spencer, the author of eight books concerning Islam, says reading the Koran, a monologue of Allah speaking to Mohammad, is like overhearing a conversation between two strangers: “It’s confusing, disorientating, and ultimately incomprehensible. That’s where the Hadith, the traditions of Muhammad enter. The Hadith are volumes upon volumes of stories of Muhammad in which he (and sometimes his followers) explains how and in what situations various verses of the Qur’an came to him, pronounces on disputed questions and leads by example.” Spencer concludes that without the Hadith, the Koran is often “simply incomprehensible.” (The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, pg. 33.)

The Hadith are a source of Islamic authority second only to the Koran.  While the Koran is not about the life of Muhammad, the Hadith are.  They are the work of Muslim historians who began recording the mostly oral history of things that  Muhammad said and did, starting about one hundred years after his death.  There are six accepted Hadith, and they range in authority based upon their accepted authenticity.

They are named after their authors, and the two most revered are those by Imam Bukhari (d. 870 A.D.) and Imam Abul-Husain Muslim (d. 875 A.D.)  They are known as the Two Sahihs, sahih being Arabic for “trustworthy.”  You can purchase translations of Sahih Bukari and Sahih Muslim on Amazon for about $120 each.   Each contains over 7,500 hadiths, each is 4,000 or more pages.  When the Islamic scholar finishes those, there are four more.

To complicate the task of the Islamic scholar, the above apply only to the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shias have their own voluminous Hadith, the best know of which is The Four Books, written by three authors known as the Three Muhammads.  One of my sources notes, “Shia clerics also make use of extensive collections and commentaries by later authors.”   Oh, my.

The Hadiths leave no doubt that Islam is war, not peace.  Sahih Bukari has five hadiths in which Muhammad is heard to say, “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah —-.”

Need more? Sahih Bukari has three hadiths and Sahih Muslim four, in which Muhammad made similar remarks about talking stones and talking trees, this one is from Sahih Muslim Book 041, #6985:  “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be on him) as saying: ‘The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it it’s the tree of the Jews.’ ”

There are Muslims TODAY who think Jews in Israel are planting Gharqad trees around their homes as a defense against Muslim attacks.  This means they take the hadith quite literally.  With such people, peace is not possible.

Next week:  More proof Islam is not peace.

Islam 101

Islam 101 by Peter Burrows – 12/18/14

An ancient specter is haunting humanity again. Dormant for over three hundred years, Islam is on the march again.  Not since their 1683 defeat at Vienna have the forces of this primitive cult been strong enough to wage widespread war, or jihad, again.

Enriched by petroleum money and emboldened by a compliant and ignorant foe, Islamists are killing “infidels” across the globe. In just this past November, jihadists killed 5,042 people in 14 countries. There is no end in sight to this jihad, and there is no place to hide.

Jihad has changed with the times, and Islam’s threat is not from armies in the field, but from terrorists flying airplanes into buildings,  planting bombs and blowing themselves up in crowds.  Soon, they will have nuclear weapons to use, and use them they will.

They are waging their modern jihad largely unopposed thanks to boneheaded political correctness concerning Muslim immigrants and converts, and an appalling ignorance of Islam.  We must wake up before it’s too late.  In this column, I will discuss Muhammad and the Koran. Later columns will explore other parts of Islam.

Muhammad, c.570 – 632, began receiving revelations from the angel Gabriel at the advanced age of forty. Three years later he began preaching these revelations, and slowly gained followers.  Not having much success in Mecca, his birthplace, he moved his fledging congregation to Medina, where he was successful in uniting the local tribes in warfare against Mecca. By the time of his death, he had united all of Arabia under the religion of Islam (“surrender” in Arabic.)

The Koran is a compilation of the revelations Muhammad received throughout his life.  These, and seemingly every other detail of his life, were faithfully recorded and/or remembered by his followers.  (It was not unusual for people before literacy was widespread to commit prodigious amounts of information to memory. Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, for example, were passed down by word of mouth for centuries.)  For Muslims, the Koran is essentially a transcription of a holy text that has existed forever, one that Allah gave to Gabriel with instructions to reveal it to Muhammad, His Messenger.

Muhammad must have been charismatic and brilliant.  While usually depicted as an illiterate, he may not have been.  Posing as an illiterate enhances claims of Devine inspiration, but it doesn’t matter. He had slavish followers noting and committing to memory his every act and word for posterity, even those he deemed not to be revelations.  .

He was also a skilled military commander, which in those days involved sharing the spoils of war with the soldiers, something sure to attract new recruits, even those not motivated by religious zeal.  As his military power increased over the years, so did his malevolence toward anyone who crossed him, especially those who did not think he was Allah’s Prophet.

Thus we have revelations from his powerless days in Mecca that show compassion and tolerance, contradicted by revelations from his despotic days in Medina that are full of hate and murderous commands.  Which revelations to obey?

This brings us to the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, meaning that Allah can change or cancel any law He gives Muslims. (Abrogate: To abolish or annul by authority.) The Koran says, “None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but we substitute something better or similar: don’t you know that Allah has power over all things?” (2:106) In essence, Allah, being all powerful, can change His mind, and when He does, it will be with a new revelation similar OR BETTER than the old revelation.  Therefore, the most recent revelation trumps the older one.

An infidel might be excused (by another infidel) for thinking it was Muhammad changing HIS mind as circumstances or his desires dictated, and the Islamic holy texts have many examples of Allah granting Muhammad special favors, e.g. unlimited wives instead of the four allowed all other Muslim men (sura 33:50).

Islamic scholars divide Muhammad’s revelations into four chronologies: Early Meccan, Middle Meccan, Late Meccan and Medina.  When referring to Koranic passages or revelations, you have to know from which of the above the passage belongs as a first step to determine if it is still valid.  It may have been abrogated by a later revelation.

Unfortunately, the Koran offers no help because it is not written in chronological order. That is a very important point.  One of the reasons the Koran is a difficult read is because it is not arranged either by subject matter or chronologically.  With the exception of the first chapter, al-Fatiha, Islam’s most repeated prayer, consisting of just seven sentences, the remaining 113 chapters, called suras, are arranged pretty much longest to shortest.

I know of only one translation that is arranged in chronological order, that by the Episcopal Reverend John Rodwell of London, done in 1861.  I was tempted to get a copy through Amazon but one reviewer thought the translation was marred by the Reverend’s Christian oriented refutations.  (I’m interested in how Muslims view the Koran today, not how it was viewed by a 19 Century Christian.)

Abrogation and the subsequent importance of the chronological order of the revelations is especially important to keep in mind today when so many Western world leaders run around saying “Islam is peace.”  Muslims will encourage this by quoting peaceful verses in the Koran that are just not applicable today and haven’t been for 1400 years.  The non-Muslim who wants a quick way to cut to the essence only has to read sura 9 of the Koran, the penultimate sura and the last of the major revelations, thus abrogating anything prior.

(The very last sura is 110, a three sentence  revelation revealed some three months before Muhammad’s death, and is a brief celebration of Islam’s ultimate victory.)

Sura 9 is 12 pages long in my Yusuf Ali translation and has 129 verses, one of them the infamous Verse of the Sword (9:5).  A number of Islamic theologians think this verse abrogates all the more peaceful and tolerant verses in the Koran, some 124 of them, including “every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater –.” (See Robert Spencer’s “The Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam“ page 25.)

Sura 9:5 in part says, “ –slay the Pagan wherever you find them — ,” which could mean the People of The Book, Christians and Jews, are spared.  However, Sura 9:29 dashes that hope: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, —–nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth (even if they are) People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Jizya is the tax inflicted on nonbelievers living in a Muslim ruled society.)

Personally, I think Sura 47:4 , another of the 28 Medina suras, is a little more explicit: “Therefore, when you meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks.”

Religion of peace?  Only if you’re a Muslim or an infidel paying the jizya.  Of course, you have to be the right kind of Muslim, or off with your head, as we are witnessing today in the Middle East conflict in which Sunni Muslims are beheading Shia Muslims by the hundreds, a fact that really complicates things for the “religion of peace” morons.

Next time, more on other sacred Islamic writings.

Groucho, Chico and Islam’s Useful Idiots

Groucho, Chico and Islam’s Useful Idiots by Peter Burrows, 4/12/14

The Marx brothers, Groucho, Chico and Harpo, were well known comedians to people of my parent’s generation, Groucho being by far the most famous.  He is often credited with the phrase, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”

Unfortunately, the actual phrase was, “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” and it was a line delivered by Chico Marx, not Groucho, in the movie classic, “Duck Soup.” I say unfortunately because “lyin’ eyes” is so much more powerful, implying somebody is telling a lie or claiming something to be true in spite of obvious evidence to the contrary.   Plus, it’s fun to play with the phrase. For example, on global warming: “Who you gonna believe, Al Gore or your lyin’ thermometer?”

All this was brought to mind watching British Prime Minister David Cameron react to the beheading of a British citizen by ISIS terrorists.  “They are killing and slaughtering thousands of people —they claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims, they are monsters!”

He appeared to be quite outraged that anybody would blame Islam for the beheading, in spite of the fact that the people DOING the beheading are quite happy to cite the Koran as justification.  A month later Cameron also said the Islamic State, ISIS, has “nothing to do with the great religion of Islam, a religion of peace.” He later added, unnecessarily, “I’m not a scholar of any religion.”

Cameron’s predecessor, Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, has a similar wrongheaded view of Islam. In an interview last May on NPR on the topic of terrorism, he said “—the way we defeat that is to bring people of different faiths together, and let the true faith of Islam, which is a peaceful religion actually, it’s not a violent religion at all, let it, let those sensible, moderate majority voices in Islam be heard.”

I’d always thought that British PMs were far better educated and more worldly than U.S. Presidents, in no small part due to the rough and tumble of their parliamentary system, but it’s obvious they can be PC-blinded Bozos too, just like their American counterparts.

Speaking of which, less than a week after Muslims destroyed the Twin Towers,  President George W. Bush said “Islam is peace” in a speech at the Islamic Center in DC.  At the time, what little I knew about Islam included knowing that Islam is NOT a religion of peace.  When he said that, I became obscenely incoherent.

Condoleeza Rice, whom at the time I wanted to someday run for President, was then his National Security Advisor, and she should have known better.  Looking back, I think I was more disappointed in her than in President Bush.

Our current president, Barrack Obama, who spent a few of his formative years in the Muslim society of Indonesia, has said things about Islam that are so divorced from reality that he is either a Muslim practicing taqiyyah, or he is another hapless soul blinded by political correctness and unable to see Islam’s threat to Western society.

I opt for the latter. While he spent first through fourth grades in Indonesia, three of those were in a Catholic school.  People say he is a Muslim because he once said the call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset.”  I don’t agree, but you can hear for yourself on the Internet.

It must be noted, the daily calls to prayer in Islamic societies are always in Arabic, which is sometimes not the native language. In fact, many non-Arabic Muslims grow up being taught Islam in Arabic, the original language of the Koran as specified by Allah, and have little, or no, understanding of the meaning of what is being taught.

In his book, “ The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran,” Robert Spencer recounts that a devout Pakistani Muslim once said to him, “I am very proud of my religion, and have memorized almost all of the Koran, and one day I plan to get one of those translations and find out what it means.”

Until I read that, I didn’t know Nancy Pelosi was a Muslim.

Taqiyyah, pronounced  tacky-ah, referred to above, is the practice of religious deception or concealment and is historically associated with Shi’ite Muslims protecting themselves from Sunni Muslim persecution by lying about their true feelings. It has evolved to mean any deception Muslims feel is necessary in their dealing with infidels as well as Muslims of different sects.  Today, backed by several verses in the Koran (3:28, 3:54 and 16:106), and other Islamic sacred writings, Islamic scholars do not think lying to infidels is a sin.

While Muhammad forbid lying between Muslims, it was OK to lie to one’s enemies.  As he famously said: “War is deceit,” and what is jihad, if not war against the enemies of Islam?  Indeed, the meaning of jihad is often obscured by Muslims who insist to the infidels that jihad, which means struggle, refers to the universal internal struggle against sin and human weakness.

That is true, but it is only one part part of what jihad means. This inner struggle is called the “greater jihad.” The “lesser jihad” is to wage war against the infidels, unbelievers etc. This is not an either-or choice: Jihad is both.  When Muslims say this is not so, are they engaging in taqiyyah? You bet.

Similarly, when President Obama in an interview on TV said, “Islam is a religion that preaches peace–,” he was being politically correct but not entirely factually correct.  Islam divides the world into two main parts,  dar-al-Islam and dar-al-harb: House of Islam and the House of War. (A third is dar-al-Sulh, House of Truce, a temporary abode.)

The House of Islam is the utopia where Islam rules and all is peace and happiness. It is the state of the world that all Muslims must strive for and is the “peace” that they preach. Of course, to get there non-Muslims must be eliminated through peaceful conversion or war, dar-al-harb.  This war is mandated by the Koran and ends only when dar-al-Islam rules all.  (The irony of ISIS Sunni Muslims beheading Shi’ite Muslims should not go unnoticed.)

What we infidels fail to realize is that for all practical purposes Muslims see jihad against infidels as a permanent war with only temporary truces and expedient disengagements.  This permanent war has been going on since the Seventh Century A.D. and is now heating up again, to the immense satisfaction of Islamic purists.

The idea that “Islam is peace” is an absurdity the politically correct useful idiots spout.  The late Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s Supreme Leader following the fall of the Shah, once had this Beatific, sweet and loving response to the “Islam is a religion of peace” choir:

“Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam councils against war. (They) are witless.  Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! — The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of (Koranic) psalms and Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) urging Muslims to value war and to fight! Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

So who you gonna’ believe, Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, Presidents George W. Bush and  Barrack Obama, or that lyin’, expectoratin’ Ayatollah Khomeini?