Monthly Archives: January 2015

Islam 101, Part 4

Islam 101, Part Four by Peter Burrows elburropete@gmail.com 1/18/15

This series has examined the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sunnah, bedrocks of the religion of Islam, for any proof that “Islam is peace,“ as President George W. Bush asserted, or that it is “a religion that preaches peace” as President Obama said. So far, the evidence is incontrovertible that Islam advocates war against non-Muslims.

In this column, we discuss the fourth pillar of Islamic fundamentalism, the complex set of laws passed down through the centuries that Muslims, and everybody subject to Muslim rule, must obey:  Shariah, or Islamic Law.  Shariah is derived from the Koran, the life and sayings of Muhammad, called the Sunnah,  and precedents set through centuries of Islamic jurisprudence based on Ijma‘ and Qiyas (consensus and analogy.)

Since Shariah is based on the word of Allah and the examples set by His Messenger, it can’t be changed or overruled by laws passed by mere mortals.  Sharia exemplifies the absolutism of Islam, which allows for no compromise, no accommodation for other beliefs. This is important to know when dealing with Muslims today.

Unsurprisingly, Islam views the only proper government as one ruled by the teachings of Allah, i.e. Islam is inherently theocratic. The idea of separation of church and state makes no sense to the vast majority of Muslims.  This dooms attempts to “nation build” Islamic nations around democratic principles.  Turkey was once an exception, but that looks increasingly like a false hope.

Since Sharia has its roots in Seventh Century tribalism, the punishments prescribed for breaking laws reflect the barbarism of the time.  What appalls today, was common then.  While most of the world has advanced from pre-Middle Ages concepts of punishment, Islam has not because it cannot.  The Word of Allah has cemented them in place for all time.

(Infidels might note that Allah changed His mind frequently in His revelations to Muhammad, and it would be interesting to know how Islam would look today had Muhammad passed along his revelatory gift to a successor.)

For an overview of Sharia, a good source is the Fourteenth Century compilation of Islamic laws, Reliance of the Traveler and Tools for the Worshiper, usually shortened to Reliance of the Traveler, the travel meaning life’s journey. I downloaded a copy from the Internet, 336 pages, including translator notes.

It contains 22 chapters of Islamic jurisprudence, A through V, some mandating in excruciating, mind boggling detail the proper execution of various aspects of Islamic life, from personal hygiene to how to prepare for and conduct prayer, as well as more traditional legal areas such as marriage, divorce, settling estates, etc.

It also has punishments for various transgressions, e.g. if a sane person voluntarily commits sodomy or fornication, then “he or she is stoned to death.”  (O 12.0) (In Saudi Arabia, people are still being stoned to death, something verifiable on the Internet. Also on the Internet, Saudi death sentences by beheading, the executioner using a sword.)

Some examples of Shariah: The first offense for theft is amputation of the right hand, the second the amputation of the left foot, and so on. (O 14.0)  This is a refinement of sura 5:38 in the Koran: “As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah.”

A sane adult who becomes an apostate “deserves to be killed” (O 8.1) and there is no penalty for killing an apostate. (O 5.4) Interestingly, Reliance of the Traveler equates blasphemy with apostasy, as evidence of the rejection of Islam. Section O 8.7 lists 20 examples of blasphemy/apostasy and concludes: “There are others, for the subject is nearly limitless. May Allah Most High save us and all Muslims.”

(The Hadith has numerous stories of Muhammad ordering the death of people because they mocked him or showed disrespect, including an old woman and two of his women slaves .  Muhammad would certainly have approved the murder of the 12 staffers at the Paris-based satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo, for their disrespectful, blasphemous cartoons.)

Treatment of women is another subject found in The Reliance of the Traveler.  For example, the Koran’s sura 4:34 directs men to discipline their wives in three steps, first to scold, second to not cohabit with and, if all that fails, to beat her. The Reliance of the Traveler expands on that with admonitions not to break a bone, cause bleeding, or hit her in the face. (M 10.11) How kind.

One of the Hadith has Muhammad personally ordering an adulteress stoned to death (Bukhari 8:82:806), which set a precedent still followed today, with appalling results when combined with other Sharia.  Since the charge of rape requires four MALE witnesses (Sahih Bukari Vol 9 Bk97, 7409; Reliance of Traveler, P 18.1.2), many rape victims end up being charged with adultery.  Such was the sad case of a 13-year -old Somalian girl who was gang raped and then stoned to death in front of a thousand people at a soccer stadium.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Reliance of the Traveler leaves no doubt that jihad means war against non-Muslims for the purpose of establishing the supremacy of Islam. It cites three suras from the Koran and three hadiths from both Sihah Bukari and Sihah Muslim as justification. (O 9.0)   While the Koran, sura 4:95 says Allah favors those who fight “with their good and persons” over those who “sit (at home)” the Reliance of the Traveler elevates it to a sin not to have engaged in jihad if possible. (O 9.1)

The Reliance of the Traveler represents one of four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, and Sunnis can pick and choose among them as they wish.  Sunnis represent about 85 percent of the Muslims in the world, Shias most of the rest, but both advocate jihad against the unbelievers.

Anyone who thinks Islam is a religion advocating peaceful coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims only needs to study, just a little bit, any of Islam’s defining writings, those being the Koran, the Hadith, Muhammad’s biographies, and Reliance of the Traveler.  Bear in mind that the Koran is the eternal word of Allah, not subject to change, and that Muhammad’s Seventh Century conduct and the Shariah are appropriate for today and always.

Welcome to Islamophobia.

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Islam 101, Part 3

Islam 101, Part Three by Peter Burrows elburropete@gmail.com 1/6/15

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

In Parts One and Two of this series, we examined two of Islam’s foundational sacred writings, the Koran and the Hadith. Both were shown to preach war against non-Muslims, not peace.  A third pillar of Islam, the Sunnah, consisting of the words and deeds of Muhammad as set forth in his biographies as well as the Hadith, leaves absolutely no doubt that Islam is NOT a religion of peace.

The most cited biography is The Life of Muhammad by Ibn Isaq, who died in 786 AD, making his collection of memories of Muhammad relatively contemporaneous.  (You can purchase a copy on Amazon: 860 pages; $36 new, $20 used.) Unfortunately, a complete copy of Ibn Isaq’s original work no longer exists, and what has come down to us is a version edited by a later Muslim scholar who omitted certain passages that he thought offensive to some Muslims.

It is hard to imagine what those would be, given that the surviving version describes beheadings, murders and torture directed by Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad.  Pages 510-517, for instance, detail the slaughter of a Jewish tribe at the Khaybar (or Khaibar) Oasis,  the torture of one of its leaders to reveal where they had hidden their treasures, his beheading, and then the subsequent “marriage” of the leader’s newly made widow to ——Muhammad.

An infidel could be forgiven for thinking that the motivation for the attack in the first place was Muhammad’s attraction to the lady.  Today, Hizballah forces in Lebanon fire Khaibar rockets into Israel, rockets named after that ancient victory over the Jews, rockets meant to kill Jews today.

Which illustrates a very important point.  Muhammad and all that he did over 1300 years ago are still celebrated and revered by Muslims today.  Christians feel the same about Jesus, but a comparison of the lives of Jesus and Muhammad leaves no doubt that Muhammad would never be called The Prince of Peace, regardless of what President Obama might say or think.

Furthermore, Muhammad’s life is the forever exemplar for Muslims, to whom Muhammad is the closest thing to human perfection ever to walk the face of the earth.  After all, it was Allah who said, in the timeless, forever Koran: “You have indeed in the Messenger a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah.”  (33:21)

The Koran has numerous commands to obey Muhammad and believe in Him. In fact, to be a true Muslim you must believe in Muhammad as well as Allah: “Only those are Believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the Cause of Allah: such are the sincere ones.” (49:15)

Consequently, devoted Muslims read the deeds of Muhammad and do not see atrocities but “ a beautiful pattern of conduct” to be emulated.  Thus, in today’s Mideast conflict, no one familiar with Islam should be surprised that ISIS has beheaded hundreds of captives, proudly filming some of those beheadings for showing on the Internet. (NOT for the feint of heart.)

In addition, the ISIS enslavement, sexual abuse, and buying and selling of non-Muslim women and girls captured in the fighting can all be traced to the “beautiful pattern of conduct” Allah endorsed, as well as many references in the Koran to the treatment of “those whom your right hand possess,” (4:3) i.e. slaves.  The ISIS command has even published a manual outlining the permissible use of captured women. (http://www.memrijttm.org/islamic-state-isis-releases-pamphlet-on-female-slaves.html)

Not knowing Muhammad’s personal history, you might be shocked at the both the question and the answer to the following in the ISIS manual (realists should substitute “rape“ for “have intercourse with”):  “Question 13: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?” (A ) “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse.” You can imagine what that means.

This treatment of prepubescent girls is allowed because Muhammad married a six-year-old and consummated the marriage when she was nine.  Today, child marriage is quite common in many Islamic countries, and attempts to set a  higher legal age of marriage for women are often met with resistance based on Muhammad’s “beautiful pattern of conduct.”   Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Turkey and others, have seen widespread violation of attempts to set higher marriage ages for women.

The Ayatollah Khomeini, that sweet man mentioned in my 12/4/14 article, “Groucho, Chico and Islam’s Useful Idiots,” married a ten-year-old when he was 26.  He also advised his followers to marry off their daughters before they reached puberty, something implicitly endorsed by the Koran, (65:4)   Such unwavering obeisance to even the  despicable trivialities of Muhammad’s life means that Islam not only can never be a “religion that preaches peace,” it can never be a religion that is compatible with Western values or what most of us would consider basic human decency.

Next, Islam’s fourth leg :  Sharia Law and The Reliance of the Traveler

Islam For Smart Dummies

Islam For Smart Dummies by Peter Burrows – 1/11/15 –  elburropete@gmail.com

Last week, masked gunmen stormed the Paris office of a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people.  French television showed footage of two men leaving the building shouting in French: “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo.” They also shouted in Arabic,  “Allahu akbar” or “God is great.”

All this was brought about by Charlie Hebdo printing unflattering cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which is a grave sin in Islam.  The Western, non-Muslim mind boggles at this: 12 dead, for WHAT?  Knowing very little about Islam, Western politicians, pundits and journalists try to explain the event in terms of religion and society as they understand them, NOT as the Muslims understand them.

This is nuts.  Instead of fabricating reasons to explain why Muslims are engaged in carnage around the world, why not accept the Muslims’ explanations?   This, of course, is impossible in a world where facts take a backseat to political correctness.  The media has not yet realized that “radical Islam” is a redundancy.

For example, an MSNBC reporter in Paris, like virtually all the commentators I heard, expressed sincere, but mistaken, beliefs in defense of Islam. He said the gunmen were radical Muslims who “cherry pick” the Koran to justify their violence.   In reality, it is the defenders of Islam who “cherry pick” the Koran when they say “Islam is peace,” or some such claim that flies in the face of reality, day after day after day.

The following is a brief summary of all you need to know about Islam. Call it “Islam for Smart Dummies,” as opposed to “Islam for PC Dummies,” which is what you get from most politicians and journalists who have never studied Islam and who get their opinions, by and large, from other politicians and journalists who have never studied Islam.  There are five things you need to know:

1)  The Koran is the eternal, infallible word of Allah as revealed to Muhammad over a period of many years.
2)  The Koran lists Muhammad’s revelations in chapters called suras, which, with the exception of the first sura, are listed in order by length, longest to shortest, NOT by chronology.  There are 114 suras.
3)  Abrogation: Over the years, Allah, who is all powerful and all knowing and can do as Allah pleases, would CHANGE HIS MIND as circumstances warranted.  This renders previous revelations in the Koran null and void.  As Allah says in the  Koran, sura 2:106: “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?” (Abrogate: To abolish or annul by authority.)
4)  In the Koran, Allah proclaimed Muhammad the forever exemplar for Muslims.  Sura 33:21: “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah.”
5)  Allah, through The Koran, orders Muslims to fight unbelievers until they are subdued.

Points two and three make the Koran a confusing guide to proper Islamic conduct and belief. You have to know when a revelation occurred to determine its legitimacy.  Islamic scholars divide the suras into four chronological groupings, early Meccan, middle Meccan, late Meccan and Medina.  Of the 114 suras, 28 are Medina suras and are Muhammad’s final revelations and therefore the most authoritative.  (The two suras cited above, 2:106 and 33:21, are Medina.)

This is very important, because as Muhammad gained more and more power over the years, his revelations became more and more hateful and vindictive, especially toward Jews.  (An infidel might think he was just an aging despot becoming more and more corrupt as his power increased.) When people proclaim Islam is about peace, they are reading or quoting either abrogated verses or verses out of context.  (For those with a Koran, the Medina verses in chronological order are: 2, 8, 3, 33, 60, 4, 99, 57, 47, 13, 55, 76, 65, 98, 59, 24, 22, 63, 58, 49, 66, 64, 61, 62, 48, 5, 9, 110.)

The last two revelations of Muhammad were suras 9 and 110.  Sura 110 is a short deathbed prayer.  Sura 9, however, is 11 pages long (in my Koran) with 129 verses.  It is mostly about how Believers should deal with unbelievers and hypocrites, unbelievers being Jews, Christians and Pagans.  It is the only sura that does not start with the phrase “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.”  There is not much in sura 9 that is gracious or merciful.

For hundreds of years, Islamic theologians have taught that the ninth sura’s fifth verse, the Verse of the Sword (9:5) abrogates at least 124 earlier, peaceful verses in the Koran. (See The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam by Robert Spencer, page 25.) The key passage: “But when the forbidden months are past (four months of treaty) then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them–.”  In other words, no more peace with the unbelievers.

I personally think sura 9:29 is the more definitive: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

“People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews.  The Jizya is a levy non-Muslims pay for protection in Muslim ruled lands, even to this day.  Disagreeing with what has been forbidden by both Allah and his Messenger, means finding fault with any of the Sharia laws imposed in Muslim societies, including beheadings and stonings to death.  “Religion of Truth” is, of course, Islam.

Sura nine should be read by anyone who thinks Islam is a religion of peace being hijacked by radicals.  In fact,  the ISIS soldiers and terrorists are faithful Muslims, not radicals. Radicals would be those Muslims questioning Islam’s relevance in the twenty first century. They are few, indeed, considering the courage that would require.

While the Koran leaves no doubt that Islam preaches war against non-Muslims, even more convincing is the vast body of sacred literature describing Muhammad’s life and deeds.  This brings us to point four above: Allah said Muhammad, in sura 33:21, was someone whose conduct was a “beautiful pattern” to emulate. This opens up a real big, fat can of worms for those who think Islam preaches peace.

Since the Koran gives no details of Muhammad’s life, we must refer to voluminous writings on Muhammad’s deeds and everyday sayings, the Hadith, and his biographies, the Sira. One way to appreciate Muhammad’s “beautiful pattern of conduct” is to read The Life of Muhammad by Ibn Isaq (d. 786 AD.), a revered biography. My copy is the translation by A. Guillaume and is over 800 pages long.

The most revealing chapters are those describing battles and raids led by Muhammad.  One that is especially relevant today is Muhammad’s raid on the Jewish village of Banu Qurayza. Once the village was conquered, Muhammad approved a verdict that the “men should be killed, the property divided, and the women and children taken as captives.”

Muhammad ordered trenches dug in the market place.  “Then he sent for them (the captives) and cut off their heads as they were brought out to him in batches.”
It reads as though Muhammad did this himself, but that seems unlikely, given the number beheaded: “There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.” (Life of Muhammad, page 464.)

It doesn’t say if swords or knives were used.  The ISIS jihadists seem to prefer knives, as you can see for yourself on the Internet.  Assertions that such beheadings are alien to the “peaceful’ nature of Islam are simply wrong.  Even if the biographies are discounted, the Koran leaves no doubt that such barbarities are sanctioned by that most sacred text of Islam:  “Therefore when you meet the unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks;” Sura 47:4.

Finally, the fifth thing you must know about Islam is evident around the world today: Jihadists are fighting the unbelievers, as Allah directed.  They are not hijacking Islam, they are being devout Muslims. The sooner we acknowledge this fundamental fact, the sooner we can begin to protect ourselves. This is no time for multiculturalism or other such politically correct nonsense.

In conclusion, to be an Islamaphobe is to be a realist.  Those who think otherwise are ignorant of what Islam is. Ignorance is a correctable condition.  Stupidity is not.