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.

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