Why I am an Islamophobe By Peter Burrows 1/5/16 firstname.lastname@example.org blog – silvercityburro.com
Phobia (1). A persistent, abnormal or illogical fear of a specific thing or situation.
“Islamophobe” is not an apt word. “Phobia” implies something illogical, but there is nothing illogical in seeing Islam as a threat to everything humanity has so painfully, and incompletely, gained in the last few centuries: representative government, freedom of speech, economic prosperity, equality for women, the abolition of slavery, freedom of religion, and the list goes on and on. Furthermore, phobia connotes fear, and while people who know Islam have every right to fear it, their primary emotion is apt to be one of revulsion.
Those who defend Islam usually know nothing about the Koran or the importance of the life of Muhammad to devout Muslims. This lack of knowledge doesn’t prevent them from confidently calling Islamic terrorists “radical” Muslims, something that must amuse the Allah fearing, Muhammad imitating bastards as they behead, crucify, rape, murder, enslave and plunder.
The problem with Islam, in a nutshell, is that its scriptural foundation, the Koran, is worshiped as the infallible, timeless and unchangeable word of God. This belief does not seem to have diminished over the centuries, in spite of what a skeptical non-Muslim would see as evidence that the hopelessly out of date Koran is the work of a man, Muhammad, and is NOT the work of an infallible God.
Nonetheless, the important thing is to try to understand the Koran as devout Muslims do, not as you or I do, or how the ignorant, politically correct people who dominate Western leadership and media think Muslims do. To that end, I recommend you get a copy of “Towards Understanding The Koran,” an English translation of the Koran from Urdu, the language of Pakistan, which was in turn translated from Arabic by the highly respected Pakistani Islamic scholar Sayyid Mawdudi (1903-1979). (1) This translation-of-a-translation suffers from no difference in meaning that I can detect when compared with the straightforward English translation by Yusuf Ali. (2)
The reason I recommend the Mawdudi Koran is that it is an abridged version of a decades long project that Mawdudi undertook to not only translate the Koran, but to footnote it with very helpful explanations of the context and meanings of many of the verses. My abridged version was published in 2011, and has a forward by Pakistani Islamic economist and scholar, Khurshid Ahmad, who gives us an insight into how today‘s Muslims view the Koran.
In that forward, Ahmad says of the Koran: “Being the Final Revelation, God saw to it that the ravages of time would play no havoc with it: that nothing of it would be lost, nor any part altered, nor anything extraneous find its way to it. It was God’s Will that the Final Revelation should be preserved in its entirety exactly as it had been communicated to the Prophet (peace be on him) by Gabriel, and exactly as the Prophet (peace be on him) had communicated it to his contemporaries. All this was essential since this Last Book was meant to serve as a beacon of light for the guidance of all humanity till the end of time.”
He goes on to say that the Koran is “doubtlessly” the word of God, that Muslims should use it to build “bridges of understanding across the religious, cultural, and ethnic divide found in our world today.” Here is an educated, respected Islamic scholar, who believes the Koran is unquestionably the word of God and “was meant to serve as a beacon of light for the guidance of all humanity till the end of time,” and who believes the Koran can unite humanity when Muslims themselves are hopelessly divided.
The Mawdudi Koran also has a preface written by the editor and translator, Zafar Ishaq Ansari, who writes this about Mawdudi: “–Mawdudi distinguished himself by his forceful writings aimed at establishing that the principles propounded by Islam were intrinsically sound, that they were relevant for and viable in every age and clime, that they were intrinsically good and benevolent and conducive to the overall well-being of mankind.”
To my mind, for reasons I will make abundantly clear, it is astounding that anybody could think that Islam would be viable for every age, is intrinsically good or contributes anything to the well-being of mankind. Ansari also writes that he hopes the English edition will “be a source of enlightenment for a great number of people.” I hope so , too, but in an entirely opposite sense, because I think exposure to the reality of the Koran is just what the non-Muslim world needs to combat the worldwide jihad now underway. (3)
The two Pakistani scholars quoted above were born in the Twentieth Century and are living today, so their observations and attitudes have to be seen as contemporaneous, which means Islam has NOT mellowed over the past fourteen hundred years. This is appalling and very, very sobering. Can we expect the vast majority of Muslims who are not as educated, not as worldly, to have opinions that are any different?
From an historical standpoint, believing the Koran is “doubtlessly” the word of God makes Islam the most “revealed” of the revealed religions, i.e. those religions claiming divine inspiration, which are generally thought of as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You see, the Koran, unlike the scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, was not written by divinely inspired human beings: IT WAS DICTATED BY GOD HIMSELF. Obviously, human writings that are only divinely inspired can’t be as authentic as the actual words of God.
In this sense, there is nothing comparable to the Koran in Christianity. Jesus did not dictate hundreds of pages of revelations. Several of his followers wrote accounts of his life, as did the followers of Muhammad. In Christianity, these writings are the four Gospels, in Islam they are the six hadith, collections of his contemporaries’ recollections about Muhammad’s life, his deeds and non-revelatory sayings.
While the New Testament is about Jesus, the Koran is not ostensibly about Muhammad, who is mentioned by name only four times, instead usually being identified as Allah’s Messenger, or The Prophet. Muslims worship the Koran as God’s timeless word not Muhammad’s. God revealed the Koran to His Prophet, Muhammad, over a period lasting 23 years until Muhammad’s death.
Those who defend Islam, whether they know it or not, are implicitly accepting its foundational premise: The Koran is God’s word, straight from God, not touched by humans. This has consequences that would be amusing if they weren’t so tragic. For instance, in chapter 4, verse 34, God proclaims the forever truth that “men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them excel over the other.” And, no ladies, that can’t be twisted to mean that the one that excels is the woman. (Although I could believe so.) Allah is definitely male.
In the same verse, God says if you merely “fear rebellion” in one of your wives, when all else fails, the wife can be beaten. That’s the word of GOD. No wonder women’s rights are so absent in the world of Islam Where is the NOW crowd to raise hell about this? Would Democratic presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton continue to defend Islam if she knew the God of Islam decreed men superior to women, and that the God of Islam commands men to discipline their wives by beating them for essentially no reason at all?
Remember, O ye infidels, to us the Koran is essentially the words of one MAN, Muhammad. To us nonbelievers, then, it is no surprise that God’s revelations frequently sound like the all-too-human Muhammad giving Heavenly Blessings to his desires and emotions. While the Koran is OSTENSIBLY not about Muhammad, in many ways it is very importantly about Muhammad.
Exhibit A is a verse in the Koran I call the Verse of The Ego, 33:21. This verse gives Muhammad carte blanch for his personal life, and essentially places him above criticism. In my Mawdudi Koran, the translation of 33:21 has Allah describing Muhammad as a “good example” for Muslims to follow. In the Yusuf Ali translation, Allah describes Muhammad as a “beautiful pattern (of conduct)” for Muslims. Take your pick.
In other words, Muhammad was an example for all of us to follow. That’s what God said, and who are you and I to question God’s word? This opens a whole Pandora’s Box of things Muhammad did that are described in the hadiths and biographies that most of us would find abhorrent, but that GOD said were good examples for Muslims to follow, which they do to this day, e.g. prepubescent marriage, beheadings, torture, slavery, rape, virulent Jew-hatred, religious intolerance, and theocracy.
Exhibit B is chapter 33, verse 50 in which God grants Muhammad as many wives as he can handle, including any first cousins he has an eye for, or who had an eye for him. I suspect the ladies were starting to be very attracted to the ascendant Muhammad, and by all accounts He was of an accommodating nature. He eventually had 11 wives, plus an unknown number of slave women at his beck and call.
Other Muslim men were and are limited to four wives, plus slave women, and it was at the time verboten to marry first cousins. The Koran says this privilege is only for God’s Messenger, Muhammad. Interestingly, this revelation came after Muhammad was criticized for taking a fifth wife. Allah was certainly quick to come to the rescue of His Messenger.
Exhibit C that shows the Koran is very much about Muhammad is the abrogation verse. To abrogate is to annul by authority, to overrule. When Muhammad left the unfriendly city of Mecca for Medina, he found himself in a much more accepting environment. As he gained followers and power, he realized he did not have to be accommodating anymore to those who disagreed with him. In other words, power began to corrupt.
To clear the deck, chapter two verse 106 says for any verse abrogated, “We substitute something better or similar: don’t you know that Allah has power over all things?” In other words, Allah can change His mind and who is to say He can’t? This was another revelation that rescued Muhammad, this time from Jewish critics who pointed out contradictions in the revelations.
As a practical matter, verse 2:106 meant that any early revelations advocating peace and harmony could now be ignored. The prime example is the infamous Verse of The Sword, 9:5, which abrogates as many as 124 earlier verses. (4) What complicates matters is that the Koran is NOT in chronological order. After the first, very short chapter, it’s pretty much by length of chapter, the longest to shortest.
The very long second chapter in the Koran, for example, is chronologically the 87th chapter of revelations. Consequently, Islamic apologists can quote verses from the Koran that sound good but are meaningless because those verses were later abrogated.
Fortunately, the chronological order of revelations can be found on the Internet, and I strongly recommend anyone wishing to study Islam first get a chronological listing of the chapters of the Koran. It will save much time and confusion if you ignore the 86 chapters of early revelations received in Mecca, and concentrate on the 28 received later in Medina. (There are no Meccan verses cited in this article.)
As an aside, Chapter Two was the first set of revelations Muhammad received after arriving in Medina. As the longest chapter in the Koran, one could say that Muhammad’s new surroundings really inspired Allah. In fact, six of the first ten chapters are Medina revelations, including the final chapter of revelations, chapter nine.
What the abrogation verse 2:106 means is that the Koran is the infallible, timeless word of Allah unless it isn’t, and it isn‘t if a verse is abrogated by a more recent verse. How convenient for Muhammad. One would think that an all-knowing God would know He was going to change His mind in the future, but that’s just something a blasphemous infidel would think. Such an infidel might also conclude that if God had to change His mind, that GOD HAD MADE A MISTAKE. Blasphemy!
So, to be a devout Muslim you must believe in the divinity of a book whose claim of infallibility and timelessness is internally contradicted. My favorite example of this is a verse the Islamophiles always use to defend Islam, chapter two verse 256: “There is no compulsion in religion.” This is in stark contrast to verses that came later, e.g. 9:5 and 9:29, which command Muslims to slay pagans and subdue, at the least, Christians and Jews.
In the opinion of a leading Saudi Sheikh and imam, Saalih al-Munajjid, verses in chapter 9 abrogate the no compulsion verse, 2:256. (5) Therefore, if you are unlucky enough to fall into the hands of ISIS jihadists and try to extricate yourself by pointing to verse 2:256, they will point to 9:5 and/or 9:29, and disengage your head from your body if you don’t convert, on the spot, to Islam, or start paying them not to kill you. I would call that compulsion.
One key fact about the Koran that defenders of Islam don’t seem to realize is that the Koran was “revealed” in the deserts of Saudi Arabia in the sixth and seventh centuries AD. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Koran reflects the culture of the time and place of Muhammad, an Arab who lived from 570 AD to 632 AD. Actually, if it did otherwise, you might be able to make a case that the Koran was in fact divinely written.
Alas, the Koran reflects contemporary customs which it enshrines as the eternal Word-of-God/Way of God when those customs are absurdly out of place today. As an example, chapter four verse three mentions marrying “two or three or four” women, which Mawdudi footnotes with the following: “It should be noted that making polygamy lawful was not the real purpose of this verse, for polygamy was already in vogue in Arabia and the Prophet (peace be on him) himself had more than one wife when this was revealed.”
Well, what was “in vogue” in Arabia at the time became the forever word of GOD, making polygamy part of “the beacon of light for the guidance of all humanity until the end of time.” (To be fair, polygamy was not confined to Islam over a thousand years ago. I have occasionally thought the Mormon icon Joseph Smith made Muhammad look relatively celibate.)
Here are some other God-ordained practices and beliefs in addition to polygamy that are enshrined forever in the Koran, the foundation of Islam, the religion so vociferously defended by so many. (Chapter and verse in parentheses.)
*Muslims must fight and slay pagans wherever they find them, e.g. San Bernardino. 9:5 (Verse of the Sword.)
*Muslims must fight Jews and Christians until they pay the Muslims protection money (jizya.) 9:29 (Mawdudi’s
footnote says this is not so much to compel conversion as it is to establish that unbelievers should never rule
anybody. “The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the True Faith –.”)
*Islam is the religion of truth and perfection that rules over all other religions. 9:33, 5:3, 9:29
*Those who fight against Islam must be killed, crucified or have their hands and feet cut off. 5:33
*Muslims are encouraged to cut off the heads of unbelievers in battle. 47:4 (33:21 declares Muhammad
a good example which leads to beheading captives after battle. See The Life of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq, page
464. This beheading of captives has been embraced with enthusiasm by ISIS jihadists, as you can see for
yourself on the Internet.)
*Muslims must not have unbeliever friends. 3:28, 4:144, 5:51, 5:57
*God made men to excel over women. 4:34
*God says men can beat wives “of whom you fear rebellion.” 4:34
*God says women are half as reliable as men. 2:282
*God condones slavery, maybe even requires it. 4:92 and 5:89
*God condones sex with (raping of) slave women. 4:3, 4:24, 33:50
*Prepubescent marriage is OK with God. 65:4 plus the example of Muhammad, 33:21, who married a six-year-
Old and consummated the marriage when she was nine. According to that Iranian SOB the Ayatollah
Khomeini, who married a ten-year-old when he was 28, marriage to a child before her first menstrual period is
“a divine blessing” and he urged Muslim fathers to “do their best” to marry-off their daughters before they
began menstruating.(6) This makes my blood boil. What sort of father would do that to his girls?
*Muhammad as exemplar, 33:21, means e.g., it is OK behead prisoners, use torture, hate Jews, etc. etc. Lots of
examples in the hadith and biographies.
Given the above, I find it shocking that there are educated, contemporary Islamic scholars such as those quoted at the beginning of this article who have an unqualified belief in the Koran. Even more discouraging, is the knowledge that over a billion people are adherents of Islam, justifying a very pessimistic outlook for humanity.
For those very courageous and all too rare Muslims who wish to reform Islam, the eternal God-given infallibility of the Koran makes that impossible. In chapter five, verse three, of the Koran, Allah says, “This day I have perfected for you your religion –.” What is perfect from God should not be changed, and those who try are guilty of blasphemy in the eye of devout Muslims, a sin punishable by death.
The unfortunate truth is that Islam is inherently unreformable. Those good souls trying to reform Islam have an impossible task. They must recognize, as we all must, that because Islam can’t be reformed, it must be rejected. A good start is to recognize Islam for what it is, not what we would like it to be.
1. Sayyid Abdul A’la Mawdudi, Towards Understanding the Qur’an; Abridged version of Tafhim al-Qur’an,
translated by Zafar Isaq Ansari, UK Islamic Mission, Dawah Centre Birmingham, U.K., 2011
2. Abdulla Yusif Ali, translator, The Qur’an, Tashkike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc., New York, Sixth US. Edition, 2001
4. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, Regnery Publishing, 2005, pg. 25.
5. Ibid pg. 27.
6. Robert Spencer, Islam Unveiled, Encounter Books, 2002, pg. 48.