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When investigating Islam, go to the source

Reader comment on item: Jihad and the Professors

Submitted by Fouzan (United States), Nov 8, 2002 at 21:28

Mr. Pipes:

I have no major problem with your argument that the militant interpretation of Jihad was a commonly held one amongst mainstream Muslims of premodern times. Furthermore, I have no problem when you state that only recently have the mainstream Muslims, especially the ones residing in the west, adopted a pacifist interpretation of Jihad, perhaps to be "politically correct." However, the problem I have with your article is that you use the first of these arguments to imply that militant Jihad was part of Muslim doctrine, i.e. preached by the Quran and practiced by Prophet Muhammad.

You make no reference to what the Quran says about Jihad and only cite various "scholars" of Islam to support your argument. By references from the Quran, I don't mean the ones which are commonly presented out of context by various non-Muslim scholars nowadays as part of the Islam-bashing campaign. We know very well that such statements can just as equally be extracted out from the Bible, or any other holy book for that matter, and do not serve any purpose other than to mislead the uninformed reader.

When it comes to giving examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad, you use phrases like "According to one calculation…" to put forth references of battles partaken by him. A scholar of your magnitude knows well that such vague statements are hardly a credible way to support one's argument. I can just as easily present not one, but many calculations, which state that all the battles that Prophet Muhammad took part in were fought in self-defense, to stop the constant persecution, torture, and oppression faced by the Muslim minority at the hands of the Meccans.

The only noteworthy argument you present from the life of Prophet Muhammad is the mention of 199 references of militant jihad in Sahih al-Bukhari. Without going into the accuracy of your statement, I would respond by suggesting that you study the works of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, who, through countless intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual arguments, rid the Muslim world of the misinterpretations that had penetrated into Muslim thought over the years, and restored Islam to its pure and pristine form, as revealed to and practiced by Prophet Muhammad. Amongst this restoration process was his clarification of the significance of hadith with respect to the Quran. He declared that those Muslims who rely solely on hadith to justify their (militant or otherwise) views, while ignoring the teachings of the Quran, are in grave error. He stated that any hadith that is found to be in contradiction with the Quran must be deemed invalid and erroneous; the promise of preservation and safeguarding of the teachings was only given by God (to Prophet Muhammad) with respect to the Quran and not other sources of knowledge. Alas, the mainstream Muslims of the world did not heed his teachings and are today making desperate attempts at reconciling their beliefs with modern civilized world, as you so rightly stated. But for you to equate these apologetic attempts by the mainstream Muslims with weaknesses in the Islamic faith itself is an unjust and malicious act on your part.

The fact is that any weakness or contradiction that we find in modern day "Islam" is a result of the misrepresentation or innovation of beliefs that have penetrated in Islam over time, just as they have in Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion for that matter. Islam, in its pure and pristine form, does not need any reconciliation, but rather is the source of peace, morality, and spirituality for all human beings.
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