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Reader comment on item: Sudden Jihad Syndrome (in North Carolina)
in response to reader comment: Moderate muslims

Submitted by jan (Austria), Mar 19, 2006 at 17:59

Dear Ahmad,

In my reply to a posting by Mark, I wrote that "Muslims are better than Islam and Christians are worse than Christianity". This summarizes what I think about Islam and muslims. And I am confident that you are a good person who would only kill somebody that is about to kill yourself.

I generally do not buy your argument that you can only understand the Quran when you know arabic. I think that a translation will cover 99% of what is in the Quran acurately. I agree that some words like "fitnah" are hard to translate but I think it is generally translated well in the context that it is. My translations are made by muslims and I hope that their purpose is not to mislead people. I studied arabic for 3 years, so I have a basic knowledge and I can check more or less what is translated. My experience is that some translators are too ashamed to translate what is written in arabic so they try to find some acceptable wording; I will give an example of it:

The famous 4:34 "wife beating ayah", one of my translations says "discipline them" as a translation of "idrabuhunna" which means beat them in the female plural. You will agree with me that "discipline them" sounds nicer than "beat them". Complete articles have been written by apologists to say that beating means something else than beating and that the whole idea of the quran is indicating that it can not mean beating. If you ask any arabic speaking person, he will say that it means beating. Maybe you will find some explanation that the prophet did not approve of beating or I do not understand the context. Well let's look at the Sahih Muslim: book 4.2127 narrated by Aisha the mother of the believers reports that the Prophet himself has beaten her and it caused pain: "... He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? ..." I can indicate you other Hadith in which the prophet approved of wife beating. Maybe you will still say I do not fully understand the meaning and the context of it. OK let's ask some islamic scholars. I have a book "Reliance of the Traveller", (umdat as-salik) a classical manual of Sacred Law with approval certificate of Al-Azhar and what do these folks say? Beat your wife when she does not obey you! These guys spend their whole life studying Islam, so I guess they know what they are talking about.

I agree with you when you say that the quran "confuses".

I wonder however what Allah means when he says that the book is supposed to guide like in surah 2:2: "This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah"

and that it is a clear book in surah 5:15
"O followers of the Book! indeed Our Messenger has come to you making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book and passing over much; indeed, there has come to you light and a clear Book from Allah."

In general I would rather say that it is a poorly written book. Though the order in which it was revealed greatly matters, it was not composed in this order. How can one take a book as a guidance if it needs a number of other books of "tafseer" to explain it. This does not make any sense. And forget about the theory of abrogation (according to surah 2.106: None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?) that cancels part of the quran and in which some paragraphs of chapter 10 are cancelled by paragraphs of chapters 9.

I advise you to read surah 9 Al-Taubah that is especially violent. It is one of the last revealed Surahs. I challenge you to find one ayah in which there is something positive for humanity. And please report it to me. As you know Taubah means "regret". In the Quran, regret does not mean that you are sorry that you did a bad thing and you feel sorry about it. No, regret means that you are not a muslim. If you want to know the background of this surah that calls for the killing of polytheïsts in 9:5 and in 9:29 the fighting against jews and christians until they pay a type of maffia tax and they are subdued (in arabic saghiruna = plural of small), you need to read the earliest biography of the prophet by Ibn Ishaq. There is a whole chapter explaining this Surah 9. You will see that there was no talking about self-defense anymore, The prophet had already fought against those people and he was fed up that they did not become muslim yet.

I counted how many times the word unbeliever is mentioned in the quran in its different forms, be it kafir, mushriq or other. It is over 250 times and each time it is accompanied by words like "hell, fire, burning, misguided, worst of creatures and other nice things". If somebody said that muslims are going to hell and repeats this 250 times you will be mad at him and I would agree with you. But why do non-muslims still tolerate the quran to exist?

Muslim apologists claim that Jihad means internal struggle and war in self-defense. Forget about internal struggle and self-defense. Can you show me one ayah that talks about internal struggle? For each ayat that you show me I will show you 10 that deal with offensive war. The same for the Hadith. There are complete chapters about Jihad in Sahih Muslim and Bukhari. all of them deal with offensive war. In the "Reliance of the traveller" Islamic sacred law, the big (internal struggle) and the small jihad (offensive war) are mentioned. However the whole chapter deals with fighting and the motivation is clearly stated: "fighting against non-muslims" whose only mistake is that they do not believe in Allah and his prophet Mohamed.

My conclusion is that fortunately, you are not a good muslim because you are not willing to fight to spread your religion or as Surah 9:111 says to kill and to get killed: "Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme."

Unfortunately, people who go to Pakistan to do religious studies get the whole picture and turn into killing machines.

My conclusion is that the whole thing is quite consistent, I mean the Quran, the Hadith, the biography of the Prophet and the shariah that islamic scholars extract from it. It fits all very well together.

Peace be with you brother Ahmed.
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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