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Response to: Servant of Christ

Reader comment on item: A Christian Boom
in response to reader comment: Islam and Violence

Submitted by Sohail (United Kingdom), Dec 27, 2006 at 09:26

Sura (2:191) - And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]

This verse is taken out of its context because if you were to read the verse before it and after it would be like this: Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran 2:190-3) Sura (2:216) - Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. You misunderstood this verse: Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month.

Say: "Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members." Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein. 2:216-7 Allah is saying in the above that we after to fight even though we may not like it in self defense. Verses 153-251 in Sura 2 mean the following: In this portion practical measures have been prescribed to enable the Muslims to discharge the heavy responsibilities of the leadership that had been entrusted to them for the promulgation of Guidance. Salat, Fast, Zakat, Haj and Jihad have been prescribed for the moral training of the Ummat.

The Believers have been exhorted to obey authority, to be just, to fulfill pledges, to observe treaties, to spend wealth etc., in the way of Allah. Laws, rules and regulations have been laid down for their organisation, cohesion and conduct of day-to-day life and for the solution of social, economic, political and international problems; on the other hand, drinking, gambling, lending money on interest etc., have been prohibited to keep the Ummat safe from disintegration. In between these, the basic articles of the Faith have been reiterated at suitable places, for these alone can enable and support one to stick to the Guidance. 153 – 251 Sura (3:151) - "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority."

Read the following about verses 121-175 in Sura 3: In this portion, a review of the Battle of Uhd has been mad to teach and reassure the Muslims that the machinations of their enemies could do them no harm, if they would practise restraint and fortitude and have fear of Allah. It has been pointed out that the set-back they had suffered was due to the lack of some moral qualities and the existence of some evils. Since the main cause of the defeat was the greed of the archers, guarding the pass, the taking of interest has been prohibited to eradicate this evil. 121 – 175 Sura (4:74) - Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Who so fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.

If you had mentioned the verse after this one then we would know what it really meant: Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory - Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!" Quran 4:74-75 This is what verses 73-100 mean in Sura 4: After this pre-requisite, they have been exhorted to make preparation for defence and to fight bravely for the cause of Islam, without showing any kind of cowardice or weakness. They have also been warned to be on their guard against hypocrites.

A line of demarcation has been drawn to distinguish the intentional shirkers from the helpless devotees. 73 – 100 Sura (4:89) - They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks Once this verse is tooking out of its context: They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks; - Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them). Quran 4:89-90 Sura (9:38-39) - "O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place" This is what verses 38-72 mean in Sura 9: (vv., 38-72) was sent down in Rajab A. H. 9 or a little before this, when the Holy Prophet was engaged in making preparations for the Campaign, of Tabuk. In this discourse, the Believers were urged to take active part in Jihad, and the shirkers were severely rebuked for holding back their wealth and for hesitation to sacrifice their lives in the way of Allah because of their hypocrisy, weak faith or negligence. Sura (8:15) - O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey's end. This is what verses 1-41 mean in Sura 8 This portion deals with the problems of the "Spoils of War". The Quran says that these are not the spoils of war but the "Bounties of Allah" and proves this by showing that the victory at Badr (and in all other battles, too,) was won by His succour and not by the efforts of the Muslims.

It also declares (in v. 40) that the war aim of the Muslims should be to eliminate all unfavourable conditions for the establishment of Islam and not to gain spoils. Moreover, the spoils, being the bounties of God, belong to Allah and His Messenger and they alone are entitled to allocate them. Then after conditioning the Muslims to accept these things, the different shares have been allocated in v 1-41 Sura (47:4) - So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, This is what this Surah means: The conditions at the time when this Surah was sent down were such that the Muslims were being made the target of persecution and tyranny in Makkah in particular and in Arabia in general, and life had become miserable for them. Although the Muslims had emigrated to the haven of Madinah from every side, the disbelieving Quraish were not prepared to leave them alone and let them live in peace even there.

Thus, the small settlement of Madinah was hemmed in by the enemy, who was bent upon exterminating it completely. The only alternative left with the Muslims were that either they should surrender to the forces of ignorance, giving up their mission of preaching the true Faith, or even following it in their private lives, or should rise to wage a war at the cost of their lives to settle finally and for ever whether Islam would stay in Arabia or the creed of ignorance. On this occasion Allah showed the Muslims the same way of resolution and will, which is the only way for the true believers. He first permitted them to fight in Surah Al Hajj 39 and then enjoined fighting in Al Baqarah 190.

But at that time everyone knew fully well what it meant to wage a war in those conditions. There were only a handful of Muslims in Madinah, who could not muster even a thousand soldiers; yet they were being urged to take up the sword and clash against the pagan forces of the whole of Arabia. Then the kind of the weapons needed to equip its soldiers for war could hardly be afforded by the town in which hundreds of emigrants were still homeless and unsettled even by resort to starving its members at a time when it had been boycotted economically by the Arabs on all sides. And there are verses telling Muslims to not befriend Christians or Jews. Rewards for those who die in war. And Muhammad himself killed Jews and had over 4 wives.

Here are verses about non-Muslims and friendship: "O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors; they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust. (The Noble Quran, 5:51)" "O ye who believe! Take not for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery or sport - whether among those who received the Scripture (i.e., the Bible) before you, or among those who reject Faith; but fear ye Allah, if ye have Faith (indeed). (The Noble Quran, 5:57)" "Yea, to those who take for friends unbelievers rather than believers: is it honour they seek among them? Nay,- all honour is with God. (The Noble Quran, 4:139)" "O ye who believe! Turn not (for friendship) To people on whom Is the Wrath of Allah. Of the Hereafter they are Already in despair, just as The Unbelievers are In despair about those (Buried) in graves. (The Noble Quran, 60:13)" In the above Noble Verses, the Arabic word for "friends" is "Awliyaa", which has four literal meanings: (1) Allies; (2) Friends; and (3) Guardians. In Noble Verse 60:13, the Arabic word used was "tatawallu", which is derived from the root word "Awliyaa". "Waliy" which is the singular of "Awliyaa" means "Guardian" as your parents were your guardians when you were a kid. So as you can see, the Arabic word "Awliyaa" has different literal meanings. In Noble Verse 60:13 above, Allah Almighty said "la tatawallu qawman", which literally means "take not as allies a tribe (or a community)", which further proves my point that "Awliyaa" in the Noble Verses above is meant for "alliance" and not personal "friendship". There is nothing wrong with developing a personal friendship with a non-Muslim to help him/her understand and appreciate Islam and to ultimately embrace it if they chose to.

As clearly shown in the introduction above, Allah Almighty commanded all Muslims to treat with kindness and justice all of the good non-Muslims. The English translation of the Noble Verses above is not accurate, because the use of the word "friends" is really out of context. The word "Allies" is the correct one, because in all of the Noble Verses above Allah Almighty was talking to the Muslims as a group taking A GROUP OF PEOPLE OR COMMUNITY as "Awliyaa", which fits perfectly with "alliance" than with just personal "friendship" on an individual level. Another example of inaccurate English translation is the following Noble Verse: "As to those who turn (For friendship) to Allah, His Messenger, and the (Fellowship of) Believers - it is the Fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph. (The Noble Quran, 5:56)" The Arabic word for "Fellowship" of Allah is "hizb", which literally mean "Alliance", as in "Hizbullah" in Lebanon, which means "The Alliance of Allah". Hizbullah are the guerrillas and the warriors that fought the Israelis long battles in southern Lebanon and finally were able to drive them out. Also, the "Northern Alliance" in Afghanistan against the Taliban are called "Hizb Al-shamal".

Hizb is mistranslated as "Fellowship" instead of "Alliance". Noble Verse 5:56 clearly states that Muslims must form their alliances only with Allah Almighty, Prophet Muhammad and the Believers. Any alliance other than Allah Almighty is a losing one. That is exactly what the Alliance with the Jews, Christians and Pagans against fellow Muslims will result in: Eventual loss at this life, and Severe Punishment at the Day of Judgement. So the Noble Verses above don't suggest that Muslims can not have personal friends with non-Muslims. It suggests that Muslim countries are prohibited from forming alliance with the non-Muslims against other Muslims. Noble 5:57, however, clearly states that Muslims should avoid having personal friendship with anyone (Muslim or non-Muslim) who disrespects Islam and take it for a "mockery". So the translation of "friends" for "Awliyaa" seem to be a correct and accurate one.

The use of the word "friends" for Noble Verses 5:51 and 4:139 as a translation is ambiguous. It is not clear from the Noble Verses that Allah Almighty meant for "Awliyaa" to be only personal "friends". Certainly Noble Verse 5:56 above clearly shows that Allah Almighty is concerned about the Alliance that Muslims commit themselves to, and not personal friendships. And Muhammad himself killed Jews and had over 4 wives. Moses order the death of innocence children and women: 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man. Numbers 31: 17-19 Solomon had over 700 wives in the Bible. So what are those verses of the Bible that command violence? Read Deuteronomy 13 which commands killing of prophets and destroying cities of other Gods. Sohail

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