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Reply to Donvan- Beware of assumptions about Islamic interpretations or making self-interpretations.

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Submitted by Chris G. (United States), Jul 24, 2007 at 14:35

I'm sorry but I have to completely disagree with you Donvan. First of all you are making an assumption about Islam based on what evidence? Reading the Qu'ran? You do not read the Qu'ran like you read the Bible. The Qu'ran is always studied not only from within the context of Hadiths but more importantly within the context of a traditional line of scholars. What you are advocating is the Salafi/Wahhabist perspective where scholars are picked and chosen from only those who support their political ideologies.

In traditional Islamic theology, a scholar will research a subject to see what the majority rulings were upon certain critical issues such as regarding global conquest. Only Wahhabists have put forth this idea in while most Muslims could see reality quite clearly, that there is no way you can force religion upon the entire world in a coercive manner especially when the Qu'ran forbids religion to be forced upon others in huge number of Qu'ran ayas. While indeed Islam was expanded through conquest after the death of Mohammed, there were many political reasons for doing so as well. Furthermore, the concept of conquering the world is often distorted by Salafi scholars. On this website is a classic example of a neo-conservative "pseudo scholar" who is perpetuating the Salafi version of Islam without bothering to look deeper:
http://www.geocities.com/ibniblis/fitnah.html

In this site he first says that all of the well-established translators of the Qu'ran have incorrectly translated the Qu'ran when it comes to the usage of the term fitnah except for what he found on Ummah.org (a really bad web-site mostly full of extremists and Muslim kids). How does he justify this? He quotes from Ibn Kathir. Ok great. But who is Ibn Kathir? He was a student of Ibn Taymiyyah who is regarded as the primary scholar of the Salafi/Wahhabi school of Islam.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Kathir

Much of these interpretations by Ibn Taymiyyah and his students were based upon the horrific period in which they lived in which included savage invasions by the Mongol Hordes. In other words, Jihad was a chief priority during this period and thus the scholars of this period must be read within that context as they sought to justify military campaigns from within Sunnah (teachings and ways of Mohammed). It also should be noted, that during Ibn Taymiyyah was considered by the majority of scholars of his period as a radical heretic in Islam and in fact died in prison. He also was a fanatical enemy of Shi'a Muslims and certain Sufi sects. (I should also mention that I do not get my sources from wikipedia. I only use that because it's a quick URL to show to others.

For further information read "Jihad" by Richard Bonney along with "Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition" edited by Joseph Lumbard are easy to read entry points into refutations of Wahhabi doctrine. From there it's easier to dig into translations of historic Arab scholars as well as modern Muslim scholars who refute extremists. You also have to be extremely careful of translations by the way. Several Saudi publishers intentionally re-write interpretations of traditional scholars like Al-Ghazali for example. They also will publish books attributed to modern scholars that have them saying all kinds of crazy stuff when the actual scholar in facts states publicly that they have never written that. (You see this on one episode of the PBS documentary, "America at a CrossRoads" when they interview Shaykh Hamza Yusuf). Wabbhist propaganda is a dirty business where for them, the end justifies the means and neocons along with European politicians are sucking it all in hook, line, and sinker.

So basically my main point is that this refutation on that first web-site is based upon Wahhabi scholars who they put forth as true Muslim scholars. Ask any Salafi and the majority of them will tell you that they do not follow a madhhab (Islamic school of thought), but rather that they simply follow Sunah. What they don't tell you is that their version of "Sunnah" is based upon a handful of radical Islamic scholars picked from different periods in Islamic history with no unbroken lines between those scholars. This goes against the way Islam has traditionally been taught and is why I warn people not to go and read the Qu'ran and then proclaim themselves as experts in Islam. It's not that simple.

Likewise on that article this individual, while talking about mischief, doesn't quote Aya 5:33 that explains mischief in the context of those who go to war against Muslims. This also has to do with criminals in which case the laws of Shariat are indeed very harsh…but not without secondary lesser punishments if mercy is granted. There are also certain proofs needed as evidence as well that are difficult to meet along with importance placed on motive for a crime. At any rate, that and the rest of the issues that site brings up are for a whole other debate.
With all that said, I still actually study their scholars as well because at times they do make legitimate points. They also sometimes say surprising things that modern extremists don't like.

As for Christianity not teaching warfare, my friend, I agree with you that Jesus did not teach such things. However you are in the minority if you live in the deep South where I live. The Old Testament is full of commandments for warfare and killing. It also has extremely harsh Biblical law (even harsher then the Shariat) that is quite clear. How you interpret the relationship between the Old and New Testament depends on your sect of Christianity and your personal interpretation. Historically the Old Testament has been the part used for horrific deeds against non-Christians. Do you reject the Old Testament?

I am a Desist myself, however I fully embrace the basic teachings of Jesus Christ found in the Book of Mathew. You don't hear the Sermon on the Mount preached hardly ever in Southern Baptist Churches when it comes to dealing with Muslims. I know because I've gone to a ton of such sermons. If we actually took the advice of Jesus Christ on how to deal with our enemies, the War on Terror would be over quite rapidly I think. Sadly even Pope Benedict doesn't seem to want to take the advice of Christ. Its not an accident that even Osama Bin Laden never said anything bad about Benedicts's predecessor Pope John Paul, a Pope who actively sought peace between the religions of Christinaity, Judaism and Islam. He also never spoke ill of Islam although spoke out against evil done in the name of religion. Because of that he was widely respected by Muslims. Today however we live in different times. Men like Pope John Paul are gone and I fear that the era of men of war and hatred is upon us.

That is why I hope to convince people that world war is not unavoidable and that we can get ourselves out of this self-fullfilling prophecy that we are now engaged in.

Chris G.

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