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Response to Response to "Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism"

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism
in response to reader comment: Response to "Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism"

Submitted by Sardar Anees Ahmad (United States), Mar 7, 2006 at 21:14

"Dear Mr Sardar: How can Muslims not respect biblical prophets since Mohammed claimed to be one of them and sent by the same God?"

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never claimed to be a biblical prophet. The only thing Prophet Muhammad claimed was the fulfillment of the prophecies that we find in the Old and New Testament, Hindu Scriptures, Buddhist Scriptures, etc.

"However they insult all other Gods and call them fake."

The Holy Quran declares that there is no God but the One True God, whose personal name in Arabic is Allah. The only ‘gods' the Holy Quran denounces are those innumerable gods the polytheists take as eternal and powerful deities. However the Holy Quran does not condone any foul talk regarding any other faith, despite its strong rebuke of polytheism. Verily, the Holy Quran declares, "And He has already revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the Signs of God being denied and mocked at, sit not with those who indulge in such talk until they engage in some other talk; for in that case you would be like them. Surely Allah will assemble the hypocrite and the disbelievers in Hell, all together" (4:140).

"And abuse not those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they, out of spite, abuse Allah in their ignorance. Thus unto every people have We caused their doings to seem fair. Then unto their Lord is their return; And He will inform them of what they used to do" (6:108).

"Quran calls for the death of their adherents (9.4)"

(9:4) is a most celebrated verse amongst Muslim extremists and Islamic critics. Both groups, however, have taken this verse and other similar verses totally out of context. The full verse reads thus:

• "And when the forbidden months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them and take them captive, and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent and observe Prayer and pay the Zakaat, then leave their way free. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful" (9:4).
The "forbidden months" refer to the 4 months in (9:1) which were meant to grant a respite to idolaters to travel through the land in safety and see if Islam had triumphed. When the months had passed, war was to be resumed upon those tribes which were traditionally hostile to the Muslims and whose very existence was centered on the notion of annihilating the Muslims. Those who were not guilty of treachery or mischief were to remain unmolested (9:3, 5). The words, "…and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush" does not indicate that the Muslims should be thirsty for the blood of the pagans. Rather, it serves as a warning to the Muslims to be on strict watch of them. At this time in history, the Eastern Roman Empire was preparing an attack on the Muslims, which only added to the danger that was already in play due to the evil plots of the Arabs. Anyone who disputes this interpretation need to only look at the conduct of Prophet Muhammad and his loyal followers who endured 13 long years of senseless and unbearable torture without lifting a finger. In total, less than 500 people lost there lives in all the battles combined during Prophet Muhammad's life. This patient and forgiving behavior to a society which claimed the lives of so many Muslims can only indicate that the Muslims are told to be on guard at all times in this verse.
You conveniently forgot the very next verse that declares categorically that if any idolater seeks the protection of the Muslims, it must be granted to him: "And if anyone of the idolaters seeks protection of thee, grant him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah; then convey him to his place of security. That is because they are a people who have no knowledge" (9:5). It is also worthy of note that conversion to Islam was at its peak during the 2 years of peace as a result of the Treaty of Hudaibiya. No sane person can argue that at a time when Muslims were of no threat to any outsider and peace was secure, that non-Muslims were forced into conversion. Swords can bend heads, but not minds.
"Only concession is to people of the book who can live as second-class dhimmies after giving protection money, called Jizya."

The status of non-Muslims during the time of Prophet Muhammad and the 4 Righteous Caliphs was nothing less than paradise. Firstly, the jizya tax non-Muslims had to pay was actually less than the Zakaat incumbent upon Muslims to run the state. Secondly, this jizya made non-Muslims exempt from military duty. It was only the Muslims who had to fight in battle if the need arose. Tell me is there any soldier today who would not gladly pay a small tax (less than 2.5%) to become exempt from military service in Iraq? Moreover, non-Muslims were guaranteed freedom of religion as never before seen. A famous example is that of Hazrat Omar, the 2nd Caliph, who, after conquering Jerusalem, granted Jews all the fundamental rights deserved by any citizen, including the freedom of religion. This was definitely not the case when the Christians or the Jews conquered Jerusalem.

Yes, we do find tyrants in Islam's history such as Hajjaj bin Yusuf or Saddam Hussein. But there are black sheep in every religion. If the gentleman wants to take some rogue ‘Islamic' rulers as an indicator of good Muslims, then how would we view Christianity after the actions of David Koresh, or Timothy McVeigh, Marshall Herff Apple. And what of the Spanish Inquisition, the genocide of the American Indians and the African slaves, the German Nazis, the KKK, etc.?

"However Quran blasphemes all religions:"

This is such an utterly baseless claim. No verse of the Holy Quran or any action of Prophet Muhammad or the 4 righteous Caliphs gives support to this bogus objection.

"Gods of all other religions shall be the fuel of Hell (21:98-100)"

This is blasphemy? That Allah tells man to shun the worship of false gods so that they may be saved from destruction? It seems as though the gentleman treats mercy and blasphemy as interchangeable entities! Regarding the rejection of false gods, Allah declares, "Nor does it befit him that he should bid you to take the angels and the Prophets for lords. What! Would he enjoin you to disbelieve after you have submitted to God" (3:80)?

"All Gods except Allah are created, dead and false, they all lead to hell (16:20-21,
25:17-19, 29:41-42,37:22-24)"

If there is only 1 Supreme Being (a concept accepted by Muslims, Jews, Sikh's, Native Americans, Aborigines, Christians, and even Hindu's) by whatever name you call Him, then undoubtedly any deity that is worshipped other than that One Perfect Being is obviously a man-made notion. Worshipping man-made deities will no doubt spell destruction for man. Moreover, all religions above adhere to the same principle, so what of Islam's criticism?

Also, Allah is the name of the Supreme Being who is the sole possessor of all perfect attributes and free from any and all defects. It is never used for any entity other than God, never used in the plural but is instead a simple substantive, not derived (Lane). Islam stands alone in this regard, as no other religion gives such a personal name to God. So Allah does not refer only to the God of Muslims, but describes that Being Who is the Sovereign and Master of the Universe.

"Jesus was a Muslim and a slave/servant of Allah, and not his son (3:52, 4:171-172,
5:115-117, 5:111-112)"

This statement shows how utterly ignorant the gentleman is of the Arabic language. The word used for slave in relation to prophets is ‘abd' – it is the same word used in Kalima Shahada when referring to Prophet Muhammad. Abd implies total obedience to Allah and total annihilation of the self. What greater compliment could one receive than to be declared by God Himself to be devoid of any selfishness and totally submissive to God Almighty? Other prophets of God, such as Abraham (pbuh), have also been referred to as Muslims denoting their total annihilation of the self and utter devotion to God. The word ‘Muslim' used in the Holy Quran does not always mean one who recites the Kalima.

Regarding Jesus Christ not being the Son of God, should every religion then bow before Christian doctrine and willy-nilly accept this belief? Surely then any non-Muslim is guilty of blasphemy by not believing in the prophethood of Muhammad, and every Buddhist for not believing in all the Israelite prophets, and every Sikh for not believing in atonement.

"Crucifixion of Jesus is a lie (4:157)"

If Muslims do not adhere to a basic tenet of Christianity, does this translate to blasphemy? Only one utterly devoid of sense would utter such a statement. Let us not forget that Muslims believe death on the cross to be an accursed death, the same belief as the Jews, as has been documented in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). If we were to agree with the gentleman's ‘argument,' then would a Sikh or a Jew also be guilty of blasphemy? Moreover the Holy Quran, far from maligning the holy character of Jesus Christ (pbuh), exonerates him from this punishment and declares that his spiritual status was raised (4:159). What a blasphemous statement!

"Doctrine of trinity is infidelity and disbelief, a painful doom awaits for those disbelievers
who believe in trinity (5:73)"

If I were to ask (and I have) many Christians what is my fate if I deny Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, the same answer that the Quran furnishes for believers in Trinity would be furnished. Indeed, Muslims believe that polytheism is the most abhorrent thing. If Islam declares there to be no Trinity (just like Sikhism or Judaism) how is this something that can be held against a faith? If Islam declares this way of life to lead people to destruction, then would it not be a crime to not say so? This verse does not declare any employment of coercion to change the views of those who support the doctrine of Trinity. It is only a warning for those who are seekers of truth (e.g. 2:256, 5:67).

It is also important to note that Islam does not promote any idea of salvation being monopolized. The Holy Quran has stated over and over again that while Islam is the best and most complete path, if ANY human lives a righteous life they shall be the inmates of Heaven (e.g. 2:62, 5:69).

"Christians corrupted the true message (5:14, 15)"

Firstly, if the Holy Quran had not declared there to be a flaw of some sort in the Bible, Prophet Muhammad would have no claim in his prophethood. A prophet comes when a society, or even the world as a whole, is in moral disarray. Oftentimes he does not bring a new Law but comes as a reviver of the existing Law (e.g. Prophet Isaac (pbuh), Prophet Ishmael (pbuh), Prophet John the Baptist (pbuh)). The coming of a new Law is necessitated when man has become capable of being instructed in a more detailed doctrine, and has also immersed himself in evil and vice. So if Prophet Muhammad, who claimed to bring the first and only universal teaching, had not declared there to be inconsistencies in the Bible, his prophethood would have no footing. The truth of Prophet Muhammad's claim to prophethood is NOT the issue here – only what were the criteria for any new Law-bringer prophet to meet in order for his claim to be taken seriously.

Secondly, the words of the Quran are "And from those also who say, ‘We are Christians' We took a covenant, but they too have forgotten a good part of that with which they were exhorted…" This shows that the Holy Quran is mentioning only a party from amongst the Christians and not the entire Christian world. Verily, the Holy Quran declares time and time again that there are those from amongst the People of the Book who are a God-fearing and righteous people (e.g. 2:62; 5:44, 69; 7:159).

Aside from the above, non-Muslim scholars also adhere to the belief that the Bible has suffered interpolations. As the gentleman has only cited verses where Christians have been accused of perverting God's word, we shall only give evidence to support this claim. We have not cited these excerpts to enter into a debate of the factual accuracy of these excerpts. It is only to show that it is not only Muslims who believe what the Quran has declared. A debate on the truth of the claim in (5:15-16) is a totally separate discussion:

• The facts relating to the composition of the Gospels, which have reached us from the ancient historians of the Church, are so uncertain and so slender that no definite conclusion can be drawn from them. Even the best authorities seem to accept as gospel truth the speculations current in their time, and, and out sheer reverence, those who come after accept their authority. The narratives, partly false and partly true, pass from one writer to another and after a time begin to be treated as though they were above criticism (Bible Commentary by Horn Vol. 4, Pt. 2, Ch. 2, 1882)

• The first Epistle of Peter is genuine but his second Epistle has never been part of the Holy Book, but has been current in reading (Eusebius in ‘History of the Church')

• The Epistle of James & Jude, the second Epistle of Peter, and the second and third Epistles of John have all been held in great doubt (Eusebius in ‘History of the Church' Ch. 25)

• The NT was written by Christians for Christians; it was moreover written in Greek for Greek-speaking communities, and the style of writing (with the exception, possibly, of the Apocalypse) was that of current literary composition. There has been no real break in the continuity of the Greek-speaking Church and we find accordingly that few real blunders of writing are met with in the leading types of the extant texts. This state of things has not prevented variations; but they are not for the most part accidental. An overwhelming majority of the ‘various readings' of the MSS of the NT were from the very first intentional alterations. The NT in very early times had no canonical authority, and alterations and additions were actually made where they seemed improvements (Encyclopedia Biblica Vol. IV p. 4980).

• What is certain is that by the middle of the fourth century, Latin biblical MSS exhibited a most confusing variety of text, caused at least in part by revision from later Greek MSS as well as by modifications of the Latin phraseology. This confusion lasted until all the ‘Old Latin' texts were supplanted by the revised version of Jerome (383-400 A.D) which was undertaken at the request of Pope Damasus and ultimately became the Vulgate of the Western Church (Encyclopedia Biblica Vol. IV p. 4993).

• More important than these external matters are the variations which in course of time crept into the text itself. Many of these variations were slips of the eye, ear, memory, or judgment on the part of a copyist, who had no intention to do otherwise than follow what lay before him. But transcribers, and especially early transcribers, by no means aimed at that minute accuracy which is expected of a modern critical editor. Corrections were made in the interest of grammar or of style. Slight changes were adopted in order to remove difficulties, additions came in, especially from parallel narratives in the Gospels, citations from the Old Testament were made more exact or more complete. That all this was done in perfect good faith, and simply because no strict conception of the duty of a copyist existed, is especially clear from the almost entire absence of deliberate falsification of the texts in the interests of doctrinal controversy…glosses or notes originally written on the margin, very often ended by being taken into the text, and that the custom of reading the Scriptures in public worship naturally brought in liturgical additions, such as the doxology of the Lord's Prayer; while the commencement of an ecclesiastical lesson torn from its proper context had often to be supplemented by a few explanatory words, which soon came to be regarded as part of the original (Enc. Brit. 12 Edition, Vol. III, p.646)

• A considerable portion of the NT is made up of writings not directly apostolic (Enc. Brit. 12 Edition, Vol. III, p.643)

• Every book in the NT, with the exception of the four great Epistles of St. Paul, is at present more or less the subject of controversy, and interpolations are asserted even in these (Enc. Brit. 12 Edition, Vol. III, p.643)

"People of the book (Jews and Christians) are evil doers, some of whom were converted
into apes and swine for their disbelief (5:59-60)"

If the gentleman's intent here is to imply that the Holy Quran has declared all Jews and Christians as hell-bound, nothing could be farther from the truth. Of righteous Christians, Jews, or any religious following the Holy Quran has declared that among them are those who shall be the inmates of Paradise (2:62, 5:69). Context dictates that those Jews and Christians who are evildoers truly had an evil nature. The Holy Quran states, "O ye who believe! Take not those for friends who make a jest and sport of your religion from among those who were given the Book before you, and the disbelievers. And fear Allah if you are believers; And who, when you call people to Prayer, take it for a jest and sport. This is because they are people who do not understand (5:57-58)… And when they come to you, they say, ‘We believe,' while they enter with disbelief and go out therewith; and Allah best knows what they hide (5:61).

Regarding the claim that Islam declares such evildoers to literally be turned into apes and swine, I must say it is laughable. Has the gentleman heard of metaphors? Jesus Christ (pbuh) himself used similar language to those who would not desist in their disbelief, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:6). Those who were ‘turned' into apes and swine are disbelievers who acquired filthy qualities of those animals.

"Jews say Ezra is son of God and Christians say Jesus is son of God, they are liars and perverts, May Allah destroy them (9:29)"

Firstly, the word ‘pervert' is not found in (9:29) or in the preceding/following verses. Second, if a religion believes that God taking a son is the worst crime that can be attributed to God, then it is fitting for Muslims to pray for the end of such a belief. It should also be noted that the Holy Quran is speaking of a specific kind of ‘Jews' and ‘Christians.' "O ye who believe! Surely, the idolaters are unclean…" (9:27) tells us that firstly it is those people who only by name are Jews or Christians and seek to pervert the Word of God, as is indicative of the explanation of (9:27) at the end of this article.

Also, the full verse reads, "And the Jews say, 'Ezra is the son of Allah,' and the Christians say, 'the Messiah is the son of Allah;' that is what they say with their mouths. They only imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before them. Allah's curse be on them! How they are turned away" (9:29). It is noteworthy that Allah states that these people believe this with only ‘their mouths' and has NOT said they believe this with ‘their hearts.' This shows that it is only those people who have purposely perverted the message of the Torah and the Gospel who are to be recipients of God's curse. This idea is further strengthened when Allah further explains the actions of these hypocrites, "O ye who believe! Surely, many of the priest and the monks devour the wealth of men by false means and turn men away from the way of Allah. And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah - give to them the tidings of a painful punishment" (9:33). So those who knowingly pervert God's word and hoard innocent Jews and Christian's money are addressed here. If a pious Christian or Jew truly believes in the teachings we find today in the Old and New Testament and is not guilty of the crimes listed above, then that Curse of Allah is not applicable to them. The Wrath of Allah only comes upon those who repeatedly test God and His Way after knowing that they are misleading the masses.

"Quran also calls all non Muslims evil (2:99)"

Nay, only the biased nature of the gentleman is evil! How unjust and unfortunate is the state of a man who deliberately misquotes and distorts Scripture. Neither does the verse, nor context, give support to the gentleman's claim. The Holy Quran states, "Say, ‘Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel' - for he it is who has caused it to descend on thy heart by the command of Allah, fulfilling that revelation which precedes it, and is a guidance and glad tidings to the believers. ‘Whoever is an enemy to Allah, and His angels, and His Messengers, and Gabriel, and Michael, then surely, Allah is an enemy to such disbelievers'" (2:98-99).

Allah declares that anyone who is an enemy of any of His prophets is an enemy to Allah. The word ‘adu (enemy) connotes those who openly and secretly oppose the mission of a prophet and thus become victim of God's Wrath. It does not apply to God-fearing and righteous people. Indeed, the lofty status of those who truly followed the prophets of past is loved by Allah, "Surely, the nearest of men to Abraham are those who followed him and this prophet and those who believe in him, and Allah is the Friend of the believers" (3:68). The gentleman is also requested to look over the following verses as only sample of the attitude of the Quran to non-Muslims: (2:130, 132-133, 135; 3:67, 95; 5:111; 22:78; 37:103).

Allah also states that whoever is an enemy to Gabriel or Michael is His enemy as well. This establishes a very crucial point. Note that Angel Gabriel is believed to be the Bearer of Revelation and Angel Michael is assigned the duty of establishing the Unity and Oneness of God. Thus, anyone who tries to obstruct their plans becomes an enemy of the One who sent them. Non-Muslims who adhere to the qualities of righteousness need not think the Holy Quran addresses them here. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) diseased (2.10)"

Those who are declared as diseased are not all non-Muslims. The Holy Quran states earlier, "And of the people there are some who say, 'We believe in Allah, and the Last Day;' while they are not believers at all. They would deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive none but themselves; only they perceive it not. In their hearts was a disease, so Allah has increased their disease, and for them is a grievous punishment because they lied" (2:8-10).

Do also note that the next few verses refer to the evil works of these diseased people, "And when it is said to them, ‘Create not disorder in the earth,' they say, ‘We are only promoters of peace.' Beware! It is surely they who create disorder, but they do not perceive it (2:11-12) … And when they meet those who believe, they say, ‘We believe;' but when they are alone with their ring-leaders they say, ‘We are certainly with you; We were only mocking (2:14).'

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) cursed (2:88)"

Those who are cursed in here are, in fact, enemies of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and Prophet Moses (pbuh)! Do consider the context of the passage, "Yet you are those who slay one another and turn out a section of your people from their homes (2:85)… And verily We gave Moses the Book and caused Messengers to follow in his footsteps after him; and to Jesus, son of Mary, We gave manifest Signs, and strengthened him with the Spirit of Holiness. Will you, then, every time a Messenger comes to you with what you yourselves desire not, behave arrogantly and treat some as liars and slay others (2:87)?"

It is these horrible people who malign and persecute the prophets and their followers to whom Allah has declared, "They said, 'Our hearts are wrapped up in covers.' Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief. Little is that which they believe" (2:88).

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) losers (5:53)"

The Holy Quran does not declare all non-Muslims to be losers. Context again shows that those spoken of here are a select group of evildoers: "And thou wilt see those in whose hearts is a disease… (5:52); O ye who believe! Whoso among you turns back from his Religion … (5:54)." Those who are losers are the lot that joined Islam for immediate gains, and when seeing that the life of a Muslim was not filled with luxury and relaxation, recanted and resumed their previous ways. If Islam declares itself to be the True Word of God then would not such a one who, after knowing Islam to be the truth, leaves Islam due to hardship deserve to be called a loser? Verily, he would be the foremost of losers!

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) liars (16:39)"

For God's sake, can the gentleman please open a dictionary and find out what the word ‘context' means? Those declared as liars are not all non-Muslims, but a group of people: "…So travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who treated the prophets as liars! (16:36) … And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths, that Allah will not raise up those who die. Nay, He will certainly raise them up. This is a true promise the fulfillment of which is binding on Him but most men know not (16:38)."

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) worst beasts (8:55)"

Those spoken of here are the hypocrites (8:49) and those who resembled in nature the people of Pharaoh (8:52, 53). As I have stated time and time again, it is NOT an entire religious group that is discussed in a negative manner.

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) lowest creatures (58.20)"

The Holy Quran does not declare all non-Muslims to be the lowest of creatures. We have cited above verse upon verse refuting this notion completely. Moreover, those spoken of as the most abject are the same type of men condemned anywhere else in the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran states earlier in the same chapter, "Seest thou not those who take for friends a people with whom Allah is wroth? They are neither of you nor of them, and they swear to falsehood knowingly" (58:15). Allah here informs the Muslims to not take for friends those who purposely adhere to falsehood. Of these people Allah states later on, "Satan has gained mastery over them, and has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are Satan's party. Now, surely, it is Satan's party that are the losers" (58:19). As shown before, the Holy Quran categorically declares that not all non-Muslims are hell-bound, nor is any Muslim guaranteed salvation.

It is also noteworthy that those declared to be the most abject in (58:20) are those who OPPOSE Allah and His messenger. That is, they purposely devise strategies to create discord and enmity amongst the believers. Such people undoubtedly deserve to suffer the punishment of Hell.

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) deaf dumb and blind (2.171)"

This method of ‘reasoning' is getting a bit tired. Has the gentleman heard of context? Those referred to in (2:171) are mentioned in the preceding verse, "And when it is said to them, ‘Follow that which Allah has sent down,' they say, ‘Nay, we will follow that wherein we found our fathers.' What! Even if their fathers had no sense at all and followed not the right path" (2:170). Would the gentleman not refer to those who insist on denying clear proofs of guidance from God, simply because their ancestors had not believed in that guidance, as deaf, dumb, and blind?

"(Quran also calls all non-Muslims) who are considered dirty (9:27) like urine, feces, pigs
and dogs touching of whom defiles a Muslim and requires ablution."

I have no idea how the conclusion above could be drawn after reading the verse: "O ye who believe! Surely, the idolaters are unclean. So they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year of theirs. And if you fear poverty, Allah will enrich you out of His bounty, if He pleases. Surely, Allah is All-knowing, Wise" (9:27).

It is the idolaters, and not all non-Muslims, who are spoken of and those idolaters who had not left any stone unturned to persecute the Muslims. Any fair-minded student of Islamic history can testify to this fact. Neither the preceding nor the following verses lend any support to the gentleman's claim.

It should also be understood that before Islam came, the rites of Pilgrimage to the Kaaba had been most unfortunately violated by the filthy nature of the Pagans. To name just one aspect of the Hajj prior to Islam, pilgrims would perform the Hajj totally naked! In (9:27) the Holy Quran is declaring, among other things, that these practices will never return to the Kaaba. Also, the idolaters were physically removed from Mecca because they were a threat to the security of the state. Regardless, whatever way one looks at the verse, the conclusion arrived at by the gentleman cannot be drawn.
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