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A Tale Of Two Halves continued

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Wahhabism Is The Problem

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Oct 12, 2006 at 17:38

Thank you for your kind words Hamilton, and thank you for the gracious way you contribute to the discussion. There is much in your response I would love to have the space to comment on, but instead, restrict my comments to violence, briefly!! comparing/contrasting Bible/Qur'an and Jesus/Muhammad. You mention Old Testament violence, and right away, I comment that many Muslim polemicists and propagandists seek to deflect attention away from the violence in the Qur'an, by referring to divinely ordained warfare and violence in the Old Testament, trying to compare, excuse, or justify Islam's brutality on the grounds that the Old Testament is just as brutal, which is a false analogy, and unfounded for several reasons.

Firstly, the wars and violence found within the Old Testament are descriptive, not prescriptive. Annihilation is not the sweep of the entire Old Testament; rather it is an extreme decree, used only in exceptionally rare cases, especially concerning the Canaanites. It describes events as they occurred, commandments God had given a specific people for a specific purpose. Unlike the Qur'an, these instructions are not prescriptions for followers today. The Islamic injunctions are binding on all Muslims for all times, making it mandatory that Muslims wage war against ‘infidels,' till the end of the age.

Secondly, none of the Old Testament wars were fought with the purpose of forcibly converting pagans to the religion of Israel. God commanded these wars for the specific purpose of punishment and judgment, the time had come for Him to punish specific peoples, for all of their atrocious acts and abominations.

The fact that Muslims refer to these ancient wars and violence, means they fail to realize that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures, so His followers are not required to wage wars that were time-specific (3,400 years ago), location-specific (the Holy Land), and limited in purpose. The article:-

"Allah and God At War: Worlds Apart "

http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/allahs_wars.htm explains the differences between the Old Testament's limited wars and Islam's wars of worldwide conquest, as does the article "A Series of Answers to Common Questions" http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_amalekites.htm and although many other publications examine these admittedly emotionally difficult events, it would belabour the point to refer to them, but I must stress they are completely different from Islam's violence and warfare, violence being foundational to Islam, and remaining deeply embedded in it, with Muhammad's life, and the pages of the Qur'an containing much violence, commanded in order to extend Islam's dominion.

I freely admit that the Old Testament violence is a most difficult emotional issue to handle, but I seek to do so, holding together, God's justice, mercy, goodness and love. It is emotionally difficult, but I neither ignore it, nor refuse to try and understand it, but seeking understanding of the reasons for this Old Testament violence, I attempt to see things from the situation around 1,400 years before Christ, realizing that 600 years after Jesus, who showed us, and taught us a better way, Muhammad came, preaching and practicing Islam, for which, violence was foundational, and in which, it remains deeply embedded. Attempting to understand the Qur'an, requires we know about Muhammad's Hijrah (Emigration or Flight) from Mecca to Medina in AD 622, Muhammad receiving ‘revelations' in both cities, hence "the tale of two halves." While he lived in Mecca, he had no military power, so had to take a docile, submissive attitude towards his opponents. The Meccan surahs reflecting this historical reality. Under persecution, he leaves Mecca and relocates to Medina. Now the ‘revelations' change in tone, he raises a lethal band of raiders and eventually a large army of warriors and becomes bellicose. Textual reality of the Medinan surahs in the Qur'an, likewise reflecting this historical reality. The Medinan surahs have far more violence in them, with many Muslims believing the Medinan surahs take priority over the Meccan ones, certainly the jihadists believe this, and they are the Muslims who harm people.

Turning to Surah 2 from which you quoted extensively, I have carefully studied what is said about its date, and here is what James Arlandson, a fine scholar of Islam says:- "This entire surah, is generally regarded as one of the earliest after Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina in AD 622. He wanted to be accepted by all peoples, particularly Jews, so the verse reflects this desire (the surah has many passages discussing Jewish Scriptures and beliefs).


and here is a quotation taken verbatim from an Islamic website, quoting the great Qur'anic exegete, Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi's Tafsir (commentary) on Surah 2:-

"The greater part of Al-Baqarah was revealed during the first two years of the Holy Prophet's life at Al-Madinah. The smaller part which was revealed at a later period has been included in this Surah because its contents are closely related to those dealt with in this Surah. For instance, the verses prohibiting interest were revealed during the last period of the Holy prophet's life but have been inserted in this Surah. For the same reason, the last verses (284-286) of this Surah which were revealed at Makkah before the migration of the Holy Prophet to AI-Madinah have also been included in it."


I have previously quoted some of the ayat contained in Surah 9 from which todays jihadists derive their mandate, and stress that Jesus did not teach or commit violence, did not command jihad or killing of those who wouldn't accept the Gospel, but Muhammad did command jihad and the killing of those who would not accept Islam, and Muslims today, who commit acts of violence and terror in the name of Allah, can find ample justification for their actions, based on the teachings of the Qur'an and the sayings and examples of Muhammad himself, they can rightly claim to be following the commands of Allah in the Qur'an, and imitating their prophet as their role model.

It pains and saddens me, to acknowledge that throughout the centuries, and down to the present day, Christians have committed, and continue to commit many acts of violence, but have done, and continue to do so, in complete disobedience of, and completely dishonouring, toHim whose Name they bear. Christians engaging in violence, are betraying the explicit teachings and examples of Jesus Christ.

You write so winsomely Hamilton, "But if we can also help Muslims find an interpretation of Islam that is consistent with pluralism, we will be all the better for it." But, and it's a massive but, this would entail Muslims setting aside the preaching, the teaching, and the example of their prophet, and is this likely to happen? No it isn't Hamilton, instead we're seeing a worldwide resurgence of the Medinan Islam of Muhammad, and that means tough, tough times ahead, for Western democracies, who still haven't heeded the alarm call of 911 and 0707, and drawing to a close, it's important to let the spokesmen for Allah speak for themselves, because they are saying it clearly enough, and here's a quotation from around 30 years ago, followed by one published the day after 0707, that's right, the very day after.

"Islam is not Christianity………Islam is the religion of agitation, revolution, blood, liberation and martyrdom." Shaikh Morteza Motahari "Nehzat Islami Dar Sadsal Akhir" ("Islamic Movements In The Last 100 Years), Tehran, 1979, page 83

"Ask the defenders of Western civilization such as Daniel Pipes, Thomas Friedman and Bush and Blair to find out what they actually mean by defending their ‘way of life' or ‘life style.' The instant answer would be the Western politico-socio-economic system. That is what the Qur'an means when it commands for (sic) establishing the way of life as prescribed by Allah. It can never be limited to just personal ethics or spirituality" Abid Ullah Jan "Islam, faith and power" The Muslim Weekly : July 8th."2005 The day after the London bombings!! http://tinyurl.com/aja2p

Key points of the article:-

• Muslims should strive to gain political and military power over non-Muslims

• Warfare is obligatory for all Muslims

• Islamic state, Islam and Sharia law, should be established throughout the world

and to really "ink it in," the most telling assessment of the whole issue, confirming the centrality of the sword in Islam, comes from a modern scholar, writing in the magazine of al-Azhar University in Cairo, the most prestigious University in the Muslim world, and published nearly 50 years ago:-

"Holy war (Jihad) is an Arabic virtue, and a divine obligation: the Muslim is always mindful that his religion is a Qur'an and a sword ... the Muslim then is forever a warrior."

Al-Azhar magazine, Cairo, the opening article by Ahmad Hasan az-Zayat, August 1959.

With this assertion, the Qur'an, the Hadith, the history of Islam, and scholars, ancient and modern, concur.

I close Hamilton, by saying as emphatically as I can, that I firmly believe, that politicians with their bombs, bullets, battleships, helicopter gunships, cruise missiles etc. will not defeat the Medinan Islam of Muhammad, but that only the Gospel of Grace will defeat it, but the Christian church has to waken up, and get about the commission given them by the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is the One who can bring peace to this world. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the paradigm. He is the exemplar. He is the sinners all-sufficient Saviour, He is the redeemer. He is...I wish I could describe Him to you, but He's indescribable!!


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