Converting to Islam

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When I look at Islam I see only a sadistic ogre who thinks the world is flat, a cynical or delusional warlord with big ambitions, and a cult which mandates death for anyone leaving or criticising it.

But other people see something entirely different, so different that they convert to it (or as Muslims prefer to say revert since all babies are born Muslim and it is just their Christian or Buddhist or atheist parents who lead them astray). Do they see something which most people are unable to appreciate, or is it more that they manage not to see things which are blindingly obvious to the rest of us?

Here are some conversion accounts displaying different aspects of the phenomenon.

Firstly the Intellectuals.

Arnold Yasin Mol is a Dutch convert, theologian and teacher of Islamic Studies. He says in this interview with historian Andrew Holt:

“It was at Leiden University where I fell in love with classical Islamic theology (ilm al-Kalam) and exegesis (tafsir)…The rational theologians (called the Ahl al-Kalam), philosophers, and legal scholars (especially of the Hanafi school), finally made me feel at home in the 1400 years of Islamic community and tradition.”

Burhan al-Din al-Marghinani was an important Hanafi legal scholar, presumably one of those Mol so admires. He wrote the highly influential Hanafi manual of Islamic law, the Hedaya.

The interview with Holt happens to be about homosexuality which Mol says is considered a crime in the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence but not the Hanafi one (because zina only includes heterosexual acts). This is true as you can see from Chapter 1 of the Hedaya, “Of Zinna, or Whoredom” (p.1). So the Hanafi school is more compatible with modern Western views on this issue.

But I am primarily concerned with Islamic attitudes towards infidels, specifically with regard to jihad. On p.154 of the Hedaya it says:

“War must be carried on against the infidels, at all times, by some party of the Mussulmans. The sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently observed when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of the Mussulmans; and it is then no longer of any force with respect to the rest. It is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said, in the Koran ‘SLAY THE INFIDELS’; and also by a saying of the prophet, ‘war is permanently established until the day of judgment’.”

This passage is particularly interesting because it answers the question sometimes raised by Islamic apologists “If Islam commands jihad then why aren’t all Muslims doing it”?

But more importantly it shows the Hanafi school aligned with the other schools on this issue, as we see from The Reliance of the Traveller, the Shafi’i equivalent of the Hedaya:

o9.1 “Jihad is a communal obligation. When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others.”
o9.8 “The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians until they become Muslim or else pay the non Muslim poll tax [ie jizya].”
o9.9 “The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim.”

I wonder what Mol’s position is on the Hedaya passage. If he accepts it as valid then he is declaring himself my potential enemy. If he does not then I would be keen to know what has changed in the last 800 years to render it no longer of concern to non-Muslims. Perhaps I’ll ask him.

[ Update: I did ask him and he was good enough to send me this link to the Open Letter to Baghdadi, from a group of Islamic scholars, with his commentary.

Unfortunately I could not find anything in the section on jihad which either specifically, or by extrapolation, answered my question about the Hedaya. It appears from Mol’s commentary that some scholars think jihad is only defensive and some think it can be offensive, some think jihad is historically limited and some think it is forever. Therefore you can pick and choose according to taste as Mol does from his Hanafi perspective, as the signatories of the letter do from their perspective and ISIS do from theirs.

If you are really interested in the Open Letter I suggest reading Robert Spencer’s dissection of it here. ]

Nuh Ha Mim Keller is an American convert, and translater of the Shafi’i manual of Islamic Law, The Reliance of the Traveller. He recounts his long journey from doubts about Christianity to certainty within Islam here.

In the process he visits Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Sartre and comes to the conclusions that the twentieth century “could no longer answer a single ethical question”, and that “without revealed religion no valid objection could be raised to the strong eating the weak”.

He found certainty but we might ask whether he found the morality he was looking for. Why? Because of the content of The Reliance of the Traveller which, elsewhere, he says he translated “out of personal need for a shari’a manual, to know and practice Islam in my own life”.

Here are a selection of rulings from it.

Just as examples, on what moral basis does it mandate the mutilation of young girls’ genitals (section e4.3) or the execution of believers who don’t keep up with their prayers (section f1.4)? None at all except that Mohammed reportedly once said something to that effect.

There was a time when Keller struggled with the moral relativism of the West. I suspect, or at least hope, that in those days he would have reacted with horror at such injunctions. But no longer. He has submitted to Allah and the arbitrary moral absolutism of “If Mohammed said it, it’s okay”. I do not call that morality at all but rather a complete abdication of moral responsibility, on a par with “I was only following orders”. What do you think?

Here is another conversion account, by Timothy Winter (aka Abdal Hakim Murad), a British convert and Islamic scholar at Cambridge University.

It consists of the familiar tale of teenage alienation and disenchantment with Christianity intermingled with a love letter to Islam, exemplified by this sort of sentiment “the Koran, that ‘shy bride’, would take years to unveil herself. At the outset, she seemed to dazzle me with her unworldly strangeness, and the purity of her ego-less diction”.

It is evident that all three of these intellectuals have fallen in love with various aspects of Islam; the (alleged) beauty of the language, the (supposed) profundity of the philosophy, the (apparently) beneficent effect on its adherents etc.

But it is also notable what they do not mention; Allah’s frankly disturbing habit of torturing forever anyone who doesn’t believe in him (enter the word “fire” into this Koranic search facility if you think I’m exaggerating), Mohammed’s career as a merciless warlord as shown here in the Sira and the vile rulings of Islamic Law as shown above from The Reliance of the Traveller.

How do they manage to overlook these rather obvious and very ugly things? Beats me, but there is the old saying “There’s no fool like a clever fool”.

Then the Captives:

Al Qaeda insurgents in Mali recently released two captives. Both Johan Gustafsson and Stephen McGown converted to Islam during their six years of captivity. Gustaffson was only pretending, in hopes of improving his situation, but it turned out that McGown meant it.

He told reporters that he entered Islam of his own accord (well there is no compulsion in religion is there?) after which he received better treatment.

He went on to say “I see many good things in Islam. It requires a very good character, a very strict character”. Naturally, it requires a very good character to kidnap and hold to ransom complete strangers, keeping them in constant fear for their lives for six years. Only racists and Islamophobes would quibble with that.

Once McGown has spent time readjusting with his friends and family, perhaps someone will explain Stockholm Syndrome to him, “the condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity”.

Come to think of it, don’t ordinary Muslims, in particular Muslim children, have a lot in common with captives like Mcgown? At home and in the madrassah and the mosque they get the constant message from those they depend on that Allah has his eye on them, weighing them up for an eternity of paradise or hell depending on how sincerely they internalise the message. And in earthly terms they can choose between acceptance from an all encompassing culture or exclusion from it, or even worse, for rejecting Islam. As Dawkins says, this is child abuse.

Yes, we know the same happens in other religions but these days far less starkly. It was at Sunday school that my mother was first shown a picture of Jesus in agony on the cross and told it was on account of her sins. She said “I don’t like this” and her big sister shielded her and said “You don’t have to look”. Perhaps that is what made her a lifelong atheist. But even in those days when, as a teenager, she chose to have nothing more to do with the church, there was no comeback, no social exclusion, no family blackmail or worse.

But we all know that for young Muslims rejecting Islam means risking the loss of their family, their social network and possibly their lives. If they find support it will be from ex-Muslim groups made up of people like themselves, usually needing to maintain anonymity for obvious reasons. It is the sort of thing that our intellectuals above never touch on, and just one of the reasons I tend to regard their musings with less than admiration.

The Criminal:

We can piece together the story of Morten Storm from sources like this and this.

He grew up in Denmark, the product of a broken home with violence and drunkenness involved. As a teenager he joined a criminal gang. In prison he came into contact with a British Muslim who helped him establish himself in Britain after his release. Storm accepted Islam and quickly gravitated to the violently supremacist groups in London.

The ease with which gang members and criminals find a home in Islam, in prison or out of it, has been widely noted. And why wouldn’t they? Mohammed united the meanest tribes in Medina, the Aus and the Khazraj, to form the biggest, baddest gang in the area. When Storm read about the caravan raiding and dividing the booty he must have thought “That’s the prophet for me!”

He spent some years trying his best to “strive in Allah’s way” but he was balked in his desire to create mayhem in Somalia because Mogadishu airport was closed down. Recounting his frustration, he says:

“All my dreams about jihad were ruined. I was like, ‘that can’t happen, why?’ I was so hurt, and really, really upset and angry. I couldn’t comprehend.

“It made me sit up all night. I came back, opened the laptop and typed ‘contradictions in the Koran,’ something I had never dared ask before. If I had some doubts I had suppressed them. Then I picked up the Koran and confirmed it. It took a couple of days, and then I said: ‘F**k it. I spent ten years of my life and I was just about to get killed for this.’

“So I called the PET.” (PET is the Danish security service for which he subsequently worked, along with MI6 and the CIA, against Al Qaeda).

His conversion out of Islam is more interesting, to me at least, than his conversion into it because he did something both intelligent and unusual. He did some factual research! And not just the kind of research which will strengthen existing beliefs but the kind that risks disproving them.

He explains that it says in the Koran if you find contradictions in it then it is not from God (he is referring to verse 4:82 “Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions”).

He found plenty of contradictions, in particular one between free will and pre-destination, and concluded the Koran could not be from God. You may say that is a very simplistic understanding of Islam but Allah is himself a very simplistic deity. No one made him give such a hostage to fortune but like the pub know-it-all he could not resist bragging. Other gods have the sense to keep it vague about easily checkable claims but Allah, in his overconfidence, makes endless howlers, exhibiting all the scientific understanding of your average 7th century Arabian camel trader. There’s a coincidence.

These contradictions and absurdities are clearly and calmly exposed in Peter Townsend’s excellent book Questioning Islam.

The one which sticks in my mind is the inability of the supposed designer of quantum mechanics to master basic fractions, as shown in the Koranic rules of inheritance. They don’t add up, and had to be tidied up by later scholars with the Laws of Awl and Usbah.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more people, on both sides, were prepared to do a bit of factual research? Muslims dare not and infidels can’t be bothered, content to parrot the platitudes issued by the four P’s…Press, Politicians, Professors and Priests (courtesy of Daniel Pipes). If they did examine the texts then an ever increasing body of people would come to realise what nonsense Islam actually consists of, rendering it a worldwide laughing stock.

You would think that Islam itself would wither and die in the 21st century. A civilisation that understands what shooting stars actually are against a god who tells us he made them as missiles to throw at devils? It should be no contest, but it isn’t. In fact, Islam is growing in strength; the strength of ignorance, fanaticism and violence (plus a fair bit of oil money) while Western civilisation is experiencing an absurd loss of confidence, wallowing in self-laceration over past wrongs, real and imagined, encouraged by those who wish to destroy us.

The Jihadi Wife:

This conversion account in ISIS’s in-house magazine Dabiq (p.36) is the story of a Finnish woman who goes by the name Umm Khalid al-Finlandiyyah. She started out noticing that her family and society only paid lip service to Christianity and ended up in Syria with her husband and children.

As usual, when converts get into the theology, it is the Christian trinity that bothers her most:

“The main thing that didn’t make sense to me about Christianity was the Trinity. I would wonder, how could the “son” of God be crucified? How could a “part” of God – according to the Trinity – be crucified? How could a human being be God, and then become humiliated and have a humiliating death?”

She marries a non-practising Muslim, has children with him then divorces:

“At that point, I really wanted to learn about Islam, and because of the blessed events of September 11th, I would always see Islam mocked in the media, but I was still curious and wanted to find out more about this religion.”

David Wood explains here the odd phenomenon of interest in Islam spiking after jihadist atrocities in the West, sometimes leading to conversions.

A Muslim friend lends her a copy of the Koran:

“What struck me most as I was reading the Quran were the verses about Hellfire and the punishment in the Hereafter.”

Most people are too polite to mention Allah’s torture chamber for unbelievers, as though they know grandpa gets up to some weird things in the attic but prefer not to put their head round the door. But an inclination to take hellfire seriously is something Umm Khalid and I share. The difference is that she was frightened by it whereas to me it is proof that Allah was just a figment of Mohammed’s imagination. How ridiculous would it be that the designer of galaxies would be so petty and spiteful, particularly since he tells us that he decided who would believe in him in the first place?

She capitulates to Allah’s threats:

“Not long afterwards, I knew that this religion really was the truth.”

She recites the shahada in her Muslim friends’ home and they teach her how to pray:

“It was a wonderful feeling. After continuously searching for the truth, finding it was just such a relief. I felt so much peace.”

She remarries, this time to a practising Muslim. Then:

“At one point, my husband started telling me about jihad and about having the sound creed.”

Her husband is arrested for terrorism but:

“it was probably the best thing that happened to me because it opened my eyes to the importance of hijrah I can’t even describe the feeling when you finally cross that border and enter the lands of the Caliphate.”

“Every day you’re thankful to Allah for allowing you to perform hijrah and to live under the Shari’ah. Life in the Islamic State is such a blessing”

“After four months of us being here, my son was martyred, and this was yet another blessing….what could be better than him being killed for the cause of Allah?”

“As for those people who cannot perform hijrah, I advise you to attack the Crusaders and their allies wherever you are, as that is something that you are able to do. Don’t be tricked by the apostate “scholars.” The truth is out there and it isn’t hard to find as long as you open your heart to it.”

A sad, sad story, I am sure you will agree. She was clearly a very impressionable young woman, one of nature’s cult members just waiting to be claimed by the right cult.

But in Islamic terms what did she do wrong? Muslims are enjoined to follow the example of Mohammed, and what do ISIS do that Mohammed and his companions did not do? Apart from the obvious differences of modern technology, you can tick off their shared activities: robbery, beheading, ransoming, crucifixion, amputation, sex slavery, forced conversion, jizya, stoning, the use of terror, takfir, immolation and throwing homosexuals off high buildings (further details here).

It seems to me that Mohammed’s religion is like a black hole around which believers orbit, more or less affected by its gravitational pull. There are those who maintain a stable orbit on the periphery, merely observing the five pillars. Some, closer in, support but don’t themselves engage in jihad, and some like this young woman get sucked right in to their doom, unprotected by any solid identity. Poor girl. I expect she’s dead now. Or perhaps back in Finland, free to continue Allah’s work like this hero of Islam who made the news just yesterday.

And finally the Churchmen:

Well, it’s the only explanation isn’t it, considering how assiduously they work to advance Islam at the expense of their own flock. Like the one below who said – can you believe it? – “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”

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The definitively fake Covenant with the Monks of Mt Sinai

covenants

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post, Mohammed’s apocryphal Covenants, about John Andrew Morrow’s book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, finding several reasons to doubt the covenants’ authenticity. Concentrating on the most famous and best documented one, the Covenant with the Monks of Mt Sinai, I found two startling anomalies arising from the timeline.

According to Dr Morrow the Covenant with the Monks of Mount Sinai was written in 623 AD but Sinai did not come under Muslim control until c.640 AD, several years after Mohammed’s death.

So:
Anomaly #1 Why would Mohammed grant a covenant of protection in 623 AD to a group who were not under his control and he was therefore not in a position to protect?

Anomaly #2 Why would he release them from the obligation to pay the Jizya tax which they were therefore not subject to?

But there is an even more glaring anomaly, one which I only just realised was staring me in the face.

According to Dr Morrow’s own translation, the Covenant with the Monks of Mt Sinai was written “on the third of Muharram in the second year of the Prophet’s Hegira”. Since Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, that means it was written just one year after the Hijra, Mohammed’s migration to Medina. By that time Mohammed had not yet fallen out with the other religious and tribal groups in Medina. In fact the only substantive thing he is reported to have done in his first year was to set up the Constitution of Medina which gave equal rights and responsibilities to Muslims and non-Muslims.

Dr Morrow tells us “The Constitution of Medina decreed that the citizens of the Islamic State were one and indivisible regardless of religion. Be they heathen, People of the Book, or Muslims, all those who were subject to the Constitution belonged to the same ummah. In doing so, he created a tolerant, pluralistic government which protected religious freedom.”

Jizya, the discriminatory poll tax imposed on subjugated non-Muslims, only came later, during Mohammed’s wars with the neighbouring People of the Book and polytheists (the first reference to it in the Koran comes in verse 9:29, revealed c.630 AD). Not only that but on p.94 of Dr Morrow’s book he specifically states, in another context “…the jizyah did not exist in the early days of Islam”.

So:
Anomaly #3 The Jizya tax which the Covenant exempted the monks from paying did not yet exist, even in Medina.

To sum up, Mohammed’s Covenant with the Monks of Mt Sinai, supposedly written in 623 AD, promised protection to a group that Mohammed was in no position to protect, and exemption from paying a tax which they were not subject to, and which did not even yet exist.

I would say all that means that the Covenant could not possibly have been written in 623 AD and must therefore be a later forgery (presumably perpetrated by Christian monks hoping for relief from their Muslim overlords). If anyone can provide another explanation for these 3 anomalies, not involving time travel or precognition, I would be grateful to hear it. Dr Morrow certainly does not address any of them in his book. In the meantime I maintain that the claim of authenticity for the Covenant with the Monks of Mt Sinai is just plain nonsense.

Why does it matter? Because along with the book goes a Covenants Initiative, the aim of which is to spread the acceptance and influence of the Covenants in hopes of improving relations between Muslims and Christians. A laudable aim no doubt, but if its main foundation is a forgery then the Initiative amounts to no more than wishful thinking leading to an unrealistic assessment of the man who confronts us today just as he has for 1400 years.

I encourage readers to compare the picture we get of Mohammed from the Covenants, religiously tolerant and accepting, with the one we get from the Sira, a ruthless warlord by anyone’s standards. Unfortunately it is the Mohammed of the Sira, who is firmly embedded in Islamic tradition.

If the promoters of the Covenants Initiative can refute my objections then I will apologise and wish them well but, going by past experience, they won’t. The only response will be either no response or ad hominem attacks. Perhaps you might have better luck.

The word “Jihad” in the Koran

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After the appalling Linda Sarsour called for a jihad against Donald Trump there naturally followed the usual bunfight about what the word actually means. Some people thought she meant “smiting his neck and every fingertip” as, of course, she hoped they would so that she could then bring out the hadith about the best jihad being “speaking truth to a tyrant” and claim to be misrepresented by Islamophobes.

We know that ”jihad” literally means “strive” or “struggle” but how is it actually used in the Koran? In context does it mean “holy war” or “spiritual struggle” or both?

The Qur’anic Studies site identifies all the occurrences of the word in the Koran from the triconsonantal root “j-h-d” in the Arabic transliteration. It tells us that derivatives of the word “jihad” occur in 30 verses of the Koran; 6 of them in Meccan suras and 24 in Medinan suras.

In a separate exercise conducted some years ago, 160 or so verses were identified as referring directly to Mohammed’s wars against non-Muslims. I checked the 30 “j-h-d” verses against the 160 war verses (highlighted in mauve in this presentation of the Koran which is in turn based on this list).

Here are the 30 “j-h-d” verses, presented in chronological order, with matching verses marked with “**WAR**”.

Meccan Verses

[25.52] So do not follow the unbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with it.

[31:15] If they strive to make you set up any partners besides Me, then do not obey them. But continue to treat them amicably in this world. You shall follow only the path of those who have sought Me. Ultimately, you all return to Me, then I will inform you of everything you have done.

**WAR** [16.110] Yet surely your Lord, with respect to those who fly after they are persecuted, then they struggle hard and are patient, most surely your Lord after that is Forgiving, Merciful.

[29.6] And whoever strives hard, he strives only for his own soul; most surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above (need of) the worlds.
[29:8] And We instructed man to be good to his parents. But if they strive to make you set up partners with Me, then do not obey them. To Me are all your destinies, and I will inform you of what you used to do.
[29.69] And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good.

Medinan Verses

**WAR** [2.218] Surely those who believed and those who fled (their home) and strove hard in the way of Allah these hope for the mercy of Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

**WAR** [8.72]
Surely those who believed and fled (their homes) and struggled hard in Allah’s way with their property and their souls, and those who gave shelter and helped– these are guardians of each other; and (as for) those who believed and did not fly, not yours is their guardianship until they fly; and if they seek aid from you in the matter of religion, aid is incumbent on you except against a people between whom and you there is a treaty, and Allah sees what you do.
**WAR** [8.74] And (as for) those who believed and fled and struggled hard in Allah’s way, and those who gave shelter and helped, these are the believers truly; they shall have forgiveness and honorable provision.
**WAR** [8.75] And (as for) those who believed afterwards and fled and struggled hard along with you, they are of you; and the possessors of relationships are nearer to each other in the ordinance of Allah; surely Allah knows all things.

**WAR** [3.142] Do you think that you will enter the garden while Allah has not yet known those who strive hard from among you, and (He has not) known the patient.

[60.1] O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Apostle and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.

**WAR** [4.95] The holders back from among the believers, not having any injury, and those who strive hard in Allah’s way with their property and their persons are not equal; Allah has made the strivers with their property and their persons to excel the holders back a (high) degree, and to each (class) Allah has promised good; and Allah shall grant to the strivers above the holders back a mighty reward:

**WAR** [47:31] And We will test you until We know those who strive among you and those who are patient. And We will bring out your qualities.

**WAR** [22.78] And strive hard in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving a is due to Him; He has chosen you and has not laid upon you an hardship in religion; the faith of your father Ibrahim; He named you Muslims before and in this, that the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you, and you may be bearers of witness to the people; therefore keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and hold fast by Allah; He is your Guardian; how excellent the Guardian and how excellent the Helper!

**WAR** [49.15] The believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Apostle then they doubt not and struggle hard with their wealth and their lives in the way of Allah; they are the truthful ones.

**WAR** [66.9] O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be hard against them; and their abode is hell; and evil is the resort.

**WAR** [61.11] You shall believe in Allah and His Apostle, and struggle hard in Allah’s way with your property and your lives; that is better for you, did you but know!

**WAR** [5.35] O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and seek means of nearness to Him and strive hard in His way that you may be successful.
[5.54] O you who believe! whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, they shall strive hard in Allah’s way and shall not fear the censure of any censurer; this is Allah’s Face, He gives it to whom He pleases, and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

**WAR** [9.16] What! do you think that you will be left alone while Allah has not yet known those of you who have struggled hard and have not taken any one as an adherent besides Allah and His Apostle and the believers; and Allah is aware of what you do.
**WAR** [9.19] What! do you make (one who undertakes) the giving of drink to the pilgrims and the guarding of the Sacred Mosque like him who believes in Allah and the latter day and strives hard in Allah’s way? They are not equal with Allah; and Allah does not guide the unjust people.
**WAR** [9.20] Those who believed and fled (their homes), and strove hard in Allah’s way with their property and their souls, are much higher in rank with Allah; and those are they who are the achievers (of their objects).
**WAR** [9.24] Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the slackness of trade which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and His Apostle and striving in His way, then wait till Allah brings about His command: and Allah does not guide the transgressing people.
**WAR** [9.41] Go forth light and heavy, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your property and your persons; this is better for you, if you know.
**WAR** [9.44] They do not ask leave of you who believe in Allah and the latter day (to stay away) from striving hard with their property and their persons, and Allah knows those who guard (against evil).
**WAR** [9.73] O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.
**WAR** [9.81] Those who were left behind were glad on account of their sitting behind Allah’s Apostle and they were averse from striving in Allah’s way with their property and their persons, and said: Do not go forth in the heat. Say: The fire of hell is much severe in heat. Would that they understood (it).
**WAR** [9.86] And whenever a chapter is revealed, saying: Believe in Allah and strive hard along with His Apostle, those having ampleness of means ask permission of you and say: Leave us (behind), that we may be with those who sit.
**WAR** [9.88] But the Apostle and those who believe with him strive hard with their property and their persons; and these it is who shall have the good things and these it is who shall be successful.

So, in the Meccan suras 1 out of the 6 “j-h-d” verses appears among the war verses while in the Medinan suras 22 out of the 24 “j-h-d” verses do so. Therefore we can say there is an overwhelming correlation between the word “jihad” and warfare against the unbelievers in the Medinan suras. This will hardly surprise anyone who knows that Mohammed’s career consisted of two parts, his time in Mecca during which any violence was the prerogative of Allah and his time in Medina where he became a warlord and exercised violence on Allah’s behalf.

Also, none of the remaining 7 “j-h-d” verses is about spiritual struggle against one’s baser nature, ie the so-called Greater Jihad. Anyone wishing to promote that idea has to go a long way from the Koran to find any support for it. It is not even to be found in the six sahih (ie authentic) collections of hadiths but rests solely on one hadith from a later collection, dismissed by mediaeval Islamic scholars as weak or fabricated.

Another point worth making is that no less than 10 of the verses we are talking about occur in the last substantive sura, the ferocious sura 9. It seems that Mohammed became more warlike with age, rather than less. This of course echoes the situation with abrogation in the Koran since so many earlier verses are abrogated by verses in sura 9 (as shown in this list) in particular 9:5, the Verse of the Sword. This gives jihadis a much stronger claim to scriptural support than the elusive moderates we hear so much of but who disappear like the mist whenever a demonstration against ISIS is organised or the government requests help in tackling “extremism”.

Conclusion: Anyone wishing to use Islamic scripture, in particular the Koran, to claim a peaceful interpretation of jihad is indeed rowing against a very strong tide. Unless they’re just kidding us, of course.

Alfred Guillaume’s Life of Muhammad

banu-qurayza

Since the Koran is incomprehensible without external references and the Hadiths are a massive jumble of often contradictory tales, the Sira (biographies of Mohammed) must be the best available source of information about Mohammed’s character and career.

The principal biography is that of Ibn Ishaq, which only exists in partial form in other Muslim histories but Alfred Guillaume brought the remnants together and translated them in The Life of Muhammad.

Apart from anything else it provides a damning counterview to the claims we often hear about Mohammed the benign ruler. For instance, Dr John Andrew Morrow promotes a fantasy version of Mohammed based on his book about the almost certainly fake Covenants of Mohammed. In an interview Morrow said:
“Traditional, true Islam is a religion of love, peace and understanding. We do not torture, kill, kidnap and, sure as hell, we do not rape. Those who do act against Allah!”
However, if we have our Life of Muhammad handy and turn to pages 511 and 515-517 we see Mohammed do all four in the space of a few days. He had Kinana tortured and killed, and kidnapped and raped his wife Safiyah (admittedly after marrying her but consent was clearly not an issue).

Similarly, it is instructive to compare those pages with the version in Karen Armstrong’s biography Muhammad. She tells us only that Safiyah had been widowed during the Khaybar campaign, which tells you everything you need to know about Armstrong’s approach to her subject.

If you have only an hour to spare here is an abridged version. If you have only ten minutes to spare here are edited highlights. But nothing gives the full flavour of the brutal times and Mohammed’s brutal actions like the full Life of Muhammed.

The book’s index gives only the briefest indication of particular events so here is an expanded guide to the contents which I hope may be helpful. The page number of the text is given plus the electronic page number (eg 99/432) for speed of locating sections:

p.82 (65/432)  Khadija
Mohammed marries Khadija, a wealthy merchant woman.

p.106 (77/432)  Gabriel
Archangel Gabriel appears to Mohammed in a dream. Mohammed thinks he has become an ecstatic poet or possessed, and decides to throw himself off the mountain but Gabriel stops him, telling him he is Allah’s apostle. Khadija convinces him that he is not possessed and hopes he will become a prophet.

p.165 (106/432)  The Context of Sura 109
A party of the Quraysh (Mohammed’s tribe in Mecca) propose merging his monotheistic religion with their polytheistic one. Mohammed rejects the proposal saying “I do not worship what you worship, and you do not worship what I worship…you have your religion and I have mine”.
This statement is often deceptively presented as an example of Mohammed’s religious tolerance rather than simply a rejection of syncretism. In fact later scholars regarded the crucial verse 6 as being abrogated by 9:5 the “Verse of the Sword”.

p.165-167 (106-107/432) The Satanic Verses affair
Mohammed agrees to venerate three goddesses of the Quraysh, then realising he has gone back on his strict monotheism, receives a revelation from Gabriel explaining that the message did not come from him but Satan who tricked Mohammed.

p.181-187 (114-117/432)  The Night Journey and the Ascent to Heaven
Mohammed flies to Jerusalem on a donkey and climbs a ladder to heaven where he meets the prophets and haggles with Allah over the number of daily prayers required. He is given a glimpse into hell where he sees women hanging by their breasts because they had “fathered bastards on their husbands”.

p.198-199 (123/432)  The First Pledge at Aqaba (near Mecca)
Mohammed forms a peaceful alliance (ie the pledge of women) with members of the Aus and Khazraj tribes of Medina. They become known as the Ansar (ie helpers).

p.201-204 (124-126/432)  The Second Pledge at Aqaba
Mohammed and the Aus and Khazraj enter into a military alliance. Mohammed says “I will war against them that war against you and be at peace with those at peace with you”.
One tribesman says “Oh men of Khazraj, do you realize to what you are committing yourselves in pledging your support to this man? It is to war against all and sundry”. They accept Mohammed on these conditions but ask what they will get in return. Mohammed promises them paradise.

p.212-213 (130/432)  The Order to Fight
Allah gives Mohammed permission to engage in retaliatory warfare against his enemies of the Quraysh in Mecca.

p.223-228 (134-137/432)  The Hijra
The Meccans plan to kill Mohammed but he escapes to Medina, followed by his followers in Mecca (the muhajirun).

p.231-233 (138-139/432)  The Charter of Medina
Mohammed draws up an agreement between the various tribal and religious groups in Medina.

p.250-251 (148/432)  The Jews do not accept Mohammed’s prophethood
In a commentary on Sura 2 Allah is quoted as telling the Jews “Do not conceal the knowledge which you have about My apostle”.
The claim that Jews know that Mohammed was prophesied in the Torah but they deny it is a theme which runs through the book, as detailed HERE.
Mohammed reminds Jews of the time when Allah transformed some of them into apes for their sins.

p.256 (151/432)  Letter to the Jews of Khaybar
Mohammed writes to the Jews of Khaybar calling them to Islam.
He says:
‘God says to you O scripture folk, and you will find it in your scripture “Muhammad is the apostle of God”…’
and:
‘Do you find in what He has sent down to you that you should believe in Muhammed? If you do not find that in your scripture then there is no compulsion on you, “The right path has become plainly distinguished from error” so I call you to God and his prophet’.
Therefore the famous “no compulsion in religion” statement in Koran 2:256 is only conditional here, and since that condition has not been met compulsion is not proscribed.

p.267 (156/432)  Mohammed has adulterers stoned
Mohammed revives the lapsed injunction in the Torah to stone adulterers. “And when the Jew felt the first stone he crouched over the woman to protect her from the stones until both of them were killed”.

p.286-289 (168-169/432)  The first caravan raid
Mohammed sends his men to attack a Meccan caravan, which they do but before the Sacred Month has elapsed. Everyone is unhappy but Allah obliges with a helpful revelation. Mohammed establishes the rule for dividing booty, four fifths for those who Allah allowed to take it and one fifth for Allah and his Apostle.

p.299-305 (174-177/432)  The Battle of Badr
Mohammed leads an expedition to attack a Meccan caravan, leading to a decisive victory for the Muslims, partly due to the assistance of an army of of angels.

p.363-364 (206-207/432)  The Banu Qaynuqa
Mohammed besieges the Qaynuqa, one of three Jewish tribes of Medina, until they surrender unconditionally. The leader of the Khazraj tribe prevails on Mohammed to spare them and Mohammed gives them to him. Other sources report that the Qaynuqa were then expelled from the region.

p.364-369 (207-209/432)  The killing of Ka’b b. al-Ashraf
Mohammed orders the assassination of Ka’b b. al-Ashraf for composing insulting verses about him. Members of the Aus tribe carry it out.

p.369 (209/432)  The killing of Ibn Sunayna
Mohammed orders “Kill any Jew that falls into your power”. Muhayyisa kills Ibn Sunayna and Muhayyisa’s brother Huwayyisa upbraids him for killing someone who had benefited him so much. Muhayyisa replies that if ordered by Mohammed he would have killed Huwayyisa who is so impressed that he converts.

p.370-391 (210-220/432)  The Battle of Uhud
An inconclusive victory for the Meccans.

p.437-438 (243-244/432)  The Banu Nadir
Mohammed defeats the Nadir, the second Jewish tribe of Medina, confiscates their property and expels them from the region.

p.450-460 (250-255/432)  The Battle of the Ditch (or Trench)
Mohammed orders a ditch to be dug as a defence against an alliance of Jews and Quraysh. Mohammed strikes a rock with a pick, producing three sparks. He explains “the first means that Allah has opened up to me the Yaman; the second Syria and the west; and the third the east”. The alliance eventually withdraws after the siege fails.

p.461-466 (255-258/432)  The Banu Qurayza
Mohammed lays siege to the Qurayza, the third Jewish tribe of Medina, addressing them thus “You brothers of monkeys, has God disgraced you and brought His vengeance upon you?”
They surrender after 25 nights. Mohammed has 600-900 men beheaded and the women and children sold into slavery, except Rayhana who he selects for himself.

p.482-483 (266/432)  The killing of Sallam Ibn Abu’l-Hayquq
The Khazraj, jealous that the Aus had killed Ka’b b. al-Ashraf, ask permission to assassinate Sallam Ibn Abu’l-Hayquq, an opponent of Mohammed in Khaybar. Mohammed grants permission and they carry out the murder.

p.504-507 (277-278/432)  The Treaty of Hudaybiya
Mohammed agrees a 10 year truce with the Meccans.

p.510-511 (280/432)  The Expedition to Khaybar
Mohammed marches against Khaybar, conquering forts and taking captives. He selects Safiya, the wife of Kinana b. al-Rabi for himself.
p.515 (282/432)
Mohammed has Kinana tortured with fire in order to find out where the Jews’ treasure is hidden then has him beheaded.
p.516 (283/432)
A captured woman attempts to poison Mohammed but does not succeed.

p.549-552 (299-301/432)  The Occupation of Mecca
Mohammed enters Mecca with no resistance and destroys 360 idols around the Ka’ba.

p.566-572 (308-311/432)  The Battle of Hunayn
Mohammed wins a decisive battle against the Hawazin tribe.

p.588 (319/432)  Poetry
Before the capture of Al-Ta’if, Ka’b b. Malik sums up the ethos of the Religion of War in these lines:
“Till you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge,
We will fight not caring whom we meet…
They came at us thinking they had no equal
And we cut off their noses and ears
With our fine polished Indian swords
Driving them violently before us
To the command of God and Islam…
And he who cannot protect himself must suffer disgrace”

p.609 (329/432)  A rival mosque
Mohammed orders an independently set up mosque to be burned, while people are worshipping in it

p.618 (334/432)  The Verse of the Sword
Mohammed revokes treaties held with polytheist tribes and pronounces Koran 9:5, giving permission to attack unbelievers solely for religious reasons…“And when the sacred months are passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them, and seize them and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush…”

p.650-652 (350-351/432)  The Final Sermon
Mohammed gives what has become known as the Final Sermon. If women defile men’s beds or act with open unseemliness…“God allows you to put them in separate rooms and beat them, though not with severity…Lay injunctions on women kindly for they are prisoners with you, having no control of their persons”.

p.652 (351/432)  Out of Arabia
Mohammed orders an expedition to Syria and Palestine, the first outside Arabia.

p.652 (351/432)  Neighbouring rulers called to Islam
Messengers are sent to neighbouring kings calling on them to accept Islam.
p.659 (354/432)
To Badhan, governor of Yaman, Mohammed makes the offer “If you submit I will give you what you already hold and appoint you king over your people in Yaman.”

p.659-660 (354-355/432)  A Summary of Mohammed’s battles
Mohammed took part in 27 raids and fought in 9 of them.

p.664-665 (357/432)  The killing of Umm Qirfa
Zayd, Mohammed’s adopted son, raids the Banu Fazara and has their leader, an old woman called Umm Qirfa, killed “cruelly by putting a rope to her two legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two”.

p.669 (359/432)  Abu Bakr thinks there is compulsion in religion
Abu Bakr, later to become the first caliph, tells a convert “God sent Muhammed with this religion and he strove for it until men accepted it voluntarily or by force”.

p.672 (361/432)  “Kill those who disbelieve in God”
At the raid on Dumatu’l-Jandal Mohammed gives ‘Abdu’l-Rahman b. ‘Auf the standard and tells him “Fight everyone in the way of God and kill those who disbelieve in God”.

p.675-676 (362-363/432)  The killing of Asma d. Marwan
Mohammed orders the killing of mother of five, Asma d. Marwan of the Banu Khatma, for writing an insulting verse about him. Umayr carries it out. Mohammed says “You have helped God and his Apostle”. When Umayr asks if he will have to suffer any evil consequences, Mohammed replies “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her”.
“The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of Banu Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam”.

p.677-678 (363-364/432)  Revenge for the Killing of Yasar
Mohammed allows some sick tribesmen to drink the milk and urine of his camels but they kill the shepherd Yasar and drive off the camels. They are captured and Mohammed orders their hands and feet to be cut off and their eyes to be gouged out.

p.682 (366/432)  The Death of Mohammed
Mohammed dies, nursed by A’isha. Umar, later to become the second caliph, declares Mohammed is not dead but has just gone to spend time with Allah and threatens to cut off the hands and feet of those who claim otherwise.

p.687 (368/432)  Abu Bakr makes his position clear
Abu Bakr is chosen as Mohammed’s successor, the first caliph. He tells the believers “If a people refrain from fighting in the way of God, God will smite them with disgrace”

p.689 (369/432)  Last words
It is reported that Mohammed’s last words were “Let not two religions be left in the Arabian Peninsula”.
It is later reported that A’isha used to say “When the apostle died the Arabs apostatized and Christianity and Judaism raised their heads and disaffection appeared. The Muslims became as sheep exposed to rain on a winter’s night through the loss of their prophet until God united them under Abu Bakr”.
This refers to the Brutal Ridda or Apostasy wars conducted by Abu Bakr against reneging tribes. The majority of the tribes were willing to regard Mohammed as their prophet but Abu Bakr insisted on them also paying the zakat tax.

The Reliance of the Traveller

reliance

Umdat as-Salik or the Reliance of the Traveller (down at the moment, hopefully back soon) is the classical manual of Islamic Law (also referred to as Sacred Law or Sharia Law) of the Shafi’i school of Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh). It was compiled in the mid 14th century by Ahmad ibn an-Naqib al-Misri. The 1991 translation by the American convert Nuh Ha Mim Keller has been certified by al-Azhar University in Cairo as “conforming to the faith and practice of the orthodox Sunni Community”.

It is worth noting, to avoid confusion, that although Keller’s translation is called the “Reliance of the Traveller” the mediaeval text by al-Misri only constitutes books E to O and even then section o25, The Caliphate, was added by Keller. The other books consist of various other material including texts of fiqh by other authors and commentary by Keller.

Sections of the text are précised below but direct quotes are marked as such. The translater’s and other commentators’ additions are mostly left unidentified in order to avoid confusing clutter. The electronic page numbers are used for speed of locating individual books. [my comments look like this].

Here is a selection of items likely to be of particular interest to non-Muslims (and women, children, apostates, thieves, drinkers, prisoners of war, dog lovers, artists, musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, scientists, transvestites, homosexuals and fornicators).

Book E Purification  (p 68)

e.4.3 “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (bazr) of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna [ie exemplary], while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband).”
[however, the linguist and Anglican pastor Mark Durie claims that “bazr” does indeed mean the clitoris]

Going to the lavatory
e9.1 “It is recommended when one intends to use the lavatory:”
(6) “to enter with the left foot first and depart with the right foot first”

e14.0 FILTH (NAJASA)
e14.7 Something that becomes impure by contact with something from dogs or swine does not become pure except by being washed seven times, one of which (recommended not to be the last) must be with purifying earth mixed with purifying water,

Book F The Prayer (Salat)  (p 120)

f1.3 Someone raised among Muslims who denies the obligatoriness of the prayer, zakat, fasting Ramadan, the pilgrimage, or the unlawfulness of wine and adultery, or denies something else upon which there is scholarly consensus thereby becomes an unbeliever (kafir) and is executed for his unbelief.

f1.4 A Muslim who holds the prayer to be obligatory but through lack of concern neglects to perform it until its proper time is over has not committed unbelief. Rather, he is executed, washed, prayed over, and buried in the Muslims’ Cemetery.

Book G The Funeral Prayer  (p 239)

g4.20 “It is unlawful to wash the body of a martyr or perform the funeral prayer over him. A martyr (shahid) means someone who died in battle with non-Muslims. It is recommended that war gear be removed from the body and it is best to bury the martyr in the rest of his bloodstained clothes since it is the effect of worship.”
[thus allowing the Imams who refused to pray over the London Bridge jihadis’ bodies to fool the kuffar, details HERE]
.

Book H Zakat  (p 263)

h8.7 “It is obligatory to distribute one’s zakat [mandatory charitable giving] among eight categories of recipients”:
h8.8-18 The poor, people short of money, those who collect and distribute zakat, “those whose hearts are to be reconciled” [ie of wavering faith], slaves purchasing their freedom, those in debt, “those fighting for Allah” and “the traveller in need of money”.

h8.24 “It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim”.

Book K Trade  (p 390)

k32.0 Manumission [ie the freeing of slaves]
[The translater leaves this section about slavery untranslated because “the issue is no longer current”. That strongly implies then that he considers the rest of the contents of the book to be still current.]

Book M Marriage  (p 525)

Guardians Who May Marry A Virgin To A Man Without Her Consent
m3.13 (2) Whenever the bride is a virgin, the father or father’s father may marry her to someone without her permission, though it is recommended to ask her permission if she has reached puberty. A virgin’s silence is considered as permission.

Book N Divorce  (p 573)

n9.2 A waiting period [to determine pregnancy or otherwise] is obligatory for a woman divorced after intercourse, whether the husband and wife are prepubescent, have reached puberty, or one has and the other has not.
[therefore intercourse with prepubescent girls is quite lawful]

Book O Justice  (p 597)

Who Is Subject To Retaliation For Injurious Crimes
o1.2 The following are not subject to retaliation:
(2) “a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim”
(3) a dhimmi for killing an apostate
(4) a parent for killing their child or grandchild
[thereby excusing honour killings of girls who have become too westernised]

Indemnity (Diya)
o4.9 The indemnity for an accidental death of a woman is half that for a man. For a Jew or Christian it is one third, and for a Zoroastrian one fifteenth, of that for a Muslim.

Apostasy From Islam (Ridda)
o8.1 “When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed”.

Acts That Entail Leaving Islam:
o8.7 (1) “to prostrate to an idol”
(2) “to intend to commit unbelief, even if in the future”
(4) “to revile Allah or his Messenger”.
(6) “to be sarcastic about Allah’s name”
(7) to deny any verse of the Koran or to add any to it
(11) to accuse a Muslim of unbelief [ie takfir] incorrectly
[a serious matter because one of the parties will necessarily be considered an apostate]
(14) “to deny the obligatory character of something which by the consensus of Muslims is part of Islam”
(17) “to believe that things in themselves or their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah”
[perhaps explaining the dearth of great Muslim scientists, despite the myth of the Golden Age]
(18) “to deny the existence of angels or jinn, or the heavens”
(19) “to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law”
[ie anything in the Reliance]
(20) “to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message to be the religion followed by the entire world”
[thereby mandating Islamic supremacism].

Jihad
o9.0 “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs).”
[NB section o9.0 was not in the original Reliance but comes from a 19th century commentary by Umar Barakat added by the translater. The idea of “the greater jihad” comes solely from a particular hadith which is considered weak or fabricated.]

The Obligatory Character Of Jihad
o9.1 “Jihad is a communal obligation. When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others.”
“He who provides the equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself performed jihad.”

The Objectives Of Jihad
o9.8 “The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians until they become Muslim or else pay the non Muslim poll tax [ie jizya].”

o9.9 “The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim.”
[ie they have no escape by paying the jizya since they are not “people of the book”]

The Rules Of Warfare
o9.13 “When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled.”

o9.14 When an adult male is taken captive the caliph decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release or ransoming.

Truces
o9.16 Umar Barakat explains that truces are only ever temporary, for the benefit of the Muslim war effort, since it is “a matter of the gravest consequence because it entails the non-performance of jihad”.

Non-Muslim Subjects Of The Islamic State (Ahl Al Dhimma)
o11.1 An agreement of protection is made with People of the Book.

o11.2 The 20th century commentator, Abd al-Wakil Durubi, tells us that idol worshippers and followers of “cults which have appeared since Islam” such as Sikhs, Baha’is, Mormons, Qadiani [ie Ahmadis] do not qualify as People of the Book.

o11.3 Dhimmis [ie protected people (in a state of dhimmitude)] must follow the rules of Islam and pay a poll tax (jizya).

o11.5 The rules include:
(2) wearing distinctive dress
(4) keeping to the side of the street
(5) not building as high as Muslim buildings
(6) not openly displaying signs of their religions
(7) not building new churches.

o11.10 The agreement is also violated (if the state has stipulated any of the following conditions) when a non-Muslim:
(1) commits adultery with or marries a Muslim woman
(3) leads a Muslim away from Islam
(5) mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet or Islam
[ie what is apostasy for a Muslim is blasphemy for a Non-Muslim]

o11.11 When a dhimmi violates the agreement the caliph chooses between the same four options for prisoners of war detailed in o9.14, death, slavery, release or ransoming.

The Penalty For Fornication Or Sodomy
o12.2 The penalty for a person considered able to remain chaste (ie validly married) is stoning to death. The penalty for a person not considered able to remain chaste (including someone who is prepubescent at the time of marital intercourse) is scourging with 100 stripes and banishment for a year.
[again we see that intercourse with a pre-pubescent girl is lawful]

o12.6 “A pregnant woman is not stoned until she gives birth and the child can suffice with the milk of another”.

The Penalty For Theft
o14.1 A person’s right hand is amputated. If a person steals again his left foot is amputated, a third time the left hand is amputated, a fourth time the right foot is amputated.

The Penalty For Highway Robbery
o15.0 The caliph is obliged to summon whoever uses a weapon and makes people afraid to use the road…If he steals the equivalent of 1.058 grams of gold [ie a quarter of a dinar] both his right hand and left foot are amputated.
[this is pretty rich considering Mohammed began his career in Medina as a caravan raider]

The Penalty For Drinking
o16.3 “The penalty for drinking is to be scourged forty stripes with hands, sandals, and ends of clothes. It may be administered with a whip, but if the offender dies, an indemnity is due for his death”.

Witnessing And Testifying
o24.9 “If testimony concerns fornication or sodomy then it requires four male witnesses (who testify, in the case of fornication, that they have seen the offender insert the head of his penis into her vagina)”.

o24.10 “If testimony concerns things which men do not typically see (but women do), such as childbirth, then it is sufficient to have two male witnesses, a man and two women, or four women”.

The Caliphate
o25.4 The Caliphate may be legally effected by three means:
(1) “by an oath of fealty”
(2) “by the caliph appointing a successor”
(3) “through seizure of power by an individual possessing the qualities of a caliph”.

o25.5 It is obligatory to obey the commands of the caliph even if he is unjust because of the hadith “Hear and obey, even if the ruler placed over you is an Ethiopian slave with amputated extremities”.

[NB The following sections are not from the original Reliance but taken from elsewhere in the Islamic tradition and added by the translater].

Book P Enormities  (p 668)

Masculine Women And Effeminate Men
p28.1 “The Prophet said”:
(1) “Men are already destroyed when they obey women”
[didn’t Mohammed get his first break working for a woman, Khadija his future wife?]
(2) “The Prophet cursed effeminate men and masculine women”
(3) “The Prophet cursed men who wear women’s clothing and women who wear men’s”.

Making Pictures
p44.1 “The Prophet said”:
(1) “Every maker of pictures will go to the fire, where a being will be set upon him for every picture he made, to torment him in hell”.

Book Q Commanding The Right And Forbidding The Wrong  (p 732)

q0.2 “Commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is the most important fundamental of the religion…If it were folded up and put away, religion itself would vanish, dissolution appear, and whole lands come to ruin”.

q2.3 “Some scholars stipulate that the person delivering the censure must have permission to do so from the caliph…This is untrue, for the Koranic verses and hadiths all indicate that whoever sees something wrong and does nothing has sinned”.
[thereby sanctioning vigilantism]

q5.0 The Act Of Censuring
q5.1 The censure has various degrees of severity:
q5.3 Explaining That Something Is Wrong
q5.4 Forbidding The Act Verbally
q5.5 Censuring With Harsh Words
q5.6 Righting The Wrong By Hand “such as by breaking musical instruments”
q5.7 Intimidation by making realistic threats
q5.8 Assault “to directly hit or kick the person”
q5.9 Force of arms “when one is unable to censure the act by oneself and requires the armed assistance of others”.

Book R Holding One’s Tongue  (p 745)

Slander
r2.2 “Slander means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike”.
[ie truth is no defence]

Permissable Lying
r8.2 “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory”.
[What would be an example of an obligatory goal? See “The Obligatory Character Of Jihad”, section o9.1 above.]

Joking
r19.2 “Excessive joking is blameworthy and forbidden, since it eliminates one’s dignity and reserve…It also causes immoderate laughter, which kills the heart”.

Music, Song and Dance
r40.1 “The Prophet said”:
(2) “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress”

r40.2 “It is unlawful to use musical instruments – such as those which drinkers are known for, like the mandolin, lute, cymbals, and flute – or to listen to them”

r40.4 “It is not prohibited to dance…unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate”.

Book W Notes And Appendices  (p 844)

Women’s Obligatory Clothing
w23.1 “The nakedness of a woman that she is forbidden to reveal differs in the Shafi’i school according to different circumstances. In the privacy of the home, her nakedness is that which is between the navel and knees. In the prayer it means everything besides the face and hands. And when outside the home on the street, it refers to the entire body”.

Things That Are Not Inconsistent With The Acceptance Of Fate
w59.2 “And this clarifies the Koranic verses and hadiths about hatred for the sake of Allah and love for the sake of Allah, being unyielding towards the unbelievers, hard against them, and detesting them, while accepting the destiny of Allah Most High insofar as it is the decree of Allah Mighty and Majestic”.
[hence the doctrine of Al Wala’ Wal Bara’ (Love and Hate for Allah’s Sake)]

                                                       *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Moral Sickness

Suppose you found this book in the street, never having heard of Islam. I suggest you would likely be repulsed by the cruelty and viciousness displayed toward so many categories of people, including yourself as a non-Muslim.

What kind of book mandates controlling female sexuality by mutilating girls’ genitals or death for anyone criticising the religion the book represents, of which it is in fact a distillation? Obviously a morally sick one, you might think, with the same going for those who wrote it, the man who inspired it and the people who revere it.

But you would be wrong, or at least taking it out of context which is just as bad.

That context is that the religion it represents is actually a “religion of peace” and “a great historic faith which has brought spiritual nourishment to millions”. We know because our political leaders, versed in theology as they are, tell us so.

Not only that but if you went around telling people what you thought, or put it on Facebook, you would likely get a visit from the boys in blue, if not the boys with bushy beards who don’t take kindly to the kafir mentioning “something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet or Islam” (see section o11.10 (5) above).

Best just put the thought away. No one wants trouble, do they?

Cult Status

Apart form the obvious cruelty, bigotry and hatred on display, what do the contents of the Reliance tell us about Islam itself? Surely the main response a cursory reading must evoke is incredulity at the minute interest taken in Mohammed’s every word and deed, however slight. Why would clever men spend so much time and effort working out the often arbitrary ramifications of what one man said and did as opposed to what is self-evidently reasonable, decent and fair? I know Mohammed was meant to be an example to all men but then so was Jesus and the gospels don’t go into excruciating detail about his toilet habits (see section e9 or click HERE if you have a strong stomach).

Rational minds like yours and mine struggle to comprehend the downright obsessive loopiness at the heart of the Religion of Peace. Perhaps it should rather be called the “OCD Religion” or the “Religion of Control”. Yes, that’s more like it, control runs through Islam like “Brighton” through a stick of rock. After all, Allah refers to his followers not as his children or his followers but as his slaves and demands from them not reasoned acceptance but unquestioning submission.

We have a word for religions which seek to control every last detail of the believers’ lives with threats of violence for non-compliance, that word being “cult”. Islam is indeed surely a cult, just the biggest in history. HERE Ali Sina details the characteristics which show beyond doubt what Islam really is. Once seen, it is impossible to view Islam in the same light again. Pity the poor cult members unable to escape Mohammed’s malignant mind control, and their victims over 1400 years.

Some general and historical background

We are often told that Sharia Law varies greatly from place to place and that ISIS or Saudi Arabia practice extreme versions. This is not true. Muslim legal codes vary not in the kind but only in the amount of Sharia Law they include, with most countries managing to avoid the worst of the barbaric punishments which authentically come from the practices of Mohammed.

In his introduction the translater writes “The four Sunni schools of Islamic law, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali, are identical in approximately 75 percent of their legal conclusions”. Differences are mostly procedural or a matter of degree. As a comparison here is the 18th century translation of the Hanafi equivalent of the Reliance, the Hedaya, showing a similarly unambiguous attitude to the infidel (p 154):

“War must be carried on against the infidels, at all times, by some party of the Mussulmans. The sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently observed when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of the Mussulmans; and it is then no longer of any force with respect to the rest. It is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said, in the Koran ‘SLAY THE INFIDELS’; and also by a saying of the prophet, ‘war is permanently established until the day of judgment”.

What happened between the time when the manuals of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, and the Shia equivalent, provided the bedrock of the law for all Muslims, and the situation today in which Islamic Law is applied patchily throughout the Muslim world? The answer, of course, is not an Islamic Reformation or Enlightenment but only European colonisation. For instance, the translation of the Hedaya was commissioned by the East India Company, not out of scholarly curiosity but as part of their campaign to wrest legal control from the local qadis (religious judges).

The Hedaya fed into the creation of the hybrid system of Anglo-Muhammadan Law in which Sharia family law was left largely untouched as a sop to native sensibilities, not being an area of critical interest to the colonising power.

Sharia Law in Britain today

Curiously enough, a similar situation pertains in Britain today with Sharia councils offering adjudication only in domestic matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance. In theory this is voluntary but of course this is hardly the reality considering the cultural pressures on Muslim women often newly arrived from Pakistan with no clue about their rights under British Law.

As Home Secretary, Theresa May set up an inquiry into the running of these councils but, scandalously, it explicitly starts from the assumption that it is only the misapplication of Sharia Law which might be a problem. Since it is headed by a Muslim theologian rather than a representative of British Law, with two Islamic scholars on the board, we can presumably rest assured that the profoundly discriminatory roots of Sharia Law will remain undisturbed.

It goes further than that though. Non-Muslims in Britain also live under elements of Sharia Law which various governments have obligingly imposed on everyone. For a start there is the halal meat which is served in schools, prisons, hospitals etc and sold unmarked in supermarkets. Imagine the reaction if the reverse happened.

There is also the de facto blasphemy law enshrined in the 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act, set up to protect Muslim sensibilities only a few years after the Christian blasphemy law was scrapped. In theory the act is even-handed but everyone knows you can burn a Bible with not a flicker of interest whereas burning a Koran will get your collar felt. In extreme cases such as draping bacon over a mosque door handle (imagine the horror!) you can expect a year inside like poor Kevin Crehan who failed to come out again. Five months later the cause of death has still not been identified. Perhaps Islamophobia has turned lethal.

Just History?

How can the Islamic Law of the Reliance and similar manuals be reconciled with the modern world? A reader of this blog asked just that question of a Muslim scholar and received this reply:

“It should be remembered that a madhhab [ie school of Islamic Jurisprudence] is a tradition of interpretation, not a body of fixed rulings; hence the normative content of each school often varies from century to century. In the contemporary context, jurists continue to evolve their madhhab-based positions using the characteristic methodologies of their schools. Hence nobody would claim that, say, a law manual from the Mamluk period should be put into practice today.”

Well actually, if the law manual in question is the result of intensive investigation to ascertain the will of Allah to the best of humans’ ability then I would in fact expect the bulk of its rulings to remain valid indefinitely. Why would it go out of date? If Islam’s greatest scholars came to the conclusion that Allah and Mohammed thought that adulterers should be stoned to death, how could changing circumstances negate that? In fact it appears that the rulings in the Reliance have not been negated at all, only avoided. What we find is that when states move away from their colonial legal systems and toward Sharia Law, as for instance Brunei has done, their legal codes look increasingly like what we see in the Reliance.

Today there are only a handful of states which approach a full implementation of Sharia Law. In Pakistan we see lynchings of Christians, as a result of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. In Iran we see the execution of homosexuals and in Saudi Arabia we see beheadings for apostasy and hear reports of crucifixions and stonings kept out of sight. But no jizya or sex slavery anywhere you say. Well, for those we have to go to the state which really applies Sharia Law to the full, the Islamic State. Mad, bad and dangerous to know, but at least they are in no danger of being called hypocrites when they meet up with Mohammed in paradise since there is very little that they do which he didn’t do, and very little that he did which they don’t do.

It does not reassure me one bit to learn that this vile book is widely read and revered by Muslims but to be told “Don’t worry, no one would expect it to be put into practice today”. Remember al-Azhar University, the highest authority in Sunni religious thought, has certified it as “conforming to the faith and practice of the orthodox Sunni Community”. That is “conforming”, ie present tense.

If Islamic Law has moved on from the Middle Ages where is the modern equivalent of the Reliance, let’s call it the Anti-Reliance, which makes clear that the appalling rulings which make non-Muslims shudder have been repudiated, abrogated, consigned to the dustbin of history? Perhaps it exists somewhere in the untranslated Shafi’i literature but if so it is being kept very quiet, and reform-minded Muslims are missing a trick by not broadcasting its existence. Tell you what, let’s just assume that it doesn’t exist until notified otherwise.

And where is the book written by an authoritative Sharia scholar addressed to non-Muslims titled “Sharia – Why You Have No Need To Fear”? It would put our minds at rest no end. But I suggest it will never be written because repudiating Islamic supremacism, jihad, discrimination against women and unbelievers, and all the vicious punishments as opposed to just avoiding them, would mean repudiating Mohammed and therefore Allah.

Just too easy….

pollyanna

Here is an exchange spotted in a recent internet discussion about Islam (with only minor amendments for the sake of making a point):

Dawah Man:
In Islam, there’s a story of Prophet Muhammad who was regularly abused by a lady. She dumped garbage on him when he passed in front of her house. One day when the prophet didn’t see the lady, he went inside to inquire and found that she was ill.

The story is an example of how Muslims should react when someone criticizes and makes fun of the Prophet. The Prophet himself didn’t get angry when abuses were hurled at him, so why should Muslims?

Evil Phobe (+1hr):
Here are some examples of when Mohammed was rather less tolerant of criticism. Have you come across them?

Dawah Man (+1hr):
That is a link from a website which only publishes polemic against Islam. I’m not an expert in Islam but many of these incidents have been disputed by several scholars on Islam. But of course, you are free to believe whatever side of the argument you want to believe.

Evil Phobe (+1hr):
WikiIslam scrupulously provide authentic references from Hadith collections etc, like this one for instance regarding the murder of Ka’b ibn-al-Ahraf.

On the other hand whenever someone points out something unpleasant in the Hadiths, such as Aisha’s age when Mohammed consummated his marriage to her, we are routinely told that “scholars dispute this”.

Dawah Man (+1hr):
Bukhari and Muslim are not entirely accurate. In fact, the Shia sect has their own Hadith collection. They don’t even consider Bukhari and Muslim as a reliable source of Hadiths. But as I said, you are free to believe whatever you want.

Evil Phobe (+1hr):
Bukhari and Muslim are considered the most authoritative of the Hadith collections (for Sunnis). They are regarded as reliable because they underwent a rigorous vetting process, establishing a solid chain of transmission for each Hadith. I think I’ll go with them.

Dawah Man (+1hr):
If you would really like to know the facts, I would recommend Jonathan Brown’s book ‘Misquoting Muhammad’. Or you may carry on reading only those sources which reinforce your point of view. Your wish.

Evil Phobe (+1hr):
Another routine ploy of Islamic apologists, when challenged, is to refer to some book which the challenger will never read and which they themselves have never read either, otherwise they would be able to quote the relevant passage. Nevertheless I will look into it.

Evil Phobe (+1day):
Having looked through the index of “Misquoting Muhammed” on Amazon I see specific sections on Hadiths regarding Aisha, infanticide, incest and the 72 virgins but nothing about assassinations of critics. Moreover, I find that Brown is on the payroll of a Saudi prince so I don’t think I’ll be going to him for an impartial view.

But if you can explain to me why your unreferenced story about Mohammed is true while the whole slew of references provided by WikiIslam are untrue, or can point me to a link which will do so, then I will be more than interested.

Pollyanna (+5days):
That’s a beautiful story Dawah Man. Muhammed must have been a lovely man.

Evil Phobe (+1hr):
Sigh……

But what should Mrs May do?

theresa-may-2

I recently tried to encourage an English friend to inform herself about Islam. She said “Never mind that. What should Mrs May do tomorrow morning?” It’s a fair question isn’t it? So here goes…

Unfortunately the very first thing Mrs May needs to do is to inform herself about Islam. Anyone who can say “The actions of ISIS have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Quran” has clearly never read it.

It should only take her a month or so to get a basic understanding, if she is a quick learner. Without it the measures proposed below will just appear senseless or worse.

So, first thing tomorrow morning Mrs May should order some books on Islam. I recommend anything by Robert Spencer who she banned from Britain for having said that “Islam has doctrines involving violence against unbelievers” (it has).

But she also needs to go to the source. That means studying the Koran (especially the first nine blood-curdling suras) and the earliest biography of Mohammed by Ibn Ishaq. She should also sample the Hadiths (traditions about Mohammed), the mediaeval commentaries by Islamic scholars (such as the one by Ibn Kathir) and a manual of Sharia law (only a few sections really concern non-Muslims).

She should then acquaint herself with Islam’s history of relentless warfare against non-Muslims, only interrupted by an interlude of European colonisation, and look at a map and notice the current insurgencies on most of the borders of the Islamic heartlands.

She should come to understand Islam’s dual nature, on the one hand a religion and on the other a totalitarian political ideology. No one gives a damn about flying donkeys and parading round a meteorite in Mecca but the legal system which claims authority over non-Muslims and mandates jihad until the entire world is converted or subjugated is quite another matter.

In particular, she should come to a view on two questions:

“Is Islam inherently and unavoidably supremacist?”
and
“Are we already in a war, that of global jihad, whether we like it or not?”

If her answers are no and no, as they would be for the great majority of the population who have not studied Islam, then the following measures will make no sense. They will merely look like persecuting a particular minority which they would actually be if applied to Sikhs or Jews.

If her answers are yes and yes then these measures will follow naturally, to attempt to put a brake on the Islamisation of Britain. So, what should she do on the first day after her period of study?

Legal/Security

1. The most important single thing Mrs May should do, of course, is to press on with taking us out of Europe, which she appears to be doing. Britain will never be able to properly control its borders within it.

2. Mrs May should declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and start investigations into its many offshoots in Britain, the two most prominent being the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain, with a view to banning them.

3. Mrs May should start the process of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights along with its European Court of Human Rights which consistently puts the rights of enemies of Britain before the protection of British citizens.

She should also set about replacing the Human Rights Act with the once promised British Bill of Rights.

4. Mrs May should sack the advisers who persuaded her that many people “benefit a great deal” from practices such as Sharia Law.

She should call a halt to the inquiry into Sharia courts which she set up as Home Secretary. It is led by an Islamic theologian and starts from the assumption that “Sharia ideas are being ‘misused or exploited’ ”. This could charitably be called naïve. She should reconstitute it, led by a representative of British law with the theologian balanced by someone from Sharia Watch or One Law for All who will be able to point out where problems are arising precisely from the correct application of Sharia.

Or perhaps there’s a simpler explanation for her attitude (1).

5. Mrs May should revisit the government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent Strategy and ask whether there is something missing from its causes of radicalisation. The answer is yes, Islamic theology itself. For instance the Prevent Strategy (section 5.25) states that one of the drivers of radicalisation is “an ideology that sets Muslim against non-Muslim, highlights the alleged oppression of the global Muslim community and which both obliges and legitimises violence in its defence”.

With her new understanding of Islamic scriptures Mrs May will realise that all of the above is to be found in the Koran except that the original (and supposedly oppressed) Muslim community was only local to the Mecca/Medina area. In fact the Koran goes further than legitimising violence in its defence and obliges and legitimises offensive violence for the expansion of Islam. It also depicts Mohammed as an excellent example to follow…and who could be more radicalised than Mohammed?

By focussing on secondary factors such as peer groups, internet propagandists, personal vulnerabilities and grievances the Prevent Strategy is avoiding the profoundly disturbing question of whether jihadi groups have authentic theological justification for their actions (they have).

6. Mrs May should set in train the scrapping of the ill-judged Hate Speech legislation. By suppressing free speech about Islam the government has effectively instituted a de facto Sharia blasphemy law.

Alternatively she should make religious texts also subject to that same legislation. We would soon find that there is so much hatred for non-Muslims in the Koran that any imam would be hard put to preach a sermon legally.

As a matter of fact, here is the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. I can see no exemption in it for religions themselves. Perhaps someone can explain why no test case has been yet been brought against any imam preaching any Friday sermon in any mosque in Britain.

7. Mrs May should reinstitute the sedition law. Mosques in which sedition is preached should be closed down.

Fighters for ISIS, and other designated hostile entities, should face a charge of treason if they return.

8. Mrs May should pass the word out through the Ministry of Justice that cultural differences are no longer to be considered as mitigating (or aggravating) factors in criminal cases, and all central and local government officials who turn a blind eye to crimes out of “cultural sensitivity” or fear of being called racist, will be prosecuted (think Police and Social Services of Rotherham).

9. Mrs May should allow the Royal Navy to take part in Frontex rescue operations in the Mediterranean only on condition that migrants are returned to Africa rather than transported to Italy.

Immigration

10. Mrs May should do what she can to move toward a rational response to illegal immigration from outside the EU. Illegal immigrants should be securely held, preferably offshore, until they can be returned to the last safe country they came through, their homeland or any other country willing to take them.

All benefits should be restricted to EU citizens and, after we have extricated ourselves from the EU, to British citizens.

Cultural

11. Mrs May should read Dame Louise Casey’s recent report about the woeful state of ethnic and religious integration in Britain. Along with the various social and cultural factors put forward by Prof. Casey to account for the isolation of Muslim communities, Mrs May will now be in a position to add a rather intractable scriptural one:

“O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them” (Koran 5:51)

Even Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has accepted that ‘Muslim communities are not like others in Britain and the country should accept they will never integrate”.

12. Mrs May should ban burqas and niqabs in public, and not just for security reasons. They are a studied affront to Western values and a declaration of permanent separation.

13. Mrs May should make it clear that all responsible for FGM, polygamy and forced or under-age marriage will be prosecuted, that is really, actually prosecuted, not just a noise made about it. All these years, all those girls, and not one successful prosecution for FGM!

14. Mrs May should ban all foreign funding for mosques and Islamic religious programmes. They are not set up for the purpose of promoting interfaith relations based on mutual respect and equality. When Saudi Arabia allows the building of churches in Riyadh it could be reconsidered.

15. Mrs May should ban any slaughter methods involving unnecessary suffering. That includes the Jewish Shechita (kosher) as well as Islamic Dhabihah (halal).

16. Mrs May should instruct the Dept for Education to conduct a thorough review of information about Islam in text books and curricula since it appears that children are being given a whitewashed version. For instance, Mohammed is routinely presented as a prophet and benign lawgiver but children are left unaware of his criminal beginnings in Medina and his rise to power using assassination, torture and genocide, not to mention his proclivity for child rape and sex-slavery of non-Muslim women.

There are plenty more proposed measures to be found on the internet intended to halt and reverse the process of Islamisation, but these are enough to keep her busy for one day.

The following day Mrs May should start thinking about how to prepare for the inevitable conflict, and struggle for dominance, which will arise when Muslims form a large enough percentage of the population. France, with a Muslim percentage of 10% as opposed to Britain’s 5%, is currently entering that phase. Britain could learn from the French experience and take preventive measures if it could develop the political will. If you think that is fanciful consider the thousands of French troops now permanently deployed on the streets defending one section of the population from another, and what the head of French Intelligence, Patrick Calvar, recently told a parliamentary inquiry, that France is just one sexual outrage like Cologne or one more mass atrocity away from civil war.

————————————————————————————————————————————-
(1) A wily politician called May
Was overheard one day to say
“I’ll whitewash Sharia
If it helps my career.
Your grandkids will just have to pay.”