Tag Archives: Ibn Kathir

A Diversity of Korans

madrassa

I still come across people whose only source for the Koran is the paperback Yusuf Ali translation they bought in 1985, unaware that there are many presentations of the accursed book now available online which provide the opportunity to contrast and compare. So this post is intended to be a wander round some of the different online presentations for the benefit of the Luddites among us, ending in a shameless plug for one particular presentation with the admission that I might be biased since I had a hand in creating it.

First stop for the diligent enquirer must be the Muslim site Islam Awakened (lets hope they never find out how helpful they are to our side) which gives the literal word for word translation from the Arabic for each verse, plus fifty scholarly translations. The site shows how widely they differ, allowing readers to select their meaning according to taste. For instance, regarding the disputed concept of jihad, here is verse 47:31.

The word for word translation for the Arabic phrase “almujahideena minkum” is “those who strive among you”.

– Muhsin Khan and Muhammad al-Hilali (aka Hilali-Khan) translate it as “those who strive hard (for the Cause of Allah)”.
– Upping the bellicosity, Ali Quli Qura’i translates it as “those of you who wage jihad”.
– Aisha Bewley makes things plain with “the true fighters among you”.
– But Syed Vickar Ahamed avoids any hint of violence with the very anodyne ”those among you who do their very best”.

Two things we do know are that in the Koran the word “jihad” is overwhelmingly used in the context of war and never in the context of spiritual improvement. That idea of the greater jihad comes solely from a late and disputed hadith.

And here is verse 70:30, about who a Muslim man can have sex with, apart from his wives:

The word for word translation is “what they possess rightfully”.

– The Monotheist Group (2011 edition) translates it as ”those committed to by oath”.
– T B Irving translates it as ”those living under their control”.
– Kamal Omar translates it as ”the women who are given in guardianship of adult males as their wives under a document prepared by the Muslim state)”.
– Mohammed Sarwar, dispensing with the euphemisms, gives us simply ”slave girls”.
– And Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali gives us the familiar and chilling phrase “what their right hand possesses”.

The Hilali-Khan translation is an eye opener for anyone wishing to believe that Islam is just a religion like any other. Also known as the “Wahhabi Koran”, it was commissioned by the Saudi government and is widely disseminated throughout the western world courtesy of all those Saudi funded mosques.

Hilali and Khan make it clear that jihad was not restricted to Mohammed’s battles in the Mecca/Medina area circa 630 AD but is very much a duty for Muslims today:

“And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly.” (8:60)

And, putting the matter beyond doubt, here is a footnote to verse 2:190 to be found in the paper edition (you can download a PDF version here). Note the present tense throughout:

”Al-Jihad (holy fighting) in Allah’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands). By Jihad Islam is established. Allah’s Word is made superior, (His Word being La ilaha illaliah which means none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and His Religion (Islam) is propagated. By abandoning Jihad (may Allah protect us from that) Islam is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honour is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfil this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite.”

At the other end of the spectrum is Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri’s comically deceptive version. In 2010 he produced a “no ifs or buts” fatwa condemning all terrorism as unIslamic. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch wondered why there was no attempt in it to explain why the so called terror verses do not mean what they appear to mean.

It turned out that there was no need because Tahir-ul-Qadri was working from his own translation of the Koran in which he simply interpolated comments magically taking the sting out of the jihad verses by making them always defensive. For instance, here is his version of the infamous 9:29:

(O Muslims!) Wage (also a defensive) war against those of the People of the Book (who infringed the peace treaty signed with you, and despite being in exile, provided full support to the disbelieving Meccan invaders who imposed the battle of al-Ahzab [the Confederates] on Medina, and have continued every possible conspiracy against you even now). They do not have faith in Allah and the Last Day…etc”.

Here is the excellent Skeptic’s Annotated Quran. It highlights verses according to 14 categories such as Injustice, Intolerance, Cruelty and Violence, Absurdity etc. It even has a sparsely populated category entitled Good Stuff.

A Koranic search facility like this one is useful too. As an example you could enter “fire” to find out about all the interesting things Allah intends to do to you once he gets you in Jahannam.

Some commentaries may be helpful too. Here Robert Spencer goes through the Koran highlighting what various mediaeval Islamic commmentators had to say about individual verses. Here is the most famous of those commentaries, the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir (but is is not exactly an easy read).

But to return to the Koran itself, the presentation I turn to first is Koran At A Glance. The translation used is that of Marmaduke Pickthall. Apart from being particularly quick and easy to navigate, Koran At A Glance has several useful features:

1. Four themes are highlighted by colour, Allah, Believers, Unbelievers and Jihad.

2. It is chronologically presented with the front page showing visually how Mohammed turned from being just a warner, as he called himself in Mecca, to a warlord in Medina, predominantly concerned with jihad.

3. All abrogated verses are highlighted, with popups of their abrogating verses.

4. It saves a hell of a lot of time by pointing out the parts which really concern non-Muslims.

Three or four years ago I came across the site of a Dutch blogger called Red Bee. He had two good ideas, firstly colour coding the text and secondly the likely effect on children of reciting the horrific content of the Koran. I suggested working together to produce a full working Koran site incorporating those two elements but we could not agree on how to proceed and went our separate ways.

Fortunately I found two other people interested in the project. I produced the colour-coded text and they did the clever stuff producing the thumbnail pictures and putting it all together in a website.

The themes chosen are not arbitrary. Unbelievers and Jihad are relevant to the concerns of non-Muslims but we believe all four are acutely relevant to children learning (ie being indoctrinated) about Islam.

As it says in the About section:

“Other themes could have been drawn out but the ones presented are arguably those likely to have the deepest impact on Muslim children who are made to recite the Koran from an early age. Adults may argue about scholarly interpretations but they mean nothing to a ten year old. Surely, all a child is likely to get out of the Koran is the message of terror of Allah who knows what he or she is thinking and who might decide to torture them forever, the lure of a distinctly sensual paradise, loathing for unbelievers and the requirement to “strive in Allah’s way”. Is this not why we see so many teenagers, particularly the more devout ones, run off to kill and die for ISIS?”

Ali Sina liked it. So did Citizen Warrior. WikiIslam suggested we spend some money on it.

An unknown person or group liked it too, using it as the basis for an extended version with notes and a couple more themes. Very sensible, but I cannot understand why they thought it an improvement to turn it back to front. There is no explanation in the PDF but if you can see the benefit then The Koran In Reverse Chronological Order is for you.

Looking toward the future, perhaps the idea of colour coding different themes could be extended further in more sophisticated presentations than ours, with an indexing system so that all examples of a particular theme could be brought up on screen together. And the idea of popups could be expanded by, for instance, bringing up commentaries for individual verses.

Good luck to anyone who might decide to take up the challenge.

[Update 20/06/2018 – Peter McLoughlin’s and Tommy Robinson’s recently published Mohammed’s Koran is also presented in reverse chronological order, with the reason given in the preface that “the latest – and most violent – commands spoken by Mohammed are the first thing the reader sees”.

It also says in the preface that Mohammed’s Koran “is also the only known attempt to visually indicate which parts of the Koran are known to have been cancelled by Mohammed’s later commands”. So there are now two presentations highlighting abrogation. Good. Let’s hope there will be others since it seems like it should be a useful feature for those struggling to understand a very confusing book.

For those who do not know, Peter McLoughlin wrote Easy Meat, exposing the full extent of the Muslim rape gang/Establishment cover up scandal. Tommy Robinson is currently a guest of Her Majesty, having been found guilty of contempt of court, in apparently dubious circumstances, while trying to publicise the same issue.) ]

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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). [NB unfortunately the manual in question, The Reliance of the Traveller, is no longer accessible online since the translater has since used copyright law to get all the various versions taken down. Mrs May will have to buy a copy.]

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 enquired into 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…after a fashion. 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:

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.”

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 – and certain parts of Sharia Law are necessarily seditious – 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.

An innovative proposal

proposal

The Home Office has set up a funding competition through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in order to “find innovative ways to prevent vulnerable people from becoming radicalised”. It behoves all of us to support this initiative and so I propose the following in the hope of making a contribution:

PREAMBLE

Since the aim of this competition is “to develop innovative solutions for understanding and preventing radicalisation and support for terrorism” I wish to offer the innovative view that HMG is looking for solutions in entirely the wrong places. At best, vulnerability, judgment skills, extremism, networks, propaganda and the internet are secondary or mediating factors.

There is one place, and one place alone, to look for the root cause of radicalisation, the Koran. I know because it radicalised me, only in the opposite direction.

We know that this approach of looking in the obvious place has not been tried at the Home Office because of statements made by the Home Secretary, now Prime Minister, Theresa May.

In September 2014 she said “The actions of ISIS have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Koran”.

To clarify, here are a few of ISIS’s activities along with their very clear basis in the Koran:

Jihad 9:111,  terror 3:151,  sex slavery 4:24,   beheadings 47:4,  crucifixions 5:33,   jizya 9:29.

Likewise in January 2015 she said “I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say they were fearful of remaining here.”

It is inconceivable that anyone could have read the Koran and made that statement. Here is a small selection of reasons why:

2:65,  4:46,  5:64,  5:70,  5:78,  5:82,  9:30.

It will be immediately obvious that the verses quoted above have one thing in common, they all come from Mohammed’s Medinan period. If the importance of that distinction is not apparent it is made clear in this presentation of the Koran.

In short, while the Meccan suras are not exactly all sweetness and light toward non-Muslims, any violence is the prerogative of Allah. In the Medinan suras Allah instructs Mohammed and his followers to take that violence into their own hands. Unfortunately many of Mohammed’s followers today see those instructions as being eternally valid until all non-Muslims are either converted or subjugated. This is not surprising since the later scriptures of the Sira and Hadiths as well as the mediaeval commentaries and the various schools of Islamic Law overwhelmingly support that view.

Therefore, leaving aside all predisposing factors and means of transmission, the only sure way to prevent the radicalisation of those who are referred to in the Government’s Prevent Strategy as “vulnerable” is to prevent them being exposed to the radicalising content in the Koran. This aim undeniably presents practical difficulties but fortunately there are only 28 Medinan suras out of 114, though they do tend to be rather longer.

PROPOSAL

My proposal, therefore, is to produce and disseminate Korans consisting solely of the Meccan suras. It can be called “The Moderate Koran”. I will set up ECAW Publications for the purpose, and the SBRI will give me £100,000 to kick start the project.

Moderate Muslim groups should be canvassed to work as partners in spreading copies among Muslim communities. There will be no takers of course but the Home Office will have learned the important lesson of just how central to Islam the violent, supremacist verses actually are.

I recommend that the Home Secretary’s advisers should study the Medinan verses for themselves, and perhaps distance themselves from their usual sources of information about Islam (including those who persuaded Theresa May that Sharia is good for Britain). They would then do well to investigate alternative authorities on the Koran, living or dead, such as Ibn Kathir, Ibn Warraq, IQ Al-Rassooli and Robert Spencer (to whom Theresa May still owes an apology for needlessly banning him from Britain).

Studying these and similar sources should make it clear that the Meccan verses are all of the Koran which is compatible with democratic, pluralistic societies. What must logically follow is the acceptance that an element of compulsion will be necessary. Copies of the Koran containing the Medinan suras will have to be banned from mosques and faith schools, in fact from the country, as incitements to terrorism.

There will be resistance of course but, sadly, these actions are the bare minimum offering even a chance of avoiding the otherwise inevitable civil strife. We can of course just wait and hope for the best as atrocities mount and the demographics move ever more against us, or we can take pre-emptive measures.

Think of the apocryphal sign in an undertaker’s window, “Eventually – why not now?”