Tag Archives: Islamic State



Let’s welcome a new addition to the lexicon of Islamology – Obviophobia. It is defined as a morbid, irrational fear of the obvious or, as they say where I come from, the “bleeding obvious”.

It is obvious:

That Mohammed was a blood soaked megalomaniac whose genius was to promise heavenly rewards for the worst of human behaviour and cruel punishments for independent thinking. Anyone who takes him as an exemplar of decent behaviour is morally sick.

That Allah, Mohammed’s unfettered alter ego, knows nothing about his own universe and his main interest lies in torturing forever those who do not believe in him.

That the ferocious instructions to be found in the Koran regarding the propagation of the faith are without an expiry date.

That Islam is the Bully Religion. It has always been predatory or parasitic; it crows when it is up and whines when it is down.

That there is no moral equivalance between a religion created by a man who was crucified and one created by a man who ordered crucifixions.

That Islam is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog (oh yeah, someone said that already didn’t they?)

That a religion which inspires its adherents to murder those who criticise it needs more criticism not less.

That a Muslim is one who submits to the will of Allah, and the will of Allah is that everyone submits to the will of Allah.

That since the astrolabe Muslim societies have produced nothing but blood and more Muslims.

That there is no possibility of the slaves of Allah reforming their religion because their slave master declared it perfect a long time ago.

That female circumcision is indeed sanctioned or mandated in the Hadiths (1) and in Shariah Law (2) despite strenuous attempts to kid us that it is “only cultural”.

That ISIS and jihad in general are very much Islamic, and our leaders who insist otherwise are either lying to us or in a state of profound ignorance.

That Islamism is no more than an Islamic resurgence.

That moderate Islam is not the solution to radical Islam but its cover.

That Western feminists have abandoned Muslim women to their fate because “it’s their right to choose to be oppressed”.

That Islam is full of bigotry (Jews, women, homosexuals….you name it) but it is bigoted to point it out.

That those who deride the fear of creeping shariah should consider the Islamic blasphemy law posing as hate speech legislation which prevents them from saying truthful things about Islam, and the halal meat which they unknowingly eat (and pay for, thereby funding jihad via zakat).

That moderate Muslims are the people who say nothing about the murder of cartoonists but who protest in their thousands against their cartoons.

That Muslim militancy is largely a function of the proportion of Muslims in any given society.

That Muslims are not the new Jews; Jews are the new Jews and Muslims are the new Nazis.

That when Pope Francis said “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” he showed himself to be the world’s biggest fool.

That Islamic apologists routinely dissemble when talking to the kuffar, relying on our ignorance of Islamic scriptures to bamboozle us.

That Mohammed fully intended his religion to rule the entire world (it is apostasy to deny it (3)).

That beneath the respect paid by non-Muslims to the religion which demands respect lurks a fear which dare not acknowledge itself.

That politicians who give free rein to the fifth column of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir, both of which have made abundantly clear their intentions towards Western civilisation, are most likely condemning their children or grandchildren to civil war.

And yet there are people who react to the obvious the way vampires react to the light, covering their eyes in horror. Unable to break through their comforting bubble of groupthink they grasp at any passing fad to explain away the slaughter of non-Muslims around the world and increasingly on our streets. Are they mad? Not exactly – they’re just obviophobes.


(1) https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Qur%27an,_Hadith_and_Scholars:Female_Genital_Mutilation
(2) Book E, section e4.3 https://reliancewp.wordpress.com/
(3) Book O, section o8.20 as above.


The real Islam

Ah yes, the real Islam – what might that be? Would we recognise it if we found it, and does it even exist?

Few of us would have thought it worth our while to enquire except for the fact that the followers of some versions of Islam have taken to blowing us up and chopping our heads off, quoting suspiciously plausible verses of the Koran as justification. Not only that but our leaders routinely tell us that jihadist groups have nothing to do with the real Islam. Can it really be the case that they are in a position to tell unreal Islam from real Islam? They never spell out what the real Islam is beyond platitudes such as “a great salvation religion” or “a great historic faith which has brought spiritual nourishment to millions”. Perhaps they are just making it up.

Here is a selection of views on the subject taken from a trawl round the internet:

“Anyone who knows the real Islam knows that Islam is love.”

“Islam is a collective psychosis seeking to become global, and any attempt to compromise with such madness is to become part of the madness itself.”

“Islam is as diverse as Muslims themselves”.

“True Islam (Submission) is like a precious jewel that is buried under piles of man-made innovations and social traditions that have little to do with the religion.”

“[Islam is] an impious, blasphemous, vicious cult, an invention of the devil, and the direct way into the fires of hell. It does not even merit the name of being called a religion.”

“Islam is not simply a religion. Islam is a socio-political system. It is a socio-political, socio-religious, socio-economic, socio-educational, socio-judicial, legislative, militaristic system cloaked in, garbed in religious terminology.”

“Islam – not so much a religion, more a personality disorder.”

“I start from the principle that Islam is what Muslims say it is”.

“There is no “true Islam” in Islam. There has never been any central “authority” in Islam that could define such a thing.”

What do other interested parties tell us?

Let us dispose of the silliness first. There is a strain of thought among academics called non-essentialism. Its adherents would have us believe that Islam, like everything else, has no essence therefore Islam can be whatever you like. This is because non-essentialism means that “for any given kind of entity, there are no specific traits which entities of that kind must possess”. It has been said that non-essentialism is itself an essentialist position but I’ll leave that one to you – it hurt my head. I’ll just suggest that it is one of those ideas which are so ridiculous that only intellectuals could entertain them.

That is not to say that the usual deceptive apologists do not recognise a useful button when they see one. Mehdi Hasan says “Where is the book of Sharia law? It doesn’t exist. People argue over what Sharia law is.” This is merely the usual Mehdi sleight of hand. There is such a thing as Sharia law and although there are differing interpretations there is in fact a great degree of uniformity between the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence. The major variations we see around the world come largely from the differing amount of sharia adopted by different countries.

His transatlantic counterpart Reza Aslan tells us that “All religions are infinitely malleable”. They certainly are finitely malleable around the edges but if there is ever an Islam in which Allah is regarded as part of a trinity then surely it is Islam no more. Reza should try dropping into his local mosque and suggesting it.

Closely related is the view of one CofE participant in the interfaith dialogue charade :

“I start from the principle that Islam is what Muslims say it is”

This prompts the obvious question “Which Muslims?” Are we to give more credence to the Muslims of IS or Al-Azhar or Quilliam or to Ibn Kathir or Caliph Ali or the wild-eyed dawah man on the High Street every Saturday? If you are not willing to distinguish between authentic or inauthentic versions then the logical conclusion must be that there are 1.6 billion Islams and therefore none.

Those most seriously concerned with the question of course are Muslims themselves, ever mindful of hellfire. A hadith attributed to Abu Dawood recalls Mohammed saying:

“My people will be divided into 73 sects, all of them will be in the fire except one.” The companions asked, ‘Who are they O Messenger of Allah,’ Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “They are those who will be like me and my companions.”

So the gold standard here is clearly the example of Mohammed and his original followers. With odds of 72 to 1 against avoiding eternity in the fire, it is clearly a matter of some importance for Muslims to get it right. That is why various sects look back in history attemping to identify the version most in accordance with the original, authentic Islam.

The Ahmadi need only look back to the end of the 19th century when their Mahdi appeared in order to “restore Islam to it its true essence and pristine form, which had been lost through the centuries”. Naturally other Muslims regard them as heretical and they are persecuted in their native Pakistan.

Salafis look back to the first three generations of Muslims, the “righteous predecessors”. The Shia look back to the time of the fourth Caliph, Ali. IS look back to the first Caliph, Abu Bakr.

Of particular interest to would be reformers is the Sudanese religious thinker Mahmoud Taha who found the real Islam in the early Meccan phase. After 3 years of seclusion he announced that the lives of the early Muslims in Mecca were the supreme expression of their religion and consisted of sincere worship, kindness, and peaceful coexistence with all other people. In contrast the Medinan verses, full of rules, coercion, and threats, including the orders for jihad, were merely a historical adaptation to the reality of life in a 7th century city-state, in which “there was no law except the sword”. He was executed for apostasy in 1985.

So many differing views but actually the answer is right there in front of us. Allah defined both Islam and its best practice himself. Since Allah is known to be a fairly literal-minded sort of deity the real Islam must be Islam as it existed on the day he said:

“This day I have perfected for you your religion…” (Koran 5:3).

Since sura 5 is reckoned to be either the penultimate or the last substantive sura the real Islam must include the “fighting in Allah’s way” that Mohammed was concentrating on at the end of his career. By this time he had written to the various neighbouring kings, and even emperors, informing them that if they knew what was good for them they would convert without delay. He was already planning his move out of Arabia by attacking Byzantine Syria, thus taking his ambitions international.

Allah also provided an example for true Muslims to follow, again from the Medinan verses:

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day…” (33:21).

How was Mohammed conducting himself in Medina? Well, he was ordering amputation and crucifixion for trouble makers, and stoning for adulterers. He was torturing and beheading his enemies. He was calling for the unbelievers to convert, pay the jizya or be killed. He was sanctioning sex-slavery of non-Muslim women and boasting of casting terror into the hearts of unbelievers.

Remind you of anyone?

That’s right, looking around the world today there can only be one contender – ISIS in all their cruelty and depravity. Suppose Mohammed came back today to check on how the 73 sects were coming along. Do you think he would approve of those which have watered down the Sharia or those which decline to spread the word by holy war or those which get around the ban on usury or those which accord equal status to women? In particular, what would he make of those who claim that Islam is not what Allah told them it was but what they themselves say it is? Personally, I think he would call them hypocrites and tell ISIS “Well done boys, you’re the one.”

A deadly translation


The “Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an in the English Language” (aka the Hilali-Khan translation) is an ultra conservative version of the Koran made more so by interpolations and footnotes derived from the commentaries of mediaeval scholars Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir.

First published in 1993, it has been subsidised and widely promoted by the Saudi government. Now it is reportedly the most widely disseminated Koran in the English-speaking world via Islamic bookstores and Sunni mosques.

Reactions to it include:

“…more like a supremacist Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian polemic than a rendition of the Islamic scripture” Khaleel Mohammed.

“Perhaps the most extremist translation ever made of the Qur’an.” Robert Crane.

“This current crisis (and many others), I believe is a direct result of such translations as the Hilali-Khan which have been responsible for influencing some Muslims with extremist interpretations (and also providing them “justification” for criminal actions), and for providing Islamophobes with “proof” of the supposed “savagery” of Islam. Basically, this translation (and others like it) are propaganda coming out of Saudi Arabia which attempts to spread their particular supremacist, divisive, bigoted, and very dangerous interpretation of Islam.”
Sheila Musaji.

This is it:

http://www.noblequran.com/translation/index.html (whatever you do, don’t look up 2:223)

What does it say on various contentious issues?

Jews and Christians
The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

This understanding is widely assumed in the Muslim world but the Hilali-Kahn translation is the only one which makes it explicit.

Religious tolerance
You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Al-Fasiqun (disobedient to Allah – and rebellious against Allah’s Command).

The footnote in the paper edition clarifies the meaning as “the best for the people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam (and thereby save them from the eternal punishment in the Hell-fire and make them enter Paradise in the Hereafter.”

Are there geographical limits?
And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.

Or temporal limits?
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.

And fight in the Way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors. [This Verse is the first one that was revealed in connection with Jihad, but it was supplemented by another (V.9:36)].

Footnote for 2:190 (note the present tense):
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.

The Caliphate
And those who disbelieve are allies to one another, (and) if you (Muslims of the whole world collectively) do not do so (i.e. become allies, as one united block with one Khalifah – chief Muslim ruler for the whole Muslim world to make victorious Allah’s Religion of Islamic Monotheism), there will be Fitnah (wars, battles, polytheism, etc.) and oppression on earth, and a great mischief and corruption (appearance of polytheism).

Are these fair interpretations or are they distortions of the Koran? Not being Islamic scholars, we cannot say for sure but let us take one relatively accessible example. Does the interpolation in 8:39 [in the whole of the world] do any more than make explicit what was always implicit?

Surely the more important point is that these are the interpretations imbibed by so many Sunni Muslims, courtesy of the Saudi government. Why did the Saudis promote them so assiduously and what are the implications for themselves? The reason these interpretations present a problem for the Saudis lies in the long established fault line between religion and the state in the Kingdom. To understand this we need to take a brief look at the history of the House of Saud [for the full story see the comprehensive account by Alastair Crooke].

In 1741 a wandering cleric was given protection by a tribal leader in central Arabia. The cleric was Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, a fiercely intolerant and puritanical follower of the 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah. Both looked back to the Medina of Mohammed and the example the first three generations of Muslims, the Salaf, as the ideal for Muslim society. Al-Wahhab demanded that all Muslims must pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader, the Caliph. Those not complying should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated. The list of those meriting death included, along with infidels, Shiites, Sufis and other Muslim denominations, who al-Wahhab did not consider to be Muslim at all.

The tribal leader was Ibn Saud who saw in al-Wahhab’s teachings a religious ideology which validated his normal practice of tribal raiding as jihad, and a partnership was formed which has survived on and off to the present day.

What became known as the first Saudi state grew throughout the 18th century to control most of Arabia but in 1818 it was crushed by the Ottoman empire.The followers of al-Wahhab were quiescent throughout the 19th century but rose to prominence once more in the chaos of the First World War and its aftermath. The Saudi leader Abd-al Aziz (also known as Ibn Saud) created the Saudi Ikhwan (not to be confused with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), a fighting force of Wahhabi zealots, which enabled Aziz to capture Mecca, Medina and Jeddah by 1926. In 1927 Aziz signed the Treaty of Jeddah by which Britain recognised his authority as King of Nejd (central Arabia) and Hejaz (Western Arabia). By 1928 Aziz’s forces had overrun most of the rest of Arabia, leaving only areas which also had treaties with Britain. Aziz forbade further raiding which angered the Ikhwan who regarded all non-Wahhabis as infidels who had to be converted by force.

The Ikwhan revolted, leading to a civil war which lasted for two years. Aziz eventually crushed them and in 1932 united his dominions into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism was forcefully changed from a movement of revolutionary jihad to a conservative religious authority tasked with upholding the legitimacy of the Saudi regime. An uneasy division of power between Palace and Mosque remained in place as the oil wealth started to flow into the Kingdom accompanied by the inevitable westernisation.

In 1975 King Faisal was shot dead by his nephew, angered by the encroachment of western beliefs and innovation into Wahhabist society. More serious was the seizure in 1979 of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by a revived Ikhwan under Juhayman al-Otaybi. Among other doctrines they believed that it was necessary for “the Muslims to overthrow their present corrupt rulers who are forced upon them and lack Islamic attributes since the Quran recognizes no king or dynasty”. After three weeks al-Otaybi and his forces were flushed out and subsequently beheaded.

The Saudis’ response was to channel the volatile Ikhwani current away from home by exporting its brand of Islam. Since the seventies the Saudis have spent $100 billion promoting Wahhabism around the world through mosques, Imams, Islamic centres, schools, literature, scholarships, academics, journalists and prison conversion programmes. But of course what was needed above all was a distinctive scripture. That is why in 1993 the previously favoured Yusuf Ali translation was replaced by the Hilali-Khan one, a truly Wahhabi Koran.

Until now (written 2015) the Saudis have been able to suppress Wahhabist zealotry within their own borders while encouraging it abroad. Now they find themselves facing an army not far from their borders which does not recognise any temporal power other than the mosque and which actively disseminates the writings of their ideological predecessor Juhayman al-Otaybi. The Islamic State, like the Ikhwan, is Wahhabism without the concession to temporal power granted to the House of Saud.

Furthermore IS declares itself the restored Caliphate, an institution encouraged as we have seen in Hilali-Khan 8:73. Already IS is controlling territory the size of Britain, is self-financing through captured oil wells, is capable of attracting thousands of jihadis from around the Muslim world and has managed to drag the West into a war, confirming its position as the champion of Islam. If IS manages to grow to a position where it can directly confront Saudi Arabia which way will the Ikwhani tendency within the Kingdom jump? It must make King Abdullah and his regime very nervous.

For those of us who do not wish the House of Saud well, it must be gratifying to see the monster they created now coming back to threaten them. That of course will be scant recompense for the worldwide economic disruption which would ensue if the Arabian oilfields came under IS control or were rendered inoperative. Nevertheless in these interesting times we must take our compensations where we may.