Tag Archives: Mohammed

ibn Ishaq – edited highlights

ibn-ishaq

The Sirat Rasoul Allah [Life of the Messenger of Allah] was the earliest biography of Mohammed, written 100 years after his death by ibn Ishaq. It survived, only in partial form, in the later works of ibn Hisham and al-Tabari. This abridged version provides some fascinating insights into the character and career of Mohammed. Here are some highlights for those who have not yet come across it:

Chapter 1. Early Life

A strange encounter:

Later, the apostle of Allah himself described what had happened. ‘Whilst I and my milk brother were pasturing some animals in the rear of our house, two men came to us dressed in white garments and bearing a golden platter full of snow. They took hold of me, opened my belly, extracted my heart, split it open and took out of it a black lump of blood which they threw away. Then they washed my heart and belly with snow, until they had purified them. Then one of them said to his companion, “Weigh him against one hundred of his people.” And he weighed me with them, but I proved heavier than they. Then he said, “Weigh him with one thousand of his people.” This he also did, and I was again found more heavy. After that he said, “Leave him; for if you were to weigh him against his whole nation, he would outweigh it.”

Chapter 3 The Revelation

A chilling prophesy:

There was also a Syrian Jew who paid a visit to the Banu Qurayza,a Jewish tribe, several years before the establishment of Islam and settled down among them….As his death approached, he said, ‘Why do you think I came away from the land of abundance to the land of misfortune and famine? I have come to this country to await the arrival of a prophet, whose time is near at hand; and it is to this country that he will flee. I hoped he would be sent during my lifetime, that I might follow him. His time is near at hand. Do not allow others to forestall you in believing in his mission; for he will be sent to shed the blood, and to capture the children and women, of those who oppose him; but let not this hinder you from following him.’ Years later, when the apostle of Allah besieged the Banu Qurayza, the friends of the dead Jew said, ‘By Allah! This is the prophet foretold to us. This is he according to his description!

A vision of the Angel Gabriel, or just a migraine aura (coloured patterns before the eyes – note that Gabriel is wherever Mohammed looks) + pareidolia (the tendency to read significance into random stimuli)?:

Afterwards I went out, and when I was on the centre of the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “O Muhammad! Thou art the prophet of Allah, and I am Gabriel.” I raised my head to look at the sky, and lo! I beheld Gabriel in the shape of a man with extended wings, standing in the firmament, with his feet touching the ground. And he said again, “O Muhammad! Thou art the apostle of Allah, and I am Gabriel.” I continued to gaze at him, neither advancing nor retreating. Then I turned my face away from him to other parts of the sky, but in whatever direction I looked I saw him in the same form.

Chapter 5. The Night Journey

Mohammed flies to Jerusalem on a donkey:

And lo! There I saw a beast, white in colour, resembling part mule and part donkey, with two wings covering its hind legs, and with its forelegs placed as far as its sight could reach. [This was Buraq, the animal on which all prophets before Muhammad had been conveyed.] When I approached the beast to mount, it became restive, but Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and said, “Art thou not ashamed, o Buraq? No servant of Allah has yet ridden thee who is more favoured than Muhammad!” Then the beast became steady, and I mounted it.’….The apostle of Allah, accompanied by Gabriel, was transported to Jerusalem…

…then climbs to heaven:

‘When I had ended my visit to Jerusalem a ladder was brought to me, the like of which for beauty I had never seen before. This is the ladder which the dead yearn to see brought forth [that they may mount to heaven on the day of the last judgement]. Gabriel made me ascend this ladder until we arrived at that gate among the gates of heaven which is called The Gate of the Keepers.

…and haggles with Allah over the number of daily prayers required:

…they arrived in the seventh heaven, where the Apostle met his Lord, who made fifty daily prayers incumbent upon him.

The apostle of Allah continued his story. ‘Then I began my return. When I passed near Moses, who was a good friend to man, he asked, “How many prayers have been made incumbent upon thee?” and I replied, “Fifty prayers every day.” Moses said prayer is heavy, and thy people are weak. Go to thy Lord and ask Him to lighten it for thee, and for thy people.” Accordingly I returned to my Lord and asked Him to alleviate it for me and for my people. And He deducted ten. I went away again and passed near Moses, who repeated what he had said before. So I returned and asked my Lord, who once more deducted ten; and I went back to Moses, who sent me many times to Allah with the same injunction, until so many prayers were deducted that only five prayers remained for each day and night.

Chapter 6. Permission to wage war

Allah authorises defensive (or retaliatory) war:

Allah therefore permitted Muhammad to fight and to aid his against those who tyrannized over them. The first verse which came down permitting him to wage war and to shed began, ‘Permission is granted unto those who fight they have been oppressed, and Allah may aid those who have been driven from their homes merely for saying “Our Lord is Allah”.

Chapter 8. Medina

Muslims come first:

No Believer shall kill another for the sake of an infidel nor aid an infidel against a Believer. Verily, the protection of Allah is indivisible and extends to the meanest Believer of all; and each must befriend other Believers above all men.

Chapter 9. The Quibla

Allah is not a multiculturalist:

Some Muslims tried to keep up connexions with the Jews because of the alliance which had existed between them during the years of ignorance; but Allah revealed the following verse, prohibiting this kind of association. ‘Contract no friendships except among your own number. Others would certainly corrupt you. They desire your humiliation; their hatred is clear enough in what they say, but what their hearts conceal is even worse. You have more right to hate them than they you…’

Chapter 10. Rajam

Mohammed insists on the letter of the law:

Early in Muhammad’s stay at Medina the rabbis had met to judge a married man who had committed adultery with a Jewish woman who was also married. They said, ‘Send this man and this woman to Muhammad, ask him for a judgement of the case, and let him prescribe the penalty….he went to where the priests sat, and said to them, ‘Bring me your learned men!” They brought him Abdullah b. Suriya, who was the most learned, though one of the youngest, among them. The apostle talked alone with him and had him confirm on oath that according to the Torah, Allah condemns to stoning the man who commits adultery after marriage’ ….Then the apostle went out and ordered the culprits to be stoned in front of the mosque. When the man felt the first stone he bent over his mistress to protect her from the stones, until they were killed.

…and reacts badly to a reasonable question:

On another occasion a company of Jews came to the apostle ‘Allah has created creation, but who created Allah?’

And the apostle became so angry that his colour changed, and he leapt up in zeal for his Lord. But Gabriel came and quieted him, and said, “Calm thyself, Muhammad!” Gabriel brought a reply from Allah to what they had asked him. ‘Say “He is the one god! Allah is self generating! He begetteth not, nor is begotten! And there is none equal.”

Chapter 11. The Trinity

Allah orders offensive war:

A year after his arrival in Medina , and thirteen years after his ‘call’, the apostle of Allah prepared himself for war in obedience to the command of Allah that he should attack the idolaters. He was then fifty three years old.

Chapter 12. The First Caravan

Mohammed makes an inauspicious start to his career as a caravan raider:

This took place on the last day of the sacred month Rajab [October]. Abdullah and his companions conferred among themselves: ‘If we allow these people to continue and reach sacred territory tonight, they will be safe from us; but if we attack them now, we profane the sacred month.’ And they vacillated and hesitated to attack, but at last mustered up their courage and agreed to slay as many of the Quraysh as they could, and take possession of what they had with them. So Waqid shot an arrow and killed one of the Quraysh, two others were made prisoner, and the fourth fled.

Then Abdullah, with his companions, the caravan, and the prisoners, returned to Medina , saying, One fifth part of our plunder belongs to the apostle of Allah.’

…It’s all Abdullah’s fault but Mohammed gets the blame:

In Mecca , the Quraysh were saying: “Muhammad and his companions have violated the sacred month; they have shed blood in it, and taken booty, and captured prisoners.’ The Jews interpreted the event as a bad omen for the apostle.

…but Allah rescues the situation with a helpful revelation:

When speculation on the subject became widespread Allah revealed these words to His apostle: ‘They will ask thee about the sacred month and the fighting. Say “To fight in the sacred month is a matter of grave import, but to obstruct the worship of Allah and not to believe in Him, to prevent men from entering the holy mosque or to drive them out of it, these are of even graver import.” ‘

Chapter 13. The Battle of Badr

Allah encourages the believers and makes clear his attitude to unbelievers:

Allah said, ‘I shall aid you with a thousand angels in serried ranks.’ . . . And Allah instructed His angels, ‘I shall throw terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off their fingers, because they have resisted Allah and His apostle and Allah is severe in His punishment.’

…and underlines it:

Then He called the Muslims to unite and made the Helpers and the Emigrants friends in religion, and declared infidels of all creeds to be alike excluded from the friendship of Muslims. ‘Unless you do this, there will be doubt on earth and great corruption.’

Chapter 17. The Trench

Mohammed reveals his ultimate ambitions:

Salman the Persian told how ‘I was digging in a portion of the Ditch and found it hard. The apostle was near me, and when he saw how troublesome the spot was, he came down, took the pick¬axe from my hand, and struck the soil thrice. And each stroke brought forth a spark. Then I said, “Thou art to me as my father and mother, o apostle of Allah! What was this lightning I saw under the pickaxe when thou struck the soil?” He asked, “Didst thou really see it, Salman?” and I said, “Yes.” He told me, “The first spark means that Allah has promised me the conquest of Yemen ; the second that Allah has granted me the conquest of Syria and the West; and the third that Allah has bestowed upon me victory over the East.”

Chapter 18. The Banu Qurayza

Mohammed shows how to deal with those troublesome Jews:

The apostle of Allah imprisoned the Qurayza in Medina while trenches were dug in the market place. Then he sent for the men and had their heads struck off so that they fell in the trenches. They were brought out in groups, and among them was Kab, the chief of the tribe. In number, they amounted to six or seven hundred, although some state it to have been eight or nine hundred. All were executed. One man turned to his people and said, ‘It matters not! By God’s will, the children of Israel were destined for this massacre!’ Then he seated himself and his head was struck off.

Now the apostle distributed the property of the Banu Qurayza, as well as their women and children, to the Muslims, reserving one fifth for himself. Every horseman received three shares, one for himself and two for his steed, and every foot soldier one share. There were thirty six horses present on the day of the Qurayza. The apostle dispatched an emissary to Najd with the prisoners, to barter them as slaves in exchange for horses and camels.

The apostle of Allah selected one of the Jewish women, Rayhana, for himself, and she remained with him as his slave until she died.

Chapter 20. Khaybar

Mohammed meets Safiya, and shows his sensitive side:

The apostle occupied the Jewish forts one after the other, taking prisoners as he went. Among these were Safiya, the wife of Kinana, the Khaybar chief, and two female cousins; the apostle chose Safiya for himself. The other prisoners were distributed among the Muslims. Bilal brought Safiya to the apostle, and they passed the bodies of several Jews on the way….The apostle reprimanded Bilal, saying, ‘Hast thou lost all feelings of mercy, to make women pass by the corpses of their husbands?’

Sadly, it does not extend to Safiya’s husband:

Kinana, the husband of Safiya, had been guardian of the tribe’s treasures, and he was brought before the apostle, who asked where they were hidden. But Kinana refused to disclose the place. Then a Jew came who said, ‘I have seen Kinana walk around a certain ruin every morning.’ The apostle asked Kinana, ‘Art thou prepared to die if we find thou knewest where the treasure was?’ And he replied, ‘Yes.’ So the apostle ordered the ruin to be dug up, and some of the treasure was found. After that Kinana was asked again about the remainder, but he still refused to tell. The apostle of Allah handed him over to al Zubayr, saying, ‘Torture him until he tells what he knows’, and al Zubayr kindled a fire on his chest so that he almost expired; then the apostle gave him to Muhammad b. Maslama, who struck off his head.

Mohammed escapes justice:

After the apostle of Allah had rested, the captive woman Zaynab brought him a roasted sheep. She had asked what portion of the sheep the apostle of Allah most enjoyed and, having been told that it was the leg, she put much poison into it, although she also poisoned the whole sheep. When she placed it before the apostle he took a bite, but did not swallow; Bishr likewise took a piece, but he did swallow. Then the apostle of Allah spat his out, saying, ‘This bone informs me that it is poisoned.’ He summoned the woman, who confessed what she had done, and asked, ‘What made thee do this?’ She replied, ‘It is no secret to thee, what my people feel towards thee. I said to myself, “If he be only a king, we shall be delivered of him; but if he be a prophet, he will know of the poison and guard himself.”‘ The apostle released her, but Bishr died of the piece he had eaten….During his last sickness, years later, the apostle said, ‘I feel the vein of my heart bursting from the food I ate at Khaybar’

Chapter 25. Tabuk

Mohammed does not tolerate competition:

Before the apostle had left for Tabuk he had been approached by some men who said, ‘We have built a mosque for the sick and the needy, for wet and for cold nights, and we are anxious that thou shouldst come and pray therein.’ He had replied, ‘I am on the verge of leaving, but when we return, we shall, if Allah willeth, pay you a visit and pray in the mosque.’ When he alighted at Dhu Awan, an hour’s ride from Medina , on his return, information was sent down to him from Allah about the mosque. He called two of his followers and said, ‘Go to this mosque, whose people are unrighteous; destroy it; burn it.’ So they departed in haste and took a blazing date branch to the mosque. Although there were people in it, they burned and destroyed it. This was the verse of the Koran revealed concerning this matter: ‘And those who erected a mosque out of opposition and unbelief and to cause a schism among the Believers they will say “We desired nothing but good”. Allah knows they lie. Enter no such mosque.’

Chapter 26. The Last Illness

Mohammed sends jihad beyond Arabia from his death bed:

While the apostle was sick the people delayed the expedition he had commanded, but he said, ‘Carry out the expedition to the Syrian border’, and the people hastened their preparations.

Umar, who later became the second Caliph, defies reality:

Now Umar rose before the people and said, ‘Some Hypocrites say that the apostle of Allah is dead! He has not died, but has departed to his Lord, just as Moses left his people for forty days, and returned to them when it was rumoured he was dead. By Allah! The apostle will return just as Moses did, and the hands and feet of the men who have said that the apostle is dead will be cut off!’

The scene is set for the first Caliph Abu Bakr’s brutal Ridda (Apostasy) Wars to subjugate reluctant Muslims, an example currently being followed by the modern Abu Bakr, the self declared Caliph of ISIS:

When the apostle of Allah died many Arabs relapsed into idolatry; Judaism and Christianity rose again, and Hypocrisy became common, so that the Muslims seemed like a flock of sheep on a wintry night, because of the loss of their prophet. Then Allah roused them again under Abu Bakr.’

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Who is my enemy?

hell

Well, Allah for a start.

He has made it very clear that he “loveth not the unbeliever”. In fact he has created a purpose built torture chamber called Jahannam where all unbelievers, and a fair few believers, are to be treated very unpleasantly for a very long time, for eternity in fact. It has seven levels and seven gates. The gatekeeper is called Malik. He will show you to your quarters – Christians at the top, hypocrites at the bottom.

The basic routine is fire and lots of it, molten metal, beating with hooked rods of iron, branding of foreheads, flanks and backs, garments of pitch and hanging by the breasts. I’m lucky with that one since I don’t have any but women, who are the majority of the residents, deserve it because of their ingratitude to their husbands.

There are special dietary arrangements in place. Meals consist of “bitter thorns which neither nourish nor release from hunger” and the fruit of the mysterious Zaqqum tree, “a tree that springs out of the bottoms of Hellfire; the shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils and which boil in the belly”.

This is to be washed down with “boiling water which tears the bowels” and pus. There is also “water like molten brass” on offer. This, of course, means it has been superheated which seems like a lot of extra trouble to go to just to be nasty.

Let’s just stop a moment and reflect on the enormity of what Muslims actually believe, what they are obliged to believe since this is Allah speaking. Remember how appalled everyone was, even Muslims, when ISIS burned that Jordanian pilot for two minutes? Two minutes….he had it easy! Allah promises to do the same to you and your kids and everyone you ever cared about forever. This is not metaphorical. Allah doesn’t do metaphor.

Can this be the same being who designed the Higgs Boson and put the music into Bach’s brain? I think not, more like the kid who sat behind me in chemistry lessons who liked to put insects in the bottles of sulphuric acid.

And why? Just because I don’t believe in him, apparently. Jeez….talk about insecure!

And yet there are those who try to pass him off as a just and merciful god with benign intentions even toward me, a kaffir. All I can say is “Don’t pour molten brass down my leg and tell me it’s raining”.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, some non-Muslims buy it. They are the practitioners of interfaith dialogue. What can they possibly be thinking when they discuss life, religion and everything with the representatives of the ogre described above?

Is it not remarkable that academics, churchmen, politicians and heirs to the throne are happy to discuss Islam with people who look forward to observing these horrors from their couches in paradise (1)….with guess who on the receiving end?

Personally, if I was having tea with people who thought it just fine that their god intends to fricasee me forever with regular changes of skin just to add a little zest to the proceedings, I’m sure it would quite put me off my cucumber sandwiches.

What about Mohammed?

Well, since Allah is merely the creation of Mohammed, what goes for Allah goes for Mohammed. If I believed otherwise I would have to be a Muslim wouldn’t I?

Even if you think that Allah is more than just Mohammed’s sock puppet, Mohammed clearly had no problem with publicising his boss’s sadistic fantasies so he is equally culpable. In return Mohammed got a little help keeping order in the harem (2), among other perks.

Not only that, but Mohammed said some very spiteful things about unbelievers and gave his followers very clear instructions about how to deal with them…striking necks, cutting off of fingertips, crucifying trouble makers, extorting the jizya etc. I have been searching through the instruction manual and can find no expiry date for them. Nor have the great Muslim scholars down the ages been able to. That means that Mohammed was not only the enemy of any unbeliever in Arabia in 630 AD and of any unbeliever between India and Spain for the following 100 years, but of any unbeliever anywhere, until the Day of Judgment.

And Muslims?

This is where it gets tricky. ISIS and Al-Qaeda are obviously my enemy, but then so are the (currently) less violent but equally supremacist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and their myriad front organisations. Just because a pickpocket does not carry a lead pipe it does not mean that he has my welfare at heart.

Which wing of Islamic supremacism is my greater enemy? I contend that the stealth jihadists of the Muslim Brotherhood type are by far the more dangerous. They operate by demographics and sedition, infiltrating our institutions and introducing sharia bit by bit. If you think that laughable, consider the halal food which you eat unknowing and the blasphemy law which is imposed on non-Muslims by the threat of violence…even against a previously unendangered species, cartoonists.

It could even be argued that the ISIS variety of Islamic supremacism is acting in our best interests. While the Muslim Brotherhood approach is to boil the frog slowly so it does not notice until it is too late, the “chop their heads off” dramatics of ISIS may serve to wake us up to the reality of our situation in time for us to take the necessary steps.

It appears that not all Muslims want to bring the world under Islam by violent or underhand methods but how do you tell who is a “moderate” and who is an “extremist”, and whether they are even the correct words to use? Take the case of this recent demonstration in Ireland against ISIS:

“ISIS does not represent Islam”. That’s nice isn’t it, just what we want to hear. But who does represent Islam, the eight people in the picture or the thousands who did not turn up to disavow ISIS? Or perhaps the Muslims who reportedly threatened the organisers.

Looking a bit closer we see firstly that the demonstrators could not resist the old “It’s the fault of Western foreign policy” line. Never any question of it having something to do with Islam, the Koran, Mohammed’s example, the parents, the community or the mosque.

Secondly, notice the usual doctored excerpt from 5:32 on their banner “If anyone kills one person…etc”. No one uses that except with the intention of deceiving (3).

Thirdly, it appears that the loveably moderate imam in the picture is not quite so moderate after all. While condemning one Islamic terrorist outfit, ISIS, he supports another, the genocidal Hamas which has taken the hatred of Jews to be found in Islamic scriptures to a demented level of intensity.

Moderates and extremists – they go together don’t they….like cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, tarts and vicars. They might be a pairing devoutly to be wished but is the distinction grounded in reality or just the wishful thinking of Westerners? Take Mohammed for instance, was he a moderate or an extremist?

Here is the standard view of things with various groupings spread along a spectrum. Moderates are closest to Mohammed and extremists are naturally at the extremes, furthest from Mohammed:

Mohammed
Moderate
Muslim
ISIS
Brotherhood
Muslims
 

 

I suggest that the spectrum is the wrong way round. It should be transposed with the people we call extremists actually closest to the centre of Islam, the example of Mohammed. That is why they should be called centrists rather than extremists:

Mohammed
ISIS
Muslim
Just
Nominal
Muslims
Muslims
Brotherhood
 

 

Closest to Mohammed are of course ISIS. There is nothing they do which was not done by Mohammed and his companions. Next along are the Muslim Brotherhood type groups, sometimes called “moderate Islamists”, still doing their bit to bring the world under Islam by stealth.

At the furthest extreme from Mohammed, therefore the real extremists, are those we call nominal Muslims. Mohammed had a word for those who don’t answer the call, hypocrites, and you know where hypocrites go – right at the bottom of hell where it is 70 times hotter than at the top. Better shape up guys, your future doesn’t look great as things stand. Are you real Muslims or actually ex-Muslims who quite sensibly take the threat from genuine Muslims more seriously than that from Allah?

But where have the moderate Muslims gone? Muslims regularly tell us there are no such people, just Muslims so they have been replaced by “Just Muslims”. Are they my enemy? There is just no telling for sure, but there is a guiding principle. The more devout a Muslim is, the closer to Mohammed, the more potentially dangerous he is. How often have we heard after some atrocity that the perpetrator became increasingly devout in the preceding months?

Anyone else?

Well, there are the people who destroyed the community cohesion I grew up in by inviting ever more disparate groups to the multicultural party, culminating in one group with a tendency to go decidedly monocultural as soon as it is in a position to do so.

There are the enablers of Islamisation who somehow have come to command the cultural heights – Saudi funded academics who prate about Orientalism; leftist ideologues who see Islam as an ally in their hatred of Western civilisation; journalists who call Muslim rape gangs “Asians”; churchmen who refuse to name who is slaughtering Christians from Nigeria to Pakistan; the Labour Party which opened the flood gates to Muslim immigration in order to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity” and then studiously looked the other way in Rochdale and Rotherham; and the politicians who laughably tell us that the monstrosity of ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.

And there are the elite who do not have to live with the consequences of their folly. That is left to Joe Bloggs who cannot escape to the leafy suburbs or the shires. What would have happened if jihadis had attacked Henley Regatta or if Muslim rape gangs, acting with the sanction of the Koran, had targeted Cheltenham Ladies College instead of the throwaway children in care? Imagine how the public discourse would have changed if it was the offices of the Guardian or the BBC that were bombed in 2005 rather than random Tube travellers.

But soldiers, grannies, package tour holidaymakers….who cares? There are plenty more where they came from. The important thing, after each atrocity, is to prevent an anti-Muslim backlash.

Our leaders are unlikely to admit that we are in a war, that of global jihad, until the establishment start to take the hit. Sadly, it will take more sacrificial victims, and many of them, before they come to their senses and realise what they have allowed to take root in the land. We can only hope, in the name of justice, that those who brought us to this sorry pass are properly represented in future losses.

Here is a guesstimate of the number of casualties from various sections of society, any one of which might produce a sea change in public awareness and force the government to seriously address the question “Who is our enemy?”

1000 ordinary Joes
500 soldiers (squaddies that is, or 50 officers)
200 police officers
100 academics
70 churchmen
30 journalists
20 celebrities
10 MPs
5 Government ministers
3 moneymen
1 Prime Minister or the Queen

Where will the next blow land? Place your bets now.

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(1) And the dwellers of the Garden cry unto the dwellers of the Fire: We have found that which our Lord promised us (to be) the Truth. Have ye (too) found that which your Lord promised the Truth ? They say: Yea, verily. And a crier in between them crieth: The curse of Allah is on evil-doers (Koran 7:44)

(2) O ye wives of the Prophet! Whosoever of you committeth manifest lewdness, the punishment for her will be doubled, and that is easy for Allah.
And whosoever of you is submissive unto Allah and His messenger and doeth right, We shall give her her reward twice over, and We have prepared for her a rich provision. (33:30-31)

(3) For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth. (5:32)
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom. (5:33)

Just in case you have not come across this old chestnut, in 5:32 Allah is chiding the Jews for failing to follow the instruction he gave them in his Yahweh days. Taken in conjunction with 5:33 the two verses constitute a blood chilling warning to anyone, particularly Jews, who plan to commit corruption in the land (ie cross Mohammed/Allah).

Mohammed’s apocryphal Covenants

covenants

John Andrew Morrow is a Canadian academic and Muslim convert (aka Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam). His major work is The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, 400 pages of densely argued scholarship and commentary attempting to establish the authenticity of six covenants purportedly granted by Mohammed to:

the Monks of Mount Sinai
the Christians of Persia
the Christians of Najran
the Christians of the World
the Assyrian Christians
the Armenian Christians of Jerusalem.

He certainly believes they are genuine, in fact he says in an interview regarding the Covenant with the Monks of Mount Sinai “It would take a dangerous combination of ignorance and arrogance for any scholar to dismiss this document as a forgery when faced with its illustrious lineage of transmission.”

Beyond the scholarly arena, Dr Morrow hopes that his efforts will lead Muslims and Christians to see Mohammed as a more benign figure than generally understood from the Koran and the Sunnah, delegitimising jihadists and leading to relations between Muslims and Christians characterised by the tolerance shown in the covenants.

He has a job on his hands since none of the original covenants still exist, only copies of copies. Plenty of scholars have dismissed them as mediaeval forgeries by the various Christian groups with an obvious motive in claiming protection from surrounding Muslims. It would be good to see other scholars’ reactions to Dr Morrow’s book but since the author’s intention is also to reach out to the general reader, I feel justified in making a few observations.

Regarding Dr Morrow’s approach:

As a devout Muslim Dr Morrow starts from a position of reverence for Mohammed which only Muslims will accept. For instance:

“He was not simply the leader of the Muslim community. He was, as he says so himself, the Rightful Ruler of the World, by the grace of God, and the guardian, not only of Islam, but of all Abrahamic religions. As such he was the Patron of the People of the Book.”
and
“If a man’s word is gold, the Prophet’s word was made of platinum and the most precious and priceless jewels.”

These sentiments pervade the book, leading to the benefit of any doubt to be given to Mohammed, for instance:

“The beauty of the Qu’ran, the wisdom of the Prophet’s sayings, and his sublime ethics were so alluring that, for many, Islamic rule became simply irresistible.”
and
“Ultimately, the Prophet was a man of peace. As such, he promoted peace everywhere. Now it may seem paradoxical and disingenuous to present the Prophet as a person of peace knowing full well that he declared battle and waged war”.

Indeed it does. For anyone like me who thinks the only difference between Mohammed and Genghis Khan is Mohammed’s inspired addition of religion to the motivation of his murderous hordes, Dr Morrow’s presentation of the “perfect man” is unlikely to cut much ice. Nevertheless I do not complain. Dr Morrow has submitted to the will of Allah and is obliged to take that position, nor does he hide it. Accordingly his book has to be seen as part scholarship, part devotion, part propaganda (one of his stated intentions is to present Muslims in a positive light). We just have to bear this in mind when reading it.

Apparent contradictions with Islamic scriptures and traditions:

1. Regarding the Covenant with the Christians of Persia, Dr Morrow writes:

“As far as the Prophet was concerned caring for the ahl al-dhimmah or People of Protection is part of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. However this is taken up a notch by the Messenger of Allah who enjoins Muslims to care for Christians to the same extent that they would honour and respect the Prophet himself.”

What Golden Rule would that be? There is no golden rule in Islam other than a limited version between Muslims only. I have found few examples of any such benign reciprocity between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Koran or the hadiths, rather a relentless religious apartheid. If there was truly a universal golden rule in Islam then surely Muslims would have no objection to being placed in a situation of dhimmitude to Non-Muslims from time to time. But this has never been so. From its inception the adherents of Islam have followed Mohammed’s example in working to achieve dominance over whatever other religious groups they found themselves among.

This is the nearest Allah gets to a golden rule:

“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…” (48:29)

2. Along with the book goes a Covenants Initiative which Muslims are invited to sign. Among other things it says:

“…in the understanding that these covenants, if accepted as genuine, have the force of law in the shari’ah today and that nothing in the shari’ah, as traditionally and correctly interpreted, has ever contradicted them.”

That is quite a claim. Dr Morrow draws a distinction between “the true shari’ah as understood by traditional Muslim scholars” and “the Wahhabi/Salafi perversion of it that is in force in many places today”. This is surprising to hear since Salafis and other Sunnis work from the same books written by the various schools of jurisprudence in the middle ages. The major differences to be found in the legal codes of Muslim countries around the world today merely reflect how much or how little of shariah law is applied.

Regarding his central concerns of tolerance and interfaith relations I think he would have much to discuss with the distinguished professor of shariah Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee who wrote:

“This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation [of non-Muslims].”

3. How do the Covenants compare to some of Mohammed’s other, undisputed, letters to neighbouring rulers? The following are quite uncompromising with Mohammed making offers which the recipients can hardly refuse:

To Haudha bin Ali, governor of Yamama:
“Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere. You should accept Islam, and whatever under your command shall remain yours”.

To Jaifer, King of Oman, and his brother ‘Abd Al-Jalandi:
“Peace be upon him who follows true guidance; thereafter I invite both of you to the Call of Islam. Embrace Islam. Allâh has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures in order that I may instil fear of Allâh in the hearts of His disobedient creatures so that there may be left no excuse for those who deny Allâh. If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if you refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship.”

To John ibn Rubah and the Chiefs of the Christians of Aylah:
“I will not fight against you until I have written thus unto you. Believe, or else pay tribute. And be obedient unto the Lord and his Prophet…. Ye know the tribute. If ye desire to have security by sea and by land, obey the Lord and his Apostle, and he will defend you from every demand, whether by Arab or foreigner, saving the demand of the Lord and his Apostle. But if ye oppose and displease them, I will not accept from you a single thing, until I have fought against you and taken captive your little ones and slain the elder.… Harmala hath interceded for you. As for me, if it were not for the Lord and for this (intercession of Harmala), I would not have sent any message at all unto you, until ye had seen the army….”

Not that there is any compulsion in religion.

4. Dr Morrow is bitterly opposed to Wahhabis, Salafis and Takfiris (such as ISIS) who he calls essentialists and fundamentalists, as well as satanists, terrorists, apostates and infidels. He writes of them:

“They are truly those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and all of the values and ethics which true Islam teaches”

whereas true Islam is represented by his Covenants:

“The ‘Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad’ is about Islam; it is about true Islam; it presents Islam as it really is, in essence, in nature…”

“Essence” eh? That makes Dr Morrow an essentialist as well if I am not mistaken. He and his opponents just disagree about the details.

I wish I could buy his version but I cannot. I am not a scholar but I can read and am repeatedly assured by Allah that his revelations are clear, ie literal. I guess that makes me an essentialist too but it seems to me that the Salafis have it more or less right about Mohammed and Islam.

Dr Morrow starts from a position of idealising Mohammed and interprets his teachings and actions accordingly. My reading of the sources leads me to a very different version of Mohammed but at least I am not alone. An estimated 25,000 Western Muslims (or should that be Muslims with Western passports?) have flocked to join ISIS, noticing how exactly they seem to be following the example of Mohammed and his companions.

5. If the Mohammed of the Covenants regards Christians with respect and care he seems oddly out of kilter not only with the Mohammed of the Koran and the Sunnah but more importantly with Allah who thinks all unbelievers deserve to be tortured for ever. Here he is in full flow:

“…But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning.” (22:19-22)

Can anyone reconcile these markedly different outlooks? Dr Morrow certainly does not attempt to.

About the Covenant with the monks of Mt Sinai:

Why would Mohammed grant a covenant of protection in 623 AD to a group who would not come under Muslim control until at least 640 AD, several years after his death? Why would he release them from the obligation to pay the jizya tax which they were therefore not subject to?

You might say that Mohammed, a long term strategic thinker, was simply anticipating events (by 17 years). Well you might if you were already committed to Dr Morrow’s version of events but I think I’ll pass. In fact it seems to me conclusive proof that the Covenant had to be written after 640 AD by someone other than Mohammed and therefore fake. If Dr Morrow or any of his supporters can convincingly explain this anomaly I will gladly take down this blog post and wish him well, but I cannot get a response on the matter. Perhaps you could try.

Furthermore, the Covenant is written in a style (in grammatical terms the indicative mode) which gives the impression of referring to an already existing situation rather than one which will come about if and when the Monks come under Muslim control some time in the future.

It is not as though Mohammed did not otherwise use the conditonal mode when writing to leaders about events which were yet to be decided, for instance in the letter to the King of Oman and his brother quoted above:

“If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if you refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship.”

No, for my money the Covenant was written after the monastery fell under Muslim control, possibly long after, by which time memories of who conquered who and when had become blurred. And who would have done such a thing – well, in whose interest was it?

What if Dr Morrow’s version is correct?

For me these covenants remain apocryphal until other, religiously uncommitted, scholars pick over Dr Morrow’s work and convincingly declare it sound.

But here’s the kicker – these covenants only refer to Christians under the protection (that’s subjugation to you and me) of Muslims. Even if Dr Morrow is right, and even if he could persuade all the world’s Muslims to see it his way, all the Covenants hold out is the possibility of a nicer kind of dhimmitude.

What will be the effect of the book?

One of the reviewers, and a signatory of the Covenants Initiative, writes “This book documents what is possibly the third foundational source of Islam”. The blurb on the back of the book says “It is nothing short of providential that these treaties have been re-discovered at this precise moment in history”.

Sounds like a momentous change is about to take place doesn’t it? Personally I find that view unsupported by Dr Morrow’s evidence, and believe it to be wishful thinking on the part of those who see the blood but cannot bring themselves to admit where it is coming from. I think we know what will happen, those wishing to push a benign vew of Mohammed and Islam will declare the Covenants genuine before we are in a position to do so, and use them for their own purposes.

We can expect to see the Covenants join The Golden Age and the Crusades in the ritual whataboutery exchanges in the Guardian comments columns (eg “Islam is an intolerant religion” “But what about Mohammed’s Covenants?” if you are unfamiliar with the routine).

But no doubt they will also find their way into the box of tricks employed by devious Islamic apologists with their own agenda. I am thinking of people like Mehdi Hasan who used the comically deceptive Fatwa against Terrorism by Tahir-ul-Qadri to prove that Islam is a Religion of Peace. I reckon it’s a toss up who seizes upon the Covenants first, Mehdi (1) or his transatlantic counterpart Reza Aslan.

What of Dr Morrow? Many will dismiss him as the good cop reasuring the kuffar with his “Peaceful Islam” fairy story while the Muslim Brotherhood type bad cops do their best to undermine us. I do believe it to be a fairy story but I don’t believe Dr Morrow is intentionally deceiving us. It is a mystery to me how he can read the Islamic scriptures, full of blood and casual cruelty, and believe in a saintly and benign Mohammed but I am sure that he does. In a recent interview Dr 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!”

Just to take the story of Kinana ibn al-Rabi 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 (after marrying her first admittedly but the relevant entries in the Sira and the Hadiths make it clear that consent was not an issue).

But does it matter whether Dr Morrow believes his own minority version or not? Whatever his motives, or the motives of his supporters, Dr Morrow’s work will assuredly find its way into the misinformation about Islam being broadcast by a media outlet near you. I just hope that when we come across it, those of us still willing to make our own enquiries will be able to point out that it raises hopes which it cannot possibly fulfill.
——————————————————————————————————————————–

(1) Well done Mehdi! From a Guardian article published four weeks after this post:
“Muslims need to rediscover their own heritage of pluralism, tolerance and mutual respect – embodied in, say, the Prophet’s letter to the monks of St Catherine’s monastery, or the “convivencia” (or co-existence) of medieval Muslim Spain.”
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/17/islam-reformation-extremism-muslim-martin-luther-europe

 

Obviophobia

noseferatu

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.

Dear Muslim…

letter

Glad I caught you. If you can spare the time there are a few issues, misunderstandings perhaps, that I would like to raise with you. Can it hurt to bring them out into the open?

Firstly, there is your god Allah. He appears to hate me with a passion. Apparently he intends to torture me forever with fire and each time my skin burns away he will replace it “so I may feel the scourge”. Is this any way for a modern god to behave? In the days when desert tribes worshipped rocks it might have been acceptable but today I really think he has to consider his anger issues. It is not as though I have done him any harm that I know of, just declined to believe in him. You would think an omnipotent being would be too busy regulating the intricate arrangements of the quantum world or designing galaxies to worry about little old me. Frankly, and I’m sorry to say this, his excessive concern over what everyone thinks of him smacks of immaturity.

Then there’s the man who created him, Mohammed. Quite honestly he appears to have been a cruel and vindictive warlord. If he came back today he would surely be shipped off to The Hague to face charges of robbery, murder, rape, enslavement and genocide. Just to mention a couple of his victims, there’s Umm Qirfa the old woman he had tied by the legs to camels and pulled apart, and Kinana ibn al-Rabi the treasurer of a vanquished Jewish tribe. Mohammed ordered him to be tortured until he revealed where the treasure was hidden. A fire was lit on his chest until he was nearly dead then he was beheaded and Mohammed married his wife Safiyya. I hear people justifying some of Mohammed’s thirteen marriages as being motivated by charity towards widows and cannot help thinking “That’s chutzpah!”

Well, that’s all water under the bridge. What bothers me is that I’m told you regard Mohammed as “the perfect man and the example for all Muslims”. That seems like a problem to me.

So much for the pleasantries. Let’s get down to the key question. Is Islam inherently and implacably supremacist, by fair means or foul, or not? That’s what really concerns me. I have been asking around and I think it is. Who told me? Well firstly there is Allah himself:

Koran 8:39
“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.”

I know it is the Hilali-Khan translation, the most incendiary of all, but it does only make explicit what is left implicit in the others and after all it is the version favoured by all those Saudi funded mosques. Wasn’t it in some of those that investigative reporters found Imams saying things like this:

“You cannot accept the rule of the kaffir…we have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others”
and
“You are in a situation in which you have to live like a state within a state, until you take over”?

Then there is Mohammed, in a letter to Haudha bin Ali, governor of Yamama inviting him to convert or take the consequences:

“Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere. You should accept Islam, and whatever under your command shall remain yours”. (The Sealed Nectar:Biography of the Noble Prophet)

And lastly, representative of a number of influential Islamic scholars, Ibn Khaldun, mediaeval historian:

“In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force”.

If these quotes accurately reflect Islamic beliefs then clearly Islam can never live as equals with another culture. It must either dominate or bide its time until it can, just as Mohammed did in Mecca and Medina. That is why, with continuing immigration from warring countries on the other side of the Mediterranean and greater Muslim fertility, I foresee increasing strife between Muslims and everyone else in Britain.

Do not think I hate Muslims but I do pity them and I have to accept that some of them are my enemy. I just do not know which ones. Many, probably yourself included, manage to live in peace with their neighbour but I believe this to be despite their religion which calls for the opposite. It seems clear to me that the bombers and the beheaders are simply following the instructions on the tin and that they would fit right in with Mohammed’s companions. It is Muslims who wish to live peacefully who are obliged to do back flips to avoid the militant aspect of their religion.

Our leaders try to reassure us that there are moderate Muslims and extremist Muslims (otherwise known as radical, Islamist, fundamentalist or militant Muslims). You will know as well as I do that this distinction is never used in Muslim countries, nor it seems even much among British Muslims as we found out when a TV company looked for moderate Imams and could find none who accepted the term.

Correct me if I am wrong, and I would dearly love to be wrong, but I think that there are just more or less observant Muslims, particularly when it comes to Mohammed’s call to Jihad. Some manage to convince themselves that Islam can be just a matter of private devotion like other religions, some spread Islamic practices like Halal into the public space and demand special dispensations for prayer facilities or the right not to be offended, and then there are those who actually heed the call to holy war in Syria or in Britain.

It seems to me that Islam 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 at a safe distance, observing prayer and Ramadan and so on, and there are those who venture too close and get sucked in, never to be seen again unless it is on the TV news screaming “Allahu akbar” over some atrocity. The ones I am really interested in though are those further out trying to live the sort of life which other religions and viewpoints would recognise as decent and moral, a life in which non-Muslims, ex-Muslims, women, children and homosexuals are seen as being of equal worth. I hope increasing numbers of those people will manage to escape the malign influence of Mohammed entirely and join the community of apostates, most of whom have to hide the fact for obvious reasons.

Sadly, I believe that Muslims and the rest of us are on a collision course unless something gives. Perhaps it will be the rest of us and that appears to be a possible outcome given the refusal of our leaders and the mainstream media to acknowledge the supremacism at the heart of Islam. They beguile us with idiotic terms like “Islamophobia” but the trouble is we all have eyes to see what is happening around the world and on our streets.

Naturally I hope for another more benign outcome, a large scale collapse of belief in Islam as young Muslims weigh “Islamic science” against real science, the 7th century against the 21st. So far the signs are not good. Weren’t we surprised when polls appeared to show that young Muslims are actually more devout than their parents? Faith schools are also hardly a promising development, allowing the teachings of Mohammed to go unchallenged in the classroom or the playground. Nevertheless, I put great hope in the internet which allows Muslims to bypass their local Imam and get independent information from the many Islam critical sites. For the first time in 1400 years the Mosque’s monopoly on information is being challenged. Who knows what the ramifications could be?

Go on, give it a go. After all, you are only a Muslim because you were indoctrinated at an age before you were able to critically assess what you were being told. You didn’t stand a chance. It’s all made up, honest. No virgins for you, no eternal torment for me. You can just step away from Mohammed and his demand for world domination. Isn’t it the best hope for us to get along?

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.”

How Guardian are you?

1. Do you know your tropes from your memes?
a. Yes (1)
b. No (0)

2. Is it true that Muslims worship Allan?
a. Yes, I read it in the Guardian (1)
b. No, I read it in the Grauniad (0)

3. Is Islam the greatest source of evil in the world today?
a. Yes (0)
b. No (1)
c. What about the Crusades? (2)

4. Rank in order of hellish disgustingness.
a. The United States (1)
b. The Daily Mail (1)
c. The EDL (1)
d. Bankers (1)
e. Tony Blair (1)
f. Melanie Phillips (1)
g. The working class (2)

5. Islam is a great salvation religion because
a. Nick Clegg said it is (1)
b. It serves as a modern day proxy for communism as a liberation movement (2)
c. It isn’t (0)

6. Are you
a. Essentialist (0)
b. Non-essentialist (1)
c. Inessentialist (-1)
d. Confused (0)

7. The Far-Right are:
a. UKIP (1)
b. Anyone to the right of the Green Party (2)
c. Islamo-fascists (0)
d. You Nazi! (1)

8. I stand with Palestine
a. Because it’s just all so unfair (1)
b. To prevent a genocide (1)
c. To encourage a genocide (2)
d. Because everyone else does (2)
e. Because of those dreamy keffiahs (1)

9. What do you think of Kipling?
a. He was a reactionary fool (1)
b. He wrote inspiring patriotic poems (0)
c. Don’t know – I’ve never Kipled (-1)

10. The Koran is
a. A terror manual (0)
b. Remarkably progressive, considering (1)
c. Who cares – I know some lovely Muslims (2)

11. Was Mohammed
a. A paedophile (0)
b. A kiddie fiddler (0)
c. Only acting in accordance with the social norms of his times (1)
d. A paediatrician (-1)

12. Is it good to be nuanced?
a. Yes (1)
b. No (0)
c. Yes and no (2)

13. Why are Muslims slaughtering each other and everyone else from Nigeria to Iraq?
a. It’s their culture (1)
b. God told them to (0)
c. They’re protesting about Western foreign policy (2)
d. It’s the Jews (1)
e. It’s nothing to do with Islam (1)

14. World civilization reached its height
a. In Baghdad 1200 AD (1)
b. In Paris 1968 (1)
c. On the moon 1969 (0)
d. On the day you entered it (1)
e. This time next year, after the revolution (1)
f. At Wembley 1966 (1) (Football’s cool, didn’t you know?)

15. Did you lie about number 1?
a. Yes (1)
b. No (0)

If you refused to answer some questions on principle award yourself some negative points.

If you got a lot of points congratulations, you are a proper Guardianista. When the real conflict starts you will have the cleanest conscience in your street yet it will be mostly your fault.

If you got a few points you haven’t really been taking it all in have you? You are probably an Islamophobe, perhaps even a Daily Mail reader. But there is hope for you. Try to pay attention in the re-education classes.

If you are hovering around zero we despair for you. You are probably an irredeemable chav and would most likely only use the Guardian for whippet bedding. At least keep off the streets while your betters give your country away.