Tag Archives: supremacism

Slay the idolaters….but which idolaters?

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In the counter-jihad world it is widely taken as unquestionable that the jihad verses of the Koran sanction eternal warfare against non-Muslims until the whole world is converted or subjugated. This is because they are open ended and therefore refer to you and me in London and New York today just as much as they do to Mohammed’s tribal enemies in Mecca in 630 AD. That is what I find when discussing it with counter-jihadists anyway, and it is what I believed until I had a long and bitter debate with someone making the case that mainstream Islam is not unavoidably supremacist because those verses should be interpreted contextually.

It was only some time after that I looked more closely at the jihad verses, and those surrounding them, and realised to my horror that she was right. Or half right anyway. Right that they can very plausibly be interpreted contextually but wrong that Islam is therefore not inherently and unavoidably supremacist. How come?

Imagine that Islam never spread out of Arabia, that perhaps the Persian and Byzantine empires rallied and squashed it, never to be heard of again. Then imagine coming across this strange old book in the loft of a church or synagogue in the one-camel town of Mecca 1400 years later. What would you make of it? I suggest that you would probably think it a collection of tales and motivational sermons from some cult leader to his followers in their bid to take over Mecca and the surrounding area. Would you see anything in it that suggests any ambitions beyond that, anything that clearly mandates eternal application over the whole world?

Take the infamous verse 9:5:

Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Which idolaters is it referring to? There is nothing which identifies all idolaters for all time. Looking at the previous verses:

In verse 1 and verse 3 Allah is giving Mohammed permission to annul the treaty he made with neighbouring idolaters. In verse 4 Allah makes an exception of those of the idolaters who have abided by the terms of the treaty. So who are the idolaters to be ambushed as instructed in verse 5? Presumably the idolaters who supposedly broke the treaty. Jihadis (and counter-jihadists) claim that the verse refers to all idolaters for all time but they have to derive that interpretation from elsewhere because it is clearly not in the text.

Moreover, the sacred months referred to were a specifically local custom, tying the verse even more firmly to its context. Mohammed got so much grief for carrying out his first caravan raid during that time that Allah was obliged to send down a special revelation to get him off the hook.

Likewise with 9:29:

Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

In verse 25 and verse 26 Allah is addressing those Muslims who took part in the Battle of Huneyn. In verse 28 he is referring to those idolaters, necessarily within reach of Mecca, who must not be allowed near the Inviolable Place of Worship, ie the Kaaba in Mecca.

But 9:29 means Jews and Christians everywhere and forever? Really? What would William of Occam (he of the razor) say?

Even with 8:39, one of the two most apparently supremacist verses in the Koran:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah

the standard translations say nothing about everywhere and forever. The verse could plausibly be read as being fulfilled when Mohammed marched into the Kaaba and destroyed the 360 other gods.

Verse 34 talks of the Meccans who kept the Muslims from the Kaaba.
Verse 41 is about establishing Mohammed’s cut of the loot.
In verse 42 Allah reminisces about the Battle of Badr.

Who are the unbelievers who must be fought until religion is all for Allah, all unbelievers forever and everywhere or just the Meccans? I see nothing about holy war “without limit of time or space”, just a very specific campaign over control of the Kaaba and booty.

It took Hilali and Khan, the Saudi government’s own translators, to turn it into:

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]

Likewise, they turned 8:60 from the 7th century:

Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah…

into the decidedly 21st century:

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…

Admittedly it is the Hilali-Khan translation which is to be found in all those Saudi funded mosques around the world, influencing generations of Salafis, but that adds nothing to its validity, only to its malign effect.

The other most apparently supremacist verse, 48:28, is much the same:

He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion. And Allah sufficeth as a Witness.

The previous verses are clearly about the Muslims’ campaign for control of Mecca and the Kaaba (verse 24, verse 25 and verse 27). That being so, is there any reason to suppose that “all religion” was intended to refer to all religion in the entire world rather than all the religion practised in the vicinity of Mecca?

We could go on but you get the point. I have been through all the 160 or so jihad verses, conveniently highlighted in mauve here, (and their surrounding verses) and can find none which clearly point to a place or time beyond Mohammed’s military campaigns. If you can I would be grateful to hear of them.

Surprisingly, it is a non-jihad verse which seems to provide the strongest support for the supremacist view albeit indirectly, 33:21:

Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much.

Much hangs on this verse. The Sunnah is the example of Mohammed and Sunnis are those who follow it. So what do we find in the example of Mohammed? Some people manage to concentrate on the benign parts of Mohammed’s example but to jihadis (and to those among us who unaccountably harbour an irrational fear of Islam) the example of Mohammed is indisputably red in tooth and claw.

Is it reasonable to think that Allah meant Mohammed’s good example should cease to be taken as such after his death? General examples of any kind are usually regarded as being without an expiry date, probably more so when given by entities who were supposedly there at the beginning of the universe and who will be there at the end.

What then might someone who strives to follow Mohammed’s example make of it in Cardiff or Sydney today (literally today, 2nd May 2017 as an unexceptional example)? Even if Mohammed’s rampages were only ever local, it would be difficult to argue with those who come to the conclusion that Allah would approve of their playing out his murderous example on a larger stage until all unbelievers are converted or subjugated.

On the other hand there are two good pieces of contemporary evidence for Mohammed’s supremacism outside the Koran:

Firstly, there is the documentary evidence of his threatening letters to surrounding kings and even emperors. As far as I know they are undisputed, at least John Andrew Morrow who goes to heroic lengths to whitewash Mohammed in his book about the Covenants of Mohammed accepts them as genuine. The fact that Mohammed had the chutzpah to write to emperors in such terms is highly persuasive of his limitless ambitions but also, look how direct he is with the smaller fry in his neighbourhood:

“Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere (to Haudha bin Ali, governor of Yamama).

“Allah has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures“ (to Jaifer, King of Oman).

Secondly, there is the circumstantial evidence of the actions of Mohammed’s immediate successors who, as his companions in life, presumably knew his intentions best. Did they settle down and turn Arabia into a model theocracy, happy to let the surrounding infidels get on with their thing? No they consolidated their power with the brutal Ridda Wars then took Islam from Spain to India (and not by knocking on doors). They stopped there not because they had spread the word of Allah far enough but because opposing armies halted them.

Leaving the 7th century behind us, more than 100 years after Mohammed’s death Ibn Ishaq tells us in his biography, which is the foundation of the Sira, that it was Mohammed himself who sent jihad beyond Arabia by ordering an attack against Byzantine Syria from his deathbed.

Ibn Ishaq also tells us that after hitting a stone with his pickaxe during preparations for the Battle of the Trench Mohammed said:

“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.”

Another 100 years after that we see this sort of thing in the Hadiths:

“Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake. And I have seen its eastern and western ends. And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends… Sahih Muslim (41:6904)

I would not want to be convicted on evidence passed down by word of mouth over 200 years but the point is that Mohammed’s supremacism becomes ever more entrenched in Islam. The process is augmented with the great mediaeval commentaries, for instance:

“Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, while delivering the glad tidings to the believers that the Messenger will triumph over his enemies and the rest of the people of the earth. Tafsir of Ibn Kathir.

And by the various schools of Islamic Law, for instance:

“Among the things that entail apostasy from Islam are…to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message (Allah bless him and give him peace) to be the religion followed by the entire world. The Reliance of the Traveller.

What can we conclude then?

1. The jihad verses do not show that Mohammed was supremacist – ie globally and eternally supremacist.

2. There is good evidence elsewhere that he was, and this has been amplified over the centuries in Islamic scriptures.

I submitted my findings to some knowledgeable people and they said with one voice “So what? Try telling that to Muslims”.

But I do not want to persuade Muslims that Mohammed was not supremacist. I want to persuade non-Muslims that he was despite the limited scope of the jihad verses. As things stand it is too easy for people who know only the Koran to wrongly conclude that Mohammed was not supremacist and therefore Islam isn’t.

They are of course encouraged in this mindset by the many deceptive Islamic apologists (Mehdi Hasan and Reza Aslan come to mind) and by Western (not Eastern) imams. Those people know that there is more to Islam than the Koran but why disturb the infidels’ comfortable illusions? Think beekeepers, smoke, bees.

No, the claim that Mohammed’s supremacism is demonstrated by the jihad verses is not a defensible position. By insisting on something which can be so easily debunked we are undermining our own credibility and reinforcing the preconceptions of a generation who have been told that only phobes and worse challenge the “Religion of Peace” story. Better to abandon it and concentrate on pointing out the evidence elsewhere for both Mohammed’s and Islam’s lust for dominion “without limit of time or space”. Who knows, perhaps the odd rejecter of the counter-jihad message may be persuaded…one less of them, one more of us.

***  UPDATE  ***
After all this time and trouble I have finally come across a verse which does appear to unambiguously declare Allah/Mohammed’s universally supremacist intent!

Allah hath promised such of you as believe and do good work that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who were before them to succeed (others) (24:55)

This seems to be a conclusive rebuttal to the contextual argument, ie that there is no Koranic support for Islamic supremacism beyond the Mecca/Medina area of 630 AD.

Ibn Kathir, in his commentary on sura 24, makes his understanding of verse 55 clear:

“This is a promise from Allah to His Messenger that He would cause his Ummah to become successors on earth, i.e., they would become the leaders and rulers of mankind, through whom He would reform the world and to whom people would submit”.

What would those who claim that Islam can live permanently as equals with other religions, without the aim of eventual domination, make of the verse? I never hear them tackle it.
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Trevor Phillips tells the truth about integration

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A couple of days ago a member of the establishment told the truth. Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, told us that ‘Muslim communities are not like others in Britain and the country should accept they will never integrate.

This is an encouraging development, the more so because he happens to be black therefore it will be harder for the forces of idiocy to dismiss him as a racist. Not impossible, but harder.

He is of course correct. Everyone knows that Muslim communities do not integrate but we are too polite to mention it. It is all too obvious that they form insular enclaves where, as Trevor Phillips says, “they behave in a different way, some of which we may not like”.

But why?

Well, for one thing their religion tells them not to integrate. There are plenty of verses in the Koran which instruct Muslims not to have anything to do with the Kuffar. Collectively they form the basis of the Islamic doctrine of al wala wal bara. Here are some examples:

(3:28) Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them…

(3:118) O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater…

(4:101) …the disbelievers are an open enemy to you.

(60:4) …We have done with you. And there hath arisen between us and you hostility and hate for ever until ye believe in Allah only…

And then, apart from the stand offishness there is the supremacism. That’s a word you never hear in the public discourse but it is the most important of all in regard to Islam. No one gives a damn if their neighbour believes in flying donkeys. Nor do they care if he avoids them for fear of spiritual pollution or suchlike. The Plymouth Brethren were thought odd but no one felt threatened by them. If, on the other hand, your neighbour’s god tells him that it is the duty of his followers to spread his religion, by whatever means necessary, until it dominates all the others and the whole world, then you can hardly expect harmonious co-existence.

We find it hard to appreciate that people really take their religion that seriously, the way we did 500 years ago and have forgotten about. It is certainly beyond David Cameron’s imagination. He is committed to the belief that Muslims can be integrated just as any other group can, after all we all want the same things don’t we? That is why he produces ever more pitiful proposals for encouraging Muslims to play nice. His latest plan is to teach Muslim mothers to speak English. That way their children will integrate and not become radicalised and drawn to extremism.

Dave,

I know you’re doing your best but, honestly, you’ve got everything back to front. Radicalisation is not something that you catch over the internet. All it takes is opening a Koran and seeing what Allah actually requires of his slaves. I was radicalised by reading the Koran myself, just in the opposite direction. Are you going to deradicalise me the way you plan to deradicalise those youngsters unfortunate enough to have been infected?

And extremism is not extremism. What…? No, extremism means being at the extremes. Jihadis are not at the extremes of Islam. They are at its centre, faithfully following the murderous example of their warlord prophet. That is why we should give up calling them Islamic extremists and call them what they are, Islamic centrists.

And no, we don’t all want the same things. Some people want only to bring the world under Islam, whatever the cost. Not all Muslims, for sure, just the most fanatical and ruthless and, yes, often the most devout (the rest are irrelevant just as the nice Germans were irrelevant in 1940). Have a word with Trevor. He will explain that ‘Muslims see the world differently from the rest of us’.

He will tell you that Muslims are never going to integrate. Yes, they are NEVER going to integrate. Just suppose he managed to get that through to you and the scales fell from your eyes. What would that mean for your whole strategy on the massive problem which Islam presents (unlike Sikhism, Taoism, Rastafarianism etc)? Is that a cold sweat you’re coming out in Dave?

OK, so he’s not going to change your mind but it is nevertheless heartening to hear a bit of truth coming from our cultural leaders. One truth has a way of encouraging others. Perhaps we can look forward to Trevor Phillips, or someone similarly placed, admitting that Islam is not a religion of peace, that ISIS is not a perversion of Islam, that Islamism is no more than a resurgent Islam and that the next atrocity will certainly have something to do with Islam.

Who says Islam is supremacist?

Allah:
“He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) superior over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness.” (Koran 48:28)

“Allah hath promised such of you as believe and do good work that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who were before them to succeed (others)…” (Koran 24:55)

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)

Likewise to Jaifer, King of Oman:
“Allah has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures in order that I may instil fear of Allah in the hearts of His disobedient creatures so that there may be left no excuse for those who deny Allah”. (The Sealed Nectar:Biography of the Noble Prophet)

Also according to Sahih Muslim (41:6904):
“Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake. And I have seen its eastern and western ends. And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends….

And according to Sahih Bukhari (1:7:1331):
“The Prophet said, ‘I have been given five things which were not given to anyone else before me. 1. Allah made me victorious by awe by His terrorizing my enemies. 2. The earth has been made for me. 3. Booty has been made lawful for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me. 4. I have been given the right of intercession. 5. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind‘ “

And according to Ibn Ishaq, Mohammed’s earliest biographer, on hitting a stone with his pickaxe during preparations for the Battle of the Trench:
“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.”

Ibn Taymiyyah, mediaeval theologian and the inspiration for Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of Wahhabism:
“Since lawful warfare is essentially Jihad and since its aim is that religion is entirely for Allah and the word of Allah is uppermost, therefore, according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought”.

Ibn Kathir, mediaeval Koranic commentator:
“Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, while delivering the glad tidings to the believers that the Messenger will triumph over his enemies and the rest of the people of the earth.

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.

The Reliance of the Traveller, the authoritative 14th century Shafi’i manual of Islamic Jurisprudence:
“Among the things that entail apostasy from Islam are…to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message (Allah bless him and give him peace) to be the religion followed by the entire world.

The Hedaya, the equally authoritative 12th century Hanafi manual of Islamic Jurisprudence:
War must be carried on against the infidels, at all times, by some party of the Mussulmans. The sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently observed when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of the Mussulmans; and it is then no longer of any force with respect to the rest. It is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said, in the Koran ‘SLAY THE INFIDELS’; and also by a saying of the prophet, ‘war is permanently established until the day of judgment’.”

Encyclopaedia of Islam, standard reference work:
“The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general.… Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam.… Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad [warfare to spread Islam] can be eliminated.”

Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood:
“It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.

Sayyid Qutb, Muslim Brotherhood ideologue:
“We understand the true character of Islam, and that it is a universal proclamation of freedom of man from servitude to other men, the establishment of the sovereignty of God and His Lordship throughout the world, … and the implementation of the rule of the Divine shari’ah in human affairs.”

Abdul A’la Maududi, founder of Jamaat-i-Islami:
“… The purpose of the Holy Prophet’s appointment as a Prophet was not merely to preach this Religion, but to make it prevail over all others… so that it should be the dominant Religion of life and any other religion should survive, if at all it survives, only within the limits in which it allows it to survive”.

Ayatollah Khomeini:
“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. Those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world…Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless”.

Bernard Lewis, doyen of Islamic historians:
“The basis of the obligation of jihad is the universality of the Muslim revelation. God’s words and God’s message is for all mankind; it is the duty of those who have accepted them to strive (jihada) unceasingly to convert or at least subjugate those who have not. This obligation is without limit of time or space. It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.”
(this is the same Bernard Lewis who said that by the end of this century “Europe will be part of the Arabic west, of the Maghreb.”)

Majid Khadduri, scholar of Islamic law:
“The Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God’s law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world…. The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.”

Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Professor of Sharia:
“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, extortion tax] is to be exercised only after subjugation [of non-Muslims].”

Hilali-Khan translation (aka the Wahhabi Koran)
“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.” (sura 8:39)

Omar M. Ahmad, co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):
“If you choose to live here you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam… Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Bouti
, Al-Azhar University Islamic scholar (assassinated Damascus 2013):
“The concept of Holy War (Jihad) in Islam does not take into consideration whether defensive or an offensive war. Its goal is the exaltation of the Word of Allah and the construction of Islamic society and the establishment of Allah’s Kingdom on Earth regardless of the means. The means would be offensive warfare. In this case, it is the apex, the noblest Holy War. It is legal to carry on a Holy War.”

Taqiy al-Din al-Nabahan, founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir:
“The foreign policy of Islamic states must be to carry the Islamic mission to the world by way of holy war. This process has been established through the course of the ages from the time the apostle settled down until the end of the last Islamic state which was ruled by Islamic law. This process has never been changed at all. The apostle Muhammad, from the time he founded the state in the city Yathrib, prepared an army and began holy war to remove the physical barriers which hinder the spread of Islam.”

Osama bin Laden:
“It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme.”

Samantha Lewthwaite, the “white widow”:
“Verily Allah has purchased the lives of the believers that theirs shall be paradise. They fight in Allah’s cause, so they kill and are killed… it will NEVER be over until the day that we see our lands governed by Allah the almighty, whose law is complete”. (quoting sura 9:111)

IS (Islamic State), from their magazine Dabiq issue 7:
“…the sword will continue to be drawn, raised, and swung until ‘Īsā (Jesus – ‘alayhis-salām) kills the Dajjāl (the Antichrist) and abolishes the jizyah. Thereafter, kufr and its tyranny will be destroyed; Islam and its justice will prevail on the entire Earth.”

Sam Harris, anti-religious author:
“While there are undoubtedly some moderate Muslims who have decided to overlook the irrescindable militancy of their religion, Islam is undeniably a religion of conquest. The only future devout Muslims can envisage—as Muslims—is one in which all infidels have been converted to Islam, politically subjugated, or killed. The tenets of Islam simply do not admit of anything but a temporary sharing of power with the ‘enemies of God’.”

WHO SAYS IT ISN’T?

George Bush, Tony Blair, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Theresa May (theological competence uncertain).

Quilliam

Everyone at the Guardian.

The entire interfaith dialogue industry.

CAIR (when talking to non-Muslims eg “My jihad is building new friendships. What’s yours?”).

Tariq “double talk” Ramadan (Oxford Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies and grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood).

Mehdi “the kuffar live like cattle” Hasan (Journalist and deceptive apologist).

John Esposito (Saudi funded academic, champion of the mythical higher jihad and author of “The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?”).

Your local smiley imam