The Violent Verses in the Bible vs The Quran

5d7efe7d4627bilhan-omar-ethics

The violent verses in the Bible were for a specific time and place; the violent verses in the Quran are spoken in general terms.

In the Bible, God commanded Joshua to annihilate the Canaanites, meaning to kill men, women and children, since the Canaanites were considered guilty sinners. Centuries later, during the time of King Saul, the prophet Samuel said that it was God’s will to annihilate the Amalekites because of the sins they had committed.

While these commands seem monstrous to many readers today, they cannot possibly be applied to contemporary situations and they have never been considered normative for all times in either Judaism or Christianity.

In contrast, the Quranic injunctions to smite at the necks of unbelievers and to kill and punish them in various ways have been applied to contemporary situations since the days of Muhammad, right up until today.

For Jews, the Tanakh (Only Testament) is read in the light of Jewish tradition, which also removed the death penalties for certain sins over a period of time. Jewish tradition also claims that some OT laws were never meant to be taken literally (such as eye for eye, tooth for tooth, or the law calling for a woman’s hand to be chopped off for grabbing a man’s genitals when he was fighting her husband). Instead, Jewish tradition tells us that these laws always referred to monetary payment.

The Quran is the final authority for Muslims—there is nothing that supersedes it or can contradict it— throughout Islamic history, the violent verses have often been applied literally by Muslims in their treatment of unbelievers and enemies.

Notes

Other than the fact that Muslims haven’t killed every non-Muslim under their domain, there is very little else that they can point to as proof that theirs is a peaceful, tolerant religion. Where Islam is dominant (as in the Middle East and Pakistan) religious minorities suffer brutal persecution with little resistance. Where Islam is in the minority (as in Thailand, the Philippines and Europe) there is the threat of violence if Muslim demands are not met. Either situation seems to provide a justification for religious terrorism, which is persistent and endemic to Islamic fundamentalism.

The reasons are obvious and begin with the Quran. Few verses of Islam’s most sacred text can be construed to fit the contemporary virtues of religious tolerance and universal brotherhood. Those that do are earlier “Meccan” verses which are obviously abrogated by later ones. The example of Muhammad is that Islam is a religion of peace when Muslims do not have the power and numbers on their side. Once they do, things change.

Many Muslims are peaceful and do not want to believe what the Quran really says. They prefer a more narrow interpretation that is closer to the Judeo-Christian ethic. Some just ignore harsher passages. Others reach for “textual context” across different suras to subjectively mitigate these verses with others so that the message fits their personal moral preference. Although the Quran itself claims to be clear and complete, these apologists speak of the “risks” of trying to interpret verses without their “assistance.”

The violent verses of the Quran have played a key role in very real massacre and genocide. This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for five centuries beginning around 1000 AD with Mahmud of Ghazni’s bloody conquest. Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number merely for defending their temples from destruction. Buddhism was very nearly wiped off the Indian subcontinent. Judaism and Christianity met the same fate (albeit more slowly) in areas conquered by Muslim armies, including the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe, including today’s Turkey. Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of a proud Persian people is despised by Muslims and barely survives in modern Iran.

Violence is so ingrained in Islam that it has never really stopped being at war, either with other religions or with itself.

Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women, enslaving their children, and taking the property of others as his own. On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from the besieged inhabitants and even butchered captives. He inspired his followers to battle when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and booty if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not. Muhammad allowed his men to rape traumatized women captured in battle, usually on the very day their husbands and family members were slaughtered.

The popular apologist argument that many verses of violence apply to war is undermined by the fact that war was started by Muslims, both in Muhammad’s time and since.  For the most part, Islamic armies waged aggressive campaigns, and the religion’s most dramatic military conquests were made by actual companions of Muhammad in the decades following his death.

The early Islamic principle of warfare was that the civilian population of a town was to be destroyed (ie. men executed, women and children taken as slaves) if they defended themselves and resisted Islamic hegemony. Although modern apologists often claim that Muslims are only supposed to “attack in self-defense”, this oxymoron is flatly contradicted by the accounts of Islamic historians and others that go back to the time of Muhammad.

Some modern-day scholars are more candid than others. One of the most respected Sunni theologians is al-Qaradawi, who justifies terror attacks against Western targets by noting that there is no such thing as a civilian population in a time of war:

“It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar al-Harb [ie. non-Muslim people who resist Islamic conquest] is not protected… In modern war, all of society, with all its classes and ethnic groups, is mobilized to participate in the war, to aid its continuation, and to provide it with the material and human fuel required for it to assure the victory of the state fighting its enemies. Every citizen in society must take upon himself a role in the effort to provide for the battle. The entire domestic front, including professionals, laborers, and industrialists, stands behind the fighting army, even if it does not bear arms.”

Consider the example of the Qurayza Jews, who were completely obliterated only five years after Muhammad arrived in Medina. Their leader opted to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army that was sent to take revenge for Muhammad’s deadly caravan raids. The tribe killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back. Yet the prophet of Islam had every male member of the Qurayza beheaded, and every woman and child enslaved, even raping one of the captives himself (what Muslim apologists might refer to as “same day marriage”).

One of Islam’s most revered modern scholars, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, openly sanctions offensive Jihad: “In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for the enemy and invade him. This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other [countries] in order to spread the word of Islam and to remove obstacles standing in its way.”

Qutb wrote: “Islam has the right to take the initiative…this is God’s religion and it is for the whole world. It has the right to destroy all obstacles in the form of institutions and traditions … it attacks institutions and traditions to release human beings from their poisonous influences, which distort human nature and curtail human freedom. Those who say that Islamic Jihad was merely for the defense of the ‘homeland of Islam’ diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life.”

The widely respected Dictionary of Islam defines Jihad as “A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad. It is an incumbent religious duty, established in the Quran and in the Traditions as a divine institution, and enjoined specially for the purpose of advancing Islam and of repelling evil from Muslims…[Quoting from the Hanafi school, Hedaya, 2:140, 141.], “The destruction of the sword is incurred by infidels, although they be not the first aggressors, as appears from various passages in the traditions which are generally received to this effect.”

Dr. Salah al-Sawy, the chief member of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America, stated in 2009 that “the Islamic community does not possess the strength to engage in offensive jihad at this time,” tacitly affirming the legitimacy of violence for the cause of Islamic rule – bound only by the capacity for success. (source)

Muhammad’s failure to leave a clear line of succession resulted in perpetual internal war following his death. Those who knew him best first fought afterwards to keep remote tribes from leaving Islam and reverting to their preferred religion (the Ridda or ‘Apostasy wars’). Then the violence turned within. Early Meccan converts battled later ones as hostility developed between those immigrants who had traveled with Muhammad to Mecca and the Ansar at Medina who had helped them settle in. Finally there was a violent struggle within Muhammad’s own family between his favorite wife and favorite daughter – a jagged schism that has left Shias and Sunnis at each others’ throats to this day.

The strangest and most untrue thing that can be said about Islam is that it is a religion of peace. If every standard by which the West is judged and condemned (slavery, imperialism, intolerance, misogyny, sexual repression, warfare…) were applied equally to Islam, the verdict would be devastating. Islam never gives up what it conquers, be it religion, culture, language or life. Neither does it make apologies or any real effort at moral progress. It is the least open to dialogue and the most self-absorbed. It is convinced of its own perfection, yet brutally shuns self-examination and represses criticism.

This is what makes the Quran’s verses of violence so dangerous. They are given the weight of divine command. While Muslim terrorists take them literally, and understand that Islam is incomplete without Jihad, moderates offer little to contradict them – outside of personal opinion. Indeed, what do they have? Speaking of peace and love may win over the ignorant, but when every twelfth verse of Islam’s holiest book either speaks to Allah’s hatred for non-Muslims or calls for their death, forced conversion, or subjugation, it’s little wonder that sympathy for terrorism runs as deeply as it does in the broader community – even if most Muslims prefer not to interpret their personal viewpoint of Islam in this way.

Although scholars like Ibn Khaldun, one of Islam’s most respected philosophers, understood that “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”, many other Muslims are either unaware or willfully ignorant of the Quran’s near absence of verses that preach universal non-violence. Their understanding of Islam comes from what they are taught by others. Believers in the West are often led to think that their religion is like Christianity – preaching the New Testament virtues of peace, love, and tolerance. They are somewhat surprised and embarrassed to find that the Quran and the bloody history of Islam’s genesis say otherwise.

Others simply accept the violence. In 1991, a Palestinian couple in America was convicted of stabbing their daughter to death for being too Westernized. A family friend came to their defense, excoriating the jury for not understanding the “culture”, claiming that the father was merely following “the religion” and saying that the couple had to “discipline their daughter or lose respect.” (source). In 2011, unrepentant Palestinian terrorists, responsible for the brutal murders of civilians, women and children explicitly in the name of Allah were treated to a luxurious “holy pilgrimage” to Mecca by the Saudi king – without a single Muslim voice raised in protest.

The most prestigious Islamic university in the world today is Cairo’s al-Azhar.  While the university is very quick to condemn secular Muslims who critique the religion, it has never condemned ISIS as a group of infidels despite horrific carnage in the name of Allah.  When asked why, the university’s Grand Imam, Ahmed al-Tayeb explained: ” Al Azhar cannot accuse any [Muslim] of being a kafir [infidel], as long as he believes in Allah and the Last Day—even if he commits every atrocity.

For their part, Western liberals would do well not to sacrifice critical thinking to the god of political correctness, or look for reasons to bring other religion down to the level of Islam merely to avoid the existential truth that it is both different and dangerous.

There are just too many Muslims who take the Quran literally… and too many others who couldn’t care less about the violence done in the name of Islam.

SOURCE https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

 

This entry was posted in Bible, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s