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Topic initiated on Thursday, November 2, 2006  -  2:45 PM Reply with quote

Islam is not Intolerant
S. Abdullah Tariq

Q. How can a religion such as Islam expect to thrive when it espouses jihad and revenge and all of the things that most of the other religions of the world would deem to be the work of the ‘devil’? Did the perpetrators of the recent terrorist acts expect the praise of Allah at the end of their journey, after having killed so many people? Perhaps the rest of the world should become as tolerant of Islam, as Islam is to the rest of the world.

(Danny Broadhurst ; dano@neteze.com)

Q. The Quran does not describe a peaceful, tolerant religion. The terrorists are not disobeying the holy book. They are following it to the letter. The Quran tells us: “not to make friendship with Jews and Christians” (5:51), “kill the disbelievers wherever we find them” (2:191), “murder them and treat them harshly” (9:123), “fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem” (9:5). The Quran demands that we fight the unbelievers, and promises “If there are twenty amongst you, you will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, you will vanquish a thousand of them” (8:65). This is the bulk of the Quran. You are welcome to counter with a handful of verses like: “There is no compulsion in religion,”, and “To you, your religion; to me mine.”

But for every friendly remark like that, there are 10 calls for killing of Pagans, Jews, and Infidels, and vivid descriptions of how they will suffer in hell (boiling water poured over their heads, clothes cut from fire, etc). Can any reasonable person conclude that the Quran encourages freedom, tolerance, and equal treatment of our brothers?

Don’t get me wrong, the Christians’ Bible has the same proportion of good to bad. Jesus has benefited from 2000 years of good public relations, without a doubt. Let’s stop pretending that any of these “holy books” contain the secret for living a peaceful co-existence and recognise what is the universal truth in the practice of all ethical systems: we, as humans, have the ability to recognise good and evil, and it has nothing to do with what is written in the ancient tomes of wisdom. If all the people of the world were to follow the teachings of the ancient Prophets of their choice ‘to the letter’, we would have a non-stop world-wide holy war.

(Kevin Smith)

A. Islam could not have reached through the dormant stage of the past centuries to re-emerge once again as the fastest growing religion on earth today without its concept of Jihad. Yes, it would not have thrived if the Jihad was what you think it is and what some terrorist organisations proclaim. Assuming as you believe that the recent terrorist acts in USA were the work of so-called Muslims or Jihadis, it is obvious that this has driven millions of neutral non-Muslims away from Islam. Yet Jihad is a pious pillar of Islam which has always been attracting millions of human beings to embrace Islam. Let me explain in brief the Islamic concept of war and peace.

The Quran speaks of lifting arms in strictly two situations. In the first situation, the permission is granted to defend themselves when in a Muslim state, they are attacked by those who had already driven Muslims out of their country for the specific reason that they professed and worshipped one God. Remember, it does not allow a Muslim majority province of a non-Muslim majority country to revolt and demand a separate Muslim state. If Muslims are oppressed in a non-Muslim majority country for their religion (not for social or political conflicts), they are advised to migrate to a Muslim state, instead of taking to arms. But if an independent Muslim state is attacked by an enemy of Islam for their religion, then Quran permits them to defend. See the following order of the Quran.

“Permission (to take up arms) is hereby given to those who are attacked because they have been wronged. Allah has power to grant them victory: those who have been unjustly driven from their homes, only because they said: ‘Our Lord is Allah...”. (22:39-40)

The second situation is when Islam orders an attack instead of a defensive war. When a group of people are oppressed in a country and they are crying for help, Islam orders its followers to go out to fight the oppressor. The relevant order is as under:

“And why should you not fight for the cause of Allah, and for the oppressed men, women and children who say, ‘Deliver us Lord, from this city of wrongdoers, send forth to us a guardian from your presence ; send to us one that will help us” (4:75)

When the believers are attacked, they are given permission to defend, but it has been emphatically made clear that justice should not be a casualty even while fighting. As soon as the attackers pledge to keep away from sedition, the believers are ordered to stop fighting.

“Fight for the sake of Allah those who fight against you but do not transgress. Allah does not love the transgressors. Kill them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. The sedition is worse than carnage. But do not fight them within the precincts of the sacred Mosque unless they attack you there; if they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded: but if they desist, know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Fight against them until sedition is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight not except the oppressors” (2:190-93)

The above verses contain one of the verses objected to by Mr. Smith. The act of a self- proclaimed protector of human rights cannot match the balanced teaching of the holy Book you so much despise. In its every above mentioned phrase, there is a check. “...Do not transgress... Allah does not love the transgressors... Do not fight them near the Mosque unless they attack you... If they desist, know that Allah is forgiving, Merciful... But if they desist, fight not except the oppressors...”. Mr. Smith has taken out the sentences from in-between to prove the cruelty of the teachings of the holy Book. Similar is the case of other verses that are quoted out of context. Please consider that these instructions are not the instruction for normal peace times. These are the war time instructions when war is imposed upon the believers. Quran instructs that the war is not declared on every unbeliever. Even during the war with the unbelievers, distinction has to be made in case of those who have treaties with the believers. Treaties have to be honoured. Even with those who impose war upon the believers, instructions are given for a respite from war in the four sacred months.

“Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers, except those who have fully honoured their treaties with you and aided none against you. With these, keep faith until their treaties have run their term. Allah loves the righteous. When the sacred months are over, slay the unbelievers (who are fighting you) wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and pay the alms, let them go their way. Allah is Forgiving Merciful. (9:4-5)

Above is another of the objected upon (9:5) verse, but in proper context it becomes altogether different from what was projected. To understand the implication of another verse 8:65, that is objected to, you have to read the context from 8:61. The instruction here is to accept a peace proposal even if there is fear of deception from the enemy. Allah gives assurance that if you do so and the enemy deceives in the garb of peace, He will help them against great odds. See the following:

“If they incline to peace, make peace with them and put your trust in Allah. Surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing. Should they seek to deceive you, Allah is all sufficient for you... (In that case) rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, you shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred they shall rout a thousand...” (8:61-65)
Unless the fighting is imposed upon them, the believers are told to keep away from war even if there is a probability of treachery in the garb of their offer of peace. Can the so-called human ethics of the present Super power match with this?

“If they (the attackers) incline towards peace, make peace with them and put your trust in Allah. Surely He is Hearing, the Knowing. Should they seek to deceive you (do not reject peace on that probability, for) Allah is All-Sufficient for you...” (6:61-62) “...if they keep away from you and cease their hostility and offer you peace, Allah bids you not to harm them”. (4:90)

“If from those who ascribe partners to Allah even one person (during the war) seeks asylum with you, give him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah and then (even if he does not embrace Islam), deliver him to his place of safety, for they are men ignorant (from the reality of Islam)”. (9:6)

Qur’an asks the believers not to lose the sense of justice even for the enemies.

“O believers, be dutiful to Allah and bearers of just witness. Do not allow your hatred for other men to turn you away from justice. Deal justly ; justice is nearer to true piety...” (5:8)

Regarding the charge of teaching not to make non-Muslim friends, the short instruction in 5:51 above quoted by Mr. Smith, is governed by the following two verses:

“Let believers not make friends with unbelievers against the (just) interests of the believers...” (2:28)

“Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who have neither made war on your religion nor driven you from your homes or abetted others to do so. Allah loves the equitable. But He forbids you to make friends with those who have fought against you on account of your religion and driven you from your homes or abetted others to do so. Those who make friends with them are wrongdoers”. (60:8-9)

Remember again, the above verses are relevant only when there is war imposed upon the believers. The general instruction for all times whether it is peace time or war is given in the following verse:

“...Cooperate with every one (whether he is a non-Muslim) in what is good and pious and do not cooperate with anyone (even if he is called a Muslim) in sin and transgression...” (5:2) Br. Kevin Smith has probably read somewhere the translation of verses of the Quran taken out of context. He is absolutely misinformed that such verses outnumber the message of peace. In fact, in between the verses concerning war, there always is the directive of restraint and conciliation. The conduct of the Prophet (Pbuh) is a historical testimony to the teaching of the Quran.

In the course of war, the Prophet (Pbuh) enforced a code of conduct for the believers. “No women, no children, no old men and no labourers would be killed if they were not involved in direct combat even if they were on the battlefield to help the enemy ranks indirectly”.The Prophet (Pbuh) adhered to the above code of war and peace in his life. He had to migrate with his followers to Madinah, away from his home town Makkah, leaving all their belongings back. All the three major conflicts with the Makkans took place when they attacked on Madinah. Eight years after the migration, he marched towards Madinah to fight because the Makkans had killed his allies against a treaty made 2 1/2 years back and the oppressed allies appealed for his help. History has never witnessed such a show of compassion by a conqueror. In those 8 years, he had become so strong that the Makkans did not dare to fight him. When he was entering into Makkah with his army, his head bowed in thankfulness to God, a senior commander announced, “Today is the day of revenge”. The Prophet’s face turned red with anger and he ordered to strip the commander off the honour of bearing the flag. Then he declared, “Today is the day of compassion”. When the victorious army entered the city without resistance, he proclaimed general amnesty for all those who had tormented him and his followers for 13 years. He did not even claim the homes and belongings of his own and his followers.

Islam is not intolerant. It is the message of peace for the mankind. Jesus Christ was an esteemed prophet of Islam and a messenger of peace as were the other prophets mentioned in Old Testament. You have not read Qur’an and what you find revolting in the Bible is because of distortions and interpolations in the events therein.

We, as humans, can never show the ability to recognise good and evil without adhering to and following what you call is written in the ancient tomes of wisdom. The human rights record of USSR and China and the much tainted record of USA in Vietnam and 22 other countries since world war II testifies to it. You talk about the danger of world war because of tomes of wisdom while the world has already witnessed two world wars by the mighty wise European nations because they were wiser than the ancient tomes of wisdom. The world can only become a universal brotherhood if it heeds to the balanced teaching of the Prophets. Let no terrorist, by exploiting scriptures deceive you.

Posted - Friday, November 3, 2006  -  3:55 PM Reply with quote
Yes! You are right!
Any so called the believer who wants to be the slain of God (Shaheed) to have high credits near Him, must come our of the home to try to kill the disbelievers (Idol worshippers). But, before going to kill the disbelievers, we believer must be very well aware that our enemy has not worn the glass bangles.

Posted - Friday, November 3, 2006  -  3:55 PM Reply with quote
Yes! You are right!
Any so called the believer who wants to be the slain of God (Shaheed) to have high credits near Him, must come our of the home to try to kill the disbelievers (Idol worshippers). But, before going to kill the disbelievers, we believer must be very well aware that our enemy has not worn the glass bangles.

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