The Sincere Deceivers
A Rebuttal of United Against Terrorism
Translations of the Koran are usually called interpretations because of a promoted misconception that only the Arabic version of the Koran can convey the true meaning of God’s words.
If you can’t read the Koran in the original, they say, you are bound to misinterpret Allah’s Message.
Do they have a point, or is it just a pre-emptive excuse for a surplus of appalling and truly horrifying revelations that will leave some wondering if it is God’s words they are reading or those of His nemesis?
Any good translation will be able to accurately communicate Allah's Message and it's the message we should be concerned with.
4:71 O believers, be on your guard; so march in detachments or march altogether.
4:72 Indeed, among you is one who will stay behind, so that if a disaster befalls you, he will say: “Allah has favoured me, since I have not been a martyr with them.”
4:73 If, however, a bounty from God comes to you, he will say, as though there was no friendship between you and him: “Would that I had been with them; then I would have won a great victory.”
It is doubtful that what I consider a sincere deception will succeed in convincing potential terrorists that the Koran abhors violence, but it may succeed in convincing those unfamiliar with Islamic scriptures that it does if left unchallenged, the reason for this rebuttal.
We should value the truth above all, something I believe the audience for United Against Terrorism whether it be receptive unbelievers or the terrorists who are expected to embrace the deception, if only for the time being, would agree, and on that maybe we can build.
Within days of each other, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Canadian reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo were killed by recent converts in the name of their newfound god. The man who shot Cpl. Cirillo exhibited an obvious knowledge of the Koran when he objected to the mosque he frequented in Burnaby B.C. letting in unbelievers.
9:18 Only he who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, performs the prayers, gives the alms and fears no one but Allah, shall visit Allah’s Mosques. Those shall be reckoned among the rightly guided.
The author of the introduction to United Against Terrorism, Shahina Siddiqui, writes that those who argue that the Koran has anything to do with the violence perpetrated by Islamic terrorists are "loud-mouthed hate-mongers and sensational media headlines … [who] demonize Islam using the same cut-and-paste approach to the Quran to argue that Islam condones terrorism."
Ms. Siddiqui's solution is to censor the media when Islam is the topic:
"The work of the latter is creating discord which must be resolved in a constructive manner."
While the RCMP has distanced itself from United Against Terrorism, labeling it too confrontational after seeing the finished product, its straightforward and to-the-point contribution, section 3: UNDERSTANDING RADICALIZATION AND THE ROLE OF RCMP IN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY is welcomed.
Not so well-balanced is the core message of the pamphlet, section 2: CHALLENGING EXTREMIST MESSAGES OF VIOLENCE THROUGH THE QURAN AND PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S TEACHINGS.
The unnamed contributor(s) do what Siddiqui's accuses the Koran's detractors of doing i.e. cut-and-paste, and do so in a most egregious way.
The Koran does not contain any universal declaration of what non-believers consider human rights, including the right to life for all. In the Koran, the exception is the rule, and the exception always favours the believers at the expense of the unbelievers.
This lack of universality in Allah's revelations means that those who wish to prove otherwise must rely, when they leave out the exception, on the non-believers' often willful ignorance of the Koran and its message of mercy for the believers and merciless hatred for everyone else.
This is what the author(s) of section 2 of United Against Terrorism do early on with an emphasis on revelation 5:32, the most frequently deliberately misquoted verse about the value of a human life to Allah. “Whoever kills a soul is like killing all of mankind” was the truncation of the verse heard everywhere after 9/11 as proof that what Muhammad Atta and his co-religionists did was not sanctioned by the Koran.
Perhaps not, but the note of encouragement left by Atta is there to remind us that what they were looking for in death was what the Koran and the Prophet promise those who kill and die in Allah's Cause.
Know that the gardens of paradise are waiting for you in all their beauty and the women of paradise are waiting, calling out.
The Koran (a sample)
56:22 And wide-eyed houris,
56:23 Like hidden pearls;
56:24 As a reward for what they used to do.
55:56 Therein (Paradise) are maidens lowering their glances and they have not been touched, before them by any man or jinn.
The Prophet (a sample)
The Prophet said, "A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah's Cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it. A place in Paradise as small as the bow or lash of one of you is better than all the world and whatever is in it. And if a houri from Paradise appeared to the people of the earth, she would fill the space between Heaven and the Earth with light and pleasant scent and her head cover is better than the world and whatever is in it."
At the time, the Chairman of the British National Party said that “Whoever kills a soul is like killing all of mankind” was a "politically correct fabrication" which was allowed to go unchallenged "to avoid an explosion of hostility against Muslims by leaving the impression that the central message of the Koran is all about peace and love" that “Islam … is Christianity with a towel on its head." (From The Places in Between by Rory Stewart, Penguin 2004)
Compare the edited version of verse 5:32 in United Against Terrorism the use of the en dash (—) which is normally used for emphasis, instead of the ellipse (…) which is normally used to indicate a missing segment — a significant segment in this instance—and that of Majid Fakhry's.
United Against Terrorism
“If any one slew a person — it would be as if he slew entire humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of entire humanity.” (Quran 5:32)
"Clearly, in Islam, responsible citizenship is advocated and violence is condemned."
Not so fast! The full verse is not that equivocal, not even close!
5:32 For that reason, We decreed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul, not in retaliation for a soul or corruption in the land, is like one who has killed the whole of mankind; and whoever saves a life is like one who saves the lives all of mankind. Our Messengers came to them with the clear proofs; but afterwards many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.
And who sows corruption in the land:
3:118 O believers, do not take as close friends other than your own people (other than your co-religionists); they will spare no effort to corrupt you and wish to see you suffer. Hatred has already been manifest in what they utter, but what their hearts conceal is greater still. We have made clear Our Signs to you if only you understand.
The use of the en dash instead of an ellipse means that someone who is not familiar with the Koran has no clue that this verse also has exceptions. Was the use of the en dash deliberate, to make the censored verse fit the narrative that the Koran is what it is not, while condemning those who know better? This is a valid question.
A Made-up Meaning and a Wrong Number
The short first surah i.e. chapter of the Koran, The Opening, also referred to as the Chapter of Prayer, which is repeated by every believer during his daily devotions:
1:1 In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
1:2 Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds,
1:3 The Compassionate, the Merciful,
1:4 Master of the Day of Judgement,
1:5 Only You do we worship, and only You do we implore for help.
1:6. Lead us to the right path,
1:7 The path of those You have favoured Not those who have incurred Your wrath or have gone astray.
United Against Terrorism
Muslims are warned to avoid extremism. Islam is the middle path. In every prayer Muslims supplicate “O Allah, guide us to the straight (middle) path.” (Quran 1:4)
Moderation is the very essence of our faith ... A Muslim by definition is not an extremist.
Even more inexcusable than deliberately avoiding any typographical marks that would indicate that you have censored a revelation, is doctoring a verse by adding a misleading comment (in this example the observation "middle") and extra words that are not found in the most consulted translations or any translation that I am aware of.
1:6 Guide us the straight way.
1:6 Show us the straight way,
1:6 Guide us to the Straight Way
1:6 Show us the straight path,
United Against Terrorism seems to have added "middle" to the revelation, which it incorrectly numbered 1:4, to infer that Islam is the middle path between two extremes, that other religions are where the extremists can be found.
Is it carelessness or did United Against Terrorism deliberately not only misnumber the revelation, but possibly changed a comma to a period so that a reader would not assume a seventh and last verse where it is evident that Allah is not referring to a "middle" path at all?
From believers in the same god to evildoers
In two of the four translations of the Koran recommended by United Against Terrorism, verse 2:143 which it presents as further proof that believers are moderates, Muhammad Assad and Muhammad Pickthall do use the word "middle", Irving uses the term "moderate" and Yusuf Ali – the most read and Saudi sponsored translation – uses the word "just" as does my goto translator Majid Fakhry.
The translation of revelation 2:143 offered by United Against Terrorism does not match exactly any of the translation they recommend or any that I could find. As was done with revelation 1:6, incorrectly numbered 1:4 in the guide, United Against Terrorism appears to have again modified a verse to better fit its narrative.
“Allah made you to be a community of the middle way, so that (with the example of your lives) you might bear witness to the truth before all humanity.” (Quran, 2:143)
Verse 2:143 is part of series of revelations that, in effect, demoted Jerusalem and established Mecca as the center of the Universe. Therefore, "middle" in Assad's and Pickthall's translation could be construed as meaning center. Nonetheless, revelations pertaining to this decision show an immoderate god who is becoming even less tolerant of worshippers of a variant of His Eminence.
The verses were revealed after the Prophet's falling out with the Jews of Medina, prompting Allah to decree that henceforth the believers must pray in the direction of Mecca, not Jerusalem, and that those who refused to do so are evildoers.
2:142 The ignorant among the people (among the Jews and polytheist Arabs) will say: “What caused them (the Prophet Muhammad and the believers) to turn away from the former Qibla towards which they used to turn (Jerusalem)?” Say: “To Allah belongs the East and the West. He guides whom He wills towards the Right Path.”
2:143 And thus We have made you (the Muslim nation) a just nation, so that you may bear witness unto the rest of mankind, and that the Messenger may bear witness unto you. We did not ordain your former Qibla except that We may distinguish those who follow the Messenger from those who turn on their heels (return to disbelief). It was indeed a hard test except for those whom Allah guided. Allah would not allow your faith to be in vain. He is Clement and Merciful to mankind.
2:144 Surely, We see your face turned towards heaven (yearning for guidance through revelation). We shall turn you towards a Qibla that will please you. Turn your face then towards the Sacred Mosque (the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, the Ka’ba); and wherever you are turn your faces towards it. Those who were given the Book (the Jews and Christians) certainly know this to be the Truth from their Lord. Allah is not unaware of what they do.
2:145 Were you even to come to the People of the Book with every proof, they will not follow your Qibla, nor will you follow their Qibla. Nor will some of them follow the Qibla of the others. And were you to follow their desires after all the knowledge that came to you, surely you would be one of the evil-doers (sic).
These verses mark the official break in the Koran between the believers and, until then, those whom Allah and His Messenger considered the equivalent of co-religionists, Christians and Jews, who overnight became evildoers.
A suspicious mind might conclude that the editors of United Against Terrorism included this fragment of a verse as a sort of code for those who know their Koran; a reminder that Allah's alleged moderation has its limits, especially where Jews are concerned.
“There is no compulsion in religion”, except when there is!
And what about that other frequently quoted snippet of verse about there being no "compulsion" to become a believer, therefore those who kill those who refuse to accept Allah as their one and only God and the Prophet Muhammad as His Messenger have got it wrong?
United Against Terrorism
“There is no compulsion in religion.” (Quran 2:256)
Fakhry's unabridged verse and the revelation which follows:
2:256 There is no compulsion in religion; true guidance has become distinct from error. Thus he who disbelieves in the Devil and believes in Allah grasps the firmest handle that will never break. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
2:257 Allah is the Supporter of the believers. He brings them out of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their supporters are the devils who bring them out of light into darkness. Those are the people of the Fire in which they shall abide forever.
There is no compulsion to join Islam except when there is.
Those who chose not to become believers after Allah has shown them the error of their ways "true guidance has become distinct from error" are in league with the devils, or so the Koran tells us. They are in effect evildoers and it is the duty of every believer to rid the world of evildoers.
2:193 Fight them until there is no sedition and the religion becomes that of Allah. But if they desist, there will be no aggression except against the evildoers.
You cannot be forced to become a believer if you prefer death as an evildoer, or, as some Islamic scholars have argued, agree to pay the right-to-live tax, the jizya; therefore, the author(s) of section 2 CHALLENGING EXTREMIST MESSAGES OF VIOLENCE THROUGH THE QURAN AND PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S TEACHINGS are technically correct.
You will find other verses where the Koran forbids aggression, such as the following:
16:90 Allah enjoins justice, charity and the giving to kindred; He forbids indecency, evil and aggression. He admonishes you that you may take heed.
Remember, when you encounter such verses, that it’s non-aggression against believers only. In the Koran, unbelievers and evildoers are generally synonymous, and against evildoers aggression is not only permitted, but encouraged and believers are often expected to take the law into their own hands.
Who Do You Hate?
“O ye who believe, remain steadfast for Allah, bearing witness to justice. Do not allow your hatred for others make you swerve to wrongdoing and turn you away from justice. Be just; that is closer to true piety.” (Quran 5:8)
Those you hate can only be the evildoers who are your compatriots but whose first loyalty is to the State not to your god. The verse could also be construed as demanding that believers stand up for the Sharia through which the justice of Allah is administered. It is a very strange verse to include in a section titled: IS IT WRONG TO HAVE DUAL LOYALTIES?
An Invitation to Vigilantism???
It is an interesting choice for a guide which pertains to contain advice on how to deal with the threat of the so-called "lone wolf" terrorist that the first verse quoted could be construed as an invitation to take the law into your own hands.
O you who believe stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even against yourselves or your parents or your kith and kin and whether it is against rich or poor; for Allah can protect both. Follow not your lust lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily Allah is acquainted with all that you do. (Quran 4:135)
The justice, of course, is that of the Koran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad which the guide makes abundantly clear in the capitalized title of the section where the verse is quoted: CHALLENGING EXTREMIST MESSAGES OF VIOLENCE THROUGH THE QURAN AND PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S TEACHINGS.
For an unbeliever, the best he or she can expect from Koranic justice is to pay a fine to be allowed to keep on breathing for another year – a short year for it is a lunar year – the worst being death.
In many ways the believers have it worse. Consider the Koran's punishment for theft and the Prophet's punishment of the adulteress.
5:38 As for the thieves, whether male or female, cut off their hands in punishment for what they did, as an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty and Wise
Malik related to me from Yaqub ibn Zayd ibn Talha from his father Zayd ibn Talha that Abdullah ibn Abi Mulayka informed him that a woman came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and informed him that she had committed adultery and was pregnant.
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, "Go away until you give birth."
When she had given birth, she came to him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, "Go away until you have suckled and weaned the baby."
When she had weaned the baby, she came to him. He said, "Go and entrust the baby to someone."
She entrusted the baby to someone and then came to him. He gave the order and she was stoned.
Malik's Muwatta 188.8.131.52
But the most disheartening has to be that they can never leave the perfect religion for one less perfect, or no religion at all except as a corpse.
4:89 They wish that you disbelieve, as they have disbelieved, so that you will all be alike. Do not, then, take any companions from them, until they emigrate in the Way of Allah. Then should they turn back, seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and do not take from them any companions or supporter;
If a Muslim discards his religion, kill him. (Bukhari: 4.52.260).
What I said before, don't believe it!
The Bible, the King James Version, is about 791,328 words, more than 10 times the number of words in the Koran. It covers a period of more than a thousand years and contains a cast of thousands. For such a monumental work it is surprisingly well ordered.
The Koran, on the other hand, is the inspiration of just one man, from revelations ostensibly from God communicated over a period of just twenty-three years between 610 and 632 A.D. inclusively.
Unlike the Bible, the Koran is somewhat disorganized. There is no timeline. The only allowance given to any kind of order is the sequencing of most of the 114 surahs i.e. chapters from longest to shortest and a determination made by scholars as to what surahs were received during the Prophet's time in Mecca, before he was run out of town. God's Messenger was forced to flee for his life, in part, for insisting that all would join their forefathers in Hell unless they became Muslims, and for what the leadership of the city saw as a ploy by their kin to rule over them by declaring himself the Almighty's ultimate spokesperson, with the immense power that conveyed.
The fear that Muhammad wanted to rule unopposed would prove a fear well-founded after the Prophet arrived in Medina where he was welcomed by the Jews and Arabs of the oasis city who were receptive to a mediator to settle disputes.
33:36 It is not up to any believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have passed a judgement, to have any choice in their affairs. Whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger have gone astray in a manifest manner.
The revelations received during the Prophet's stay in Medina, which became his home and powerbase until his death, are known as the Medinan surahs.
Ascertaining from which period in the Prophet's life a revelation was received is important in determining if something Allah revealed is still valid or has been abrogated i.e. replaced by a subsequent revelation.
Some of these revisions are believed to have been made during the annual visits of the angel Gabriel with the Prophet to go over what had been revealed during the previous twelve months.
Once Fatima came walking and her gait resembled the gait of the Prophet. The Prophet said, "Welcome, O my daughter!" Then he made her sit on his right or on his left side, and then he told her a secret and she started weeping.
I asked her, "Why are you weeping?"
He again told her a secret and she started laughing.
I said, "I never saw happiness so near to sadness as I saw today."
I asked her what the Prophet had told her.
She said, "I would never disclose the secret of Allah's Apostle."
When the Prophet died, I asked her about it. She replied. "The Prophet said.) 'Every year Gabriel used to revise the Qur'an with me once only, but this year he has done so twice. I think this portends my death, and you will be the first of my family to follow me.' So I started weeping. Then he said. 'Don't you like to be the mistress of all the ladies of Paradise or the mistress of all the lady believers? So I laughed for that.”
Still, many of the Prophet's detractors thought this strange, an omnipotent all-knowing god who could not get it right the first time, and accused His Messenger of making it up as he went along. Allah acknowledged that His changing His Mind, at least 203 times according to WikiIslam, was causing problems for His Messenger and to help him out, told him how to respond to his critics.
16:101 And if We replace a verse by another – and Allah knows best what He reveals – they say: “You [Muhammad] are only a forger.” Surely, most of them do not know.
16:102 Say: “The Holy Spirit has brought it down from our Lord in truth, in order to reassure the believers, as a guidance and good news to those who submit.
This brings us to another verse quoted by United Against Terrorism as proof that Islam is tolerant of other faiths. Maybe United Against Terrorism intended to provide the six revelations in the sequence then decided against it, but forgot to change the numbering to 109:6.
‘(sic)To you your faith and to me mine.” (Quran 109:1-6)
Surah 109 is actually, as surahs go, a quite compelling surah, which may explain its appeal to United Against Terrorism.
109:1 Say: “O unbelievers,
109:2 “I do not worship what you worship,
109:3 “Nor do you worship what I worship;
109:4 “Nor do I worship what you have worshipped,
109:5 “Nor do you worship what I worship,
109:6 “You have your religion and I have mine.”
The duplication of revelation 109:3 and 109:5, for which none can provide a conclusive explanation, gives further credence to those who would claim that the Prophet was making it up as he went along, for a perfect god would not repeat himself for no apparent reason.
It is perhaps unfortunate that United Against Terrorism chose a verse they had to know was no longer valid to make their case for a tolerant deity. The verse quoted is said to have been abrogated by the not at all accommodating Verse of the Sword:
9:5 Then, when the Sacred Months (these are the four months during which war was prohibited in pre-Islamic times) are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, take them [as captives], besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every point of observation. If they repent afterwards, perform the prayer and pay the alms then release them. Allah is truly All-Forgiving, Merciful.
As the Prophet became more powerful and discovered the persuasive power of the sword, Allah became a lot less tolerant of other religions. Verse 48:28 is from the Medinan surah The Victory, as are the many surahs where Allah proclaims His newfound hatred of Christians and Jews, and which effectively negate any magnanimous feelings expressed during His Messenger's Meccan period.
48:28 "It is He Who sent forth His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may exalt it above every other religion. Allah suffices as Witness".
Revelation 25:63 is another verse quoted by United Against Terrorism as proof that the Koran is all about peace and harmony that has been abrogated by the blood-lusting Verse of the Sword:
“The worshippers of the All-Merciful are they who tread gently upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, they reply, “Peace.” (Quran 25:63)
Another tactic of those who want to present the Koran in only the most favourable light is to quote a verse in full but omit its conclusion which is an integral part of the message but contained in the next verse.
United Against Terrorism
“Say: We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, and in [the books] given to Moses, Jesus and the prophets from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to God do we submit in Islam.” (Quran 3:84)
Don't be fool by the non-confrontational reference to Jesus which I believe was a verse again chosen to mislead. In the Koran, Allah claims Jesus as a Prophet while denigrating and damning the Christian "perverts" for saying he is His son. And whom Allah hates ...
All the biblical heroes mentioned in revelation 3:84 Allah considers His Prophets (ref: Shared Prophets) and Muslims to boot, and if United Against Terrorism is to be believed, this is further proof that in the Koran, all religions that worship and only worship the god discovered by the Jews and adopted by the Prophet Muhammad are equal. They are not, and you have Allah's Word on it:
3:85 Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
It is easy to overlook a brutal message about war and terror intended to force your opponent to seek peace on your terms when your intention is to convince the reader your religion is an unconditional religion of peace:
8:60 And make ready for them whatever you can of fighting men and horses, to terrify thereby the enemies of Allah and your enemy, as well as others besides them whom you do not know, but Allah knows well. Everything you spend in the Path of Allah will be repaid in full, and you will never be wronged.
United Against Terrorism
“But if the enemy incline towards peace, you also incline to peace, and put your trust in Allah.” (Quran 8:61)
And when should you seek peace, according to the Koran:
47:35 So do not weaken and call for peace, while you have the upper hand and Allah is with you. He will not stint you your actions.
An Immoderate Statement About Moderate Muslims
United Against Terrorism
The term “moderate Muslim” implies that if one just identifies as Muslim that one is not a “moderate.” This term is meant to divide and classify Muslims based on Islamophobic (sic) jargon. A practising Muslim is by nature moderate and so one should avoid this redundancy.
Fatima Houda-Pepin, former MLA during an interview on Tout le monde en parle (Everyone's talking about it, my translation), the most watched variety and current affairs program in Québec:
There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim; there are Muslims who believe in democracy. The term "moderate Muslim" is an invention of the media which allows Islamic fundamentalists to operate below the radar.
Even belief in democracy may not be sufficient to overcome our present difficulties. Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestseller, End of Faith, W. W. Norton, 2004:
Many authors have pointed out that it is problematic to speak of Muslim "fundamentalism" because it suggests that there are large doctrinaire differences between fundamentalist Muslims and the mainstream. The truth, however, is that most Muslims appear to be "fundamentalist" in the Western sense of the world—in that even "moderate" approaches to Islam generally consider the Koran to be the literal and inerrant word of the one true God …
The only future devout Muslims can envisage—as Muslims—is one where all infidels have been converted to Islam, subjugated, or killed. The tenets of Islam simply do not admit of anything but a temporary sharing of power with the "enemies of God" …
At this point in their history, give most Muslims the freedom to vote, and they will freely vote to tear out their political freedoms by the root. We should not for a moment lose sight of the possibility that they would curtail our freedoms as well, if they only had the power to do so …
It does not seem much of an exaggeration to say that the fate of civilization lies largely in the hands of "moderate" Muslims. Unless Muslims can reshape their religion into an ideology which is basically benign—or outgrow altogether—it is difficult to see how Islam and the West can avoid falling into a continual state of war, and on innumerable fronts. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons cannot be uninvented … weapons of mass destruction will soon be available to anyone who wants them.
The Meaning of Jihad
United Against Terrorism
"Jihad is an Arabic term meaning striving, struggling and exertion in the path of good … Jihad is not holy war either. Islam allows for Jihad in the form of a military action in self defense only."
The Encyclopedia of Islam
"In law, according to general doctrine and in historical tradition, the jihad consists of military action with the object of the expansion of Islam and, if need be, of its defence."
David Cook author of Understanding Jihad
“’Warfare with spiritual significance’ [and] is the primary and root meaning of the term as it has been defined by classical Muslim jurists and legal scholars … ”
Good and Evil - A New Definition
11:1 [This is] a Book with Verses which are elaborately formulated and clearly expounded from the Wise, the All-Aware
"How do we deal with the aggression that is going on right now against Muslims around the world?" is a question asked in United Against Terrorism. Part of the answer, it would seem, can be found in two verses:
“Goodness and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is better. So that the person with whom there was hatred, may become your intimate friend! (Quran 41:34) And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but people of the greatest good fortune.” (Quran 41:35)
I would like to deal with the second verse first, an uncharacteristically obtuse revelation which I suspect even the author or authors of section 2 CHALLENGING EXTREMIST MESSAGES OF VIOLENCE THROUGH THE QURAN AND PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S TEACHINGS don't fully comprehend, but threw in because it "sounds" profound.
When I was writing Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice and I came across a revelation where Fakhry‘s crisp translation was not sufficient, it is to a pre-eminent Islamic scholar by the name of Moududi which I most often turned to for guidance.
Abul A’la Moududi’s (also spelt Maududi) [1903-1979] credentials as a first class Islamic scholar are impeccable: journalist, theologian, Muslim revivalist, Islamist philosopher, first recipient of the King Faisal International Award for his services to Islam and Islamic studies. Of the more than 120 books he wrote, he is most famous for his magnum opus The Meaning of the Qur'an.
Moududi’s explanation of verse 41:35, using Fakhry's translation, is one of the few instances where the renowned scholar's remarks are as confounding as the verse.
41:35 None shall be accorded this rank except those who have stood fast, and none shall be accorded it except one blessed with great good fortune.
… achieving the rank of someone who can ward off evil with good “requires a great deal [of] will power, resolution, courage, power of endurance and full control over one's own self”, and that it “is a law of nature. Only a man of very high rank is characterised by these qualities…” which is why Allah added “persons of the greatest good fortune” to the revelation.
The first verse is both easier to understand and more worrisome, and the troubling part is not equating people who hate you with being evil. What this revelation does, is raise the question as to what is goodness and what is evil where Islam is concerned?
That goodness and evil are not equal is self-evident, even if the definition has changed for Western converts to Islam like Bibeau and Rouleau and others.
Until recently, in our part of the world, evil was easy to identify. To paraphrase the character Forest Gump, evil is as evil does. Evil killed, evil stole and evil raped. A broader definition of what is evil for those raised on the Bible is contained in the Ten Commandments.
Today, both the short and the broad definition have been challenged by a religion which would redefine evil to include those who don't believe in what they believe, and that there is goodness in killing them, stealing their property and raping their wives and daughters as do Islamic State and Boko Haram with impunity with the authority granted to them by the Koran Koran (including the Verse of the Sword mentioned earlier) and a deal they have struck with Allah.
8:67 It is not up to any Prophet to take captives except after too much blood is shed (after the enemy is hard hit and subdued) in the land. You desire the fleeting goods of this world, but Allah desires the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, and Wise.
8:68 But for a prior ordinance of Allah, you would have been afflicted on account of what you have taken (an ordinance which made it lawful for Muslims to take spoils and captives) by a terrible punishment.
Revelation 9:111, the Verse of the Salvific Covenant (do this for me and I will do this for you, save you, give you Paradise) along with verse 9:5 the Verse of the Sword are considered an overriding declaration of a universal jihad to rid the world of unbelievers:
9:111 Allah has bought from the believers their lives and their wealth in return for Paradise; they fight in the Way of Allah, kill and get killed. That is a true promise from Him in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an; and who fulfills his promise better than Allah? Rejoice then at the bargain you have made with Him; for that is the great triumph.
I don't envy those who would challenge the "extremist messages of violence through the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s teachings." They have their work cut out for them, even when they bring deception to bear.
The last two verses presented as proof that Islam is not what the Islamophobes and the media make it out to be can be found at the end of a section titled WHAT ARE SIGNS THAT PARENTS SHOULD LOOK FOR IF THEY FEAR THAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE INFLUENCED BY EXTREMISTS, ESPECIALLY ONLINE? following a list of signs that may indicate an individual has terrorism on his mind. The list includes "Disrespect of scholars that teach peace and harmony."
The verses, which are presented as one message, do not seem to have anything to do with identifying a would-be terrorist. The first revelation leaves out a benign qualifier for reasons I cannot fathom, but it's all good.
United Against Terrorism
“Oh mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other and not that you despise each other.” (Quran 49:13)
49:13 O mankind, We have created you male and female and made you nations* and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in Allah’s Sight is the most pious. Allah indeed is All-Knowing, All-Informed.
An interesting aside, we would probably all be better off if Allah had left well enough alone.
2:213 Mankind was one nation. Then Allah sent forth the Prophets as bearers of good news and warners ...
The second revelation is more about weights and measures than justice, and Allah's gift of iron with which He would be able to identify those who believed, but did not outwardly show their support for Him and His Messenger.
United Against Terrorism
“We sent Our Messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the measure in order to establish justice among the people.” (Quran 57:25)
57:25 We have sent forth our Messengers with clear proofs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that people might act equitably. We have also sent down iron, which has mighty power and benefit for mankind, and that Allah might know who supports Him and His Messengers invisibly. Allah is indeed Strong and Mighty.
There are 6,346 verses in the Koran if you include the 112 unnumbered Bismilahs, the formula-invocation “in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful” which appears at the beginning of every chapter of the Koran except the first and the ninth.
You have to wonder, with such an abundance of verses to make their argument that the Koran is mainly about peace and equity, why United Against Terrorism could only come up with the heavily censored or often misrepresentative sixteen they did, including two that are no longer valid and have not been for over 1,400 years.
You have to wonder, I don't, having read the Koran many times over and written extensively about Islamic scriptures, including the definitive book on Islam's holy of holies, Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice. May I suggest you get a copy.
Bernard Payeur, November 8, 2014