Remembering Uzza

If the story of Islam was told to me in a pub

(1st draft)

2.4 A War That Pays For Itself

Uzza: After Badr, Muhammad not only felt his position secure enough to have his critics silence with a dagger or a sword but also to put his newfound prestige on the line by asking the Jews to pay the equivalent of protection money in the form of a head tax, the Jizya.

Bob: To protect them from whom?

Uzza: From him.

Gerry: Am I missing something here? The Jews saved the Prophet because he preached what they believed, and, for a while, it seemed like they were getting along like a house on fire. And now, you're telling us that the man they saved wants them to pay protection money.

Uzza: Remember, God had told Muhammad that it was okay to kill unbelievers, even during the sacred months.

Gerry: But the Jews were not unbelievers. Muslims and Jews both believed in Allah, the one and only god.

Uzza: Yes, but not in His Prophet. And when that became evident to Muhammad, the romance was over.

Bob: But the Jews have prophets up the ying yang, the Bible is full of them.

Uzza: Yes, but they are Jewish Prophets.

Gerry: Of course. God only talks to the Chosen People: the Jews, and Muhammad was an Arab.

Uzza: It was a heartfelt blow for Muhammad who was a real fan of Moses. After Allah and Muhammad, it is Moses who is mentioned most often in the Koran.

Bob: Wouldn't that make Allah a fan of Moses?

Uzza: What do you mean?

Bob: If the Koran is the word of God and not something the guy who said he spoke for Him made up, than it is Allah who is a fan of Moses, not the other way around.

Uzza: [showing some frustration] They both liked him, okay.

Bob: Okay!

Uzza: Muhammad saw himself as the Arab Moses. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, whom Jesus, one of his lesser prophets completely misunderstood, prompting Allah to send the Koran to Muhammad to reiterate some of the more salient point of the Torah, such as the afore mention Talion law which Allah elevated into a glorification of revenge. "In retaliation there is life for you" Allah said. Proportional retaliation for a wrong done to you; disproportional retaliation for a wrong done to Him or His Messenger.

Archie: What do you consider disproportional retaliation?

Uzza: To be crucified on the trunk of trees after having an arm and a leg loped on opposite sides as Pharaoh said he would do to his magicians who, after witnessing Moses' superior magic, became believers.

Bob: Ouch!

Gerry: And who is deserving of such barbaric punishment?

Archie: To call it barbaric is an insult to barbarians everywhere.

Uzza: Isn't it obvious; heretics. Or anyone for that matter, as was demonstrated by Islamic State which crucified Christians in Raqqa on crosses but kept the Islamic touch of cutting a limb on opposite sides. But, it is mostly for those who have returned Allah's gift of belief that crucifixion Islamic style is demanded.

Gerry: So why were Christians crucified except perhaps to make fun of the actual crucifixion?

Uzza: It would be hard to make fun of something that never happened.

Gerry: What do you mean?

Uzza: In the Koran the crucifixion is one big illusion created by Allah to confuse the Christians. When it is supposed to have happened Allah had already welcomed Jesus, body and soul, into His Paradise.

Gerry: So why did Islamic State crucify Christians in a manner reserved  for heretics?

Uzza: Allah leaves it to the believer in charge as to whether those who actively oppose Allah and His Messenger should suffer a similar fate. The crucified Christians of Raqqa may have refused to pay the jizya thereby opposing Islam by depriving it of funds to make war.

Gerry: That sounds to me more like passive resistance.

Uzza: Islamists are not into splitting hairs. 

Bob: The gift of belief!!! What is that?

Uzza: The Koran is quite clear on the concept. If you believe, it is because Allah's allows you to believe. It is a gift from Him. For you to return this gift is the ultimate insult, and deserving of the worst punishment.

Bob: Can a heretic say they were wrong and asked for Allah's gift back?

Uzza: Even if you could, summary execution makes it somewhat problematic.

Gerry: Do Islamists consider you and people like you heretics?

Uzza: Yes.

Archie: I can see now why you are so upset that Trudeau and others who came after allowed them in, no questions asked. All we have to do when the jihadists come calling is agree to become believers and keep on breathing but you, and people like you are toast; or should I  say, chopped and stretched out.

Gerry:  Archie, shut up!

Uzza: Don't be so sure, Archie. Under Islamic law a believer who kills an unbeliever is entitled to his property which includes his wives and daughters. Even in Muhammad's time it was a problem stopping believers from killing wealthy unbelievers or unbelievers with pretty wives and young daughters who converted at the last minute when faced with certain death.

Bob:  Better convert now Archie.

Archie: Don't want to work for a living, can't get a date, Allah will provide, if you're man enough to kill for it. What a god!

Gerry: Isn't that what God tells the Jews in the Torah: you want the Holy Land you will have to kill for it.

Uzza: Yes, that wonderful invitation to genocide in Deuteronomy. The Arabs and Jews had so many reasons to get along including this killing business to fulfill a promise made in a book by a god who can't be bothered to do his own dirty work.

Archie: Watch it, Uzza, your heresy is showing.

Gerry: The scriptures that sanction killing to get what your god has promised you can be a tie that binds, until you realize that the god in which you both claim to believe expects you to kill each other in the pursuit of a promise made in heaven.

Archie: And who says God does not have a sense of humor, a morbid one, I  admit, but then again, isn't that what gods are all about? Remember all the shenanigans of the gods of the Greeks.

Uzza: There were a myth?

Archie: And Allah isn't? The Greeks put their gods on  top of a mountain. Islam places its variation just above the clouds, for a start. A climb up mount Olympus proved they were mythical gods. Neil Armstrong's journey to the moon should have proven the same as far as the  god of the Koran is concerned; if not His nonexistence, definitely the location of Paradise, the place he calls home.

Gerry: Yes, why do Muslims still believe in the Koran's description of what is out there when we now know so much about what is actually out there?

Uzza: The leader of Boko Haram summarized it for all Islamists in an interview on BBC when he said that space and all that we see there is another illusion created by Allah to test our faith.

Bob: And illusions seem to be something Allah is good at.

Archie:  [throwing his hands up] You just can't win! Western civilization is about to be defeated by an army of morons.

Uzza: You underestimated the forces aligned against you, your arrogance was your Achilles' heel. Your defeat was engineered by the greatest strategist and military mind of all times. He even left a blueprint which in your arrogance you could not bothered to read.

Archie: Really. How hard could it be to get morons to kill for sex, money and fame?

Uzza: While the lure of the possessions of those you personally slaughtered or slaughtered as a group, their females in particular, was enough to seduce enough of those who would be doing the killing in Allah's Cause, it was not enough to finance the military campaign of a religion on a total war footing until all unbelievers "have been converted to Islam, subjugated, or killed." That was the Jizya. It was another stroke of genius. The tax on the Christians and Jews under Muslim jurisdiction would finance the military expeditions to bring more Christians and Jews and their lands under Muslim jurisdiction.

Gerry: I have to admit, Uzza, that was brilliant, a war against your enemy paid for by your enemy: the possession of the murdered as payment and enticement for warriors, the jizya to finance the rest. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant if somewhat immoral; but who cares when you're winning.

Uzza: All wars of aggression are immoral. Calling it a holy war does not make it less so.

Bob: I don't get it. If Muhammad was pissed off at the Jews, why take it out on the Christians?

Uzza: Allah said to tax the People of the Book, the Bible, that meant the Jews and the Christians. The Byzantine Empire to the north and west was filled with taxable Christians. Allah may have anticipated that an invasion of those lands would inevitably follow the believers' victory over the pagan Arabs and that it would be an be expensive proposition.

Bob: Did the Christians of Medina object?

Uzza: There is evidence that Christians, before Islam, lived in peace with the Arabs of Mecca. In fact, it was a Christian cousin of Muhammad by the name of Waraqa who convinced him his dreams and visions were actually communications from on High.

Bob: That has to be the most influential Christian of all times.

Uzza: We don't know if there were any Christians in Medina when Allah imposed the tax after the breakup; but the Jews, who were then still a force to be reckoned with, ridiculed what they believed was an attempt at extortion by Muhammad, saying that God could not be so poor as to need their money.

Bob: So how did Muhammad take it?

Archie: Bad, I'll bet. Remember the poets who made fun of him and his religion.

Uzza: Muhammad was patient man, he bided his time. He also started receiving revelations that more or less said to Hell with Jews, the most significant being a change of  direction. Before the breakup, Muslims and Jews prostrated themselves in the direction of Jerusalem during prayers. After the breakup, the believers were instructed to prostate themselves in the direction of Mecca

Gerry: "and to Hell with the Jews!" Isn't that a bit harsh?

Uzza: No, not really. When you hear the Islamists repeating revelations that seem to tolerate Jews and Christians, Jews in particular, they are usually repeating revealed truths that are no longer valid. They are telling lies which being the ignorant people you are when it comes to Islamic scriptures, you readily believe because you don't know any better, and don't want to.

Archie: But I thought you said revealed truths were unchangeable?

Uzza: In the Koran, on at least three occasions, Allah reveals that it is a god's prerogative to change his mind.

Archie: So, a fact in the Koran is only a fact until Allah comes up with an alternate fact. Why does that remind me of Donald Trump?

Uzza: No, it's not like Trump. Allah simply comes up with a new fact, of which most scholar agree there are about 240, to replace an existing fact. That other fact no longer exists, it has have been abrogated, nullified by a new fact.

Gerry:  Sorry Uzza, but  that still does not make sense. In the real world, better information replaces old information. In the world of what you call immutable facts communicated to a mortal by a god who claims to be all knowing all seeing abrogation should not even be the exception, it defies logic. For a god who brags that not only does he know the future, he shapes it, to get it wrong so often, it boggles the mind.

Uzza: It does not trouble the minds of the Islamists and that is all that matters.

Archie: That is because they are out of their minds.

Uzza: I must admit that of all the incongruities that devotees of a religion steeped in incongruities have to accept, the concept of abrogation has to be the most difficult.

Gerry: But not for Islamists obviously.

Uzza: Obviously.

Gerry: Getting back to the jizya...

Uzza: The Jews of Medina refused to pay it. Many lived to regret it, others were not so lucky.