War and Fantasies

A Pitch for Martyrs

An imagined pitch for suicide bombers

using only verses from one surah

Jihad in the KoranThe War Surah, the ninth surah Repentance, may be mostly about war, but revelations about the conduct of hostilities against the unbelievers are scattered throughout the Koran. These timeless invitations to murder those who do not worship what you worship are often highly concentrated as in the third surah, The Family of ‘Imran, where the word martyr is first encountered.

Like all revelations about the need to rid the world of unbelievers, these appeals are addressed to the Prophet's Arab supporters; nonetheless, it is easy to imagine clerics making the same pitch for suicide bombers in Allah's Cause to receptive young men in madrassas and mosques around the world. The target for these recruits will be mainly People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, God’s most hated unbelievers after the polytheists.

Prayers in Islam consist mostly of verses from the Koran, therefore the pitch I imagined would be presented to a group of young men gathered for prayer with the prayer leader, the pitchman reciting selected passages from the 3rd surah. A few verses you will find here may have been quoted elsewhere (my comments in italics).

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

3:1 Alif, Lam, Mim.

3:2 Allah, there is no God but He, the Living, the Everlasting.

3:3 He has revealed the Book (the Koran) to you in truth, confirming what came before it; and He has revealed the Torah and the Gospel,

3:4 Aforetime, as a guidance to mankind. And He also has revealed the Criterion (the Qur'an as determiner of right and wrong). Verily, those who have disbelieved in Allah’s Signs, a terrible punishment awaits them; Allah is mighty and stern in retribution.

3:5 Indeed, nothing is hidden from Allah whether on earth or in the heavens.

3:6 It is He Who forms you in the wombs as He pleases; there is no God but he, the Mighty, the Wise.

3:8 Lord, do not cause our hearts to vacillate after You have guided us and grant us Your Mercy. You are indeed the Munificent Giver.

3:10 As to the unbelievers, neither their riches nor their children will avail them anything against Allah; in fact, they shall be the fuel of the Fire.

3:11 Like Pharaoh’s people and those before them who denounced Our Revelations. Allah smote them on account of their sins. Allah is Stern in retribution!

3:12 Say to those who disbelieve: “You shall be defeated and driven together into Hell; and what an awful resting place.”

The heart of the pitch! Life on Earth may be good, but Paradise is better

3:14 Attractive to mankind is made the love of the pleasures of women, children, heaps upon heaps of gold and silver, thoroughbred horses, cattle and cultivatable land. Such is the pleasure of this worldly life, but unto Allah is the fairest return.

3:15 Say: “Shall I tell you about something better than all that?” For those who are God-fearing, from their Lord are gardens beneath which rivers flow, and in which they abide forever [along with] purified spouses and Allah’s good pleasure. Allah sees His servants well!

And who are those who seek “purified spouses and Allah’s good pleasure”?

3:16 Those who say: “Our Lord, We have believed, so forgive us our sins and guard us against the torments of Hell.”

3:17 They are the patient, the truthful, the devout, the charitable and the seekers of forgiveness at daybreak (when battles are usually engaged).

If you can’t believe God, who can you believe?

3:18 Allah bears witness that there is no God but He, and so do the angels and men of learning. He upholds justice. There is no God but He, the Mighty and Wise One.

The difference between you and them:

3:19 The [true] religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Book (the Jews and the Christians) did not disagree among themselves, except after certain knowledge came to them, out of envy among themselves. Whoever disbelieves in Allah’s Revelations will find Allah Swift in retribution!

Those who are not of your religion must be made to submit.

3:83 Do they desire a religion other than Allah’s, after everyone in the heavens and on earth has submitted to Him willingly or unwillingly; and unto Him they shall all be brought back!

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.

You are the best!

3:110 You were the best nation brought forth to mankind, bidding the right and forbidding the wrong, and believing in Allah. Had the People of the Book believed, it would have been far better for them; some of them are believers, but most of them are sinners.

Not so for your enemy!

3:111 They will only cause you a little harm; and if they fight you, they will turn their backs on you (in defeat), and will have no support.

3:112 Ignominy shall attend them wherever they are found, unless [they are bound] by a covenant from Allah and a covenant from the people. They will incur Allah’s anger, and wretchedness shall be stamped on them, because they disbelieved in Allah’s Revelations and killed Prophets unjustly. That is because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits (doing what is unlawful).

In case you should harbour doubts about God’s methods for dealing with the unbelievers, i.e., evil-doers.

3:128 It is no business of yours whether Allah forgives them or punishes them; for they are indeed evil-doers (sic)!

3:129 And to Allah belongs what is in the heavens and on earth; He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. Allah is All-Forgiving and Merciful.

3:131 And guard yourselves against the Fire which has been prepared for the unbelievers.

Now, obey God and the Prophet and ask forgiveness.

3:132 And obey Allah and the Messenger, that perchance you may find Mercy.

3:133 And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth prepared for the God-Fearing;

A reminder that there is a war on, and that God is on our side, therefore, you cannot lose if you are steadfast and don’t let emotions get in the way.

3:139 Do not be faint-hearted and do not grieve; you will have the upper hand, if you are true believers.

The first mention of martyrdom!

3:140 If you have been afflicted by a wound, a similar wound has afflicted the others (the unbelievers). Such are the times; We alternate them among the people, so that Allah may know who are the believers and choose martyrs from among you. Allah does not like the evildoers!

Will you help Him help the believers by killing the unbelievers?

3:141 And that Allah might purify the believers and annihilate the unbelievers.

Don’t expect to be first in line to Paradise if you have not helped God rid the world of unbelievers.

3:142 Or did you suppose that you will enter Paradise, before Allah has known who were those of you who have struggled, and those who are steadfast.

You were hoping for death to join Him in Paradise; well, now is your chance.

3:143 You were yearning for death before you actually met it. Now you have seen it and you are beholding it.

Role models from the past are exalted.

3:146 How many Prophets with whom large multitudes have fought; they were not daunted on account of what befell them in the Cause of Allah. They did not weaken or cringe; and Allah loves the steadfast!

3:147 Their only words were: “Lord, forgive us our sins and our excess in our affairs. Make firm our feet and grant us victory over the unbelieving people.”

3:148 Therefore Allah granted them the reward of this life and the excellent reward (Paradise) of the life to come, and Allah loves the beneficent!

Don’t trust the unbelievers; trust Me.

3:149 O believers, if you obey the unbelievers, they will turn you upon your heels (turning you back from your true religion), and thus you will become complete losers.

3:150 Rather, Allah is your Protector, and He is the Best Supporter!

A reminder to keep on killing until victory is assured. Do not be distracted by booty like the believers who fought at the Battle of Uhud.

3:152 Allah fulfilled His Promise to you when, by His Leave, you went on killing them; until you lost heart and dissented about the affair and disobeyed, after He had shown you what you cherished (the booty).

We all have to die sometime.

3:168 Those who said to their brethren, while they themselves stayed at home: “Had they obeyed us they would not have been killed?” Say: “Then ward off death from yourselves, if you are truthful.”

A gracious, forgiving Host will welcome you to Paradise should you die fighting in His Cause.

3:157 And were you to be killed or to die in the Way of Allah, forgiveness and Mercy from Allah are far better then what they (the unbelievers) amass.

3:158 And were you to die or to be killed, it is unto Allah that you will be gathered.

Many of the verses quoted herein could be considered an incitement to hate and murder. A cleric using these verses, and these verses alone, as part of a recruitment effort for martyrs in a sermon in Arabic (the lingua franca of Islam), in a mosque or madrassa just about anywhere in the Western world, would not be prosecuted because of Western tolerance of hate speech as long as it is based on scriptures.

Considering the Koran’s unrelenting, unmitigated condemnation, dehumanization and demonization of unbelievers, this has to be a real cause for concern. Ordinary people do not kill others unless they have good reason. Suicide bombers would not do what they do unless convinced that their murderess enterprise was sanctioned by God. This is why the Koran is such a powerful instrument when it comes to war-mongering and the mass murder of innocent men, women and children.