Children and The Koran

The Petra-Khidr Influence

In a world filled with weapons of mass destruction, it has to be the height of folly to justify to children Allah’s slaughter of countless innocent men, women and children by doing to their cities what could be duplicated today by a terrorist with a nuclear weapon acting on His behalf. In the Koran, not satisfied with Sodom and Gomorrah, whose names He can’t be bothered to remember, God brags about annihilating more than a handful of cities as an example of His pitiless, devastating might.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the cities Allah crows about destroying were ones with which Muhammad was familiar, from stories he heard and from stumbling unto ruins, as is undoubtedly the case with Petra. He could not have avoided it on his numerous treks north from Mecca to Syria during his more than two decades as an itinerant merchant. This was before the Almighty chose him as His mouthpiece.

To Allah and Muhammad, Petra was Thamud. The people of Thamud were wiped out for not heeding the warning of the prophet Salih, the only non-biblical seer, apart from Muhammad, found in the Koran (recommended reading: Getting to Know Allah, "Salih and the Destruction of Thamud," Boreal Books). God is very proud of what He did to the inhabitants of Petra and their city. In at least nine surahs, Thamud is mentioned as a place and a people that He obliterated. If not for this last admission, you might confuse Allah’s passion for Petra with that of a tourist who visits an impressive faraway shrine and keeps on returning to it during conversations to impress his friends.

My Book of Islam tells a most succinct and coherent, if simplified, account of the genocide, complete with an outline of the still-existing façade carved in rock. The authors, of course, reassure children that God got the believers to leave before He unleashed his murderous wrath; as if this made it alright, even if He did not have to, according Khidr.

Khidr makes another of the most chilling and far-reaching observations in the Koran, whose significance was all too evident in the attack on the World Trade Center. Allah uses his sinking of a ship, he and Moses boarded to justify killing believers if it means unbelievers will not escape with their lives.

18:71 So, they set out; but no sooner had they boarded the ship that he made a hole in it. He (Moses) said: “Have you made a hole in it so as to drown its passengers? You have indeed done a grievous thing.”

At the end of their journey together, Khidr tells Moses why he sunk the ship.

18:79 “As for the ship, it belonged to some poor fellows who worked upon the sea. I wanted to damage it, because, on their trail, there was a king, who was seizing every ship by force.

Should the kids still harbour any doubts about killing a bunch of believers later in life and leaving a few dead believers as collateral damage, they may be provided assurances that God will do right by the believers they may kill in their zeal to rid the world of those who won’t acknowledge Allah’s Supremacy. They have His spokesman’s word on it:

Narrated Ibn Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "If Allah sends punishment upon a nation then it befalls upon the whole population indiscriminately and then they will be resurrected (and judged) according to their deeds."

Bukhari 88.224

The usual excuse for Allah turning a city into rubble and crushing its inhabitants beneath—that is, when He is not showering them with hot rocks or shrivelling them to death in hot hurricane force winds—is a disregard of a stranger’s or kin’s warning of His pitiless vengeance if they did not do as they were told.

In My Book of Islam, the children are informed it is the killing of the warner’s camel, a white she-camel provided as proof that Salih is indeed an emissary from the Almighty that sends God on another of His trademark genocidal rampages. In the Koran, the camel is only hamstrung, but killing the camel requires no explanation, and for children it is a better justification for what comes after.


In one surah, the camel is hamstrung after Salih requests that it be allowed to graze.

11:64 “O my people, here is the she-camel of Allah, a sign onto you. Let her graze in Allah’s land and do not do her any harm, lest a swift punishment should overtake you.”

11:65 However, they hamstrung her, and so he said: “[You can] stay in your houses [only] for three days. This is a promise which will not be belied.”

11:66 Then, when our Command came, We saved Salih and those who believed with him, by a mercy of Our Own, from the disgrace of that day. Your Lord is truly the Strong, and Mighty.

11:67 And the evildoers were overtaken by the [thundering] cry and they lay prostrate in their own homes,

11:68 As if they never dwelt therein. Truly, Thamud disbelieved their Lord. Away with Thamud!

In another, the camel is hamstrung after Salih asks that they respect its drinking schedule.

26:155 He said: “This is a she-camel; this has a drinking day, and you have a fixed drinking day.

26:156 “Do not cause her any harm, or else the punishment of a Great Day will smite you.”

26:157 However, they hamstrung her, and became full of remorse.

It did not matter that the people who hamstrung the camel regretted their action; it is “Away with Thamud!”


The story of the destruction of Thamud is explained to children in My Book of Islam. In that book’s account, it is Salih asking that the camel’s drinking schedule be respected that sets off a series of unfortunate events starting with the cutting of the camel’s hamstring in the Koran; in My Book of Islam, as mentioned earlier, the camel is killed. 


Combine 1) the horrific example that Allah made of Petra and other cities that suffered a similar fate, 2) His approval of merciless attacks against unbelievers that result in the mass death of the innocent and the faithful, and 3) His promise of the highest rank in Paradise for whoever dies while eradicating the greatest number of unbelievers, and what evil do you expect will come to pass?

If you know what is going to happen, why do you not insist that the Koran be restricted to adults only if it will lessen the risk of your children and grandchildren dying in nuclear fire so that a man indoctrinated as a child into the most violent, pitiless theology there is can improve his standing in Paradise?