December 20, 2009

Changing how we view Islam

How sad! The civilized world is exposed to the truth of the brutality of Islam. Meanwhile many Muslim converts in the West are finding it more and more difficult to find excuses for the actions of their fellow Muslims. Well, never say die! Here is a handy reference for our Western Muslim readers to help them deflect the charges leveled against Muslims and to help convince others that Islam is the religion of peace.

(From the series “And Brutus is an honourable man,” which is much in the spirit of this blog… though I have lost some friends along the way because of my passion for William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar—my great admiration for the bifurcated tongue of Marc Antony included. But then again, if you don’t want to take any risks, just don’t blog about Islam and other sensible phenomena, such as Climategate, Obama, Berlusconi, etc...)


  1. It's not a matter of finding excuses, but our religion must be judged according to its own parameters, same as others
    The Quran must be read both in context and with its general meaning otherwise the message will lose its universality

    The verses about kaafirs [a word which doesn't have a proper translation in English like many other Arabic ones, since kaffara means to hide the truth so a kaafir is someone who doesn't believe in the truth, the religion of the one god] were revealed in specific times, when there was a war between the Islamic state and a politheist one, and always after an aggression or after knowing one was being prepared
    Hence it gives the rules of engagement, provided there is a war between two states, one of them being Muslim

    The word friend used in the quoted verses of Surah at Tawba is awliya which has a different meaning in Arabic, more like partnership, alliance, a strong bond
    And in fact those verses were revealed when after the migration in Madinah, the Prophet made pacts of non aggression with jewsh and politheists living there, but some of them were in touch with the Quraish in Makkah who were plotting against the Muslims and trying to recruit them to attack the Muslim Madinese community just established
    The relations between Muslims and non Muslims is regulated by other verses :

    God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loveth those who are just.
    God only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.
    Surah al Mumtahanah verses 8-9

    About the famous verse on beating lightly, it has a symbolic meaning, that is to remind to the wife that she's abandoning her religious duties, something of extreme gravity for a Muslim, and it needs to be done with a miswak, a very small toothbrush typical of Arab areas and without hurting her phisically
    it's a gesture that must let her understand she is going out of the field of Islam, and since the husband is the religious leader of the house, it's his duty to admonish her

    Female circumcision is not a requirement in Islam
    Yes it's a cultural practice but there's an episode in the life of the Prophet in which a woman went and asked him if she was following the correct procedure and he approved
    From this, some people deduced it's a must, but their conclusion can be clearly disputed

    Of course all of these can be misinterpreted according to one personal needs and this is what happens today in places where culture prevails

    If saying how things really are defined in our religion, is being apologetic and gives to the enemies of Islam the right to attack our religion, then let it be
    We'll keep on telling the truth because this is our duty

  2. The genies in bottles or magic lanterns, carpets and Arabian Nights, reflections of Arabian fairly tale aspirations might now be considered 'evil' by some. The corrupt results of Western influence. If magic carpets still exist they would be used by mad Iranian caliphs to dive-bomb American Hoover factories. The genies in bottles might now have insidious, nuclear connotations.

    Yet after WW1, Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, and King Amanullah in Afghanistan did a great deal to modernise Islam including promoting the education of women, prohibiting the wearing of the traditional Muslim veil and even instigating co-educational schools. But this wasn't to last, at least not in Afghanistan.

    Many moderate Muslims (and one we both know who does much to try to help us understand) maintain that the Qur'an is misinterpreted by fundamentalists, but it is open to false interpretation, as is also perhaps the old Testament. After all Muhammad (born- 570) himself set the precedents. To impose his Islam and finally conquer Mecca he had to fight for eight years. After the Battle of Badr, seventy prisoners were ransomed at a price. There was the Banu Qurayza siege which lasted 25 days after which all the men, other than those who converted to Islam, were beheaded, and the women and children were enslaved.

    After his 25 years of marriage with Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, he was to marry Aisha, then 6 or 7 years old, as well as Sawda bint Zama, a Muslim widow. Nine additional wives survived him. At one time, either when Muhammad returned from one of his many battles, or earlier, Aisha was accused of adultery. Muhammad however said that a revelation he had just received confirmed her innocence, which led to her being exonerated. Tolerance in this case would seem to be determined by such revelations, whereas intolerance would seem to be determined by the extent of one's objectives.

    Yet unlike some Muslim customs of today, Muhammad helped with all domestic chores and was attentive to the advice of his wives who often debated and even argued with him. He owned several slaves and concubines which was perfectly acceptable at that time.

    Neither Muhammad nor his Islam was very popular in the Middle Ages. Scholars, such as Dante, considered him a scissionist, a divider of the people.
    Historically this might be considered incontestable, and conflicts still continue. How could his appeal to the Hebrew authorities to follow Islam instead of their own, much older religion, be heeded and accepted? Yet this set yet another precedence. 'If you're not with us then you're against us'. This despite contrary historical record, for the Jews lived with the Arabs before the coming of prophets and Romans for well over three thousand years.
    And if the three monotheist religions, those of the Children of Abraham, the father founder who generously permitted them to go their own ways, were indeed from the same source (which could never be otherwise) then wouldn't this mean that Islam is negating two members of its own family?

  3. For my family's sake I am happy to fight Islam in any way I can....and I do. Merry Christmas to you from family OTW.

  4. Thanks for linking to my article.

    Yes, Balqis is right, in one sense, Kafir means a person who covers the truth. What he doesn't say is that the word 'kafir' to the Muslim ear is like 'nigger' to a white supremacist's ear. It's not a nice word.

    It does no good to excuse the use of the n-word by pointing out that it is merely an innocent variant of the Spanish word for black: Negro. What matters is how it is used.

    If a Muslim calls me a kafir, he is not thinking of me as a friend who he merely disagrees with on a religious point, no, when a Muslim says kafir, he conjures up an ungrateful, destructive, corrupting unbeliever worthy of conversion, subjugation, or death.

    Balqis only proves my point. Muslims believe vile, nasty things, but when explaining these vile notions to infidels, to kafirs, they make it seem innocuous, even innocent.

    How nice.

  5. No no my dear
    I didn't put it nicely
    Not believing in one God is something of extreme gravity, let's be clear
    Saying that God has a son or needs to turn himself into a man to save people He defines His children, is a blasphemy
    Not obeying to God's laws but to man made laws opens the doors to hell
    What I said is that unless there's a war between an Islamic state and another, then there's no reason to hate or to kill a non Muslim
    Islam is not only a religion but a deen, a way of life and a set of rules applied to an entire society
    In Islam we're forbidden from telling lies or twisting words and mocking at people, regardless of religion
    I see it's not the same for you
    How can I befriend such a person who clearly has no moral and code of conduct in life ?

  6. Balqis, your last sentence contradicts any notion of tolerance (but I wish you and everyone on this special day, a very merry Christmas!)

    To claim that a person who has different religious views would have no moral code and moral conduct is a sweeping statement of intolerance. Or perhaps this is not what you meant.

    Many people, including the Prophet himself, firmly believe that his interpretation (Islam) is the only acceptable religious path to take. He wasn't a God, he was man convinced that he had received divine revelations, as other great Prophets had done before him.

    But if one fervently believes the words of an earlier Prophet, who also preaches tolerance, would it be correct and tolerant to say that such a believer is wrong and has no moral code?
    Is intolerance an essential part of a moral code?

    If it's true that all religions stem from the same source of humanity (which logically can't be otherwise) the first seed that produced this glorious tree of civilisation is unique. It alone is the nucleus of truth which also means life. Every religion that stems like divers branches of the tree reaching out to Heaven in different ways, are interpretations based on this same truth (which may also explain why the first Qu'ran is virtually the same as the first moral code of Christianity). These interpretations are naturally determined by the different cultures and their geographical and geopolitical history throughout the world. They, like the colours of a rainbow, contribute to make our world, and living in our world more beautiful.

    Writer Susanna Tamaro cited a French monk as saying that 'man who is reconciled with himself, knows that truth is not a colour but light'. The Light. This can of course pertain to many things including political and religious colour. But all the colours are necessary to make the truth, as all the colours of the rainbow are essential to make white light.

    Thud has written that he is happy to fight Islam in any way he can. Thud is expressing the same intolerance as many Muslims tacitly or openly express against those who have a different faith than theirs.

    Perhaps it would be less of a sweeping statement to suggest that a religion that condones intolerance is a condemned religion, because it's auto-destructive. It condemns itself because it condemns it's own family, its own origins and thus humanity itself.

  7. I didn't say that he is not a good person because he is not Muslim, but for what he wrote til now
    Regardless of religion, one choses friends and allies based on certain caracteristics and here he has not proved to be a fair person

  8. My dear, sweet Balqis: in my article I suggested to Muslims that if anyone criticizes passages from the Quran then simply "insist that the translation is distorted or misrepresented or out of context."

    You started your first comment here by writing: "The Quran must be read both in context and with its general meaning."

    You have proven the very point of my article by following my advice for obfuscating the truth about the Quran. Did you not notice?

    Is there anything you can say to me that I haven't already listed as Muslim excuses for Islamic barbarities? Be careful what you write, you might just repeat another item in my article.

  9. One more point, dear Balqis: you wrote: "Saying that God has a son or needs to turn himself into a man to save people He defines His children, is a blasphemy."

    So when a Christian accepts Jesus as the Son of God, that is a blasphemy, no?

    And what, I pray you, is the punishment for blasphemy these days in Islam? Don't be afraid to say it: Death.

    Am I wrong?