Does the Qur'an promote Violence?
Apologist for Islam of the Qur'an
Throughout the United States, critics of Islam have raised alarm by proclaiming that Islam is either an "evil wicked religion" or by claiming that the Qur'an (Islam's holy book) promotes violence. Taking advantage of the fact that most Americans know little about Islam and have no interaction with Muslims, these may in error or on purpose distort and manipulate verses from the Qur'an to prove their "evidence" against barbaric peoples.
Examples of frequently cited Qur'an verses used in this context include:
1. "And slay them wherever ye catch them." (Al-Baqarah: 191)
This article is meant neither to promote Islam nor any other religion, the entire purpose is to point out regarding religious matters the danger of being mis-informed by the untrained who may take out of context or deliberately misinform regarding another's religion. Christians being those who share in religious matters should be doubly sure of issues especially regarding rebuke. Much of the following is plagiarized wholesale, however ongoing study has validated to some degree the specific issue's that the original author uses as reference. Concerning the reference to there being Islamic Sect's is true, and might accurately be what we call denomination, remembering that some purporting to be Christian are those we instead call cult's.
To give the author concerning the fist half of this article her due, the following is internet address and source author:
Fedwa Wazwaz is Communications Director of the Islamic Resource Group in Crystal, Minnesota, and a syndicated columnist of the Independent Writers Syndicate.
In this article the author warns of taking from any source by means called 'out of context', of which enemies of the Judiac-Christian take scripture out of context, proving the Bible evil and unworthy. An example would be the command to stone disobedient children, or husband who must dominate their wife, the wife needing remain mute and silent before their husband who is their spiritual superior. The following will cover only a few myth's about the Qur'an. For more answers regarding Islam (such as Islam/Muhammad teaching that Christians must be killed), please check out www.islamic-study.org
2. "But if they turn away, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks" (An-Nisa': 89)
Shedding more light on this issue is critical to a better understanding of Islam.
There are two primary sources of Islamic belief.
1. 1. The Qur'an, the revealed word of God.
In addition, three factors are essential for understanding the verses in the Qur'an:
2. 2. The Hadeeth, which are the sayings or actions of Prophet Muhammad.
1. Textual context of the verse within the Qur'an.
For example, here is the first verse noted above in the appropriate Qur'an textual context:
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.
2. The historical context.
3. The manner in which the Prophet Muhammad implemented the verse.
And the second verse frequently cited out of context by critics occurs in the following series of verses:
They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): so take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (from what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks. Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then Allah hath opened no way for you (to war against them). Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto; if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them; in their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them."
An understanding of the historical context of these verses is also critical. Muslims believe that these verses were revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, at the time when Muslims were attacked by the non-Muslims of Mecca on a regular basis. The Meccans wanted to kill the Muslims and stop the rise of Islam in Medinah. These verses do not grant permission for violence, but they are a warning against those who seek to instigate violence and oppression against the Muslims. Note that even in these warnings, restraint and caution are emphasized to the Muslims.
The third factor to keep in mind is how each verse was implemented at the time of Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet implemented these verses in the following manner: The intention must be pure, meaning those with personal agendas were not allowed to fight. The war was declared by a legitimate authority (Prophet Muhammad). War was a last resort. There existed an openness among Muslims to respond to just peace initiatives--even during the battle. The Prophet spared non-combatants and refrained from destruction of homes, trees, or resources needed by Meccans to survive. In addition, the Prophet gave and ordered his followers to give humane treatment of the injured and prisoners of war.
Finally, what does the Qur'an say about murder?
"Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom." (Al-An`am: 151).
Also, "Nor take life, which Allah has made sacred, except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas [retribution] or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law)" (Al-Isra: 33).
According to the Qur'an, killing any person without a just cause is as enormous a sin as killing the whole of humanity, and saving the life of one person is as good a deed as saving the whole of humanity.
As can clearly be seen from the above examples, the Qur'an does not "promote" or glorify violence. Islam is a religion that preaches peaceful co-existence between communities, nations and tribes. Historically, Islam has shown tolerance to all religions and communities in its midst and around. Whatever evidence those who mislead and cite to legitimize their hatred of Islam can easily be shown to be deceptive and false when examined within the appropriate textual and historical context.
Another example that has started circulating around is the verse:
" O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends [Awliyaa]; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." [5:51]
Textual context: Immediately preceding verses [41-50] speak about those who claim to be Jews yet they are not true believers in heart and action [41-42], who reject even the rulings of their own Torah , and who generally fail to judge according to God's directives in the Torah [44-46]. Likewise, it applies to those Christians who fail to judge according to the Gospel . Verses 49-50 condemns those who attempted to beguile the Prophet from ruling according to what was revealed to him and prefer a judgment other than what God has revealed.
The verse immediately after 5:51 connect this verse with those Muslims in whose heart there is disease and who seek alliance with such people only to protect their vested interest and out of fear of loss if Muslims become the "losers."
A few verses later, the same injunction is repeated with the clarification that such people cannot be trusted as protectors because they took Islam for "a mockery or sport" [57-58]. The same basic term relating to "Awliyaa' " appears also in the context of those who fight against Muslims so as to undermine Islam or drive Muslims out of their homes. [60:9]
Historical context: The whole section deals with specific events at the time of the prophet Muhammad [Peace be upon him] that uncovered the false claim to faith by people in question. Details are available in historical sources.
Linguistic context: The original Qur'an Arabic term "Awliyaa' "is often translated as "friends." The correct translation is "protectors" not only friends. The correct meaning then is "do not depend for your security matters on others [especially those mentioned above, who pay lip service to their own scriptures].
Broader context: A common mistake in the interpretation of the Qur'an is to ignore other texts related to the same topic. The same Qur'an praises kind, sincere and responsive Christians [5:82-86]. The condemnation is for those "who reject faith and belie [God's] signs" .
The same chapter allows, not only friendship with sincere "people of the book" but also some forms of interfaith marriage [5:5]. Obviously marital relationship is more intimate than mere "friendship" and is described in the Qur'an as that of "tranquility, love and mercy" [30:21]. The same Qur'an teaches also commands just and kind treatments of non-Muslims who dwell in peace with Muslims [60:8-9].
It is clear that any allegation that the Qur'an teaches violence and religious hatred is totally unfounded and violate the textual, historical, linguistic and broader context of the Qur'anic teachings and amounts to serious distortions of its teachings.End of Fedwa Wazwaz's article
From the Quran is found the following verses.
[60:8] God does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. God loves the equitable.
What of the Islamic Fascist Terrorists Bush Referred To?
Despite Vice-Pres. Cheney blaming Iraqi 'insurgents' as responsible for all terrorism in Iraq, Islamic world leaders have constantly spoken against this terrorism. On Oct. 13, 2001 Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., informed the House of Representatives and had inserted into Congressional Records that the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Tantawi, denounced bin Laden. Rep. Pitts was clear in characterizing Sheikh Tantawi as "the highest and most respected Islamic authority in the world."
Within days after 9/11, Talgat Tajuddin, the high mufti of Russian Muslims, called for the extradition of bin Laden from Afghanistan. The high mufti stressed that a man who advises to kill cannot be God's counselor, however much he may quote the Quran. This is in contrast after 911 when George Bush speech writers carefully selected a response calling for a "Crusade" in retaliation.
The North American Fiqh (jurisprudence) Council issued a formal fatwa on Sept. 27, 2001, that condemned bin Ladin's actions of 9/11 and sanctioned Muslim participation in the United States' military response in Afghanistan.
On April 3, 2002, an extraordinary session of the Organization of Islamic Conference foreign ministers in Kuala Lumpur adopted a stark resolution condemning the brutal terror attacks of Sept. 11. Although the OIC is not a religious body, it is an umbrella organization of 57 Islamic countries.
On March 12 of this year, Spain's leading Muslim cleric's issued a religious order condemning bin Laden and declaring that he had violated Islam by backing attacks such as the Madrid train bombings. The order was issued after consultations with North African religious scholars in Morocco, Algeria and other countries.
These and many other ongoing actions today of leading Muslim Islamic Clerics are being deliberately ignored, instead it might be said deliberate lies and statements of Muslim or Islamic radicals are being used by the Cheney administration to facilitate disinformation.
The question of Islamic Cleric being in error by not condemning Osama bin Laden may in fact be that immediately after 9-11, Osama did send a video denying any involvement in 9-11, it was unfortunately denied being seen or heard in America because the US government claimed it contained embedded code for terrorist. When next a video was said to be Osama admitting to 9-11, but later proved a very poor fake, then consider as also most of the 9-11-terrorist positively identified with vast amounts of evidence were also most found still alive back in their home nation's, the error of these Islamic may have instead been in believing reports prolific coming from American leaders and media.
[4:90] If they withdraw from you and fight you not, but (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then God alloweth no way for you (to war against them).
[8:61] If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God.
Is Islam the Moon Worship Religion?
[25:61] Blessed is He Who put in the heavens constellations, and put in it a lamp, and a light giving moon.
[21:33] It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon: all swim along, each in its rounded curve.
[41:37] And from among His Signs are the night and the day, the sun and the moon. Prostrate (worship) not the sun or the moon, but prostrate (worship) to God Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.
To those who believe the story of 70-73 virgins for those who kill themselves as human bombs, you will not find in the Quran any reference to the virgin-reward in killing ones self as considered martyrdom in the Quran or permitted by God. The Quran as far as I've found calls only those 'killed' for their "struggle" in believing and serving God as the true Martyr. The verses you might find such as (Quran 55:46-78) refer to maidens (virgins with reference to husbands in symbolic context), and have nothing to do with human-bombs who kill themselves thinking they are martyrs. This being as senseless as preachers who bless (their) soldiers for fighting "Just" wars for God, such as dropping atomic bombs on cities. Are some who claim Islam similarly evil like our false Christian brethren, then indeed we have even more in common.
What does JIHAD mean?
Three broad approaches to the modern re-interpretation of jihad may be discerned:
First, the apologetic arose in the late nineteenth century in response to Western criticism that jihad meant "holy war" and that Islam was spread through force. Muslim apologists argued that the Qur'an and Prophetic traditions allow war only for self-defense against persecution and aggression. Some Muslim writers, particularly those in British India, restricted even further the legitimate scope of jihad by arguing that so long as no direct threat to Islamic worship was posed by European imperialists that Muslims should not challenge colonial rule. The medieval theorists who had defined jihad as expansionist war were, according to this view, simply misguided.
The second approach, the modernist, also diminishes jihad's military aspects and emphasizes its broader ethical dimensions within Islamic faith and practice. Like the apologists, the modernists dismiss the medieval theory as a distortion of Qur'anic ethics, pointing out, for example, that the division of the world into Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb is found nowhere in the Qur'an or Prophetic traditions. A war is jihad, therefore, only if it is fought in defense of Muslim lives, property, and honor. Unlike the apologists, however, the modernists are motivated less by Western criticisms of jihad than by the desire to interpret this concept in a way compatible with modern international norms. Jihad in the modernist view is the Islamic equivalent of the Western idea of just war, a war fought to repel aggression with limited goals and by restricted means.
The third approach, the revivalist, arose in response to the apologist and modernist writings. By limiting jihad to self-defense, the revivalists claim, the apologists and modernists have debased the dynamic qualities of jihad. In the final years of the Prophet's life, the revivalists argue, jihad clearly meant the struggle to propagate the Islamic order worldwide. The goal of jihad today ought not to be to coerce people to accept Islam, because the Qur'an clearly encourages freedom of worship (especially 2:256); rather, it ought to be to overthrow un-Islamic regimes that corrupt their societies and divert people from service to God.
For revivalist writers, un-Islamic regimes include those ruling in most Muslim countries. The immediate goal of the revivalist jihad is to replace hypocritical leaders with true Muslims. Only when this long and painstaking internal struggle has succeeded in reestablishing an authentically Islamic base can the external jihad resume. Thus jihad is today largely synonymous with Islamic revolution in the works of most Muslim activists. By stating Muslim activists in no way including those involved in murdering innocent men, women, and children.
What does Sharia mean?
Sharia also known as "Shariah" or "Shari'a" does not mean 'law' as commonly misused, but instead means "way" or "the way" of living in this life.
An example of this term as used today in the West, Sharia-compliant investments are similar to socially responsible investments. This exemplifies as used saying Sharia-compliant regarding modern finance that is growing among many banks and investment houses. This is due in part to investors eager to work with the Middle East as oil prices continue to increase. Western financial services firms are beginning to offer Shariah-compliant investment vehicles that neither pay interest, nor benefit from gambling.
When expressing Sharia as law according to the Qur'an, this is actually speaking of Qur'an teaching as commands being as effective as law, but more often is found relating to later civil codes established outside or as interpreted (from) the Qur'an. Certainly in ancient times civil codes could be very stringent in many cultures, in these modern times the codes are being re-examined and relate more to the times
Still many misconception are often believed, an example is in marriage the foundation stone of Islamic society. A man and woman may marry as long as neither is engaged in adultery, and it might surprise some non-Muslims that forcibly-arranged marriages are null and void in sharia law. Both parties must consent to the union. The practice is in any case rare outside the Indian subcontinent.
Was Pope Benedict Recently Speaking of "Jihad Holy War" an Innocent Remark?
During his speech, Catholic Pope Benedict stressed that he was quoting words of a Byzantine emperor and did not comment directly on the "evil and inhuman" assessment. It is a common mistake by citizens (often uninformed in the matter at hand) to believe their intelligent leaders using intelligent advisor's by accident choose very inappropriate utterances purely by mistake. In matters of politics and state, every utterance is chosen for specific purpose, used for desired effect, and followed through thereafter as needed. Often accepted error then enables following with still bolder utterances for purpose.
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"
Pope Benedict XVI has said he is "very upset" that his speech on Islam offended Muslims and expressed his respect for their faith, according to the Vatican. However the Pope is referring to a period in which there were together a Christian, Jewish, Muslim religious or political wars of extension and infighting.
Questioning the concept of holy war, the Pope quoted a 14th-Century Christian emperor who said Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things. This was no more true, and possibly less true, than most of the Christian crusade's.
During his address at the University of Regensburg on Tuesday, Benedict quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus.
A transcript of the pope's remarks obtained by The Associated Press television network reads: "In the seventh (sura, or chapter of the Quran), the emperor comes to speak about jihad, holy war.
"The emperor certainly knew that (Quran) Sura 2, 256, reads: 'No force (compulsion) in matters of faith (religion)…" It is one of the early sura's, from a time -- as experts say -- in which Mohammed himself was still powerless and threatened.
"However, the emperor of course also knew the requirements about the holy war that were later formulated in the Quran. Without going into details like the handling of the owners of the scriptures, or non-believers, he (the emperor) turned to his interlocutors -- in a surprisingly brusque way -- with the central question after the relationship between religion and violence.
"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"
To clarify the above; in what some call the Islamic Crusade, the Islamic conquest moving outward gave three options to those being conquered. They could convert to Islam (and share all benefits), they could keep their own religion or organization of community and pay tribute (taxes), or they could fight the army of Islam and die. It is true the "Book People" (Jewish and Christian) were among the few people allowed to keep their own faith and community by paying tribute, in so doing coming under the protection of the Islamic Muslim empire. Others if refusing to convert to Islam, and these being the barbaric tribes without religion, these would be systematically over-run and defeated. Both Christians and Jewish are still found within Middle East nations like Egypt, Iraq and Iran retaining their own religion, also holding offices within the governments of these nations.
Of the lands conquered by Islam and becoming the Islamic empire, these held many people who remained or kept their own religions, and these as stated included Jewish and Christians. In this context it is evident that the Islamic religion spread (not) by the sword of conversion, but in conquest of lands, and within these conquered lands remained people with religions of preference other than Islamic. Among these where people that immigrated to escape persecution and enjoy the security and protection of the Muslim Empire, among these were Jewish at one time escaping the Spanish Inquisition, also Jewish from European nations who were invited to immigrate during times of persecution.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference, in a statement released Thursday Aug.14, 2006, said it "regrets the quotations cited by the Pope on the Life of the Honorable Prophet Mohammed, and what he referred to as 'spreading' Islam by the sword.'"
Attributing the spread of Islam around the world by the shedding of blood and violence, Islamic leaders are quick to say is 'incompatible with the nature of God' and a complete distortion of the facts, which shows deep ignorance of Islam and Islamic history. During the Muslim Empire of Spain, both Catholic (Christian) and Jew were allowed to keep their religion and churches or synagogue, the interaction of religious groups shared a society unequalled any where else in the entire world. It was when the Christian religious re-conquered Spain that this ceased and many if not most of Jewish and Islamic were driven out. This giving evidence of how other religions were allowed by the Islamic Muslims, but the opposite true of the Christian leaders in conquest.
Did the Pope step outside faith to make a political statement, this if true stepping outside the will of God. Didn't this completely ignore by comparison the Catholic 'Crusades' by Pope Urban which history reports began in anti-Semitic slaughter before even leaving the European lands, pillaging, rape, murder, torture, and many unholy actions committed from first to last. Not only these serious errors but also the end and outcome of this Papal initiated Crusade had even Christians in this region also being similarly attacked and murdered. As a result of the Crusades Christendom itself suffered lose in that region of the world, ending with a very real Arab/Islamic distrust if not hate of all Western peoples.
Common people need understand leaders often use deception and slanderous utterances to demean (their) enemy. The purpose of the slander is to sway the emotions of common people under these leaders, not only into believing, but to become angry at (their common) enemy. Later when these gracious leaders are confronted by (their) enemy now angry about the deceptive slander, the slandering gregarious leader then debase themselves using false humility again as show for the common people. This in effect enabling the gracious leader to further debase (their) enemy, something like telling them you are humbly sorry they are as originally described in slander.
Within the church we must not deny truth nor enter into intellectual dishonesty. The Pope in this incident did not rescind his remarks regarding the politics of the Byzantine Emperor, but instead had a clerk make a weak and ineffectual statement. Later the Pope made an apology that still did not rescind the inappropriate remarks, but instead made an apology that was more an expression of being sorry for the poor timing. When organizations of intelligent people spend valuable time to produce a decree or announcement, and then carefully stick to these scripts to their audience, only to later admit it was all a stupid mistake, the error may be in the believing it was a mistake or stupid.
An example of deliberate misleading within the Christian church:
The following is a recent speech (audio) given to approximate 3000 Evangelical church leaders in Washington DC, delivered by John Hagee (turn on sound first... if you do not see 'start-button' in audio-bar, click the down-cursor button on right-side of bar to activate).
Click start-button on panel to right for portion of Hagee's speech.
For a full report regarding John Hagee's false charge's that Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for "Wiping Israel off the map", click on Hagee Speech for article.
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