Muslim Scholars' Letter to Pope: Marking the Anniversary of Lies and Deception
23 Oct, 2007
- Editor's note: Thirty eight Muslim scholars
wrote a letter to Pope last year, which was
a pack of lies and deception. This year some 131 scholars
joined the wagon for marking the first anniversary of last year's
letter with a new letter adding more lies and deception. Wait for
more this time round next year.
- The recent open letter from Muslim scholars to the Pope and Christian leaders calling for "peace, harmony and mutual goodwill" between Islam and Christianity is extremely problematical. What is in question is the real motivation of the authors, given what the Qur'an does actually say about the Christian faith and actually does say concerning religious warfare. If the letter were truly reaching out for dialog, respect and goodwill, it might be more than just another apologia for Islam, taking issue with the Pope's remarks at Regensburg last year and blaming Christians for any and all misunderstandings between the two faiths. It might be honest about real teachings in the Qur'an and in the traditions of Muhammad and finding ways to overcome the "hatred and strife" THEY have engendered toward non-Muslims, who continue to be the victims of violence "in the name of Allah." Instead, we have a masquerade.
Instead we have the usual handful of peaceful, tolerant Qur'anic verse: no compulsion in religion; to you your religion, to me mine; to kill a soul is as if you had murdered all mankind...never mentioning the doctrine of abrogation in the Qur'an, that the revelations from Muhammad's time in Medina, especially concerning religious warfare and the treatment of non-Muslims, nullify or cancel those from the earlier time in Mecca when Muhammad was weak and his message conciliatory. The scholars open their letter discussing 2:256 "there is no compulsion in religion" to show how harmless Islam really is, but the following verse tells us this:
"as for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities, they will abide (in the Fire)"
There are several hundred calls of damnation for disbelievers in the Qur'an and over one hundred verses of the immutable unchanging Qur'an call for violence against those whose crime is not following in the way of Allah as ordered by Muhammad. Did the scholars just forget to mention them?
The scholars say to Christians, "let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us...let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to one another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill."
The question is whether this call is for one side only--the Christian, for the scholars seem to have neglected verses like 5:17 (those who believe in the divinity of Christ are disbelievers):
"They do blasphemy who say God is Christ, the son of Mary. They do blaspheme who say God is one of three in a Trinity...verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them...Christ, the son of Mary was no more than a messenger" ( 5:17; 5:72-73,75).
Or 9:30-- Christians are cursed by Allah) "and the Jews say Ezra is the son of Allah and Christians say, Messiah is the son of Allah...Allah's curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth".
Here we have the explicit denial of the truth of the Christian faith, the calling of Christians blasphemers and the idea they are cursed by God for their corrupted beliefs.
4:159 "(On the Day of Resurrection) 'Isa (Jesus) himself will be a witness against Jews & Christians for believing in his death.... Allah will taunt Christians on the day of their doom, saying 'Where are my partners whom ye imagined?'" 78:62-64
From the Bukhari hadith:
"Allah's Apostle said, how will you be when the son of Mary (Jesus) descends among you and will judge people by the law of the Qur'an and not by the law of the Gospel?" V4B60n3449
Islam's Jesus is one unrecognizable to a Christian, for, though Islam foretells his return, it will be to destroy Christianity! "By Him in whose hands my soul is, surely (Isa) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind, justly he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya." (Ending the Jizya means ending the protection enjoyed by Christians to keep their faith, it announces open-season on them).
Did the scholars miss 5:51? "Take not the Jews or Christians for your friends or protectors, they are but friends and protectors to each other. He among you who turns to them for friendship is of them."
This is a foundation for peaceful, friendly relations? (To take "them" for your friends means a Muslim is "of them" and no longer a Muslim, with all that implies). So how are Muslims to be good friends and neighbors, sharing a common "Abrahamic" faith, when the literal word of God is telling them to keep apart, to fear, even despise Christians?:
3:28 "Let believers not take disbelievers for friends...guard yourself against them, taking security".
2:120 "Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians, until you follow their religion."
4:101 " for the unbelievers are open enemies to you."
"But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads (22:19);
"Fight the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you" (9:123)
"I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve, smite the necks and smite of them each finger" (8:12).
(3:85) "If anyone of you desires a religion other than Islam it will never be accepted of him."
Finally, Qur'an 9:29, among the last revelations to Muhammad and not abrogated by any further mandates warfare against and the subjugation of Jews &
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." Qur'an 9:29
This utter hostility to and permanent state of war with Christians needs to be explained by the learned scholars. After all, it might conceivably be an obstacle to peace, harmony and mutual goodwill.
The scholars spend time setting up a straw man – that Christians call Jihad a "holy war" but this phrase "holy war" does not exist in Islam. Though the exact words may not appear in the Qur'an "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" – holy war is the meaning of religious warfare and fighting in Allah's cause, proven by the use of the phrase by Muslim scholars themselves, among them Dr. Muhammad al-Buti, signatory to this very letter and perhaps one of its authors:
"Holy War, as it is known in Islamic Jurisprudence, is basically an offensive war. This is the duty of Muslims in every age when the needed military power becomes available to them...thus the Apostle of God said 'I was commanded to fight the people until they believe in God and his message."
--"Jurisprudence in Muhammad’s Biography", Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti (page 134, 7th edition).
This statement, incidentally, is at odds with the benign definition of Jihad offered in the letter to the Pope discourse. On p.323-324 Dr. Muhammad al-Buti writes:
"The verse 9:5 does not leave any room in the mind to conjecture about what is called defensive war. This verse asserts that Holy War which is demanded in Islamic law, is not defensive war because it could legitimately be called an offensive war. This is the apex and most honorable of all Holy Wars."
In fact, the best refutation of the absurd claims in this letter is Dr. al-Buti's own work.
p.242 "Defensive warfare in Islam is nothing but a phase of the Islamic mission which the Prophet practiced. After that, it was followed by another phase, that is, calling all people to embrace Islam so that nothing less would be acceptable from atheists and those who associate other deities with God. Also, nothing would be acceptable from the People of the Book except conversion to Islam or being subjugated to Muslim rule. In addition, there is the command to fight anyone who attempts to stand in its way...until the day of resurrection!"
But this letter to the Pope argues Islam was not spread by the sword, that fighting is only allowed for self-defense and maintaining sovereignty, and that there is no compulsion in religion.
"Islam has approved war so that the word of God becomes supreme...this is war for the cause of God (Holy War). Muhammad therefore, sent his ambassadors to eight kings and princes in the neighborhood of the Arab peninsula to call them to embrace Islam. They rejected his call. Thus, it became incumbent on the Muslims to fight them"--
Dr. Afifi Abdul-Fattah ("The Spirit of Islamic Religion" p 382).
Ibn Hisham "Biography of the Apostle" p 134:
Muhammad sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to the tribe of the children of Haritha and told him "Call them to accept Islam before you fight with them... if they refuse, fight them" THEY ENTERED ISLAM BY FORCE. He brought them to Muhammad: Had you not accepted Islam I would have cast your heads under your feet."
Is this compulsion in religion? A little?
"Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah...invite them to accept Islam...if they refuse to accept Islam, demand for them the jizya..if they refuse to pay the tax seek Allah's help and fight them" (Sahih Muslim 4294).
This is the offer Islam gives to unbelievers.
Abu Bakr invading Persia said "Embrace Islam or pay the poll tax or fight." Caliph Umar invading Iraq said "Summon the people to God, those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation & lowliness, if they refuse this it is the sword without leniency." This is how Islam was "spread." This was Qur'an 9:29 in action. Legitimate self-defense? Compulsion in religion?
The letter insists there is no forced conversion in Islam and that this proves there is no compulsion. Admitting "forced" conversion is not doctrine, we still have the countless examples of "convert or die" practiced by Muslims on non-Muslims, even the Messenger of Allah himself:
"(When Abu Sufyan of Mecca is brought to Muhammad he is told to confess) "there is no God but the only God" and "I (Muhammad) am his Apostle." Abu Sufyan answered 'by God O Muhammad, of this there is doubt in my soul."
"Woe to you! Accept Islam and testify that Muhammad is the Apostle of God before your neck is cut off by the sword." (Thus he professed the faith of Islam and became a Muslim.)
Dr. al-Buti in "The Jurisprudence of Muhammad's Biography" repeats this story, he thinks some might object to faith being imposed by the threat of beheading!:
"What is required of an infidel or one who confuses other gods with God, is to have his tongue surrender to the religion of God and subdue himself to the prophethood of Muhammad. But his heartfelt faith is not required at the beginning. It will come later."
Interestingly, the letter to the Pope contains just this definition of forced conversion as pertaining to forcing a heart to believe (not forcing a tongue to confess!).
The letter ignores the three choices given by Islam to Christians: convert, live as inferiors paying the Jizya, penalty tax to the Muslim state, or fight and die.
Clearly, there is an implied threat behind the "offer to Islam"
or the choice to live in subjugation. Is this compulsion to religion?
Now, those living in subjugation in Muslim lands, the dhimmi, protected people, was their status as protected people who could continue in their faith, under certain restrictive, discriminatory and humiliating conditions not entirely conditional? At any time they could lose their protected status and their very life would be in danger. Was not the oppressive, burdensome life in dhimmitude a cause for many to convert just to have a better life?
Is that compulsion in religion?
The intent of the Jizya, set out in verse 9:29, is described in the commentary by ibn Kathir:
"with willing submission in defeat and subservience and feel themselves subdued, disgraced, humiliated and belittled" (in return for letting People of the Book live);
and in Jalaluddin Suyuti:
"this is the basis for accepting Jizya from the People of the Book, a state of abasement.
Al-Maghira told Rustam 'I call you to Islam or else you must pay the jizya while you are in a state of abasement.' He said 'What does a state of abasement mean?' He replied 'You pay it while you are standing & I am sitting and the whip is hanging over your head.' "
More ibn Kathir:
"until they pay the Jizya" means that this is done if they don't convert to Islam; "with submission" means that they are forced to pay and should be downcast...reviled, disgraced & debased...the People of the Book are despicable, lowly & rebellious."
The People of the Book are despicable, lowly and rebellious! This is the Qur'anic judgment of its most prestigious commentator, ibn Kathir. I don't remember reading this in the letter to the Pope.
It is good that the scholars condemn the murder of a Catholic nun in Somalia, (what of the Catholic priests murdered also by Muslims, is it just the murder of women that is "unIslamic"?) but what of the 9,000 plus Jihad-terror attacks since 9/11, all done in the name of their religion for the cause of Allah?
Do they condemn these? Are they or aren't they occasions of "spilling innocent blood" as well? What would the scholars say to this Muslim: "When we say innocent people, we mean Muslims. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, they have not accepted Islam. As far as we are concerned, that is a crime against God."
--Anjem Choudhury on why the victims of the London 2005 bombings were not innocent & could be killed.
In the name of bringing the two religions closer together, the scholars say this : "Christ himself used violence against the money-changers in the temple" I guess equating turning over tables with killing disbelievers (how many did Christ kill there exactly?); "and Christ said 'I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.' Of course, one spoke in metaphors and told his follower Peter to put up his (real) sword; the other was quite literal in saying "paradise is under the shade of swords", ordered assassinations and personally beheaded prisoners. In any case, Jesus did not kill anyone or command his followers to kill anyone in his name .
What else did the Muslim scholars leave out of their letter to the Christian world?
9:33 "He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance of the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse."
"When the prophet migrated from Mecca to Medina God ordered him to only fight those who fought him only. Then when the Chapter of Repentance (surah 9) was revealed, God commanded his Prophet to fight anyone who did not become a Muslim whether they fought him or not." -- al-Jawziyya, Saudi scholar.
"Reliance of the Traveler", the Sunni legal manual endorsed by Al-Azhar University, states Jihad is "a communal obligation" to make "war against non Muslims. The Caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians & Zoroastrians...until they become Muslims or else pay the non Muslim poll tax...the Caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim" (and if there is no caliph, jihad must still be carried out).
"Jihad... is etymologically derived from the word 'mujahada' signifying warfare to establish the religion...the duty of Jihad exists as long as the universal domination of Islam has not been attained 'until the end of the world'."
"So at first the fighting was prohibited then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory ...Allah revealed in Surah 9 the order to discard all obligations (treaties)and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the pagans well as the People of the Book if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued' "
--Dr. M. Mushinkhan, Medina Islamic University introduction to Sahih Bukhari.
'The Book of the Islamic State' (1953) by al-Nabhani, the founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir:
"The foreign policy of the Islamic state must be to carry the Islamic mission to the world by way of Holy War. This process has been established through the course of the ages...this process has never been changed at all. The Apostle Muhammad from the time he founded the State in the city of Yahtrib, prepared an army and began holy war to remove the physical barriers which hinder the spread of Islam." (p.112)
"By holy war, kingdoms and states were removed and Islam ruled the nations & peoples. The glorious Qur'an has revealed to Muslims the reasons for fighting, to carry the message of Islam to the entire world..."
Holy War again! Will the real Islam stand up?
"If we besiege the infidels, we would call them to embrace Islam first...if they reject Islam, they have to pay the poll tax. If they pay it they spare their blood and properties but if they refuse to pay the poll tax, then fighting them becomes lawful...these words and principles are confirmed by all the Muslim scholars. The Apostle of God had designed the plan of conquest before his death, then after him, his successors undertook the responsibility of implementing this plan when they started conquering the countries. People's resistance or rejection does not matter because the Islamic system is for all people in all countries."
People's resistance or rejection does not matter!
The letter declares, "Muslims have always believed 'Who so slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, it should be as if he had slain mankind altogether."(5:32)
Now 5:32, also translated as: "unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land" is linked in meaning to the next verse 5:33, which lists the punishments for said mischief or "waging war against Allah & His Messenger"--
Islamic scholar Aga Mahdi Puya:
"Waging war against Allah and his Prophet means hostility against his chosen representatives, or deviation from his laws by overstepping the boundaries laid down by Him.. or attempts to undermine the cause of Islam and the overall interests of the Muslims."
This verse incriminates anyone seen as hostile to Islam and dictates murder, crucifixion, amputation, imprisonment as suitable punishments.
Ibn Kathir on 5:33 says:
"the punishment of those who wage war against Allah & His Apostle & strive to make mischief (fasadan)* in the land is only this, they should be murdered or crucified or their hands & feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned" [* fasad meaning corruption, creating disorder by opposing God.]
Corruption in the land is...disorder by opposing God!
Now you know.
Qur'an 8:39 "Fight them until there is no more fitnah (disbelief, persecution) and religion will be for Allah alone (in the whole world)."
So what is "oppression" or "persecution" of Muslims, according to Islam? How can disbelief qualify as persecution of Islam? Can disbelief be a crime?
Once again, ibn Kathir, commenting on verse 8:39:
"(it is) the order to eradicate Shirk & Kufr. Fight them until there is no more Fitnah (trial in religion) & the religion will be for Allah alone (so that there is no more "Kufr", disbelief).
"Rebellion against God's will is termed as 'fitna". Fitna refers us to misconduct on the part of a man who establishes his own norms & expects obedience from others, thereby usurping God's authority, who alone is sovereign."
That pretty much includes most of us, doesn't it? Does this harbor well for peace, harmony and mutual goodwill? Dr. al-Buti? Maybe in your next letter?
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