Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims


Imagine that you are a young woman living happily in your country and practice your own religion. You love your faith and don’t want to change it. Suddenly the news breaks in that the enemy has invaded your country. (For the sake of our imagery exercise think of them as Israelis.) Their army rides into your country under the pretext that only Judaism is the true religion of God and all other religions are from Demon. Of course, just as all aggressors, they make an excuse saying that your government has violated its peace accord and broken the treaty. Therefore, they unilaterally decide that you and your people must be punished. They come in with tanks and guns, just like the Serbs in Kosovo, or Saddam Hussein in Kuwait. They kill your brothers and father; burn your house. They show no mercy even to your orchards and burn them too. They kill a lot of men and distribute the younger and prettier women among their soldiers. Safiyah, your friend who is a beautiful woman, and has lost her husband, father and many of her relatives in this raid, is captured and before having the chance to mourn for her loss she is taken to the commandant in chief of the enemy's army who rapes her right in his tent.

Few days later, the war is over. There is an eerie calm in the streets. But no-one ventures out. Every once in a while you hear the soldiers’ footsteps parading up and down the street and then again silence. Your town is devastated, many are dead and their bodies are thrown into a ditch quite unceremoniously. You fear your brothers and father must be among them. From your window you can see the smoke still rising from palm plantations. There you had a patch of land and some trees. That was the source of income for your family and many others in your town. Shops are broken into and everything is gone. The soldiers have entered in every house and taken whatever they wanted. You sit in a corner, cuddle your knees and hide your head between them. Your mother is desolated feeling only the pain that a mother can feel. All her young sons and her husband are killed. She makes a heart clenching sound, more like the howling of an animal in pain. You hear the cry of the 6-month-old child. It is your neighbor’s child. He is hungry; her mother, now a widow, cannot find food for her little children. You sit and stare at the blank wall. You don’t cry. Your senses are numb. You are in shock and cannot understand why. Why this had to happen? You never hurt any one. Why these soldiers did this to your family and people? In the middle of the room your little two-year-old niece is playing quietly with her toy, both her parents are dead, earlier she cried a lot, then, she got tiered and fell asleep. Now she is an orphan. But she is oblivious to all that.
Your thought takes you to when you were a little girl. You remember how happy were you playing with your dad. You were her little princess. He used to carry you on his shoulders while you were holding to his hair. You felt so tall up there. He was very proud of you. He had saved some money for your marriage and he was making the necessary preparations for your wedding. It was supposed to take place in a month. He had also made a new suite for himself. He used to say he is going to dance in it, at your wedding celebration. You remember how he used to look forward to it. After all, you were his only daughter. It was just a week ago when you wiped a tear from his face and kissed him on his chick assuring him that although you are going to your new home you will always remain her little daughter. You promised to come to visit him every day. Now tears role down from your own cheeks and fall on your lap. After the enemy had invaded your town, this is the first time you have chance to sit quietly and cry.

At this time your neighbor walks in and informs you that the invading army has ordered every one leave the town within four months. You ask, with horror in your voice, where? We have no place to go! This is our home, where can we go, how are we supposed to find a shelter?

He says that if you want to stay, the enemy wants you to cultivate the land that once belonged to your family and give half of what you harvest to them. You are confused. You don’t know what to do. You ask the old neighbor for advise. He lowers his head and says nothing. After a moment of silence he says that if you choose to stay you will always be classified as a second class citizen, i.e. neither you nor your future children or grand children or any generation after them can ever vote or participate in the government of your country. Furthermore, you will be called filthy (najis) and must feel subdued with wiling submission.

He says that you will be allowed to practice your religion quietly, but you cannot promote it. If you ever attempt to convert a Jew into Islam you will be executed. As a Muslim you can marry a Jewish man and convert to Judaism but if ever a Jewish girl marry a Muslim man that man will be executed.

Well, now relax and be thankful that none of that ever happened to you. You are lucky. But 1400 years ago, many Jewish young women, from Kheibar, Medina and other towns had to live that saga. They had to endure yet another humiliating experience that you cannot even "imagine". They were taken as sex slaves by the Muslims and were traded like cattle.

Muslims like to believe that Muhammad instituted jihad to promote the message of God. The following hadithes however tell a different story. They demonstrate that the real motive was money, land and women.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 39, Number 521
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
The Prophet concluded a contract with the people of Khaibar to utilize the land on the condition that half the products of fruits or vegetation would be their share. The Prophet used to give his wives one hundred Wasqs each, eighty Wasqs of dates and twenty Wasqs of barley. (When 'Umar became the Caliph) he gave the wives of the Prophet the option of either having the land and water as their shares, or carrying on the previous practice. Some of them chose the land and some chose the Wasqs, and 'Aisha chose the land.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 39, Number 527
Narrated Zaid bin Aslam from his father:
Umar said, "But for the future Muslim generations, I would have distributed the land of the villages I conquer among the soldiers as the Prophet distributed the land of Khaibar."

Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 39, Number 531
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
Umar expelled the Jews and the Christians from Hijaz. When Allah's Apostle had conquered Khaibar, he wanted to expel the Jews from it as its land became the property of Allah, His Apostle, and the Muslims. Allah's Apostle intended to expel the Jews but they requested him to let them stay there on the condition that they would do the labor and get half of the fruits. Allah's Apostle told them, "We will let you stay on thus condition, as long as we wish." So, they (i.e. Jews) kept on living there until 'Umar forced them to go towards Taima' and Ariha'.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 364
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Some people used to allot some date palm trees to the Prophet as gift till he conquered Banu Quraiza and Bani An-Nadir, where upon he started returning their date palms to them.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 365
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Allah's Apostle had the date-palm trees of Bani Al-Nadir burnt and cut down at a place called Al-Buwaira. Allah then revealed: "What you cut down of the date-palm trees (of the enemy) Or you left them standing on their stems. It was by Allah's Permission." (59.5)

Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 366:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
The Prophet burnt the date-palm trees of Bani An-Nadir. Hassan bin Thabit said the following poetic Verses about this event:-- "the terrible burning of Al-Buwaira Has been received indifferently By the nobles of Bani Luai (The masters and nobles of Quraish)." Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith (i.e. the Prophet's cousin who was still a disbeliever then) replied to Hassan, saying in poetic verses:-- "May Allah bless that burning And set all its (i.e. Medina's) Parts on burning fire. You will see who is far from it (i.e. Al-Buwaira) And which of our lands will be Harmed by it (i.e. the burning of Al-Buwaira)."

Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 39, Number 519:
Narrated 'Abdullah:
The Prophet got the date palm trees of the tribe of Bani-An-Nadir burnt and the trees cut down at a place called Al-Buwaira . Hassan bin Thabit said in a poetic verse: "The chiefs of Bani Lu'ai found it easy to watch fire spreading at Al-Buwaira."

Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 375:
Narrated Al-Bara:
We faced the pagans on that day (of the battle of Uhud) and the Prophet placed a batch of archers (at a special place) and appointed 'Abdullah (bin Jubair) as their commander and said, "Do not leave this place; and if you should see us conquering the enemy, do not leave this place, and if you should see them conquering us, do not (come to) help us," So, when we faced the enemy, they took to their heel till I saw their women running towards the mountain, lifting up their clothes from their legs, revealing their leg-bangles. The Muslims started saying, "The booty, the booty!"

Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 362:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Bani An-Nadir and Bani Quraiza fought (against the Prophet violating their peace treaty), so the Prophet exiled Bani An-Nadir and allowed Bani Quraiza to remain at their places (in Medina) taking nothing from them till they fought against the Prophet again) . He then killed their men and distributed their women, children and property among the Muslims, but some of them came to the Prophet and he granted them safety, and they embraced Islam. He exiled all the Jews from Medina. They were the Jews of Bani Qainuqa', the tribe of 'Abdullah bin Salam and the Jews of Bani Haritha and all the other Jews of Medina.

Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, 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. (Q. 9:29)

Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 314:
Narrated Abu Talha:
On the day of Badr, the Prophet ordered that the corpses of twenty four leaders of Quraish should be thrown into one of the dirty dry wells of Badr. (It was a habit of the Prophet that whenever he conquered some people, he used to stay at the battle-field for three nights. So, on the third day of the battle of Badr, he ordered that his she-camel be saddled, then he set out, and his companions followed him saying among themselves." "Definitely he (i.e. the Prophet) is proceeding for some great purpose." When he halted at the edge of the well, he addressed the corpses of the Quraish infidels by their names and their fathers' names, "O so-and-so, son of so-and-so and O so-and-so, son of so-and-so! Would it have pleased you if you had obeyed Allah and His Apostle? We have found true what our Lord promised us. Have you too found true what your Lord promised you? "'Umar said, "O Allah's Apostle! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!" Allah's Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad's soul is, you do not hear, what I say better than they do." (Qatada said, "Allah brought them to life (again) to let them hear him, to reprimand them and slight them and take revenge over them and caused them to feel remorseful and regretful.")

Ali Sina is the editor of He is has contributed in 'Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside Islam'.  His latest book is Understanding Muhammad: The Psychobiography of Allah’s Prophet.