Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Quran and the Muslim Fanaticism

"The debate has been shifting beyond the condemnation of 9/11 events and has been addressing the pivotal question of how a bunch of fundamentalist militants could distort the teachings of a noble religion to justify their murderous designs" - Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, Pakistan Link, July 16, 2004.
The debate on a �bunch of fundamentalist militants, 'who are accused of hijacking the peaceful teachings of Islam' has fascinated many people of almost all religious denominations. Many among us, who have never bothered much to learn anything about Islam, are easily carried away by statements, like the one quoted above, and nod their heads in dismay for what they have been led to believe are the acts of a bunch of Islamic fanatics. For those of us, who know what has been inspiring the so-called Muslim fundamentalists to engage themselves in terrorism and destruction, the stated argument falls flat on its face. We would need to dig deeper to unearth the real truth, which have been eluding many of us for a long time.

Islam never received so much attention and scrutiny before as it does today from people of almost all walks of life, not because its followers have done something great for the good of mankind, but on account of the attacks some of its adherents launched on the United States of America on September 11 of 2001. It was the day that has changed the thinking of the world; it was the day that has presented the world with a challenge that humanity has never faced before in its long history. September 11 would continue to dominate our minds for a long, long time.

But why, we need to ask ourselves, the 19 people mostly of Saudi Arabian origin sacrificed their own lives for the purpose of killing thousands of innocent people on that fateful day? Why Osama bin Laden conspired, and had his followers carry out, among others, an attack on the USS Colt that precipitated the American missile strike on his den in the hills of Afghanistan ?

Osama's real brawl with the United States began with its attempt to liberate Kuwait from the clutches of now-deposed Saddam Hussain of Iraq . Driven by its own global interests, and also asked for help by most Muslim countries of the Middle East, the United States massed some of its forces on the soil of Saudi Arabia so that they could launch their campaigns against the Iraqi forces, which were then in Kuwait. Stationing its forces on the holy land of God was the gravest crime the Americans have ever committed after their country came into being over two hundred and twenty-five years ago. And for this crime, the American needed to be punished in all possible atrocious manners.

Why stationing American forces in Saudi Arabia, and that, too, for liberating a Muslim country from its occupying forces should be a cause for Osama's wrath? The answer to this question lies in the teachings of the Quran, for it says:

O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not after this year of theirs approach the Sacred Mosque, and if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise (9:28).

It is clear from the above verse that the Prophet Muhammad had barred only the Pagans from approaching the Sacred Mosque of Mecca , as they, in his opinion, were unclean, but he left the Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Jews and the Christians out of the prohibition. But the rulers of Saudi Arabia took the Quranic stipulation a step further, with the result that a visit to the Sacred Mosque of Mecca even by the followers of Judaism and Christianity is a complete taboo today; this despite the fact that, like the Muslims, they are also Ahlul Kitab�the recipients of the Holy Books; whose foods are halal (permissible) for the Muslims, and whose women Muslim men can marry without having to convert them to their (men's) own faith (Quran; verse 5:6).

Osama, being a devout Muslim, and well versed with the contents of the Quran, knew very well what it says about the Christians, yet he chose to follow the footsteps of his country�s rulers. Accordingly, he, like many other Muslims, concluded that the Christianity-dominated country of America has violated the sacredness of his country by stationing its forces on its soil, and that if America did not remove its forces from his country immediately, it would mean that the Americans intended to continue profaning its holy land by continuously being present thereon.

His conviction forced him to ask the Americans to leave Saudi Arabia forthwith. America ignored his call, as it had to have some of its forces stationed somewhere in the Middle East in order to secure its own national interests. This infuriated Osama, and he attacked the American warship and its other oversees interests for the purpose of dragging America into a conflict with him and his followers. After America retaliated against him by launching missiles at his hideout in Afghanistan, he replied by killing thousands of its innocent people on September 11, 2001.

What had made Osama to embark upon his course were the Quranic verses, like the one quoted above. Had there been no commandment in the Quran to bar the Pagans from approaching the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, Osama would have had no other way to use the Islamic Scripture to further his own agenda, thereby sparing the Americans the pains he has so grotesquely inflicted on them to preserve his country�s perceived sanctity.

It is true that all Muslims are not terrorists, and that the number of terrorists among them is very small. But highlighting on this two facts are not good enough for exonerating the Muslims from many of the despicable acts their brethren have already committed, or are likely to commit in future. An elucidation may be in order to drive my point home.

In 1971, over 75 millions of Bengalees (of Bangladesh ) were afraid to oppose a government they knew was not their own. A rational analysis of their situation would prove that the Bengalees were not afraid of the government per se; they were afraid of the power it wielded through 91,000 of its armed forces. And the armed forces struck fear in the people's minds, not so much due to their number, but because of the deadly weapons with which they were equipped.

So, it can be logically argued that a 'bunch of people' can become a devastating force, if it is armed with deadly weapons. And when a bunch of people become deadly, nothing can prevent it from playing the role of the majority, unless the majority itself starts exerting its own collective power over the small bands of people.

But how a majority is supposed to prevail upon an armed bunch of terrorists? In my opinion, it can be done in two ways: either the majority cajoles the terrorists into laying down their weapons, or it takes up its own arms and defeats them in a show of force.

Maintaining silence by the majority over the perpetuation of a crime by an individual or a group of individuals, or the lack of alacrity on its part to prevent a crime from taking place should be a good ground to believe that the majority not only accepts the legitimacy of the crime, it also encourages its commission. Our modern societies should never condone such conducts of the majority; rather, they must subject it, along with the �bunches of people,� to an exemplary punishment that would not only prevent them from committing further crimes in future, it would also discourage the would-be criminals from becoming their followers.

This is the only way that is likely to make our world safe; failing to do it would expose our lives and properties to the wraths of the terrorists. Given the chance, they would strike at us mercilessly. In our death and destruction lies their happiness; and this is something that we should never let them have at any cost.

The deadly weapon that the Muslim terrorists carry is the Quran. It tells them, and commands them, among others, to carry out the following actions against the Pagans, the Jews and the Christians:

  1. Let not the believers take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah.(3:28).
  2. Then fight in Allah's cause - Thou art held responsible only for thyself - and rouse the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the fury of the Unbelievers; for Allah is the strongest in might and in punishment (4:84).
  3. And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way (to triumphs) over the believers (4:141).
  4. When in their insolence they {Jews} transgressed (all) prohibitions, We said to them: �Be ye apes, despised and rejected (7:166).
  5. Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly (8:60).
  6. But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (9:5).
  7. Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers (9:14).
  8. O ye who believe! Take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers, if they love infidelity above Faith: if any of you do so, they do wrong (9:23).
  9. Fight those who do not believe in God and the last day... and fight People of the Book, (Christian and Jews) who do not accept the religion of truth (Islam) until they pay tribute (Ziziya tax) by hand, being inferior (9:29).

When faced with the above Quranic verses, which clearly teach hatred and violence to the followers of Islam, Muslim Apologists downplay their implications by asserting that the verses picked out of context, historic or textual from the Quran do not represent the true spirit of Islam, and that the exclusion of those passages, which espouse the themes of kindness, forgiveness, sanctity of human life, and unconditional respect for other religions should not be avoided in order to understand the humane side of this religion. (Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, ibid, top of this article).

It is a fair statement and I subscribe to it. I also agree that many verses of the Quran relate to those events, which had taken place in the life of the Prophet Muhammad. He was upset with the Jews, so he accused them of being the descendants of simian ancestors. The Pagans opposed him in the propagation of his faith, so he cursed them, and when it failed to have its desired effect, he asked his followers to beleaguer them, bind them and to kill them, when and wherever they could lay their hands on them.

These are the historical facts. These, however, do not apply to the present time, nor are they supposed to guide the Muslims in their relations with Pagans, Jews and the Christians of the 21st century.

The matter being as such, one needs to ask the Muslims Apologists as to why these apparently hateful verses should remain in the Quran, when they are not supposed to be applicable in the lives of Muslims today. They must also explain as to what lessons the readers of the Quran are supposed to derive from many of its apparently violent passages. If the instructions to murder, which are embedded in many verses of the Quran, are not intended for the present-day Muslims, then why not remove these verses from the Quran, so that it can really be a book from which Muslims could learn nothing, but the lessons of love, kindness, forgiveness and unconditional respects for other religions.

Are Muslims willing, and prepared, to turn the Quran into a real 'Holy Book', thereby ensuring the survival of mankind on earth in peace and harmony?