Islam claims to be the restoration of the true revelation of God given to His people in prior ages through the Old and New Testaments. According to Islamic orthodoxy, the Bible became corrupted by self-serving Jews and Christians over the centuries after its impartation, and Muhammad was sent to restore the truth in the transmission of the Quran to the world.
One of the many problems with this claim is the venomous anti-Semitism found in the Quran, which finds no parallels in the Bible, but which pours unending fuel on the fires of hatred in the Muslim world toward the Jews in general and Israel in particular.
The recent clashes between Hamas and Israel illuminate this clearly. While Israel would like to find a lasting solution enabling it and its neighbors to live in peace, Hamas is religiously committed to the destruction of Israel as a calling from its god, Allah. So it declares in its charter.
In fact, Hamas calls its charter “The Charter of Allah: The Platform of the Islamic Resistance Movement” (‘Hamas’ is the Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement”). It sees its calling as the rightful and necessary response that all Muslims should make to the commands of God in the Quran for the obliteration of Jews from the face of the earth. Why? Because they are the enemies of God, worse than all other peoples. The very first lines of the charter boast that Muslims are the best of all nations, and that they will ultimately destroy Israel:
“‘In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Ye are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah….’ (Sura 3:109f). Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors…”(my emphasis).
The following introductory paragraph baldly asserts:
“For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.”
Lest you think that Hamas is just exploiting an innocent religion to advance its own hateful agenda, the charter quotes the Quran again and again to substantiate its vision and claims that its position is based wholly on the teachings of Islam. Article 1 states:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement draws its guidelines from Islam; derives from it its thinking, interpretations and views about existence, life and humanity; refers back to it for its conduct; and is inspired by it in whatever step it takes.”
Hamas defines its constituency as “…Muslims who are devoted to Allah and worship Him verily…” (Article 3), and welcomes to its ranks all Muslims who are equally committed (Article 4).
The religious vision of the Quran as held by traditional, orthodox Islam is its “be-all and end-all,” according to Article 5:
“Its ultimate goal is Islam, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution. Its special dimension extends wherever on earth there are Muslims, who adopt Islam as their way of life; thus, it penetrates to the deepest reaches of the land and to the highest spheres of Heavens.”
The slogan of Hamas is written in Article 8: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief.”
According to Hamas, the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf (similar to the Pharisaic term Corban, to which Jesus referred in Mark 7:11-12). Literally meaning “detention,” Waqf refers to a land that is now irrevocably devoted to Allah, and must never be taken back from him and his kingdom. Hence the nation of Israel has terribly transgressed the will of God by seizing from Allah what it has no right to possess. In the name of Islam, Hamas commits itself to setting right this wrong. Palestine, and all other lands heretofore conquered by Islam for Allah, are to be managed by Muslims for the benefit of Allah. The existence of Israel is an abrasive offense against Islamic sensibilities (see Article 11).
According to its charter, Hamas denies the possibility of any peaceful solution with Israel, citing religious reasons! Article 13 states unequivocally:
“[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion…. Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the nonbelievers as arbitrators in the lands of Islam. Since when did the Unbelievers do justice to the Believers? [This is followed by a Quranic quotation – 2:120.]… There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility” [my emphasis].
Not only is Palestine a Waqf – one of many lands conquered by Islam and so holy to Allah – it bears a special religious significance since it was the place of the first Qibla (the direction Muslims were to face when praying, till Allah changed his mind and commanded them through Muhammad to face Mecca instead), and the place where, according to tradition, Muhammad ascended to heaven on a short sight-seeing journey. Jerusalem is also the location of Islam’s third holiest shrine (al-Aqsa mosque). Thus, it is incumbent on all Muslims, says Hamas, to answer the call to jihad individually and as a nation. This view is articulated in Article 14 and summed up at the start of Article 15 with these words:
“When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.”
Article 15 ends will the quotation of a tradition (attributed to both Bukhari and Muslim, but which I could not locate) saying, “I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill (told by Bukhari and Muslim).” This is meant to drive home the rightness and blessing of participating in jihad against Israel.
Not only boys and men, but women and girls must participate in this all-encompassing work of jihad, according to Article 17. “The Muslim women have a no lesser role than that of men in the war of liberation; they manufacture men and play a great role in guiding and educating the [new] generation.” How interesting to see the value of women defined in functional terms: they “manufacture men” (i.e., have babies who will become jihadists one day), and they educate children to understand their future roles as Muslim adults pursuing the advancement of Islam.
(End of Part 1; Part 2 will be posted tomorrow)