“…Children Will Die Because of This.”

After President Trump’s 2018 proposed budget was released for public review, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio blasted it yesterday as something written by billionaires and millionaires for billionaires and millionaires. He predicted that if enacted it would cause the death of vulnerable children: “It is not an overstatement to say that some children will die because of this.” He may be right — I don’t know enough about the arcane world of federal funding to weigh in knowledgeably, so will leave that to the experts.

But I do know that Mayor De Blasio fully supports a policy that has already and will again issue in the deaths of innocent children. In January 2016, as part of a legal settlement, the Mayor and his administration bowed to extreme pressure from the NYC Muslim community as well as the Obama administration to change the way the NYC Police Department goes about investigating potential terrorism from Muslim radicals. Part of its process entailed utilizing a level-headed, internal 2007 report entitled Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat (you can read it for yourself here). This was considered by the Muslim community and the liberal, political elite to be Islamophobic, and so was scrubbed, along with any guidelines that mentioned Islam in connection with terrorism threats. At the same time, the Obama administration scrubbed its federal terrorism training programs and literature of any mention of Islam or radical Muslim groups out of deference to groups like CAIR, ISNA, MPAC, etc.

Now with hands tied, New York law enforcement agencies, as well as other state and federal anti-terrorism agencies, find their abilities significantly hampered in discovering and tracking suspects planning their jihad atrocities against Americans. These aspiring jihadis have no compunctions regarding the slaughter of innocents, including children, as the multiple murders of babies, youth and families throughout Iraq and Syria by ISIS have demonstrated, and as the all-too-fresh Manchester butchery of dozens of young girls and parents by a “devout” 22 year old Libyan Muslim reminds us all too clearly.

What is happening routinely in parts of the Middle East and increasingly in Europe is only a decade or less from becoming more commonplace in the USA unless our political leadership recognizes that the great threat of terror attacks in our generation stems from the heart of orthodox Islam. This poisonous evil derives originally not from perverted radicals, nor from “Islamists” (an imaginary word coined by academics to mean “those Muslims who actually take their own sacred texts seriously as to the destruction or subjugation of the non-Muslim world”), nor from disillusioned, disaffected youth reacting to their poverty and hopelessness, but rather from the core teachings of Islam itself as they are found liberally sprinkled throughout the Qur’an, Hadith and Sira (early biographies of Muhammad), all considered unassailable authorities for all “true” Muslims.

If Mayor De Blasio and other politicians are truly concerned about the safety of innocent children (and adults, for that matter), they would be wise to focus on the most pressing matter of Islamic terrorism, rather than to lay it as a sacrifice at the shrine of political correctness.

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Fake News Headline #6: The Qur’an Is God’s Most Perfect Revelation Given to the World

Islam depends on two fundamental assertions for its claim to be the true faith which every human being must adopt: 1) Muhammad is the final and greatest prophet sent into the world by God; 2) the Qur’an is God’s final and perfect revelation to the human race. How does one go about testing these assertions? How do we know that Muhammad is a true prophet, and that the Qur’an is truly God’s perfect Word of revelation?

The standard Muslim argument is that we can be sure that Muhammad is Allah’s final prophet because the Qur’an tells us that he is. But when we ask how we can know that the Qur’an is trustworthy in this regard, the answer is that Muhammad, as God’s true prophet, brought the Qur’an directly from the lips of the angel Gabriel. Does this strike you as circular reasoning? It should, because that’s what it is.

If we look for objective evidence to support either of these assertions, we are left high and dry. In fact, as I showed briefly in a recent post, the life of Muhammad (according to early Muslim sources exclusively) hardly leads one to conclude that the man was reasonably good by pagan Arab standards of the day, much less that he was God’s final prophet to the world and the exemplar of moral perfection.

Today I want to examine briefly the claim that the Qur’an is God’s perfect revelation to the world.  For Muslims, the Qur’an is written in “clear, pure Arabic,” because the Qur’an itself makes this claim (16:101-103; see also 3:7; 11:1; 13:37; 41:44; 42:7). Yet this lofty language was originally the dialect of Arabic spoken by Muhammad and his tribe, the Quraish. It was a rather obscure dialect with nothing special to commend itself other than that was what Muhammad spoke, and so that was how the “revelations” of the Qur’an came to the world. We are left to suppose that this Quraishi dialect, as opposed to any other language, is what the angel Gabriel used while revealing Allah’s eternal truth to Muhammad, and that indeed the “Mother of all books” which has existed from eternity and from which the revealed Qur’an was fashioned, was itself composed in Arabic. Arabic, then, is the language of heaven, the very language of Allah. For this reason, the Qur’an cannot be translated into any other tongue and retain the fullness of its revelatory quality. To rightly and fully understand God’s final revelation, one must read it in Arabic.

Perhaps you find it strange that God would package his final revelation to the world in a language that is native to less than 4% of today’s global population (the percentage would have been even lower in 610 AD, when Muhammad purportedly received his first installment of the Qur’an). Even among the contemporary Muslim world, roughly 16% are native Arabic speakers. The rest are left to flounder in the attempt to master a difficult second language, or to depend on others to interpret their holy book. It seems Allah is saying, “Here’s my revelation, which you must know. But to know it, you must spend your life learning a language that is both difficult and full of nuances. See how many hoops you can jump through to make the grade….” On top of that, Qur’anic Arabic is very different from today’s Arabic dialects – it is ancient, with a vocabulary and structure of its own. Most native speakers find the Qur’an very difficult to understand, much less master. According to Dr. Gerd Puin, one of today’s greatest Qur’anic scholars specializing in early Arabic orthography,

“The Koran claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen,’ or ‘clear,’ but if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn’t make sense. Many Muslims—and Orientalists—will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Koranic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Koran is not comprehensible—if it can’t even be understood in Arabic—then it’s not translatable. People fear that. And since the Koran claims repeatedly to be clear but obviously is not—as even speakers of Arabic will tell you—there is a contradiction. Something else must be going on” (found in Toby Lester’s article “What Is the Quran?” in the Jan. 1999 issue of the Atlantic Monthly).

Given all these impediments, one may be justified in asking why Allah would want to make it so difficult for all but a few human beings to understand his communication. How different from the God of the Bible, who on the Day of Pentecost miraculously caused those listening to the preaching and praises of Galilean disciples to hear these matters in their own native tongues. The event of Pentecost demonstrated that the biblical God was intent on breaking down barriers, not putting up hurdles, so all human beings could know Him. That, after all, was the central message of the Incarnation itself – God with us, as one of us.

The Qur’an claim is that it was composed in pure, clear Arabic, and that this was done before the foundation of the world. Yet according to Arabic scholars, both Muslim and not, this book contains a number of foreign terms (not found in the Arabic language). One Western scholar, Arthur Jeffery, details some 275 such terms and shows their origin in other languages. How strange that Allah would need to turn to words from other languages to express his thoughts, especially since those languages had not yet been composed prior to the creation of humanity. Was not the original Arabic of heaven sufficient to express his revelation? Or might this be evidence instead that the Qur’an is not in reality a heavenly book but rather one composed in the mix of cultural and religious interaction found in the Arabian peninsula during Muhammad’s life….

Since Muslims believe that Allah composed this book and filled it with timeless wisdom for all peoples, we might be forgiven for wondering why significant portions of the Qur’an deal with Muhammad’s own domestic problems. For example, one day Muhammad stops in to visit his son-in-law, Zaid, who is not at home. In the process, the prophet gets an eyeful of his very beautiful daughter-in-law, Zainab, and is aroused, but flees. Zaid deduces that his adopted father would like Zainab as a wife, and he proposes to divorce her for Muhammad, but the prophet declines, citing common law that daughter-in-laws were off limits for marriage to their father-in-laws. Shortly thereafter, Allah gently rebukes Muhammad, for apparently it has been divinely appointed for the prophet to marry Zainab, in order to show to all the world that this is now proper in Allah’s sight:

O Prophet, remember when you said to the one (Zaid, his adopted son) whom Allah as well as you had favored: “Keep your wife in wedlock and fear Allah”. You sought to hide in your heart what Allah intended to reveal; you were afraid of the people whereas it would have been more appropriate to fear Allah. So when Zaid divorced his wife, We gave her to you in marriage, so that there remains no hindrance for the believers to wed the wives of their adopted sons if they divorced them. And Allah’s Command had to be carried out. (Sura 33:37)

On another occasion, one of Muhammad’s older wives, Sauda, has become fat and rather unattractive, and he decides to divorce her so he can spend more time frolicking with his younger, attractive wives. Sauda gets wind of this and pleads with Muhammad to keep her as a wife with the stipulation that she will cede her “bed time” to Muhammad’s youngest (and favorite) wife, Aisha. That pleases Muhammad, and he agrees. Allah backs this up with a revelation (Sura 4:128), exonerating Muhammad’s lust.

Muhammad was apparently an introvert, and did not like people hanging around his house. On the other hand, his followers were eager to spend as much time as possible with him, especially over meals in his home. The prophet is too kind to tell people to scram, so Allah, the God of the universe, acts as a personal bouncer and enshrines in his eternal word a warning that people are not to arrive early for meals, nor are they to hang around after the meal is finished – Muhammad needs his “down time” with his wives. (You can read this whole message in Sura 33:53).

Finally, on this subject of convenient divine revelations, Allah steps in when Muhammad is in hot water with his wives. While one of his wives, Hafsa, is out, Muhammad grabs one of his favorite slave girls, Mary (who was a Coptic Christian), and proceeds to have sex with her on Hafsa’s bed, on the day when his “dalliances” were reserved for Hafsa. She returns to discover this betrayal (in her eyes) and scolds the prophet, who in an attempt to do damage control, takes an oath before Hafsa that he will never do such a thing again, instead following the harem rules that each wife would get her own inviolable day with the prophet. Hafsa, though, spreads the story among the wives and they express their anger to Muhammad. In turn, he boycotts them all for a month, and beds Mary the Copt exclusively. At the end of this time, Allah intervenes on the prophet’s behalf with Sura 66:1-2, in which he reprimands Muhammad for taking an oath in the first place, assuring him that he had done nothing wrong to his wives. In the following verses 3-5, Allah sharply rebukes Muhammad’s wives for their treatment of him, and warns them that if he divorces them, Allah will find for him better replacement wives.

It’s no surprise, then, that Muhammad’s youngest wife, Aisha, is recorded at one point saying to the prophet, ““I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires” (Bukhari,6:60:311). Does a book containing such “convenient revelations” seem worthy of the title “eternal counsel of the God of the universe”?

Muslims claim perfection in all respects for this book – indeed, that is the natural conclusion for a book composed completely by Allah. Imperfections would cast doubt this claim. And yet, objective students have found reams of errors, not only in the Arabic syntax and grammar of the Qur’anic text, but as well in factual claims pertaining to history, prophecy, science, alignment with the previous revelation of Old and New Testaments (to which the Qur’an appeals as its precursors). In addition, there are numerous internal contradictions within the Qur’an, where one revelation is given and at a later time another revelation comes which clearly conflicts with prior teaching. There are many books and websites which detail all these errors, so in the interest of space I will not reduplicate their efforts. Let me just share a few with you:

  • In Arabic, the names Mary and Miriam are one and the same. This apparently led Muhammad to confuse Mary the mother of Jesus with Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron. The Qur’an describes the mother of Jesus the sister of Aaron, which has led Muslim scholars to all sorts of mental gymnastics in claiming that Muhammad was not wrong.
  • Likewise, the biblical figure Haman, a villain in the book of Esther who lived during the reign of King Xerxes (circa early 5th BC), is transported in time by Muhammad to become a villain in the court of Pharaoh who opposes Moses (circa 16th C. BC). Haman is mentioned in this role six times in the Qur’an. Muhammad is only off by a millennium and multiple world empires.
  • According to Suras 37:6-10 and 67:5, what we would call “shooting stars” (meteors which enter the earth’s atmosphere and burn up upon entry) are in reality true stars which Allah snatches from their set places to hurl at the jinn (demons) who get too close to heaven in their attempts to overhear Allah’s conversations with his angels.
  • According to Sura 18:83-86, a believer named Dhu-l Qarnain (often identified by Muslims as Alexander the Great) travels so far west that he finds the place where the sun sets at night. We are told authoritatively that he saw it set in a pool of warm, muddy water.
  • One famous incident in Muhammad’s life as a prophet has been nicknamed “the Satanic verses.” He claimed to have received a revelation from Gabriel which brought approval from his pagan tribe, the Quraish, because it acknowledged three goddesses (daughters of Allah) who were protectors of Mecca. A few days later, after Muhammad’s early followers take him to task for this aberrant teaching, Muhammad comes back to the Meccan elders with a revised revelation which denies what he had said at first. His explanation was that Satan had whispered in his ear, and he had mistaken Satan’s voice for that of Gabriel. The Meccans are not amused, and Muhammad is embarrassed, but Allah comes to his rescue with another revelation: “Never have We sent an apostle or a prophet before you, O Muhammad, with whose wishes Satan did not tamper; but Allah abrogates the interjections of Satan and confirms His own revelations, for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise” (Sura 22:52). In other words, “Buck up, Muhammad. This same kind of thing has happened to all my prophets in the past. Don’t be ashamed. I’ve got your back!”

On top of all these things, when a book claims that the righteous God is its author, we are justified in investigating its moral teachings to see whether they align with what we expect concerning moral perfection. The Qur’an legitimizes slavery, rape, forced conversions and/or extortion (the jizya is Islam’s equivalent to the Mafia’s protection money: “Pay us a yearly tax and we’ll make sure you are protected.” “Protected from whom?” you ask. “Protected from us,” is the response.) It is likewise rife with anti-Semitic vitriol and incentivizes Muhammad’s followers to murder those who refuse to bow before him. It permits marriages to young, pre-pubescent girls (following Muhammad’s own example), and enshrines the second class status of woman as Allah’s eternal will. How could such a book come from the mind of the true God?

This is just a sampling of all that could be said of the Qur’an’s failings, but should be more than enough to put to rest the lofty claim that the holy book of Islam is the most perfect book of revelation ever given to the world.

Posted in Top Ten Fake News Headlines Concerning Islam, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Where Do You Go for Repair Work?

Whom do you trust with important matters in your life: someone with name recognition whose character you don’t know, or someone not in vogue but whom you know personally?

Two days ago, my wife took her car in to Midas (4055 N. Academy, CS) because of clanking noises in the right rear wheel well. After brief examination, they told her the problem was worn struts, and she would need to replace them, estimated cost at $900, but they could do it that day. After agreeing to this and asking for a ride home, she was gladly ferried there by a Midas employee. A few hours later she called in to see how the repair was progressing. Another big job had come in and taken priority, so they hadn’t started on her car yet. Miffed, she told them to come pick her up so she could take the car somewhere else. Thankfully, she then called me, told me the story (revealing what she would have paid…; now I have a better idea why they named themselves after King Midas — everything he touched turned to gold….), and asked me if I would call a mechanic I know personally (whose shop unfortunately is at the other end of town) and see if he would take her car in for repairs. My friend’s garage is not a big-name franchise – Johnny’s Star Auto Repair – but he is a Syrian friend with a big heart. So he told me to bring it the next day, which we did. Johnny said he’d have it done by the end of the day, if not sooner, but didn’t give me an estimate. Cindy dropped me off at a Bible study group downtown and then drove off to do errands. By the time the study was over, there was a message on my phone to come pick up the car – it was ready. Rather incredulous, I called Johnny and learned that the problem was a loose strut – all that was needed was a tightened bolt. Everything else looked great, he said. “What do I owe you for your time and effort?,” I asked. Nothing, he said. “Come on,” I argued. “Okay,” he said, “I’ll take a hug.” We’re sending a “goodies basket” to their home as a thank you. The car is working great.

A false diagnosis, which we initially accepted based on the naïve assumption that a well-known repair place wouldn’t try to rip off innocent customers, would have cost us dearly. The correct diagnosis, and a solution wrapped in grace, was a godsend.

That got me thinking.

Many people know something is wrong in their spiritual lives, but don’t know where to turn for diagnosis and repair. In the Western world today, there are two options at the top of the list for consideration. One seems favored today in the media: Islam. The other is not in vogue: Christianity.

Islam diagnoses the human condition this way: You have been disobedient to Allah and are doomed to hellfire as an infidel. But repair of this condition is possible, although it will cost you dearly. You can be assured of paradise if you accept the bargain Allah is offering, as found in the Quran, 9:111 –

Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.

Allah offers a contract to any human being willing to accept his terms – he will grant paradise to those willing to exchange their “selves and possessions” for that promise. How is this exchange verified? They must be willing to “kill and be killed” as they go to war for Allah against all who refuse to bow before him. There is nothing metaphorical about this contract, as history demonstrates. Millions of Muslims over fourteen centuries have killed and died while pursuing jihad in Allah’s cause, hoping Allah’s promise of remedy for their problem will prove true.

Christianity, on the other hand, diagnoses the human condition this way: You have broken fellowship with God by your sin, and nothing you can do is able to repair the breach. God, however, by bearing the consequences of your sin, can both forgive you justly and welcome you back into eternal fellowship with himself. He does this by becoming a human being (while remaining God – this is the meaning of the Incarnation –, taking the punishment of human sins upon himself in his ignominious crucifixion and death, and granting his resurrection life to all who place their trust in him. God’s repair promise is that He will exchange our sinfulness for Christ’s righteousness – piling our evils upon His Son, and clothing us instead with His Son’s righteousness. The New Testament text that spells this out clearly is found in 2 Cor 5:21, where Paul, speaking of Christ, says:

 For our sake he [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

In real life, all of us are broken down and need repair. Which garage are you going to go to? Between Islam and the Gospel, which is able to correctly diagnose your breakdown and offer you the repair you truly need? Islam says: give your all in death and destruction for the cause of Allah, and you will have Paradise. The Gospel says: God in love has given His all for you, in the death of His Son. What do you have to do to benefit from His repairs? Hand yourself over to His tender care and become a follower of the Good Shepherd who has laid down his life for his sheep.

When it comes to auto repair, we are never going back to Midas. Johnny has our trust, because we know he has our interest at heart and can solve our car problems. When it comes to eternal life, I am never going back to a god who calls human beings to kill and be killed as a ticket to eternal life. Instead, I gratefully place my soul in the eternal charge of Him who gave His all for me, and who calls me to give myself away in love for the benefit of others.

How about you?

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Fake News Headline #5: Muhammad Was the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, and the Model for All Human Life!

In the orthodox Muslim world, Muhammad occupies a place higher than any other human being in creation. He is known as al-Insan al-Kamil, “the ideal man” whose life is to be imitated by all Muslims as nearly as possible. It is this belief which led over the first three hundred years of Islam to the Ahadith (plural for Hadith), collections of reports concerning the conversations, actions and perspectives of Muhammad as remembered (or created) by his companions or later believers. As well, the earliest biographies (Sirat) of Muhammad are mined by Muslims for what light they shed on the practices of their prophet. The Qur’an, Ahadith and Sirat together form the body of material which produce the Sunnah, the Way or Practice of Muhammad that all Muslims are meant to observe.

Since the Qur’an itself sheds very little light on the personal habits and actions of Muhammad (and since the vast majority of Muslims cannot read the Qur’an in Arabic), most Muslims are actually better acquainted with parts of the Hadith than they are with the Qur’an. Since their practical goal is to emulate their prophet as closely as possible, the traditions loom much larger in their lives than their Scripture. Indeed, the Qur’an is almost impossible to make sense of contextually without the Sirat and Ahadith, which provide alleged historical anchors for the otherwise “floating” revelations attributed to Allah by Muhammad.

Why does Islam consider Muhammad to be the ideal man? Essentially because their holy book declares him to be the paragon of those who please Allah, and because it commands them in scores of places to obey him without question – to disobey him in anything is to risk the eternal fires of hell. In terms of authority, the Qur’an puts Muhammad on a par with Allah himself:

“O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger …” (8:20); “Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger …” (24:54); “Obey Allah and the Messenger and perhaps you will be shown mercy” (3:132); “If you obey him, you will be guided …” (24:54); “Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah …” (4:79).

According to the Qur’an (which of course came from the lips of Muhammad), Allah declares that Muhammad is “a beautiful model of conduct” (uswa hasana; found in 33:21) and a man of “sublime moral character” (khuluq adheem; found in 68:4). The combination of these two honorifics, as well as the unique stature accorded Muhammad as Allah’s unparalleled and final spokesman, leads Muslims to the claim that their prophet is the most virtuous human being ever to grace this planet.

Naturally, in all the traditional, hagiographical materials on Muhammad one finds many praiseworthy attributes, actions and attitudes reflected. This makes sense, for otherwise nobody would ever have been drawn to follow this man. But this Muslim claim is that Muhammad is the best of humans, worthy of complete emulation. That means there is nothing in his life (as recorded by Muslim sources) which should cause us to question his morality. Let’s check out this proposition by drawing solely from early Muslim sources acknowledged as authoritative by orthodox scholars today.

  • Muhammad personally commanded or ordered over 70 military raids/campaigns against his enemies in the last 9 years of his life (averaging one over every 6-7 weeks!).
  • As a result of these raids/battles, Muhammad allowed his followers to steal the wealth of those his army conquered, as well as to enslave those defeated. His soldiers were free to rape females taken through battle before being classified as slaves. Slaves could be executed (if male), sold for ransom, set free, or kept. Female slaves could be used by their Muslim owners for sexual purposes. If previously married, their marriages were annulled so they could become legal sexual objects for their masters.
  • Muhammad himself owned multiple slaves (historical lists names some 27 male slaves and 11 females); some of these were captured in battles, others were bought on the market, still others given him as gifts. Muhammad in turn gave slaves as gifts to foreign rulers or to his own companions as rewards.
  • Muhammad believed that women were not equal to men in this life, or in the next. Muslim men could marry up to four women at a time (and divorce any woman for the least of causes). Of course, Muhammad himself was exempted by Allah from this limitation, and had somewhere between 11 and 14 wives at one time. One was his daughter-in-law, whom his adopted son divorced after discovering that Muhammad found her attractive so that his father could marry her; another was a Jewish newlywed who lost her father and brother in the Muslim attack on Khaibar, and whose husband, Kinana, was ordered tortured and then beheaded by Muhammad – that evening, Muhammad made her his wife and consummated the marriage in his tent; another wife was the famous Aisha, daughter of his best friend Abu Bakr – she was 6 years old when Muhammad betrothed her to himself, and then 9 years old when he took her to his bed and “made her a woman.” In imitation of this, many Muslim men around the world seek child brides.
  • Muhammad taught that women were deficient in intelligence and religion compared with men, and that the majority of hell’s inhabitants were women. Through Scripture and his own practice, he allowed husbands to beat “unruly” wives.
  • Muhammad permitted or commanded his followers to lie to non-Muslims in order to save their lives or to advance the cause of Islam.
  • Muhammad had a thin skin and believed in revenge. He ordered the murders of a number of men and women who had insulted him. When word came that the deed had been done, Muhammad responded with praise to Allah. In one particular case, his appointed assassin contended that in order to get close enough to the target he would have to lie, claiming to despise Muhammad in order to win the trust of his victim. Muhammad immediately gave him that permission.
  • In addition to the torture of Kinana (see above), Muhammad ordered the torture and death of others who went afoul of his dictates. He hurled epithets and curses at his enemies, even those already in the grave.
  • Muhammad developed a great hatred for the Jews, a stance which has poisoned Islam forever through anti-Jewish screeds enshrined in the Qur’an. According to 5:82, Jews are the “strongest in enmity” to the Muslims, and while the Muslim community is the “best of peoples” the world has ever seen (3:110), Jews and Christians (and all other idolaters) are the “worst of creatures” whose fate will be hellfire (98:6). Muhammad’s loathing of the Jews is celebrated among Muslims who remember two particular interactions: the destruction of the Jewish Quraiza tribe in Medina; and the defeat of the Jews of Khaibar.

In the first instance, Muhammad lays siege to the Jewish precinct of Medina in which the Quraizas lived; his claim is that they had broken the treaty they had made with him. The punishment for this is determined to be the death of all adult males of that tribe, the enslavement of all women and children, and the forfeiture of all their goods and property to the Muslim community. Muhammad commands this penalty to be carried out, and helps for a while with the beheadings before retiring to watch the rest of the spectacle with his favorite wife Aisha, now 12, at his side. According to tradition, these beheadings went on into the evening, under torchlight, until somewhere between 600 and 900 Jewish men and pubescent boys were dismembered.

At Khaibar, where another Jewish tribe was routed and their goods plundered, Muhammad mercifully spared the remaining Jews by allowing them to continue to harvest their date farms as long as they gave him half their proceeds annually – this is the first instance of dhimmitude and the imposition of what would become known as jizya – the poll tax required of all non-Muslims who are allowed to live under Shari’a law as third class members in Muslim society. Still today, Muslims around the world know and chant this little ditty in Arabic when they want to demean and humiliate the Jews as a race:

                        Khaibar, Khaibar, ya Yahud, Jaysh Muhammad sauf ya’ud.

Literally, that translates as “Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” It is a prediction that the Muslim world will ultimately exterminate the Jews, whom Allah has condemned as a people for their rebellion against him. In the Qur’an, the Jews are the preeminent example of those who oppose Allah, but all who follow their lead will experience the same eternal fate.

  • Accordingly, the Islam of Muhammad produces a supremacist ideology – Muslims are commanded to be merciful to fellow believers but “severe against unbelievers” (48:29). Believers are to subjugate all unbelievers and use them and their resources for the benefit of Islam. The ramification of this, in clear English, is that Muslims and non-Muslims will never be able to live in harmony as equals should Islam gain ascendancy in our world.

Is Muhammad then “a beautiful example of conduct” for all humanity? Does his life demonstrate a sublime morality making him the “ideal human being” worthy of emulation by all? Even early Muslim sources make clear the answer to these questions has to be an unqualified NO. In the words of Wafa Sultan, a Syrian doctor who used to be a Muslim:

The problem with Christians is that they are not as good as Jesus. But thank God most Muslims are better than Muhammad.

 Amen to that!

Posted in Top Ten Fake News Headlines Concerning Islam, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fake News Headline #4: Jihad Merely Means “Striving to Become a Better Person”

The word “election” is a fairly common term in the American vocabulary, especially every four years during Presidential campaign seasons. Its basic meaning, of course, is “the act of choosing or selecting.” However, were you to ask what the term “election” means in the Bible, and a Christian were to answer you, “Oh, it simply means “choosing or selecting someone or something,” you would be right to think him/her rather disingenuous, because in the Bible the word has become a technical term, typically associated with the thoughts of predestination and the historical or eternal plans and purposes of God.

The situation is similar in Islam with the word “jihad,” which is commonly translated in the non-Muslim world as “holy war.” Muslim apologists regularly dispute this, declaring that the word itself literally means simply “effort or striving.” brennanMany are quick to point out a minor tradition in the Hadith collections where Muhammad, upon returning from battle with his troops, declares, “We have all returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.” His companions, confused, asked him, “What is the greater jihad, O Prophet of God?” His response: “Jihad against the desires.” As a result, Muslim apologists insist that the main meaning of jihad involves the spiritual battle against the baser lusts of human nature, in spite of the fact that Islamic scholars universally rate this particular story as “da’if,” meaning “weak” and therefore unreliable. On top of this is the overwhelming evidence in the Qur’an and Hadith and other early Islamic traditions that “jihad” principally is of the “lesser” variety.jihad

A simple investigation of these texts reveals that “jihad” is a technical term within Islam – most common meaning is “striving with whatever means available/necessary for the supremacy of Islam.” It has little to do with an internal spiritual battle in the heart for holiness, but is almost exclusively concerned with the advancement of Allah’s cause in the world.

As such, “jihad” is an expansive term. It does not only refer to the use of force to increase the sovereignty of Islamic control in the world. Muslims refer as well to the jihad of the mouth or the pen, i.e., the effort to persuade others of the supremacy of Islam through argument. This form of Muslim “evangelism” is spoken of as “da’wah,” which means literally “call or invitation,” and is the softest form of jihad – an effort to expand the supremacy of Islam by convincing others peacefully to join its ranks. But there are other forms of jihad as well: jihad of the hand – the use of good deeds toward others to promote the greatness of Islam; economic jihad – the use of financial pressure to win advantages for the spread of Islam; political jihad – taking advantage of the freedoms and benefits of non-Muslim countries in order to weaken or subvert those nations; civilizational jihad – the expansion of Muslim populations in non-Muslim countries both by immigration and birth rate, so as to outnumber the native population and ultimately institute a Muslim government and Shari’a law; civilizational jihadand finally of course, jihad of the sword, which we now know so well since 9/11 (over 30,600 deadly Muslim terrorist attacks around the world in the last 16 years) – the use of force to terrorize and conquer non-Muslim populations.

Jihad is glorified in the Muslim world, especially jihad of the sword. Those who kill and are killed while pursuing jihad fi sabeel Allah (armed conflict “in the way of/for the sake of” Allah are promised the highest honors and pleasures of Paradise (see Quran 9:111). The term is joined in the Qur’an with two other militant terms involving bloody conflict with the enemies of Islam: qital and harb. The former denotes fighting with weapon in hand so as to slay one’s foe; the latter is the Arabic word for “war.” While jihad occurs 28 times in the Qur’an commanding or explaining the use of force “for the sake of Allah,” qital occurs 33 times and harb 6 times. There is no question that the principal Qur’anic meaning for jihad involves the physical battlefield and the destruction or subjugation of Islam’s enemies.

In addition to this, the earliest biographies of Muhammad revel in the fact that within a year of his migration to Medina, the Arabian prophet begins drumming this theme of jihad into the minds and hearts (and treasure chests) of his followers, promising them both earthly and heavenly rewards for becoming soldiers of Allah. Islamic sources relate that Muhammad commanded or led over 70 military raids or battles in the nine years from 623 until his death in 632 – an average of one every 6-7 weeks. It’s not hard to conclude that jihad played a central role in Muhammad’s vision of spreading his religion’s supremacy over the unenlightened world around him.

The greatest amount of teaching from the prophet on the subject of jihad is found in the Hadith collections. Of these six collections (in the Sunni tradition) the greatest by popular and academic acclaim is that of Bukhari. Of the roughly 200 reports dealing with jihad found in Bukhari, 2% of them might be classified as the “greater jihad” of the heart; the other 98% focus on the “lesser jihad” of the sword. There is no question as to where Muhammad put his emphasis, according to orthodox traditions collected by his followers.

The topic of jihad also occupies a prominent place in Shari’a law. undat al salik.jpgAccording to one manual of Shari’a, ‘Umdat as-Salik (which has the endorsement of Sunni Islam’s greatest university, al-Azhar), “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion” (p.599; emphasis mine). The laws concerning jihad are based on 95 particular verses from the Qur’an as well as various hadith reports. This Qur’anic support is greater than that supplied for any other topic covered by Shari’a law!

Some apologists have conceded that while jihad may mean war against infidels, such war is always defensive – only legitimate in response to an attack on Muslims. In fact, this is not the case. Over the course of Muhammad’s career, his teaching on how to deal with infidels evolved. Early on, when his followers were few and his enemies strong, Muhammad counseled the use of da’wah – seeking to persuade unbelievers through winsome words and compelling arguments. After his followers began to experience persecution (facing the loss of possessions, being forced from their homes, etc.), he announced that they had the right to fight back to reclaim what they had lost. The third stage moved from defensive to offensive jihad – his followers could seek out and fight Islam’s enemies wherever they were, but not during the four holy months of the lunar calendar which were commonly regarded by all on the Arabian Peninsula as set apart for pilgrimages to various shrines. Finally, when Muhammad and his armies were seemingly invincible, he (and Allah) overruled the customs of the day and commanded the Islamic armies to engage in offensive jihad with no restrictions. Those commands remain in force even today, for no human being can annul what Allah has revealed through his final prophet. Thus, orthodox Islam is committed to jihad until all the world has bowed in submission to Islam by living under Shari’a law as administered by the Caliph of the Islamic state, as commanded in the Qur’an:

 “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and [all and every kind of] worship is for Allah [Alone]” (2:193).

According to the Qur’an, Islam’s enemies are manifold. First to be dealt with are those who have initiated attacks against the Muslim community or lands. Of course, this can comprise almost anyone, since the Islamic mind interprets any obstacles to its expansion as an attack upon the religion. Second are the kuffar (these are not merely people ignorant of Islam, but rather those who reject Islam – disbelievers).  Third are the mushrikun (those who commit the sin of associating anything in the created order with Allah; in other words, idol worshipers or polytheists – according to Islamic theology, all orthodox Christians are mushrikun, because we believe that Jesus is divine and human). Fourth are “the people of the Book” (Jews and Christians) who have refused to recognize Muhammad as a true prophet, i.e., refused to become Muslims) – in the Qur’an, Jews are cursed directly by Allah ten times; Christians are not far behind. Fifth as enemies of Allah are hypocrites and apostates – those who mouth allegiance to Muhammad but fail to act in the interests of Islam, and those who reject Islam after having originally called themselves believers.

All these enemies are to be fought and defeated, and jihad is the divinely appointed tool to achieve this end. Frequent is the warning in the Qur’an that Muslims who refuse to go to battle will end up roasting in hell, while those who excel in warfare and achieve martyrdom will receive sensual rewards beyond their wildest dreams. It’s no wonder that after Muhammad’s death it took only a hundred years for the armies of Islam to conquer territory as far west as Morocco and Iberia, and as far east as India and the western reaches of China, all from the starting point of the Hejaz in western Arabia.

So when you hear Muslims or their propagandists declaring with great authority that Westerners are wrong to speak of jihad as “holy war,” willy-wonka-islam-means-surrender-its-all-about-peace-jihad-means-struggleand that jihad really only means “effort or struggle,” and principally refers to the work of spirituality in the Muslim’s heart, and only involves the sword when Muslims have been attacked, please set them straight. You have the weight of the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Sira (biography of the prophet), the early, bloody history of expansionist Islam, the Shari’a and the interpretations of countless Muslim scholars on your side.

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The Supernatural Power to Forgive — What Islam Cannot Fathom!

Forgiveness of others, even one’s enemies, is at the heart of the Christian faith, for it is an act of true love. “Freely you have received,” Jesus said, “freely give.” At the heart of the Lord’s Prayer, which every Christian knows and prays, is the petition, “Forgive us our trespasses/debts, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The prayer of Jesus on the cross models this pinnacle of love when he petitions his Father for mercy toward those crucifying him: “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

Islam, on the other hand, knows little of this kind of forgiveness. Muslims are encouraged to forgive fellow Muslims, but not required to. They are called to seek vengeance, though, against non-Muslims who have wronged them.

After the recent Palm Sunday church bombings in Egypt, the wife of one of the Coptic believers slain in the terror attack is being interviewed on Egyptian TV. During the interview she declares that she bears no ill will toward the terrorists, but instead forgives them and prays they will come to understand the errors of their ways. After the clip has played, the Muslim news anchor who has just viewed the interview (along with the rest of us) responds with incredulity that any human beings could muster such love. If you want to see a clear testimony of how Jesus transforms lives in ways that Muhammad or Allah never can, please watch the video below — it is in Arabic, naturally, but the subtitling in English is very accurate.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/212755977″>Forgiveness Incarnated</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user22194617″>The Bible Society of Egypt</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


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ISIS and Shakespeare!

It looks like times are getting hard for the leaders of ISIS, whose propaganda claims painted a picture of a continually expanding Islamic caliphate which would successively march through neighboring lands until ultimately it absorbed the whole inhabited world. Such a vision ignited the hearts of many young Muslim men eager to participate in a winning cause. But now that ISIS is on its heels, having lost most of the territory in Iraq and Syria that it had originally captured, the “caliphate” is having difficulty replacing those it has lost on the battlefield, much less expanding its forces with new recruits.

Evidence of this is seen in the fact that while “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi used to order that any jihadis who fled from battle were to be executed when caught, he now rejects capital punishment for them, requiring only an ear to be cut off — with the warning that should they attempt to flee again, their other ear will be forfeit. Such was the punishment recently for 33 ISIS fighters who fled from opposing forces in Mosul.

If you want to read the whole story, check out this link as reported in the Daily Mail.

Kind of gives new meaning to Mark Antony’s panegyric in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears….”

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