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Friday, October 22, 2004
Misconceptions About Islam (5-9)
Here is the final installment of "Misconceptions About Islam"
(Crossposted from LGFWW)

Misconception #5: Muhammad wrote the Qur'an
I don't know if this really matters or was a misconception at all. The author needed to pad out the piece and tossed this in. For the record, Muhammad was reportedly not literate and recited the Qur'an to scribes that wrote it down. He did this after each visit from the Angel Gabriel, who gave him the words of the Sura.

Misconception #6: Islam was spread by the sword
The author points to this as proof:
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.[Qur'an 2:256]
Also, because when Muslim rule was forced out of Spain after 800 years, there were still Christians and Jews living among the people, this means they were not converted by the sword.

It has been reported from Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of Muhairs and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajirs. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muilims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fai' except when they actually fight with the Muslims (against the disbelievers). If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. [Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Number 4294.]

In this context "Jizya" is a kind of tribute or tax, but it also implys that the payer would be a dhimmi. They would be fored to mark their houses and themselves as unbelievers and accepted various conditions on their lives and relationships with Muslims.

Here is a very good paper on the subject.

Misconception #7: Muslims hate Jesus
The Islamic belief centers on Allah being alone in his greatness. The "assigning of partners" to God is the highest of sins in the Muslim world. This is why they reject Christianity; the Christian belief that Jesus is the "Son of God" is blasphemous to a Muslim. Oddly, (to me at least) Islam embraces Jesus as a Prophet. While they honor his life, the Qur'an makes a wild claim that he was not crucified, but Allah placed a double in his place to spare him.
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not: Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise; And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them;[Qur'an 4:157-159]

Misconception #8: Islam is fatalistic
Again, I am not sure what the author is getting at with this statement. It does seem that the Qur'an has a fatalistic message. The message seems to be that everything is preordained, Allah knows what all your decisions and end results. Allah gives you free will, but if you use it you will suffer a humiliating punishment (Allah is big on humiliation and ridicule). The only way to paradise is to submit all your will to Allah and let him guide you to the right path. Sounds fatalistic to me...

It may be that the author is reacting to is the constant drumbeat of negativity found in the Qur'an. The text is literally loaded with stories of how the unbelievers will be punished and how even believers that do not follow "the path" will be humiliated and tortured. In stark contrast, there are very few verses that refer to the rewards of Islamic life. It is very hard to read because of this, I mean who really wants to hear over and over again how you are going to suffer. It's a real downer.

Misconception #9: The Islamic Threat
Go back and read this one again. Every time I read it I have conflicting emotions ranging from hysterical laughter to intense anger. Regular readers of LGF will laugh as the author tries to claim that "western media" has made the word "Islam" almost synonymous with "terrorism". It is clear the author does not read stories from the AP where Islamic Terrorists are referred to as "militants" or "insurgents". Charles has too many examples of this on a daily basis to count. The author is right on one count, some of the acts of the Islamic Terrorists are explicitly banned in the Qur'an (beheading and mutilation of the dead), but much of the Qur'an is about the conduct of war and incitement to kill the unbelievers.

Don't believe me, read 164 Jihad Verses in the Koran.

Next, the author goes on an incoherent rant about the underreporting of Christian abuses. Again, this is laughable based on the constant reporting of Charles Johnson on LGF.

Next up is the predictable and tired argument based on literal translations of the word jihad. While it is accurate to say that "jihad" should be translated as "struggle", it is not accurate to infer that jihad is a harmless (to outsiders) struggle. The usage of jihad in the former name of Al-Zarqawi's terrorist group "Tawhid and Jihad" (Now al-Qaida of Iraq) clearly debunks any further argument along these lines.

Next is a passing reference to the encouragement the Qur'an gives to liberating a land where Muslims are being oppressed. The problem with this is that to some, Muslims are being oppressed everywhere that Islamic law is not the law of the land. Liberating Muslim lands that have been taken by the infidels include most of Northern Africa, Spain and much of Eastern Europe. The point about colonialism of the West is lost on me, but he makes the point that Saddam Hussein and Moamar Qaddafi are/were not Islamic leaders, but leaders that (in the tradition of The Prophet) used Islam to control the masses.

Wrap up.
Of course, this article wasn't written for me, or the readers of LGF. It was written for the casual observer to find in a Google search or for apologists to point to when faced with an argument. The farther I get in my reading, the more I am convinced that the whole religion was a tool for The Prophet to create and control his empire.

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