Delegitimizing Judeo-Christian Civilization
The Koran and the Hadith both testify to the supposed deceit of the Jewish leaders, who allegedly hid the truth about Islam from their followers. According to the claim, if it were not for the ambition and disingenuous nature of these leaders, Islam would have been accepted by the mass of the Christian and Jewish faithful.
To many Muslims, we are lesser beings. To many Muslims, we have fewer rights; we are benighted, ignorant of the truth; we live willfully in the dark and therefore the light must be forced upon us. If we object, we will be moved aside, supplanted, replaced. Whether we resist or submit, many say that the inevitable will happen: the planet will be Islamicized.
Many Muslims seem to be certain this will be so; they say this is Allah’s will. A lack of resolve and fear of death are not among their weaknesses. They are true believers.
Wishful thinking will not keep us safe from those who have a religious obligation to wipe us out:
It is from this perspective that we, who are not Muslims, must educate our fellow citizens about what appears to be a serious challenge to our civilization.
The motive in the theology of our would-be successors resides in the very first Sura [chapter] of the Koran. This brief chapter is called Fatihah [The Opening]. Many non-Muslims interested in religious harmony only quote certain lines of the Sura, while unwittingly or disingenuously ignoring others.
(You are) the Only Owner (Judge) of the Day of Resurrection (Recompense)
You (alone) we worship and
You (alone) we ask for help
Guide us on the Straight Path
Some non-Muslim commentators on the Koran suggest that these verses are indicative of Islam’s support for religious pluralism; that they underscore the monotheistic commonality of Islam with Christianity and Judaism. These apologists of a supposedly well-intentioned Koran often speak of the three-fold blossoming of the Abrahamic tree. From this common root, they insist, a framework for peaceful coexistence can be built.
The intent of Fatihah, however, appears quite the opposite. Many casual readers of the Koran are seduced by the initial approach to the Divinity in Fatihah. Nevertheless, the final few lines — “You [Allah] alone” — are exclusionary, presumptive of God’s displeasure with both Christians and Jews.
Unfortunately, the truth sometimes demands more intellectual rigor than many theologians seem willing to apply; they often fail to grasp the relentless commitment of those who would supplant us.
The very next verse demonstrates the superficial nature of the assumption that Islam is a religion of peace:
The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace
(not the way) of those who have earned Your Anger
Nor of those who went astray.
Al-Bukhari, the most respected of all gatherers of the “Hadith” [the words and acts of Muhammad] asserts that in one verse, when Adi bin Hatim, one of the Siddiqun,Â asked a question of the Messenger [Muhammad] — To whom was Allah referring “by those who earned Your Anger”? — Muhammad replied, “They are the Jews.” Bin Hatim then asked, “[What] of those who went astray”? Muhammad replied, “The Christians are the ones who went astray.”
Jihadists and their extremist ideological allies are challenging the legitimacy of Western civilization in a multi-vectored assault. The theological basis of this attack, on Jew and Christian alike, is that both rejected the revelations of Allah. The Koran, and revered Muslim collectors of Hadith, contend that turning away from the seal of prophecy, the final revelation from Allah, is a grave offense. But because both Jews and Christians are “People of the Book,” they are permitted to exist in an Islamic world — but doomed to second-class citizenship, a toleratedÂ dhimmiÂ status.
Muslim scholars assert that the Hebrews, once Allah’s “Chosen People,” squandered that privilege: Allah in the Koran accuses the Jews of having becoming a people “failing in righteous deeds” – a theme often elaborated upon by Muslim imams. These clerics argue that the Jews “maintained the letter of the revelatory doctrine but emptied their faith of its spirit.” This accusation indicts the Jews for having hypocritically maintained meticulous adherence to the outward appearances of religion while leading “immoral” inner lives. For instance, the Jews would assiduously adhere to dietary laws while leading a life of debauchery — as if many people from every religion do not also do just that.
Muslim religious scholars have pilloried Christians, for having committed the unforgivable sin of “shirk” [ascribing partners to God: the sin of polytheism], By elevating the prophet Jesus to the Godhead and by claiming Christ’s Son-ship with the Father, they believe that Christians have diluted the monotheistic essence of their faith.
At least one prominent Muslim jurisprudent blames St. Paul for introducing the unpardonable sin ofÂ shirkÂ into Christianity. According to this strand of criticism, Paul ultimately seems to have decided that, as the Jews were not willing to accept Christ as the Messiah, to introduce the concept of the Son-ship of Jesus to the Father, to make Christianity more appealing at least to the pagans of Asia Minor, who worshipped many gods.
Moreover, Muslims also contrast their belief in “Tawhid” [the absolute unity of the Godhead], to Christianity’s doctrine of the Trinity.
To many Muslims, Christians are collectively guilty of “ash-shirk al-akbar,” the most severe form of shirk, for placing a false god [Jesus] as equal to Allah.
Additionally, Christians are criticized for offering prayer invocations to Saints and the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Maryam. This also is the greatestÂ shirk, in that it attributes to others a divinity which only Allah can possess.
Another Islamist plane of attack upon Western civilization is that it has become bereft of faith. Churches — Catholic and Protestant — in Western Europe, have, since the conclusion of World War II, suffered a sorry decline in weekly service attendance. In contrast, sizeable mosques are being built in many of Europe’s larger cities; mosque minarets compete with Church steeples in metropolitan skylines, and the muezzin’s call for prayer seems to be heard more often than cathedral bells. Moreover, many Muslims view the European Union’s embrace of an atheistic, materialist lifestyle as indicative of moral depravity. They cite post-Christian Europe’s celebration of liberty as perverse pleasures; and its indifference to marital infidelity, homosexuality, and abortion – as well as its negative population growth — as a sign that the star of Judeo-Christian civilization has set.
It is Islamic doctrine that Allah’s revelations to Muhammad are the last of Allah’s [God’s] revelations to mankind. It logically follows, therefore, that the “People of the Book,” who also received revelation from the Godhead, should align with the Koran: in the Muslim mindset,Â allÂ beliefs have been superseded by Allah’s most recent and final revelation: the Koran as given to Muhammad.
This triumphal theme of theological supersession is present virtually everywhere in Muslim discourse, and is the bedrock of Islam’s claim that Judeo-Christian civilization is a historical anachronism. The very first chapter of the Koran, “The Opening,” is explicit that as far as Allah is concerned, Judaism and Christianity are spent forces.For many Muslims, Judeo-Christian culture is in irretrievable decline, awaiting a stiff wind to blow it off the historical stage. Moreover, many of today’s radical Islamists and their terrorist bedfellows quote medieval Muslim theologians to underscore their belief in the moral bankruptcy of Western civilization. They often employ the term “Westoxification” to describe the poisonous nature of a terminally ill society’s potential negative impact upon Muslim communities.
Islam’s Delegitimizing of Judaism
The denial of Judaism’s strength had its origins in Islam’s infancy. The Koran and Hadith are rife with disdain for the Hebrew people. The Koran is replete with denunciations of Jewish perfidy, betrayal, hypocrisy, and intransigence. The high volume of anti-Jewish invective is most likely the product of most Arabian Peninsula-based Hebrew clans’ refusal to accept the Islamic faith. This embitterment was punctuated by the “betrayal” of some Medina-based Jews,Â who, in Mecca, aligned themselves with the enemies of Muhammad.
Several Jewish clans of Yathrib [Medina] had welcomed Muhammad and his al-Mujahirun [emigrants] when they fled Mecca in 622 A.D. Some Jews even converted to Islam.
Muhammad, however, appears to have become incensed when some of these Jews reverted to Judaism. As this reversion was led by his former confidant, Abd Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, Muhammad may have taken personally what might have looked to him like an act of betrayal.
The Prophet seemed to grow even more suspicious of the Jews after entire clans apparently had second thoughts, and after a few of the more prominent of Medina’s Jewish clans deserted him during the Battle of Uhud,Â one of the many conflicts the Muslims fought against the Qureshi family, the ruling class of Mecca.
After Muhammad’s followers lost at Uhud, the Muslims vowed vengeance. In time, they made good on this vow, especially on the Jewish clans of Bani Qainuga, Bani Qurayza, and Bani al-Nadir. After a Muslim victory over Mecca’s forces two years later, in May 627 A.D. at al-Khandaq [The Trench], Muhammad had the opportunity for revenge against the Jews. He offered the Banu Qainuga and al-Nadir conversion or exile. Those who chose exile were dispatched to a place called Khaybar, about 60 miles north of Medina (Yathrib). However, he was not so generous towards Bani Qurayza, who openly fought against the Muslims from Mecca. After the Muslim triumph at al-Khandaq, the Prophet ordered the execution of all of the clan’s male members, then sold all the women and children into slavery, except one. He took a beautiful Jewish woman named Safiyyah for his wife.
When, however, the Jews of Khaybar were successful in their agricultural enterprise amidst the richly-soiled oasis of Khaybar, Muhammad withdrew his benevolence. He first demanded a periodic tribute of the Khaybar harvest, but later, in 629 A.D., he successfully laid siege to Jewish fortresses there.Â A subsequent Caliph, Umar (634-644 A.D.), drove all the Jews from Arabia into exile; they were dispersed, along with the remaining Christians of Arabia, throughout the Levant and Mesopotamia.
Although this event took place over 1,500 years ago, Muslim youths, demonstrating against Israeli policy in the Gaza in Dearborn, Michigan, in December 2008, were chanting, “Kaibar, Kaibar ya Yahud, jaish Muhammad saya’ud” [“O Jews, remember Khaybar, Muhammad’s army will return”].
Egyptian TV, as well, in July, 2013, sponsored a “historical” series called “Khaybar.”
What must have seemed a mass act of apostasy by the Jews — abandoning what Mohammed may have hoped would be their new religion — is the subject of an entire Sura of the Koran, Al-Munafiqun [The Hypocrites].
Awareness of the distant past and its impact on the present attitudes of Islamist activists has often been a key ingredient in formulating Muslim moral judgments. Again and again, the theme of theological betrayal and apostasy is brought home. In Sura al-Imran, the Koran speaks of special punishments that will be meted out for those who once believed, then subsequently violated their oath to Allah by having deserted the Islamic faith.
How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief
And after they bore witness that the Messenger (Muhammad) is true
And after clearÂ ayatÂ [proof] had been accepted by them.
The Koranic passage that apparently highlights the essence of the theological divide between Judaism and Islam is the supposed recounting of a conversation between Allah and the Jewish race through the “Islamic” prophet Abraham. In it, Allah relates all the wondrous deeds andÂ ayatsÂ [signs] that he has bestowed upon the Jews, only to be rejected by them.
After gathering from the Koran and the Hadith a plethora of anti-Jewish passages — old stereotypes, accusing the Jews of usury, treason, treachery, covetousness and a collective superiority complex in juxtaposition to all other peoples — he emoted from the Koran:
These Jews believe as part of their religion that other peoples (are destined to become) their slaves.
Muhammad had, roughly 1400 years ago, responded to perceived Jewish “perfidy” with two other gestures of contempt: that Muslims would no longer turn toward Jerusalem in prayer, but instead, the Qibla; the direction of prayer, would henceforth be toward Mecca. The eminent Muslim collector of Hadith, al-Bukhari, writes that the Prophet changed the direction of prayer at a mosque in Kuba. A conflicting commentary asserts that Muhammad switched the direction away from Jerusalem at a service before the Arab “Banu Salima” clan. Allegedly, the Prophet began his opening prayer facing Jerusalem and finished it facing Mecca. From that point on, this mosque was called “Masjid al-Qiblataya,” the Mosque of the Two Qibla.” The Koran also addresses the Qibla issue:
The fools (Jews and Pagans) will say: What has turned them from their Qibla? — to which they were used to face in prayer — Say to them Muhammad that to Allah belongs both east and west. And He guides whom He wills to a straight path. We shall turn you to a Qibla that pleases you. So turn your face towards the direction of Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca).
Muhammad issued a final condemnatory move against the Jewish nation shortly before he died, when he supposedly dreamed of an Arabia free of Jews — “an infidel-free zone” on the peninsula — a wish extending to Christians as well. To this day, there are neither synagogues nor churches in Saudi Arabia. While it is unlikely that any Jews live in the al-Saud kingdom, there are millions of Christians, almost all of whom live as guest workers, performing menial duties for the native Arab population.
Islamic Deconstruction of Christianity
Although the Christians are spared much of the demonization that the Koran, Hadith, and Islamic scholars have heaped upon the Jews, they can take no comfort, however, as they also are collectively assigned to obliteration in history for their unforgivable trespass against Allah in raising Jesus to the Godhead and for rejecting the absolute unity [tawhid] of Allah. After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem, the conquerors carved into copper plates attached to the east and south gates of the Dome of the Rock:
The unity of God and the prophecy of Muhammad are true and the Son-Ship of Jesus and the Trinity are false.
Caliph Abd al-Malik further underscored the message with:
The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is indeed a Messenger…but…
Stop talking about a Trinity. It is not fitting that God should beget or father a child.
Muslims, based on Koranic passages, deny that Jesus was crucified, and could not, therefore, have arisen from the dead.Â The Koran claims another was substituted for Jesus; it was he who was crucified. Koran scholars suggest that Allah would not have permitted a great prophet such as Jesus to die in such an ignominious fashion. Islamic commentary posits that Jesus did not want to die anyway, as He had asked the Father “to let this cup pass.” Moreover, they attest, Jesus would never have challenged Allah by crying out from the cross, “Why have you abandoned me?” Muslim believers, while accepting that Jesus was a great prophet, insist that Christ himself often acknowledged the Supremacy of Allah, by publicly and privately praying to Him.
That assertion by Muslim scholars is based on Christ’s cry from the Cross, “Eli, Eli Lama Sabachthani,” Aramaic for “My God, My God Why Have You Abandoned Me?”
Muslim theologians, however, have missed the meaning here of Christ’s apparent expression of despair. Christ was quoting from the 22ndÂ Psalm, which opens with this phrase, but finishes with a reaffirmation of faith and praise of God. Muslim commentators on the life of Jesus also mistakenly, or willfully, misinterpret Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here, when Christ, knowing the pain that He is about to endure, prays: “Father if it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me”. But He adds, “Not My will but Thine be done.”
Thus, with the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Christ being discredited, the essence of Christianity is emptied of its principal and unique doctrine, and “the foundation (of Christianity) is demolished.”
According to Muslim theologians, the theological dispute between Christians and Muslims was settled in the first years of Islam’s emergence. Reportedly, a delegation of Arab Christians journeyed from Najran [Arabia] to the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. There they remonstrated for several days with Muhammad over the divinity or mortality of Jesus. The results were inconclusive, but the discussion is offered as early proof of Islam’s providential protection in the face of fierce opposition by the established order.
Further, the Koran and the Hadith both testify to the supposed deceit of Jewish and Christian leaders who allegedly hid the truth about Islam from their followers. According to the claim, if it were not for the ambition and the disingenuous nature of these leaders, Islam would have been accepted by the mass of the Christian and Jewish faithful.
The rabbis of Judaism and the monks/priests of Christianity are condemned for leading their flocks astray and thus are responsible for their followers acting like incontinent apes.
Consequently, the Koran, according to Islam, serves a “warning:” it counsels both Jew and Christian that they are mistaken to put their trust in their religious leaders to intercede for them in the hope of assuaging Allah’s judgment on the day of Resurrection.
One additional proof of the Prophet’s attempt to convince Christian leaders to accept Islam is Muhammad’s note to Heraclitus, the King of Byzantium Sham.Â The Prophet urges Byzantium to accept the seal of prophecy. He requests that the Orthodox Christians accept the truth of Islam as the next natural revelation of the biblical God. Muslim theologians even employ the Gospel of John to claim that Jesus himself foretold the coming of Muhammad:
If you love Me keep My commandments.
And I will pray the Father and he shall give
You another Comforter that He may abide
With you forever.
The Holy Spirit’s coming, foretold by Jesus, therefore becomes not a third personage of a triune God but the Prophet of Islam.
Islam’s moral condemnation of Judaism and Christianity seems to be unequivocal and unchangeable, and the Muslim claim to theological supersession of the other two branches of the “Abrahamic Tree” an inextricable article of Islamic doctrine.
The withering away of the old religions is said to have been preordained by Allah: yes, there can be temporary co-existence — but no lasting peace.
Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin is a former Iran Desk Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and USAF Reserve Colonel Military AttachÃ© to the U.S. Embassy in Israel
Â Koran, Sura 1 Al-Fatihah, Verse 4-6.
Â Koran, Sura 1, Al-Fatihah, Verse 7.
Â Siddiqun: those followers of the Prophet who were among the first to accept Islam. (Sura 4/Verse 69 An-Nisa/the Women)
Â Hadith, al-Jami of Abu Isa Muhammad ibn Isa Tirmidhi, aka Sahih al-Tirmidhi, #44. Tirmidhi was one of Islam’s six gatherers of the words and acts of the Prophet that are canonically approved by almost all Islamic theologians.
Â Chapter One of the Koran, (Sura al-Fatihah) “The Opening,” implores Allah “to guide us [Muslims] along the straight path, the way of those on whom you have bestowed your grace, not the way of those who have earned your anger [the Jews] nor of those who went astray [the Christians].
Â The concept of “Westoxification” was popularized by mid-twentieth century Iranian political philosopher and devout Shia Muslim, Jalal al-e-Ahmed. The term in Persian, “gharbzadegi,”literally means “west-struck,” as in afflicted with a disease from the West.
Â The Battle of Uhud was fought in 625 A.D. in a low mountainous area west of Yathrib/Medina. Although the clash was inconclusive, it was a psychological defeat for the Muslims: they sustained several score of casualties, and Muhammad was wounded.
Â Khaybar MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute): Khaybar Television Mini-Series, March 14-May 13, 2013; “Actors Spewing Hatred” Film Clip.
Â Al-Munafiqun/The Hypocrites, Sura 63, Verse 8.
Â Koran, Sura Al-Imran/The Family of Imran, Verse 86.
Â Ibid. p. 190.
Â Koran, Sura 2, al-Baqarah, “The Cow”, Verse 145
Â Hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari, #390
Â Interpretations of the Meaning of The Noble Koran Dr. Mohammad Taqi-ud-Din and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1996, p.1261.
Â Interpretations of the Meaning of The Noble Koran Dr. Mohammad Taqi-ud-Din and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1996, p.1264.
Â Koran, Sura 2, Verse 65, Al-Baqarah, “the Cow”. See also: Koran, Sura 7, al-A’raf (The Heights/Elevated Places), Verse 165-166. See also: Koran, Sura 5, al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread/The Food), Verse 60. This last reference can apply also to Christian transgressors who, when presented with the truth of Islam, still reject Allah and his Koran. However, the largest share of the vitriol is reserved for the Jews.
Â Sham (Bilad el-Sham) was that territory in its most expansive meaning includes the entirety of the Levant (today’s Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. More commonly, Sham refers to “Greater Syria.”
Â Gospel of John 14:15-16, The New Testament.