Subjective Fundamental Errors
[This newsletter is the continuation of a debate begun with a rabbi’s criticism of an earlier essay,Fundamental Errors. The set off text is the rabbi’s comments.]
Your response [referring to the newsletterÂ Fundamental Errors] here is filled with errors of fact as is almost everything people like you publish about Islam.
This is an excellent starting pointâ€”facts. When it comes to Islam, I use the facts of the Koran, Sira and Hadith. Briefly, the Koran says overÂ 90 timesÂ that Mohammed is the perfect life example. Where do we find Mohammed? We find him in the Sira (his biography) and the Hadith (his traditions). Since most people think that the Koran is the bible of Islam, it is interesting to see the relative sizes of the three texts:
Relative Sizes of Islamic Texts
Islam is 14% Allah and 86% Mohammed. Islam can be defined as the political/religious doctrine found in the Trilogy. If it is in the Trilogy it is Islam. To know Islam, know Allah and Mohammed, the only two Muslims you need to know. Said another way, if a claim is made about Islam that cannot be traced back to Mohammed and Allah, then it is not Islam. And Islam cannot be reformed, by its very structure. Reforming Islam means reforming Allah and Mohammed. One does not reform perfection.
The basic error is in trying to attribute to Islam in general what is only true of the kind of political Islamists who are trying to remove modern influences from the Muslim world.
Islam is not defined by Islamists or any other kind of Muslim. The attributes of Islam come from its source texts, influences that are 1400 years oldâ€”Mohammed and Allah. It is critical to understand that Muslims do not cause Islam. Islam causes Muslims. Islam is a doctrine that insists that every Muslim submit to a perfect, universal, eternal Koran, the exact words of the only god. A Koran that is perfect down to the smallest detail. Interpretation and context do not allow any escape from this boundary. A Muslim’s only practical way to temper Islam is by denying or ignoring the texts.
There is a confusion about Islam that comes from the Trilogy. There are two Korans and two Mohammeds, hence two Islams. The first Islam is found when Mohammed lived in Mecca and was a religious teacher. The second Islam is found in Medina and is political and mostly about jihad. His two careers are found in the Sira. He preached Islam for 13 years and garnered about 150 Muslims. He went to Medina, where be became a politician and jihadist. In three years he annihilated the Jews. In the last 9 years of his life he averaged a jihadic event of violence on the average of every 6 weeks. When he died every Arab was a Muslim. Politics is what made Mohammed successful. It is the politics that I care about. I don’t give a rip about the religion of Islam.
So here we have two very different Mohammeds. Both are pure Sunna and hence pure Islam. The logical problem this dualism causes is when people meet a nice Muslim, they think that Islam is nice and hence, jihad is not Islam. But both the religious Muslims and the jihadists are all good Muslims. They just follow two different Islams and can go back and forth as needed.
You plainly depend on most of your readings never having read the Koran or studied Islamic history, culture, philosophy, etc. Most of the Koran is about how to live a good life.
I have a library of about 250 books on Koran, Mohammed, Islamic history and culture and have studied Islam since 1970. For about 10 years after 9/11 I read the Koran every day, many days for hours. I publish 3 different Korans.
Actually, most of the Koran is not about how to lead a good life, or a least not a life that is not harmful to others. Here are three examples:
1. About 24% of the Koran written in Medina is about jihad
2. About 17% of the Medinan Koran is devoted to Jew hatred.
3. 71% of all mentions of women in the Koran subjugate women.
Your assertion that Islam has no version of the Golden Rule is patently false. Here are two examples from the Hadith.
“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
“That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.”
Those are two of several.
[I cannot locate the second reference about mankind, the first is from Bukhari, the primary hadith collector.] The word brother is used in two ways in Bukhari. The first meaning is an actual blood brother, sharing the same mother or father. The second meaning is another Muslim. There are a total of 209 hadiths that refer to the word “brother” and of these, 113 hadiths are about spiritual brotherhood. In every case a brother is a brother to another Muslim, not a Kafir.
Bukhari 3, 43, 622 Allah’s Apostle said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . “
Hadiths that say a Muslim is to love his brother do not apply to Kafirs. The Kafir is outside the Islamic pseudo-Golden Rule.
Let us go one step further with the Golden Rule. Mohammed is the perfect Muslim. Let us examine his status a good neighbor. When he was in Mecca, he argued with every Meccan. The reason that the Meccans drove him out of town was he was so divisive. When he moved to Medina, as soon as he consolidated his political power, he started jihad against the Meccans and after that all pagans. He destroyed the half of Medina that was Jewish. After his jihad against the pagans was successful, he turned north to attack the Christians in Syria. Mohammed attacked every single neighbor he had. Mohammed was a neighbor who caused every neighbor to suffer. So much for the Golden Rule.
This Golden Rule is so important that we need to drive the final nail in the casket. There areÂ 13 versesÂ in the Koran that refer to friendship. Each of them declares that a Muslim is not the friend of a Kafir. Here is one verse:
Koran 5:51 Oh, believers, do not take the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another’s friends. If any one of you take them for his friends, he surely is one of them. Allah will not guide the evildoers.
There is no Golden Rule in Islam.
In the usual passive aggressive manner you accuse me of “Christo-phobia.” In fact I have been actively involved with interfaith activities since I was a teenager. In my community I am very welcome as a teacher in local churches.
I am quite familiar with the dark side of Islamic history and also the dark side of Christian history, neither of which is over. The army of the Lord in east and central Africa. There are hundreds of Christian hate groups in our country. None of these is normative Christianity just as Al-Qaeda is not normative Islam.
I cannot comment on hundreds of Christian hate groups. Please name a few. Why is it that you cannot discuss Islam without bringing in Christianity? I hold that Islam isÂ sui generis, a thing unto itself, without parallel. You seem to hold that Islam cannot be discussed without a comparison to Christianity. Why?
But I can deal with al Qaeda as being normative. In Islam normative can have only one meaningâ€”adherence to Islamic doctrine as found in Koran, Sira and Hadith. To imitate Mohammed is Islamic normal and al Qaeda follows the example of Mohammed, the jihadist. Do you ever read their writings? They are constantly quoting the Medinan Koran and Sunna. Of course, the nice Muslim you meet at work is also normative Islam and quotes Meccan Koran. Dualism again. The nice Muslim and the jihadist are both true Muslims.
The concept of jihad is misused alike by today’s Jihadists and by Islamophobes. The term primarily refers to the personal struggle of the individual to overcome temptation and like a good life. The lesser jihad refers to holy wars in defense of Islam. Jihadis comfort themselves for their crimes by thinking that fighting against the West and modernity in general even as they violate the explicit rules of jihad against attacking noncombatants.
Jihad is NOT primarily about personal struggle. Bukhari contains 645,745 words and he devotes 132,315 words to jihad. Of these words devoted to jihad, 2347 words can be interpreted as spiritual jihad. Only1.7% of all jihad hadiths (2347 / 132,315 = 0.017, 1.7%) are devoted to spiritual jihad. According to Bukhari, 98.3% of all jihad hadiths are about killing Kafirs and 1.7% of them are about spiritual struggle. The jihadists and the “Islamophobes” (and I am an Islamo-critic) have it correct and you, sir, are wrong. So says Bukhari.
If you would read the Sira (Mohammed’s canonical biography) you will notice that 68% of the text is devoted to jihad and each and every event of jihad is about war against the Kafir. There is no jihad as spiritual struggle in the Sira.
And now let’s deal with “not harming non-combatants”. You are half right, but since Islamic doctrine is always dualistic, that means there are hadith which say the opposite. Here are two examples that determine the rules of jihad. They contradict each other, so the resolution is that either can be used as needed. (The M in the index number means abu Muslim, a canonical hadith collector)
M019,4319 in one of Mohammed’s battles, it was discovered that a woman had been killed by the Muslims; however, he did not approve of killing women and children.
M019,4321 Mohammed said, “they are from them,” when told of the killing of women and children by Muslims during a raid.
I am guessing that you are a fundamentalist Christian and an adherent of right-wing politics, because that is where most of this kind of literature comes from these days.
Actually, your guess is wrong. I am an apostate of liberal/progressive politics. I reject both political parties and consider them to be the Party of Evil and the Party of Stupid. I am probably more libertarian than anything else. I was raised a Christian, but practiced Buddhism up until 9/11. I claim no religion since that date.
I have been active in standing up to Islamic hatreds for decades including as an NGO delegate at UN meetings. I have done it on campus, in communal settings, and elsewhere.
I became active in interfaith work because I grew up in a community with a lot of Holocaust survivors. My rabbi, who was a survivor who had grown up in Nazi Germany, believed that it was poor relations among different faith groups that allowed the Nazis to sell the German people on demonizing Jews.
I know where teaching hate leads to and that is Auschwitz. Your response to me denies you are a hate group publishing hate literature. I have dealt with such things all of my life and I know it when I see it and I see it in you.
Since you claim to have the power to detect hate, give me your hate evaluation about this event taken from the Sira:
Ishaq554 The Apostle of Allah said, “Kill any Jew who falls into your power.” Hearing this Muhayyisa fell upon a Jewish merchant who was a business associate and killed him. Muhayyisa’s brother was not a Muslim and asked him how he could kill a man who had been his friend and partner in many business deals. The Muslim said that if Mohammed had asked him to kill his brother he would have done it immediately. His brother said, “You mean that if Mohammed said to cut off my head you would do it?” “Yes,” was the reply. The older brother then said, “By Allah, any religion which brings you to this is marvelous.” And he decided then and there to become a Muslim.
You see, I hate this kind of Jew hatred material. I also hate the Koranic subjugation of women. I hate jihad. I hate Islamic dualistic ethics. I hate the Islamic war against Christians. I hate the Islamic slave doctrine. I hate the persecution of pagans. I hate child brides. I hate the Sharia which says that I am a third class citizen. Where do you stand on these issues?
“I know it [hate] when I see it” Your standards of “hate” are subjective. No where do you advance a single objective rule to be used to determine whether something is hate or not. If you don’t like it, it is hate, but it is your personal subjective judgment. And on this issue we see the great divide between us. My statements are based on facts that can be verified by any third party. That is the basis of objectivity.
I am saddened and frightened by the promotion of hatred you represent. I know all too well how similar it is to accusations against Jews in the last century. You are no better than Fr. Coughlin and seem to me to be his spiritual brother.
The “hatred that I represent” is fact-based reasoning. Go back over what is hereâ€”extensive use of Islamic source doctrine. Why is that hate? Why is your righteous fantasy so virtuous and why is my fact-based reasoning called hatred? What is your moral basis?
I respect you and assume that our differences are about reason and logic. Even though I have studied Islam for over 40 years, you assert that I am ignorant and I am morally impaired. Facts are never hatred. Since your arguments fade in the light of Islamic doctrine, you turn to name calling. You shoot the messenger.
I look forward to your response.
Bill Warner, Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam
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