Abrogation

(More from the conversation with “THE RIPENING WANDERER” on the “only a few” defense of Islam. He wrote:)

… I am really personally suspicious of an ideology that preaches peace and practices something else and I do not know for sure that I accept the “It is only a few who cause the problems” rants because the very center of the ideological teachings are rife with at least 130 different passages encouraging (demanding) violence toward non-believers.

As an aside, the most widely distributed of Islamic imams preach jihad, not peace. Unless they’re speaking for the benefit of a Western audience. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with a radio audience of some 60 million, rails against Israel and the US, demands that his followers march upon Israel, and has conducted sermons with an AK47 held aloft for emphasis.

Bible and Qur’an

But setting aside such folks who are inconvenient to the “religion of peace” meme, let’s look at the Qur’an itself, which contains the passages you mentioned: It has a number of peaceful, tolerant verses (suras) as well as suras that demand the elimination or subjugation of all non-believers. Apologists for this work (the most sacred of three holy texts in Islam) are quick to trot out the tolerant suras in defense of Islam.

These apologists rely on the fact that few Americans understand the Qur’an’s basic structure and content. It has a concept roughly equivalent to the Bible’s Old Testament and New Testament, with the New Testament in the Bible embodying a more tolerant, peace-loving, paternalistic God Who has entered into a Covenant with mankind. (The Book of Revelation arguably sort of messes this up, but some versions of the Bible do not include this somewhat controversial work.)

Peace and War: A Chronology of Two Cities

In the Qur’an, the warlike/peaceful situation is reversed. The older portion, called the Mecca suras, is the one purportedly created when Mohammad only a small cult leader in that city, and it is the one containing Islam’s peaceful and tolerant suras. The later group, the Medina suras, came after the exiled Mohammad had grown powerful in his new home, and deals with the last ten years of his life. He was now the attacker at the head of a large force with a dozen wives and innumerable concubines, as opposed to Mecca where he was merely the leader of a small cult (among 360+ other cults) with one wife, keeping his head down and ultimately being thrown out anyway.

The “sword verses” as they are called arise from that later time, when Mohammad was the warlord in charge of Medina, vanquishing other faiths as he led attack after attack against non-believers and conquering much of the Arabian Peninsula before he died.

In short, there’s an early set (Mecca) advocating tolerance, later set (Medina) requiring holy war continuing to this day. This command applies to all Muslims.

And even the Old Testament never advocated conquering all unbelievers. It told of punishments to certain specific areas’ tribes, generally in the distant past. There is no open command to “be like Jesus and slay all your unbelievers as enemies” — but the Qur’an and al Hadith do indeed amount to this as a duty of all Muslims.

Also, the Bible’s Old and New Testaments are clearly marked and packaged separately. With the Qur’an, this is not so simple. First, the Qur’an is not arranged chronologically. Instead (and for obscure reasons probably having to do with memorization) it is arranged from the longest book to the shortest. (This doesn’t quite work out the same in the English translations.) Scholars have gone through and picked out Mecca and Medina verses, and websites with Qur’anic guides are readily available.

Abrogation

The “sword verses” or “wage jihad against the infidel” suras are, unsurprisingly, in the later section. But in many cases, they make statements that are opposed to and sometimes reverse earlier sacred commands. How is this handled theologically? The Qur’an itself holds the answer:

Sura 2:106: Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?

This is the Angel Gabriel (Jabril in Arabic) dictating the words of Allah to Mohammad. The whole of the Qur’an was dictated this way, to a poor desert merchant/trader who could neither read nor write.

A non-trivial example of abrogation in practice is the treatment of alcohol. The Meccan mild dictate was that alcohol should be consumed only in moderation. But the later “Muhammad as city boss” Medinan version abrogates the earlier sura and bans alcohol consumption entirely. So, in Shariah law-controlled countries, alcohol consumption by Muslims is officially forbidden. And they tend to go after alcohol consumption by others as well.

The suras dealing with the treatment of non-believers were explicitly replaced by those demanding a jihad on infidels ending only in their conversion, subjugation, or deaths.

Clock Boy and Clock Dad, Publicity and Apologetics

Many apologists pretend that it’s the other way around, with the tolerant verses replacing the harsh ones (to English-speaking audiences) even if they know better. A good example of this is Ahmed Mohamed’s (the Clock Boy’s) father Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, who attempted to pass off this “peaceful New Testament equivalence” in a debate long before his son became famous. It did not fly; his opponent knew better.

The same apologist had inserted himself into the “trial and burning of the Qur’an” event by offering himself as the Qur’an’s defense attorney. It did not work; the Qur’an was found guilty as charged by the rather peculiar Florida pastor Terry Jones.

So the elder Mohamed was quite the fame seeker before sending his son to school with the guts of a 1970s Radio Shack clock arranged to look like a bomb. The boy took deliberately provocative actions with these 1970s electronics, and it paid off for the father beyond his wildest dreams.

So now the family has a $15 million lawsuit against the school and police to try to recover emotionally from all the gifts, scholarships, celebrity treatment, and travel that they have had to endure.

Only a Few

You wrote:

I do not know for sure that I accept the “It is only a few who cause the problems” rants…

Indeed; I do not either. The “only a few” can be up to 84% of entire nations’ populations. Sharia law is essentially the implementation of jihad rules against one’s own nation, and achieves that much support in some Muslim countries despite the harsh penalties imposed.

Here’s a nice quick rundown of Middle Eastern views and percentages. It effectively puts paid to the “only a few” talking point:

Penalties

Can you imagine huge majorities of Americans voting in favor of imposing the death penalty for deciding to leave one’s own personal faith? Such is standard in sharia law.

While some countries “soften” the penalty for leaving Islam to “100 lashes” or similar, many still require death for leaving the faith of Islam, or for believing in no God whatsoever. Those lashes are not like caning: Typically ten are delivered per day with the victim allowed medical treatment in between. This is to increase the chances of the victim surviving a hundred instances of a whip flaying his (or her) back open, exposing bone, muscle and nerve. Perhaps beheading (still in use) is more sensitive after all.

Capital punishment is prescribed for apostasy in the new “modern” constitutions of Iraq and the Palestinian territory, for example. Dismemberment for theft is common; the Saudis do their beheading, flogging and limb chopping on national television, and the “live” events (not all the participants are “live” at the end) always draw big crowds. The Iranians are similar, though they have adopted hanging in a big way.

Western Sharia

As you suggested, these are not “only a few” — they’re not “fringe” — and majorities of them want sharia law forced upon Western countries. While the percentage in the US is much smaller, it still amounts to a projected 300,000 US Muslims who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that sharia was “[t]he Muslim God Allah’s law that Muslims must follow and impose worldwide by Jihad.”

About a million in the US (39% of Muslims) believe that Muslims in the US should not be bound by US law at all. Then the “honor killings” that are becoming more common here would be perfectly legal.

Sharia law is being implemented on a voluntary basis in the US in occasional spots. Complaints about this are chastised as “racist” and “Islamophobic.” The UK and Canada have sharia courts in full operation.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Absolutely on target and correct! There is a blindness caused by political correctness that needs to be addressed before the numbers get to the point where the ideology can take over the systems of their hosts and replace cultures with their own … and I think that is the plan … all arguments to the contrary aside … I think that is the plan.

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