Islamic attitudes toward non-Muslims are determined by many factors of which two are most necessary to consider. The first is Jihad or Holy War. The second is the concept of Dar Al Harb (Arabic for “House of War”) and Dar Al Islam (“House of Submission”) in Islamic tradition. “House of War” refers to any territory or people who are not living in submission to Islam. “House of Submission,” or Dar Al Islam, refers to any territory or people living in submission to the message of Muhammad.
The concept of Jihad (Arabic for Struggle) has been given two interpretations, which I argue, are actually not mutually exclusive. Some Muslims interpret “Jihad” as referring to “Holy War,” while others will say it refers to the spiritual “struggle” to live the Faith of Islam. Ayatollah Khomeini, one of the great Muslim leaders of our times said:
The Jihad means the conquest of non-Muslim territory. The domination of Koranic Law from one end of the earth to the other is… the final goal… of this war of conquest” (Jihad, Paul Fregosi, Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 1998, p.20).
It is important for we in the West to understand that for 100’s of millions of Muslims, the Jihad is considered to be a religious obligation. In fact, for some it is considered a sixth obligation for all able-bodied Muslims. Many of us have heard of the famous “five pillars” of belief for Muslims, but there are actually “five pillars” of both belief and action that are required for all able-bodied Muslims. And, again, for some, there are six “pillars:”
“Qadar” is especially important for Sunni Muslims who believe in a strict predestination akin to the beliefs of Calvinists among Christians. Shi’ites tend more toward free will in their theology. But Sunni make up about 85% of Muslims world-wide. “Jihad,” on the other hand, is a concept that spans the spectrum of Muslims, both Shi’ite and Sunni. Muslims also, more universally, view the expansion of Islam as the predestined will of God that cannot be thwarted; therefore, it is a natural historical development and a duty for individual Muslims to participate in. The destiny for Islam is seen as the conquest of the whole world. All must submit to Koranic Law, whether they are believers or not!
Jihad has had over 1300 years of history and has engulfed and affected many nations in Asia, Africa, and Europe. In Europe, Muslim armies of conquest have been to Tours in France, sacked the City of Rome in Italy, conquered South Eastern Europe up to the Danube, laid siege to Vienna twice, controlled the Ukraine of Russia and invaded more than once the Iberian peninsula. In Africa, all of North Africa has been conquered and converted by centuries of Islamic domination, except for the Egyptian Coptics who have suffered tremendous persecution over the centuries, and are experiencing a brutality today that we have a hard times even attempting to comprehend in the West. You will also find a smattering of Christians, also persecuted to greater or lesser degrees around North Africa. I personally encountered a few of these when I went on an undercover missions trip to Morocco many years ago.
West and Eastern Africa have been terrorized by Islamic Slave raids and armies of conquest for centuries even down to our time where Boko Haram, and various other Muslim groups continue to brutalize, kill, and enslave Christians and all who do not accept their radical views. In Asia, wherever there is a majority of Muslims, non-Muslim minorities suffer discrimination and grave injustice to their basic human rights in our time. While Western, Central and Southern Asia have had centuries of wars of Muslim conquest.
We are being asked to believe today that all of this represents just a relatively few “extremists” who have hijacked true Islam.
In reality, there are approximately 120, conservatively speaking, verses in the Koran which deal with killing and fighting for Islam and these verses are favorable to this aggression if done to advance the cause of Islam.
In the nine-volume translation of “the Hadiths” of Dr.Muhammad Muhsin Khan, titled “The Translation of the Meaning of Sahih Al-Bukhari” (Kazi Publications, Lahore, Pakistan, 1979), there is clear witness of the importance and priority of Jihad in Islamic thought that represents more than just a struggle to overcome evil in one’s own heart. In Volume 1, no. 25, it declares:
Allah’s apostle was asked, “What is the best deed?” He replied, “To believe in Allah and his Apostle.” The questioner then asked, “What is the next [in goodness]?” He replied, “To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s cause.”
In a previous post, we have already seen from Muhammad’s own life what he thought of Jihad. But let’s look at his Koran.
I should note here that while the Koran does say “there shall be no compulsion in religion,” it also, shall we say, “nuances” itself as to what “compulsion” means in ordering religious military conquests in which the newly conquered are offered Death, conversion to Islam, or extreme taxation which reduces them to semi-servile status or even slavery as their options. One cannot deny that these options are certainly strong extrinsic compulsions to convert to Islam. But again, let’s examine the Koran itself:
There shall be no compulsion in religion. True guidance is now distinct from error. He that renounces idol-worship and puts his faith in God shall grasp a firm handle that will never break. God hears all and knows all (Sura 2:256).
Believers: do not make friends with those who are enemies of Mine and yours. Would you show them kindness, when they have denied the truth that has been revealed to you and driven out the Apostle and yourselves, because you believe in God, your Lord (Sura 60:1).
Believers: do not befriend your fathers or your brothers if they choose unbelief in preference to faith. Wrongdoers are those that befriend them (Sura 9:23).
Prophet: rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding (Sura 8:65).
Whether unarmed or ill-equipped, march on and fight for the cause of God, with your wealth and with your persons. This will be best for you if you but knew it (Sura 9:41).
Believers make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous (Sura 9:123).
Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers, except to these idolaters who have honored their treaties with you in every detail and added none against you. With these keep faith, until their treaties have run their term. God loves the righteous. When the sacred months (Referrring to Shawwal, Dhul-Qu’adah, Dhul-Hajjah, and Muharram) are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful….12 But if, after coming to terms with you, they break their oaths and revile your faith, make war on the leaders of unbelief – for no oaths are binding with them – so that they may desist (Sura 9:4-5, 12).
Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors. Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is more grievous than bloodshed. But do not fight them within precinct of the Holy Mosque unless they attack you there; if they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded; but if they desist, God is forgiving. Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight none except the evil-doers (Sura 2:190-193).
Believers! Shall I point out to you a profitable course that will save you from a woeful scourge? Have faith in God and His Apostle, and fight for God’s cause with your wealth and your persons. That would be best for you, if you but knew it. He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running streams; He will lodge in pleasant mansions in the gardens of Eden. That is the supreme triumph (Sura 61:19-12).
Those that make war against God and his apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or banished from the country (Sura 5:33).
And people really wonder why we see Muslims “crucifying” Christians today?
If anyone thinks that God will not give victory to His apostle in this world and in the world to come, let him tie a rope to the ceiling of his house and hang himself. Then let him ponder if his cunning has done away with that which has enraged him (Sura 22:15-16).
Who Are the “Enemies of God” or, Those Who “Attack” Islam?
Many who defend Islam will be quick to point out that all of these verses in the Koran that talk about killing, crucifying, etc. only refer to aggressors who first “attack” Islam. But the truth is: Even though we do see the prophet speak against the idea of “attacking first,” and only kill those who “attack you,” the problem is the definition of “attack.” According to the Koran, anyone who does not submit to Islam, or anyone who would dare to teach contrary to the Koran (like Christians and Jews!), is attacking Islam and needs to be vanquished in battle. Let me give you an example of what I mean from the Koran:
Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and his Apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the True Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued (Sura 9:29).
Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., pointed out to me in a conversation I had with him on this issue that the English translations of the Koran are often watered down to obscure the truth about what the Koran teaches. He is fluent in Arabic and showed me where the word translated as “Fight against” in Sura 9:29, actually means “kill.” “Kill them!” Kill who? All who do not embrace Islam until they are “utterly subdued,” and obey Koranic, or “Shariah” law.
Need I say more?
While I appreciate any “moderate” Muslim who attempts to “spiritualize” all of the troubling texts of the Koran, the truth is, the problem is not just with “radical Muslims,” though I must say that the killing, beheading, crucifying, of innocent children is nowhere to be found in the Koran. What these radical ISIS members, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other radicals are doing in killing innocent children, is definitely not sanctioned in the Koran. However, the problem is: the killing of those who do not embrace Islam is taught in the Koran.
Ibn Warraq in his book, Why I am not a Muslim, p. 11-12, footnote #33, quotes the famous Ayatollah Khomeini responding to Western apologists for Islam, and Muslim “moderates” concerning this matter:
Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world…Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless.
Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]?
Islam says: Kill them [the non-muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non- Muslims] overcome us?
Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender to the enemy?
Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword. People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet I spoke of above] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.
As Christians, we are always peacemakers first, but there is a time for war as Ecclesiastes 3:3,8 tells us. We pray for the conversion of all of these radical Muslims, and for Muslims in general. But, in the end, the only thing radical Islam seems to respond to universally is the point of a sword. Unfortunately, it is time for you and I to let our Congressmen and President know that we cannot allow our brothers and sisters in Christ, our Jewish brothers and sisters, and “moderate” Muslims as well, to be slaughtered as they are being slaughtered even as I write this. It must stop. And military intervention is the only way it will be stopped in our time, in my opinion.
But for now, we must educate ourselves and our families as to the threat we face, and be prepared to give a defense of our Faith and to evangelize our Muslim friends. There is much beauty and truth in Islam, as I said in an earlier post, but ultimately, these are a people who are in desperate need of their savior, Jesus Christ, as we all are! In my next and final post on Islam in this series, I will share some ideas on how we can, indeed, share the good news about Jesus Christ with our Muslim friends.
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