The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

[This comment was posted by ECAW]

Here's a suitable subject for the Theology Room. I recently found myself at odds with some knowledgeable counter-jihad people. After long believing that the source of Islamic supremacism was in the Koran I realised that I was wrong and those who say the jihad verses were all contextual were right. NB by supremacism I mean the eternal, global kind, not just the local ambitions of a rather nasty provincial warlord.

I looked at all the jihad verses and their surrounding ones. The idolaters to be ambushed and slain and so on in 9:5, 9:29 etc are unspecified leading us to assume they refer to us in the whole of the world and 1400 years later. But when the surrounding verses do specify it's always local idolaters Mohammed happened to be fighting at the time in the Mecca area. I see no reason why the unspecified idolaters should not not mean the same people.

Likewise, when Allah/Mo talks about making Islam superior over all religion there is nothing to indicate all the religions all over the world forever. Those verses could plausibly be seen as being fulfilled when he destroyed the 360 other gods in the kaaba.

I am not saying that Mohammed was not globally supremacist, I think he was, but the evidence is elsewhere.

No reasonable refutation refused.

Tags: 9.5:, Quran, not?, or, qualified

Views: 445

Replies to This Discussion

Very nicely put, ECAW.

Generally, if I say "cats", as in "cats purr when happy", it means all cats. But if I want to talk about cats destroying sofas, I should say "MY cats destroy my sofas", and the qualifier 'my' must be inserted.

OK, but if I'm talking about the cats in my house for a paragraph, can't I just say "cats destroy sofas" without the 'my'? Well no, because without the qualifier, it looks like that statement "cats destroy sofas" is an extrapolation from the behaviour of your cats to that of ALL cats.

So I would say that the unqualified assertions in the Quran, especially being so important and wide ranging, must be taken as that, i.e. unqualified and applying to all the world for all time, either as a bald assertion, or as a conclusion.

But there are some further arguments to bolster this position:
(1) The major Islamic Ayatollahs and Mullahs do not limit the statements when they preach to their assembled gang
(2) I haven't seen any Qurans where this allleged ambiguity is resolved by a footnote of the form "please note that this injunction to subdue the kuffar is only applicable in Mohammed's time and in the region of Saudi Arabia"
(3) If you suggest to Muslims that they insert the above footnote, their eyes will go bloodshot and you may find yourself being followed on the way home.

Put these points to them, and I don't think you need to backtrack from your original position.

Comment by Philip Smeeton

It is tedious to have to be contextual. Muslims in self-defense always argue that we misunderstand and take things out of context.

What we have to be concerned about is how the islamist terrorists interpret the teachings of Mohammed.

When Mohammed says that women are weak-minded, he means all women not just women in his immediate vicinity.

As Mohammed’s teachings were given him, via an angel, directly from the mouth of god/Allah they are infallible and eternally true and to be obeyed. As Mohammed was Allah’s only and final? prophet then they cannot be altered, revised or interpreted.

Islam has spread across much of the globe and everything has to be seen in this context, that there are 1.7 billion Muslims now and Islam is still expanding; in Africa, Europe and now America. 

The teachings of Mohammed have to be seen in this context of a vast islamic empire not just applicable in the limited territory that Islam occupied at the one true prophet’s death (the Arabian peninsula); and with the limited local opponents that he encountered.

Islam did not cease to expand and did not remain confined to the areas Mohammed himself subdued.

The ideology of Islam and Sharia applies to all Muslim territory and everything that is not already Muslim has to be forced to submit to Islam.

When Mohammed says that muslims must be harsh towards their neighbors or fight until all religion (every system of belief) belongs to Allah, this is quite rightly interpreted by jihadists to encompass the entire planet.

We have to relate to how strict-muslims interpret Islam and the way that this inspires them to behave, they are the ones doing all of the murder and mutilation. Discussing fine points of interpretation and context are not helpful, unless they serve to counter muslim claims that Islam is benign. The muslims say that they are here to take over and they plot to destroy us every single day and that in our own territories that we foolishly have allowed them to enter, millions of them.

Islam can only be understood by the way that muslims behave; by their deeds.

Being academic and arguing fine points of interpretation and context serves only Islam.

Allah forgot to tell Mohammed that the world was in fact a globe and that there was a whole planet full of nations and religions waiting to be subdued. The rapid expansion of Islam only one hundred years after the death of Mohammed demonstrates that his teachings did in fact teach, encompass and require global conquest.

Comment by ECAW

Alan – I must confess to being confused by your reply. I think you may have misunderstood my position. To recap, I have come to believe that the jihad verses can best be understood as referring only to local people and events. You seem to be taking the position of those who see a globally supremacist meaning in them.

I think I see a couple of flaws in your argument.

Firstly you leave the word “the” out of your allegory of the cats:

If you say “My cats destroy sofas. Cats must be put down” I would understand that all cats must be put down.

If you say “My cats destroy sofas. The cats must be put down” I would understand that only your cats must be put down (apologies to your cats...I mean them no harm).

The word “the” is definitely used in 9:5, even in the original Arabic (almushrikeena). The preceding verses also refer to “the idolators” and it is clear that they are specific local idolaters:

9:1. Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty. 
9:3. And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve, 
9:4. Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).

I see no reason to think that 9:5 doesn’t also mean the same idolaters.

Secondly, do you see how you have planted your conclusion in your argument? It is precisely whether the unqualified assertions are “so wide-ranging and important” that we are trying to ascertain.

Comment by ECAW

Phillip – I agree with most of what you say, except that looking at the text in context only helps Islam. I think there are plenty of reasons to believe that Mohammed was globally and eternally supremacist. For one thing his threatening letters to surrounding kings and emperors, and for another the expansionary example of his immediate successors who presumably knew his intentions best. Examples of his attitudes can also be found in the Hadiths and Sira. The great mediaeval commentaries and the sharia assume his supremacist intentions and, as you say, Islamic history bears it out.

However, my intention is not to try to persuade Muslims that Islam is not supremacist but to persuade non-Muslims that it is. I find in debating neutral and anti non-Muslims that the first thing they say is that the jihad verses can be explained (away) contextually. I have come to see that they are correct in that limited point so it is counter productive for me to maintain a position which can be so easily debunked by studying the text. Better, I think, to respond to them, “yes that’s true, now let’s look at all the other evidence”.

 I think you may have misunderstood my position. To recap, I have come to believe that the jihad verses can best be understood as referring only to local people and events. You seem to be taking the position of those who see a globally supremacist meaning in them.

That is exactly what I understood of your position, and exactly my position.  Or to rephrase that last sentence:

I would not accept a Muslim's denial that there is a globally supremacist meaning in them.

It seems like you are being too reasonable.  Muslims will always try wriggle off the hook of their culpability, by fair means or foul, so I am not as inclined as you to accept their reasoned 'explanations'/excuses/whatabouterry.

But first an aside.  If there is a stronger statement in the Hadith or Sira, then go with that first and add on the Quranic verses as additional evidence.  But of course don't appeal to the Quran if they say that "only the Arabic Quran is valid", otherwise they will allege that you've conceded the Hadith and Sirah points.

If you go with the Quranic verse first, then move on to the Hadith, they will claim that you've accepted that the assertion of kuffar subjugation fails in the Quran, so you already start to look weaker in the audience's eyes.  If you see what I mean.

Our enemies are not interested in playing tennis and returning the ball.  They will quite happily fail to respond to a key point, then start playing with a new ball from their own pocket, knowing that the audience will not realise that your ball is languishing at the end of the opponent's court, and has scored a major point against him.

So back to verses 9:1 - 9:5.  I didn't carefully read thru the verses in my Quran before, so my reply was too general, and I can see why it is confusing and doesn't help.  I'll start again.  I think there's other things going on with these verses.

9.1:"the polytheists with whom you entered into a treaty (but they broke it repeatedly)"

  1. Is the bracketed bit in the original Arabic?  If not, then this is a generic injunction.
  2. Even if it is in the original, we know that means nothing, because us "lowest of creatures" can be breaking treaties and causing offence just be existing and going about our daily business.  We can be deemed to be breaking treaties by ringing our church bells or by not giving a Muslim the Halal meat he demands at school.  We are constantly causing "mischief in the land" just by being non-Muslim, so why shouldn't a Muslim see those verses as exonerating him from attacking us?  
    Without a very clear statement of what the treaties are, and what breaking them consists of, the attempt to restrict this is meaningless.
    There's a big deception going on here.  When a Westerner reads this, he assumes it refers to legal parties that have signed a contract, or nations that have signed a treaty.  When a Muslim reads it, he assumes it applies to any kuffar that has 'offended' against Islam in some way, and caused 'mischief in the land'.
    So when a Westerner reads it, he thinks, "fair enough, if you break a formal peace treaty with a Muslim, he can kill you".  When a Muslim reads it he thinks "Great, if a kuffar is blocking the progress or practice of Islam in some way, I can kill  him, but I'll let the dumb kuffar go on thinking in his modern civil society way, because it nicely shuts him up".
  3. As I said before, if those verses are intended to just apply to kuffar who have broken formally created, written down, legally binding treaties, then why can't we get clarification and resolution of that ambiguity in footnotes to the Quran?  If I were to write something that could ambiguously advocate killing of Muslims, you can be sure both Muslim gangs and the fascist left would be pursuing me like a pack of wild dogs, so why should we let them get away with such dangerous ambiguity?
  4. Mohammed is the perfect man, and to be copied even to the level of how to clean one's bottom, so surely, if they really want to copy him, they should want to clarify IN THE QURAN, explicitly what this means, so they don't go astray in their Islamic practice. The fact that they don't do this speaks volumes.  They are not acting in good faith.  They are exploiting the ambiguity that can be derived in any text and its reference frame, in order to evade their responsibility for people that act according to that text, in its violent and discriminatory interpretation.

There's no point in going into great depth about qualifiers now, as its not the issue anymore, so to some extent we were talking at cross purposes, but to answer your points, I will add a couple more comments.

Secondly, do you see how you have planted your conclusion in your argument? It is precisely whether the unqualified assertions are “so wide-ranging and important” that we are trying to ascertain.

Heaven forbid that I should be guilty of the "begging the question" fallacy :-)  An unqualified assertion is just that, unqualified, so it applies generically. How generically?  We'd need to take a university course in logic.  But there is enough commonly accepted meaning in the English for us to get by.  So in English (not logic), for a population of n cats, we have c cats specified:

  • no cats destroy sofas: c=0 cats
  • some cats destroy sofas: c=from 1 to n-1 cats (logic includes the 'n' cats case)
  • all cats destroy sofas: c=n cats
  • cats destroy sofas = "generally(i.e. mostly),cats destroy sofas": c=from n/2 to n cats

It is understood in the last statement that there are exceptions. So:

  • dogs bark: allows for there to be non-barking dogs, but most of them (n/2 rounded up) will bark
  • Indians eat curry: allows for there to be some Indians that never eat curry

The unqualified assertion (i.e. the 'generally' one) has to apply to at least half of the cases, otherwise there is no point in making it, as it cannot be used as a helpful guideline.  That is my use of English, and I repeat, English is not logic (which is the first 3 cases).

Without generalisations we cannot communicate or even adapt to the world.  Generalisations are to tell us mostly what will happen.    And generalisations obviously have exceptions.  But they can still be made because the alternative of not making them is worse.

What is true of number has a similar application in time.

  • John's dog will bite you

Any dog might bite you sometimes.  John's dog might not bite you all the time (John's dog will not always bite you).  But I'm just letting you know that John's dog has a tendency to bite more frequently than you would expect for a normal dog, so you can take some precautions.  Formally correct logic? No.  Useful? Yes!

Formal logic (which I sadly never studied) and prepositional calculus are different to English language, which will always have some vagueness and ambiguity and mostly (I used that word again!) be unprovable.  But it is precisely because of those points that it is more useful and practical. 

And on that note, I will agree with Philip's point.

Being academic and arguing fine points of interpretation and context serves only Islam.

There must be a limit to the extent to which we get bogged down in these kind of technicalities, whilst Muslims are approaching 30,000 terror events since 9/11, that's over 100,000 kuffar killed since then, they are performing attrocities that generally haven't been seen since the middle ages.  And yet their Western advocates haven't the slightest trace of shame at quibbling textual details with us and demanding segregated swimming pools, etc.  

We should be asking them why they aren't over in the Middle East fighting against their Muslim 'brothers' who allegedly have 'gone astray or mis-understood'.  Surely that is more important?  The fact is, they don't care.  Even the acts of ISIS they reject, make us more afraid and compliant, and make Western Muslims stronger.

Islam is fascism.  Islam is 'racism', in the modern leftist sense of discrimination against a people because of their culture or religion.  Why should a discussion with the most powerful fascists and racists in the world today, focus on such academic niceties?

This is from Robert Spencer

Then comes the notorious Verse of the Sword, containing the injunction to “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them (v. 5). This is, understandably, a verse much beloved by present-day jihadists. In a 2003 sermon, Osama bin Laden rejoiced over this verse: “Praise be to Allah who revealed the verse of the Sword to his servant and messenger [the Prophet Muhammad], in order to establish truth and abolish falsehood.”

Ibn Juzayy notes that v. 5 abrogates “every peace treaty in the Qur’an,” and specifically abrogates 47:4’s directive to “set free or ransom” captive unbelievers. According to As-Suyuti, “This is an Ayat of the Sword which abrogates pardon, truce and overlooking” – that is, perhaps the overlooking of the pagans’ offenses. The Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that the Muslims must “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, be it during a lawful [period] or a sacred [one], and take them, captive, and confine them, to castles and forts, until they have no choice except [being put to] death or [acceptance of] Islam.”

Ibn Kathir echoes this, directing that Muslims should “not wait until you find them. Rather, seek and besiege them in their areas and forts, gather intelligence about them in the various roads and fairways so that what is made wide looks ever smaller to them. This way, they will have no choice, but to die or embrace Islam.” He also doesn’t seem to subscribe to the view commonly put forward by Muslim spokesmen in the West today — that this verse applies only to the pagans of Arabia in Muhammad’s time, and has no further application. He asserts, on the contrary, that “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them” means just that: the unbelievers must be killed “on the earth in general, except for the Sacred Area” – that is, the sacred mosque in Mecca, in accord with 2:191.

I am vastly ignorant about islam, mostly because I do not want to burden my mind with it. I use the internet and the work of those that have studied Islam. I know what I know, and what I want to know I can find out. I like to keep things simple and easy to understand and am only interested in Islam as far as it effects me or behaves badly and damages things that I care about. By Islam I mean all Muslims. My intention is always to damage and ultimately destroy Islam, and incidentally free Muslims themselves from it's oppression.

The verses of the muslim holy texts cause muslims to behave in a despicable manner, and that is as far as my interest in studying islamic texts goes. I have no academic ambitions and see muslims as a group, internal differences are of less interest. It is how they behave as a group and the damage that they do, to themselves but mostly to others that concerns me. I do not see how anyone can remain a muslim unless they are themselves as despicable as their faith. 

Just looking at the news reports involving muslims on any given day, any reasonable person must agree that the world would be a better place without Islam. I think we all on 4F can agree about that.

I agree with you ECAW on basics, I just do not have the capacity to argue finer points.

Alan – thanks for your reply. There are just two rather minor points I want to respond to.

1. Re 9:1 Where does this "(but they broke it repeatedly)" come from? It’s not in the Arabic original or the great majority of translations:

And it is irrelevant. "the polytheists with whom you entered into a treaty" specifies the particular polytheists in question quite adequately. It is not a generic injunction.

2. I would never debate with Muslims. To try to debate with someone who has submitted to the appalling Allah would be to follow them into a black hole of deceit and irrationality. I only debate with non-Muslim neutrals and antis on the question of Islamic supremacism and my concern is to ditch weak evidence in hopes of convincing them that Islam is implacably supremacist.

Kinana – Yes I know the great mediaeval commentators interpret the jihad verses as universal. Likewise the various schools of sharia, eg the Reliance of the Traveller says “It is apostasy to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message to be the religion followed by the entire world”.

I wouldn’t waste my time trying to tell them they’ve got it wrong. We have to accept that the Islamic tradition is unavoidably supremacist and respond to it as such.

It is noticeable though that the further we get in time from Mohammed the more supremacist he becomes.

Here is a speculation:

I have just started reading Spencer’s “Did Muhammed Exist?”. He posits that Mohammed either didn’t exist or was a minor local figure bigged up by later Arab imperialists for the purpose of brand recognition. If that is the case then presumably it is plausible that the Koran was turned from a record of the exploits of a small-time local warlord into the Book to justify their imperialistic ambitions.

(With my limited abilities and time!) I try to understand the texts of Islam to counter the arguments that say Muslims who behave dispicapably are not really following the true islam. This line of argument lets Islam off the hook but my point is that anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see for themselves what Islam teaches and the behaviours it tries to induce in its followers.  So even 'good' Muslims are not without their dangers in a civil society.

the context argument is interesting.  When choosing context how wide is allowed?  Why only the verse before or after?  Why not 10 or 20 verses; or even the whole Quran?  That is a logical context to discuss context too!  The Quran in many many places holds up Mohammed as the perfect man and model for human behaviour for all time and all peoples.

which then expands the context to all the hadiths!  

Then the finger is definitely pointing at Islam not just a 'few' misbehaving Muslims!

So when i discuss matters with a Muslim and they give me this context argument i make the above arguments, but also point to the scholars who disagree with them and say: 'go argue with Al-Qaeda not me!  And will you place your body (with your peaceful interpretation in your head) in between me and their swords and guns and bombs?'


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