It takes a nation to protect the nation
Elsewhere I saw someone ask where this myth first started to ciruclate in the west. So, in the path of Michel Foucault, I went off to do some archaeology of knowledge (unlike the French Fraudster, I will provide actual citations). This is the earliest instance of the trope that I've been able to find so far. If we find earlier evidence of the construction of this mythology, we can add it here.
Muslims and Christians should join in jihad against common problems
The Independent. London (UK): May 20, 1996. pg. 14
Bismillah'h Ir Rahman-ir-Rahim, these words are used by millions of Muslims every day, that is, millions of times a day we hear the words that Allah - or God - is the Beneficent, the Merciful; this in essence is the spirit of Islam.
In spite of what you may read in the papers and see on TV, Islam is a religion of peace and compassion. Indeed the word Islam derives from the word for peace.Shortly before his death the prophet spoke at Arafat. He emphasised the unity of humanity and the need to respect others: "God has made you brethren one to another, so be not divided. An Arab has no preference over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one."
Many people do not appreciate that there is a close ideological and theological relationship for Muslims between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The basis of belief is the same. All three religions believe in the notion of the one divine God; they also believe that we are mortals temporarily put here on earth and that there is accountability for our actions, an afterlife. The Koran repeatedly points out that both Jews and Christians are "people of the Book". Indeed, for Muslims the prophets of Judaism and Christianity are also their prophets.
It is well to remember that when Muslims are being persecuted in Makkah in the early days of Islam, the holy Prophet sent them to the Christian land of Abyssinia, confident that they would find hospitality there. Late in the 20th century many Muslims again find refuge in the Christian - or at least partly Christian - land of Britain. These days I often wonder about the fate of those Muslims if a Michael Howard had been waiting for them in Abyssinia.
There are many steps that can be taken to help understanding between Islam and the West but the effort needs to come from both sides. A basic knowledge of Islam could be taught in Western schools so that children do not grow up in ignorance of it; ignorance breeds fear and prejudice. Conversely, Western values, like democracy, need to be explained in Muslim schools; also that the West has more to offer them than just sex and violence, the Muslim stereotype of the West.
Muslims must convince the world that the media images of them as law-breaking and violent people are not true, that foreign embassies, diplomats, travellers and non-Muslims are safe in their countries. These acts are one way of capturing the headlines but they are not Islamic in content or spirit. The fight against injustice and oppression must continue, but must take other forms. There are also too many stories of human rights violations in Muslim lands. Minorities feel threatened and vulnerable. This is not in the spirit of Islam.
How many know (and this question is also posed to Muslims) that the notion of the greater jihad, commonly misunderstood as an aggressive act of religious war in the West, which derives from the word to strive, was explained by the Prophet as the attempt to control our own base instincts and work towards a better, more harmonious world? The lesser jihad is to battle physically for Islam; that too only against tyranny or injustice.
The common problems in our world need to be identified: drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, teenage violence and crime, ethnic and racist prejudice, the problems of the aged and the poor; the challenge of the growing sense of anarchy and rampant materialism; the sexual debasement of women and children; the depletion of our natural resources and ecological concerns. On all these issues, Islam takes a strong, enlightened position. This is the real Islamic jihad and, if it is properly harnessed and understood, it can provide fresh, sorely needed strength to these most crucial of global issues.
This article is excerpted from a sermon preached last night at Selwyn College Cambridge. The writer's book 'Living Islam: from Samarkand to Stornoway' (1995) is published by BBC-Penguin.
Of course, what this fails to mention is that Ibn Ishaq's Life of Mohammed (the earliest biography of Mohammed), was also known by muslims under another name: The Book of Campaigns, i.e. the Book of Battles (Guillaume translation, p. xvii). The chapter titles show why it was known proudly by this war-like title: about 30 of the chapters refer to raids, attacks and murders initiated by Mohammed. How is it that something so fundamentally opposed to the concept of peace is omitted from this gloss? How is it that this can be so glibly stated at a talk in Cambridge University, yet the assembled arabists and orientalists remain mute? How is that "The Independent" (sic) should fail to comment on this contradiction (where's the independence in that?) It would be interesting to see if the author's book Living Islam mentions any of these thirty authoritatively verified violent incidents in Mohammed's life.
I wasn't sure where to put this. It had to be somewhere to do with Islam and war.
This letter marked a turning point in the history of Oman. Omanis willingly accepted the Prophet’s call to Islam and after they became Muslims, they participated actively in strengthening the pillars of the developing Islamic state and in spreading Islam to new regions.
The Prophet’s companion, ‘Amr bin Al ‘Aas, carried the letter to the two brothers, Jaifar and Abd, sons of Al Julanda, the joint rulers of Oman at that time. Sources do not agree, however, on the exact year in which the letter was sent. According to one historical source, the letter was sent after the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in year 6 of the Hijra. Another source suggests that the letter was sent after Hajjat-al-Wada’ (the Farewell Pilgrimage). Despite the debate over the precise dating of the letter, most sources agree that it was sent after Fat’h Mecca (the Opening of Mecca) in the year 8 of the Hijra.
The letter reads as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From Mohammed, the messenger of Allah, to Jaifar and Abd, sons of Al Julanda. Peace is upon him who follows the guidance. I am calling both of you, in the name of Islam. You will be safe if you submit to Islam.
I am the Messenger of Allah to all people warn all living that Islam will prevail. I hope you will accept Islam, but if you do not, then you will lose your country, and my horsemen will invade your territory and my prophecy will dominate your country”.
The above article was written in 2009. Note it talks of "Islamic State", as do many other texts predating the rise of ISIS.
Here's a copy of the letter.
Here is a screenshot of that text + image on a museum website of the Omani government.
archive.org has no record of that URL (blocked perhaps by Omani govt for some reason).
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