by Richard Butrick (December 2013)
Forgive me for being somewhat confused. It turns out that Muhammad was a man of peace, love and understanding. I had formed the impression that he was a ruthless warrior who advocated terror, subterfuge and slaughter of the defeated. But here is one account typical of the numerous accounts given on various websites run by Muslim organizations:
Muhammad was as kind as he was polite. He always treated people with kindness and tenderness and never showed harshness even to his enemies. The people who abused him, threw thorny bushes and stones and dirt on him and were thirsty for his blood, received nothing but kindness from him. He showed kindness to all, irrespective of whether they were friends or foes. God mentions this quality of Muhammad's in the Qur'an,
On and on it goes.
The kind and gentle nature of Muhammad endeared him to all, young and old, rich and poor. men and women.
In Medina, when he was the head of the state and had the power to take revenge on his enemies, he treated all captives and prisoners-of-war, including his hard-core enemies, very kindly.
In other websites we find that grace, love and forgiveness are at the core of Islam and the character of Muhammad (peace be unto him).
And Allah? I had formed the opinion Allah was a vengeful, violent God whose followers were his slaves. – almost like a zombie religion. The zombie dimension of the followers of Islam was not lost on Winston Churchill:
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.
But it turns out that it really love that is at the center of Allah and Islam:
God's love for the world in general and human beings in particular is unanimously believed and emphasized by all Muslims. Indeed, one of the God's names is al-Wadud, He who loves. Some non Muslims allege that God in Islam is very strict and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Noble Qur'an begins with the verse: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”
And then to add to my befuddlement as to the nature of Allah and Muhammad (for surely Muhammad heard and obeyed the words of Allah as he spoke them) there are these grisly passages:
“…kill the disbelievers wherever we find them” (Koran 2:191); “fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem” (Koran 9:5); “murder them and treat them harshly” (Koran 9:123). “Seize ye him, and bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High. And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! So no friend hath he here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin.” (Koran 69:30-37) “Strike off the heads of the disbelievers”; and after making a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” (Koran 47:4). “Instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers”; “smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them” (Koran 8:12; cp. 8:60). “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern against them. Their abode is Hell – an evil refuge indeed” (Koran 9:73). “slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace…” (Koran 5:34). “for them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods” (Koran 22:19-22)
Dismember, crucify, pour boiling water into their guts? The gracious and kind Muhammad, “Pardon me, nothing personal but I will pour this boiling water into your open gut as graciously as possible.”
And then there are accounts of Muhammad personally participating in the decapitation of 600+ men in Massacre of Banu Quraiza.
To top it off some scholars doubt that Muhammad ever existed.
This book explores the questions that a small group of pioneering scholars has raised about the historical authenticity of the standard account of Muhammad’s life and prophetic career. A thorough review of the historical records provides startling indications that much, if not all, of what we know about Muhammad is legend, not historical fact. A careful investigation similarly suggests that the Qur’an is not a collection of what Muhammad presented as revelations from the one true God but was actually constructed from already existing material, mostly from the Jewish and Christian traditions.
I presume these scholars do not reside in Tehran or Mecca.
Now let me go off on a seemingly tangential direction and recount the story a young Muslim’s path to dying for Allah:
When I was nine, I learned the following Koranic verse during one of our Arabic lessons: “But do not think of those that have been slain in God’s cause as dead. Nay, they are alive! With their sustainer have they their sustenance. They are very happy with the reward they received from Allah [for dying as a shahid] and they rejoice for the sake of those who have not joined them [i.e., have not yet died for Allah]” (Koran 3:169-70).
It was the first time I was exposed to the concept of shahid (martyr), and naturally, I began to dream of becoming one. The thought of entering paradise very much appealed to me. There I could eat all the lollipops and chocolates I wanted, or play all day without anyone telling me to study.[ … ]
During my last year of high school, I began to ponder seriously the concept of God while reading about the molecular structure of DNA in a biology book. These thoughts prompted me to learn more about Islam and to devote myself to serving Allah. I remember one particularly defining moment in an Arabic language class when I was sitting beside a Christian friend named Nagi Anton. I was reading a book entitled Alshaykhan by Taha Hussein that cited the Prophet Muhammad’s words: “I have been ordered by Allah to fight and kill all people [non-Muslims] until they say, ‘No God except Allah.’” Following the reading of this Hadith, I decisively turned toward Nagi and said to him, “If we are to apply Islam correctly, we should apply this Hadith to you.” At that moment I suddenly started to view Nagi as an enemy rather than as a longtime friend. [link]
Further, let me point out the inverse “evolution” of Islam and Christianity. In the case of Christianity it is from the God of the Old Testament to the God of the New Testament. The latter being unquestionably the kinder, gentler more loving God. In the case of Islam the “progress” from the Old Koran to the New Koran is from the violent, wrathful God of Abraham to an even more violent and wrathful and demanding God of Muhammad. The two books of the Koran? Yes. The Koran is two books. The old being the pre-Medina and the new being the post-Medina. Once Muhammad got the taste of military victory over the Jews and others who had mocked him and derided him as a stuttering ignoramus, there was no stopping his lust for power and dominion. Miraculously, Allah’s words accordingly became more violent, demanding and vengeful.
According to Jihad Watch,
“The Quran's commandments to Muslims to wage war in the name of Allah against non-Muslims are unmistakable. They are, furthermore, absolutely authoritative as they were revealed late in the Prophet's career and so cancel and replace earlier instructions to act peaceably. Without knowledge of the principle of abrogation, Westerners will continue to misread the Quran and misdiagnose Islam as a 'religion of peace'.
The differing conceptions of martyrdom highlight the differences in the teachings of the New Testament and the New Koran. Dying fighting against the infidel is the highest act in Islam. It is the only guaranteed path to the highest level of paradise. There is no such teaching in the New Testament. Christian martyrs, like Jesus himself, do not die fighting the infidel. Martyrdom also differentiates the emphasis on the obedience-slave relation of Muslims to their god and the love of God emphasis in Christians – living in Christ vs. dying for Allah.
One of the most compact, penetrating discourses on love is found in I John 4:7-21. The word is used 27 times in these verses. The central basis for men to love one another is rooted in the nature of God Himself. “God is love.” What is accepted as commonplace in Christianity is a dim reflection in the Qur'an. While “God is great” [Allahu akbar] is a statement of faith, affirmation and expression, “God is love” [Allahu muhibba] is absent from the attributes of God. Such a profound contrast between the two religions, Islam and Christianity. [link]
The baseline mission for Muslims is working for the domination of Islam. “Allahu Akbar” does not mean Allah is great it means Allah is greater. They have it in for us squirrelly denizens of Dar al-Harb. Big time.
And here is a recent tale of what it means to carry out the work of the all-Merciful the Compassionate:
Habila Adamu comes from Yobe state in northern Nigeria, where gunmen came to his home on Nov. 28, 2012. They ordered him to step outside as his wife begged the gunmen not to harm him.
“They said she should go back, because they were here to do the work of Allah,” Adamu said. “When I heard that, I knew that they were here to kill me.”
“Then they asked me, ‘Habila, are you ready to die as a Christian?’ I told them, ‘I am ready to die as a Christian.’ For the second time, they asked me, ‘Are you ready to die as a Christian?’ and I told them, ‘I am ready,’ but before I closed my mouth, they have fired me through my nose and the bullet came out through the back.”
Adamu said he fell to the ground as the gunmen stomped on his body, crying “Allahu Akbar” as his wife sobbed. When his wife realized he was alive and went to find help, she found the neighbors had been murdered. Adamu lay there for eight hours before he was able to get to a hospital. He held up photos of his bloody, swollen face after the attack for committee [House Foreign Relations] members to see. [link]
The faithful myrmidons of Islam were just doing the work of Allah, the all-Merciful the Compassionate. Meanwhile, back in Taqiyyaville, we have “man made disasters,” “workplace violence” and disaffected youths setting off bombs in Boston.
Dr. Richard Butrick is an American writer who has published in Mind, Philosophy of Science, Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, International Journal of Computer Mathematics among others.
To comment on this article, please click here.
To help New English Review continue to publish interesting articles such as this, please click here.
If you enjoyed this article and want to read more by Richard Butrick, please click here.