Is It a Religion of Peace? Original Islam
Pilgrims circling the black stone in the eastern corner of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque toward which Muslims pray. Islamic tradition states that Mohammed set intact the stone which was under the guardianship of the Quraysh, his Arab tribe.
By Shira Sorko-Ram
The eloquence of world leaders describing Islam is voluminous:
Said President Barack Obama at the UN: “We have reaffirmed again and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace.”
“I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace,” avowed former President George W. Bush at an Arabiclanguage television station. “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”
“There is nothing in Islam that justifies acts of terror…they don’t represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world,” proclaimed British Prime Minister David Cameron.
His Home Secretary, Theresa May, confirmed the declaration, “This hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam itself. The Koran says, ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion.'”
Pope Francis agreed, “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence.”
The British magazine, The Spectator, sums it all up:
“In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam.'”
“It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and [Australian Prime Minister] Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack… It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris.”
The Spectator goes on to say:
“We have spent 15 years pretending things about Islam, a complex religion with competing interpretations. It is true that most Muslims live their lives peacefully. But a sizeable portion (around 15 per cent and more in most surveys) follows a far more radical version. The remainder are sitting on a religion which is, in many of its current forms, a deeply unstable component. That has always been a problem for reformist Muslims. But the results of ongoing mass immigration to the West at the same time as a worldwide return to Islamic literalism means that this is now a problem for all of us. To stand even a chance of dealing with it, we are going to have to wake up to it and acknowledge it for what it is.”
So where does that leave Christians and Messianic Jews? What are we to do? It would seem logical that the first question would be, “Where in this world did these leaders get their Islamic intel?” But that question presents us with the necessity – even the responsibility – to obtain for ourselves at least a rudimentary understanding of the basic elements of Islam.
Yet, let’s go further. We must understand the basics of the Original Islam – that which was produced by Mohammed himself and his close associates. To this end, here is a short summary of what I will call Islam 101. Even though this will be anything but a deep study of Islam, nevertheless you can be sure what you are about to read has not found its way into the hands of the above world leaders – except perhaps Barack Obama who studied Islam for several years in Indonesia, though admittedly at a young age.
The religion of Islam is based on three texts:
- The Koran – the words of Allah as revealed by an angel who introduced himself as Gabriel. It is divided into 114 surahs or chapters. The textual context of the Koran could be compared to a text of only the words of Yeshua – the Scriptures which are printed in red in some Bibles. In such a Bible there would be no explanation as to why Yeshua said what he said. In the Koran, there is no context, no background information, just a transcript of Allah’s words. And the revelations were over a period of 23 years.
- Sira – the biography of Mohammed written by his early followers and accepted by virtually all Muslims as divinely inspired.
- Hadith – a collection of short stories and traditions. Of these hadiths there are various interpretations by different sects of Islam. The Sira and the Hadith together are called the Sunna. It is this Trilogy, the Koran, Sira and Hadith that is Islam. If something is not supported by the Trilogy, then it is not Islam.
Now here is the difficult part. The revelations given Mohammed by Gabriel are divided into two ways of looking at the world. The early revelations received by Mohammed from around 610 A.D. when he lived in Mecca, were conciliatory and peaceful. Here he was a poor preacher, surrounded by doubting and often angry “unbelievers.” In fact, after 13 years of preaching and persuading, he had only 150 converts! Indeed his claims were mostly mocked.
He had little influence, and therefore little choice but to appear charitable and benevolent. Allah’s revelations matched the flexibility Mohammed needed at the time – kindness and tolerance.
However, when he fled to Medina in 623 A.D. he quickly gained converts and his power base began to grow exponentially. The larger the number of followers, the more combative he became in proclaiming Islam as the only true religion, and demanding that all tribes in Arabia submit to Allah. As his armed forces in Medina grew, he began to receive revelations that Islam must be spread by the sword. In fact, a quarter of all revelations received in Medina and 67% of his biography is occupied with Jihad.
Women wearing the burqa – one of the many coverings required
by Islam, depending on the country and sect of Islam.
JIHAD AND ORIGINAL ISLAM
Analyzing the amount of verbiage given to the subject of Jihad helps us understand the true meaning Mohammed gave it. In the Islamic Trilogy, 2% of content concerning Jihad speaks of the inner struggle of the soul – the part many Muslims use today to explain the Islam-is-apeaceful- religion concept. However, 98% speaks of Jihad with the sword. And Jihad is overwhelmingly violent according to the original Islam.
So what is our first challenge to understanding the original Islam as delivered by Mohammed? It is to learn when and where Mohammed received his revelations. Fortunately, there is little disagreement in Islamic studies of the chronological order of the revelations. Verses such as “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion…” (Surat Al-Kafirun 109:6) were given to him in Mecca and came first. Those given in Medina with themes of “accept Islam or we’ll fight (kill) you” came later.
Here is a classic verse that is used by all militant Muslim groups.
And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists [pagans] wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent [become Muslims], establish prayer, and give zakah [alms], let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Surat At-Tawbah 9:5)
A NEW CHALLENGE: CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
But now we arrive at our next challenge: The Koran, as it has come down today, is not in the original chronological order! After Mohammed’s death, his close associate Uthman, who also became the third caliph, arranged the chapters starting with the longest and ending with the shortest. After he rearranged the Koran as it is known today, he burned the original text. The timeline and story have been annihilated by the rearrangement. From a statistical point of view, the text was randomized and, hence, very difficult to understand by itself.
Now that’s a problem – but not as great as it would seem. Actually, for Islamic scholars, it is an easy task to reconstruct the Koran of Mohammed’s day, the historical Koran. The timeline of the chapters has always been known by Muslim students. By taking the pages of the Sira (Mohammed’s biography) and laying them out in a line beneath the Koran in its original order, the Sira and the Koran fit together like a key in a lock. The Koran is the warp and the Sira is the woof that forms a single fabric, the historical Koran. If these two are integrated into one text, the historical Koran is clearly understandable, and the Koran then can be read in context of the current events at the time of the various revelations.
So far so good!
The historical Koran is straightforward in that just as it was in Mohammed’s day, the average Muslim student today can clearly see that the early Koranic passages written in Mecca are very different from the later passages written in Medina. But now a new challenge arises. What about all the conflicting verses? In Mecca, Allah said one thing; in Medina he said the opposite. And that brings us to the subject of abrogation.
Abrogation is the concept that Allah chose to reveal verses in the Koran that supersede earlier revelation in the same Koran. As Muslims see it, later ayat (meaning a sign or miracle, commonly a verse in the Koran) can nullify or negate a previous verse.
The doctrine of abrogation is widely accepted throughout the Islamic world. It is based on passages in the Koran like this one:
We [Allah] do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:106)
In other words, it’s not so much that Allah negates his commandments; rather he improves on them. The record of the Summa (the Sira and the Hadith of the Islamic Trilogy) confirms this abrogation.
Here is an example of two conflicting verses in the Koran:
…Allah is our Lord and your Lord: for us (is the responsibility for) our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is (our) Final Goal. (Surat Ash-Shuraa 42:15)
Now here comes the later revelation that abrogates or “improves” the former revelation:
Fight [kill] those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah [tax] willingly while they are humbled. (Surat At-Tawbah 9:29)
The jizya is the tax Jews or Christians alone can pay to save themselves from death – if they have the money. Often they do not and are killed. All pagans or “infidels”of other religions or no religion who will not convert to Islam are to be killed, without the opportunity to pay the tax. The above verse is another one of the main verses used by modern-day Jihadists.
In summary, there is no other conclusion except to admit that the overwhelming evidence shouts that killing is the big difference between Islam and all other religions.
We must pray for and help in every way possible Middle East Christians. Theyare under extreme pressure to keep themselves below the radar in order to survive, and many, if not most, are afraid to do any evangelizing among Muslims. But we know there must be a world-shaking revival in the Muslim world since the Spirit of the God of Israel must be poured out upon all flesh!
DEATH PENALTY FOR MUSLIMS
WHO LEAVE ISLAM
A room full of “kafirs” designated for death. A kafir is an unbeliever [in Islam], an apostate, an infidel. Sharia law permits a Muslim to kill a kafir and to take his wife and children as slaves.