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Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

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Archive for February, 2012

Issue 41

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Issue 41 [@41:50]: Slide projected with voice – SAHIH AL-BUKHARI Vol 4, Bk 53, Hadith 392. While we were in the Mosque, the Prophet came out and said, “Let us go to the Jews,” We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, “If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle.”

Rebuttal 41: This documentary has exploited to the maximum the out of context use of Quranic verses and Hadith quotations. This out of context use is known as Contextomy, attention to which has been repeatedly drawn in earlier rebuttals. This contextomy was fully used by Nazis against Jews. Now the same technique is knowingly being used against Islam. To understand the contextomy usage, suppose a person living in the farthest part of the globe who was unaware of American idiom and history is told that President Johnson a few decades ago declared “War on Poverty.” Will it be fair for that person to draw the conclusion that United States is ruled by tyrants and that American forces were actually deployed in the streets of its poor neighborhoods? Absolutely not. It begets that person to ask for more information before developing an opinion.

Nature of Hadiths is distinct from Quran in that the injunctions of the latter might have historical context, but their implications are for ever. On the reverse, Hadiths in general show “good practices” of the time of Prophet Muhammad, but if they explain Quran, then they tend to carry a lasting value. Still Hadiths do not match the quality control as enjoyed by Quran. If push comes to shove, a Hadith may be rejected but not Quran. In general, if an incidence in history is reflected in a quoted Hadith, it begets the reader to understand the context of other events around it that let to such a Hadith and the implications of Hadith as to if it is a lasting example. Therefore, before we read the above quoted Hadith, lets look at its context in the light of Quran and try to understand the moral underpinnings around the main actors in the Hadith, i.e. the Muslims and Jews and their interplay:

5:51. O you who believe! do not take these Jews and the Christians for allies. They are allies of one to another (when against you), and whoso from amongst you takes them for allies, is indeed one of them. Verily, Allâh does not guide the unjust people to attain their goal.

The emphasis is on “those” opposing communities including Jews and Christians of Medina and its vicinity at the time when Muslims of Makkah had migrated to Medina to escape thirteen years of relentless persecution. “these” initially signed alliance treaties but were factually united against the city government of Muslims that was established in Medina. “These” are on record for aiding and abetting attacks on Medina by Makkans. Quran contextualizes “these” in the verses adjoining the above verse:

5:50. Do they seek to enforce the law of (the days of) ignorance? [i.e., when might was right, there were no human rights, women were mere property, slavery was rampant before Islam]

5:52. Now you shall see those [weak at heart Muslims] in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) vying one with another towards them (– the Jews and Christians [who were powerful and influential in Medina] to take them for allies). They [i.e. early Muslims of Medina] say, `We are afraid lest a misfortune should befall us [because of not siding with the powerful].

5:58. And when you call (the people) to Prayer, they [Jew and Christian communities of Medina] take it lightly [i.e., make mockery] and consider it [Islam] worthless [like a sport, i.e.. not to be taken seriously and a religion not worth adopting]. They do so because they are a people who do not understand.

5:59. Say, `O People of the Scripture! do you find fault with us [Muslims] only because we believe in Allâh and in that which has been revealed to us, and in that which was revealed before (us [on you, i.e., Torah, Bible, etc.])? Whereas most of you are disobedient (to God)’. [and flaunt His standards of fairness even in their own religions]

5:60. Say, `Shall I inform you of those who shall receive from Allâh a recompense worse than that of those (who try to find fault with Us)? They are those whom Allâh has deprived of His blessings and upon whom He brought His displeasure and indignation and of whom He has made (as) apes and swine [in their behavior who copy and imitate each other without thinking and have no moral boundaries] and who serve the transgressor (– the devil) . It is these who are indeed worse-placed and farther astray from the right path.’

5:61. And when they [Jews and Christians of Medina] come to you they say, `We believe,’ while, in fact, they enter without faith and go out without it. And Allâh knows best all they conceal.[i.e., they would strategically convert and revert in the then time of state of war with Makkans and were a source of dissent and treason]

Quran further analyzes such behavior of the people of the Book toward Muslims:

5:66. If they had only observed the Torah and the Evangel and that which has been revealed to them (now) from their Lord, [because no Divine Book will endorse such behaviors as above] they would surely have eaten (of good things) from above them [i.e., spiritual gains] and from under their feet [i.e., material gains], (thus would have enjoyed the boons of the heaven and the earth). [Quran does not measure all members of the opposing tribes with the same yardstick and acknowledges that] Though there is amongst them a community who is moderate (and of balanced mind), yet a large number of them are such that evil are their deeds [which are on record in the secular neo-Islamic history].

Quran further encourages the people of the Book to follow their own Scriptures for a virtuous behavior and its outcome:

5:68. Say, `O People of the Scripture! you stand nowhere unless you observe the Torah and the Evangel and that (– Qur’ân) which has (now) been revealed to you from your Lord’. And certainly that which has been revealed [i.e., Quran] to you [all] from your Lord will increase many of them in ordinate rebellion and disbelief; so do not grieve for the disbelieving people.

5:69. Verily, those who have believed and those who judaised and the Sabians and the Christians, whosoever believes in Allâh and the Last Day and does righteous deeds, they shall have no cause of fear nor shall they ever grieve.

Quran then gives historical references to the above mentioned behaviors which are replete in history by the same people:

5:70. Surely, We took a covenant from the Children of Israel and We sent Messengers to them. Every time there came to them a Messenger with that (Message) which did not suit their fanciful desires, (they defied him so that) some they treated as liars and others they sought to kill.

5:71. And they thought there would be no punishment (for them) so they willfully became blind and deaf; (then they sought Allâh’s pardon) then Allâh turned to them (with mercy with the advent of Jesus), yet again many of them became blind and deaf. And Allâh is Watchful of what they do.

Quran is quite clear about friends and foe of Muslims:

60:8. Allâh does not forbid you to be kind and good and to deal justly with those who have not fought you because of your faith and have not turned you out of your homes. In fact Allâh loves those who are equitable.

60:9. Allâh only forbids you to make friends with those who have fought you because of your faith and who have turned you out of your homes, and have abetted your expulsion. Indeed, those who make friends with them are really the unjust.

Despite such treacherous behaviors by opponents, Quran does not claim righteousness for Muslims alone:

3:113. They (– the people of the Scripture) are not all alike. Among these people of the Scripture there are some upright people. They rehearse the Message of Allâh in the hours of the night and they prostrate themselves (in His worship).

3:114. They believe in Allâh and the Last Day and enjoin good and forbid evil, and they vie one with another in (doing) good deeds. And it is these who are of the truly righteous.

Now, getting back to the Hadith in reference, lets read the earlier quoted verses again that bring out the historical and moral context of the said Hadith:

5:70. Surely, We took a covenant from the Children of Israel and We sent Messengers to them. Every time there came to them a Messenger with that (Message) which did not suit their fanciful desires, (they defied him so that) some they treated as liars and others they sought to kill.

5:71. And they thought there would be no punishment (for them) so they willfully became blind and deaf; (then they sought Allâh’s pardon) then Allâh turned to them (with mercy with the advent of Jesus), yet again many of them became blind and deaf. And Allâh is Watchful of what they do.

Jewish tribes of Medina are on record for their treacherous behavior against the government of Medina. Despite their peace and alliance treaties with the government of Medina, they repeatedly violated it and supported attacks by Makkans on Medina. They fanned intrigues against Muslims by secret support of the hypocrites in Medina who were led by Abdullah bin Ubbay. They even tried to kill Muhammad as an invited guest, once in Medina and once in Khyber. Such sedition against the government of Medina resulted in the famous wars against Muslims in and around Medina, namely Badr, Uhad and Battle of Trench. The said Jewish violations and their consequences have been addressed in Issues 1 and 2 before. The usage of the words “Allah and His Apostle” in Quran and Hadith imply the City government of Medina in early Islam. As the head of the government, Muhammad had a choice to either annihilate or enslave the treacherous Jewish tribes along the lines of their own tradition of Joshua in Jericho, confiscate all their property as Herem, and follow the law of Torah i.e. Deuteronomy 20:

12. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

13. And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

14. But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

15. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.

16. But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

17. But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

18. That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.

19. When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life) to employ them in the siege:

20. Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued.

Despite of treaty violations, Muhammad did none of the above of Torah or Jewish history and gave the treacherous Jewish tribes the choice to either freely accept Islam on its merits and live as peaceful citizens or leave Medina. Else, Muslims had no choice but go to a full scale war with the treaty violators. Thus is the full context of the Hadith and Quran which reads:

While we were in the Mosque, the Prophet came out and said,“Let us go to the Jews,” We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras [-Jewish Madrassah, probably associated with Banu Qainqah]. He [Muhammad] said to them, “If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the earth [-Medina] belongs to Allah and His Apostle [i.e. City government of Medina].”

5:70-1. Surely, We took a covenant from the Children of Israel and We sent Messengers to them. Every time there came to them a Messenger with that (Message) which did not suit their fanciful desires, (they defied him so that) some they treated as liars and others they sought to kill.And they thought there would be no punishment (for them) so they willfully became blind and deaf[to their treaties, treacheries and consequences of their violations]…

There were three Jewish tribes in or around Medina each with their fortifications, namely Banu Qainqah, Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizah. Reader is reminded that besides these three Jewish tribes, there were other Jewish groups numbering about 20,000 who lived in peace and harmony in and around Medina. Over period of time, each of the said tribes conspired against the Muslims and for which they were besieged after the three wars respectively i.e. Qainqah – Badr, Nadir – Uhad, Quraizah – Battle of Trench. The first two were judged by Muhammad by their choice, who let them relocate away from Medina with their full possessions. Banu Qainqah resettled in Syria and Banu Nadir relocated to their brethren in faith in Khaibar at a distance of ninety five miles north of Medina. Banu Nadir were one of the main instigators and participants of the Trench War against Muslims and on their canvassing the third tribe of Banu Quraizah broke their treaty and actually fought against the Muslims in the same war. When Banu Quraizah were besieged for sedition, they appointed as arbitrator, their old acquaintance and ally, the chief of Aus tribe. To their dismay, they were awarded verdict from their own Mosaic Law by a judge of their own choosing and in their own historical tradition – [Muhammad The Prophet, pg 108-109]. About sixteen or seventeen of Banu Quraizah ring leaders of conspiracy were executed and rest of the tribe was let go and they left Medina after selling their property and taking their belongings. See Issues 1 and 2 for more discussion on Jewish treachery in Medina.

So, Mr. Spencer when you quote the Hadith in reference, at least you can see for yourself both in the words of Hadith and historical events connected with the Hadith, that Muhammad did not create the dispossessed refugees with no future out of the Jewish tribes unlike the millions of victims under collective punishment of 1948 and 1967 occupations of Palestine. Those tribes left Medina at different times and reasons with full possessions and after sale of their properties. Neither, did Muhammad banish those tribes with internment as is customary of the modern democracies e.g. internment of ethnic Japanese in United States during WWII. Neither did Muhammad enforce Gaza like ghettoized-apartheid on the treacherous tribes. Neither did Muhammad force convert, torture or plunder those tribes, unlike the Inquisition set into motion for centuries by Pope Innocent-III or the current Pope Benedict XVI who presumably believes that Native Americans longed for Christianity, genocide and slavery. Neither did Muhammad try to save the ‘heathens’ from themselves, unlike the Catholic church in Americas. Neither did he kill every living soul be it a human or animal or a leaf in the Jewish fortifications in Medina, unlike Joshua in Jericho. Neither did Muhammad massacre thousands of hostages in the name of Crusades, unlike the “Holy” crusader – Richard in Acre.

One thing does stand out about Muhammad as a statesman. He complied with all the terms of his agreements and when the other party violated the treaty he enforced his agreements be they with Jewish tribes in Medina or the idolaters of Makkah. Despite his numerical, economic and political disadvantage, Muhammad overcame the far superior offenders and attackers. As a conqueror he shone as a Prophet, he forgave whosoever he overcame. He forgave from position of strength unlike like others who allegedly forgave from their weakness when pinned to the cross by the treachery of the same people – Every time there came to them a Messenger with that (Message) which did not suit their fanciful desires, (they defied him so that) some they treated as liars and others they sought to kill. And they thought there would be no punishment (for them) so they willfully became blind and deaf…


Note: [comments in square brackets above are not part of the original quoted text]

References:

Contextomy – Wikipedia
War on Poverty – Wikpedia
Joshua in Jericho – Wikipedia
Herem – Wikipedia
Deuteronomy 20 – Bible Gateway
Palestinian Refugees – Wikipedia
Japanese American internment – Wikipedia
Gaza Ghetto – Portrait of a Palestinian Family – New Day Films
The Inquisition – Jewish Virtual Library
Pope Benedict XVI: Native Americans Longed for Christianity, Genocide, Slavery – About.com
Battle of Jericho – Wikipedia
Richard the Lion Heart Massacres – Eyewitness to History.com
Holy Quran – Nooruddin