A Call To Muslims of the World
Dear brothers and sisters in humanity. Dear Muslims.
The tragic incident of September 11 has shocked the world. It is unthinkable how anyone could be so full of hate as to commit such heinous act and kill so many innocent people. We people of Muslim origin are as much shaken as the rest of the world and yet we find ourselves looked upon with suspicion and distrust by our neighbors and fellow citizens. We want to cry out and announce that we are not terrorists, that those who perpetrate such despicable act are murderers and are not part of us. But, in reality, because of our Muslim origin we just can not erase the stigma of “Islamic Terrorists” from our identity!
Most Muslims believe: “Islam would never support killing innocent people. Allah of Holy Quran never advocated killings. This is all the work of a few misguided individuals. The real Islam is sanctified against violence. Islam means peace. Islam means tolerance.”
But is it true? Does Islam really preach peace, tolerance and non-violence? Those Muslims who perpetrate crimes in the name of Allah think differently. They believe that what they do is a Jihad (holy war). They say that killing the unbelievers is mandatory for every Muslim. They do not kill because they break the laws of Islam but because they think this is what a true Muslim should do. Those who blow up their own bodies to kill more innocent people do so because they think they will be rewarded in Paradise. They hope to be blessed by Allah, eat celestial food, drink pure wine and enjoy the company of divine consorts.
Are they completely misguided? Where did they get this distorted idea? How did they come to believe that killing innocent people pleases God? Or is it that we are misguided? Does Islam really preach violence? Does it call upon its believers to kill the “non-believers” ? We denounce those who commit acts of violence and call them extremists. But are they really extremists or do they actually do what the Holy book of Quran tells them to do? What does the Quran really teach? Have we read the Quran? Do we know what kind of teachings are there? Let us go through some of them and take a closer look at what Allah says.
What Qur’an Teaches:
Quran tells us to: “not to make friends with Jews and Christians” (5:51), fight them “until they pay the Jizya (a penalty tax for the non-Muslims living under Islamic rules) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” ( 9:29). “kill the disbelievers wherever we find them” (2:191), “murder them and treat them harshly” (9:123), “fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem” ( 9:5).
Quran says that all those who disbelieve in Islam go to hell (5:10), they are najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), and orders us to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193). It prohibits a Muslim to befriend a non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother of that Muslim (9:23), (3:28).
It says that the “non-believers will go to hell and will drink boiling water” (14:17). It asks the Muslims to “slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace and that they shall have great punishment in the world hereafter” (5:34). And tells us that “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” (22:19-22) and that they not only will have “disgrace in this life, on the Day of Judgment He shall make them taste the Penalty of burning (Fire)” (22:9).
Quran says that “those who invoke a god other than Allah not only should meet punishment in this world but the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to them, and they will dwell therein in ignominy” (25:68). For those who “believe not in Allah and His Messenger, He has prepared, for those who reject Allah, a Blazing Fire!” (48:13).
As for him who does not believe in Islam the Prophet says that after he dies it will be announced with a “stern command”: “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.” (69:30-37)
The holy Prophet prescribes fighting for us and tells us that “it is good for us even if we dislike it” (2:216). Then he advises us to “strike off the heads of the disbelievers”; and after making a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” (47:4). Our God has promised to “instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” and has ordered us to “smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them” (8:12). and “to strike terror into (the hearts of the enemies” (8:60).
He has made the Jihad mandatory and warns us that “Unless we go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish us with a grievous penalty, and put others in our place” (9:39). Allah speaks to our Holy Prophet and says “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be stern against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed” (9:73).
He promises us that in the fight for His cause whether we slay or are slain we return to the garden of Paradise (9:111). In Paradise he will “wed us with Houris (celestial virgins) pure beautiful ones” (56:54), and unite us with large-eyed beautiful ones while we recline on our thrones set in lines (56:20). There we are promised to eat and drink pleasantly for what we did (56:19). And have sex with “boys like hidden pearls” (56:24) and “youth never altering in age like scattered pearls” (76:19)
As you see, Allah has promised all sorts of rewards, gluttony and unlimited sex to Muslim men who kill the unbelievers in his name, not forgetting even those with pedophilic inclinations. We will be admitted to Paradise where we shall find “goodly things, beautiful ones, pure ones confined to the pavilions that man has not touched them before nor jinni” (56:67-71).
In the West we enjoy freedom of belief but we are not supposed to give such freedom to anyone else because it is written “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good) (3:85).
As for women, the book of Allah says that they are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to scourge them if they are found disobedient (4:34). It advises men to take a green branch and beat their wives, because a green branch is more flexible and hurts more. (38:44). It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over the women (2:228). It not only denies the women’s equal rights, it decrees that their witness is not admissible in the courts of law (2:282). This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a male witness. Our Holy Prophet allows us to marry up to four wives and he licensed us to sleep with our slave maids and as many ‘captive’ women as we may have (4:3) even if those women are already married. He himself did just that.
[A word of warning for those who may find their version of Quran is translated differently from those appearing in this article: Almost all the translators of Quran have deliberately tried to soften the harsh verses of Quran. Yusufali especially goes out of his way to twists the meaning of the words and hide the harshness of Quran. For example he translates the verse (38:44) that says “take a green branch and beat your wife” as “take a little green grass and strike therewith”. Or when he translates the verse (4:34) that says “beat your wife” he cannot help it but to add the word (lightly) in parenthesis.]
Dear fellow Muslim: Is this the Islam you believe in? Is this your Most Merciful, Most Compassionate Allah whom you worship daily? Could God incite us to kill other peoples? Please understand that there is no terrorist gene but there could be a terrorist mindset. That mindset finds its most fertile ground in the tenets of Islam. Denying it and presenting Islam as a religion of peace similar to Buddhism to the lay public is suppression of truth. The history of Islam between 7th and 14th century is riddled with violence, fratricide and wars of aggression, starting right from the death of the Prophet and during the so-called ‘pure’ or orthodox caliphate. And Muhammad himself hoisted the standard of killing, looting, massacres and bloodshed. How can we deny the entire history? The behavior of our Holy Prophet as recorded in authentic Islamic sources is quite questionable from a modern viewpoint. The Prophet was a charismatic man but he had few virtues. Imitating him in all aspects of life (following Sunnah) is firstly impossible and secondly dangerous in the 21st century. Why are we so helplessly in denial on this simple issue?
When the Prophet was in Mecca and he was still not powerful enough he called for tolerance. He said “To you be your religion, and to me my religion” (109:6). This famous quote is often misused to prove that the general principle of Quran is tolerance. He advised his follower to speak good to their enemies (2:83), exhorted them to be patient (Q. 20:103) and said that “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). But all that changed drastically when he came to power. Then killing and slaying the unbelievers was justified in innumerable verses with harshness and without mercy. The verses quoted to prove Islam’s tolerance ignore many other verses that bear no trace of tolerance or forgiveness. Is it normal that a book revealed by God should have so many serious contradictions?
The Prophet himself set the example of unleashing violence by invading the Jewish settlements breaking the treaties he had signed with them and banished some of them after confiscating their belongings massacring others and taking their wives and children as slaves. He inspected the youngsters and massacred all those who had pubic hair along with the men and those who were younger he kept as slaves. He distributed the women captured in his raids among his soldiers keeping the prettiest for himself (33:50). He made sexual advances on Safiyah a Jewish girl in the same day he captured her town, Kheibar, and killed her father, husband and many of her relatives. Reyhana was another Jewish girl of Bani Quraiza whom he used as sex slave after killing all her male relatives. In the last ten years of his life he accumulated a score of wives, concubines and sex slaves including the 9 year old Ayesha.
These are not stories but records from authentic Islamic history and the Hadiths. It can be argued that these behaviors were not unknown or unusual for the conquerors and leaders of the mediaeval world but these are not the activities befitting of a peaceful saint and certainly not of someone who claimed to be the Mercy of God for all the creation.
There were known assassinations of adversaries during the Prophet’s time, that took place at his behest. Among them there was a 120 year old man, Abu ‘Afak whose only crime was to compose a lyric satirical of the Prophet. (Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir, Volume 2, by Bin Sa’d, page 32) Then when a poetess, a mother of 5 small children, ‘Asma’ Bint Marwan, wrote a poetry cursing the Arabs for letting Muhammad assassinate an old man, our Holy Prophet ordered her to be assassinated too in the middle of the night, which was carried out while her youngest child was suckling from her breast. (Sirat Rasul Allah (A. Guilaume’s translation “The Life of Muhammad”) page 675, 676).
Dear conscientious Muslims: Question yourselves- isn’t this compulsive dogma of following a man who lived 1400 years ago, leading us to doom in this changing world? Who are we deceiving? See how our Umma (people) have sunk into poverty and how we lag behind the rest of the world? Isn’t it because we are following a religion that is outdated and impractical? In this crucial moment of history, when a great catastrophe has befallen us and a much bigger one is lying ahead, should not we wake up from our 1400 years of slumber and see where things have gone wrong?
The hatred has filled the air and the world is bracing itself for its doomsday. Should we not ask ourselves whether we have contributed, unwittingly, to this tragedy and whether we can stop the great disaster from happening?
Unfortunately the answer to the first question is yes. Yes, we have contributed to the rise of fundamentalism by merely claiming Islam is a religion of peace, by simply being a Muslim and by saying our shahada (testimony that Allah is the only God and Muhammad is his messenger). By our shahada we have recognized Muhammad as a true messenger of God and his book as the words of God. But as you saw, those words are anything but from God. They call for killing, they are prescriptions for hate and they foment intolerance. And when the ignorant among us read those hate laden verses, they act on them and the result is the infamous September 11, the result is human bombs in Israel, massacres in East Timor and Bangladesh, kidnappings and killings in Philippines, slavery and genocide in Sudan, honor Killings in Pakistan and Jordan, torture in Iran, stoning and maiming in Afghanistan and Iran, violence in Algeria, terrorism in Palestine and misery and death in all Islamic countries. We are responsible because we endorsed Islam and hailed it as a religion of God. And we are as guilty as those who put into practice what Quran preaches and ironically we are the main victims too.
If we are not terrorists, if we love peace, if we cried with the rest of the world for what happened in NYC, then why are we supporting Quran that preaches killing, that advocates holy war, that calls for murder of non-Muslims? It is not the extremists who have misunderstood Islam. They do literally what Quran ask them to do. It is we who misunderstand Islam. We are the ones who are confused. We are the ones who wrongly assume that Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is not a religion of peace. In its so-called pure form it can very well be interpreted as a doctrine of hate. Terrorists are simply doing that and we the intellectual apologists of Islam are justifying it.
We can stop this madness. Yes we can avert the disaster that is hovering over our heads. Yes we can denounce the doctrines that promote hate. Yes we can embrace the rest of humanity with love. Yes, we can become part of a united world, members of one human family, flowers of one garden. We can dump the claim of infallibility of our Book and the questionable legacy of our Prophet.
Dear friends, there is no time to waste. Let us put an end to this lie. Let us not fool ourselves. Islam is not a religion of peace, of tolerance, of equality or of unity of humankind. Let us read the Quran. Let us face the truth even if it is painful. As long as we keep this lie alive, as long as we hide our head in the sands of Arabia we are feeding terrorism. As long as you and I keep calling Quran the unchangeable book of God, we cannot blame those who follow the teachings therein. As long as we pay our Khums and Zakat our money goes to promote Islamic expansionism and that means terrorism, Jihad and war.
Islam divides the world in two parts: Darul Harb (land of war) and Darul Islam (land of Islam). Darul Harb is the land of the infidels, Muslims are required to infiltrate those lands, proselytize and procreate until their number increase and then start the war and fight and kill the people and impose the religion of Islam on them and convert that land into Darul Islam.
In all fairness we denounce this betrayal. This is an abuse of trust. How can we make war in the countries that have sheltered us? How can we kill those who have befriended us? Yet willingly or unwillingly we have become pawns in this Islamic Imperialism. If this sound to you abhorrent, we ask you how can you support a doctrine that is so deceiving, so cunning and so ruthless? Let us see what great Islamic scholars have to say in this respect.
Dr. M. Khan, the translator of Sahih Bukhari and the Quran into English wrote: “Allah revealed in Sura Bara’at (Repentance, IX) the order to discard (all) obligations (covenants, etc), and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the Pagans as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizia (a tax levied on the Jews and Christians) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (as it is revealed in (9:29). So the Muslims were not permitted to abandon “the fighting” against them (Pagans, Jews and Christians) and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period while they are STRONG and have the ability to fight against them. So at first “the fighting” was forbidden, then it was permitted, and after that it was made obligatory “[Introduction to English
translation of Sahih Bukhari, p.xxiv.]
Dr. Sobhy as-Saleh, a contemporary Islamic academician, quoted Imam Suyuti the author of Itqan Fi ‘Ulum al- Qur’an who wrote: ?The command to fight the infidels was DELAYED UNTIL THE MUSLIMS BECOME STRONG, but when they were weak they were commanded to endure and be patient. [ Sobhy as_Saleh, Mabaheth Fi ‘Ulum al- Qur’an, Dar al-‘Ilm Lel-Malayeen, Beirut, 1983, p.269.]
Dr. Sobhy, in a footnote, commends the opinion of a scholar named Zarkashi who said: “Allah the most high and wise revealed to Mohammad in his weak condition what suited the situation, because of his mercy to him and his followers. For if He gave them the command to fight while they were weak it would have been embarrassing and most difficult, but when the most high made Islam victorious He commanded him with what suited the situation, that is asking the people of the Book to become Muslims or to pay the levied tax, and the infidels to become Muslims or face death. These two options, to fight or to have peace return according to the strength or the weakness of the Muslims.” [ibid p. 270]
Other Islamic scholars (Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, Ga’far ar-Razi, Rabi’ Ibn ‘Ons, ‘Abil-‘Aliyah, Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn ‘Aslam, etc.) agree that the verse “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (9:5) cancelled those few earlier verses that called for tolerance in Quran and were revealed when Islam was weak.
Can you still say that Islam is the religion of peace?
We know too well that it is not easy to denounce our faith as it means denouncing a part of ourselves. We are a group of freethinkers and humanists with Islamic roots. Discovering the truth and leaving the religion of our fathers and forefathers was a painful experience. But after learning what Islam stands for, we had no choice but to leave it. After becoming familiar with the Quran, the choice became clear: it is either Islam or it is humanity. If Islam is to thrive, humanity has to die. We decided to side with humanity. We are still Muslims culturally but we no more believe in Islam as the true religion of God. We are humanists. We love humanity. We endeavor for the unity of humankind. We work for equality between men and women. We strive for secularization of Islamic countries, for democracy and freedom of thoughts, beliefs and expressions We have decided not to live anymore in self-deception but to embrace humanity, enter into the new millennium hand in hand with people or other cultures and beliefs in amity and in peace. We denounce the violence that is eulogized in Quran as holy war (Jihad). We condemn killing in the name of God. We believe in sacredness of human life, not in the inviolability of beliefs and religions. And we invite you to join us and the rest of the humanity and be part of the family of humankind with love, camaraderie and peace.