By the Word or by the Sword

by | Nov 25, 2001

“Islam is Peace.” So explained President Bush to the American public soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Since then, the President has gone out of his way to assure Americans that they have nothing to fear from the religion of Islam. “These acts of violence against innocents,” declared President Bush, “violate the fundamental […]

“Islam is Peace.”

So explained President Bush to the American public soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Since then, the President has gone out of his way to assure Americans that they have nothing to fear from the religion of Islam. “These acts of violence against innocents,” declared President Bush, “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.”

Is the President right? Is Islam fundamentally a peaceful religion?

Did the terrorists act, as the president suggested, in contradiction to the fundamental teachings and spirit of Islam?

There is no better place to look for the answers than the source of Islam, the Koran, which Muslims believe is the word of God revealed to Muhammad, his prophet. Here are a few key verses on the issues of tolerance and peace:

“Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (5:50)

“And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him.” (3:85)

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth.” (9:29)

“Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.” (9:5)

“For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who reject Him.” (8:55)

“Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies.” (8:60)

“And slay them wherever you catch them… and fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah.” (2:193)

Despite innumerous contradictions in the Koran, the passages above stand on their own and leave little room for interpretation: Any faith other than Islam is unacceptable. The Unbelievers are enemies of Islam and should be persecuted, fought, and killed–by any means. There should be no rest until religion is “only for Allah.”

In fact, no less than 36 different verses sprinkled throughout the Koran call on Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims.

It is easy to see how terrorists who believe that these verses are the ultimate truth feel justified in their evil actions. They hear in these verses the demanding voice of God calling on them to act.

Some other verses from the Koran are even more chilling, and quite shocking in the precision with which they apply to the highjacking of the planes and the explosive attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Here is a sample:

“Gather together those who were unjust and their associates, and what they used to worship… then lead them to the way to hell.” (37:22 – 23)

“…The chastisement would certainly have come to them; and most certainly it will come to them all of a sudden while they will not perceive.” (29:53)

“Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty.” (4:56)

“… Boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads… Whereby that which is in their bellies and their skins too, will be melted. In addition for them are whips of iron…” (22:19 – 20)

“Their wish will be to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out therefrom: their penalty will be one that endures.” (5:37)

It is easy to picture Bin Laden and his gang chanting these verses as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center burned and collapsed into the ground with thousands of ‘infidels’ inside.

While people inside the Towers pursued their lives, the terrorists pursued their deaths. Lured by the promise of a wealthy afterlife in paradise, they sacrificed their lives in a holy war–a jihad–just like the Koran said they should:

“Fighting is enjoined on you, [even if it] is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.” (2:216)

“Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.” (9:20)

“And if you are slain, or die, in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they could amass.” (3:157)

One may well wonder if these verses from the Koran–calling for sacrifice, intolerance and war– truly represent the fundamental spirit of Islam. A brief survey of the opinions of Muslim scholars indicates they do.

In his book, “The Methodology of Islamic Law”, Muslim scholar Muhammad al-Amin explains that “God had made it clear to us that (we should) call for acceptance of Islam first, then wage war.”

According to Islamic tradition, explained an Arab scholar in al-Azhar, a very popular magazine in the Muslim world, “Holy war is an Arabic virtue, and a divine obligation.”

“The Book of the Islamic State,” written in 1953 by another Muslim scholar, Taqiy al-Din al-Nabahan, is also very clear on Islam’s demand for aggression and conquest: “The foreign policy of Islamic states must be to carry the Islamic mission to the world by way of holy war. This process has been established through the course of the ages from the time the apostle settled down… This process has never been changed at all.”

The “Jurisprudence of Muhammad’s Biography,” written by Muhammad Sa’id al-Buti, one of the most eminent scholars of the Islamic world, states that “…fighting those who heard the message but arrogantly rejected it… has become a legal decree, according to Muslims in every age until the day of resurrection!” He also states that “[The] goal [of the Holy War] is the exaltation of the Word of God and the construction of Islamic society and the establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth regardless of the means.”

The life of Muhammad and the history of Islam set the context for the Koran and are the ultimate corroboration of these scholars’ views.

Muhammad himself used to instruct his followers: “Invitation (to embrace Islam) first. If they refuse, then war.” To the recently ‘converted’ Muhammad explained: “Had you not accepted Islam I would have beheaded you and cast your heads under your feet!”

The first people to suffer from the forceful imposition of Islam on their lives were the Arabs themselves. When the Arab people revolted against Islam right after the death of Mohammed, they were crushed back into Islam by force.

Al-Ghazali, a Muslim scholar who lived in the 12th century, five centuries after the time of Mohammad, and who earned the title “hoggat al-Islam” (rock of Islam), explained the rationale for the use of force: “Just as scholastic theology is used with thinking people concerning the truth, the sword is used with the infidels after informing them with the truth…”

The truth is that “Islam” does not mean peace, as President Bush and many others would like to believe. Literally and existentially, “Islam” means surrender. Surrender to Allah–by the word or by the sword.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

Have a comment?

Post your response in our Capitalism Community on X.

Related articles

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest