by Justin Antitheist
Islam does not mean “peace.” Islam means “submission”, submission to Allah for Muslims and submission to Islam for non Muslims (1). You can see this submission on the primate level in the body language of Islamic prayer prostration. The Islamic prayer position is exactly the position the submissive ape takes in regard to the dominant ape – one of making the anal opening available for the taking. It is a way of saying “I submit to you, I make myself vulnerable to you to demonstrate my submission to you. I am afraid of you.”
This word “submission” or i’salam sums up the essence of Islam. It is all about submission, every human over the entire planet must submit to Allah as a Muslim or submit to Islam as a dhimmi (a non-Muslim citizen in an Islamic state with restricted rights required to pay a tax for being a non Muslim (2)) or submit to the sword on your neck.
As we will see, in Islam, there is no other choice. In Islam, there are only 3 choices for every human on the planet – conversion to Islam, subjugation as a second class citizen, or death (2). No other choice is permitted in Islam. No one is ALLOWED to live in peace. Islam does NOT mean peace as in NON VIOLENCE. Not at all. Islam means submission and the achievement of that submission through violence and subjugation. So why is it that in the media we here “Islam means peace”?
In Islam, there is the doctrine of taqiyya. Taqiyya is deception for the sake of self-preservation (4). With taqiyya, a Muslim is permitted to not say the truth if it causes strife for them. They are also permitted to flat out lie. You must keep this basic fact in mind when learning about Islam because Islamic sources and individual Muslims can lie about Islam. This is why it is crucial to go to objective sources rather than to Islamic sources which are, by definition, subjective at best and, by their own doctrine of taqiyya, intentionally deceptive at worst. Scriptural sanction for taqiyya can be found in the Qur’an 3:28 and 16:106.
Islam is not a race. Islam is not an ethnicity. Islam is a religion found in almost all ethnic groups. There are more Southeast Asian/Polynesian Muslims than Arab Muslims, Caucasian Muslims, African Muslims, etc.). This is pointed out here because there are always a few idiots who either imply or directly say that criticism of Islam is racist.
Islam is a monotheistic religion and one of the three Abrahamic religions along with Judaism and Christianity. These three religions are called Abrahamic because they all consider Abraham to be their patriarch and Abrahams’ covenant with God to be the root of their religion. If you know the covenant of Abraham, the story where Abraham is so submissive to god that he is willing to murder his own son for god, then it is easy to see why there would be such an emphasis on submission rather than on something like moral strength or love or something positive like that.
The Qur’an (Koran)
Islam’s holy book is the Qur’an ( القرآن al-qur’ān ) means “the recitation” because it is the recitation of the message of god via the messenger Jibril (5) the archangel (called Gabriel in the Christian tradition) to the prophet Mohamed. In contrast to the Bible, the Qur’an is clearly defined as the direct word of god and the story of its authorship is clearly defined and detailed. According to Islamic tradition, the Quran was dictated to Mohamed beginning December 22nd, 609 C.E. to 632 C.E. (common era) when he was 40 years old while he was meditating in a cave outside of Mecca and continued over the next 23 years until the year 632 (5) which was the last year of Mohammad’s life.
Mohammad was illiterate and so he did not write down the words that he heard dictated to him. He recited them. It was later that Mohammad’s fellow Muslims wrote them down, and not entirely without dispute as to what exactly the recitation was. Nevertheless, compared to the Bible, the Qur’an’s origins and exact wording are relatively undisputed.
It refers to itself as “the discernment or the criterion between truth and falsehood” Of course, no one in their right mind would believe something is true simply because it says it is true.
The Qur’an is composed of surahs or chapters and ayahs or verses. These are not arranged in chronological order from oldest to newest or nor do they tell an epic story with a beginning middle or end. The Qur’an is mainly concerned with moral teaching and assumes that the reader already knows the Torah and the Gospels of the Bible. However, each surah is like a piece of a puzzle and overall, it does tell a story of Mohammed’s career as a prophet and the spread of Islam, first peacefully and later by the sword as we will see. These surahs are arranged roughly in size order. They do not tell a story or series of stories like the Torah or Bible does, but it does often refer to events told in those books. Notice that this makes Islam somewhat reliant on these scriptures from the other two Abrahamic religions of Judaism and Christianity.
To know which surahs are older and which are newer you need to know whence they were revealed. Some were revealed at Mecca and others at Medina. Those revealed at Mecca are the earlier/older ones and those revealed at Medina are the newer ones.
Why does this matter? Because of the doctrine of naskh. As with the Torah and the Bible, the Qur’an has contradictory messages of peace and violence. In fact, these are sometimes referred to as the “peace surahs” and the “sword surahs”. However, unlike the case of the Torah or the Bible, there is a doctrine that resolves the apparent contradictions in the Qur’an.
Naskh (نسخ) means “abrogation” (6). This doctrine recognizes that the Qur’an was revealed gradually over the course of many years and that in this time the scripture evolved. In Naskh, newer surahs could abrogate or overrule older ones (6). So, where there is apparent conflict between peace and violence, it is the newer surah that overrules the older one (6). Some translations of the Qur’an tell you when a given surah was revealed. But there is also Hadith which is the body of literature purporting to be historic accounts of Mohammad and Islam.
It is in the Hadith tradition that we learn of the life of Mohammad and when and how the Qur’an was recited. These were first revealed in a cave outside Mecca and later in a cave outside of Medina. These were written down after Mohammad’s death in 632 CE (7). Make no mistake, there are peaceful surahs, but these are overruled by the later abrogating sword surahs. At the end of this essay, we will look at some of these sword surahs.
The Qureysh people of Mecca in the Arabian peninsula considered themselves to be descendants of Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews and Christians, the other two Abrahamic traditions (7). At Mecca was (and still is) the Ka’bah, a shrine supposedly made by Abraham for the worship of the one god in a time and place where everyone else worshiped multiple gods and goddesses (7).
At the time, there were some people who turned away from polytheism and Mohammad would become one of them after retiring to a cave to meditate and then suddenly having something like an epileptic fit in which he was visited by the angel Jibril who then recited the some of the Qur’an to him (7). Over many different sessions, the Qur’an was revealed to Mohammad. The Qur’an makes it very clear that there is only one god.
It took some time before Mohammad shared these revelations with others but a small community of Muslims grew around him in Mecca (7). At the time, they had to coexist peacefully with the polytheistic majority as a matter of survival. These earlier revelations are the parts of the Qur’an that speak of peaceful coexistence and things like “no compulsion in religion.”
Later, however, Mohammad and his followers made the haj, the pilgrimage to Medina. It is at Medina that they gained enough followers and enough power to stand a chance against the polytheists in battle and naturally it was the revelations received at this time and place that emphasize violent aggression and a never ending struggle for dominance until “over the whole world, religion is only for Allah.” and so on and stuff about chopping off fingers and heads and all that peaceful stuff (7). These are the “sword surahs”. Make no mistake, these later “sword surahs” abrogate, or supersede the earlier “peace surahs.” that Muslims tend use to confuse non Muslims. Keep in mind, that in order to protect themselves, Muslims are allowed to use taqiyya, that is, deception to dissimulate the truth.
Now, granted all of this is a simplification of the matter, of course. It can be and indeed has been argued whether or not these surahs in the Qur’an really do justify violent jihad. This debate can fill entire volumes. But what matters is this; they ARE used to justify violent Jihad. One thing that everyone must understand is that according to the Qur’an, you MUST fight in the way of Allah until over the whole world religion is only for Allah.
Does this mean convert every human to Islam? Well, no. They can choose to live as a dimmi, that is a near slave, a person without rights and pay the dimmi tax. Or they can refuse to convert or to live in this humiliated subjugated state and, well, be murdered. There is no other choice. Convert, submit or die. Nice, huh? Over and over again, the Qur’an commands violence. Islam has nothing to do with peace. Read the Quran.
These are some of the “sword surahs” that overrule the older “peace surahs.”
Qur’an Surah 2 The Cow (revealed at Al-Mecca, an earlier surah)
Qur’an 2:216 Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.
Qur’an 2:244 Fight in the way of Allah, and know that Allah is Hearer, Knower.
Qur’an Surah 4 Women (revealed at Al-Madinah, a later surah)
Qur’an 4:74 Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.
Qur’an 4:89 They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn their backs, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.
Qur’an 4:104 Relent not in pursuit of the enemy. If ye are suffering, lo! they suffer even as ye suffer and ye hope from Allah that for which they cannot hope. Allah is ever Knower, Wise.
Qur’an Surah 5 The Table Spread (revealed at Al-Madinah, a later surah)
Qur’an 5:33 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom;
Qur’an Surah 8 The Spoils of War (revealed at Al-Madinah, a later surah that abrogates earlier peaceful surahs)
Qur’an 8:12 When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.
Qur’an 8:13 That is because they opposed Allah and His messenger. Whoso opposeth Allah and His messenger, (for him) lo! Allah is severe in punishment.
Qur’an 8:14 That (is the award), so taste it, and (know) that for disbelievers is the torment of the Fire.
Qur’an 8:15 O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them.
Qur’an 8:16 Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.
Qur’an 8:39 And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.
Qur’an 8:57 If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.
Qur’an 8:60 Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others beside them whom ye know not. Allah knoweth them. Whatsoever ye spend in the way of Allah it will be repaid to you in full, and ye will not be wronged.
Qur’an 8:65 O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred (steadfast) they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence.
Qur’an 8:67 It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Qur’an Surah 9 Repentance (revealed at Al-Madinah, a later surah that abrogates earlier peaceful surahs)
Qur’an 9:5 Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Qur’an 9:14 Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them, and He will heal the breasts of folk who are believers.
Qur’an 9:20 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.
Qur’an 9:29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
Qur’an 9:30 And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!
Qur’an 9:38 O ye who believe! What aileth you that when it is said unto you: Go forth in the way of Allah, ye are bowed down to the ground with heaviness. Take ye pleasure in the life of the world rather than in the Hereafter ? The comfort of the life of the world is but little in the Hereafter.
Qur’an 9:39 If ye go not forth He will afflict you with a painful doom, and will choose instead of you a folk other than you. Ye cannot harm Him at all. Allah is Able to do all things.
Qur’an 9:41 Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.
Qur’an 9:73 O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end.
Qur’an 9:88 Allah hath made ready for them Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. That is the supreme triumph.
Qur’an 9:111 Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah ? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph
Qur’an 9:123 O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).
Also see suras 2:216, 4:74, 4:104, 5:33, 8:12-8:16, 8:39, 8:57, 8:60, 8:65, 8:67, 9:5, 9:14, 9:20, 9:29, 9:30, 9:38, 9:39, 9:41, 9:73, 9:88, 9:111, 9:123 & etc.
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(2) Qur’an 9:5
Hadith – Sahih Muslim 19:4294 – “. . . Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them . . . ”
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(6) (same as above), pages ix-xi.
(7) pages x-xi.
(8) page xxviii.
(9) pages x.
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(12) “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (kufr and shirk) and worship (obedience, submission etc.) is for none but Allah…” (EMQ al-Baqarah, 2:193)
“The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.” (Sahih Muslim, 1:30)
(13) Qur’an 2:191-2:193, 8:12-8:16, 8:25, 8:39-8:41
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