Friday, February 24, 2006

An Article that speaks of peace and tolerance. Some sanity for a Friday.

I found this article and thought that it was very well written (link). The views in it are almost identical to the things I hear from American Muslims. I know that the words spoken by a leader and the actions of his followers can be vastly different.

My own Church's actions at times in history are not always in keeping with Christ's teachings. Does the Koran say:

Oh you who believe!
Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God,
even against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin,
and whether it be against rich or poor,
for God can best protect both.
Follow not the cravings of your hearts, lest you swerve,
and if you distort justice or decline to do justice,
verily God is well acquainted with all that you do.

There can be many debates that both the Koran and the Bible contain words of peace and words of violence. There can be debates about why passages in each contradict other passages. These are matters for elsewhere and a different post. I know that there have been many moderate Muslims calling for calm, but my question is:

Where have these voices been when hatred of Christians is taught in schools? Why are violations of human rights ignored in favor of a cartoon?

Does the Koran also say:

If anyone slays a person
- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land -
it would be as if he slew all people.
And if anyone saves a life,
it would be as if he saved the life of all people.

I do not speak Arabic and have seen the phrase spreading mischief also as spreading corruption. Can someone explain what that entails?

But if true Islam is different from the Islam that is practiced, and this is often the case with Christianity as well, it must fall to Muslims to fix this.

Catholics are not perfect, but we have fixed many of the wrongs we have done in God's name. We have apologized for them through John Paul II in a very public apology. We had to look at our own faults before truly reaching out to others. What scares me is that I see a very dangerous reluctance to do this on the part of Muslim leaders.

I pray that all of those who love peace and wish to bring justice to the oppressed, look upon their own faiths: No matter if they are Jewish, Muslim, Christian or any faith upon the earth, and fix our own faults so we may come to each other as we are...bearing the love of God. If we do that, even as one person to another, I have no doubt that Love will guide us. Lord grant us the courage to look at ourselves with open eyes, so we may see You better.


Bent El Neel said...

Hey David
I just read your post but haven't read the link yet. I just wanted to respond regarding the Quranic verse 5:32. I have an Arabic copy of teh Quran here which we bought in Egypt a few years ago.

Here's what the verse says (my own translation)
The punishment for those who fight Allah and His prophet and spread corruption on earth, is to be killed, crucified, or have their hands and legs cut off or be exiled from the earth. They are shamed in this world and will be greatly tormented in the afterlife.
then verse 6 goes:
Except for those who repent before you "get to them" (or subdue them)

I hope I did the translation justice. As Arabic is my first language, the way I understand it when reading it in Arabic is that Allah is giving his faithful instructions on how to subdue, or rather ounish people who:
1)fight Allah and His prophet (Mohammad)
2) Spread corruption on earth

Those categories seem a little vague and open to interpretation. For example in light of today's events where we see the whole Islamic world angry over the Danish cartoons, it could be interpreted that Europe is fighting Allah and his prophet.

Similarily, those who drink or distribute alcohol for example could be seen as spreading corruption on earth. (one of the Muslim Brotherhood's plans for Egypt should they gain more power is ban tourism to "purify" Egypt from the corrup, alcohol drinking foreigners and their half naked women!!)

The forms of punishment Allah specified are rather cruel:
1) Killed
2) Crucified (is this supposed to imply Christ's followers are corrupt, seeing as He was crucified??)
3) Amputating of their limbs

Furthermore it seems that Allah is endorsing torture for the purpose of forcing people to "repent". Kind of reminicent of old movies where the police obtained confessions from an innocent man "under duress". Again repentance is not specified. Is it merely forsaking their "corrupt" ways or does it have to entail embracing Islam?

So you see much of the Quran and indeed Islam is open to interpretation. Sometimes when confronting Muslim scholars with certainn disturbing verses or sayings of the prophet, they would say either:
-This is an abrogated verse
-That''s a weak Hadith (Hadith is a saying of the prophet. There are strong Hadiths which means they are trusted Hadiths. And then there are weak Hadiths which means Muslim scholars doubt their integrity)

Sorry for waffling on too much. Hope I haven't bored you :)

Bent El Neel said...

sorry I meant verse 33 not verse 6 in my previous comment

DavidNic said...

Thanks. I was not bored. I was hoping it was not so broad, but so it is.

Now abrogated mean that a verse that was written later in history supersedes it, correct? So if a verse promotes peace and a later one promotes violence it is the latter that is correct. Or the opposite may happen.

I am under the impression that this is one of the things that gives fundamentalists traction.

That many of the peaceful verses are overwritten, so to speak, by verses written later as Islam was expanding territory and thus are more warlike. Is that correct?

Bent El Neel said...

You're spot in regarding abrogation! It is a concept in Islam that I have so much difficulty with. It's a convenient excuse to justify violence or prove a point.

But what disturbs me more is the fact that abrogation means God didn't really know what He was talking about at times. It's like He'd give Mohammad a message then say "oh hang on a minute I changed my mind"!!
If this was because the circumstances changed and so God altered the original message, then what's the "expiry" on the new verses?? Keep in mind the newer verses are generally those that condone violence and encourage jihad.

There are also verses that were abrogated because Allah told Mohammad that it was in fact Satan who delivered them to Mohammad and not Allah's Angel!!!

Bent El Neel said...

Another thing I noted when I read the article you linked in your post, is that all but one of the verses quoted in that article calling for peace and encouraging opennes and forgiveness, were delivered to Mohammad in Mecca.
Suras (or chapters) 28, 7, and 16 are Meccan chapters. Mecca is where Mohammad began his mission, he hadn't yet amassed wealth, followers or influence. He was under constant threat from pagan and Jewish tribes around him who weren't too happy about his new message.

When he left Mecca and headed for Medina (this journey is called Hijra in Arabic), he started to gain more followers and influence. The tone of Allah's messages suddenly changed to a more violent, bloodthirsty call for waging war, plundering surrounding tribes and trade caravans, and enslaving women and children from enemy tribes.

The wars started and the rest is history. Jews and Christians were virtually completely eliminated from the Arab peninsula. Then Islam began its campaign to invade other countries and convert their inhabitants.