Prophet on Women

July 12, 2008
Tabari IX:113 “Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur’an.”
Tabari I:280 “Allah said, ‘It is My obligation to make Eve bleed once every month as she made this tree bleed. I must also make Eve stupid, although I created her intelligent.’ Because Allah afflicted Eve, all of the women of this world menstruate and are stupid.”
Qur’an 4:3 “If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with orphans, marry women of your choice who seem good to you, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to do justice (to so many), then only one, or (a slave) that you possess, that will be more suitable. And give the women their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, eat it with enjoyment, take it with right good cheer and absorb it (in your wealth).”
Qur’an 4:11 “Allah directs you in regard of your Children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females…. These are settled portions ordained by Allah.”
Bukhari:V1B22N28 “The Prophet said: ‘I was shown the Hell Fire and the majority of its dwellers were women who are disbelievers or ungrateful.’ When asked what they were ungrateful for, the Prophet answered, ‘All the favors done for them by their husbands.'”
Muslim:B1N142 “‘O womenfolk, you should ask for forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell.’ A wise lady said: Why is it, Allah’s Apostle, that women comprise the bulk of the inhabitants of Hell? The Prophet observed: ‘You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. You lack common sense, fail in religion and rob the wisdom of the wise.’ Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense? The Prophet replied, ‘Your lack of common sense can be determined from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to one man. That is a proof.'”
Qur’an 4:43 “Believers, approach not prayers with a mind befogged or intoxicated until you understand what you utter. Nor when you are polluted, until after you have bathed. If you are ill, or on a journey, or come from answering the call of nature, or you have touched a woman, and you find no water, then take for yourselves clean dirt, and rub your faces and hands. Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving.” [The Qur’an claims women are unclean and polluted – worse than dirt.]
Bukhari:V4B55N547 “The Prophet said, ‘But for the Israelis, meat would not decay, and if it were not for Eve, wives would never betray their husbands.'”
Qur’an 33:59 “Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and all Muslim women to draw cloaks and veils all over their bodies (screening themselves completely except for one or two eyes to see the way). That will be better.”
Qur’an 4:15 “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death [by starvation] claims them.”
Bukhari:V4B52N143
V5B59N523
“When we reached Khaybar, Muhammad said that Allah had enabled him to conquer them. It was then that the beauty of Safiyah was described to him. Her husband had been killed, so Allah’s Apostle selected her for himself. He took her along with him till we reached a place called Sad where her menses were over and he took her for his wife, consummating his marriage to her, and forcing her to wear the veil.'”
Bukhari:V5B59N524 “The Muslims said among themselves, ‘Will Safiyah be one of the Prophet’s wives or just a lady captive and one of his possessions?'”
Ishaq:593 “From the captives of Hunayn, Allah’s Messenger gave [his son-in-law] Ali a slave girl called Baytab and he gave [future Caliph] Uthman a slave girl called Zaynab and [future Caliph] Umar another.”
Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.'”
Ishaq:584 “Tell the men with you who have wives: never trust a woman.”
Ishaq:185 “In hell I saw women hanging by their breasts. They had fathered bastards.”
Qur’an 24:31 “Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty except what (must) appear; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display them except to their husbands…”
Qur’an 24:34 “Force not your slave-girls to whoredom (prostitution) if they desire chastity, that you may seek enjoyment of this life. [And here’s the freedom-to-pimp card:] But if anyone forces them, then after such compulsion, Allah is oft-forgiving.”
Ishaq:469 “The Apostle said, ‘Every wailing woman lies except those who wept for Sa’d.'”
Tabari VIII:62
Ishaq:496
“Ali [Muhammad’s adopted son, son-in-law, and future Caliph] said, ‘Prophet, women are plentiful. You can get a replacement, easily changing one for another.'”
Ishaq:496 “Ask the slave girl; she will tell you the truth.’ So the Apostle called Burayra to ask her. Ali got up and gave her a violent beating first, saying, ‘Tell the Apostle the truth.'”
Qur’an 24:1 “(This is) a surah which We have revealed and made obligatory and in which We have revealed clear communications that you may be mindful. For the woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah. And let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.”
Qur’an 24:6 “And for those who launch a charge against their wives, accusing them, but have no witnesses or evidence, except themselves; let the testimony of one of them be four testimonies, (swearing four times) by Allah that he is the one speaking the truth.”
Advertisements

The Myths of Islam

July 12, 2008

The Myths of Islam


Muslims often complain of the popular “misconceptions” about their religion in the West.

We took a hard look, however, and found that the most deeply held myths of Islam are the ones generated by Muslims and Western apologists.  The only glaring exception to this is the misconception that all Muslims are alike (they aren’t), but even Muslims fall into this trap as well, as evidenced by the various contrary factions insisting that they are the true Muslims, while others are either infidels, hijackers, or hypocrites.

Don’t be fooled!  Hear the myths, but know the truth.

Islam Means ‘Peace’

Islam respects Women as Equals

Jihad Means ‘Inner Struggle’

Islam is a Religion of Peace

Islam is Tolerant of Other Religions

Islam Facilitated a ‘Golden Age’ of Scientific Discovery

Islam is Opposed to Slavery

Islam is Incompatible with Terrorism

Islam is a Democracy

The Qur’an is the Muslim Counterpart to the Bible

Islam Means ‘Peace’

The Myth:

Lesser educated Muslims sometimes claim that the root word of Islam is “al-Salaam,” which is “peace” in Arabic.

The Truth:

The root word for Islam is “al-Silm,” which means “submission” or “surrender.”  There is no controversy about this among Islamic scholars.

Submission and peace can be very different concepts, even if a form of peace is often brought about through forcing others into submission.  As the modern-day Islamic scholar, Ibrahim Sulaiman, puts it, “Jihad is not inhumane, despite its necessary violence and bloodshed, its ultimate desire is peace which is protected and enhanced by the rule of law.”

In truth, the Qur’an not only calls Muslims to submit to Allah, it also commands them to subdue people of other religions until they are in a full state of submission to Islamic rule.  This has inspired the aggressive history of Islam and its success in conquering other cultures.

Islam Respects Women as Equals

The Myth:

The Qur’an places men and women on equal foundation before Allah.  Each person is judged according to his or her own deeds.  Women have equal rights under Islamic law.

The Truth:

Merely stating that individuals will be judged as such by Allah does not mean that they have equal rights and roles, or that they are judged by the same standards.  In fact, Sura 37:22-23 implies that women will be punished on Judgment Day for sins committed by their husbands.

There is no ambiguity in the Qur’an, the life of Muhammad, or Islamic law as to the inferiority of women to men, despite the efforts of modern-day apologists to salvage Western-style feminism from scraps and fragments of verses that have historically held no such progressive interpretation.

After military conquests, Muhammad would dole out captured women as war prizes to his men.  In at least one case, he advocated that they be raped in front of their husbands.  Captured women were made into sex slaves by the very men who killed their husbands and brothers.  There are at least three Qur’anic verses in which Allah makes it clear that a Muslim master has full sexual access to his female slaves, yet there is not one that prohibits rape.

The Qur’an gives Muslim men permission to beat their wives for disobedience.  It plainly says that husbands are “a degree above” wives.  The Hadith says that women are intellectually inferior, and that they comprise the majority of Hell’s occupants.

Under Islamic law, a man may divorce his wife at the drop of a hat.  If he does this twice, then wishes to remarry her, then she must first have sex with another man.  Men are exempt from such degradations.

Muslim women are not free to marry whomever they please, as are Muslim men.  Their husband may bring other wives into the marriage bed.  She must be sexually available to him at all times (as a field ready to be “tilled,” according to the holy book of Islam).

Muslim women do not inherit property in equal portions to males.  Their testimony in court is considered to be worth only half that of a man’s.  Unlike a man, she must cover her head and often her face.

If a woman wants to prove that she was raped, then there must be four male witnesses to corroborate her account.  Otherwise she will be jailed or stoned to death for confessing to “adultery.”

Given all of this, it is quite a stretch to say that men and women have “equality under Islam” based on obscure theological analogies or comparisons.  This is an entirely new stratagem that is designed to appeal to modern tastes, but is in sharp disagreement with the reality of Islamic law and history.

Further Reading from the Qur’an:

Veils
Women Worth Less than Men
Proving Rape under Islamic Law
Wife-Beating
Divorce – A Man’s Prerogative
Remarriage
Men in Charge of Women
Polygamy


Jihad Means ‘Inner Struggle’

The Myth:

Islam’s Western apologists sometimes claim that since the Arabic word, Jihad, literally means “fight” or “struggle,” it refers to an “inner struggle” rather than holy war.

The Truth:

This is extremely difficult to reconcile with the Qur’an, which, for example, exempted the disabled and elderly from Jihad (4:95).  This would make no sense if the word is being used merely within the context of spiritual struggle.  It is also unclear why Muhammad would use graphic language, such as smiting fingers and heads from the hands and necks of unbelievers if he were speaking merely of character development.

With this in mind, Muslims themselves usually admit that there are two meanings to the word, but insist that “inner struggle” is the “greater Jihad,” whereas “holy war” is the “lesser.”  In fact, this misconception is based only on an a single hadith that is extremely weak and unreliable.

By contrast, the most reliable of all Hadith is that of Bukhari.  The word, Jihad, is mentioned over 200 times in reference to the words of Muhammad and each one is a clear connotation to holy war.  By contrast, Bukhari does not contain a single reference to Jihad within the context of “personal struggle.”

Further Reading:

The Greater-Lesser Jihad Myth (from a Muslim Source)

Islam is a Religion of Peace

The Myth:

Muhammad was a peaceful man who taught his followers to be the same.  Muslims lived peacefully for centuries, only fighting in self-defense when it was necessary.  True Muslims would never act aggressively.

The Truth:

Muhammad organized 65 military campaigns in the last ten years of his life and personally led 27 of them.  The more power that he attained, the smaller the excuse needed to go to battle, until finally he began attacking tribes merely because they were not part of his growing empire.

After Muhammad’s death, his most faithful followers and even his own family turned on each other almost immediately.  There were four Caliphs (leaders) in the first twenty-five years.  Three of the four were murdered.  The third Caliph was murdered by the son of the first.  The fourth Caliph was murdered by the fifth, who left a 100-year dynasty that was ended in a gruesome, widespread bloodbath by descendents of Muhammad’s uncle.

Muhammad’s own daughter, Fatima, and his son-in-law, Ali, who both survived the pagan hardship during the Meccan years safe and sound, did not survive Islam after the death of Muhammad.  Fatima died of stress from persecution within three months, and Ali was later assassinated.  Their son (Muhammad’s grandson) was killed in battle with the faction that became today’s Sunnis.  His people became Shias.  The relatives and personal friends of Muhammad were mixed into both warring groups, which then fractured further into hostile sub-divisions as Islam grew.

Muhammad left his men with instructions to take the battle against the Christians, Persians, Jews and polytheists (which came to include millions of unfortunate Hindus).  For the next four centuries, Muslim armies steamrolled over unsuspecting neighbors, plundering them of loot and slaves, and forcing the survivors to either convert or pay tribute at the point of a sword.

Companions of Muhammad lived to see Islam declare war on every major religion in the world in just the first few decades following his death – pressing the Jihad against Hindus, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists.

By the time of the Crusades (when the Europeans began fighting back), Muslims had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world by the sword, from Spain to Syria, and across North Africa.  The Arab slave-trading routes would stay open for 1300 years, until pressure from Christian-based countries forced Islamic nations to declare the practice illegal (in theory).

Today, there is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of religion as does Islam.  The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Qur’an most transparently.  They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in Muhammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not submit.

The holy texts of Islam are saturated with verses of violence and hatred toward those outside the faith.  In sharp contrast to the Bible, which generally moves from relatively violent passages to far more peaceful ones, the Qur’an travels the exact opposite path.  The handful of earlier verses that speak of tolerance are overwhelmed by an avalanche of later ones that carry a much different message.  While Old Testament verses of blood and guts are generally bound by historical context within the text itself, Qur’anic imperatives to violence usually appear open-ended.

By any objective measure, the “Religion of Peace” has been the harshest, bloodiest religion the world has ever known.

Further Reading:

The Life of Muhammad: An Inconvenient Truth
Muslim Terror from 9/11 through 2003
Muslim Terror in 2004
Muslim Terror in 2005
Muslim Terror in 2006
Muslim Terror in 2007
In the Name of Allah

Islam is Tolerant of Other Religions

The Myth:

Religious minorities have flourished under Islam.  Muslims are commanded to protect Jew and Christians (the People of the Book) and to do them no harm.

The Truth:

Religious minorities have not “flourished” under Islam.  In fact, they have dwindled to mere shadows after centuries of persecution and discrimination.  Some were converted from their native religion by brute force, others under the agonizing strain of dhimmitude.

What Muslims call “tolerance,” others correctly identify as institutionalized discrimination.  The consignment of Jews and Christians to dhimmis under Islamic rule means that they are not allowed the same religious rights and freedoms as Muslims.  They cannot share their faith, for example, or build houses of worship without permission.

Historically, dhimmis have often had to wear distinguishing clothing or cut their hair in a particular manner that indicates their position of inferiority and humiliation.  They do not share the same legal rights as Muslims, and must even pay a poll tax (the jizya).  They are to be killed or have their children taken from them if they cannot satisfy the tax collector’s requirements.

For hundreds of years, the Christian population in occupied Europe had their sons taken away and forcibly converted into Muslim warriors (known as Jannisaries) by the Ottoman Turks.

It is under this burden of discrimination and third-class status that so many converted to Islam over the centuries.  Those who didn’t often faced economic and social hardships that persist to this day and are appalling by Western standards of true religious tolerance and pluralism.

For those who are not “the People of the Book,” such as Hindus and atheists, there is very little tolerance to be found once Islam establishes political superiority.  The Qur’an tells Muslims to “fight in the way of Allah” until “religion is only for Allah.”  The conquered populations face death if they do not establish regular prayer and charity in the Islamic tradition (ie. the pillars of Islam).

Tamerlane and other Muslim warriors slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Buddhists, as well as displacing or forcibly converting millions more over the last thousand years.

At best, Islam has a dual personality toward other religions.  In some places they are explicitly cursed by Allah, in others there appears to be a measure of tolerance shown.  There are about 500 verses in the Qur’an that speak of Allah’s hatred for non-Muslims and the punishment that he has prepared for their unbelief.  There is also a tiny handful that say otherwise, but these are mostly earlier verses that many scholars consider to be abrogated by the later, more violent ones.

If tolerance simply means discouraging the mass slaughter of those of a different faith, then today’s Islam generally meets this standard more often than not.  But, if tolerance means allowing people of other faiths the same religious liberties that Muslims enjoy, then Islam is fundamentally the most intolerant religion under the sun.

Islam and the “Golden Age” of Scientific Discovery

The Myth:

Muslims often claim that their religion fostered a rich heritage of scientific discovery, “paving the way” for modern advances in technology and medicine.  On this topic, they usually refer to the period between the 7th and 13th centuries, when Europe was experiencing its “Dark Ages” and the Muslim world was conquering new populations and culture.

The Truth:

Although there is no arguing that the Muslim world was more advanced during this period than the “Christian” world, the reasons for this have absolutely nothing to do with the Islamic religion (other than its mandate for military expansion).  In fact, the religion actively discourages knowledge outside of itself, which is why the greatest Muslim scholars throughout history tend to be students of religion rather than science.

First, the Muslim world benefited greatly from the Greek sciences, which were translated for them by Christians and Jews.  To their credit, Muslims did a better job of preserving Greek text than did the Europeans of the time, and this became the foundation for their own knowledge.  (One large reason for this, however, was that access by Christians to this part of their world was cut off by the Muslim slave ships and coastal raids that dominated the Mediterranean during this period).

Secondly, many of the scientific advances credited to Islam were actually “borrowed” from other cultures conquered by the Muslims.  The algebraic concept of “zero”, for example, is erroneously attributed to Islam, but it was, in fact, created by the Hindus and merely introduced to the West by Muslims – along with the products of other cultures that were found to be useful to their new rulers.

In fact, conquered populations contributed greatly to the history of “Muslim science” until gradually being decimated by conversion to Islam (under the pressures of dhimmitude).  The Muslim concentration within a population is directly proportional to the decline of scientific achievement.  It is no accident that the Muslim world has had little to show for itself in the last 600 years or so, since running out of new civilizations to cannibalize.

Third, even the great Muslim scientists and icons were often considered heretics in their time, sometimes for good reason.  One of the greatest achievers to come out of the Muslim world was the Iranian scientist and philosopher, al-Razi.  His impressive works are often held up today as “proof” of Muslim accomplishment.  But what the apologists often leave out is that al-Razi was denounced as a blasphemer, since he followed his own religious beliefs – which were in obvious contradiction to traditional Islam.

Fourth, even the contributions that are attributed to Islam (often inaccurately) are not terribly dramatic.  There is the invention of certain words, such as alchemy and elixir, but not much else that survives in modern technology that is of any practical significance.  Neither is there any reason to believe that such discoveries would not have easily been made by the West following the cultural awakening triggered by the Reformation.

As an example of this, consider that Muslims claim credit for coffee, since the beans were discovered in Africa (at the time, an important source for Islamic slave trading) and first processed in the Middle East.  While this is true, it is also true that the red dye used in many food products, from cranberry juice to candy, comes from the abdomen of a particular female beetle found in South America.  It is extremely unlikely that the West would not have stumbled across coffee by now (although, to be fair, coffee probably expedited subsequent discoveries).

In fact, the litany of “Muslim” achievement often takes the form of rhapsody, in which the true origins of these discoveries are omitted – along with their comparative significance to Western achievement.  Scientific, medical and technological accomplishments are not something over which Muslim apologists want to get into a pissing contest with the Christian world.  Today’s Islamic innovators are known merely for turning Western technology, such as cell phones and airplanes, into instruments of mass murder.

To sum up, although the Islamic religion is not entirely hostile to science, neither should it be confused as a facilitator.  The great achievements that are said to have come out of the Islamic world were made either by non-Muslims who happened to be under Islamic rule, or by heretics who usually had little interest in Islam.  Scientific discovery tapers off dramatically as Islam asserts dominance, until it eventually peters out altogether.

Islam is Opposed to Slavery

The Myth:

Islam is intolerant of enslaving human beings.  The religion eradicated the institution of slavery thanks to the principles set in motion by Muhammad, who was an abolitionist.

The Truth:

There is not the least bit of intolerance for slavery anywhere in the Qur’an.  In fact, the “holy” book of Islam explicitly gives slave-owners the freedom to sexually exploit their slaves – not just in one place, but in at least four separate Suras.  Islamic law is littered with rules concerning the treatment of slaves, some of which are relatively humane, but none that prohibit the actual practice by any stretch.

The very presence of these rules condones and legitimizes the institution of slavery.  Adding to this is the fact that Muhammad was an avid slave trader.  After providing ample evidence of his activities according to the most reliable Muslim biographers, the Center of the Study of Political Islam summarizes their findings:

Muhammad captured slaves, sold slaves, bought slaves as gifts of pleasure, received slaves as gifts, and used slaves for work.  The Sira is exquisitely clear on the issue of slavery. (Muhammad and the Unbelievers: a Political Life)

As such, this deeply dehumanizing horror has been a ubiquitous tradition of Islam since the days of Muhammad to the current plight of non-Muslims in the Sudan, Mali, Niger and Mauritania, as well as other parts of the Muslim world.

There has never been an abolitionary movement within Islam (just as the religion produces no organized resistance to present-day enslavement).  The abolition of slavery was imposed on the Islamic world by European countries, along with other political pressures that were entirely unrelated to Islamic law.

Although horrible abuses of slaves in the Muslim world were recorded, there has been little inclination toward the documentation and earnest contrition that one finds in the West.  The absence of a guilty conscience often leads to the mistaken impression that slavery was not as bad under Islam… when it is actually indicative of the tolerance that the religion has for the practice

So narcissistic is the effect of Islam on the devoted, that to this day many Muslims believe in their hearts that the women and children carried off in battle, and their surviving men folk, were actually done a favor by the Muslim warriors who plucked them from their fields and homes and relegated them to lives of demeaning servitude.

Shame and apology, no matter how appropriate, are almost never to be found in Dar al-Islam.  Caliphs, the religious equivalent of popes, maintained harems of hundreds, sometimes thousands of young girls and women captured from lands as far away as Europe and consigned to sexual slavery.  Hungarians were hunted like animals by the Turks, who carried 3 million into slavery over a 150 year period.

African slaves were often castrated by their Muslim masters.  Few survived to reproduce, which is why there are not many people of African descent living in the Middle East, even though more slaves were taken out of Africa in the 1300 years of Arab slave trading than in the 300 years of European slavery.  The 400,000 slaves brought to America, for example, have now become a community of 30 million, with a much higher standard of living than their African peers.

There is no William Wilberforce or Bartoleme de las Casas in Islamic history as there is in Christianity.  When asked to produce the name of a Muslim abolitionist, apologists sometimes meekly suggest Muhammad himself.  But, if a slave owner and trader, who commanded the capture and sexual exploitation of slaves, and left a 13-century legacy of religiously-based slavery, is the best that Islam can offer, then no amount of sophistry will be enough to convince any but the most ignorant.

Further Reading:

Slavery in Islam (TROP)
Slavery in Islam (Answering Islam site)

Islam is Completely Incompatible with Terrorism

The Myth:

Islam is completely incompatible with acts of terrorism.  It is against Islam to kill innocent people.

The Truth:

Even though many Muslims earnestly believe that their religion prohibits the killing of innocent people by acts of terrorism, the truth is certainly more complicated.  This is why the Jihadis and their detractors are both able to point fingers at the other, while confidently insisting that they are the true Muslims.

In fact, the definition of an “innocent person” is far more ambiguous in Islam than Muslim apologists will lead others to believe.  So, also, is the definition of terrorism.

First, consider that anyone who rejects Muhammad is not considered to be innocent under Islamic law.  The most protected and respected of all non-Muslims are the dhimma, the “people of the book.”  These would specifically be Jews and Christians who agree to Islamic rule and pay the jizya (tribute to Muslims).  Yet, the word “dhimmi” comes from the Arabic root meaning “guilt” or “blame.”  [“…the dhimmi parent and sister words mean both ‘to blame’ as well as safeguards that can be extended to protect the blameworthy” Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land]

So, if even the dhimma have a measure of guilt attached to their status (by virtue of having rejected Allah’s full truth), then how can non-Muslims who oppose Islamic rule or refuse to pay the jizya be considered “innocent?”

Within the Islamic community itself there is a category of Muslims who are also said to bear guilt – greater even than the average non-believer.  These are the hypocrites, or “Munafiqin,” whom Muhammad referred to in the most derogatory terms.  A hypocrite is considered to be a Muslim in name only.  They are distinguished either by an unwillingness to wage holy war or by an intention to corrupt the community of believers.

When Muslims kill Muslims in the name of Allah (which occurs quite frequently), they usually do so believing that their victims are Munafiqin or kafir (unbelievers).  This is actually a part of Islamic Law known as takfir, in which Muslims are declared apostates and then executed.  (A true Muslim would go to paradise anyway, in which case he or she could hardly be expected to nurse a grudge amidst the orgy of sex and wine).

In addition to the murky definition of innocence, there is also the problem of distinguishing terrorism from holy war.  Islamic terrorists never refer to themselves as terrorists, but always as holy warriors (Mujahideen, Shahid, or Fedayeen).  They consider their acts to be a form of Jihad.

Holy war is something that Muhammad commanded in the Qur’an and Hadith.  In Sura 9:29, he establishes the principle that unbelievers should be fought until they either convert to Islam or accept a state of humiliation under Islamic subjugation.  This is confirmed in the Hadith by both Sahih Muslim and Bukhari.

In many places, the prophet of Islam says that Jihad is the ideal path for a Muslim, and that believers should “fight in the way of Allah.”  There are dozens of open-ended passages in the Qur’an that exhort killing and fighting – far more than ones of peace and tolerance.  It is somewhat naïve to think that their inclusion in this “eternal discourse between God and Man” was of historical value only and not intended to be relevant to present-day believers, particularly when there is little to nothing within the text that distinguishes them in such fashion.

Combine the Qur’anic exhortation to holy war with the ambiguity of innocence, and a monumental problem develops that cannot be covered over by mere semantics.  Not only is there a deep tolerance for violence in Islam, but also a sharp disagreement and lack of clarity over the conditions that justify this violence… and just whom the targets may be.

Even many Muslims who claim to be against terrorism still support the “insurgency” in Iraq, for example, and often entertain the allegation that there is a broader “war against Islam.”  Although the Americans in Iraq are trying to protect innocent life and help the country rebuild, Muslims around the world and in the West believe that it is legitimate for Sunnis to try and kill them.

Enjoying the sanction of holy war, the Mujahid reasons that it is permissible to attack fellow Iraqis – the ones helping the Americans… even if they are part of a democratically-elected Iraqi government.  These non-combatants and combatants alike are believed to be the “Munafiqin” assisting the enemy “Crusaders.”

Although we use Iraq as an example here, this is the same rationale that is ultimately behind all Islamic terror, from the Philippines to Thailand.  Wherever the religion of Islam is a minority, there are always radicals who believe that violence is justified in bringing it to dominance – just as Muhammad taught by example in places like Mecca and the land of al-Harith.

And what of the so-called “innocents” who suffer from the bombings and shootings?  Even in Muhammad’s time they were unavoidable.  The much-touted hadith in which Muhammad forbade the killing of women also indicates that there were such casualties in his conflicts.

If there is any doubt that he believed that the forbidden is sometimes necessary, it should be put to rest by an incident in which Muhammad’s men warned him that a planned night raid against an enemy camp would mean that women and children would be killed.  He merely replied “they are of them,” meaning the men.

This is the slippery slope that is opened by the sanction of holy war.  What starts out as the perception of a noble cause of self-defense against a supposed threat gradually devolves into a “let Allah sort them out” campaign through a series of logical steps that are ultimately justified by the sublime goal of Islamic rule.

Islam is not intended to co-exist as an equal with other religions. It is to be the dominant religion, with Sharia as the supreme law.  Islamic rule is to be extended to the ends of the earth, and resistance is to be dealt with by any means necessary.

Apologists in the West often shrug off the Qur’an’s many verses of violence by saying that they are only relevant in a “time of war.”

To this, Islamic terrorists would agree.  They are at war.

Islam is a Democracy

The Myth:

Islam is compatible with democratic principles.  The religion itself is a democracy.

The Truth:

A democracy is a system in which all people are judged as equals before the law, regardless of race, religion or gender.  The vote of every individual counts as much as the vote of any other.  The collective will of the people then determines the rules of society.

Under Islamic law, only Muslim males enjoy full rights.  The standing of a woman is often half that of a man’s – sometimes even less.  Non-Muslims have no standing with a Muslim.

The Islamic state is guided by Islamic law, derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah.  A body of clerics interprets the law and applies it to all circumstances social, cultural and political.  The people are never to be placed above the Qur’an and Sunnah any more than man should be above Allah.

It is somewhat debatable as to whether there are any states in the Muslim world that qualify as actual democracies.  There is no denying, however, that the tiny handful that are often held up as democratic nations are ones in which deep tension exists between the government and religious leaders, as the later often complain that it is an idolatrous system imposed on them.

Islam does not facilitate democracy.

Further Reading:

Democracy and Islam
Loyalty to a Non-Muslim Government


Wife-beating in Islam

July 12, 2008

TheReligionofPeace.com
Guide to Understanding Islam

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About…

Wife-Beating


Question
:
Does Islam permit a man to hit his wife?

Summary Answer
:
Yes, but only if she doesn’t do as he asks.  The beating must cease if the woman complies with her husband’s demands.  Beating is also intended to be the last resort, behind verbal abuse and abandonment.

Muhammad, himself, is recorded as physically striking his favorite wife (from her own testimony).  It is not known how he treated his less-favored wives.


The Qur’an:
Sura (4:34)“Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.”


From the Hadith:

Bukhari (72:715) – A woman came to Muhammad and begged her to stop her husband from beating her.  Her skin was bruised so badly that she it is described as being “greener” than the green veil she was wearing.  Muhammad did not admonish her husband, but instead ordered her to return to him and submit to his sexual desires.

Muslim (4:2127) – Muhammad struck his favorite wife, Aisha, in the chest one evening when she left the house without his permission.  Aisha narrates, “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain.”

Abu Dawud (2141)“Iyas bin ‘Abd Allah bin Abi Dhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens, but when ‘Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said : Many women have gone round Muhammad’s family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you.” At first, Muhammad forbade men from beating their wives, but he rescinded this once it was reported that women were becoming emboldened toward their husbands.  Beatings are sometimes necessary to keep women in their place.

Abu Dawud (2142)“The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.”

Ishaq 969 – Commands that a married woman be “put in a separate room and beaten lightly” if she “act in a sexual manner toward others.” According to the Hadith, this can be for an offense as petty as merely being alone with a man to whom she is not related.


Additional Notes:

Muslim apologists often squirm over this relatively straightforward Qur’an verse (4:34).  Their masterful aerobics of denial inspired us to write an article:

Wife Beating- Good Enough for Muhammad, Good Enough for You

According to Islamic law, a husband may strike his wife for any one of the following four reasons:

– She does not attempt to make herself beautiful for him (ie. “let’s herself go”)

– She refuses to meet his sexual demands

– She leaves the house without his permission or a “legitimate reason”

– She neglects her religious duties

Any of these are also sufficient grounds for divorce.

Finally, when Muslim apologists sometimes say that Muhammad commanded that women not be harmed, they are actually basing this on what he said before or during battle, such as in Bukhari (59:447), when Muhammad orders that all the men of Quraiza be killed and the women and children be taken as slaves.  (Having your husband murdered and being forced into sexual slavery apparently doesn’t qualify as “harm” under the Islamic model).

But, in fact, there are a number of cases in which Muhammad did have women killed in the most brutal fashion.  One was Asma bint Marwan, a mother or five, who wrote a poem criticizing the Medinans for accepting Muhammad after he had ordered the murder of an elderly man.  In this case, the prophet’s assassins literally pulled a sleeping infant from her breast and stabbed her to death.

After taking Mecca in 630, Muhammad also ordered the murder of a slave girl who had merely made up songs mocking him.  The Hadith are rife as well with accounts of women planted in the ground on Muhammad’s command and pelted to death with stones for sexual immorality.

In summary, according to both the Qur’an and Hadith, a woman may indeed have physical harm done to her if the circumstances warrant, with one such allowance being in the case of disobedience.  This certainly does not mean that all Muslim men beat their wives, only that Islam allows them.

TheReligionofPeace.com Home Page

© 2006, 2007 TheReligionofPeace.com. All rights reserved.


Value of women

July 12, 2008

TheReligionofPeace.com
Guide to Understanding Islam

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About…

A Woman’s Worth Relative to a Man’s


Question
:
Does Islam teach that a woman is worth less than a man?

Summary Answer
:
Absolutely.  The only debatable point is by what degree.

The Qur’an:
Sura (4:11) – (Inheritance) “The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females” (see also Sura (4:176)).

Sura (2:282) – (Court testimony) “And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women”

Sura (2:228)“and the men are a degree above them [women]

Sura (5:6)“And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it” Men are to rub dirt on their hands if there is no water to purify them following casual contact with a woman (such as shaking hands).

Sura (24:31) – Women are to lower their gaze around men, so they do not look them in the eye.

Sura (2:223)“Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will…” A man has dominion over his wives’ bodies as he does his land.  This verse is overtly sexual.  There is some dispute as to whether it is referring to the practice of anal intercourse, which it has been used historically to justify.  If this is what Muhammad meant, however, then it would appear to contradict what he said in Muslim (8:3365).

Sura (4:3) – (Wife-to-husband ratio) “Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four”

Sura (53:27)“Those who believe not in the Hereafter, name the angels with female names.” Angels are sublime beings, and would therefore be male.

Sura (4:24) and Sura (33:52) A man is permitted to take women as sex slaves outside of marriage.


From the Hadith:

Bukhari (6:301)“[Muhammad] said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’  They replied in the affirmative.  He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence.’

Bukhari (6:301) – continued – “[Muhammad said] ‘Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?’ The women replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her religion.'” Allah has made women deficient in the practice of their religion as well, by giving them menstrual cycles.

Bukhari (2:28) – Women comprise the majority of Hell’s occupants.  This is important because the only women in heaven ever mentioned by Muhammad are the virgins who serve the sexual desires of men.  (A weak Hadith, Kanz al-`ummal, 22:10, even suggests that 99% of women go to Hell).

Bukhari (62:81)“The Prophet said: “‘The stipulations most entitled to be abided by are those with which you are given the right to enjoy the (women’s) private parts (i.e. the stipulations of the marriage contract).'” In other words, the most important thing that a woman brings to a marriage is between her legs.

Bukhari (62:58) – A woman presents herself in marriage to Muhammad, but he does not find her attractive, so he “donates” her on the spot to another man.

Abu Dawud (2:704)“…the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: When one of you prays without a sutrah, a dog, an ass, a pig, a Jew, a Magian, and a woman cut off his prayer, but it will suffice if they pass in front of him at a distance of over a stone’s throw.”

Ishaq 593“From the captives of Hunayn, Allah’s Messenger gave [his son-in-law] Ali a slave girl called Baytab and he gave [future Caliph] Uthman a slave girl called Zaynab and [future Caliph] Umar another.” – Even in this world, Muhammad treated women like party favors, handing out slave girls to his cronies for sex.

Ishaq 969“Men were to lay injunctions on women lightly, for they were prisoners of men and had no control over their persons.” – This same text also justifies beating women for flirting.


Additional Notes:

The fourth Caliph, who was Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin, said just a few years after the prophet’s death that “The entire woman is an evil. And what is worse is that it is a necessary evil.”

A traditional Islamic saying is that, “A woman’s heaven is beneath her husband’s feet.”

The revered Islamic scholar, al-Ghazali, who has been called ‘the greatest Muslim after Muhammad,’ writes that the role of a Muslim woman is to “stay at home and get on with her sewing.  She should not go out often, she must not be well-informed, nor must she be communicative with her neighbors and only visit them when absolutely necessary; she should take care of her husband… and seek to satisfy him in everything… Her sole worry should be her virtue… She should be clean and ready to satisfy her husband’s sexual needs at any moment.” [as quoted from Ibn Warraq]

The many opportunities denied women under Islamic law, from giving equal testimony in court to having the right to exclude other wives from their marital bed, is very clear proof that women are of lesser value then men in Islam.  Muslim women are not even free to marry outside the faith without being killed by their own families.

Islamic law also specifies that when a woman is murdered by a man, her family is owed only half as much “blood money” as they would be if she had been a man.

Although a man retains custody of his children in the event of his wife’s death, a non-Muslim woman will automatically lose custody of her children in the event of her husband’s death unless she converts to Islam or marries a male relative of within his family.  Even the rights of Muslim mothers are subordinate to her husband’s family.

Contemporary Muslims like to counter that Arabs treated women as camels prior to Muhammad. This is somewhat questionable, given that Muhammad’s first wife was a wealthy woman who owned property and ran a successful business prior to ever meeting him.  She was even his boss… (although we’re sure that changed after the marriage).

At best, Islam elevates the status of a woman to somewhere between that of a camel and a man.

The immutable, ever-relevant Qur’an explicitly permits women to be kept as sex slaves, and this is hardly something in which Muslims can take pride.

See also: Muhammad’s Hatred of Women

and Myth: Muhammad would Never Approve of Rape

TheReligionofPeace.com Home Page

© 2006-2008 TheReligionofPeace.com. All rights reserved.


Proving rape in Islam

July 12, 2008

TheReligionofPeace.com
Guide to Understanding Islam

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About…

How a Woman Must Prove Rape


Question
:
Why are rape victims punished by Islamic courts as adulterers?

Summary Answer
:
Under Islamic law, rape can only be proven if the rapist confesses or if there are four male witnesses.  Women who allege rape, without the benefit of the act having been witnessed by four men who subsequently develop a conscience, are actually confessing to having sex.  If they or the accused happens to be married, then it is considered to be adultery.

The Qur’an:
Sura 2:282 – Establishes that a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s in court (there is no “he said/she said” gridlock in Islam).

Sura (24:4)“And those who accuse free women then do not bring four witnesses (to adultery), flog them…”

Sura (24:13)“Why did they not bring four witnesses of it? But as they have not brought witnesses they are liars before Allah.”


From the Hadith:

Bukhari (5:59:462) – The background for the Qur’anic requirement of four witnesses to adultery.  Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was accused of cheating [on her polygamous husband].  Three witnesses corroborated the event, but Muhammad did not want to believe it, and so established the arbitrary rule that four witnesses are required.


Additional Notes:

Rape is virtually impossible to prove under Islamic law (Sharia) and even in more moderate countries.  If the man claims that the act was consensual sex, there is very little that the woman can do to refute this.  Islam places the burden of avoiding sexual encounters of any sort on the woman.

TheReligionofPeace.com Home Page

© 2006, 2007 TheReligionofPeace.com. All rights reserved.


Islam and Polygamy

July 12, 2008

TheReligionofPeace.com
Guide to Understanding Islam

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About…

Polygamy


Question
:
Does Islam really allow a man to take up to four wives?

Summary Answer
:
Yes, a Muslim man can marry as man as four women, and have sexual relations with an unspecified number of slaves as well.  Muhammad had eleven wives at one time.

The Qur’an:
Sura (4:3)“Marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess.”

Sura (4:129) – “Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire” (but don’t let that stop you, husbands, because your needs come first anyway).

Sura (66:5)“Maybe, his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, penitent, adorers, fasters, widows and virgins” A disobedient wife can be replaced.  A man can only have up to four wives, but he can rotate as many women as he pleases in and out of the lineup.


From the Hadith:

Bukhari (62:2) – Same as Sura (4:3).

Bukhari (5:268)“The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.” I asked Anas, “Had the Prophet the strength for it?” Anas replied, “We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty men.” Muhammad had special rules that allowed him at least eleven wives.  (His successors had more than four wives at a time as well.)

Bukhari (62:6)“The Prophet used to go round (have sexual relations with) all his wives in one night, and he had nine wives.”

Bukhari (77:598)“Allah’s Apostle said, “No woman should ask for the divorce of her sister (Muslim) so as to take her place, but she should marry the man (without compelling him to divorce his other wife)” Polygamy is firmly established in the Islamic tradition.


Additional Notes:

One of the worst arguments in defense of polygamy within Islam is that it reduces prostitution by satisfying a man’s sexual desire in a way that one woman cannot.  That the same Qur’anic verse also gives a man license to capture women and use them as sex slaves is often overlooked by Islam’s apologists.  Neither is there any reason given for why Allah would procreate women and men at an equal rate if marriages were meant to have ratios as high as 4:1.

Muhammad had many wives (nine of whom outlived him) and the jealousies and bickering in this unhappy arrangement are chronicled not only in the Hadith, but in the Qur’an as well.  At one point his wives were so upset by Muhammad’s taking a slave girl to one of their own bedrooms that Allah had to step down and whisper part of Sura 33 in his ear, which includes a threat to divorce them all if they didn’t allow him complete sexual freedom.

There are worse things in the world than polygamy (which has been practiced by many cultures outside of Islam), but it is shocking to see a religion place such high value on a man’s base sexual desire that he is permitted to bring other women into the marriage bed just to satisfy his lust.  At the very least, it seems to devalue a woman’s worth according to simple mathematics.

And (lest there be any doubt) women are not allowed the same freedom to seek sexual satisfaction from alternate sources should their husband lose interest or capacity.

In Islam, a woman’s worth is the sum of her sexual value to her husband.

TheReligionofPeace.com Home Page


Remarriage in Islam

July 12, 2008

TheReligionofPeace.com
Guide to Understanding Islam

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About…

Remarriage


Question
:
What must a divorced wife do before her husband can take her back?

Summary Answer
:
According to the Qur’an, a woman who is divorced by her husband (which is easy for him to do) can only be taken back by him if she first marries another man and he divorces her.

The Qur’an:
Sura (2:230)“So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), He cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and He has divorced her…”


From the Hadith:

Bukhari (063:190) – Muhammad tells a woman that she cannot return to her first husband until she has sexual relations with another man.

Abu Dawud confirms this in two places: 2192 and 2302.


Additional Notes:

If, in a fit of anger, a man pronounces the ‘triple talaq’ (repeating “I divorce you” three times) to his wife, they are divorced under Islamic law.  However, if the couple wishes to reconcile – perhaps for the sake of their children – they cannot do this until she first marries and divorces another man.

The requirement is not symbolic.  Muhammad is very clear about the fact that the interim marriage must be consummated.

This command is utterly degrading to the woman, who may have done nothing to merit her husband’s rage, yet must bear the brunt of his temper in the most humiliating way.  This also provides irrefutable insight into the sexism that is so deeply rooted in Islam.

Sura 2:229-230 says that divorce and remarriage can only take place twice before the marriage is permanently unlawful.