Sunday, June 20, 2010

Did Muhammad Like Jews and Christians?

98: 1 Those who disbelieve from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and among Al-Mushrikun (polytheists) were not going to leave (their disbelief) until there came to them clear evidence.

98:6 Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Quran and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.

5:51 O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya' (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliya' to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya', then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong­doers and unjust).

58:19. Shaitan (Satan) has overtaken them (the Jews). So he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Shaitan (Satan). Verily, it is the party of Shaitan (Satan) that will be the losers!

4:76 Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (Satan, etc.). So fight you against the friends of Shaitan (Satan); Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaitan (Satan).

4:35 So be not weak and ask not for peace (from the enemies of Islam), while you are having the upper hand. Allah is with you, and will never decrease the reward of your good deeds.

Christians and Jews do not hold any special place in Islamic theology. In the end, they were regarded with contempt by Muhammad, and presented in a hateful manner in the Quran today. Thus another reason to make war upon them (refer to 9:29). And when the Muslims have the upper hand, they are not to seek peace, but the continued destruction of their enemies.

What about this verse? sura 2:256. "There is no compulsion in religion" Most people just stop there and say "oh, you see Islam is a tolerant religion." When examined closer it tell a different story:

" 2:256. There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

COMMENT

This verse is the most often quoted verse used to portray Islam as a religion of peace. On the surface it sounds good. However, investigation into how the early Muslim scholars viewed it, and the background and comments they ascribe to it cast it in a slightly different light.

From the Sunan of Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2676:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:

When the children of a woman (in pre-Islamic days) did not survive, she took a vow on herself that if her child survives, she would convert it a Jew. When Banu an-Nadir were expelled (from Arabia), there were some children of the Ansar (Helpers) among them. They said: We shall not leave our children. So Allah the Exalted revealed; "Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error."

From the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, op cite, pages 37, 38

Allah says: “There is no compulsion in religion”, meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam because it is clear, and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides, blinds his heart and has set a seal on his hearing and a covering on his eyes cannot embrace Islam by force.

The reason for the revelation of this verse was that the women of Ansar used to make a vow to convert their sons to Judaism if the latter lived. And when the tribe of Bani an-Nadhir was expelled from Madinah, some children of Ansar were among them, so their parents could not abandon them; hence Allah revealed: “There is no compulsion in religion…” narrated by Ibn Jarir, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’I, on the authority of Bandar, Abu Hatim, and Ibn Hiban from the Hadith of Shu’bah, Mujahid and others. However Muhammad Ibn Ishaq narrated that Ibn Abbas said: it was revealed with regard to a man from the tribe of Bani Salim Ibn Awf called al-Husayni whose two sons converted to Christianity but he was himself a Muslim. He told the Prophet: “Shall I force them to embrace Islam, they insist on Christianity”, hence Allah revealed this verse. But, this verse is abrogated by the verse of “Fighting”: “You shall be called to fight against a people given to great warfare, then you shall fight them, or they shall surrender” (sura 48:16). Allah also says: “O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelieves and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them” (9:73), and He says, “O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who are the Pious, (9:123).

Therefore, all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizya they should be fought till they are killed. This is the meaning of compulsion. In the Sahih (al-Bukhari), the Prophet said: “Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains”, meaning prisoners brought in chains to the Islamic state, then they embrace Islam sincerely and become righteous, and are entered among the people of Paradise.

Ibn Kathir presents two different stories as reasons behind 2:256. The first story has nothing to do with compelling people into Islam. The second story begins to go against compulsion, but, Ibn Kathir then says that this verse was abrogated by the verse of “fighting” i.e. 48:16. I add that the only Sahih Hadith material I’ve been able to find on the matter (Sunan of Abu Dawud) supports the story of the expulsion of the Banu Nadir Jews. Thus, either way, compulsion of people to convert to Islam is allowed.

Ibn Kathir does say at the beginning of this quote: Allah says: “There is no compulsion in religion”, meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam because it is clear, and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides, blinds his heart and has set a seal on his hearing and a covering on his eyes cannot embrace Islam by force. But he goes on to contradict himself later in the next two paragraphs."(AMERICA, ISLAM, JIHAD, AND TERRORISM, Answering-Islam web site).